Menu Relationship issues
Expert posts
Facing money issues as a couple
As we emerge from coronavirus lockdown restrictions, many of us are facing an uncertain financial future. Some people have been furloughed or lost their jobs. Some businesses have closed or lost much of their revenue. Months after the lockdown was first announced, redundancy is now the top search term on the Citizens Advice website, and their benefits advice page views are at their highest ever levels. Even in ordinary times, money troubles are one of the biggest causes of stress in relationships. More than half of couples include money worries in their top three relationship strains [1]. 60% of people who contact debt charities say they also have problems with their relationships, but they don’t necessarily seek relationship support [2].  On top of that, we’re feeling the effects of a global event that affects us in ways we can’t avoid and that aren’t our fault, which can feel unfair and unsettling [3]. When you’re struggling with money, you and your partner might have less time together and argue more. Arguments about money can be different to other types of arguments – they can last longer, are more likely to get out of hand, and can have a bigger impact on your relationship [4]. But there are practical steps you can take if you’re worried about money, from getting advice on what to do if coronavirus has affected you financially, to managing the stress together with your partner. Get some help Charities such as Citizens Advice, Money Advice Service, and the National Debtline can help you figure out what benefits you can get — including coronavirus-specific relief — what to do if you can’t pay your bills or rent, and dealing with debt.  Consider seeking emotional support as well. Research has shown that relationship counselling can help people cope better with financial problems [6]. Organisations such as Relate can help with telephone or webcam counselling and live chat services. Talk about money Couples who talk openly about money tend to cope better in tough times. In one study, couples who consciously worked together at finding solutions were better at maintaining their relationship through difficult financial periods. These couples made the decision to see their money problems as separate from the relationship, focusing on the importance of communicating well and working together [5]. Aside from overspending, one of the biggest money problems relationships face is appointing one partner to manage all the household finances while the other takes a back seat [6]. While this might seem simpler, it can often increase stress in relationships, creating an extra burden for the person in control [7], and leaving the other person in the dark. The couples who have the most success at dealing with their issues are those who recognise the need for trust and communication around financial matters. When you can trust each other to pay bills on time, discuss big purchases, and avoid overspending, you’re likely to feel more confident in your finances and in your relationship [5]. Make a budget Get together and write down your income and your expenses, starting with unavoidable things like housing and energy bills. If you’re not sure how to get started with a budget, you can find a free planner and some online guides through the Money Advice Service. Go through your expenses and work out where you can make cuts and savings. Can you change your energy suppliers or switch to a cheaper phone plan? Can you cut your food bills by going to a cheaper supermarket or buying things in bulk? What can you live without while money is tighter than usual? Remember that these changes might only be temporary – it can be easier to adjust when you know what you’re working towards. Take time for each other  You may have to cut back your spending, but this doesn’t mean you should stop making time for each other. Some couples gave us their suggestions: Look for cheaper alternatives to your preferred activities. For example, a football fan might pay for a subscription radio service as a cheaper alternative to going to all the games. Go out but spend less. If you go for a meal, just have one course. Get a bottle of wine or some cans from the shop to take home. When the weather is nice, take walks and picnics in the park. Look for free activities in your area. You might be surprised by the fun events available at no cost. Learn how to support each other well by reading our tips on coping with stress together.  Don’t delay If you’re worried about money, watch this story to see why you should act as soon as possible to deal with the issues and talk to your partner. References [1] Undy, H.,  Bloomfield, B.,  Jopling, K., Marcus, L.,  Saddington, P., &  Sholl, P. (2015). The way we are now: The state of the UK’s relationships 2015. Relate, Relationships Scotland, Marriage Care.[2] Findings from OnePlusOne interviews with major UK debt charities, further supported by Olson, G. Olson, D. National Survey of Marital Strengths, April 2003.(66% of problems in marriage are associated with ‘major debt’)[3] Dew, J.P., & Xiao, J.J. (2013) Financial Declines, Financial Behaviors, and Relationship Satisfaction during the Recession. Journal of Financial Therapy, 4(1).[4] Papp, L. M., Cummings, E. M., & Goeke ‐ Morey, M. C. (2009) For richer, for poorer: Money as a topic of marital conflict in the home. Family Relations, 58(1), 91-103[5] Skogrand, L., Johnson, A.C., Horrocks, A.M., DeFrain, J. (2011). Financial Management Practices of Couples with Great Marriages. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 32: 27.[6] Doherty, H. F. (2006). Communication is vital to a couple's successful financial life. Dental Economics, 96(11), 92-93.[7] Rowlingston, K. & Joseph, R. (2009). Assets and Debts Within Couples: Ownership and Decision-Making. Friends Provident Foundation.
