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How to create a good work-life balance
Do you struggle with switching out of work mode at the end of the day? If you find yourself constantly working, thinking about work, or talking about work, it can have a negative impact – especially on your relationships with others. This is why creating a good work-life balance is an important and healthy thing to do. What is work-life balance?Simply put, work-life balance is the time you spend doing your job versus the time you spend doing things you enjoy, like hanging out with the people you love [1]. A healthy work-life balance comes down to setting clear boundaries between your work and the rest of your life. This means knowing when to work and when to relax. However, if you do not have clear boundaries, work can negatively affect your relationships with others. If you find yourself bringing work home to do outside of work hours, it may take or interrupt time you would spend with your partner, children, friends, or family. This may be necessary every now and then, but if it happens a lot, it can start to hurt the people you care about [2]. What can you do to improve your work-life balance? There are several things you can do to make sure your work-life balance is healthy, and not interfering with your workload or your personal relationships. Boost your motivation If you struggle with motivation while you’re at work, try taking a minute to write out your thoughts in a way that is helpful to you. Making a list or writing in a journal can help you define your goals and remember what is important in your life. This can help you feel more confident in making decisions and increase positive emotions [3]. If you are looking for focused exercises, try a SMART goal setting exercise or a defining values exercise. Reduce distractions Distractions during work hours can make it harder to obtain a good balance of work and life. An easy way to separate ‘work’ from ‘personal’ is to make sure you have a designated workspace [4]. This could be at your office, a quiet room in your home, or even your favourite café. If you aren’t able to create a designated space for yourself, try wearing noise-cancelling headphones to help yourself focus. Being able to control the environment you work in will allow you to limit your distractions [5]. When you enter that ‘work’ space, you can focus on getting your tasks done for the day. It also will help you transition from work to home when you leave it, giving you time to switch out of ‘work mode’ and relax. If you find it hard to transition out of work mode, try putting away your work devices at the end of the day so you aren’t tempted to check in. You can also go for a walk to help establish a sense of distance. This is especially helpful for remote workers! Establish boundaries With mobile phones, most of us seem to be available 24/7. Receiving texts or messages from friends and family during work hours can get in the way of completing tasks. Similarly, checking work emails or getting calls from your boss when you’re not at work can interrupt important downtime. If you feel your devices open up a door to distraction or ignored boundaries, consider leaving your device in another room or a drawer. This can be done during work hours or home time to help you focus on being present when (and where) you need to be. For those who use their personal devices for work, make use of filters and apps (such as Do Not Disturb) that will help limit your access to work notifications when you’re at home. Be patient with yourself Creating a good work-life balance takes practice. Make sure you try different ways to help create that balance in your life to find what works best for you. This might even involve asking your friends and family to follow similar ‘no devices’ rules to ensure you are all present together.By Helen Molloy References[1] Cambridge Dictionary. “Work-life balance,” Accessed December 19, 2023. [2] Howard Kennedy. (2020). Relationship breakdown and the workplace. Available frrom: [3] Baikie, K. A., & Wilhelm, K. (2005). Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment : the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Journal of Continuing Professional Development, 11(5), 338–346. [4] Allen, T. D., Merlo, K., Lawrence, R. C., Slutsky, J., & Gray, C. E. (2021). Boundary Management and Work‐Nonwork Balance While Working from Home. Applied Psychology, 70(1), 60–84. [5] Clark, S. C. (2000). Work/Family Border Theory: A New Theory of Work/Family Balance. Human Relations (New York), 53(6), 747–770.
Article | work-life balance, stress, relationships
How to handle anxious thoughts on the move
Anxious thoughts can often take us by surprise. With a bit of reflection and planning, you can learn to understand these thoughts and address them in the moment. This can be especially helpful when you have to make quick decisions about how to act. What are anxious thoughts? Anxious thoughts centre around fear and unease. They can take many forms, including unpleasant images or a worried voice. Everyone experiences anxious thoughts at times. They can be a perfectly natural reaction to everyday events and challenges, like meeting a deadline or having a disagreement with a co-worker. Anxious thoughts occur because your mind is trying to keep you safe. They can help you to focus or take extra care when needed. However, if they become overwhelming or too frequent, they can negatively affect daily life and relationships [1, 2]. How do anxious thoughts affect relationships? When anxious thoughts become unhelpful, they can have an impact on how you operate in a relationship. On one hand, you might avoid your partner or shy away from intimacy. On the other, you might become more dependent on your partner, afraid of being abandoned. Taken to extremes, both of these responses can be problematic as it means one partner must work harder to keep the relationship going, ultimately increasing the likelihood of relationship breakdown [3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Thriving couples have a reciprocal relationship. They recognise the need to work on their relationship and themselves. During times of adversity, couples who pull together can actually make their relationship stronger. One way to do this is by sharing your anxious thoughts with your partner and looking for solutions together [8, 9].  When do anxious thoughts become unhelpful? Whenever these thoughts begin to disrupt your day-to-day life, it’s important to seek help. Therapy, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), can provide you with tools to help effectively treat anxiety. One of the metaphors ACT uses to describe how anxious thoughts can become unhelpful is Passengers on a Bus. Imagine you’re a bus driver who drives down the same old road, sticking to what you know instead of choosing to take any risky turns off your route. Your passengers give you biased advice, which represents your anxious thoughts. Any time you attempt to take a more exciting route, your passengers protest and demand you stay on the same old road. The metaphor suggests that in order to follow a different route, you must accept that your ‘passengers’ are a part of the bus but not in control, and continue on the route you want to take [5]. How can we address anxious thoughts in the moment? It can help to recognise anxious thoughts as they occur. An easy way to do this is by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness can also guide you to the most helpful route. One way to practice mindfulness is an ACT skill called ‘Dropping Anchor’. There are three parts to this skill, which you can remember by using the acronym ‘ACE’ [11]. By using this skill, you can metaphorically drop anchor, acknowledging the anxious thoughts in your head before re-engaging with your life.   A – Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings What memories, sensations, and emotions are showing up for you right now? Remember to be curious and kind to yourself. C – Come back into your body Engage with your physical body. Press your feet into the floor, stretch out your neck or shoulders, or take a few deep breaths.  Whatever will help you reconnect with your body. E – Engage with what you were doing Remember where you are and what you were doing. Look around the room and notice five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Then bring your full attention to what you were doing. Try practising this for a few minutes three or four times when needed! You might want to write it down or take a screenshot to help you remember.By Helen Molloy  References [1] NHS. (2024). Managing anxiety. Better Health, every mind matters. Anxiety - Every Mind Matters - NHS ( [2] Harris, R. (2022). Chapter 8: Frightening images, Painful memories. The happiness trap : stop struggling, start living (New edition). Robinson. [5] Harris, R (2019). ACT Made Simple : An Easy-To-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, New Harbinger Publications. ProQuest Ebook Central. [3] American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th). [4] Darcy, K. Davila, J. Beck, J. G. (2005). Is Social Anxiety Associated With Both Interpersonal Avoidance and Interpersonal Dependence? Cognitive Therapy and Research, Vol. 29, (No. 2), pp. 171–186 DOI: 10.1007/s10608-005-3163-4 sjny108-cotr-NY00003163.dvi ( [5] Porter, E., & Chambless, D. L. (2017). Social Anxiety and Social Support in Romantic Relationships. Behavior therapy, 48(3), 335–348. [6] Cantazaro, A. and Wei, M. (2010). Adult Attachment, Dependence, Self-Criticism, and Depressive Symptoms: A Test of a Mediational Model. Journal of Personality, 78: 1135-1162. [7] Meek, VeryWellMind. (2022). How Anxiety Affects Relationships. Anxiety In Relationships: Signs, Effects, and Ways to Cope (verywellmind.covm) [8] Barlow. A, Ewing. J, Janssens. A & Blake. S. (2018). The Shakleton Relationships project. Shackelton_Relationships_Report_2018_8pp_v5.pdf ( [9] OnePlusOne. (2021, 11. 24). Rowing Boat [Vimeo]. Rowing boat | OnePlusOne on Vimeo [10] Harris, Russ. ACT Made Simple : An Easy-To-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, New Harbinger Publications, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central, [11] Harris, R. (2022). Chapter 5: How to drop anchor. The happiness trap: stop struggling, start living (New edition). Robinson.
Article | anxiety, coping, mental health
Managing emotions and relationships with autism
Autistic people have the same need for connection and relationships as anyone else. However, if you or your partner are autistic, developing and maintaining your relationship might need different skills [1, 2].Autistic traits affect people in different ways. Some people might prefer routine. They might have differences in how they think about or do things, which can include a deep focus on a topic or interest. Autistic people are often active learners, are drawn to patterns and typically have an enhanced or reduced experience of taste, touch, sight, sound, or smell [3].As an autistic person, you might struggle to recognise someone's emotional state, but have very good empathy once you recognise it. You might also need to manage differences in sensory experience or mental processing. For example, using earplugs at a gig if the music is painfully loud, or taking a break in a calming environment to help process an exciting experience [2, 4]. How do autistic people regulate their emotions? Regulating emotions is key to building successful relationships. Emotions are closely tied to how we think and feel, and how we manage them can affect how we behave. Emotions go up and down throughout the day. Learning to effectively recognise and regulate them can help us act in line with our values within a relationship [5, 6].Autistic people often focus on balancing over- and under-stimulation to regulate their emotions by stimming. Stimming is stimulating your brain through a repetitive movement or vocalisation, such as hand flapping or humming. Everyone engages in stimming sometimes, but it is more common in autistic people, and may be more noticeable [7].During social interactions, autistic people may use a strategy called masking, to compensate for or hide autistic characteristics such as stimming. They might mask to avoid discrimination, smooth social interactions, or succeed in school or their job. Although these goals might be met, masking can have detrimental effects on relationships. It can cause a loss of identity, exhaustion, and mental health struggles, including suicidal thoughts [8].This may be because the purpose of masking is to avoid a threat: that of being excluded or lonely. Spending a lot of time avoiding threat can cause high levels of stress, possibly leading to burnout [9]. You can read more about stress and burnout in Stress, burnout and relationships.While stimming and masking can be useful in regulating emotions, and helpful for building relationships, they can also be harmful. But there are skills that you can use to help apply them effectively [10]. Mindful stimming and masking Mindfulness is noticing sensations inside and outside your body. It involves focusing and moving your attention around to explore things through your senses. Mindfulness can help you recognise and address your feelings and how others are feeling, which can improve your relationships and your wellbeing. It can help you become more aware of stimming or masking and give you more control over which stimming method to use depending on the situation. Ultimately, mindfulness can help you recognise and respond in the most helpful way when you are over- or under-stimulated [11, 12]. How to practice mindfulness The NHS recommends practicing mindfulness in your daily life: noticing sensations as you brush your teeth or the sounds of the world as you walk to work. You can also try activities that focus on mindfulness like yoga, tai chi, or meditation. Being led by someone in a practice can help you hone your skills in being mindful [13, 14, 15]. Ideas for practicing mindful stimming Below are some mindful stimming ideas. Although we have split them into calming and alerting, different things will suit different people.  