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

geoff Feeling lost and in love, tell us your reasons.
  • replies: 274

We have many comments about being in love with someone but unable to achieve what we desire for many reasons. Love is a beautiful word that can be expressed by just a small smile, a floating kiss or even a simple message that only has a word or two, ... View more

We have many comments about being in love with someone but unable to achieve what we desire for many reasons. Love is a beautiful word that can be expressed by just a small smile, a floating kiss or even a simple message that only has a word or two, such as I cherish you, I want you to be by my side or more adoring words, sometimes we are too afraid to show our love and causes problems that we were not expecting. Why do we show our pets more love than we do with our partner/spouse? All thoughts are welcome, both good and those that truly upset us. Take care. Geoff.

Jagger10 Coping with a changing life - introducing myself
  • replies: 4

Hi - let me say up front that I hate to complain and be thought of as a 'victim' - or an 'unhinged ranter' as my ex-husband told me I was the other day when I tried to point out how sad he had made me and our grown-up children by running away from us... View more

Hi - let me say up front that I hate to complain and be thought of as a 'victim' - or an 'unhinged ranter' as my ex-husband told me I was the other day when I tried to point out how sad he had made me and our grown-up children by running away from us nearly 2 years ago. After 40 years of marriage, and just before Covid hit, he ran off with his girlfriend from high school - just told me one day that he was having an affair (and had been for about 6 months) and he was off. It was all my fault because I got pregnant with the first of our three kids accidentally in 1983! - and in response, he ran off with somebody else at the time for a short affair. He came back and I forgave him - but he now says it ruined his life as he never wanted to be a father at all. He told his kids that last year too. My kids (all in their 30's) couldn't handle my grief and anger on top of theirs and didn't talk to me (other than either ghost or abuse me) for nearly a year. My oldest daughter now talks to me occasionally but not my second daughter or son. I am now divorced from my ex and I am not unhappy with the divorce settlement - although he is bitter and angry with me because he didn't do as well financially as he thought he should. I mostly think that I am over it but I suspect not. I take anti-depressants and I try to keep busy with friends, my art, music etc. I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and PTSD by my GP and I do ok most of the time. I sleep badly despite trying all the prescribed strategies including the occasional use of sleeping pills. To top it off I lost my mother to cancer 3 years ago and my dad also from cancer, last October 2021 in the middle of COVID - I loved him and was with him almost every day over his last months and was with him when he died. I still grieve for him quite deeply. The only upside was that I am an executor of his estate and will get a largish inheritance so money worries should be a thing of the past. I experimented with self-harm for a while in 2020 and early 2021 - but stopped when I adopted my darling puppy Harvey (a schnoodle) who is kind of my therapy dog - unconditional love is just the best. I do my best to look after my older brother who lives with Aspbergers and needs assistance from time to time - I have been doing that for a long time. I have always been the caregiver, responsible and thoughtful one in the family. Now I just feel taken advantage of by my ex, my kids and even my brawling other siblings. So hi, that's me!

JEMTWNM I am in desperate need of advise
  • replies: 8

My sister recently lost custody of her 3 children and I have taken custody of them. They have been living with my family and I for 4 months now. The intention was to have them restored back to their mum after a period of time but the decision has bee... View more

My sister recently lost custody of her 3 children and I have taken custody of them. They have been living with my family and I for 4 months now. The intention was to have them restored back to their mum after a period of time but the decision has been made that they will not be going back to their mum and they will stay in the system. this has caused a great deal of stress on my family and my partner and I are completely on opposite sides of the fence. We have 3 children of our own, so all up there is 6 children - 1, 2 , 3 , 3 , 5 & 9. the youngest of the 3 children that is not ours will go and live with the material grandmother , leaving the older 2 with no where to go and the father is in jail. I grew up in the system and know what it is like. I therefore want to give the 2 children a forever home. My partner however does not. We have been together 7 years and before all of this happened we were quite stable - due to get married in May 2022. My partner does not want to take on the children permanently and is willing to leave if I choose to keep them. I am so torn because this is my life that has now blown up. My wedding that I have been planning and saving for is 4 months away and unlikely to go ahead, I cry every day over the real possibility that I will either lose my nieces or my partner and I just have no idea what to do. it’s important to also understand that this has been a very trying 4 months. The 3 children have very real and intense behaviours/trauma . It certainly has not been easy and we are only just starting to adjust I feel lost , I have no one other than my mum or my partner to turn to . My mum took me in as a child and has a very strong opinion about what I should do and my partners opinion differs from that. please offer me your advise , it would be greatly appreciated

