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How to have the relationship you really want: Live boards conversation with an expert

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
:wave:

On Tuesday 11th June from 7-8.30pm we will be joined in this discussion thread by expert Karen as well as a few of our trained peer relationships advisors that work on Relationships questions on askTheSite.

What's your idea of a healthy relationship and how do you make it happen? This live conversation is a chance to discuss your worries and issues with our experts.

What can I ask about?
    Maybe your friends don't like your new boyfriend or girlfriend?
    Maybe you're in a relationship and you're not sure if it?s right for you?
    Maybe you feel pressure to go out with someone or have sex with them when you're not really ready?

There can be a lot of pressures on a relationship - family, friends.. everyone has an opinion! But how do you get to where you want to be?

Even if you're single right now, maybe you've had a relationship that didn't work out and you're trying to figure out why or, you're looking to have one in the future and want to make sure it starts off with really firm foundations - how can you make sure that happens?

How will it work?
Karen will be online for an hour and a half and the thread will also stay open after Karen has gone so that we can continue conversations together that are started during the live event.

Of course you're all welcome to chip in with your own tips, advice and thoughts on the issues that come up too :yes:

We did a similar event on self-harm awareness day where experts were available on the boards to answer questions.

We'll kick off with some introductions around 6.45pm on Tuesday 11th June and Karen will be responding to your questions and thoughts until 8.30pm.

You may remember Karen from our recent Relationships live chat where she answered your questions on a variety of issues.

A bit about Karen...
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Karen is an NLP practitioner who works for OnePlusOne (they run the Couple Connection website). She is experienced in supporting people to understand, improve and strengthen their relationships. She believes that by taking steps to strengthen your relationships and by being aware of potential problem areas you are much more likely to be able to avoid crisis points and difficulties.

Comments

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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think I have fallen for my friend

    I have recently moved to university and I instantly become good friends with one particular guy and we have grown close over the past couple of months. I had never seen him in any other way than as a 'brother' because we had the sort of relationship where we have 'banter'. He also had a bit of a thing with one of my close girl friends, who lives in the same flat as me during the first month at university so I would have never of seen him in any other way than a friend.

    However, last month we all got a little drunk and we all ended up going back to this particular guys flat. Most of the group ended up going back home, but I stayed talking to him for a while and we ended up kissing. I stayed in his room that night and nothing else happened even though we both wanted it to because it felt strange as I had never seen him in this way before. I also felt bad in case my friend who had had the thing with him would be annoyed (which I later found out she wasn't)

    Anyway, I left pretty soon in the morning and ever since I can't stop thinking about it. I have realised that over the past few months I have been falling for him and I hadn't even noticed, I had been mentioning him to people randomly in a conversation, I had been thinking about him all the time, looking for excuses to be around him and wanted to be close to him. I don't know if I should tell him because apart from the kiss he hasn't really shown that he likes me. He sometimes asks where I am to my other friends, is protective over me when we're out, makes flirty jokes, cuddles up to me and comes to talk to me a lot, but I don't know if he is just being a good friend or if he likes me?
    As well as this, I also have a feeling he still likes my friend who he had a thing with before.

    Sorry for rambling on for so long, but what do you think? Do you think he likes me and do you think I should tell him I like him?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My Gf love her Ex, and kept everything of him

    My Gf had a boyfriend, this guy she spend 3 years with. Almost nobody of her friends knew him, apparently he was very quiet and spend lots of time with her. I met my Gf 6 months ago, and she broke up with her boyfriend for some reason. We've been officially dating for 3 months and I recently discovered she kept everything from her ex, even kept some pics in her phone.
    When I enter her room I feel kind of uncomfortable because I'm surrounded by things that he gave her. I ask her why she kept them and she told me that it was because she can't just through them away.... how the heck do I stop feeling this bad in the inside. :no:
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey folks, just a reminder that this is happening tomorrow night (Tuesday 11th) :thumb:
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Heyy Jo, I wont be able to be online at that time tomorrow but if possible could you ask her to answer this:

