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

J_m_o Doesnt feel right?
  • replies: 5

Hi everyone. Im a 22 year old father to a beautiful little boy who is 13 months old. My partner and i have been together for 2 and half years and our relationship was absolutely perfect before our little boy came along. The last year has been incredi... View more

Hi everyone. Im a 22 year old father to a beautiful little boy who is 13 months old. My partner and i have been together for 2 and half years and our relationship was absolutely perfect before our little boy came along. The last year has been incredibly testing on our relationship but also on us both as individuals. My girlfriend has been diagnosed with post-natal depression and sees a psychologist monthly. I also believe i also have developed sort sort of condition in the last 2 tears or so but i have not done a great deal to find out about it. I have seen a doctor twice about it and believe i may have an anxiety disorder or possibly depression based on my regular symptoms that corrospond with such conditions. Both times they have reffered me to a psycholigist, i went to one appointment and i left angry, i felt like it didnt do much for me at all which i know is a naive view on the issue because mental health issues are no quick fix, but i guess i was hoping for a diagnosis so i could maybe feel a form or relief just to know that i can be helped and maybe my moods and feelings arent how i should be feeling. I never went back to the psychologist but i think i should. Currently my girlfriend has gone to stay with her mum and taken our son to her mums house and i am quite confused about the future of our relationship. I love them both dearly and i feel quite isolated and alone right now and i havent moved of the couch all day. I find myself constantly frustrated at home and at work, i get very agitated very easily, i feel very uncomfortable in social situations nowadays and i always feel like im being looked at and judged by everyone around me. I find myself very awkward if i see someone i havent seen in a while in a public place and i feel my face go bright red like im embarrassed or something. I feel anxious about things i never used to in the past. I can get quite angry about the balance of chores in the house and who does more to help out. My partner and i are clashing alot lately and as a result she has left. I feel sometimes like i want to use drugs to feel happy like ecstasy, marijuana and speed because in the past i have associated those with having fun and happiness but i know that isnt a good idea. I dont really know what to do at the moment as i think we could be better off apart but the thought of not having my son in the house terrifies me, hopefully someone has similar circumstances and might be able to help me figure out what i should do

white knight Unwritten rules of separation with children involved
  • replies: 0

All parents love their children right? Of course. But when parents endure the end of their relationship its normal to focus on the job at hand and that usually is – saving their dignity from verbal attack, considering property division and coping wit... View more

All parents love their children right? Of course. But when parents endure the end of their relationship its normal to focus on the job at hand and that usually is – saving their dignity from verbal attack, considering property division and coping with a life alone….starting over. One of the problems with adulthood is there is rarely education with such situations. Same as pregnancy really…some prospective parents think it all comes naturally and there is no need for them to learn anything. With separation the same, some think they can just cope with the trauma. What about when children are involved? Often it’s a case of – parents separate, they both get a lawyer, they both try to work out/suggest property settlement and the drawn out family court begins. How many parents consult each other in a calm fair manner for the sake of the children who, by the way, are about to lose the full time parenthood of one parent and possibly that parent might not commence and maintain a regular visitation? God help the children. However, I can say that some break ups mean there is no possibility of conducting a calm fair meeting with the other party. It only takes one…not two as many people think. Only one needs to be spiteful or revengeful, to have the mindset that of not wanting to be negotiable. Every situation is different and there might be reasons that led to this condemnation that means no talk is possible. But I would suggest that in most cases two people should be able to put most differences aside to talk just about the children. So I’ve put together a list of things to consider upon separation- Share your children with the non custodial parent. They are not your children alone, they are the other parents children as well. As a custodial parent seek out what ever child support you are entitled to but recognise any extra financial input the non custodial parent gives. Thank him/her for it. Be nice Organise a 3-5 minute chat together upon the children returning home. Your kids will love to see you both chatting. Offer to drop the children off if you are heading that way - another way of being nice Both parents should make each other feel secure by telling them they will not be replaced by a new love in terms of parenting Step parents- make sure your children are treated proper. Ensure your children are included in holiday plans. Encourage parent and teacher night input. Why not do it together? Other ideas welcome Tony WK

reecemiley Fear of losing my family
  • replies: 2

I am a mum of three children and I am living in fear that I will lose my family. I have lived with anxiety for a long time now, & I blocked it from my mind for many years. I didn't want to admit that anything was wrong with me and over the years it s... View more