WaterFront Needing Advice
  • replies: 24

Hi, My breakup happened almost a year ago. It was sudden, unexpected and not initiated by me. I was in shock for about four months and then fairly depressed for a good five months. I have been struggling with the feelings that come with being rejecte... View more

Hi, My breakup happened almost a year ago. It was sudden, unexpected and not initiated by me. I was in shock for about four months and then fairly depressed for a good five months. I have been struggling with the feelings that come with being rejected. There was a bit of back and forth - mostly respectful and civilised - from both of us. I have processed all of this and while still sad about my loss, I was feeling a bit better. I haven’t talked to anyone about the situation or about how I have been feeling and can’t actually. Then she recently started texting me, my birthday and so on. She is trying to be kind I think as she knows how badly I was affected and there is no chance of a reconciliation as she left me for someone else who she is still happily with. I don’t want that either. We had been friends for many years before we became involved. My problem is that her texts are upsetting me for days afterwards and I’m trying to decide whether to ‘block’ her, and if I do, whether I should tell her that’s what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I would really like some advice on what to do about this.

Mick_C My sudden depression is breaking my relationship
  • replies: 14

Hi all, I have been with my fiance for 6 1/2 years. We have a 3 1/2 year old daughter together and I have an 11 year old son from a previous relationship. Our daughter has Sensory processing disorder which makes our life stressful sometimes. Recently... View more

Hi all, I have been with my fiance for 6 1/2 years. We have a 3 1/2 year old daughter together and I have an 11 year old son from a previous relationship. Our daughter has Sensory processing disorder which makes our life stressful sometimes. Recently I've developed depression with no real reason as to why. I have become insecure and second guessing everything. I absolutely love my girl and I'd be lost without both of them. My partner isn't an intimate person, we don't cuddle on the couch or in bed but our sex life is amazing and we kiss regularly and hold hands like most couples. But lately the sex has stopped, which bothers me as I'm an intimate person and it was my main connection with her. She doesn't understand that and says it's because I'm sad all the time lately and she doesn't see that as attractive. I have no idea what has caused my sudden depression but I feel it's causing friction in our relationship. I get very insecure and ask her stupid questions that make her feel awkward. She has given me no reason to think she has done anything wrong for me to question her like I do. I don't understand and I'm struggling with it. My previous ex cheated on me and kccked me out when our son was 6 months old. Ever since then I've had emotional and intimacy issues but thought I had them under control until recently. I just don't know what to do anymore, I can't lose my fiance, I'd be lost without her. What hurts the most is she isn't being very supportive and in a recent conversation she said if we split up she wouldn't keep our daughter from me, we would share 50/50. To me that sounds like she has already given thought to leaving? I really need some help

white knight Combatting criticism
  • replies: 12

We've spoken a lot about stigma of mental illness and the hurt we experience from naivety and ignorance. Tolerating this can become a battle ground as we try to develop strategies to overcome it. How do we do this? Well again, we've talked about "equ... View more

