Recently things had been going off colour with me and my partner. Usually we are very close and get on fabulously, however, a feeling of disconnection was beginning to dawn on us. Our work days are very different, these differences include working hours as well as job type, so by the time we got to catch up in the evening he would be exhausted and I would have more energy. This meant bed for him and boredom for me.
It got to point that we were arguing all the time and rarely having sex, we both still loved each other but there was a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction. After a few too many glasses of wine one evening, we decided to confront the elephant in the room, this ended up in a dramatic conversation which tipped over to the: “Do we need some space” side. Unsure of what to do, we went to bed feeling confused and sad. Wide awake and trying to find a solution I came up with a bizarre method that I thought might be just the thing we needed. Excited that I had found the answer, I waited until the morning to put it forward to him.
Annoyed at my suggestion, my partner said that he thought my weird counselling method was ridiculous and that he wasn’t even going to entertain the idea! A few hours later he called from work with a change of heart, we decided to give it a go.
Relationship Saver Idea: A two week sex ban
I worked out that if we removed the pressure of sex we might start to get on better. With him being tired all the time, he had the control over our sex life, his energy levels dictating when we could get intimate, leading to a complete lack of romance and spontaneity. By removing the sex, we would be exposed to the bare bones of our relationship. How would we get on? Would removing sex make us want it more?
One week into the sex ban:
A definite improvement on quality time, a couple of dates led to great chats and enjoying each others company. Bed time felt a lot less stressful as we both knew there was no action in store; this meant that neither of us had false expectations.
My sex drive: Low
His sex drive: High
Two weeks into the sex ban:
A return to kissing and foreplay; our previous sex life had been fitted into a timeslot of convenience with little room for these types of intimacies. Suddenly we couldn’t keep our hands off each other! Neither of us discussed breaking the ban. We both enjoyed having it there, after all there wasn’t much time to go.
My sex drive: High
His sex drive: High
Six months after completing the sex ban
We both feel that this ban was a great decision and things have been so much better since. Taking a step back and taking away what was being taken for granted allowed us to look at one another in a fresh light. It also worked as a great sexual enhancer; we reignited the lustful feelings that we started with. I would recommend this to any couples that would like a new outlook and perspective on their relationship.
Anne Davies guest blogs on a range of topics all over the web, discussing affordable bridal sets to relationship woes.
Fortunately, that’s not the case. Divorce? is designed to save individuals hundreds of pounds in legal fees, having been developed by one of the UK’s leading family lawyers, Peter Martin, head of family law at OGR Stock Denton.
Divorce? is written in a conversational style and talks users through the process, breaking down legal jargon and providing advice on key issues. It covers topics including:
- legal costs,
- the practical implications of separation,
- individual rights and entitlements,
- long term financial impact & expectations
- the sensitive issues around handling any children involved.
With an opening section aimed at those in the early stages of considering their options, it could also help people avoid divorce entirely, saving their finances, heartache and marriage.
Peter Martin explains: “The purpose of Divorce? is to make people really think through their decision and then the whole process. This will help to generate informed discussions and better communication by getting both parties to start thinking and talking from the outset.”
“It allows couples to have their eyes open before embarking on the formal stages of the process and spending money on legal fees. People don’t always think through the actual implications of divorce and this App makes them do that from the moment they start contemplating the idea. It might hopefully even encourage some people not to give up on their marriage so easily and try to work things out.”
Reflecting the new move for divorcing couples to be referred for mediation prior to going to court, Divorce? promotes the use of mediation throughout the process and explains how it can work and how to get the best out of mediating.
The app costs £9.99 and is available from the Apple iTunes store.
This is a guest post by Emily Attewell from Counselling Directory
With Valentine’s Day around the corner many people begin to really think about their relationship and what the rest of the year has in store for them. Here are some helpful tips to improve your relationship.
It would be like a fairytale to meet and fall in love happily ever after with your Prince/Princess Charming wouldn’t it? Some people may well do and fall effortlessly in love with them, but for the rest of us we often need to put in a bit of effort when things become challenging.
So many people fall in love without even thinking about basic problems that may arise. Where would you prefer to live? Are you going to get married? Have children? If you’re planning on the relationship becoming long-term it may be worth discussing early on some of your major plans, beliefs, likes, and dislikes. Nothing can ruin a good relationship like resentment can. Problems can be resolved with a good old conversation.