Article | finance, money, lockdown
They mess you up, your mum and dad
As that PG-rated version of the famous poem goes, our parents have a lot to answer for. We may not know it at the time, but our attitudes to relationships are formed when we are children, and we learn a lot from seeing adults interacting with each other while we are growing up. Because of this, people who grow up with divorced or separated parents are more likely to have a negative view of marriage and may be less interested in romantic relationships in general. When they do form relationships, they might be more likely to get into arguments with their partners and less keen on the idea of making a long-term commitment [1]. If your parents were separated or divorced, it can affect the way you view relationships from the start. As you get older, this can then affect the way you interact with the people you have relationships with. This doesn’t mean that you’re destined to repeat your parents’ patterns, but it can be a helpful way of understanding how you relate to others. When you understand the source of your attitude to relationships, it can make it easier for you to set a pace that suits you and to recognise problems when they come up. It’s OK if you don’t feel ready to make a commitment and, of course, some level of conflict is to be expected in most relationships (it’s the way you handle conflict that matters most). But, if you aren’t as happy with your relationship as you’d like to be, and you’re looking to make some changes, then recognising the source of your feelings can be a good place to start. Ask yourself what you might have learned about relationships when you were growing up. Who were your adult role models and what kinds of relationships did they have? Most of what we understand about how relationships work comes from seeing the way our parents interact. When we see them supporting each other, making compromises, and getting over arguments, we learn important skills about how to do this in our own relationships. If you grew up with separated parents, you might have missed out on a lot of that, especially if your parents didn’t handle their breakup very well or continued to argue in front of you. Even when separated parents do get on well, their children can still miss out on important lessons. You could be left trying to figure out relationship skills the hard way – through trial and error. As a result, you might find it harder to deal with relationship stress and arguments with your partner, all of which can make your relationship feel less satisfying [2]. These issues can also be linked to problems with sex and intimacy. You may find that you are less interested in sexual experiences. You might not always recognise it when your partner is trying to be intimate with you, or you might just not be into it. This is quite common for people who grew up in homes with a single parent, particularly if there wasn’t much adult affection on display [2]. Go easy on yourself, especially in your early relationships when you are still figuring out what you want. Ask your partner to be patient with you and try to be honest about anything you are finding difficult. If intimacy is an issue, ask your partner to slow things down. If you find it hard to commit, just be clear about where you’re at so that your partner can manage their expectations. Growing up with step-parents Of course, if you grew up with step-parents, it’s possible that a lot of this won’t apply to you. Unlike children who grow up with both parents, you may have had the benefit of seeing how a successful relationship begins. This can play a big part in how you go on to form your own relationships. If your parents separated when you were a child, but another parental figure entered your life, you might even be better at starting relationships than people whose parents stayed together [3]. References [1] Cui, M., & Fincham, F. (2010). The differential effects of parental divorce and marital conflict on young adult romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 17(3), 331-343. [2] Shulman, S., Zlotnik, A., Shachar-Shapira, L., Connolly, J., & Bohr, Y. (2012). Adolescent Daughters' Romantic Competence: The Role of Divorce, Quality of Parenting, and Maternal Romantic History. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41(5), 593-606. [3] Ivanova, K., Mills, M., & Veenstra, R. (2014). Parental Residential and Partnering Transitions and the Initiation of Adolescent Romantic Relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(3), 465-475.  
