Relationship and family issues

Anything to do with managing relationships and family, including parenting, separation, loneliness, divorce, family and friendships.

FAQ

Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Pinned discussions

Chris_B PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING: 3 important tips to get the most out of this section
  • replies: 0

Hi everyone, The Relationships & Family Issues section is one of the busiest here on our forums. It's also one of the areas where we find members can get themselves into trouble! Before posting here, take a deep breath and be mindful of the following... View more

Hi everyone, The Relationships & Family Issues section is one of the busiest here on our forums. It's also one of the areas where we find members can get themselves into trouble! Before posting here, take a deep breath and be mindful of the following 3 tips: 1. Do you really want to share this with the world? This is a public forum. Are you thinking of posting something that could identify you to a friend or family member? Once you've posted, you can't delete what you've written and we don't take posts down from here unless they've broken one of our community rules. This is because our members spend a lot of time composing replies, and there is a much wider audience that gets a lot out of reading what has been written. It's not fair to ask the community for support, then ask to have it removed once you've read it so others can't also benefit. Use discretion when posting here - think about the level of detail you are sharing, and think also about who might know you are posting here. Also, please keep it clean: this is an all ages forum and explicit discussions about sexual problems are not permitted. Threads and posts of this nature will be removed and your account placed on a moderation hold. 2. What do you want to get out of posting here? Relationship and family issues are stressful. Members sometimes post here seeking advice about a relationship that has broken down, but find themselves getting upset when they don't agree with the response they get. This is a peer support forum, meaning we are not mental health professionals. We are people of all ages and backgrounds, with a wide range of life experiences. While we aim for our discussions to be conducted respectfully, people here will respond with the truth as they see it, from their own experiences and perspectives. We are not here to take sides. Offence is almost never intentional, but it can be sometimes taken. The advice you will see here is not intended to be a substitute for professional counselling. 3. What other support do you have? Most people posting on our forums (about any issue) use this space as a supplement to other supports. This forum is not and cannot be a substitute for offline supports, but it is often a good place to start the ball rolling and find the courage for seeking help. If you are relying solely on an internet forum to resolve your relationship or family issues, you are likely to be disappointed. Check out the Healthy Homes section of our Healthy Families website for further information and resources.

All discussions

Sad-Depressed On the brink of seperation
  • replies: 1

Hi all,reaching out because I'm having a really hard time coping at the moment. Last week my wife of 10 years confessed that she has been seeing someone else for approx 5 weeks and would like a divorce. I knew our marriage wasn't in the greatest plac... View more

Hi all,reaching out because I'm having a really hard time coping at the moment. Last week my wife of 10 years confessed that she has been seeing someone else for approx 5 weeks and would like a divorce. I knew our marriage wasn't in the greatest place, especially after COVID. We seemed to have lost our connection due to work, kids and just life in general but I never felt it was at the place where divorce was on the table. Communication is also not one of her strong points so its not like it ever came up in conversation. We don't have a toxic relationship, there is no abuse or constant fighting, I feel that this has just occurred because we didn't spend enough time with each other. I have tried multiple times over the past week to sit her down to talk about things but the interactions are always the same - She will give me 5 mins, answers are very short and sharp and she acts as if I'm just an annoyance to her. She doesn't want to consider counceling and feels the spark is gone and can't be recovered. Sometimes during these conversations she will even laugh at what I'm saying - which is normally something like "please think about this, I love you and we can work through this". LIke its all a big joke. I'm absolutly shatterred. I'm having a very hard time eating, concentrating, working ... pretty much anything. She seems to be going on like things are normal. We have 2 kids (4 and 7) and recently moved to Sydney for a happier better life. I have no friends or family here and am now starting to feel trapped because if we seperate I can't leave the kids. I'm also terrified at the fact I'll only be seeing them 50% of the time once we split. I still love her very much and am willing to look past the affair if she is willing to give it another go (and end things with this other guy). She is still living in the house but I have asked her to move out. Whilst shes here I can't help but feel there may still be a chance to reconcile things but this her ice cold exterior is really starting to get to me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Buterfly121 Post Abortion
  • replies: 4