The best time to talk is when you are relaxed and not annoyed with your partner. It is difficult to resolve any issues during an argument as raised voices often cause us to become defensive. Remember honesty is the best policy no matter how afraid you are. Your partner should not punish or judge you ? they are supposed to be on your side.
Many people have different boundaries when it comes to infidelity, whether it’s persistent flirting or something more. It is normal for you to occasionally find someone else attractive but it doesn’t need to go any further than that. Trust is extremely difficult to rebuild.
Work commitments and hobbies can often cause problems in a relationship, so make sure you have your priorities straight and don’t leave your loved one feeling neglected.
Family and friends can often take sides during difficult times in your relationship, and although they mean well it can put pressure on your relationship. Seeking emotional support from those closest to us is all well and good, but be cautious as those people do not know the ins and outs of your relationship and it may cause more problems than it solves.
Negotiation is the key to any relationship. It does not mean that you will end up always being unhappy, but any issue, big or small, will need a bit of give or take.
Finally remember you are two different people, you have different experiences and ways of viewing the world.
If you feel that your relationship may need some extra help and would like to speak to someone else that isn’t a friend or relation, or would like more information on Couples Counselling then visit Counselling Directory.
And rightly so.
Divorce lawyers are ditching the old-fashioned methods — private detectives and the like — in favour of snooping the social networks to catch out cheating spouses.
A careless status update or a series of compromising photographs could be all that’s needed to catch someone out, making them look less favourable in court.
Not only can social networks be used to catch cheaters, but they may also be responsible for extra-marital affairs in the first place.
Some of the recent privacy concerns surrounding Facebook in particular have meant that people are often unaware just how far-reaching their information may be shared, or easily found by those specifically searching for it.
It’s not just you who needs to be careful, either. If anyone else — the person you might be having a liaison with, or mutual friends — publishes something online about you, it could still land you in hot water.
That is, if you’ve got something you want to hide, of course.
“Attorneys advise users of Facebook and other social media who are headed toward a divorce or custody battle to edit their profiles, be cautious about updating statuses and double check to see who is really a “friend.”
Or to make things easier — at least until the trial is over or a settlement is reached — just get off Facebook completely.”
The Evolution of Sex Education
I’m no expert on how sex and relationships education in schools has changed over the years, but stereotypically things have become more liberal of late, with a focus much more on the process and physical repercussions of sex than on moral and societal issues surrounding the subject.
I can’t say that this is absolutely true, because schools can teach things in different ways, with more or less emphasis placed on issues beyond “how sex works”.
However, thanks in part to the way society has changed, particularly over the last decade or so, in its attitudes to sex and its portrayal in the media, the UK government on both sides is now looking at promoting familial and stable relationships.
Yesterday, the standard curriculum for sex education in English schools was updated to place more value on the moral and relational aspects of sex.
In an age-appropriate way, children will now be taught that it’s OK to delay having sex, and that they shouldn’t feel pressured by friends or the media into becoming sexually active as the “normal” thing to do.
Marriage and other stable relationships will be heralded as the “bedrock of family life”, with education on “the challenges and responsibilities of parenthood”.
Bullying and Pressure
Sexually-motivated bullying is sadly becoming more common. Mobile phone technology can be used to send compromising photographs which, apart from being illegal in the eyes of the law, could cause great distress to those victims caught on camera.
Other advice will warn about overtly sexualised imagery now prevalent in most types of media, including television, magazines, advertising and the Internet.
Children’s Secretary Ed Balls said, “Young people today grow up in a very different world to the one their parents knew as children.
“New technologies and a 24-hour media mean that young people are increasingly exposed to images and content that can make them feel pressure to be sexually active before they are ready and can give them misleading information about relationships and growing up.
“We also want young people to understand the importance of marriage and other stable relationships – these are the bedrock of family life, the best way to bring up children and the kind of relationships we want young people to develop as they get older.”
What do you think of the changes?
Photo credit: Made Underground
In a national survey carried out in the United States, seven out of ten women said that infertility made them feel flawed, while half of all men said they felt inadequate.
Six out of ten couples said that they try to hide their fertility troubles from family and friends, while a third admitted their ability to confide in others has decreased since they began trying to get pregnant.
Over half said that it was easier to tell people that they weren’t planning to have children rather than to share the struggles they faced.
Disbelief and Delay
Disbelief is also a common issue, for despite one in eight couples of childbearing age do struggle with fertility problems, two-thirds of those surveyed said that they never thought they’d have difficulty in conceiving.