Article | separation, divorce, dating
Two approaches to online dating
With more relationships starting online than ever before, we looked at the factors that can make the difference between a false start and a long-term future.  Developing relationships In the early stages, online daters tend to spend longer deliberating over their choices. Online relationships can therefore take longer to develop than those starting offline [1].  One reason for this is that online dating can give us the impression that there is an endless supply of potential matches. If you’re not sure about a relationship, you have a couple of choices – you can either pursue it and see how it goes, or you can end it and start looking for the next one. If you’re confident you can find another match online fairly quickly, ending the current one might feel like the easiest option [1]. The marketplace approach if you’re not quite ready for a long-term commitment or if you don’t yet know what you’re looking for, you might approach online dating sites as a kind of marketplace. Online daters using this approach tend to make quickfire assessments of a person’s potential as a romantic partner, turning the dating process into an exchange where potential partners are seen as commodities to be selected from a choice of many. And, when there’s a choice, it feels easier to exchange one partner for another – so we go shopping again [2]. This approach might mean you get to meet a lot of people, but it won’t necessarily lead to a successful long-term relationship. Relationships usually work best when two people respond to each other’s needs, rather than weighing up the costs and benefits as they go [2]. The long-term approach On the other hand, if you are specifically looking for a long-term relationship, you may find one online faster than you would if you went looking offline. When looking for a long-term relationship online, you’re likely to put more consideration into the selection process, and you’ll find it easier to ask those big questions that are hard to ask in the early days of a traditional offline relationship [3]. So, if you go into the process looking for love, and you already know what you want, it becomes possible to skip through a lot of the getting-to-know-you stuff that usually has to happen at the beginning of a relationship [3]. References [1] Paul, A. (2014). Is online better than offline for meeting partners? depends: Are you looking to marry or to date? Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(10).  [2] Finkel, E., Eastwick, P., Karney, B., Reis, H., & Sprecher, S. (2012). Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13(1), 3-66. [3] Rosenfeld. Michael J. (2017). “Marriage, Choice, and Couplehood in the Age of the Internet.” Sociological Science 4:490-51.
Article | online dating
Choosing the perfect gift for your partner
The simple act of buying a gift for a loved one can make you happier and, for the recipient, it really is the thought that counts. Choosing a gift for someone who matters to you can be a stressful experience. Whether it’s for a birthday, Christmas, or an anniversary, you can find yourself worrying about how much to spend, and how to find the perfect gift for a loved one. Choosing the perfect gift can feel like an ideal way to show your partner how much you love them, so it makes sense that you’d put a lot of pressure on yourself to get it right – particularly if you find it difficult to express your love in other ways [1]. Getting it right can be a positive experience. One study even showed that spending money on other people can make you happier than spending money on yourself [2]. So how do you choose the perfect gift? While it might seem important to get your partner something they can keep forever, you might want to think about going for an experience instead. Depending on what your partner likes doing, consider buying them a few laps round the track in a sports car, or tickets to a new musical. A shared experience like this can help you both feel closer to each other, and give you fun memories to cherish. Opting for experiences over material goods can also take away some of the ‘who got what from who?’ social pressure that often pervades [3]. You could also try giving a gift that reminds your partner of an important moment you’ve shared, like a photo frame or album, or a souvenir from your first date. Or they might enjoy something they can use in an activity you share, like a travel guide for a place you’ve always wanted to visit together. Personal touches like this can give you both a boost of happiness [4]. Remember too that gifts don’t have to be big or expensive to have an impact. Something you’ve made, or something that shows you’ve really thought about what matters to your partner can be more moving than shelling out a ton of money on something big. As with many other aspects of being in a relationship, it’s often the little things that count. While it is important to make an effort for your partner, relationship science tells us that the most important thing is how much your partner appreciates what you do, and vice versa [5]. So, amidst all the pressure to get things right, a birthday, anniversary, or festive season could be a really good time to let your partner know just how much you appreciate them – even if that means doing a big fake smile when you unwrap the socks and bath salts. References [1] Compeau, L. D., Monroe, K. B., Grewal, D., & Reynolds, K. (2015). Expressing and defining self and relationships through everyday shopping experiences. Journal of Business Research. [2] Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319, 1687-1688.                                                                                                                        [3] Howell, R. T., & Hill, G. (2009). The mediators of experiential purchases: Determining the impact of psychological needs satisfaction and social comparison. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(6), 511–522. [4] Aknin, L. (2012). On financial generosity and well-being: Where, when, and how spending money on others increases happiness (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Electronic Theses and Dissertations 2008+. (Accession Order No. T17:53:34Z). [5] Curran, M. A., Burke, T. J., Young, V., & Totenhagen, C. (2015). Relational Sacrifices about Intimate Behavior and Relationship Quality for Expectant Cohabitors. Marriage & Family Review, (j).
