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

Dr_Kim Understanding feelings of rejection. 
  • replies: 38

Rejection is such a tough one to deal with, I am yet to meet anyone who embraces it and I know many people who go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it. I think the only way to get on in life is to see it as part of the human experience, much like los... View more

Rejection is such a tough one to deal with, I am yet to meet anyone who embraces it and I know many people who go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it. I think the only way to get on in life is to see it as part of the human experience, much like loss and grief. You can’t have the good bits without sometimes experiencing the bad, it’s just the way it is! So we all need to develop ways of managing the difficult emotions that rejection throws up. Lets think about what those thoughts or emotions might be. Here’s some examples. 1. “I’m not good enough” This is a common one. It’s so easy for us to see what we think are faults and think that others can see them too and convince ourselves that these faults make us unlovable. These thoughts are often on replay from a nasty part of our brain, that low self-esteem part that makes us believe that unless we are “perfect”, we cannot possibly be loved or accepted. The honest truth is that we are all just imperfect passengers on the"bus of life”, doing the best we can with whatever we can in the moment! So welcome on board. Brene Brown has some wonderful YouTube videos about this, I'm going to share one below however also recommend you check out her channel as there are many more! 2. "Nobody will ever love me”. This is a very common thought and it comes from the anxious part of our brains that also seems to have a crystal ball! The anxiety centre seems to think it has very good predictive powers but it is a trap and don’t listen to it! It’s a complete and utter lie that anxiety often tells us. 3. “I’ve ruined the ‘perfect relationship’, now what?” Sometimes this is a stage of grief. Often, when we are grieving a loss, we go through a phase of idealising. Things like “it was perfect” are common because it conveniently erases all the things that weren’t that you don’t want to deal with. For example: I see this sometimes with patients who had terrible relationships with their family members and complain bitterly for years, and then once they pass away, the grief allows them to only seem to recall the wonderful times. In some ways, it a blessing, but it can mean in some situations that the hindsight is not always accurate. I also think that in viewing the relationship in an idealised way prevents any real opportunity to learn and grow from it. We can all gain from understanding how we went wrong in experiences so that we don’t repeat the same unintended mistakes. In summary, rejection is a common and necessary part of being in the game of life. To not be in the game because of fear would be a huge shame . Life is too short not to experience the many wonderful emotions that come from being ourselves. In Brene Brown's language: it’s important not to spend your time walking around the arena of life waiting to feel perfect so you won’t be rejected. Just kick the door down and step in and don’t let the critics get you down.

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

abcdefghijkl Never feel as though I am enough…
  • replies: 3

Hi Everyone, This is my first time ever doing something like this… I’m quite a private person so I would normally never speak on such a public forum like this. But at this point in time I don’t feel as though I have anyone left. I can’t talk to my fa... View more

Hi Everyone, This is my first time ever doing something like this… I’m quite a private person so I would normally never speak on such a public forum like this. But at this point in time I don’t feel as though I have anyone left. I can’t talk to my family or friends about what’s going on in my relationship, because I know that it will negatively impact the way they perceive my boyfriend. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 9.5 years. For the longest time I had so much hope for our relationship, and felt as though we were going to spend our lives together. For as long as I can remember, I have loved him with ever fibre of my being. Almost a year ago, I discovered that he had been researching brothels and was considering cheating on me. When I found out, I was devastated and I experienced the worst heartbreak of my life. We were broken up for six weeks before we decided to get back together. A month ago, I discovered that he was considering it again. To say that my self-esteem and trust were destroyed would be an understatement. He promised me that he would change and that he would never actually go through with it. But I’m not so sure. I love him so much, and I want to believe that he loves me enough not to hurt me like that. But the fact is, even if he had gone through with it, he would never admit it to me. And so I find myself in this constant state of anxiety and uncertainty. After all of this, I can’t help but feel like I’ll ever be enough for him. It’s getting to be too much and I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ll never look like the girls he wants to be with… But I don’t know what would be worse, the pain of letting him and our relationship go, or the constant feeling of not being enough.

Mr_Walker Partner's drinking affecting relationship
  • replies: 21

Hi everyone - I haven't been on here for a few years! But I wondered if anyone could give me some different perspectives on this issue...? My partner and I have been together for 21 years - Ive suffered from Anxiety and Depression most of my life but... View more