It can be useful to try some and make your own list of things that suit you [16]. Calming activities Alerting activities   Sucking a lolly or sweet Sucking a yoghurt or thick milkshake through a straw Walking with a backpack on Press-ups or chair press-ups Chill-out time before a stressful activity Rearranging furniture Engaging in heavy manual tasks around the garden e.g. digging Swimming Wearing a heavy coat or blanket over the shoulders Creating a sensory corner to go to at any time you want Sitting, leaning, or rolling on a gym ball Playing with sensory toys Doing a five-minute meditation or a 10-minute yoga video Trying a progressive muscle relaxation exercise [17]   Chewing gum Drinking a hot or cold drink like a tea or a juice Squeezing a stress ball or fiddling with a fidget toy Knitting or crocheting Short bursts of fast movement like jogging, jumping, dancing Clapping activities Making faces Stamping your feet Eating spicy or crunchy food Smelling or tasting citrus Sucking sour sweets Being playful Applying lip balm Singing or playing an instrument Taking notes Drawing something  Top tip Try watching the Netflix show Atypical. It’s a coming-of-age story about an autistic person who leaves home for university, experiencing his first relationship and best friend. Relating to someone onscreen can be comforting and empowering. Learn more about autism and relationships see these free videos from the NHS. References If you want to know more about any more about the things we’ve mentioned in this article, we’ve included a list of references below: [1] Strunz, S. Schermuck, C. Ballerstein, S. Ahlers, C.J. Dziobek, I. Roepke, S. (2016). Romantic Relationships and Relationship Satisfaction Among Adults With Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 73 (1), 113-125. [2] He, J.L., Williams, Z.J., Harris, A. et al. (2023) A working taxonomy for describing the sensory differences of autism. Molecular Autism 14, (15). [3] National Autistic Society (2023). What is Autism? What is autism [4] Warrier, V., Toro, R., Chakrabarti, B. et al. (2018) Genome-wide analyses of self-reported empathy: correlations with autism, schizophrenia, and anorexia nervosa. Translational Psychiatry 8, 35. [5] Guy-Evans, Simply Psychology. (2023, 12). Do You Know How To Manage Your Emotions And Why It Matters? Emotional Regulation: Learn Skills To Manage Your Emotions ( [6] Barlow. A, Ewing. J, Janssens. A & Blake. S. (2018). The Shakleton Relationships project. Shackelton_Relationships_Report_2018_8pp_v5.pdf ( [7] Gal, E., Dyck, M. J., & Passmore, A. (2002). Sensory differences and stereotyped movements in children with autism. Behaviour Change, 19(4), 207-219. [8] Hull, L. Lai, M. Baron-Cohen, S. Allison, C. Smith P. Petrides, K. Mandy, W. (2020). Gender differences in self-reported camouflaging in autistic and nonautistic adults. Autism, Vol. 24(2) 352–363. Gender differences in self-reported camouflaging in autistic and non-autistic adults - Laura Hull, Meng-Chuan Lai, Simon Baron-Cohen, Carrie Allison, Paula Smith, KV Petrides, William Mandy, 2020 ( [9] Gilbert, P. (2009). Introducing compassion-focused therapy. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 15(3), 199-208. doi:10.1192/apt.bp.107.005264 [10] Frank, D.W. Dewitt, M. Hudgens-Haney, M. Scheaffer, D.J. Ball, B.H. Schwarz, N.F. Husseina, A.A. Smart, L.M. Sabatinelli, D. (2014). Emotion regulation: Quantitative meta-analysis of functional activation and deactivation. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 45, 202-211. [11] Kappen, G., Karremans, J.C., Burk, W.J. et al. (2018) On the Association Between Mindfulness and Romantic Relationship Satisfaction: the Role of Partner Acceptance. Mindfulness 9, 1543–1556. On the Association Between Mindfulness and Romantic Relationship Satisfaction: the Role of Partner Acceptance | Mindfulness ( [12] Mindfulness for Autism Jessie Poquérusse1 & Francesco Pagnini1,2 & Ellen J. Langer1 # Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 P 80 41252_2020_180_Article 1..8 ( [13] Linehan, M. (2014) DBT Skills Training Manual (2nd). Guilford Press.   [14] Levin, M. Hayes, S. C. (2011). Mindfulness and Acceptance: The Perspective of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Acceptance and Mindfulness in Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Understanding and Applying the New Therapies. John Wiley & Sons. [15] NHS. (2022, 09, 14). Mindfulness. NHS.UK. Mindfulness - NHS ( [16] Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust. (2023). Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder Group. [17] Hamilton Health Sciences. (2017, 01, 19). How to reduce stress with progressive muscle relaxation. Youtube. We Know Why We Go | Bulk™ (
Article | autism, stress
Supporting a partner with chronic stress
If your partner is dealing with chronic stress, there are things you can do to support them. While you can’t solve all their problems, pulling together during a stressful time can help make your relationship stronger. In this article we discuss how to recognise signs of chronic stress in your partner and what you can do to help [1]. What is chronic stress? Stress is your body’s response to threat – you may have heard the term ‘fight or flight’ which is when your body gives you a boost of adrenalin to tackle what’s in front of you [2]. Experiencing some stress is a normal part of life, and it can even be good for you – stress helps your body to adapt and grow stronger. However, if the fight or flight reaction kicks in too often, it can result in long-term overwhelming stress, known as chronic stress [3].If a loved one or partner is experiencing chronic stress it can be difficult and distressing for both of you. Sometimes chronic stress can’t be avoided due to circumstances beyond your control, such as illness or money worries. But it can still help to have the support of a partner [1]. Signs of chronic stress There are many signs of chronic stress, and they will differ for different people [2]. Recognising the signs is the first step to helping support your partner. They might include: Feeling overwhelmed by work. Having little or no time for family. Frequently feeling irritable, depressed, or anxious. Being unreasonable. Struggling with relationships. Little or no time for self-care [2, 4].   How to support your partner There are many ways you can help support your partner: Be actively caring Show you care with thoughtful acts that will mean something to your partner. You could make the dinner or take the kids out for the day to give your partner some alone time. Not everyone finds the same things meaningful, so think about what your partner would want. Those little gestures can really add up [5]. Carve out time to talk Talk to your partner – not just about the big issues, but also about the smaller everyday things. While your instinct might be to try and find practical solutions, someone who is chronically stressed might just want to talk. Focus on addressing one thing at a time, and take the time to listen to your partner [6]. Take care of your own needs It’s important to look after yourself as well as your relationship. Taking time for your own interests and hobbies as well as those you do with your partner can be helpful to you both. Think about what you enjoy doing that you find enjoyable and relaxing. It could be anything from playing football with your mates to taking a long hot bath. Whatever it is, intentionally make time for it in your week [1]. Seek help Ask your friends and family for help. Having a close supportive network can help relieve pressure when dealing with stress. You could also seek support from the communities you belong to, such as work, school, faith, or LGBTQ+ groups. It is especially important to seek help if both of you are struggling with your mental health.Relationships are complex and can be difficult to navigate. That is why Click exists – to investigate relationships and share what we find with you! The suggestions in this article come from a range of evidence-based sources. Give them a go and let us know how you get on.If you think you are suffering from chronic stress yourself and want to understand more about it, see our article on burnout.By Helen Molloy References Here is a list of references for you to refer to if you want to learn more about anything we have touched on: [1] Barlow, Ewing, Janssens & Blake (2018) The Shakleton Relationships Project Summary Report. University of Exeter. [2] OnePlusOne (2020) Stress. NHS Foundation trust. [3] American Psychological Association (2023) Stress effects on the body. [4] Mental Health UK (2020) Burnout. [5] Highet, Thompson & King (2006) The Experience of Living with a Person with an eating disorder: The Impact on the Carers. [6] Walden University (2023) How Stress Impacts Decision Making.