Hello everyone,I had a surgical abortion on Tuesday this week due to an unplanned pregnancy and I feel nothing - obviously the physical side is painful but I have no emotions about it at all. I almost feel as though I chose to abort my baby so theref... View more

Hello everyone,I had a surgical abortion on Tuesday this week due to an unplanned pregnancy and I feel nothing - obviously the physical side is painful but I have no emotions about it at all. I almost feel as though I chose to abort my baby so therefore I don’t get to grieve and have the feelings that go with it. Has anyone else felt like this? I know eventually as with all traumatic events some feelings will eventually happen

Yamoro Childhood neglect, relationship trauma and step parent jealousy
  • replies: 7

I wouldn’t say I was raised. I raised myself. My mum neglected me for work. She essentially estranged me from my father and lied about his identity. I found the truth in my 30s. My stepdad was preoccupied by his hobbies and my 1/2 brothers. And I tur... View more

I wouldn’t say I was raised. I raised myself. My mum neglected me for work. She essentially estranged me from my father and lied about his identity. I found the truth in my 30s. My stepdad was preoccupied by his hobbies and my 1/2 brothers. And I turned to boy chasing as a teen. In my 20s I got pregnant by my traumatised boyfriend who was taking substances. I have to two most wonderful kids (yes I had the 2nd, because I believed having two abandoned kids would be better than 1- they would always have me and each other!) I’ve avoided all forms of abusive self regulation, like substances. Occasionally spending too much online is my vice. We separated in 2018 after I needed a family violence order put in place and my mother took him in as her son and again neglected me. Denying my birth rites of a mother daughter love once again. Paying for his habit, lifestyle and recently moving him into her house. In 2021 I started a interstate relationship with a guy who has 3 little ones. We tried bringing them all together and it triggered so much anxiety and trauma in me. The only way to work is if he moves, leaving his kids (who he shares an unsteady custody arrangement) and I have guilt letting that happen. But I am growing more and more resentful to his situation and children. I feel like a monster having bad feelings towards children who would suffer the same neglect I did. But I can’t help it. I don’t know what to do anymore. I love him, he is by all means my best friend and lover. But I cannot live this lonely anymore. I am an introvert and with all my baggage I struggle to make friends. I’m in a pickle and I know it. I know I have to make a hard choice or live with this situation. Taking in the moments of love we share when he comes. But financially we as a couple are getting no where. I’m scared for the future but I can’t be alone without his love and support. I literally feel I have no family, only 2 brothers who are so preoccupied with their lives, being uncle is only a quarterly role for them.

Bymywindow Guilt over breaking up with ex
  • replies: 2

Hi, I've been dealing with some intense feelings of guilt since splitting with my partner of 15 years about 3 years ago. We have two great kids. She had always been prone to some anxiety and depression when we were together. This made the relationshi... View more

Hi, I've been dealing with some intense feelings of guilt since splitting with my partner of 15 years about 3 years ago. We have two great kids. She had always been prone to some anxiety and depression when we were together. This made the relationship difficult at times as her behaviour was at times challenging, and after the first year or two of difficulties she stopped seeking help for them, instead choosing to work on her mental health on her own. When we split she didn't take it well. I think the feeling of being rejected in the form of a break up played into her existing self esteem and self worth issues and significantly impacted her mental health. On top of this, I felt a sense of freedom in leaving an unhappy relationship and started seeing someone new about 3 months later. This didn't go down well with my ex. She proceeded to send highly emotional guilt inducing text messages for the next year and a half....she says I ruined her life, and basically has a long list of grievances about everything I've done wrong. My ex isn't doing well mentally, and I feel like my decision to split from her..... And even more so my decision to start seeing someone else has significantly impacted her. I feel so guilty about everything, the guilt is impacting my current relationship and my own mental health.

