Menu Relationship issues
Expert posts
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
Talking to your partner about money
Money is one of the biggest causes of stress in relationships. Some couples worry about how to spend or save it but, for most couples, the biggest money-related stress comes from not having enough of it [1]. The stress of living from one payday to the next, worrying about how to cover the essentials, can affect every area of your life and the impact on your relationship with your partner may be harder than you expect. Constantly arguing about money can start to affect how you feel about your relationship and when the underlying difficulties aren’t dealt with, things can quickly get rocky [2] [3]. A surprise event like losing your job, or an unplanned expense can all add to this pressure. Events in the wider world like the financial recession can feel very unfair and unsettling because they affect us in ways we can’t avoid and that aren’t our fault [4]. Arguments about money are often different to other types of argument. They can last longer, they are more likely to get out of hand, and they can have a bigger impact on your relationship [5]. As one couple said: My husband and I both work and we can't afford to do anything … without [money], life is horrible [1]. When arguments about money are ignored, it can make couples more likely to break up [6] so, if you’ve been arguing about money a lot lately, it’s worth addressing things: Talk about money. Our attitudes to money are often formed when we are young. If you and your partner have different attitudes to money, it can be very unsettling. Talk to your partner about what money means to you – what you learned about it growing up, and how you prefer to manage things. You may discover that your arguments about money are tied to other topics, and it’s helpful to get these out in the open. Be honest with your partner. Hiding from your money problems won’t make them go away, but sharing the burden could make things easier. Get everything out in the open so that you know exactly what it is you’re dealing with. For more help on talking about debts, follow the guidelines on our debt and relationships 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 new to budgeting, it might be easier to start by keeping a record of what you’re spending over the course of a few months. This can help you build a picture of how things are working currently and what might need to change. Cut your costs. 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 you’re getting things sorted? Remember that these changes might only be temporary – it can be easier to adjust when you know what you’re working towards. Get some help. If you’re in debt, and can’t see a way to get it under control, contact a debt management service. They will be able to help you put together a repayment plan, including arranging more realistic payments and devising a workable budget. The sooner you deal with this, the quicker you will get back on top of things. Separate your finances. Merged finances, and joint bank accounts can help you manage your money, but if you and your partner want a bit of financial freedom, agree that a portion of your money will remain yours alone. If things are really tight, it might only be a small amount, but allowing yourselves a little bit to save or spend as you please could give you one less thing to argue about.  References [1] Coleman (2014) – Strengthening relationships – analysis of the Public Conversation about relationships on social network sites, January 2014 to June 2014. [2] Fincham, F, & Beach, S., 2010. Marriage in the new millennium: A decade in review. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(3), 630-649. [3] Amato, P. R., Booth, A., Johnson, D. R., & Rogers, S. J. (2009) Alone together: How marriage in America is changing. Harvard University. [4] Dew, J.P., & Xiao, J.J. (2013) Financial Declines, Financial Behaviors, and Relationship Satisfaction during the Recession. Journal of Financial Therapy, 4(1). [5] 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 [6] Kneale, D., Marjoribanks, D., and Sherwood, C. (2014) Relationships, Recession and Recovery: The role of relationships in generating social recovery. London: Relate).
Article | finance, arguments
Community posts
“Crushing while in a relationship”
The relationship I'm in right now has been going for nearly a year. We met through an online community about a year ago (haven't met yet and don't think we will for quite a while with the worldwide situation going on). We hung out through calls and through games but I didn't get to know him fully until last year. As I got to know him, I started to slowly develop feelings for him and from there wanted to be more with him. He's the kind of person with a lot of self-hate for no reason. With games, education or life he beats himself down constantly. He'll slam tables during games and becomes overly toxic to himself on a daily basis. I'll tell him to look at an optimistic-realist outlook and that things will turn out okay, to give it time and that I'll be here. He'll take it for that time until the next month and it goes back to the same limbo. It's hard for him to feel confident and positive about himself. His jealousy gets the best of him when nothing has occurred with anyone. I've had to put my foot down to tell him not to think of people who I consider family in that light. That he's the only one I have eyes for. It's repetitive. It feels like I have to defend myself from him thinking otherwise. It hurts. He's supportive on everything I do and wants me to push forward with my dreams and goals. He listens to everything I want to say and all the nothings too. He wants to spend all the time in the world with me too. It's great but also difficult to say no to him during these times because I'm wanting alone time. To spend time with friends or be able to play a game without him looking at my status to see what I'm up to... I've spoken to him about all of this and it feels like it goes in one ear and out the other... I want to be encouraging and supportive. To be able to cheer him up when he's down and to have him realize his positives and look at the brighter side. I want him to trust me and to feel confident in himself (not because of our relationship) but also trust in our relationship and not mention if we should break up because he thinks I don't have feelings for him anymore... Sometimes it feels like I'm holding his hand and having to guide him like a kid. A friend who I've known for a long time has popped back into my life. I ended up hurting him a few years back because of a crush we had on each other. I wasn't ready for it and called it off and he took the time away from social media as a whole to recollect himself. The final time he did this was when I told him that I'm dating my current boyfriend and he again took time away to recollect himself and I understand that.. Now this friend has come back into our friend group and into our lives. All of us (including boyfriend) plus other friends have been hanging out, making jokes, being on the same platform and all while enjoying our time together. Especially after not seeing him for so long. I've noticed that during these times I see the difference in personality and character between the two... One is more confident and a realist on things but with a positive attitude. I see how much he's matured and how he strives for improvement. I've been beating myself up about this for the past month and it hurts to even know that I'm having these thoughts. It hurts that there's even a thought about this friend while I'm dating my boyfriend and that I'm having feelings for this friend after I broke his heart once. It feels like I'm misunderstanding my feelings and maybe I'm just overly excited that he's back into my life again. I met him during a time where depression was hitting me more than ever and I was self harming. All of a sudden he brought me out of my shell and gave me that push that I needed. He's my best friend. We've always had great laughs together and want the same achievements and goals in life. All of this is confusing to me and I'm unsure of how or what to think. I'm not even sure what to expect or feeling I apologize for the novel of a post. I'm just desperate to know if I'm misinterpreting some emotions or is it something I'm really feeling but don't know how to handle. Hope you guys are having an amazing day. Stay safe and healthy.