I am a mum of three children and I am living in fear that I will lose my family. I have lived with anxiety for a long time now, & I blocked it from my mind for many years. I didn't want to admit that anything was wrong with me and over the years it slowly became worse. I am only just now seeking help for it as I want to understand it. I didn't have a wonderful childhood, a separated family myself, love and being loved was something we weren't shown, communication lacked as a family and keeping our distance was others was what we were taught. trusting other people was not heard of. my childhood memories are being alone with my older sisters and learning to fend for ourselves. My husband & I separated five years ago and have only come back together 12 months ago. Everyday I find that I need his assurance that he is there and he wont be leaving. I become extremely demanding and I am putting so much strain on him as he tells me all the time he isn't going anywhere, yet I struggle to believe it. I cant bring myself to trust him and am always looking for a clue if he is being unfaithful.my insecurities are extremely high and I don't know why. Everytime I begin to see we are happy and this will be our life, I turn it upside down. Its like something is telling me I long to have a happy healthy family but I am restricted to allowing it. I find I than may start a small argument over something so small, or I will become extremely worried and create stress in our home. does this relate to my childhood or is it something else. My family are my everything and I love them so much, my fear to lose them is making me feel sick most days. I just wish for normal. Any advise would be appreciated so much.

SilentBirds Boyfriend says he wants to get married, freaks out while planning
  • replies: 5

My boyfriend and I have been together for 2.5 years, I'm 28 and he's 27. We moved in together within 6 months of our relationship. From the very onset we have talked about marriage and kids, he described to me in the very early stages of our relation... View more

My boyfriend and I have been together for 2.5 years, I'm 28 and he's 27. We moved in together within 6 months of our relationship. From the very onset we have talked about marriage and kids, he described to me in the very early stages of our relationship that those are two of the things he wants. We also share a lot of the same interests. We both come from previous long term relationships as well. So this whole time we have never really had many arguments, we live together very well, we share a lot of interests, the sex is amazing (although recently the frequency has died down a bit) and we both share the same values and interests, I pretty much felt that everything, all the important stuff aligned with us. He has been talking non stop for the last year about getting married and kids. I started to talk more seriously about it to him, and he basically told me to start planning it. He even said to me if I were to accidentally fall pregnant that it would be a great thing and nothing to be afraid of (my previous partner always made me feel bad). So everything is going well, and then out of the blue a few days ago he says we need to talk. He says he hasn't been expressing himself emotionally to me for at least a year and he says he is actually afraid of the future because there are so many uncertainties. He says he is especially worried and anxiety filled because he is normally so focused and clear (a quality I love about him, since I experience an anxiety disorder and he has been very helpful and supportive of me) but lately he hasn't felt this way. At first I was a bit upset because I felt more betrayed that he didn't choose to talk to me about all his worries. He says he didn't want to upset me, that I deserve the best and to be happy (I have a pretty terrible past, just lots of bad luck), but I said protecting people that you love isn't necessarily what's best for them. He says he wants a family and marriage with me, but he has so many intrusive thoughts that constantly question our relationship. I think his worries and fears are normal, because we set a date and then his anxiety started, but because he's never experienced it before he has no idea what to do with it. He is still very loving towards me, and wants to work hard to sort this out and "get back on track". I have suggested therapy to him and he will be doing that soon. I have many doubts and fears about everything (anxiety disorder) but I work through them all. Is relationship anxiety a thing?

GF Self confidence at an all time low
  • replies: 1

Hi New to this. After being married for 13 years and single for 10 more I recently fell in love with a colleague at work. I didn't think I would feel this kind of love again and I would safely say the feelings surpassed that with my wife. I've been f... View more