Over half of the couples said they wish they had started trying sooner, with a staggering nine out of ten respondents already seeking fertility treatment saying this.
Relationships with family and friends can also suffer, with six out of ten couples admitting to becoming tired of people asking them how the process is going or offering suggestions on how to conceive.
Unsolicited advice — such as being told to “relax”, get more exercise, sleep or a different diet — aggravated many couples.
Intimacy & Sex
Infertility issues seemed to affect intimacy in different ways, though more couples (58%) said it had brought them closer together than hurt (36%). Having said that, men suggested time arguing had increased, while both sexes said stress and tension had increased.
Added to this, 55% said that fertility issues had made sex a physically and emotionally anxious time, while a similar number (53%) said fun and spontaneity had gone, and four out of ten said they felt sexually unattractive.
The survey interviewed 585 people in relationships where conception had been an issue for two or more years. Full results are available at the Plan For Some Day web site.
I can certainly vouch for a lot of the results in this survey. What has been your experience?
If you’re a woman stuck for an idea as to what your man might want for Valentine’s Day, take some tips from UK relationship expert Martin Riley, who offers up the following advice with the three “Ts” — Tease, Tantalise, Treat
- “Valentine’s Day has somehow become seen as a day when a man has to make a big romantic gesture to this wife or girlfriend. Try turning the tables. Send him flowers, take him out for dinner, or buy him something that fulfils your fantasies (be warned though, it’ll need to be something that makes him feel sexy, not stupid. He may never talk to you again if you buy him a mankini). Most men will be delighted by you taking the lead and making him feel appreciated and desired.”
- “When was the last time you asked your partner what he wanted from your relationship? A lot of men struggle to articulate what they want and need from a relationship so will try to let their presents do the talking. Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to actually ask him what he wants, both from you and from your life together. Pillow talk is a great opportunity to get him to open up!”
- “Don’t rely on ‘bought experiences’ like meals out or presents to make this Valentine’s Day the romantic day of your dreams. A home cooked meal can be far more romantic than a restaurant full of other couples trying to be romantic. How about a meal in bed together? Or a meal he can lick off those usually hard to reach places? Use your imagination to have the Valentine’s Day that suits the two of you, not what the shops tell you should be having.”
- “If your man isn’t that interested in sex (and a surprising number of men aren’t as obsessed as you might think) then the key would be to think about what he loves doing that you could surprise him with. Is there anything he loves to do that you’re normally reluctant to do with him? He’ll be thrilled if you suggest or organise it so perhaps go to a football match together, see a band or go for a romantic walk around his favourite places.”
Check out our Family Christmas Survival guide for articles and advice.
With one piece of research suggesting that even the best families will argue for seven hours over the Christmas week, or a horrendous three hours per day in the worst case, here are some tips for avoiding fallout this festive period.
Lisa Warner, inventor of FINK family conversation cards, offers these six top tips:
1. Start interesting and engaging conversation: if families simply stare at the TV all day they’re bound to get bored and irritable. Try FINK family conversation cards to get the conversation started.
2. Play family games: group activities are a great way to bond with each other and family games can bring all the generations together.
3. Don’t over stretch yourself: if the thought of cooking for 12 people worries you keep it simple and avoid the stress. Everyone will feel the pressure if you are stressed, so keep it simple and enjoy yourself.
4. Get some sleep: don’t miss out on the fun but remember we all get irritable when we don’t get enough sleep.
5. Take time out: a short break from everyone will give you a little breather and chance to recoup.
6. Ban texting at the table: if your children are texting their friends at the table then they’re not engaging with everyone else.
Rod Stewart recently made a stand with his family by completely banning mobile phones at the dinner table to preserve the art of conversation.
Lisa continued: “It may seem like a simple action but banning kids from texting at the table means they concentrate more and actually engage in the conversation. You have to be vigilant though, some kids are experts at texting without even looking at the phone!”
By Andy Merrett
Nov 16, 2009
Many people believe in the important role that grandparents play in the upbringing of children, despite the fact that Western society has changed significantly over the past few decades, and that the idea of a connected family is quite different to that in many Eastern countries.
That being the case, there are still cases where grandparents are unable to see their grandchildren due to familial breakdown and a lack of communication, and it seems to be for this reason that the Conservatives have suggested that grandparents will be given greater recognition under a Tory government.