We've spoken a lot about stigma of mental illness and the hurt we experience from naivety and ignorance. Tolerating this can become a battle ground as we try to develop strategies to overcome it. How do we do this? Well again, we've talked about "equalising" the onslaught based on the notion "a immoveable force is only equalled by an equal and opposite reaction". I agree with this because in the animal kingdom the strongest survive and the weaker, the vulnerable, the mentally ill are usually the victims. We have to strive harder to become less victims and more recognised as individuals. Different doesnt mean inferior. Enter the part phrase "How would you like it....". EG The common comment we use is "you're too sensitive". When someone tells you that, they are saying a number of things- you arent normal in terms of sensitivity you should do something about it you are intolerable (to them) with your sensitivity. So a standard answer for me nowadays is "you're too short, can you reduce your height 150mm"? The idea being, just like my sensitivity which I have no control over, their height is fixed! They get a taste of their own medicine. There is one thing wrong with this countering technique- it comes under the "two wrongs dont make a right" rule. It comes across as nasty and potentially explosive whereas education should be the name of the game. So, the part phrase "how would you like it if I said you were too tall and can you make yourself shorter"? Effectively you are turning a nasty statement into a question and a question puts the pressure on them to answer it. Another one- "would you feel comfortable if I asked you to be less talkative"? Some people's assumption is that our symptoms of mental illness is "wrong" whereas we the mentally ill should accept our symptoms is normal for us. The outcome of same could mean eg "you are so moody its intolerable" and answer thus- "do you think moodiness is a bad thing or is it that you live life in a way so stable it might be boring"? You could continue the theme based on the fact that as a moody person with bipolar for example, that you wont take criticism simply on the basis that you, in their mind, dont fit inside the circle of normality. The most successful combatting techniques are ones that dont escalate the conversations , educate the critic and keep them as friends and family. After all if we upset everyone we talk to about their poor knowledge levels of mental illness we'd be very lonely. TonyWK

Checkthebatteries The third wheel
  • replies: 2

Does anyone who has a sibling with mental health problems feel like they come last in everything? I have a sibling who has issues with aggression, mania and addiction etc. and they've always caused trouble and had problems staying in work. Life is on... View more

Does anyone who has a sibling with mental health problems feel like they come last in everything? I have a sibling who has issues with aggression, mania and addiction etc. and they've always caused trouble and had problems staying in work. Life is one big party for them. I don't speak with them anymore and realised a few years ago that I basically grew up in a domestic violence situation with them. In contrast I am the good kid with a good job. I'm nice to people- mostly- and the police have never been to my house- apart from the time they got my neighbour's address wrong. I always feel like I come last. Obviously their treatment and keeping them vaguely on an OK path and everything has taken up a huge amount of my family's time and emotions and came first . Then it was taxing on my parents so they do what makes them feel good. Then it's me, if at all. Often what one, two or three of them want conflicts with what I want but I am never asked. I am just told what will happen. If I speak up or voice opposition or do my own thing then I'm told to not be selfish and upset everyone. There are always different standards-I got criticised the other day for not getting a higher-paying a job within the past 12 months when I finished my postgraduate studies. But good for sibling that they went to the gym this week. The latest is I have been kicked out of my home office- which is at my folk's house because I don't have room for an office in my flat, so sibling can have their friends over.- when they don't even live there but it's a bigger house with a pool etc. I feel my work is more important than their fun time. I feel like I never matter in anything and no one wants to hear how I feel, because that's too hard for them to hear and I should be able to cope with whatever because I am not 'sick'. The only time anyone listens to me is when I do something big like cancelling on a family trip or refusing to see people, then I get told how awful I am and then things go back to the way they were. I feel like my needs should come before their wants given I'm doing the right thing and they are not.

puzzlegirl How do you know when your marriage is done?
  • replies: 8

Hello. I am currently navigating a broken marriage where my husband has told me he hates me, wants to see me hurt, and wants a divorce. The catalyst for this is his behaviour towards and with another woman that was/is borderline cheating. None of it ... View more

Hello. I am currently navigating a broken marriage where my husband has told me he hates me, wants to see me hurt, and wants a divorce. The catalyst for this is his behaviour towards and with another woman that was/is borderline cheating. None of it he sees is wrong. But of course I carried on about it in hopes that he would see I was not ok with it and that it was hurting me. Unfortunately, I carried on too much (and I did do some wrong things), which has resulted in him wanting me out of his life. For the best part of a year now I have gone hard core in making personal changes, and have been working hard towards bettering our marriage. But it is all fruitless. He doesn't care about me (has said as much), and doesn't want anything to change. But he is not actively working towards a divorce. And the most confusing thing is that sometimes he says he loves me, and does kind things for me. He seems to be a Jekyl and Hyde. I am aware that he too is processing some of the mean things I said and did. And I have given him space for that, but how much space is enough?? In no way am I a victim. But I am also a changed person. But it is too late because he is done. But if he is done, why doesn't he just go ahead and sign the piece of paper that will give him freedom from me? I am not quite sure what question I am asking here, perhaps just need a forum to express. I guess I am looking to see what you would do in this situation. Do I keep trying to work on me and the marriage? Or do I give up? We have been married nearly 18 years and have a child, so it's not clear cut. If a man is done with a marriage, is that really truly the end? I want to hope, but I think I have reached a point of 'done' as well. Thanks for reading.

