Dealing with debt in a relationship
Whether it’s a credit card or a bank loan, help from a family member, a quick dip into the overdraft, or even a payday loan, almost everyone has some experience of borrowing money. In between borrowing money and paying it back, we are in debt. As long as we have the means to pay it back, debt can be a useful way of managing money - but it can end up costing more than it is worth. How debt affects your relationship   Money worries are one of the biggest causes of stress and arguments in UK households [1], sitting in the top three relationship strains for 55% of couples (for parents, it’s 61% [2]). A quarter of people have found money worries getting in the way of their sex lives [3] and one study suggests that couples who get into problem debt are twice as likely to break up [4]. If you are worried about debt, it’s better that your partner finds out sooner rather than later. When you are under pressure financially, your partner will pick up on it and bear some of the brunt of that strain. Many people feel ashamed of debt, or think they can handle it better alone. However, keeping debt a secret can just make things worse. By sharing the concern with your partner, you can share the burden and work together towards a solution [5]. For practical tips on talking to your partner about debt – whether it’s you or your partner who accrued the debt – visit the guidance page on our ‘Debt and relationships’ service. Getting into debt   Couples can get into debt when entering a new phase of the relationship, like moving in together, getting married, or having a baby. These times are always challenging, no matter how positive and exciting the change. Your relationship is intensified and magnified as you step up the commitment and costs can escalate. In these times, couples tend to have big expectations of the future, and how their lives will be [6]. While it can be tempting to load up a few credit cards to get the things you want, it’s important not to borrow more than you can reasonably plan to pay back. Being in debt makes it much harder to live up to your expectations of the future anyway. The more debt you have, the more likely you are to argue, and the less time you are likely to spend together [6]. How to deal with debt Talk to your partner. Get things out in the open and share the burden. Put all your debts in front of you. Open your post and check your accounts. Hiding from debt won’t make it go away and could make it worse. Make a budget. Look at what you are spending and where you can cut back. Work out how much you can afford to pay off each month. Contact your creditors to can organise a payment plan, even if it’s only a small amount. Speak to a debt advice organisation. Free services like The Debt Advice Foundation can help you get all this information together and offer tips on how to negotiate repayment plans with creditors. Dealing with debt takes time and understanding [7]. You can make things easier by getting help from debt organisations, but keep in mind that money issues can persist. You may need support not only with money issues, but also with the relationship strains that can accompany them. If you and your partner want some extra support, counsellors such as those at Relate may be able to help you deal with relationship issues, whether debt-related or not [7]. The good news is that once the debt has been paid off, relationship quality has been shown to improve again [6]. References [1] 4Children. (2016). “Britain’s Families: Thriving or Surviving?” [2] Undy, Helen, Barbara Bloomfield, Kate Jopling, Laura Marcus, Peter Saddington, and Patrick Sholl. 2015. “The Way We Are Now: The State of the UK’s Relationships 2015.” Relate, Relationships Scotland, Marriage Care. [3] Ann Summers & Relate. (2012). “The Sex Census.” [4] Kneale, D., & Trinley, W. (2013). Tales of the Tallyman: Debt and Problem Debt among Older People. International Longevity Centre - UK. [5] Falconier, M. K., & Epstein, N. B. (2010). Relationship satisfaction in Argentinean couples under economic strain: Gender differences in a dyadic stress model. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27(6), 781-799. [6] Dew, J. (2008). Debt Change and Marital Satisfaction Change in Recently Married Couples. Family Relations, 57(1): 60–71. [7] 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.
Article | communication, finance, debt
0 4 min read
“Caught between husband and daughter”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi I just want to know if I'm thinking right about all this. To cut a long story short, my daughter (16) and husband are totally at odds with each other. I love my daughter to bits but she has always been a handful. Truckloads of attitude, very highly strung, always right etc! She can also be very rude and disrespectful. I also love my husband but he does tend to be a very negative person, struggles to see the good in people / situations , and he also is very sensitive ie. Takes everything very personally. He can also be very antagonistic and quick to anger and tends to drop hints and be sarcastic rather than say straight out what his problem is. He is also quite an anxious person and seems to automatically think the worst all the time and worry unnecessarily. It used to drive me nuts but I've gotten used to it and try and ignore it now if I can. He has many good points which I prefer to concentrate on. However it drives my daughter mad. He is a great provider and is never violent but sometimes I find it hard to get close to him because of the negativity. He also doesn't take a whole lot of interest in the kids or their lives. Seems to notice every bad thing they do but rarely praises. My daughter openly tells him that she hates him and that he is a douche and that she wouldn't care if he was out of her life. Which I think is terrible and it really upsets me when she says this. But what upset me more is his reaction. In my opinion, he acts just as bad, threatening to leave, saying he isn't going to stay in a house where he is hated etc. I've tried to suggest that they talk to each other but that never goes well as neither of them ever admit they are wrong. I think they both are. My daughter is a hormonal, strong minded, determined teenager. As far as my husband is concerned, sometimes I feel like I am dealing with 2 teenagers ! I can see both points of view but whose side do I take here? I feel like the meat in the sandwich ! The constant enmity between them is really getting me down. I don't feel like I should have to choose between them but that is how I feel a lot of the time. Am I thinking right here? So confused and depressed. I just want to have a happy, functional family.