User article | crush, relationship
“Can’t live with MIL anymore”
I have been married to my husband for three years. Out of those three years, we lived one year with a roommate and two years (and counting) with my MIL. We met outside the US and decided to get married. I left my job and family and moved to the US to be with him. Since I couldn’t work for the first six months we stayed with his roommate. We bought a house and moved after a year. His mom moved in with us to get her green card. Those plans changed and she found a job so she can send money back home. Initial plans of her staying six months changed into two years now and counting. Meanwhile, his sister came also and stayed with us for three months to give birth to her child to get a passport for the child. I have raised my concerns many times to my husband and cried and told him how much all of this impacts our marriage and privacy. Things have not changed and he always says he has to help them since his dad left them when they were kids and he is their father figure. He also worked on getting his brother here. That was my breaking point and I told him it’s not going to work. His mom needs to move out and his brother can stay with her and any other family members they intend to bring. I have to mention that his mom does not contribute to the household in any monetary way. She sends half of her paycheck to her country to her 27-year-old son. She also does not help in the household with cleaning or cooking. We decided that Spring break would be a good time for her to move out. It’s that time now and she is still here. Apparently, she was supposed to move in with a teacher from work but just a week before plans changed and the roommate who lived there before can’t move out until June or July. Now, I’m just thinking this is another excuse for me to just buy time. I can’t do this anymore and feel like my husband is putting his family before me. He tells me I don’t support him, while I actually sacrificed three years of my marriage and privacy along with leaving everything behind to be with him. I don’t know if I should wait until June and see if she is finally moving out or if I should just leave. I love him so much but I’m getting depressed and don’t see a good ending to this.
User article | family, housing
“In love with my best friend's boyfriend”
They say love happens at most unexpected situations and with most unexpected people. I feel it's true. I was not supposed to love my best friend's boyfriend, but I do. First I wanna make it clear that I am here just for releasing the mental tension that I am going through. So here's the story – me and my best friend met this guy in college. We quickly gelled with him and began hanging out together. I soon realized that I too have feelings for him. At first it was fun, having butterflies, etc. But soon the happy world ended when I realized that my best friend too has feelings for him. He then contacted me regarding his feelings for her. I decided that it is the time to back off. I tried to play as cupid between my bestie and him, and soon they were in a relationship. At first I thought it's just a crush and it will pass but my feelings fueled up so quickly and turned into love. I also realized that my best friend has started to spend more time with him, and I am like a third wheel, which added to my anxiety. Also I had this feeling that maybe he likes me too. Recently I was very tensed and decided to confess my feelings to him. I met him and confessed. He was very supportive, he even said that I am very courageous and that I will find my best man soon. He clarified that he loves only her. And said that he will not tell her about this conversation. I know they are perfect together, and at the end my best friend and her happiness is more important to me than a guy. And obviously his happiness is also important for me. They both are so happy together, and this makes me happy too. But somewhere deep down in my heart it aches, it aches to see my love with someone else, it aches to see him pouring all his love on someone else when I sit alone craving for love. I am never loved in my life and to be honest my love has never been reciprocated. I too want to be loved. I guess love is not my cup of tea. On the other hand, I understand that they are good with each other and I don't want to cause problems in their relationship. They both are nice. I know I will never get him, and we hang out all the time together so it kind of hurts. I know deep down I feel like I wish I could trade my life with my best friend. But when she smiles, I feel like she should keep smiling all the time, whenever anyone of them shares that they are having troubles in their relation, I always try to help them and tell them to make it work. Even if they separate in future I would want it to be a mutual decision with least pain possible. Then also I will not try to hit upon him, because I know the pain of being cheated and in no world I would like to cheat my best friend. I will still keep loving him, no matter I never get him in my life. Because at the end I believe love is all about giving and not receiving.