Article | stress, mental health
Stress, burnout and relationships
Stress and burnout can affect your relationships and make it difficult to look after yourself. In this article we’ll look at some actions you can take to manage stress, and how you can use self-compassion to address early signs of burnout.  Understanding burnout  Burnout is a state of physical and mental exhaustion caused by long-term stress [1, 2, 3]. Many things can come together to cause burnout. These could be:  Relationship troubles  Money worries  Problems at work  Childcare responsibilities  Lack of support or isolation  Poor physical health  Poor sleep  You can expect to experience some stress in life, but if you have too much for too long you might begin to experience negative symptoms. It is not caused by being too weak or being unable to handle life’s difficulties: it can happen to people who have lived through very tough situations [2].   Burnout can affect your emotional wellbeing: you might feel a loss of motivation, a negative outlook, and feelings of helplessness [3]. It can impact your relationships, both with yourself and with others [5].   How does burnout happen?  The three systems model, created by the psychologist Paul Gilbert [6], can be helpful for understanding burnout. You have three emotional systems: threat, drive and soothe. The threat system alerts you to danger, activating your ‘fight or flight’ response. The drive system motivates you to look for food, water, and safety. Your soothe system helps you to relax and feel safe.These systems work together to help keep us alive, each becoming more powerful over the others when needed. A balance of the three systems is a sign that your body is working how it should. Sometimes the systems become unbalanced, and threat and drive become more dominant. This can happen if you have a lot of demands on your time that are physically and mentally draining to you.   Burnout and relationships  People experiencing burnout often struggle to be kind to themselves. You might notice that you’re being judgemental of yourself, feeling disconnected, or constantly striving without a break. There may be good reasons why you are pushing yourself such as working hard at your job, or caring for other people [2, 7]. However, a lack of self-compassion can be a sign that you are stuck in drive mode and not connecting enough with soothe. This can lead to symptoms of burnout that tend to be harmful to building good relationships [8].   The irony is, if you do burn out, you will be too exhausted to care for other people or achieve your goals at work. It is better for everyone if you are able to take time to take care of yourself before burnout happens.  Show yourself kindness  Recognising your feelings is a way to show yourself compassion and regulate your emotions [9]. In his book The Happiness Trap, Russ Harris explains that pushing feelings away and ignoring them is like trying to hold an air-filled ball underwater: eventually your arm will get tired and the ball will surface. In fact, pushing feelings away can result in a rebound effect, and they can come back even harder. Taking a moment to notice your feelings can help you feel better if it is beyond your control to change anything for now.   Anchoring yourself  You can practice recognising your feelings by ‘dropping anchor’. This is a technique you could try to become more aware of what you are experiencing. To drop anchor you can use the acronym ‘ACE’ [5]:  A – Acknowledge your thoughts and feelingsNotice and name any thoughts, emotions, and sensations you are feeling in your body. C – Come back into your bodyConnect with your physical body in some way – push your feet firmly into the floor, slowly breathe, stretch your arms above your head. E – Engage with what you are doing  Get a sense of where you are – perhaps notice some things you can see, hear, taste, smell and feel. Finish by refocusing your attention on what you are currently doing and engage with it.  Burnout is a difficult experience that can affect our relationships, but there are techniques available to help you manage and prevent it. Practising self-compassion and kindness can lead to many benefits, such as more energy and time for those we love. Try dropping anchor and let us know how you get on.  By Helen Molloy References [1] WHO, 2023 [2] BMJ, 2018 [3] Mental Health UK, 2023 [4] Hool, 2022 [5] Harris, 2008 [6] Gibson et al, 2021 [7] Rutter & Croston, 2023 [8] Barlow et al., 2018 [9] Linehan, 2015 
Article | relationships, stress
Lockdown: coping with grief
When someone dies, our usual ways of coping and moving on are built around getting together with loved ones. During social distancing, we may have to adjust to new ways of dealing with grief. Funeral attendance might be limited to small numbers of close family, and distance might make it impossible to travel at all. For many people, this means not getting a chance to say goodbye. For those who can attend, it might be upsetting to see a small turnout, knowing their loved one isn’t getting the send-off they deserved. Grieving from a distance Even when you’re not able to get together physically, you can still mark the loss. If possible, attend a live stream of the funeral. Many funerals are now being filmed and streamed so mourners can watch them safely from home. Plan a memorial service. We don’t know when or how things will change but, at some point, we should be able to meet up again. Planning a service or celebration in the future can help you move forward in the present. Write down some memories of the person who has died. This can help you acknowledge the loss and reflect on what the person meant to you. Pick up the phone or arrange a video chat. You and your loved ones can share memories and offer each other support. Look for the positives. After some time has passed, you may find it easier to step back and see if anything positive has come out of the situation. Perhaps you’re connecting with friends and family in a different way or seeing how people can come together under difficult circumstances [1]. How am I supposed to feel? Right now, it can be hard to know what’s normal. There’s no set path that you’re supposed to follow after a death, but it can be comforting to know the types of things people often go through. Rather than being sad all the time, people often go back and forth between grieving and getting on with things. You might find yourself switching between moments when you feel very sad, and moments when you feel relatively normal [2]. Often, we push away difficult thoughts and feelings. We might try to convince ourselves everything is OK, even when it’s not. Sometimes, we use drugs or alcohol to try and change the way we feel. Whatever we do to push our feelings away, they will always find a way back in. It won’t always be easy, but it’s best just to let your feelings come and go – that’s how you process them and move forward [1]. Supporting each other as a couple If you’re in a relationship, you and your partner can support each other by sharing the grieving process. At the very least, talking to each other about how you’re feeling can make it easier for both of you to cope [3]. Under normal circumstances, this might mean going to the funeral together or visiting a memorial site but, when that's not possible, you can still find rituals to share from home – like lighting a candle or listening to a special piece of music. These shared experiences can help you adjust to the loss [4]. Even if you don’t live together, you could still meet up online and do something together. One thing to bear in mind, if you’re in a mixed sex couple, is that men and women often have different ways of coping. Women tend to want to surround themselves with other people and talk through memories with friends and family. Men tend to find this type of social support less useful, and may prefer to work through things alone, at least at first [4]. Of course, this won’t be true for everyone. However you and your partner deal with loss, try to be patient with each other and understand that we all have our own ways of dealing with things. Supporting someone else through grief If someone you know is dealing with grief, give them a call. You could text them to arrange a convenient time, or you could just pick up the phone and see if they answer. If it’s not a convenient time, they will let you know. If you want to do something practical, you could arrange to have something sent over. Lots of places are now well-versed in delivering food, drink, flowers, books, and other things. Think about what might help cheer the person up and send them a pleasant surprise. This will let them know you are thinking about them. References [1] Mikulincer & Florian, 1996[2] Stroebe & Schut, 1999[3] Albuquerque, Narciso, & Pereira, 2018[4] Bergstraesser, Inglin, Hornung, & Landolt, 2014