Whimbo Supporting my best friend
  • replies: 2

Hi all, Lately I have been having issues with my best friend's behaviour. He has been promising me for months that he will seek therapy, with no progress. He self-diagnosed himself OCD and with anxiety - though I personally don't believe it, I believ... View more

Hi all, Lately I have been having issues with my best friend's behaviour. He has been promising me for months that he will seek therapy, with no progress. He self-diagnosed himself OCD and with anxiety - though I personally don't believe it, I believe he could really benefit from some professional help with those symptoms he has identified. He is a second generation immigrant and I think the cultural divide means he is unable to connect to his family for help, and unable to respect people around him in his city. He is argumentative to people he loves, and is so rude and disrespectful to people when we're in public. The behaviour that disturbs me the most includes him being a public nuisance, throwing every piece of trash he has on the ground (despite me reminding him that someone has to pick it up after him), reckless driving (he has been in several accidents), sexist language, and having too much energy to handle. He is sexually frustrated, unmotivated, and a compulsive arguer. I've had situations before where I've had to put boundaries up with friends for disturbing behaviour, but usually they were for much more horrible things, and they weren't my best friend for 12 years. We only had each other in high school, and we have been loyal to each other for about 12 years, but sometimes I feel like I grew up and he stayed in high school. He's still such a lovely, caring guy, but I have to take him alongside the ugly parts of him that he seemingly doesn't want to improve on. Has anyone else been through a similar situation? Were you able to encourage your friend to grow? Did you keep that relationship or did you have to put up boundaries? Do you feel like you could have made any better choices?

Gerarldo1 My partner spies my every move online and on social media
  • replies: 11

Hi everyone I am new to this forum and would like to get some advice. Well let's just start by saying a little while ago my partner of 5 years caught me watching porn from my browser's history; I may have an addiction but I don't believe it is a seri... View more

Hi everyone I am new to this forum and would like to get some advice. Well let's just start by saying a little while ago my partner of 5 years caught me watching porn from my browser's history; I may have an addiction but I don't believe it is a serious cause for concern as it is somewhat common amongst men without generalising. We had a little argument which likely developed into a more civil conversation. I sort of came clean by admitting that I was indeed watching it but this was no indication on the strength of my relationship with her. Ever since this exchange I have noticed that she has been pretty much spying on me. Like checking regularly my browser's history my Facebook account and she's been obsessed about finding out if I have those private webcam account (which I don't and will never have). I don't know if she's checking my phone constantly when I'm in the shower or simply by leaving it unattended but it has become pretty invasive and I don't really know how to deal with it. Now there may be few things that I can be guilty of but nothing to warrant such invasion of privacy. I worry she might become full on paranoid. I don't want this to put a stain on, I believe, our really strong relationship. There have been discussions about potentially getting married and having kids which I'm really excited about but with the past few months it gives me a sense of uneasiness. I do try to reduce my erotica consumption which to her credit is not really healthy for my psyche but I don't believe in any shape or form it is a betraying behaviour. I would love to hear what people have to say about this issue.

wldlsk12 Severe pre-engagement anxiety
  • replies: 3

I’m 28 (female) and I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost 3 years. We didn’t know each other at all before dating, so it’s not the kind of friendship - romantic relationship scene. I have severe anxiety, and I was seeing a clinical psychologist re... View more

I’m 28 (female) and I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost 3 years. We didn’t know each other at all before dating, so it’s not the kind of friendship - romantic relationship scene. I have severe anxiety, and I was seeing a clinical psychologist regularly. My boyfriend has been really supportive on this journey. I have big anxiety issues towards relationship and attachment. However, this year I get extremely anxious about getting engaged - to an extent I couldn’t stop asking my boyfriend on a daily basis. He is more of a ‘present’ person, he doesn’t plan as much as I do. Eventually he set a timeframe, this year September. However, I couldn’t stop worrying about what if he doesn’t propose in September l, I get very anxious and stressed when he is not looking or buying the ring. I feel sick of myself, however I couldn’t stop it. I feel I’m the last person in my friend circle that’s not engaged at the age of 28. I even facebooked all my female friends and stalked to see what age they got married. I feel very much drained as well. Any suggestion would be appreciated.

ecomama Parental alienation **Trigger Warning**
  • replies: 11

This is such a difficult topic for those of us who've suffered from the abuse known as Parental Alienation. And abuse of their children. For me it didn't happen ONLY from exH but his "allies" did alot too. Tonight I am SO SAD about this. Eldest D ble... View more