Article | christmas, love
Dating someone from another culture
Keeping lines of communication open can help strengthen your relationship, particularly if you and your partner come from different cultural backgrounds. Historically, falling for someone from another culture might have been big trouble, but a lot has changed over the last few decades and people are generally much more accepting of young people’s choices of partner these days. Dating across different cultures – which includes different races, ethnicities, or different faiths – has become much more common among young people and carries less stigma than it used to [1]. Celebrating difference Some studies have shown that couples from different cultures might be more likely to experience conflict in their relationships.Talking about these difficulties, however, not only alleviates the conflict but can actually help your relationship to develop and grow stronger [1]. In other words, having differences can be a really positive thing, as long as you celebrate them. Making an effort to understand and appreciate each other’s backgrounds can be an enriching experience that also helps you maintain your relationship quality. Religious differences If you have a partner whose religious beliefs are different to your own, you may find your differences are particularly pronounced, which could lead to more disagreements that are harder to resolve [1]. This may be because we often develop our religious beliefs from a young age, but also because we feel them strongly and can struggle to articulate them [2]. On the other hand, you may also find it’s possible to ignore your religious differences for the most part. They may not affect your romantic relationships at all until you reach major life events like marriage – when you’re younger and still exploring relationships, religion doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge issue. Generally speaking, it’s really helpful to be open and communicative about any cultural or religious differences you have with your partner, as this can help you both feel more satisfied with your relationship. If you’re in a relationship with someone from a different culture or religion and you haven’t talked about it yet, have a think about how you might express an interest in your partner’s background and beliefs, and see where it takes you. Let us know how you get on in the comments below. References [1] Reiter, M. J., & Gee, C. B. (2008). Open communication and partner support in intercultural and interfaith romantic relationships: A relational maintenance approach. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25(4), 539-559. [2] Perel, E. (2000). A tourist’s view of marriage: Cross-cultural couples – challenges, choices, and implications for therapy. In P. Papp (Ed.), Couples on the fault line: New directions for therapists (pp. 178–204). New York: Guilford Press.
Article | culture, dating, religion
A lesser known risk of online first, meeting later
Dating apps have changed the way we meet potential partners. But, while they can help take some of the hassle out of meeting new people, there’s one risk you may not have considered. Apps like Tinder, OkCupid or Hinge can widen your dating pool by connecting you with other single people you might not otherwise have met. They can also give you information much faster than you might get it in real life. By the time you and a potential partner have decided you want to meet up, you may already have learned lots about each other that might have taken weeks in the real world [1]. This early interaction can remove much of the mystery of dating and help speed up the process of getting to know each other. It can also help to know that there is at least some attraction between you by the time you first meet [1]. Yet, relationship research has shown that this can set many online daters up for failure. Think about the process of building your own dating profile. It’s impossible to give a complete picture so you pick and choose – and, naturally, you want to present your best side. You select the best photos, make the most of your interests, and generally remain on your best behaviour while trying to convince potential matches that they should pick you. This is a normal part of the dating process but what you may not have considered is that we tend to idealise the people we’re getting to know through apps. As you get to know someone online, you build up a version of them in your mind, based partly on reality and partly on filling in the blanks left by their profile. Over time, this imaginary version can become very compelling [2]. When you meet, the imaginary version makes way for the real thing – sometimes, this will be a person you want to continue dating and sometimes it won’t. However, if your online interaction goes on for too long without meeting up, the imagined version gets so ingrained that the real thing doesn’t have a hope of living up to it. The longer you delay the face-to-face meeting, the greater the risk that you’ll be disappointed with each other, and the less likely the relationship is to succeed [2]. So, the next time your dating app presents you with someone you think you might like, don’t wait too long to meet them. Give them the best opportunity to live up to the version of them that you think you’ve been talking to and you the best chance of meeting the real them! References [1] LeFebvre, L. E. (2018). Swiping me off my feet: Explicating relationship initiation on Tinder. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35(9), 1205-1229. [2] Ramirez, A., Sumner, E., Fleuriet, C., & Cole, M. (2015). When Online Dating Partners Meet Offline: The Effect of Modality Switching on Relational Communication Between Online Daters. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 20(1), 99-114.
