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.

Announcement Icon
You can win one of three $200 gift cards. Complete our survey by 5pm, 30 June 2024 AEST to enter the draw. Your response will be anonymous so you can't be identified.

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

LifetimeDreamer No longer know what to do, think and feel - Please help
  • replies: 3

Hello Everyone, I have been in a relationship or something like it for over a year. The man I am with separated from his wife in 2018 but they parted in anger. That played on his mind for a long time and he could not move on. Half way through 2019, h... View more

Hello Everyone, I have been in a relationship or something like it for over a year. The man I am with separated from his wife in 2018 but they parted in anger. That played on his mind for a long time and he could not move on. Half way through 2019, he realised that he has to face his demons after trying to push all the pain and grief away for too long, not accepting any of the pain. We went on and off because of that - him telling me he wants me in his life but also ending our relationship because he knew he had unfinished business. I was heartbroken because I love him dearly but accepted that it had to be over despite my wishes for a future with him. After I went away for a while (no contact with him), I came back and he pulled me in again. We have always had a very close, intimate and very beautiful link to each other, so we both feel very drawn to each other. So after he started things again, the issues with his ex-wife were still not dealt with. He did not want to be with her (no love, not connection and she had moved away). However, he also still couldn't let go and didn't know why (it was likely guilt and the feeling of failure). So he said he had to face her to finally get closure. That didn't work well because she simply resigned from her job, booked a flight and moved back into their home (where he lives). She arranged for counselling and while she thought they would do it to save the marriage, he resented her and chose to use counselling to try and make her understand that this marriage was really over. But until then, he ended things with me again knowing he needed to finalise things with her. Or actually I ended it somewhat when he told me that he agreed to her coming back. In the end, 1.5 months ago, he finally ended it completely. He struggled with that a lot because he did not want to be the bad guy - he seems to have real issues with feeling like he is hurting someone. She (an addict) also made him responsible for everything although she largely contributed to the failed marriage. She finally packed up her part of the house and moved interstate for good. But since then, although he says he made the right decision, he is in a real depression phase and I am worried about him. He now told me today that he currently feels anxiety at the thought of us going on two trips together that we had planned and booked when he was still excited (before she left). I believe grief has finally hit him and so now we have to cancel the trips.

JCW2020 Emotional abuse.... and struggling to leave!!
  • replies: 6

I’m 48 and have been married for twenty years, and in the last couple of years, as there has been increasing awareness an info available, I think I’ve realised I’m in an emotional abusive relationship. I would say there is bullying and gaslighting an... View more

I’m 48 and have been married for twenty years, and in the last couple of years, as there has been increasing awareness an info available, I think I’ve realised I’m in an emotional abusive relationship. I would say there is bullying and gaslighting and distancing by my husband, and yet I’m still here despite it all! I could give many examples, that are all quite textbook I’m realising, and to give a quick overview, he will cycle between being really moody, and hardly wanting to talk or communicate and only giving brief responses to anything to then writing love notes or messages and promising things will chance to then back to being just the way he was. I’ve seen psychologist and we have been together and yet nothing actually does change! The challenges relate a lot to times when I may need emotional support and he instead becomes very distant and abrupt and dismissive. A pattern that has been for a good decade and had really been challenging during the passing of my dad to an aggressive brain cancer (I spent time caring for him and my husband was frustrated as he “didn’t sign up to be a single dad”. I was coming and going and the longest I was away was about ten days! I’ve always been the breadwinner and often the sole income earner and we have had many disagreements when I have shared we need him to help ease financial stress and work more but he gets very resentful. We have three kids, our eldest is living interstate for uni, our middle is in Year 10 and our youngest in Year 6. My husband loves to push buttons to get reactions from the kids and our youngest copies this too, and so I’m often having to intervene and our 15 year old ends up in tears- he’s taller than his dad! The elder two see what my husband is like (often rude and abrupt and dismissive with me) but the youngest will always try and smooth his dad when he starts to sulk by telling his dad how much he loves him. I’m still working full time, and quite a demanding job, and should add I also have MS, and I’m tired!! At the lowest moments with my health my husband withdraws even further, and will make snide comments and feign sympathy is a very sarcastic tone. Quite simply, I find him quite unkind and selfish a lot of the time. He’s said a few times lately he’s leaving as he “doesn’t want to cause me any more stress”, and then just as quickly he’s apologising and on best behavior for a short while. I forgot to add he is a functional alcoholic (at least 8 beers every night) and a moody one!

Lana1990 Boyfriend advice needed
  • replies: 1

So, I have been in a relationship with this guy for 4 months and everything is amazing!! Although the past week he has been getting messages from an ex girlfriend, another lady he slept with but not in an actual relationship and then today he mention... View more

So, I have been in a relationship with this guy for 4 months and everything is amazing!! Although the past week he has been getting messages from an ex girlfriend, another lady he slept with but not in an actual relationship and then today he mentioned this other girl he was sleeping with and that he caught up with her about a month ago.... I understand he can have mates who are female and couldn’t careless.. I guess I feel a little uneasy at the fact he keeps these women around for what purpose?! I just don’t see that he would feel comfortable with me hanging out with past men that I have bumped uglies with..... I don’t know how I should feel with this, or how I can look past it. I trust him, and feel secure but I just feel uneasy on why he needs these women around still... any advice would be helpful.