Article | lockdown, grief
Relationships and social distancing
We’ve all found ourselves in a situation we couldn’t plan for. We know that the best thing to do is stay home and avoid contact with others as much as possible but, understandably, a lot of us will be worried about what that might mean. There are lots of tips and ideas for dealing with various aspects of the current situation, but we’re going to focus on our expertise – relationships. Our relationships with others make it easier for us to adjust to and cope with stressful situations. This article will help you find ways to look after your relationships as you switch to a new way of being, for however long that may be. Why relationships matter In a period of social distancing, normal concerns like work, family, and children can be intensified and you worry about how you will cope [1] [2]. You might be adjusting to different ways of working or facing the idea of being unable to work at all. Many of you will also be looking for ways to keep the children busy while they’re off school. On top of all of this, it feels like there’s something new to worry about every time you look at the news or social media. We don’t know what will happen, or when things will change. In the meantime, we’ve got to get on with our lives. Find an exercise community While there are many great reasons to snuggle up in front of the TV, you could see this as an opportunity to get fit. Exercise can have a positive effect on your physical and mental wellbeing [3] [4]. Under UK government guidelines, you should only exercise outside once a day. But, if you can make yourself a little space, there are no restrictions on how much exercise you can do at home. There are lots of exercise videos available online, from aerobics to yoga to Pilates to dance. Could you commit to doing a home workout three times a week? Exercising in a group can be a great way to stay well [5], so take the opportunity to search for exercise classes online. Even if you’re on your own in real life, working out with an online instructor can give you a sense of community, knowing that other people around the world are doing the same activity as you. Use technology to stay connected The internet and social media allow us to keep in touch with loved ones in a way that isn’t always possible face to face. In a period when you can’t visit or meet up with friends and family in person, make use of web chats and video calling to stay connected. Send a quick text and see who wants to book in a chat. Get yourself on Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom, Houseparty, or whatever works for you, and hang out with a friend or family member for a bit. You could plan to bring a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, so it feels like you’re meeting up in real life. And, with things like Netflix Party and twoseven, you can even have long distance movie nights. Feel closer through the power of imagination Being apart from loved ones can be difficult. If you don’t live with your partner, you might be missing sex and intimacy. Even if you’ve got your immediate family at home, you might just want to hug your granny! Whoever you’re missing, you can support the relationship by staying close emotionally. It may not be easy but switching your focus to the emotional connection can be just as good for your relationship as being in the same physical space [6]. One way to hold onto this closeness is to imagine that you’re physically close. Visualising yourselves together can boost your mood [7] and make you feel closer [8]. Try this exercise, focusing on someone you want to feel closer to: Find a space where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes. Think about the other person. Picture them somewhere safe and comfortable. Imagine that person encouraging you to feel safe, secure and comforted. What would they say? What would they do? It might sound silly but spending three minutes on this exercise can help you feel closer and more supported. Practise gratitude If you do live with your partner or your family, you might find yourselves spending lots more time together than usual, which can put extra pressure on everyone. Try this gratitude exercise, focusing on a loved one: Grab a pen and paper. Think about the person. Remember the things you’ve always loved about them. Think about what they’re doing now that you’re grateful for. Write down three things about the person that make you feel grateful. Practising gratitude can give your mood a boost [9]. Gratitude for your partner specifically can make you feel better about your relationship [10]. Learning to argue better Times of increased stress and tension can lead to more arguments at home, especially if both of you are finding it hard to cope. When you sense things getting out of hand, try to keep these basic steps in mind. STOP. When you feel an argument creeping up, pause the conversation. Agree to put it on hold until you both feel calmer. SEE IT DIFFERENTLY. Look at things from the other person’s point of view. We’re all dealing with this in our own ways and might need different kinds of support. SPEAK FOR YOURSELF. Say how you feel and ask for what you need. Instead of saying, “Stop stressing me out!”, try saying, “I get worried when you read out the headlines. Can we talk about something else for a bit?” Above all, try to keep arguments away from your children. This might be harder with everyone at home but it’s much better for children to see you sorting things out in a calm and healthy way. Getting through it You might be feeling lots of different emotions, including anger, sadness, or irritation [11]. It’s all perfectly normal. Do what you can to relieve the boredom and stay in touch with friends and family. Take up a hobby, start a book group, do some exercise, give someone a call. It all helps. While all of this feels very strange and new, there’s actually lots of evidence about what it’s like for people who have to self-isolate. It may never have been done on such a wide scale, but it’s been done. People have got through it, and you can too. Share your tips Have you learned any helpful relationship tips during social distancing? Post a comment below, or  click ‘Write a post’ to share your ideas. Extra help for dealing with uncertainty and anxiety If things are getting overwhelming, these helplines can offer support with mental health concerns like anxiety or depression. Anxiety UKSupport around anxiety. Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 5.30pm. Saturday to Sunday, 10am – 8pm.03444 775 774 MindInformation about mental health problems. Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.0300 123 3393 References [1] Cacioppo and Hawkley, 2003[2] Leigh-Hunt, et al., 2017[3] Goodwin, 2003[4] Hyde, Maher, and Elavsky, 2013[5] Williams and Lord, 1997[6] Adams, 1986[7] Carnelley, Bejinaru, & Otway, 2018[8] Otway, Carnelly, & Rowe, 2014[9] Davis 2016[10] Parnell, 2015[11] Brooks et al., 2020
Article | family, social media, Health
Debt and relationships – real stories, animated