JR1401 Marriage breakdown - wisdom needed
  • replies: 8

Hi BB community, I’m a bit lost and hoping for some wisdom. I have been together with my wife for over a decade, married for half and have 2 kids together. Up until recently I was unaware how unhappy my wife was in the marriage, and it wasn’t until s... View more

Hi BB community, I’m a bit lost and hoping for some wisdom. I have been together with my wife for over a decade, married for half and have 2 kids together. Up until recently I was unaware how unhappy my wife was in the marriage, and it wasn’t until she requested counselling that it all came out. I was slow to grasp the seriousness of the situation and had some adverse emotional reactions - I was blindsided when she opened up which didn’t help the situation. On reflection I understand how we got here, my wife was feeling under appreciated in the relationship, wasn’t getting the attention she needed or deserved, and the spark between us was lost. We both have very demanding and stressful jobs and with 2 young kids we didn’t prioritise our relationship. That being said we have always spent a lot of time with each other and as a family and up until recently barely had any arguments. Since understanding the seriousness of our situation I have been doing everything I can to save the relationship, have bared my soul, tried to reestablish communication, agreed to counselling and was under the impression we were both on the same page with getting through this. Fast forward 3 months and I discovered she has been having an emotional affair with a male friend which started around the same time she flagged relationship issues. This was something I confronted her about as I had noticed a change in her behaviours, not something that she came to me with. We also had our first counselling session recently and agreed with the counsellor we wanted to work through it, but the very next day she said she wants to separate and we have now started that process. We both have very different coping mechanisms, I’m trying to talk through my feelings while she is shutting down which hasn’t helped. I’m absolutely floored. Within 3 months our lives have been turned upside down and I’m struggling to comprehend and keep up with the speed of this. I still have feelings for my wife and would like to work through, we are being amicable as we discuss next steps but I’m concerned we’re about to make some pretty big decisions that will impact the rest of our lives without having had time to fully work this through. She has agreed to continue counselling short term before we make some of the bigger decisions, but I feel this is heading one way. I would be interested to hear if anyone has been through something similar and if any sound advice or reference materials you would recommend. Thanks!

cam003 Relationships after abuse: how to deal with love and loss??
  • replies: 4

Hi, I am new here and this is my first post. I spent 2 years in an abusive relationship, and then 3 years single and recovering before I met my partner (we are both in early 30s). I did have some difficulties learning to let someone into my life agai... View more

Hi, I am new here and this is my first post. I spent 2 years in an abusive relationship, and then 3 years single and recovering before I met my partner (we are both in early 30s). I did have some difficulties learning to let someone into my life again, and he wasn't really looking for a relationship ship at the time. We have been together almost 3 years now, seeing each other on weekends. We live 1 hour apart and this has always put a strain on things as we have very busy lives. Arguments have been escalating since we bought a bus and renovation plans got underway. The bus is at his parents house for logistical reasons and I am struggling to contribute to it with equal time and money. He feels like the longer the project takes, the more of his life wastes away and now he sees me as holding the project back. We were struggling to find a compromise that keeps everyone happy and yesterday we had a disagreement that will likely end our relationship for good. I was really looking forward to this future with him so I am mourning the loss of him in my life as well as this dream of bus life. I don't see this being resolved and I am not sure I want to if we can't find a way to communicate better as arguments are still triggering for me and when he is hurt his nervous response is 'attack or be attacked'. I have suggested couples therapy but he is not keen/doesn't think it will help. I have been through terrible break ups before (leaving an abuse relationship was very difficult) but somehow, I feel even more betrayed that I have let this man into my life and have been hurt again. I've been crying non stop, feel nauseous, and completely irrational. I thought after what I've been through previously, I would be better at coping. I know time will help as it is obviously very fresh... to be honest I am not even really sure what I am asking with this post. I am so exhausted of trying so hard and of being hurt. Why is this so hard and how is it ever possible to love again when loss is so incredibly painful?