Guest_9043 Serious communication issues. Beyond sad.
  • replies: 5

Hi all. I'm not feeling good in myself at all. I am tired, sad and weepy most of the time. My partner has difficulties with communicating. Serious issues. It's to the point where not even I talk much anymore. I've said and expressed all there is to s... View more

Hi all. I'm not feeling good in myself at all. I am tired, sad and weepy most of the time. My partner has difficulties with communicating. Serious issues. It's to the point where not even I talk much anymore. I've said and expressed all there is to say and express. Most of the time it does not end up well. I deal with stonewalling or her ending up in tears. We are both doing our individual counselling and due to start couples counselling in the 20th of this month. It is even harder cause we live together. I feel so completely alone. We are drifting apart. Communication and trust is the two things that mean the most to me in any relationship. I am not intimate with her at the moment. I can't. I am affectionate, just not intimate. She just keeps saying she has a lot of work to do on herself. I feel like I'm trapped. I feel like I have no more options or ideas. I'm scared to even talk about my feelings anymore. Mainly because I either get no response or nothing changes. I am being patient knowing she us working in herself. I offer encouragement and positivity. It's just that I don't have the partner I need. I miss her terribly even though we live together. I find myself wanting to be around others at times just so someone talks to me. I feel completely lost and don't know how to get through this very tough patch. I don't believe in just walking away when things get tough. They could be tough with anyone. I just feel myself becoming more depressed and withdrawn. I wonder what to do cause I don't know. If someone could give me some insight as to what could be going in here and how I can better my situation? Thanks.

P_B Why do I struggle to let people go?
  • replies: 1

After helpful advice or coping strategies please? I ended a long term relationship because I had feelings for a long time friend. This friend said the feelings were reciprocated. Only problem is she still has a partner. I assumed, and she lead me to ... View more

After helpful advice or coping strategies please? I ended a long term relationship because I had feelings for a long time friend. This friend said the feelings were reciprocated. Only problem is she still has a partner. I assumed, and she lead me to believe that once we had recognised that we had feelings for each other, she would leave her partner too & that we'd start dating. She confided that her relationship had not been physically intimate for almost 2 years, but she still cared for her partner but was no longer in love. We were intimate (something I'm not proud of, but want to give the full picture), and I know that I am completely in love with her. It's been longer than 15 months since I've seen her, and in that time we have had regular phone contact, she's told me that there are feelings for me, then she says we should just remain friends. That she wants to be with me, but it's just not the right time for her to leave her current partner yet. I'm lead to believe that they are still not intimate physically. I know she cares about me, but I know that I can't and shouldn't wait forever for her to decide to leave. I cant stop thinking about her, and I've never felt more jealous of anyone other than her partner in my life! I want to believe that if it's meant to be one day it will, and that I can't control the situation, but I don't know how to move forward. All I think about is wanting to be with her, wanting her to CHOOSE me. I had a childhood where my siblings needs were always placed above mine, and there was physical and emotional abuse. So I'm aware that childhood trauma plays a part in me not being able to let go. Has anyone else experienced this, I currently see a psychologist, but feel like I make a bit of progress & then slip back again.

Three_boys Separated from my wife and children and i’m the cause of her anxiety
  • replies: 2

Newbie here To begin with we have been together for 14 years and we’re married for 9 of those years at the moment we are living apart and are sharing the children on a casual basis her mental health deteriorated to the point she had an anxiety attack... View more

Newbie here To begin with we have been together for 14 years and we’re married for 9 of those years at the moment we are living apart and are sharing the children on a casual basis her mental health deteriorated to the point she had an anxiety attack and had to call an ambulance what followed that was 10 days of cyclic vomiting, she is feeling well enough to have kids and can only care for them for a limited time I was aware she had depression from the beginning and took meds for this up until the present day She has gone through three pregnancies with sickness the whole time, eldest son has autism has been fighting for that diagnosis, has smoked marijuana to help sleep and then recently increased the amount to help with anxiousness we bought a house that she does not want to live in and she started her own business in late 2018.It all added up to her struggling with her mental health she is seeing a psych now for a couple of years, is taking meds for her depression but as she admits she is doing it all for everyone. She will not make time for herself for mindfulness exercises,self care in her words I bring on her anxiety by my behaviour and the way I communicated with her recently i realise this now and have offered to have kids more often, apologised for my irrational behaviour the kids are resilient and handling it well, I miss them when they are not here anyone else been through something similar and can offer some advice

AlexDeLoser Literally no friends
  • replies: 3

Greetings good people, I hope you are all doing well I've always had trouble making friends throughout my schooling years. I've conveyed many different personas in attempt to fit in/be accepted into friendships. regardless, I still haven't managed to... View more

