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Health and relationships
The quality of your relationship with your partner (and with friends, colleagues and family members) affects both your mental and physical wellbeing. Similarly, how good you feel emotionally and physically can affect how you get on with your partner - perhaps even more than you realise. |[profileDataBundle id=1]| Improving your relationship quality can have a positive effect on your health, affecting related behaviours like exercising and drinking that can, in turn, affect how you get on. Of course, relationships go through ups and downs. But when we are unhappy or frustrated it’s easy to ignore what we know is good for us. Risky behaviours can provide an escape but sometimes we can fall into habits that are bad for both our health and our relationship. The good news is that, by taking stock and taking a good look at our patterns of behaviour, we can start making a few changes and things can start feeling very different. Have a look at the following questions and then share your answers with your partner. This can help you to assess the bigger picture and start changing some of the behaviours that could be affecting your relationship. Overall, how well do you feel on a day-to-day basis? Where would you score your physical health on a scale of one to 10, with ten being best it can be? Do you smoke? If so, how much, and at what times of day? What are your triggers for smoking? How often do you drink? Do you drink to unwind, to be social, or to shut things out? How well do you eat? Do you and your partner eat together – are cooking and eating well important parts of your relationship? Are you over or underweight? How do you feel about your body? How well do you sleep? –What, if anything keeps you awake? Can you see any patterns? Do you exercise regularly? How do you feel after exercising? How often do you have sex? Do you enjoy sex with your partner? Are you currently working? How does your work affect how you feel? If you have a bad day at work, what impact does it have on your home life? How do you know you are overstressed? What are the signs? What makes you feel good physically? What makes you feel good emotionally?   What next? Have a look at your answers. How does the overall picture look? Does it look good or feel a bit overwhelming? Are there any patterns you’d like to change? If you have any habits or recurring behaviours that aren’t serving you, look at the underlying reasons. Take it slowly – recognising the need for change is a crucial first step. Don’t try to change everything at once. If you are a smoker, that’s a good place to start. Consider cutting down, or just keeping a log of when you smoke and how you feel before and after. Start to notice what need you are trying to fulfil by smoking, and whether it’s working for you. If you want to eat better, start by introducing some small changes to your diet. Get a new cookbook or look up some recipes online. Experimenting with new dishes can be fun. Set aside some time to plan and cook a healthy meal with your partner – this one positive shared experience could be the first step towards getting out of a mealtime rut. Poor sleep, drinking too much and work stress are all issues that can contribute to how you get on with your partner, often leading to arguments. It can feel overwhelming to address these issues at once – a good place to start might be taking some regular exercise. It doesn’t matter what, so long as it is something you can enjoy that fits in with your work and family demands. Exercise can also have a positive impact on other areas of your life, releasing natural chemicals that improve your mood and make you feel happier. Adopting a more active lifestyle can improve your mental health, giving you a positive reminder you that the choices you make affect how you feel. Leading a more active life can give you a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and help you sleep better. It can improve your self-esteem and confidence, helping you feel more valued, and more attractive. Exercise and physical activity can give you something positive to strive for and commit to. It can help you to stop dwelling on problems and, in time, you may even start to enjoy it!   A word of warning! If this exercise has brought up any issues you find difficult to talk about, you may find it helpful to use some of the communication exercises and articles elsewhere on the site. If you have identified that you or your partner are drinking too much, you may need to seek professional help – looking at the articles on addiction on the site can be a positive first step.
Article | Health
8 5 min read
How to Keep Growing As a Couple
No matter how you slice it, relationships today are struggling at best. According to statistics, people are getting divorced at a rate of about 50%. Divorce aside, couples that stay together aren't necessarily faring much better. People are having problems communicating, staying in dead-end relationships and becoming more disillusioned with relationships by the day. So how do you make things work? The answer is simple -- growth. While the answer is simple, it's one of the most difficult things to carry out in practice. To grow means going through pain and discomfort. However, on the other side of this is the most fulfilling relationship you could imagine. Read these tips and apply them to your relationship. Take the Utmost Care of Yourself First When you take care of yourself, the benefits will spill over into your relationship. In fact, you should think of your spouse or partner as your mirror. You affect each other and learn things about yourself through each other, so use this as a tool to get better, rather than to run from. Make sure that you're getting real about the things holding you back from being your greatest self. Constantly audit so that you're able to make changes accordingly. Give yourself a chance by starting with healthy life practice. Eat quality foods, workout every day and make sure that you're getting the best sleep possible. Studies also show that meditating for 20 minutes every day can have tremendous benefits for your health, mental sharpness, and overall well-being. When you're your best self, you will bring your best self to your relationship, making it a win-win. Get Strategic With Your Seduction -- Then Forget About Strategy Most people don't put much thought into attraction. We feel as though love is supposed to be the end all, be all, and then feel guilty if we're not always on fire for our spouse. Trust and believe that attraction is something that has to be continuously cultivated. Start by waking up every day with the assumption that you are dating your partner all over again. When you don't take each other for granted, you will have fresh eyes and feelings and will treat them accordingly. Take the time to tease, flirt and build tension. Take time every day to engage in this dance, making sure that you're strategic about creating feelings in each other. However, once you're both flirty and on board with the dance, throw strategy out the window. The last thing you would want is to be robotic during the seduction process. Routinely Change Your Scenery Finally, take time to get away for a bit sometimes. Even planning a staycation in a hotel you've never been inside before is better than getting stuck in a rut. Comfort is the best part about relationships, but at the same time, familiarity breeds contempt. Plan vacations, have date nights and do new activities together to keep things fresh. Consider these tips so that you can improve your relationship by leaps and bounds.