When debt knocks at the door, love flies out of the window. 60% of people who contact debt charities also report problems with their relationships. Our Debt and relationships project, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, tells real-life stories in short animations to show how debt can affect relationships and why it’s important to share the burden with loved ones.    The project aims to help people in relationships to start conversations about money. We have produced four short, easy-to-watch videos that show how a strong relationship can help you tackle debt problems and build resilience to protect you from future unexpected income shocks.   We spoke with real couples who described their debt journeys, covering topics like losing a job, reduced earnings after parenthood, and falling for ‘cheap’ credit. They all spoke about the stress caused by debt and the impact on their love for each other.     These short films are real-life stories of sadness and guilt about debt, and the stress and shame of keeping the secret from their partner. The site also features key messages and tips on how to start a conversation with your partner if you are in debt, or if you suspect your partner is in debt. The UK is often seen as a nation that doesn’t talk about money issues. From the occasional lie to a partner about how much a night out costs or hiding new purchases in the back of the wardrobe, to payday loans and missed mortgage payments, the secrecy is corrosive to relationships and often leads to a deeper financial crisis. 60% of people who contact debt charities say they have problems with their relationships too but don’t necessarily seek relationship support [1]. Debt is the number one problem area for newly married couples, with 55% of couples including money worries in their top three relationship strains [2]. The Citizens Advice Bureau in England and Wales is dealing with 4,022 debt problems every working day, with debt stress leading to pressure on relationships and breakups creating additional costs of an estimated £790 million. Click here to see our animations and debt advice now. Penny Mansfield CBE, Director of OnePlusOne, said: “The couples whose debt journeys are presented in these videos explain in their own words how they got into debt, and the impact on their relationship. Many relationships flounder under such strain. Getting help from a debt adviser is the first step but, as these stories show, facing money issues together is often a way out of debt”. Martin Lewis, founder and chair of both and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity said: “Debt crisis is wrongly often seen as just a financial issue. It’s not. It has a devastating impact on people’s wellbeing. It destroys relationships, triggers mental health crises, causes suicidal thoughts, and leaves some losing the roof over their head and the custody of their children. Many hide it from their partners too, making things worse. For those in crisis, the best thing to do is seek help from a non-profit debt counselling agency like Citizens Advice, National Debtline or StepChange. If you’re not feeling able to tell your partner, go to the first session alone, and then tell them once you’ve got a plan of action, so that you’re taking them the solution as well as the problem”. Nick Pearson, CEO of The Debt Counsellors Charitable Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been able to assist OnePlusOne with their Debt and relationships project. As a debt advice charity, we see all too often the adverse effects of financial difficulties on our clients’ family relationships. Whilst the Debt Counsellors can help clients find a practical solution to their debt problems, we are all too aware that we don’t have the skills to assist with the strain debt problems place on relationships. We believe that these videos will be a useful tool for our clients in overcoming the challenges debt presents to them and their family”. David Roger, CEO of Debt Advice Foundation, said: “Here at Debt Advice Foundation we fully support the Debt and relationships project that OnePlusOne are spearheading. It is very worthwhile. Talking about debt seems like the last taboo but trying to hide financial difficulties from loved ones only increases the mental strain of the situation. The videos are a fantastic way to start those difficult conversations. Confiding in a partner can be incredibly freeing and may lead to practical solutions”. Colin Kinloch, debt expert at the Money Advice Service, said: “We support the Debt and relationships project and want to tell people that no matter how big or small you think your money problem is, a debt adviser can help. We found seven in 10 people said that their relationships with friends and family improved after receiving Money Advice Service funded debt advice. We hope that this project leads to more people talking about their money worries and that it encourages people to start a conversation about this either with friends and family or a debt adviser”.  References [1] 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’) [2] 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.
Article | debt, finance
Supporting a partner with an eating disorder
If your partner has an eating disorder, you may be feeling lots of guilt, frustration and stress. You may also feel pressure to keep an eye on your other half’s eating habits and behaviours, and feel guilty and responsible if they have a relapse. If you don’t have an eating disorder yourself, you may also feel isolated and confused about the situation and its effect on you and your relationship [1] [2]. There are some things you can do to help. The term ‘eating disorder’ covers a range of conditions, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. They can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or background [3], and can have a physical, psychological and social impact. However, it may help to know that you can play an important role in supporting your partner and possibly in helping their recovery [4]. Eating disorders can affect couples in a number of ways. Concerns about body image can lead to anxiety around sex, and reduced sexual desire [5]. Your social lives may also be negatively affected, particularly when planning activities that involve food (like going to the supermarket, preparing a meal or choosing a restaurant to go to). Your partner may worry about who will be at social events, what food will be available, who will see them eating, and the body sizes of those present [6]. But there are ways you can help your partner deal with these difficulties. Couples who educate themselves about eating disorders can learn to understand the experience better, and may be better able to support each other. Focusing on positive communication skills, such as listening, being open and being understanding, also helps. It is much better to use “I-statements”, than “you-statements”, as they will make your partner feel less judged. For example, try saying, “I’m worried about you” instead of “You are making me worried”. Your partner may have received some support for their eating disorder (whether that’s therapy or less formal support), but partners and loved ones rarely report receiving help for themselves [6]. Beat offers support through its helplines, as well as a useful and comprehensive guide on supporting a partner with an eating disorder.  Although there are significant challenges for couples dealing with an eating disorder, it may help to know that others who have been through the recovery process as a couple have found that the experience has brought them closer together [6]. More information Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity: Adult Carers Online Support: Youthline: Guide to supporting a partner with an eating disorder: References [1] Highet, N., Thompson, M., & King, R. M. (2005). The experience of living with a person with an eating disorder: The impact on the carers. Eating Disorders, 13, 327–344. [2] Huke, K., & Slade, P. (2006). An exploratory investigation of the experiences of partners living with people who have bulimia nervosa. European Eating Disorders Review, 14, 436–447. [3] Cosford, P., & Arnold, E. (1992). Eating disorders in later life: A review. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 7(7), 491-498. [4] Tozzi, F., Sullivan, P., Fear, J., McKenzie, J., & Bulik, C. (2002). Causes and recovering in anorexia nervosa: The patient’s perspective. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 33, 143–154 [5] Pinheiro, A. P., Raney, T. J., Thornton, L. M., Fichter, M. M., Berrettini, W. H., Goldman, D., et al. (2010). Sexual functioning in women with eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 43, 123–129 [6] Linville, D., Cobb, E., Shen, F., & Stadelman, S. (2015). Reciprocal Influence of Couple Dynamics and Eating Disorders. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 42(2), 326-40.