Ask the community | arguments, despair, control, parenting
“Is my husband controlling?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have been reading a book on controlling partners and there have been clear signs that he is controlling, but even though I am more aware of his behavior, I am having a hard time distinguishing what is controlling and what isn't for the day to day stuff. I will give a few examples of what has happened in the last few weeks: 1- My husband and I want to lose weight and eat healthier. I started to cut up fruit and veggies and I made him a smoothie each day for a week. He has mostly boiled eggs and peeled them. One evening he reminded me that I hadn't made a smoothie for him yet, and I said that I need to show him how to make one. He turned to me and said "oh, I knew that was coming" - implying that I would not be making his smoothies for the long haul. I quickly replied that I was just kidding and got up and made him his lunch for the next day. 2-The other day I was cleaning the house. The last few months I have not been cleaning at all and our house is a disaster. With spring coming, I put in a good 5 hours doing laundry, wiping down the kitchen, dusting and cleaning the entry way. Our entry way was pretty grungy so I decided to wipe down everything including the window blinds. I removed the blinds and took them to the bathroom and quickly cleaned them (about 15 minutes). Later that evening, I was explaining how easy it was to clean the blinds and my husband got frustrated with me and asked me "I don't want to start a fight, but that was the most important thing to clean at this time?" I had to justify that yes it was because of the dust on the blinds, and that it would benefit us later and that I didn't take a long time on them." He dropped the discussion, but I felt criticized. 3- The other night, he asked for a glass of water...well actually he said "you should get up and get me a glass of water." I told him that he could get up, and he looked at me and said (I think jokingly) I could get up as well and get him water. I stood my ground and didn't move, but neither did he...
Ask the community | arguments, despair, control
Is debt keeping you in an unhappy relationship?
Nearly a fifth of people have stayed in a relationship because of financial difficulties, according to a survey of 2,000 Brits. The Debt Advisory Centre, a provider of debt help, carried out the survey to find out how many people remain in relationships simply because they don’t feel they can afford to break up. Nearly one fifth of respondents (18.9%) reported having been in this difficult situation at one time or another, stuck between ending a relationship and facing up to the financial realities of separation. Of these, two fifths (42.85%) had found themselves staying in struggling relationships for over a year, and nearly a quarter (24.33%) had limped beyond the three-year mark in relationships they knew weren’t working. Those living in London were most likely to have stayed with a partner because of financial worries, with a third of Londoners professing to have found themselves in this situation at some point. The age group most prone to this situation is 25-34, which coincides with the age many people are seeking to get on the property ladder and start a family. Penny Mansfield, Director of OnePlusOne, says: “The stress and worry of debt can affect how you get on with your partner so it’s important to be sure in your own mind whether the relationship is over or if it’s just a bad time in your relationship that could pass. “If you are thinking of sharing a home with your partner because it seems more affordable, think twice. Breaking up is rarely easy but it can be even more difficult when you are financially involved with each other”. Have you ever found yourself staying with someone because you’re worried about the financial impact of a breakup? If you’re struggling with your finances, you can find other people's stories and helpful advice on our debt pages.
Article | debt, finance
“23 and disinterested in sex”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I've been with my boyfriend for 4 great years. We've been living together with his dad for 3 years now. When we first started dating I was 19 and he was 21. We would really only see each other on weekends or days off during the week. I moved in with him and his father due to an family issue I had with my parents. Through all of this we had a really healthy sex life. Shortly after our relationship began I went on the pill so we could stop using condoms as it seemed I had a mild allergy to them. Our sex life was strong and healthy up until probably a year ago. I started to lose interest in sex. And anything to do with sex. I didn't care to be touched or caressed, didn't care to make out or as my boyfriend calls it explore each other. Looking back, it's not that I lost interest in having sexual relations with my boyfriend, I realised I didn't care to find other men attractive or even have a desire to be with another man. I've had a history with depression. I've thought it may play a role in this. But even when I know my depression isn't with me I still don't have a drive. My boyfriend and I looked into maybe I lost interest in sex because I wasn't keeping physically active. So I started going to yoga and it hasn't increased my drive. I don't have a lot of stress going on in my life. My boyfriend means everything to me and I know he's the one I want to spend the rest of my life with and one day have a family. But right now, it's a tough road. I know it hurts him when I tell him I'm not interested in sex, or he goes to touch me and I brush him off. I've considered it maybe being my birth control and do have an appointment made for next week to see my doctor. I just don't know what to do and it sucks knowing this may be the reason our relationship starts to break apart. Any advice is much appreciated!