User article | Health
“Crushing on someone else”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have a boyfriend, we dated for 7 months so far. He’s white, tall, gorgeous, pretty, nice blue eyes. But he is so clingy and he never had great relationships in his past. He always got cheated on with his past relationships. Pretty much every single one of them. I don’t kno why that happened to him. I think cause he is such a nice guy and very sweet and he’s sensitive and very clingy. And he can take advantage of pretty easy. Like 3 months later of dating, I met this other guy from work. And he is so cute. He is very cute. I had a crush on him. And he’s white also. Which that doesn’t happened to me. I don’t get white guys to like me or have an interest in me. My boyfriend is the first white guy I ever dated and I am shocked and surprised and I don’t wanna lose him cause he’s literally perfect but I don’t wanna be in a relationship. I wanna be single. I’m young , I wanna fun. I don’t wanna settle down. I never got the chance to be by myself and be single. I always been with a boyfriend then break up, then another right after 1 or 2 months, literally. I didn’t have time to be single for a good ass time since I started to date date. My first boyfriend was black, dated 9 months. 2 months later, I had another boyfriend, Hispanic, 9 months or 10, broke up, 2 months apart, got back together 10 more months then broke up. 1 month later, I met the guy I’m with now. So yup. The second boyfriend it was tough on me, I fell in love. He was my love. The love of my life. Even to this day he is still the love of my life. I’m not sure if I’m gonna fall in love again. It’s rare. But yeah, so the guy that I have a crush on. He likes me back. That never happened. A white guy. No. And me and him, we texted, talked on the phone. Etc. he doesn’t know I have a boyfriend, I don’t wanna tell him cause I think he doesn’t wanna deal with me no more. I don’t want anything serious with him. Just to have fun and hang. But I can’t do that behind my boyfriend’s back. That’s the thing , I don’t wanna be in a committed relationship but I love my boyfriend. I’m not madlyyyy in love. But I do love him. I don’t wanna lose him cause I know for a fact I won’t find someone else like him. He’s very gorgeous btw like a model. He could be one. So it’s hard to find a guy like that. I wanna be in an open relationship with him because I don’t want to cheat on him also I don’t wanna be nervous every single time when I text a dude or talk to a dude but I’m scared, I know for a fact that he won’t like that. I just wanna mingle other guys, but I still wanna have my boyfriend. And the guy I like, I have feelings for him and I’m scared to fallll for him. I can’t. But at the same time, I wanna be with him like hang out and do fun stuff. It’s hard. I don’t know why I got myself in this mess. All I want is life is to be alone forever. I wanna be alone . But I don’t really wanna be alone alone. Also one time my boyfriend found out I was texting a dude. He fucking went thru my shit. Privacy man. Like wtf. I was pissed. And he was like what is this? Who is this? Etc. and yelling at me and he said that he’s breaking up with me. But I stood my ground and fought for us. I was stupid. We should have broken up. It would be easier but also I don’t wanna lose him. I really don’t. And ever since then , the incident, he doesn’t trust me. At all. Like he wanna see my phone, messages , constantly texting back and forth 24/7. He wanna kno where I’m at and such , what I’m doing. It’s soooo annoying. I don’t have my freedom. I’m not 17 years old or 16. I’m 20. Like come on. So I can’t do anything behind his back cause he is soooo clingy and he is always behind my back so I can’t do shit. It just sad. My whole love life is sad. I can’t never be happy. I’m never happy. Which is okay. I have been thru so much worse. So I don’t know what to do with my boyfriend or the guy that I have a crush on. Basically the whole situation.