Article | eating disorder
Community posts
Lost and unsure what path to take
Basically, I have been in a long term relationship with my girlfriend for 5 years now, but I don't think she is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. The part I need help with, is that I have developed serious feelings for a friend of mine, and I am unsure if this is what caused me to think my current girlfriend isnt the one for me. Starting from the beginning, my current girlfriend is the first girlfriend ive had, first everything in fact. We met at work but she was still dating a guy at the time, but it was on the rocks, I didn't actually know she was with someone so I flirted with her and gave her lots of attention because I thought she was cute and we had some similar interests. One thing led to another, she left her boyfriend, and we started dating, it was rocky at first (first girlfriend and all that), but she came from a very abusive home and very abusive past relationships, so she was very clingy and really needed someone to take care of her. I think I was desperate to have a girlfriend so I promised to be there for her no matter what, and when her dad kicked her out 6 months into our relationship, I offered for her to live with me and here we are. Now don't get me wrong, I still have lots of love for her, and still cherish all the moments we shared together, we travelled together, we went to multiple family weddings together, we graduated university together, she became part of my family and they love her, but recently i've started to think that maybe we just aren't as compatible as I thought. We dont have many shared interests, I like watching and playing sports, she doesnt, she likes playing nerdy card games with her friends, I don't (no judgement im also a nerd), I like rap and metal music, she hates that music, the list goes on, and obviously common interests dont make or break a relationship, but when I think back on certain moments, and try to be objective, like certain things that maybe rubbed me the wrong way but I didn't say anything, I kind of see it now as behaviours and an attitude that I really dont like. On top of that, our love life has slowly started to descent into nothing, she used to jump me any chance she could as soon as we were home alone, and I would do the same, now any time I come onto her theres excuses or reasons or (apologies for the graphic imagery) she'll just use her hand. I already have pretty bad self esteem issues with not being attractive enough, so that stuff really hurts, and ive communicated that to her, but I've seen no change in months. The small stuff usually didnt bother me, sometimes she doesnt clean up after her self, or she'll take my stuff without asking and not put it back and now its lost. That stuff I usually could overlook, but recently it became bigger stuff, our 5 year anniversary just past a few days ago and she didn't remember, I came home after a 2 day trip and bought some cool clothes for her and her friend that was staying over while I was gone, and when I came home, she didn't say "hello, I missed you, how was the trip", no she said "wheres the clothes". There has been numerous instances of little things like that, and its just chipping away at me. About 6-7 months ago, I became close with a friend from work, at first I thought absolutely nothing of this girl, she seemed nice and polite, I didn't talk to her much, didn't find her drop dead gorgeous or anything like that (she is pretty not denying that), I would chat to her every now and again at work, just general conversation about how university was going for her etc etc. Eventually we chatted enough to the point where I started thinking "oh shes cool, we should be friends." Time goes on, lots more small talk, even helped give her advice with a relationship with another co-worker, it didn't work out but through it all we were much closer. Eventually she told me and my girlfriend that she was going to a big event that we were attending, so I said we should all hang out together, and we did and it was great, but my girlfriend ran off with her friends so it was just me and this girl from work together for the whole night. Nothing happened but again we just got closer and closer until one day I noticed I started to kind of miss talking to her or I would try swap my shifts around so I could work with her. At first I kept trying to tell myself its nothing shes just a friend and she gives you attention so you enjoy her company, its nothing more than that. Eventually I realised the feelings had progressed further than I could rationalise, so I started to panic and fell into a pretty deep depression. I felt so ashamed and guilty and disgusted with myself that I could think these thoughts, and tried to start pushing away the friend from work and would make myself not msg her, but it would never stick, I would always cave and obviously would still see her at work. After some more time, me and the girl from work would work together regularly, almost every shift, and again, we started to become closer and closer, and I started to realise we have a scary amount of common interests and experiences. I don't remember what started it, but one night we just started messaging each other after a shift, and ended up staying up to 5 am talking about everything and anything, and we have basically done that every night for weeks now, she has opened up some of the darkest parts of her life to me that she says she has told no one else before, and ive done the same to her. I have deep deep feelings for this girl now, but have never confessed them to her. I dont know for sure if she feels the same way for me, but she talks about me as if she could never imagine her life without me now (she actually said that in a msg). When she goes out drinking with her friends or to an event, i get terrified that shes going to meet someone or hook up with some guy, and it tears me apart. I am lost and unsure what path to take. As mentioned I have a lot of love for my current partner, she still loves me I think, but I just don't think I could happily spend my life with her, and this other girl, I don't know if she has the same feelings for me, I am worried that a confession of love will ruin our friendship, or alternatively, subtly pulling away from her and ending our friendship to focus on my current girlfriend could crush her and thats the last thing I want. I don't know if im willing to risk a long term relationship that might just need some work for something that is just a "what if", although that "what if" could be the best thing to ever happen to me. The hardest part of all of this is that both parties are mentally fragile women, both have told me they have had experiences with self harm and suicidal thoughts and both have serious abandonment issues, as do I, so I am terrified that either choice or path could lead to serious consequences. Please help me, any advice or guidance would be appreciated.
User article | emotional affair
Inappropriate old friend
Me and my boyfriend have been together 9 years. We have a happy healthy relationship with each other. But recently an old female friend who has not been around for 20+ years moved in across the street with another friend of theirs, he is a male also. This female friend decided while she just left her husband of 20 years or more to start a relationship with the friend she moved in with. Then after a week decides she just wants to be friends with him, because he just wants to constantly touch her. Now she has decided she wants to come over to our house almost every day. We couldn.t even spend Valentine's Evening together alone because she needed support, because it was her wedding anniversary that day. Well she keeps coming over and is constantly hugging my boyfriend. She also finds it necessary to sit by my man constantly. She touches his leg constantly and whispers in his ear. Shows him things on her phone giggling like a school girl. She even went as far as to bring up how she has seen my boyfriends penis before. Then on Valentines decides to take her hoodie off and keep putting half naked boobs toward my boyfriend basically wanting him to look. This girl claims she wants to be my friend, but never contacts me unless she wants to come over and she makes sure my bouyfriend is always here. I'm not jealous of her at all. But I feel like she wants my boyfriend and is trying to work her way into being with him and getting rid of me. What is some advice on how to approach this situation. I mention it to my boyfriend and he acts like it is all fine. Of course he is oblivious if anybody tries to flirt with him. What should I do?