Hi New to this. After being married for 13 years and single for 10 more I recently fell in love with a colleague at work. I didn't think I would feel this kind of love again and I would safely say the feelings surpassed that with my wife. I've been feeling insecure in the relationship (which I've never felt in any relationship before). Despite the fact she has repeatedly stated her love for me she is generally what I'd consider a poor communicator - basically sharing information on a need-to-know basis - only what she thinks I need to know. I've clearly expressed my hypersensitivity to not being in the know as a result of my ex wife's affair. She's fiercely independent and seems to think that just stating her love covers all the other stuff off. ive found this so unbearable in the past that I've broken things off - TWICE! To make matters worse, her previous relationship was with a woman, she's 16 years younger than me and when i was required to apply for my job recently and decided not too, she did and was successful. I've been seeing a psychologist off and on for the last 10 years and recently have started taking antidepressants as its all too much. My 'girlfriend' and I are now dating to see if we can make things work but I have very strong feelings of resentment and envy. I've never been jealous or overly envious. I'm very aware that I'm giving her a hard time due to my feelings and my history but as she doesn't really share a lot I keep finding myself questioning the relationship. My ego is really taking a bashing as a result of her doing my old job. I don't know if m feeling negative because of the circumstances, because of her communication style or if it's just my baggage. I also wonder if I'm just plain scared of being hurt having not been in love like this for 10 years. I've typically been very confident, positive and motivated but these last few months I just want to crawl under a rock. I've really lost any sense of perspective even though I have so much to be grateful for. i really want to make the relationship work but the unsure nature of it feels so much like the state I was in when my wife and I were trying to work things out that I just can't help but be negative- I'm really fearful that I'm going to ruin this relationship but at the same time I worried that maybe Its not really a healthy relationship and I just can't see the wood for the trees. well that was a download Rick

Lone No friends or family
  • replies: 1

Hi everyone, My story is a complex one. I have a family which I am estranged from for a number of years with no contact, they cut me off because I did not follow the culture & religion they wanted me to and as a result I have been battling complicate... View more

Hi everyone, My story is a complex one. I have a family which I am estranged from for a number of years with no contact, they cut me off because I did not follow the culture & religion they wanted me to and as a result I have been battling complicated grief, anxiety and depression. I rebuilt my life but I struggle with deep sadness under the surface. I love my new family & we are close knit. My daughter has got to the age where she is starting ask questions about her grandparents, and I don't know what to say to her, I just tell her they are in another world, it has made me fall into a sense of grief again. I don't have any friends and I feel like I need to start making them for some support, but I am introverted and not sure how to. I hope someone can give me some tips because I am sick of being alone. All the best everyone

Vrmmonter The magpie who won't leave home
  • replies: 3

We have a severe family problem that is looming for my wife regarding her brother and her mother. Her brother is a chronic magpie - a hoarder of what I can only describe as junk. It is almost a case of OCD I really think. He has been collecting this ... View more

We have a severe family problem that is looming for my wife regarding her brother and her mother. Her brother is a chronic magpie - a hoarder of what I can only describe as junk. It is almost a case of OCD I really think. He has been collecting this junk for at least 25 years, but in the past 15 years he has been living with his mother in the suburban family home. It has been getting steadily worse. The junk consists of old farm machinery, sheets of roofing iron, old washing machines, decrepit lounge suites, old cars and horse carts (he has a love for horses as well). He has been asked, pleaded, and cajoled to remove the junk by his mother for most of that time, but has just continued to bring it home. Some of it is for recycling though I do not know how much actually ever goes out. Her back yard is now completely full of this junk and it is creeping down the drive. In the past week or two he has been filling the front yard. His mother is 90 yo and can now barely get to her back door safely. Soon the path to her front door will be hazardous. This issue has never been truly pushed with him by his mother. He has destroyed her garden (once a joy), and she has lost all use of her outdoor property. She also has macular degeneration so is nearly blind. There is a looming problem if the property ever needs to be sold, if she needs to go into nursing home care, or when she passes away. She is quite healthy despite her eyesight problem, so this may be some years off still. My brother-in-law has refused to acknowledge that he has any sort of problem. My wife has tried to get him to visit a counsellor, but he refused, saying there was nothing wrong with him. He has recently purchased a house in a distant rural city, but has very limited income to be able to move, and there is no work in this town. At present my concern is what can we do to get him to talk with a counsellor or psychologist? It is a very pressing issue as he has placed his mother in a quite dangerous and anti-social situation. People cannot even park a car in her drive now (she lives on a rather busy road), so few visitors will go to see her. He does not even recognise that there is anything of concern about filling the property with his junk. His mother does not want to pursue any legal advice, counselling, or actions in regard to this problem. What can we do? How do we get him to seek help over these problems?

cookie11 Confused
  • replies: 2

Hey there. I have been feeling sad latey and not sure how to get out of my funk! I am married with 2 children a couple of years ago my wifes mother passed away, and recently we have been having major finacial difficulties, we have been trying to keep... View more