Article | dating, online dating
Talking to young people about relationships
The language used to describe relationships changes constantly. For young people these days, the terminology is getting pretty vague. So how do you talk to your adolescent children about their relationships? Early relationships are a big part of how we figure out who we are and what we want from life. Many young people forming these early relationships will look to their parents for information and support… although maybe in a roundabout way. But how can you be sure you’re offering the right kind of support unless you know what they’re talking about in the first place? A new study has taken a closer look at the language young people use to define the dating process, and how this differs from what their parents’ generation understands [1]. Where, in the past, this was a clearly defined and ordered process - meet, flirt, date, hold hands, kiss, etc. - young people today are facing a lot more ambiguity in the way relationships are defined. The study was set up to try and gain a better understanding of young people’s relationships to help improve support services, but it could also be useful for parents. Results suggested that the language young people tend to use around relationships is not particularly well defined and could differ from one group of friends to the next.  For some, dating means literally that – going out on dates together. For others, it could be attached to a casual hook-up, or a friends with benefits situation. When young people seek their parents’ support, these blurred boundaries can create confusion, if there is a disconnect between the ways different generations label their relationships and emotions. For example, if a young person comes to you and says they are having trouble with someone they’ve been dating, they could be talking about anything from a deep emotional connection to a casual sexual relationship. Be careful about making assumptions. The next time you’re in a conversation with your own child about relationships, take a moment to establish what it is you’re talking about, and how they define the terms they’re using. It could make all the difference to the support you’re able to offer. References [1] Rochelle L. Rowley & Jodie L. Hertzog (2016): From Holding Hands to Having a Thing to Hooking Up: Framing Heterosexual Youth Relationships, Marriage & Family Review
Article | dating, communication
Your crush may be good for your relationship
Are you in a relationship? Are you also harbouring a secret crush? It turns out this might not be such a bad thing after all. A recent study has shown that having an unspoken crush probably isn’t doing your relationship any harm and, in some cases, may even contribute to an increased level of intimacy with your partner [1]. The researchers surveyed around 200 women, all of whom had been in a relationship for at least three years. Most were married and aged between 19 and 56. The women filled in an online questionnaire where they answered questions about their partners and other sexual attractions. As many as 70% of those involved in the survey said that they had been attracted to someone else while in a relationship. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of these crushes happened at work. When asked if they were worried about their crushes, most of the women said they weren’t, stating that having an attraction to someone else hadn’t affected how they felt about their partners, nor had it had any kind of negative effect on the relationship. A small portion even said that being attracted to someone else had strengthened their relationships by making them feel more attracted to their partners. This may be the result of increased sexual desire being unleashed within the relationship. As long as you recognise where the line is drawn in your relationship, infatuations at work or elsewhere may well be perfectly healthy and safe. We’re certainly not suggesting you seek out a crush but if you have one, and you remain committed to your partner, perhaps you needn’t worry too much. References [1] Mullinax, M., Barnhart, K. J., Mark, K., and Herbenick, D. (2015). Women’s Experiences with Feelings and Attractions for Someone Outside their Primary Relationship. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 42 (5), 431-447. doi:10.1080/0092623x.2015.1061076
Article | crush
How to be understood