Hi everyone - I haven't been on here for a few years! But I wondered if anyone could give me some different perspectives on this issue...? My partner and I have been together for 21 years - Ive suffered from Anxiety and Depression most of my life but getting better at coping all the time. I used to drink a LOT before I got my Anxiety diagnosed but I haven't had a drink at all for something like 12-14 years. My wife though has been drinking more as she's gotten older (we're both 44). She drinks every day and drinks excessively (like falling down drunk) once a week or so. She realises she drinks too much but she doesn't show any signs of slowing or stopping - I've pretty much given up on the hope that she will stop. But MY problem is how much it bugs me - I feel like I'm being unreasonable (and that may be the case) in wanting her to stop drinking - I don't want to be controlling or demanding - and it seems extreme of me (which it may be) to be remotely considering ending a 20+ year relationship over it - but more and more I feel like I can't deal with it. I guess I would like to hear other people's opinions on this - is it unreasonable of me to demand that someone else stop drinking? Is it unreasonable of HER that she keeps drinking, knowing how much it's affecting our relationship? (We've discussed it a lot). Is there a different way I should be looking at the whole issue? I know I'm in the minority in society being a total non drinker and it feels unreasonable to demand that of someone else... I've been trying to NOT let it bug me so much over the past few years but it's not working! Many thanks for listening!

1967 Why
  • replies: 23

I'm new and the past 12 months have been well not kind, my wife devorced me I can not hold a job longer the 3 mouth's before I have a breakdown, and recently I have started dumping/ saying to family and friends don't contact me and delete any contact... View more

I'm new and the past 12 months have been well not kind, my wife devorced me I can not hold a job longer the 3 mouth's before I have a breakdown, and recently I have started dumping/ saying to family and friends don't contact me and delete any contact info they have on me. I cry for no reason just out of the blue and find the only way I'm coming is drinking in the afternoon and then going to sleep only to wake up at 3am and starting the whole day the same, I don't know what I want out of this Forum or if it may help I just don't know.

Izzy286 Scared of my future
  • replies: 4

Hi all, I think my 26 year relationship/marriage has actually ended. It’s been good and bad over the past few years, went threw a separation but managed to rekindle & come back together. We love each other but suck at communicating, well he does. He’... View more

Hi all, I think my 26 year relationship/marriage has actually ended. It’s been good and bad over the past few years, went threw a separation but managed to rekindle & come back together. We love each other but suck at communicating, well he does. He’s a bad gambler & drinks a lot but these are things I’ve learnt to monitor and tolerate. Lately I’ve been driving myself crazy obsessing over the thought of him cheating on Facebook (This was an issue and why we separated). He has Facebook but I don’t and lately its been feeling like he’s glued to his phone and I don’t exist. I say cheating being talking, not anything physical. Well that I know off. Anyway I finally snapped we had words, nasty ones and he walked out a week ago, we have had no communication since. We have 3 amazing kids but i feel like my future is me sitting at home sad and alone and lost, slipping into depression and Anxiety if anyone asks ‘ how are you feeling’ Do I beg for forgiveness and salvage the marriage, very hard with no communication or stay in bed and continue to feel sad and alone. 🥲

picklesnme Ready to leave my emotionally abusive partner of 8 years, worried
  • replies: 7

Ive been with my partner for 8 years and we share 2 incredible kids together (6 and 2). He has always had issues with severe anxiety and depression, likely bipolar too, but has always refused further treatment beyond taking meds which just arent work... View more

Ive been with my partner for 8 years and we share 2 incredible kids together (6 and 2). He has always had issues with severe anxiety and depression, likely bipolar too, but has always refused further treatment beyond taking meds which just arent working. Our relationship has become increasingly toxic in the last 3 years, he is becoming more and more irrational and harder to life with each day. I work full time, do all housework, do all errands as he doesnt drive, my minimum wage income supports the 4 of us despite the fact he has a small amount of money he will not contribute to bills or general expenses. I have become depressed and unbelievably stressed due to the constant financial strain and demands from him since he wont help, yet he believes he 'does everything' as he watches our 2 year old while I work. We are moving nowhere in life, getting into more debt and I just dont love him anymore. His answer to our problems is that 'if I loved him more and showed him more affection he would feel better, cope better and be able to help more'. He finds a way to put the blame for eeeeverything onto me - if he wakes up in a bad mood its because of something I did 3 weeks ago, if the kids are acting up and misbehaving then its because I'm working too much and not helping with them enough, if our plans for a night out fall through at the last minute then its because I mustve sabotaged it. He believes my family are conspiring against him and want to ruin every holiday/special occasion just to spite him. I cant deal with the constant criticism and negativity thrown at me everyday, I am often blindsided by the accusations he makes, yet to him it seems completely rational and true. I'm finally at breaking point and ready to move on from him, but my hesitation is that he is incredibly unpredictable and bordeline suicidal. He has no friends, our kids are everything to him and Im worried that by splitting with him that it will push him over the edge. If youve been in this situation before, how did you navigate a safe break up? I know if he ever did anything it wouldnt be my fault, but I dont know how I could cope. Any tips on how to do this the most pain-free way as possible??

beezel Married and lesbian
  • replies: 4

I'm married (to a man), older and lesbian and find I am not accepted by community since coming out. The lesbian community offers opportunities for meets but members run a mile when they find out you are married. The mainstream population very between... View more