In cases where parents split and divorce, new laws could ensure that grandparents are still granted access to their grandchildren, or even be given priority in custody cases, depending on the circumstances.
David Shields, from the Grandparents’ Association, said that the current law means grandparents have no voice or say at all. “They have no more rights than a stranger. They don’t even have a right to stay in touch with their grandchildren,” he told the Daily Mail.
We hear stories of grandparents who, after sharing many happy times with their grandkids, and helping out their children and inlays, are told they can no longer see them because of acrimonious divorce and custody battles.
It seems a great shame that the only way for generations of a family to see one another is through the legal system, but perhaps that’s better than nothing.
In the ideal world, even in split families, children would naturally be able to see their grandparents on both the maternal and paternal side without the need for people to fight over them.
Children so often get used as pawns in messy separations, and grandparents could even provide some much needed stability in times of turmoil.
No separation is totally without mess. Perhaps a change in the law would help all those involved in particularly messy scenarios, while more amicable (or, at least, accommodating) families can sort things out for themselves.
What do you think? Does Britain need a change in the law to boost grandparents’ rights?
A recent survey suggests that over a third of British couples argue because of sleep-related issues.
Research shows that two out of five people get less than six hours of sleep each night, leading to both health and relationship problems.
One in ten people are kept awake by their partner every night, while a quarter say they are woken up at least once a month.
The top five health conditions that cause arguments between couples at night are:
1. Back Pain
2. Restless leg syndrome
3. Night terrors
4. Nocturnal cramp
5. Teeth Grinding
One in five Brits have slept in a different room because of a night-time row and one in four of those polled suffers from sleep envy and are jealous of their partners restful nights sleep.
A third of people in the UK say they end up sleeping on the sofa after a night time argument, while one in three choose the spare bedroom. One in twenty Brits have even slept in the children’s bunk beds in order to get a restful sleep!
Other interesting revelations from the survey include:
- Over half of us are regularly too tired for sex, while 1 in 10 would go without sex in order to get a good nights sleep
- Nearly half (44 per cent) would have more sex if we didn’t feel so tired
- Spooning is the UK’s favourite sleeping position – over a third of British couples (38 per cent) doze off with the man spooning the woman
- Nearly 20 per cent of romantic Brits fall asleep holding hands with their partner
- Not everyone likes to snuggle up – nearly half of all couples (48 per cent) regularly sleep turned away from each other, on opposite sides of the bed
- 36 per cent of people admit to sleeping better on their own – one in twenty have separate beds every night
Solving Sleep Problems
If you are having sleep problems which are leading to problems in your relationship, whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, don’t feel well-rested when you wake up in the morning, or simply want to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep then try the following top tips put together by sleep expert Chris Idzikowski:
Here are the dos and don’ts to help you get better nights sleep
- Plan your night – follow a set routine each night that gives you time to relax
- Relax – Try having a warm bath or reading a book before bedtime
- De-clutter – Make your bedroom a clutter free, restful place, with soft lighting
- Invest – buy the best bed you can afford – the average person spends 25 years in their bed so it is essential that your bed is right for you and your partner
- Use the 20 minute rule – get up and rest somewhere else and do not return back to your bed until you feel sleepy
- Exercise regularly – just be careful not exercise too close to bed time as this can prevent the brain from relaxing quickly
- Try to fall asleep – Tell yourself to let go of being awake, rest your eyes and visualize yourself slowly sinking into bed
- Drink alcohol – alcohol cab make you restless and is a diuretic which means more trips to the bathroom at night
- Drink caffeine – this will stay in your system for six hours and act as a stimulant – try herbal or fruit tea as an alternative
- Eat a heavy or spicy meal less than 2 hours before bed – your body needs to rest and not be busy digesting
- Watch TV in bed – this will disturb your partner as well as stop your mind from relaxing
- Keep electrical components in your bedroom
For further tips or to complete the first ever interactive sleep personality quiz to identify how good your sleep is, visit www.goodsleepadvice.com
The survey was carried out by Crampex (the only over the counter product for muscle cramp at night) to highlight November’s Sleep Disturbance Month.
64% of people don’t feel that they give their close relationships enough time according to a new survey published today
The busyness of modern life is taking its toll on our relationships, according to a new survey released today. Many of the 1,000 people interviewed for the Great Relationships Survey admitted that lack of time was the greatest threat to their relationships.