Picture this: you’ve had a long day at work and you’re glad to be home. There’s some washing-up left in the sink from last night and you want to get it done so you can sit quietly in a tidy kitchen and have a cup of tea from your favourite mug. While you’re washing up, you remember an incident at work today that you didn’t handle very well. As you replay the moment in your head, you let out a big sigh. Because your partner isn’t inside your head, they might think you’re sighing over the washing-up. If they’ve had a tough day too, they might leap to the defensive and explain why they haven’t had a chance to wash up yet. Before you know it, you’re arguing about something that hasn’t even happened, and your hard day at work has gone unacknowledged by the person you rely on most for support. Why it’s important to feel understood Relationships are all about communication – not just what you communicate to each other, but how you each understand what’s being communicated. When you need something from your partner, the first step is to communicate that need. The second step is for them to recognise the need. Without that recognition, it’s unlikely you’ll get that support. And that’s why understanding each other is so important to having a satisfying relationship [1]. Being understood helps us feel secure and looked after [2]. What you say and what you mean If you want your partner to know you’re feeling sad, do you tend to sulk until they notice, or do you step up and say, “I’m feeling a bit down today”? When someone misunderstands you, or fails to even notice you, it’s easy to get cross and to blame them for not listening properly, or for not caring. What difference could it make if you decided to take responsibility for everything you communicate? What if, when someone misunderstands you, you make the choice to re-frame what you’ve communicated until it makes sense to the other person? Try applying this not just to the words you convey, but also to the emotions. Don’t assume your partner knows what’s going on in your mind Your partner may be the person who knows you best but it’s not their job to read your mind. So, while sulking might work from time to time, the direct approach is almost always more helpful. How many times have you moped around waiting for your partner to notice how sad you are? It might feel like your partner doesn’t care, but the reality is that many of us tend to over-estimate how much emotion we are conveying [3] [4]. Many of also assume that our partners instinctively know what we’re feeling [5], but that isn’t always the case. These assumptions can be among the biggest hindrances to communicating effectively in relationships, leaving you feeling unheard, rejected and liable to lash out in response [6]. Being clear about your feelings can protect against all of this. The next time your partner misunderstands you, take a moment before you respond. Try to remember that they’ve only misunderstood you because they don’t have all the information, and take responsibility for filling in the gaps. Being clear about how you feel almost always makes it easier to get what you need. References [1] Reis, H., Clark, M., & Holmes, J. G. (2004). Perceived partner responsiveness as an organizing construct in the study of intimacy and closeness. In D. Mashek & A. Aron (Eds.), Handbook of closeness and intimacy (pp. 201-228). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. [2] Collins, N. L., & Feeney, B. C. (2000). A safe haven: An attachment theory perspective on support seeking and caregiving in intimate relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 1053-1073. [3] Vorauer, J. D., Cameron, J. J., Holmes, J. G., & Pearce, D. G. (2003). Invisible overtures: Fears of rejection and the amplification bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 793-812. [4] Cameron, J. J., & Robinson, K. J. (2010). Don’t you know how much I need you? Consequences of miscommunication vary by self-esteem. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(2), 136-142. [5] Eidleson, R. J., & Epstein, N. (1982). Cognition and relationship maladjustment: Development of a measure of dysfunctional relationship beliefs. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 50, 715-720. [6] Cameron, J. J., & Vorauer, J. D. (2008). Feeling transparent: On metaperceptions and miscommunications. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2, 1093-1108.
Article | communication
Community posts
“Unrealistic expectations?”