I'm married (to a man), older and lesbian and find I am not accepted by community since coming out. The lesbian community offers opportunities for meets but members run a mile when they find out you are married. The mainstream population very between supportive comments of bravery and always there for you, to repulsion and rejection. I feel surrounded by a void without human contact, slowly moving towards some sort of resolution of which I am unclear and wonder if I'll ever reach. I know I am not alone, I have read enough stories, usually shared at the end of the journey when the torment is over. There are others like me out there still on the journey and I wonder if anyone is brave enough to come forward to look at how we can support each other. COVID has shown us how important contact and touch are important to resilience and mental health. Professional assistance is helpful but nothing would replace the support of someone travelling the same journey. Any suggestions welcome.

Janestewart95 I’m 26 and I think my relationship is destroying me
  • replies: 2

I met my partner in 2011, I was 17 at the time and he was 18. I was outgoing, happy and confident. I met him through a high school friend, he was a bit aloof when we first met, but I quickly fell in love with him. As time passed, red flags began to a... View more

I met my partner in 2011, I was 17 at the time and he was 18. I was outgoing, happy and confident. I met him through a high school friend, he was a bit aloof when we first met, but I quickly fell in love with him. As time passed, red flags began to appear (which unfortunately I did not see for what they were at the time). He was always incredibly moody and there were many times that I saw him loose control of his temper. He was never physically abusive towards me, but he often got into fights with figures of authority or would take his anger out on inanimate objects. He would regularly ignore me and treat me as if I was invisible, even when it would bring me to tears, he would not acknowledge my feelings. The relationship quickly became very dark for me. I believe I have erased many things that I went through with him from my memory as a coping mechanism. I could not understand why he was treating me this way, I lost all of my self esteem and self confidence and became so depressed that I ended up turning to a psychologist to try and get some help (I was around 19 at this time). With the help of a friend, I finally removed myself from the relationship and with much support from friends and family, I began to move on. After leaving the relationship, I was very damaged, yet despite it all, I still missed my ex boyfriend very much. Some time after this, I met a man who ticked all the boxes, he was loving, kind and he adored me. We dated for nearly 2 years, BUT I would often see my ex partner around my area. It seemed to me that he had made some big changes in his life, he was taking better care of himself physically and had a stable career (both things he lacked whilst we were together). We started talking again which eventually drew me and my new partner apart and I ended up breaking up with this great guy, to go back to my ex. At first, things seemed great. I was confident our relationship was going to be different this time around. It has been 2 years since we got back together. I am now 26 and we are living together. Things are not good. Although he has changed to an extent and does tell me he loves me, he shows me no affection, our sex life is non existent and we do not communicate. I feel lonely and unhappy in our relationship. I am depressed and often think of suicide. I know I should leave him again but I am terrified at the thought of breaking up and feel that its impossible for me. After nearly 10 years of this I feel so depleted and hopeless.

_blank long distance relationship
  • replies: 2

i am writing this just to reach out to people that may be able to help me understand. i’m very young and still in school but recently my girlfriend moved overseas and i have been struggling a bit mentally since. i have been diagnosed w depression and... View more

i am writing this just to reach out to people that may be able to help me understand. i’m very young and still in school but recently my girlfriend moved overseas and i have been struggling a bit mentally since. i have been diagnosed w depression and anxiety which i have known about for quite a while now. me and my girlfriend have been together for 8 months and i truely feel like i’ve found the love of my life and someone who i can picture myself being w for a very long time if not forever. everything has been going good, she moved just under a month ago and i really do miss her but ik that it’s just something that’s out of my control. lately we have been facetiming every day and i’m scared i may be being too clingy bc i feel like a lot of the time she doesn’t really want to talk to me and i rlly don’t know what to do. i facetime her every second i get but sometimes she just says she is busy and can’t. the biggest fear for me is losing her which we’ve talked abt together quite a bit and she promises me everything will be alright. but i am so scared of her cheating on me, it’s not that i don’t trust her to stick by her word it’s just i don’t know what to think bc my friends all say i shouldn’t trust her but i feel like i know her on a way different level to them. but what if these are the warnings i should be looking out for. sometimes when we are on facetime she will choose to hang up and watch something on her laptop instead of talking to me. with time zones it just makes it very difficult when i know i could be talking to her but i am not and she’s spending time watching a show. it just really hurts and i honestly don’t know what to do.