User article | someone else
“I love him but he has a girlfriend”
I met this guy over social media on his birthday and at the time I didn’t know he had a girlfriend. We snapped a lot and I found out that we had a lot in common. I began having a crush on him but i wasn’t able to use social media for a month so I couldn’t talk to him anymore. I switched to his school a couple weeks into the new school year. I had never met him in person. At first, we never talked in person even though we had our last class in the same hallway. I eventually got enough courage to finally speak to him. He had already knew I had a crush on him over summer but we remained friends. I talked to him a lot. We walked together in between classes and I think it’s because his girlfriend didn’t go to the same school as him. I had stopped liking him but after a couple weeks I had realized I had fallen in love with him. He was so perfect to me. Even the things he was insecure about I loved. He continued to date his girlfriend and friendzone me as nicely as possible. I always had a feeling that he liked me but my friends told me that he didn’t. I was living in a fantasy. I always made scenarios in my head about him and I. My best friend felt bad for me because he knew the guy I liked didn’t like me back. I really wanted to stop liking him. I tried everything to stop liking him. I remember I would stare at pictures of him and his girlfriend and tell myself to stop liking him. I finally stopped liking him. I was really happy about that. I thought I had moved on. I had a new crush and felt fine. My new crush liked me back and I realized that I couldn’t do anything with him as I still was in love with the other guy. I still love him. No matter anything he does I still seem to love him even if he did something to hurt my feelings. I don’t know why I still like him. I’ve liked him for around 8 months. I know I shouldn’t like him. He doesn’t appreciate all of the nice things I do for him. He also has a girlfriend. But he used to give me signals all the time that would make me think that he liked me. We would go out of our way just to see each other in between classes. He would get touchy. I really don’t want to like him. He’s caused me a lot of pain. And if you think about it, he technically cheated on his girlfriend and I wouldn’t want to be with a cheater. I feel like a horrible person because I like him and I really need to appreciate him and his relationship with his girlfriend.
User article | unrequited, friends
“I am in love and he has a girlfriend”
Hello guys, First of all, I would like to make it clear that I have NO INTENTIONS whatsoever on breaking up a relationship - that’s just not me. But I cannot help but hope for a future for us. It’s all just confusing. First of all, me and him got to know each other at around April of 2019, to the extent of us becoming almost best friends in a ridiculously short period of time; we just clicked. There was undeniably some flirting here and there, but it was mainly dominated by our friendship. We would go to the library to study, play imessage games the whole night before our exams etc... just the perfect friendship. During the 2019 summer, I went on holiday for a long time, just when I had started off a great friendship, with very subtle feelings. During this holiday, I made a big mistake. I had gotten into a relationship, and excitedly told him about it. At this point I had never been in a relationship before, therefore, with the magic influence of the summer time, I had rushed into things with no rational thought. However this didn’t last long, as we ‘broke up’ shortly after. When I had returned from this holiday in September, my boy-best friend had disappeared; not in the literal sense, but was almost unreachable. A guy that I used to talk to everyday, that I had subtle feelings for, had become unapproachable. You guessed it, he had a girlfriend. I have no idea why, but I honestly felt sad. I had no right to, I was first to get into a relationship during summer, although my one wasn’t as serious as his. He had met a girl, gotten into a relationship and decided to live a low-key off social relationship with her. I had tried to hit him up a couple of times, but it often seemed like he didn’t want to engage in conversations, therefore I let him be for quite some time and focused on other things. Literally about two weeks ago, him and his friend (who is also an acquaintance of mine), decided to swing by my school so we could sit in the car and catch up. I was so excited to talk to him again, catch up with him, maybe return to olden times. I didn’t know how much this would affect me until I saw him and heard his voice again, after a very long time. We talked and just engaged in conversations about our current love lives (mine being very dull) etc. Ever since then, we decided to meet up every week, once a week to do this, which I'm not sure will be kept up but we’ll see. Today is valentines day. It has been about two weeks that I couldn’t stop thinking about him. He is constantly on my mind and I’ve been an emotional wreck for what seems like so so long. I constantly have butterflies, but not the cute type - a full on what feels like an adrenaline rush. I’m seeing his girlfriend and him posting their dinner, their classy outfits of a perfect date night and I can’t help but tear up. I’m so happy for him, he deserves the absolute best, but I can’t help but wonder whether this amazing, funny, compatible boy would have been with me today, if I had not made that huge mistake during summer. I don’t know what love feels like, but I think this might be it. I think I am in love.
User article | unrequited, friends