I started dating this guy, we'll call him "Joe" about two years ago. For the first few months of dating, everything was great as it usually is in the beginning. I did notice that he had a lot of female friends on Facebook. I don't have a Facebook account, but he used to scroll through it on his phone with me next to him. One day, about a month or two into our relationship, he was at my house and received a call and spoke with a female friend of his who was in a female prison or halfway house. I tried not to listen in, but at the end of the call he said (right in front of me, not hiding anything) "I love you! Bye!" He then told me a sad story about this woman who had been his friend for decades, who had been incarcerated for holding drugs. He said that she didn't do anything wrong, and he "had no reason not to believe her." I think that is naive of him, but whatever. He told me they had never been romantically involved. He told me he was sending her some money, and that she was looking for an iPod or something for music. I had an old iPod, but it wasn't new enough for her, in his opinion. Over the next few months, he kept talking about her, explaining how they met, how his friend had dated her. He told me about her ex-husband and children. He told me how she'd looked the last time her saw her (how she looked like she was on drugs, etc.). When we were together for about five months, she was released. She messaged him through Facebook while we were at my house, and they had a little back and forth, exchanging numbers. He did say that he was "at his girlfriends house," and showed me her picture, saying she used to be prettier. Since then, he's completely stopped talking about her. I started noticing when we were scrolling through his Facebook that her name kept popping up in posts and messages, and he would quickly swipe them away. Fast forward to now - I bought a house, and he's moved in. He stopped looking at Facebook in front of me completely, and I asked a few times, but he always changed the subject. To note, he is chipping in 1/2 of everything financially, but not chore-wise. A few months ago, we were looking at YouTube videos on his phone, and an alert popped up about a Facebook message from her. He made an offhand comment to the affect that "she sends me crude photos and videos." Now here is where I did the wrong thing. I checked his Facebook from his computer, where he was always logged in. I saw such disgusting videos of naked women, references to dildos, oral sex, etc. coming in direct messages from her. I confronted Joe, under the guise of him telling me that she was sending him crude photos and videos, and asked him to tell her to stop since I didn't like it. He flipped out, changed the subject, and then said he'd delete his Facebook account. I told him I didn't want him to delete his account, just tell her to stop the filthy messages. He said he wouldn't do that, he'd just delete his account. He's since re-activated his account. BUT he hides it 100% from me, doesn't get any alerts at all on his phone anymore. I horribly looked at his computer, and he's not logged in anymore, but when he looks at his email in bed I see his notifications from Facebook, which he quickly swipes away. I've asked him several times about her, why I haven't met her if she's such a good friend, and he says that its because she lives 2 hours away. We've visited people 3 hours away, 17 hours away, etc. I'm ready to end this over someone I've never even met. Not because I think he's cheating physically, but because he won't be honest with me. Am I being unreasonable?
User article | emotional affair, digital affair, social media
“I lied and now he can’t trust me”
When I first met my boyfriend seven months ago, I was still in some contact with two guys that I hooked up with, both of which I had to see due to work related obligations. I told him that I had blocked the one guy on everything, and later on he had seen that guy in my snapchat. He knew I was lying, and had confronted me on it. I ended up telling him that I had been receiving snapchats from him, they were meaningless pictures of his dog, and that was it. He didn’t believe me and thought there was still something going on, and I understand why. I was still friends with the second guy I had hooked up with, and he questioned me about him and I told him that he was just my friend and nothing had happened which was obviously a lie. I ended up telling him I had hooked up with him, and then deleted both of them on my social media/snapchat. I ended up telling him later on after he had to dig to find out that the second guy I still had to be in contact with due to work related obligations. He already knew this about the first guy. I lied to him initially about the first guy because I just made a stupid mistake, and once I saw how intense his reactions were to finding this out, I was scared to admit to any of the other lies I had told him in the past. His reactions were warranted because I caused this, but they were explosive and scared me. This still isn’t a good excuse to lie, however that’s how I felt. Now he cannot trust me on anything, and I understand why, and is to the point where he is coming up with the idea, and is firmly believing that I cheated on him when I didn’t. I never did anything remotely close to that, but he thinks I'm lying. We had a big fight recently, and I told him I had ordered chinese at work. He misheard me and thought I said “we” ordered chinese and firmly believes that I ordered chinese with someone else. I showed him proof of the transaction in my bank history, and it was a $10 bill which is about how much one person would spend on chinese. I provided him a record of the phone call I made to order the food, and he is claiming that someone must have taken the leftovers, even though I said I threw them out because I don’t eat leftovers and he knows this. He is ready to end things with me, and I understand why but obviously don’t want this to happen and want to prove to him that he can trust me. An instance that has come up where he need to know something involving another male, I told him about immediately after fully expecting an explosive reaction but he had a great one. I have tried very hard for the past three months to show him that he can trust me, and every and any opportunity I have I give him to prove to him. He can see my location, go through my phone, knows my schedule, I don’t have any forms of social media anymore, he has access to every single thing of mine. I understand why he doesn’t trust me, but I don’t want this relationship to end because I love him more than anything and I want to fix this and show him, and continue to show him, that he can trust me. Any words of advice on building trust and trying to get him to see clearly with this whole chinese food thing? I can explain more in the comments if anybody has questions.