This is such a difficult topic for those of us who've suffered from the abuse known as Parental Alienation. And abuse of their children. For me it didn't happen ONLY from exH but his "allies" did alot too. Tonight I am SO SAD about this. Eldest D blew up at me tonight about leaving all the children with abusive people, she said she hated me for what I had done. I didn't do anything. "Hate" is a banned word in our home - usually. I NEVER knew they were being abused, how could I? NO ONE TOLD ME. Everything about the children under 18 has been reported to Police but for the adult children I offered to support them to report but they said no. Now this must have built up inside them and exploded again tonight. I am powerless because I know nothing about that abuse and they have to report being over 18. I didn't think my heart could break all over again about this but it has. The outright lies the abusers told my children still linger in their minds. Some of these lies were said for over a decade and I only found out this year. The children were manipulated into believing them. Things changed when my youngest D studied "how to tell a liar" and proceeded to test both me and others for weeks, then she reported her 'findings' to us all at once. I passed every time. The abusers failed every time. I fought for all the children in Courts and won 100% care but the damage is so deep. I feel all the familiar feelings of depression and hopelessness flooding in. I'm trying to hold onto the MH gains I've made but omg this is horrifying to me and I feel devastated all over again. It's like ALL the abuse they suffered is taken out on me. Angry outbursts from my children still at home has reduced to almost zero. I organised Counselling and we support each other. We have a calm life. Then the adult children come over and anger is infused here. Sometimes they haven't spoken to us (mostly me) for months at a time. Keeping the grandchildren away and doing other strange and horrible things that they know hurt me deeply. I've given them everything I have. Years ago I was suicidal over this without knowing what was going on. The abusers had turned my entire extended family against me and my children also. I was so confused and completely alone. If you've gone through this, did anything heal your relationships? EM

Jstar49 My estranged daughter turns 21 today
  • replies: 312

Hi everyone, I'm completely new here so Hello and thanks for being here. It's my eldest daughter's 21st birthday today and I'm feeling pretty emotional about it. She hasn't spoken to me in 4 years, and refuses to have any contact with me, my husband ... View more

Hi everyone, I'm completely new here so Hello and thanks for being here. It's my eldest daughter's 21st birthday today and I'm feeling pretty emotional about it. She hasn't spoken to me in 4 years, and refuses to have any contact with me, my husband or our 10 yr old daughter. I was a single mum with her, stayed around her dad's town in order for her to have a relationship with him but finally left when she was 8, to return up north and be closer to family. That's a whole other story. She was impacted by my PND, for sure, and things have always been intense between us. Chaotic too. Interesting, but not exactly stable. My marriage when she was 10 was the start of some kind of normal, and now I've never been so content or mentally/emotionally stable, even tho I still need to take care of myself, not get overwhelmed, and watch myself re: taking on others opinions/judgements. I worry about her but I tell myself maybe it's for the best, maybe she just needs time and space to discover who she is, and learn to forgive the mistakes of the past and accept herself and myself for who we are. It's hard tho. Today I just would love to see her, see her smile at me, hug her and tell her how proud of her I am. And hear whatever she has to say. Anyhow, thanks for listening. I know there's others out there with similar stories. It seems like the world just needs a course in family harmony! It's so sad for the kids that get caught up in it. Cheers, Jstar

AccidentlyUncontrolled Completely and utterly alone
  • replies: 1

I have a best friend and I know he cares just not enough to treat me like a human cause his feeling are the only feelings that matter. I’ve isolated myself from my family and I’m not good at holding other friendships cause I don’t like to talk to peo... View more

I have a best friend and I know he cares just not enough to treat me like a human cause his feeling are the only feelings that matter. I’ve isolated myself from my family and I’m not good at holding other friendships cause I don’t like to talk to people and I can be emotional. I’ve been going to the doctors and we finally found a way to get diagnosed that I can afford. But now it’s more and more wait lists. I can’t tell if I feel like no one cares for no reason. Or if like my heightened emotions make me feel like I care more as I’ve always held people in a high regard to what I should. But now I’m just completely alone and I’ve never been this depressed in my life I’ve always felt lonely. But now it just feels like I have nothing. I pour myself into the things I have and they get worse while I don’t feel like I can do anything to get better it’s been years of this and I’m just lonely