Ask the community | sex, intimacy
How mindfulness may help you
Mindfulness is becoming more and more popular as a way to let go of your stress and ‘find’ yourself in the midst of your daily (and probably very busy!) life. Studies have shown [1] that practicing mindfulness helps promote positive feelings like contentment, self-awareness, empathy and self-control. It can soothe the parts of your brain that produce stress hormones and feed the areas that lift your mood. If you haven’t tried practising mindfulness, it might seem like a strange and complicated thing that you have to go to a class to learn, but there are a number of exercises you can try on your own. Practising mindfulness can even be as simple as sitting still for a few moments and concentrating on your own breathing.  There are lots of mobile apps with guided processes for mindfulness. Apps are a helpful option because you can call on them when you need them most – if you’re the kind of person who never seems to have a free moment, convenience can be everything. Even if you only have time for five or ten minutes, it can still be very beneficial.  It’s worth doing a bit of research to find an app that you enjoy using. The practice of mindfulness becomes more powerful when it becomes a regular habit, so if you don’t like the sound of the person’s voice or what they are saying, you’re less likely to want to listen to the app. Pick one that you feel you can get into!   What the research tells us We all face stressful, difficult and challenging situations, and these can have an impact on every area of our lives. It’s not realistic to expect stressful moments to go away completely. At any given moment in your life, you might find yourself dealing with stress from study, work, friends and family, money problems, and prolonged existential dread about your future and who you want to be. That’s perfectly normal – it’s how you cope with these stresses that makes the real difference. Some people cope by focusing on a problem and finding solutions and strategies to improve the situation. Other people focus on finding ways to feel better about a situation by reinterpreting it, distancing themselves, or even denying or avoiding it. When the people around you have different coping mechanisms to your own, it can be frustrating. Mindfulness can help you with your reaction to stressful events. By mentally preparing your mind and the body, you’ll start to find you can handle conflict better, and that tough situations don’t get on top of you as much as they used to. Feeling more in control can create some space for you to be the best version of yourself, which has the added side effect of making others around you feel more comfortable in your presence. The evidence for this is right here [2]. Mindfulness is geared towards experiencing the present moment, and having a moment-to-moment awareness of the world around you. Being truly present can help you become a more effective problem-solver, a better listener, and a calmer and more focused person in general.  Mindfulness is also great for your mental health. In one study, it was shown to lead to significant improvements in: Stress Depression and anxiety Sleep quality Life satisfaction [3]  So, if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, if you’re having trouble sleeping, or if you just find that life gets on top of you more than you’d like it to, you might find it useful to give mindfulness a try. Search for some mindfulness apps through your browser or phone and have a look at some reviews. Some focus on topics such as health, sleep, or relationships, and many have free versions that allow you to try them out before you commit. Try a few to find the right one for you. Have you tried mindfulness? Did you find that it made a difference? Or are you a little sceptical? Are there any apps or tools that you’d recommend? We’d love to hear your thoughts – so please do leave us a comment, or share your story.  References [1] http://franticworld.com/what-can-mindfulness-do-for-you/ [2] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005789404800285 Carson, J. W., Carson, K. M., Gil, K. M., & Baucom, D. H. (2004). Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement. Behavior therapy, 35(3), 471-494. `` [3] http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/07/16/peds.2013-3164 Dykens, E. M., Fisher, M. H., Taylor, J. L., Lambert, W., & Miodrag, N. (2014). Reducing distress in mothers of children with autism and other disabilities: a randomized trial. Pediatrics, 134(2), e454-e463.