Greetings good people, I hope you are all doing well I've always had trouble making friends throughout my schooling years. I've conveyed many different personas in attempt to fit in/be accepted into friendships. regardless, I still haven't managed to make any genuine friends. The 'friends' that I do make through so much effort, always end up forgetting about me after they no longer accountable to their previous commitments i.e. school and work. And even through the short-lived friendships that I experienced, I always felt really crappy about myself, I felt like I had only become their friends because I was being someone else who I wasn't. I always feel that I am different; as strange as it is to say, I even feel the weirdest and the worst amongst my siblings. Anyways, I was wanting to know other people's experience with being the 'lone wolf', or something similar. Maybe even some tips to interaction with people? I'm not too sure. Thanks, everyone. Kind regards, Alex

Tonkalass Daughter growing up and I’m lonely
  • replies: 2

My daughter is in year 12 and will soon be moving on with her life, but I have only ever been a parent . I work part time and am married but have no friends and are lonely. I don’t know where to go to meet new people as I am awkward in social situati... View more

My daughter is in year 12 and will soon be moving on with her life, but I have only ever been a parent . I work part time and am married but have no friends and are lonely. I don’t know where to go to meet new people as I am awkward in social situations. I don’t want to return to full time work just to elevate my feelings of loneliness. I don’t want to spend all of my time with my husband either I need some gal pals. Please help!

Lynn16 Struggling with anxiety.
  • replies: 1

Hi, I did not know what I should tell everyone here. Here is what has happened. My husband of 38 years married, 40 years together has slept with our neighbour's daughter/single mum who is 30 years younger than him. I knew something was wrong with his... View more

Hi, I did not know what I should tell everyone here. Here is what has happened. My husband of 38 years married, 40 years together has slept with our neighbour's daughter/single mum who is 30 years younger than him. I knew something was wrong with his attitude and confronted him. He told me what had happened. He has been remorseful, kind, caring and very patient with me. We are trying to keep our marriage going. She means nothing to him he says. Her family were good friends with us but they have turned on him, which is understandable but they have turned on me also for telling them what their daughter did. They are pretending he is making this up and using her to get out of our marriage. He is a truck driver and is away alot, so he could of used any person on his travels to use as a scapegoat. He could of just left also. He is not leaving me. I still love him and he says he loves me. He does not know why he did it, he thinks he was flattered that a younger women showed an interest in him, he is not sure. The thing is, she was friends with our daughter who is a single mum also. We have found out from our daughter that one night when they were out together for a girls night, she also slept with another married man. That marriage has broken up. She has also slept with a few other men in our small little town and even thought she was pregnant once. This was all in 10 months of being here. My husband had a vasectomy 30 year ago. Her mother who was a friend of mine, has been spreading rumours everywhere and I am scared of going out of my house. I have put fence extensions right along the adjoining fence so I cant see them/her. Her mother is a person that wants to be the centre of attention everywhere she goes. She treats her daughter like a child. Her mother and father are divorced and she has a step father. I think she has 'Daddy" issues as she told my husband that her real Dad dresses up in woman's clothes. I am not happy at all with what my husband did but I still love him . I have access to his phone, emails and facebook account even the phone bill. I can see who he calls at all time. Ok, the problem. When he is away I am not so bad as he travels up north, he shares his location on google maps also. The trouble is when he is close to our town, my mind/imagination plays havoc. I think that somehow she is meeting him. I panic and sweat and get palpations in the chest and my breathing gets shallow. He knows all about my fears and does not know how to help me. Some days I not sure if trying is worth it. He and I both know it will take a long time for me to trust him again and says he will do what it takes so I can feel better. I just hate feeling like this

Mert Dint know how to deal !
  • replies: 1

I have joined the forum hoping for some input /advice regarding my situation .after 20 years in a relationship with my partner just five weeks ago he dropped the bombshell that he wanted us " to go our separate ways " ! We had had troubles a few year... View more

I have joined the forum hoping for some input /advice regarding my situation .after 20 years in a relationship with my partner just five weeks ago he dropped the bombshell that he wanted us " to go our separate ways " ! We had had troubles a few years back but I honestly believed we were getting much better and am still in shock over it all ! I do believe in my heart there is more to it than he is saying and he isn't saying much at all ! We are still living in the house together but in separate bedrooms and he refused to have a conversation about us ! I love him like absolute crazy and can't give up ! Little background ,five years ago he was diagnosed with leukamia ,diabetes and we have had a few financial burdens he didn't share with me until after the fact ! Two years ago he lost his lifelong best mate to suicide ,then just three days later a work mate he idolised took his life also ! At this point he really withdrew from me ,has been cranky ,irritable and very unapproachable ever since ! He dropped the bombshell just three days after another mate took his own life so it seems very timely to me ! I do believe he is likely struggling with depression ,and hoping someone had some advice on how to gently approach the conversation withOut causing him to completely shut down ! I find it quite odd that he has only told one person outside family what is going on , even his best mate has no idea ,he is just not talking to anyone ! I am falling apart making myself sick over it ,all the while he won't talk ..thanks for putting up with my rambling guys ,guess I'm just at wits end ! Have an awesome day guys