Ask the community | communication, arguments
Looking forward
New Year tends to be a time of deep reflection. We reach the end of something, we close it up, and we look forward to starting something new. Of course this is all just a mind game. We’re not actually starting something new, it’s another month like the last – just without Christmas lights and with less turkey. But nonetheless, many of us still get all reflective and thoughtful. This reflective state we delve into often means looking back on the decisions that we’ve made, the events that have occurred, and the changes we endured in the last year. As parents, if you had a tough year last year, or it wasn’t what you expected it to be, then you might find yourselves wondering if this year will just be a repeat of 2015 - especially if the circumstances you faced are expected to remain the same. For example if you have a child who has a disability, or a special need, any challenges brought on by these factors will likely be consistent. The good news is that, even though your circumstances might be the same, your ability to cope, grow, and bond with your family don’t necessarily have to remain the same. Neither does the quality of your relationship with your partner which, when improved, can make everyday living feel lighter and challenges feel more manageable. Research shows that couples who build their bond of togetherness feel able to deal with challenges more effectively [1]. This applies to all couples, including those who have disabled children. Additionally, couples who talk about their upcoming challenges are better able to deal with them when they happen.   “The quality of couple relationships has a clearer link to the health, life satisfaction and wellbeing of partners and their children [2]” If 2015 felt quite bleak at times, remember that your current situation is not a forecast of your future. As you get to know your child and understand them better (along with their condition), you’ll find it easier to know what they need and how to make the best of your time together. To encourage yourself, think back to a few of the initial challenges you faced that you’ve already overcome - challenges that perhaps appeared insurmountable at the beginning and then, over time, became something that could be worked through. Hold these before-and-after moments in your mind and remember that things can improve, solutions can be found, and challenges can be overcome. For more information, consider visiting: Contact.org family life section Contact.org guide on relationships and caring for a disabled child Contact.org page on local support groups Contact.org helpline page, or call 0808 808 3555 References  [1] Coleman and Glenn 2009; Proulx et al., 2007; Robles et al. 2013; The Relationships Alliance 2014; Vaillant (2012) [2] Barrett et al., 2011; Cummings and Davies, 2010; Reynolds et al., 2014; Relationships Alliance (2014)
Article | Health, future planning
0 2 min read
What is the formula for a healthy relationship?
Is your relationship a positive one, or a negative one? For most of us, the answer is… it depends on the day. Like anything in life (family, career, home), relationships work best when the positive feelings and actions outweigh the negative ones. On a good day, when your partner is treating you well, listening to you, loving you and making your life easier, the scales tip to the side of ‘positive’. On a bad day, when your partner criticises you repeatedly, doesn’t support you and takes you for granted, the scales tip the other way.According to research, the key to a healthy relationship lies in the balance of this scale – the positives vs. negatives that both parties bring. Now you might assume that a relationship with NO negatives should be the goal. Surely any relationship would work better with NO disagreements? Well, no. Fortunately for most couples, the negatives are important for a relationship too. Negatives can include personality clashes, impoliteness, selfishness, criticisms and so on. So negative interactions can actually benefit the relationship… but why? “[The role of negativity] in a healthy marriage may be to spur a cycle of closeness and distance that can renew love and affection. ‘Off’ times allow couples to become reacquainted periodically and heighten their love.”[1] In other words, negative interaction allows for the courtship to be renewed in some small way. As with a dance, sometimes you draw in close, and sometimes you create distance. But how MUCH of this negative do we need in our relationship? What IS the recommended balance? In relationship studies, we seldom see any kind of formula, but in this case relationship researcher John Gottman [2] has provided us with one. 5 Positive : 1 Negative This means that for every one negative interaction, in order to set the balance and keep your relationship nourished you need to experience five positive interactions. These “positive” ones don’t have to be impressive or romantic gestures. They could just be bringing your partner a cup of tea, or taking the kids off them for a bit to give them some free time. Or even just being polite, paying compliments, laughing, touching, smiling and showing support. When you’re facing difficult and challenging times as parents trying to run a family, you’re probably not in a position to make big sweeping gestures like cooking your partner a three-course meal, whisking them off for a weekend away or even taking them out for the evening. So it’s just as well that the positives in the 5:1 ratio don’t need to be extravagant or overtly romantic. “Stable and happy couples share more positive feelings and actions than negative ones. Unhappy couples tend to have more negative feelings and actions than positive ones.”[3] It’s worth noting that while a negative to every five positives is encouraged, the word ‘negative’ is quite broad and certain types of negative (or too many negatives on a consistent basis) can be particularly destructive to the relationship. These more damaging negatives include great stubbornness, contempt, defensiveness, withdrawal from interaction and acts of aggression or physical violence. These really exist outside of the ratio – it’s important to remember that some actions and behaviours are never beneficial to a relationship.Lastly, there may be some couples out there who experience a ratio with lower negatives of say, 10:1 or even 20:1 where negative interactions are rare. Some even claim they don’t experience negatives at all. In a social gathering where other couples are discussing what they all argue about, this couple will often turn to each other with raised eyebrows and a hokey grin before saying: “To be honest… we just don’t really argue, do we honey?” And the other one shakes their head and goes “Nope.”, both of them apparently quite confused about what everyone else could possibly be doing wrong in their relationships. But you needn’t worry about achieving this level of harmony with your spouse. According to research, while a ratio of even 100:1 could be effective in the short-term, in order to sustain a relationship (or marriage) with real staying power, 5:1 is the ticket. References   [1] “Why marriages succeed or fail” – John Gottman p.65 [2] https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/cfs/cfs-744-w.pdf [3] “Why marriages succeed or fail” – John Gottman p.56
Article | communication, big changes
0 4 min read