User article | friend
Please advise me
I am 31 years old woman with 10 years old relationship with my boyfriend. I have been 100% loyalty with my boyfriend. My physical appearance, personality and career is above average. There had been many decent guys who genuinely wanted to be with me, but I refused them all. The problem is as I am from Asian country, the couple in my country marry around the age of 28, me and my boyfriend has been together for a long time (10 years), so, my family, my relatives and my friends also asked about the marriage plan. But, from 2 years ago till now, whenever I asked about my boyfriend for the future, i mean about the marriage, he always went blank or confused and didn't answer thoroughly, and he never started the conversation about the marriage until i started or our friends asked him. (PS. We are both financially stable). When we hang out or date, we always talk about movies, work, games or funny things. From 2 years ago, I started to think like he doesn't really love me, if he only hang out me for fun and i feel guilty myself for rejecting the decent guys previously. And whenever I told my boyfriend that we need a break, he didn't accept it nor let me go. I am so stressful that my life will slowly age like this and becomes lonely. ( in my country, when you are around 35, no one interests you). And recently, I have got the feelings for the other guy. We have been known each other for months but we are not close. One day, we met at the resturant accidentally and greet each other and dined together that day. We have same likes and had really fun talking while having dinner. (I let my boyfriend know i am having dinner with that acquaintance). Another day we had our dinner together and talked about random things. After a few times we have been hang out , he said he is very happy to be with me and he has been waiting for this moment with me long ago. He said i am very beautiful like an angel and talked about the future unlike my boyfriend. Everytime we hang out, he cares me in details. He did everything sweet gestures that make me smile. Then I also start growing feelings for him. The thing is when he found out that i have boyfriend , he didn't talk to me anymore. At the current moment, 70% of my mind is always thinking about him and want to be with him and want to build a beautiful family with him. But i am also afraid being told me a cheater by the surroundings. Even if i told him that i want to be with him, will he accept me back? So, I don't know what to do. Please suggest me.
User article | relationships, marriage, commitment, long-term
Girl has feelings for another guy
Hello everyone! I’m kind of in a weird predicament at the moment, I (24m) have finally admitted my love to this lady (25f) after we originally cut things off in February. We were falling for each other very hard but I had some serious things happen in my personal life that I had to focus my attention on. Yeah I know it sounds cliche but I told her about what was going on and she told me she understood. As we were no longer talking, I couldn’t get her off my mind and felt as if I didn’t give us a fair shot so we started talking again back in November. Things were going well and we both agreed that we should see each other during the holidays. During the trip, I told her everything that I’d been feeling and how I knew I was falling in love with her in February and she reciprocated that back and I confessed my love for her. That felt nice and we told each other we loved each other but she told me that she met someone over the summer that she caught feelings for (she doesn’t love the guy) but he had a job offer in another country after they were seeing each other for about 2 months and kind of left her high and dry. She says she wants to pursue things with me and tells me she loves me but tells me that she doesn’t feel deserving of the love I give her because she still has feelings for this other guy. She knows that there is nothing there in terms of them dating but still has these feelings. Well, guess who texts her to let her know that he's coming back to the country, THE GUY. She says she doesn't plan on seeing him but if he makes plans, she would see him to "catch up like an old friend". She says he doesn't know about me and would only bring me up if he tried to pick up where they left off, as in dating or being intimate. I think she wants to get closure that things between them wouldn't work. My question to yall is what do you think I should do? Should I support her and let her get the closure she never got? Should I just runaway? I know it’s a lot but I really would like some outside opinions from my friends hahaha
User article | dating
Trauma, long distance boyfriend and future
I recently moved overseas to establish my career and my boyfriend is back in my home country where he has already established himself. We love each other despite the distance and put in the efforts needed to make our relationship work. I wanted him to join me here and explore this time with me, as I am not planning to settle down overseas. I want to work here for a while, establish something sustainable before I go back home and I need him to be here with me for this time as I know his occupation is quite in demand here, and this was communicated to him. He however, does not want to leave home and his family. I sometimes fight with him over this but have realised how unfair I am being. It has only been a year and half since we started dating and it was long distance since we are from different cities back home. In this short span, he has grown on me like a wildfire. I, for some selfish reason can not seem to let go of him and it physically hurts to think of moving on if this does not work. The other day, he spoke some truth that hurt me deeply. He said that it will be painful and hard, but he would not allow himself to get stuck or stop moving on if this relationship did not work. Now, I know this is how things usually work but somehow it hurts so much. I feel like my emotions have gone too deep, more than necessary where the lines between healthy and unhealthy are now hard to distinguish. I would never hold him back if he wants out of this, but somehow I feel like I would not be able to move on even if he does. I have never been in a loving relationship such as this, and my selfishness to hold on and the fear of being badly bruised again is stopping me from living in the present and overthink about the future. I am aware that I can not control the future, and I just want to cherish this time we have with each other despite the distance and uncertainties because he is such a wonderful and special man, and I can’t seem to put in words what I feel for him. I also have unresolved past trauma that is deeply embedded for which I am under therapy. My strained relationship with my mother coupled with past trauma is affecting my relationship with my boyfriend. It makes me want to stay back in this country and never go back. However this would mean not getting to spend a life or share moments as I imagined with my boyfriend. I just need some guidance and perspective on how to see this in a more mature way as I am finding it almost physically hard to think rationally. I am in a place where I need to chose between my career and love, and I am stunned at how hard and painful it is to pick one and let the other go. Any suggestion, or experience from you guys would help me assess things better. Thank you for reading all of this!
User article | long distance, relationships, worries, love
I like him but...
I knew this guy from my friends. He's a friend to my friends. I've never met him in person yet, we just talk online. Since I live really far from my friends (different states but still in the same country), I can't always meet them. About this guy, he's really a shy person when I first know him. But now we become close, since we always hangout in discord, play games, watch movies and stuffs. He always text me first, ask about my days, reminds me to eat, jokes and sometimes silly flirty text, emojis, gifs. He compliments me, saying I'm pretty and cute. He's been really helpful with some stuffs and he also told me to tell him if I got any problems. He opens up about his past relationship and a about his life to me. He also follows my social medias account. I can sense a little bit of jealousy from him every time I mention other guys. He also mention that I should move in to their state, so we could hang out everyday. My friend that is really close to him tease us of being together. Not gonna lie but I kind of have this tiny bit feelings for him but I try not to show it a lot. Then someday, I REALISE HE IS IN A RELATIONSHIP! How do I know that? Well, when he share his screen, there's a text notification from his girlfriend. My anxiety kicks in. All this time, I've been playfully flirting, texting with somebody else's boyfriend. No wonder there's days he's feeling down and when I ask him what happen, 'he won't answer', because it's related to his girlfriend. I don't want to ruin someone else's relationship. I just gonna move on with this feelings even though it hurts so much.
User article | trust, lies, affair, emotional affair