Article | mental health
1 4 min read
Dealing with stress
During times of changes, or important stages of your life, there is an increased risk of stress. You can’t make stress go away entirely, but you can learn to cope with it better stay healthy through times of change. Talk to someone These days, we are much better at talking about our feelings than in previous generations, but it can still be a difficult conversation to start. Remember that everyone has been through stress at some time in their lives – no matter how alone you feel, there is always someone who can relate to what you’re going through.  We all need a little help from time to time. Talk to a close friend or a trusted family member about what you’re dealing with and how it’s making you feel. You may find they are able to offer practical help but, more often, just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. If you have a good support network of friends or family, lean on them in times of stress. They can sometimes help you find a different perspective on things, so that you can see a path through to solving practical problems in a way that seemed impossible before Sometimes, of course, it isn’t possible to speak to people close to you. They may be involved in the issue, or you may just want to keep things private. In those instances, it can feel easier to seek support from an online community, where you can share your story or ask a question. Sometimes just getting the thoughts out of your head can help you start to see a new perspective on things. Sometimes, the best way forward is to seek professional help. Stress can be just as bad for your health as a physical illness, and deserves the same amount of attention as you would pay to any other injury. If you’re struggling with stress, your GP can offer some tips on where to get further help and may be able to refer you to a specialist.   Stay healthy Regular physical exercise can be a great boost for your mental health, making you more resilient and protecting your self-esteem. When your body is healthy, you are more likely to feel calmer, and you will find it easier to sleep at night and concentrate during the day, and generally feel better. Getting enough exercise can be as easy as taking a half-hour walk every day, so don’t worry if you don’t have the time or motivation to get to the gym. Avoid the temptation to mask your stress with alcohol or other recreational drugs. You will not make the underlying issues go away and you may end up feeling worse as the chemicals in your brain reset themselves after a binge. If you do drink, monitor your intake, or consider taking a break while you get things back on track. There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel. Cook yourself a healthy meal, with plenty of colourful fresh ingredients, and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
Article | stress
1 3 min read
Coping with depression
One in five people will experience a form of depression at some point in their lives [1]. Depression is a prolonged illness, whose symptoms include low mood, a lack of energy, a loss of interest in things you might normally enjoy, feelings of low self-worth, and changes in sleep and appetite [2]. It can be caused by difficult circumstances in your life, but it can sometimes come on seemingly out of nowhere. Some of the symptoms you might notice include: Low mood. Depression is characterised by prolonged bouts of low mood which feel very difficult to break out of. Loss of interest and energy. You may lose interest in the things you usually like doing. This can get in the way of your work, study, and social life. Concentration. Depression can affect your concentration, even to the extent that you may struggle to stay involved in a conversation. Sleep and appetite. You may experience changes in your eating and sleeping patterns. As well as disrupting your regular routines, eating and sleeping poorly can further affect your mood. Low self-worth. You may become more critical of yourself and possibly start lashing out at others too [2]. If you’ve noticed the symptoms of depression and things don’t seem to be getting any better, you should seek help straightaway. Getting support from friends and family is a great start, but seeking professional support is often the best way to cope with depression. Often, the quickest route is through your GP, who can make a diagnosis and referral. There are many forms of mental health support, but most people with depression will undertake some form of talking therapy. This can help you explore the causes and find coping mechanisms to help you move forward. You may also be given exercises to take home. In addition to any treatment you may undertake, there are many things you can do to support your own recovery: Learn about depression. Read up on depression and its symptoms to help you understand more about what you are going through and what you can do about it. You are already learning about depression by reading this article. Set aside blame. Accept that the illness is happening, and try not to blame yourself or anyone else. Remember that depression is treatable and try to focus on your recovery. Notice the signs. Try to make yourself aware of your symptoms and the things that can set off an episode of depression. Get support if things seem to be getting worse. Ask for help with practical problems. When you are depressed, problems can be magnified and may seem insurmountable. People like to help, so give them specific tasks to help with some of the practical problems in your way. Do some exercise. Get some gentle exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block or a 15-minute session from a trainer on YouTube. Exercising can have the added benefit of helping with sleep problems. Get out of the house. While it might seem easier to avoid social situations, it’s often best to try and turn up to things that you would usually enjoy. Even if you plan just to go out for half an hour, it can help break you out of a loop of inactivity and depression. Keep a mood journal. What usually makes you feel better – a morning walk? Cooking a healthy meal? Seeing friends? Keep a journal of what you’ve been finding helpful, and try to do more of it. Your journal can also help remind you that you have been making improvements, as it is often difficult to focus on the positives [3]. Going through depression is never going to be easy but, with the right support, even the most severe cases can be treated. As with any illness, you should seek professional help if you are worried. Recovery is likely to be gradual, but it is possible.     References [1] Bolton, J., Bisson, J., Guthrie, E., Wood., S. (2011) Depression: key facts. Retrieved from http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/depressionkeyfacts.aspx [2] NHS (2015). Low mood and depression - NHS Choices. Available at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/low-mood-and-depression.aspx  [3] NICE (2009) Depression: The Treatment and Management of Depression in Adults (Update). NICE clinical guideline 90. Available at www.nice.org.uk/CG90
Article | depression
0 4 min read