- 64% don’t feel that they give their close relationships enough time
- 44% see their best friends only once a month or less
- 63% feel regularly stressed or tired
- 75% agree that there is never enough time to get through the things they need to do each day
- 28% spend more than 45 hours at work each week
- 14% don’t take at least one day off from work
- 97.5% admit their relationships could be improved
These are just some of the comments from respondents asked about the greatest threats to their relationships:
“Time and prioritising who to spend time with. And too much on the “to-do” list.”
“Time (not enough) + children (third on the way) = tiredness and busyness.”
“Trying to fit too many people in. Not seeing friends enough so that we never get past the ‘catching up phase’ and actually just ‘hang out’. I want to live my life with my friends, not just tell them about life when I see them!”
Relationships consultant and former BBC journalist, Sarah Abell, who compiled the survey for her book “Authentic: Relationships from the Inside Out” said, “Long working hours, the demands of parenting, never-ending ‘to-do’ lists, household chores, overflowing inboxes and the pressures to have it all, do it all and look fantastic are causing many of us to feel stressed.”
“The problem is we can’t have great relationships if we are too stressed, tired or busy. We can fool ourselves that a slower day IS coming, that children only need quality time, that busyness is an OK excuse for not seeing our friends, that our spouse (if we have one) will understand if we are too tired (again) to have sex or that we’ll feel better once we’ve had a holiday. But the truth is life is not going to change unless we make the choice to do things differently.”
In her book, Sarah Abell identifies three different attitudes towards time; the engines, the anchors and the sailing boats.
- The engines – are always busy. Their mantras are ‘I’m so tired’ or ‘Not now – I’m busy’. They are always on the go and hardly ever relax. They feel driven to keep going and believe that if they don’t do whatever needs doing – it won’t get done. If they don’t feel stressed themselves – those close to them often do! Many engines find delegating difficult. Some engines are compelled by circumstance to be so busy but others are driven by some internal motor. They find stillness uncomfortable and feel time is being wasted if they aren’t achieving something. Engines often need help to have fun, relax and to learn how to prioritise their time – separating the urgent from the important. On the plus side engines make things happen and keep the show on the road!
- The anchors – prefer to take life easy. Perhaps rather too easy! They tend to be much more passive or lazy than your average person. They enjoy relaxing, having fun and try and get away with the minimum work or chores. Their mantras are ‘I’ll do it later’ and ‘Can’t you just chill?’. Some anchors just feel entitled to an easy life and don’t see why they should exert themselves. Others don’t want to push themselves forward because they are worried of failure and believe not trying is better than having a go and getting it wrong. Anchors often need encouragement to take the initiative or lend a hand. However, on the plus side they can help engines learn how to take a more relaxed approach to life.
- The sailing boats – have a better work/life balance. They understand the times to be busy but also appreciate when to let go and enjoy a slower pace. They have healthier boundaries and are able to say ‘no’ when they have to. However, they are also happy to say ‘yes’ to a demand or request if they think they can do it. Sailing boats are often the people who have looked at their priorities and decided where they will invest their time, energy and money. They make sure their most important relationships get the best of them – not just the dregs left after every thing else. (Jesus was the classic example of a sailing boat!)
For many, flirting by those already in a romantic / committed relationship isn’t seen as a problem, and even less so when it comes to doing it over the Internet. This is borne out by a new survey which found that seven out of ten Brits don’t believe there’s anything wrong in flirting with people online.
Ironically, the research was carried out by a web site encouraging online flirting. Of the 2,600 who took part, all of whom said they had a spouse or full-time partner, about the same number of men and women answered the question “Would you consider flirting online as cheating?” with a resounding “No!”
Many see this as harmless entertainment, but I’m not convinced.
Several years ago the phenomenon of online flirting was being studied, and Nathan Tabor wrote a great article titled Adultery is killing the American family which touches on how Internet usage can affect a relationship.
And do you remember the recent report of a Second Life affair which split a couple up?
Harmless fun or something more sinister?
I realise that there are such things as “open” relationships, and that flirting and eyeing other people up even when romantically involved with someone is often thought acceptable, but I’m a little concerned that 70% of Brits think absolutely nothing of doing it.
There’s something insidious about doing it online, too, because of the increased perception of anonymity.
Relationships really need all the help they can get, and I’m not at all convinced this developing trend will encourage healthy couples.
What do you think?
Photo by believekevin