    I've started dating a close friend of mine, who I've known for years. However I don't have many other friends left (I need to keep my distance from them while as I'm getting over my drug addiction because they're still using) How can I make sure that I don't become dependent on the guy I'm seeing?? He's the only person other than family I really spend any time with, but I don't want to put all my happiness in him in case it scares him away/goes wrong. Any advice?!
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No problem B-A :) We'll kick of with this, thanks for posting :thumb:
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Evening everyone :)

    We're about to get started now - our advisors will come on and introduce themselves shortly but feel free to ask a question or help B-A with her problem. This is a chance for us all to chip in together :thumb:
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hello

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Karen Cairns and I work for OnePlusOne. I am looking forward to hearing from you. There is no silly question at all...
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi everyone,

    Yes, go ahead and ask any questions you want and Karen will answer them in turn. She is currently working on an answer for Broken Angel.

    :thumb:
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Heyy Jo, I wont be able to be online at that time tomorrow but if possible could you ask her to answer this:

    I've started dating a close friend of mine, who I've known for years. However I don't have many other friends left (I need to keep my distance from them while as I'm getting over my drug addiction because they're still using) How can I make sure that I don't become dependent on the guy I'm seeing?? He's the only person other than family I really spend any time with, but I don't want to put all my happiness in him in case it scares him away/goes wrong. Any advice?!

    Hi BA,

    It sounds like you have come a long way. It is really positive that you have such insight into what can happen if one person becomes everything in your life and I am picking up that you are scared of overwhelming and losing him.

    Does your boyfriend know how you feel?

    You are working through a huge transition; moving from one world and group of friends and not sure what or how to move forward??

    It is a tough thing to avoid all your friends and you are clearly a lady who is pretty determined and will face scary things.

    You may find it helpful to think about how you would like things to be?

    If you could imagine yourself stepping into the future, say a year from now, and things felt better, what are you doing?

    • What has changed?
    • How are people with you now?
    • How are you spending your time?
    • What might get in your way of you getting what you want?
    • Who or what can help you be in that place next year?
    • What smaller steps will you take first?

    I hope this is helpful.

    Karen
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi there, it's Eleanor here - I'm one of YouthNet's relationship advisors :wave:
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That looks like a really useful set of questions to ask yourself when you are dealing with a difficult time in your life - thanks Karen :)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Eleanor wrote: »
    Hi there, it's Eleanor here - I'm one of YouthNet's relationship advisors :wave:

    Welcome Eleanor - we've just answered a question from Broken Angel - which you might have something to add to - have a look!
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks Karen,

    B-A can't be online tonight but hopefully she'll pick this up tomorrow :)

    This next question came in from someone who wanted to ask their question anonymously. Here it is:
    Right, without trying to sound stuck up, I have quite a bit more money than my boyfriend, so it causes problems when it comes to presents and stuff. I know I don't have to get him expensive stuff, and most of the time I don't, but sometimes I want to treat him to things, or even just buying his coffee when we go to costa, and he gets really defensive about it, and I'm not sure what to do..
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Right, without trying to sound stuck up, I have quite a bit more money than my boyfriend, so it causes problems when it comes to presents and stuff. I know I don't have to get him expensive stuff, and most of the time I don't, but sometimes I want to treat him to things, or even just buying his coffee when we go to costa, and he gets really defensive about it, and I'm not sure what to do..

    Hi,

    It sounds like you want to show him how much you care for him and you do it by treating him. I can imagine that when he gets defensive that you may feel rejected or hurt. I wonder if he has been really able to tell you how he feels that he perhaps can't treat you back in the same way. Is there something here about his pride?

    Let him know that you want to sort this out and perhaps agree on a budget or that you show him how you feel in different way? Breakfast in bed? A picnic? A surprise note?

    I hope this is helpful.