Hey there. I have been feeling sad latey and not sure how to get out of my funk! I am married with 2 children a couple of years ago my wifes mother passed away, and recently we have been having major finacial difficulties, we have been trying to keep positive however things just seem to be getting harder. My wife and I say as long as we have each other we are ok! Lately i am unsure about whether my wife really loves me or just the thought of me. We haven't had sex in nearly 2 years even though i have made many attempts. I feel like i dont want to be here any more however when i want to leave i think of my amazing kids and i cant do it. I got onto a forum like this and met a guy in the same boat, after chatting for a while he told me he discovered that he had feelings for men, this got me thinking and thought maybe its me thats sabotaging our marrage maybe im gay also, this just gets me so confused and also makes me sad that i am in a position that i cant get out off. Wow ive never said that out loud! i feel so anxious about my future finacially and physically, it seems like the edges of my world are crumbling. Thanks for letting me spew my thoughts A

CtrlAltDelete Feeling guilt over wanting to leave
  • replies: 4

Hi All, I previously posted about having issues with my partner of 10 years (see "Not sure if I can support him anymore"). Over the past few months, I have been seriously thinking of leaving him, but whenever I think about it, I just feel so guilty a... View more

Hi All, I previously posted about having issues with my partner of 10 years (see "Not sure if I can support him anymore"). Over the past few months, I have been seriously thinking of leaving him, but whenever I think about it, I just feel so guilty and it's driving me crazy. The thing that almost tipped me over the edge was the fact that I was really upset a couple of nights ago and I was crying. My partner came into the bedroom and asked if I've been crying. I told him yes and it was because whenever things seem to look up, it all comes crashing down again and I was sick of it. All he said was to get over it and just walked out and went on with whatever he was doing. The thing that gets me is that he constantly tells me that I'm not supportive enough and I've turned into a selfish b***h. He says I've changed and that I used to be such a nice girl. I think he's actually just missing the girl that would just agree with him and do what ever he wanted me to. It feels like he doesn't care at all about my feelings or opinions or even that I'm the one that's earning $$ to support both of us while he's at home. He's constantly telling me how lazy I am and that he does everything around the house. It's like he has selective memory because it's me doing all the running around paying bills, getting groceries, and on my days off, doing ALL of the housework so he can have a break. The main reason I feel guilty is because I know how hard he will have it financially and he has no other support apart from me. I also worry about how he'll cope emotionally. I'm scared of how things will be for both of us if I leave, but more scared of what will happen if I stay. I just feel so trapped. I've tried talking to him, but he just keeps telling me, to think about him and not be so selfish.

Dabra 22 year old son who won't get on with his life
  • replies: 2

My Partner and I are at a loss on how to deal with our son, he is living in Perth his his older brother, and we are in Tasmania. He moved over there about 18 months ago after a failed relationship, in which he was basically caring for a young child(n... View more

My Partner and I are at a loss on how to deal with our son, he is living in Perth his his older brother, and we are in Tasmania. He moved over there about 18 months ago after a failed relationship, in which he was basically caring for a young child(not his) while his partner worked. He said he wanted to study and move on with his life, so we paid for him to move to Perth, where he was adamant we would be able to study. He was staying with a friend for 6 months and then moved out to live with his elder brother. To cut a long story short, he still isn't working, he picks up occasional work fixing computer. We were initially supporting him until he turned 22 so he could apply for Newstart, he hasn't done that. He has been able to manage by himself pretty much since April, and only recently asked for money for rent, which he said he would pay back once his work picked up. he sends us messages saying he hates his life, he's s bad person, nothing he ever tries works, we've tried encouraging him, we are supportive, positive and do everything we can think of to motivate him, all to no avail. Everything we suggest he has an excuse for why it isn't right for him. He has blocked me on Facebook and mobile, he has been talking to his Dad on f/b but will not answer his phone. i just don't understand why he tells us how he is feeling and not expect us to want to help him. Before he moved to live with his girlfriend, he spent the last 18 months, pretty much doing nothing apart from gaming, hardly ever coming out of his room. He was for most of the time very negative, everything we suggested he would have a reason for why not. Counselling, GP's, courses everything we could think of. When he moved to be with his girlfriend we thought he would be more proactive with his life. She encouraged him to work. I don't know the full reason why he decided to leave, he said to us that she was using him as a babysitting service. Anyway, when he said he wanted to move to Perth, to get on with his life, we thought(again) great, he's going to do it. Apparently not, he's spending his time gaming, getting the occasional work repairing computers, but not actively engaging in society, he hardly ever goes out. I feel he is no doubt depressed, his brother has depression, and does struggle with it at times. i just don't know what to do, he won't take our advice.