Vegetarian Marshmallow Abandoned by someone I thought was a friend... yet again
  • replies: 3

I had this friend, L. I thought that she cared about me. If someone asked me who I could consider a real friend, I would think of her. I told her how every other female friend I've had has abandoned me out of nowhere. She said "why would they do that... View more

I had this friend, L. I thought that she cared about me. If someone asked me who I could consider a real friend, I would think of her. I told her how every other female friend I've had has abandoned me out of nowhere. She said "why would they do that". Fast forward a few years, and she did the same thing. I feel like life isn't much worth living without a woman who loves me. I don't know how much of this is due to: 1. an instinctual phase-of-life thing; the biological drive to reproduce (which will maybe go away as I get older). 2. what happened with my mother. 3. Desire for human connection and intimacy, and specifically with females it feels closer somehow. 4. A vacuum where perhaps (?) other people have an axiomatic, bullheaded sense of what they are, what they will / must do next; whereas I have many many many ideas of things that might be worth doing with myself, but all of them lose all of their motivational power when I feel abandoned like this; everything I could do becomes overpowered by "why bother; what's the point". 5. Just a personality thing; like.. different stuff is important to everyone. When I was about 20 (I'm 33), my mum left the state and didn't tell anyone where she went. She just left and started a new life. Her siblings tried to find her, and the message they got back from her, through the private investigator was something like "This person no longer exists. Don't attempt to contact me again". People seem shocked when I tell them this. My therapists have often said "that's strange; a mother would never leave her children; there's a special bond". Well, this one did. I know she had a history of some kind of mental illness; anxiety / depression, it sounds like. To this day, every single woman I have ever felt close to has done the same thing. Just left. Although not physically like my mum, but rather they've done things like: started cancelling arrangements at the last minute, stopped saying "I love you", stopped hugging me, stopped making plans, and then at some point just entirely stopped answering messages and calls. Like I never meant anything at all to them. Or somehow I even meant less than a stranger, because I think it's just basic human decency to reply to a person who's talking to you, even a stranger. And especially a person who is obviously in pain. I feel like all the love I gave them was aimed at a cardboard cut-out. All the times I felt they loved me, all the moments that were special to me, were not real; never meant anything to them; they were play-acting, or something. This has happened so many times. I knew L. for about 5 years. She was one of my favourite people. On a bad day, I could think of her and feel a little better. She was the one who I could think of and believe that women were not all evil heartless shits. Now I don't know if the person I knew was even real, and I still want her back. Though I don't know how I could ever again trust someone who hurt me so thoroughly, for apparently no reason, and continues to do with every new day of apathy. I could never imagine treating *anyone* the way these people have treated me; let alone someone I've professed to love, and known for years. Yet it seems so easy for them. I feel like perhaps women do not actually ever love men. That rather, they just make use of men's love for them, until such time as it's no longer necessary. I want close relationships with women, and my life's trajectory is defined by them treating me ever and ever more cruelly. Should I stop wanting this and become a hermit? Then the problem becomes that I want nothing.

G1231 Narcissist father damaged my new house before I even moved in
  • replies: 8

I've had problems with him my entire life. He has a cycle of we don't talk because he has done something to hurt me, then he acts all nice to draw me back in, and then he does something else to stab me in the back or he uses verbal abuse to ruin my d... View more

I've had problems with him my entire life. He has a cycle of we don't talk because he has done something to hurt me, then he acts all nice to draw me back in, and then he does something else to stab me in the back or he uses verbal abuse to ruin my day or week. He ruined the last Christmas and ghosts me every time my birthday comes around just to get out of doing anything like going to dinner or ever giving me a gift, but he demands I buy him bourbon. I bought him some drinks for his last birthday and because it wasn't a slab of beer like I got my mum, he went off his head and verbally abused me in the car when I was out for a day trip with him and my mum. I just got my own place and even trying to move my stuff in, he has to control every little thing about moving. He tries to make me walk backwards and I told him no, we both walk sideways to make it easier, he gets angry over that. I asked him to help me lift the TV unit over half a meter and he started yelling at me (mind you all the neighbours can hear) to take the TV off the unit then move it. I yelled back "I said no, we don't need to" and he puts the unit down, raises his fist and threatens to punch my new flatscreen TV, and then walks out to my back door and slams it twice the hardest I have heard anyone slam a back door. It reverberated all around the house, and I was horrified that he would do that to my new property. I checked the door for damage and as it previously clicked into place on the day I got the keys, now you have to pull noticeably hard to shut it. There are no cracks in the plaster or door frame but my heart is already broken. I tried explaining to my enabling mother that this is meant to be a time of celebration and the best in my life, and he finds a way to ruin everything again. She caught me checking the door again for damage today and told me "its not damaged, stop looking" even though I have explained this to her time and again, and there is physical proof because it doesn't shut properly, she flat out denies it and says that I am basically making it up, trying to make a liar out of me. I had to use my car to move stuff as he refuses to help out and I got a scratch on my upholstery because I have to move stuff in my car now. If anyone has any carpentry knowledge and can reassure me, please do. I have bad anxiety and now I am scared that there is some internal damage that I can't see and is going to ruin my house, and I'm not even moved in yet. I can't even enjoy it now