User article | trust, control, emotional abuse
“My wife WhatsApps other men”
My wife has been constantly on her phone messaging other men for about three years now, 8 to 12 hours a day. It all started when she joined a game called coin master. She got involved in the groups via Facebook - her phone was going off every second of the day. We have two kids, boy 5 and girl 3. She started receiving a lot of WhatsApps and talking to men mainly about the game (she said). She was receiving calls in the morning and in the evening and said they were her friends and I should stop going on at her even though she was neglecting the kids. We went on a two-week holiday beginning of August 2019, she was on her phone constantly then a week when we got back - she said she had been invited to a coin master group party. I was very suspicious but in the end I said yes. It wasn't till January 2020 I decided to check her phone (wrong I know). I discovered she had cheated on me twice using party as excuse. I was very hurt and felt so bad as I just didn't know what to believe. We managed to sort it out and move on for a while. She deleted the game and got rid of Facebook. March 2020 she started playing Mafia City and again has not only handed out her number to people all around the world but been receiving dirty pics and possibly landed herself in debt as she has been using her credit card to play this game. When I confront her, she says its none of my business and I can pack my stuff and get out. She has a terrible temper. I've tried to help her to tell me about money lost which is about 8 grand and she claims it's fraud which she won't act on. It's too suspicious as it's apple .com. This time it's worse - texting and playing all through the day and night, does nothing for the kids, rarely speaks to any of us, just smirks at her phone screen. I cant leave as I'm worried for the kids. If she gets them they will not get anything or go out anywhere. She can't even wash their clothes as she's on the phone, or do any of their school stuff. I do everything for them. I've never seen phone addiction so bad. These social media and games can be very dangerous in the wrong hands people, prey on the weak. She even has told people that I attack her to get sympathy or just attention. I'm so lost. I really don't know what to do in this situation. She's becoming so dangerous and will run this family into the ground by end of the year. Any advice?
User article | digital affair, debt, social media, addiction
“I felt out of this world”
I was seeing this man I have known for 10 years. Let's call him Jose. In high school we dated a couple times and the first time we met felt out of this world... That feeling never changed. Even 10 years later. I moved back from college after a bad relationship that lasted three years too long. I got back and Jose and I started seeing each other. A month into it he told me I was still hung up on my ex and then ghosted me. I was heartbroken. I was completely over my ex and if I ever said anything about him it was how much of an asshole he is. I felt out of this world with Jose we never had sex so it was strictly just how we emotionally connected. After he ended it I started seeing my current boyfriend. We have now been together for five months. Let's call him Devin. He has said he loved me and I said it back without 100% feeling the same way. He is a nice guy, very sweet, and loving. But he definitely has a lot to work on. He can't financially take care of himself, and there are views that we definitely don't see eye to eye and bothers me on a daily basis. He doesn't not emotionally or physically please me but I do have love for him. Devin stays over four times a week and his family loves me and I know I'm needed in this relationship. Jose messaged me saying he was sorry and he will never feel the same way about anyone else and he loves me and cares about me and wants nothing more than to be with me. I am honest and tell him I'm with someone currently and he said we needed to talk. I said right now my boyfriend is here so it's not a good time. He told me to message him when I'm not in a relationship and blocked me again. I love Jose and always will but I am with someone. I don't want to make the mistake of ending my relationship with Devin and losing something that could have been special but I don't want to stay and not feel the way I feel when I'm with Jose. Please tell me what to do!
User article | breakups