    Karen
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Maybe B-A might like to look not the possibility of making new friends by joining clubs etc that interest her. That way she isn't spending all her time with her boyfriend?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm always anxious about disclosing my past to anyone I'm dating/seeing. Without going into tonnes of detail, I was in an abusive relationship and had a little girl who passed away from meningitis. I told someone who I was seeing about my daughter, and he freaked. I am not ashamed, obviously there's the argument of he isn't worth it if he can't accept stuff etc, but for future reference, how is the best way to talk about sensitive topics which may not be familiar to others? I don't want to avoid it, but equally I don't want to blurt it out.

    Thank you :)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks Karen.

    This article on Love in the Credit Crunch has some suggestions for managing money issues in a relationship - and some suggestions for cheap but lovely things you can do for each other!
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fax500 wrote: »
    My Gf had a boyfriend, this guy she spend 3 years with. Almost nobody of her friends knew him, apparently he was very quiet and spend lots of time with her. I met my Gf 6 months ago, and she broke up with her boyfriend for some reason. We've been officially dating for 3 months and I recently discovered she kept everything from her ex, even kept some pics in her phone.
    When I enter her room I feel kind of uncomfortable because I'm surrounded by things that he gave her. I ask her why she kept them and she told me that it was because she can't just through them away.... how the heck do I stop feeling this bad in the inside. :no:

    Hello,

    I am sorry you are feeling so bad about this situation. I am picking up that you may be thinking that she doesn't feel the same way as you do. You may be thinking that she is not over him and have tried to tell her and she is not understanding how this makes you feel. Often when we are feeling most threatened or upset we stop talking about the real issue.

    Does she really know how upset you feel and how uncomfortable you are when you see all his stuff around her.

    sometimes its hard to tell it how it is especially when we feel vulnerable. Have you been able to have a conversation in the past when you talked about a difficult subject with this girlfriend or with someone else? What helped? How did you get the ball rolling? It can help to think what might happen if you do nothing.

    You have valid feelings; try telling her in a way you feel ok about.

    All the best

    Karen
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Fax500

    Hope Karens advice was helpful. We've got a good article about communicating as a couple on TheSite which might help you to think about the best way to talk to your girlfriend about how the situation is making you feel.

    Hopefully you can come to a compromise, perhaps she could put away some of the things where they are not obvious if she doesn't feel she can throw them away yet?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Question:
    Right, without trying to sound stuck up, I have quite a bit more money than my boyfriend, so it causes problems when it comes to presents and stuff. I know I don't have to get him expensive stuff, and most of the time I don't, but sometimes I want to treat him to things, or even just buying his coffee when we go to costa, and he gets really defensive about it, and I'm not sure what to do..
    Hi,

    It sounds like you want to show him how much you care for him and you do it by treating him. I can imagine that when he gets defensive that you may feel rejected or hurt. I wonder if he has been really able to tell you how he feels that he perhaps can't treat you back in the same way. Is there something here about his pride?

    Let him know that you want to sort this out and perhaps agree on a budget or that you show him how you feel in different way? Breakfast in bed? A picnic? A surprise note?

    I hope this is helpful.

    Karen

    We have a reply from our anonymous member - some developments since she sent us that question:
    I've found out since I sent Jo my question that his parents don't like me getting him that stuff, which makes his reaction make more sense. His parents don't really like me anyway, its just something I'm stuck with, but at least I know he doesn't have a problem with it himself now :)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ella! wrote: »
    I'm always anxious about disclosing my past to anyone I'm dating/seeing. Without going into tonnes of detail, I was in an abusive relationship and had a little girl who passed away from meningitis. I told someone who I was seeing about my daughter, and he freaked. I am not ashamed, obviously there's the argument of he isn't worth it if he can't accept stuff etc, but for future reference, how is the best way to talk about sensitive topics which may not be familiar to others? I don't want to avoid it, but equally I don't want to blurt it out.

    Thank you :)

    Hello Ella,

    This is a really good question to ask and something many people will also be thinking about.

    You are right to think carefully about what you want to or need to share. You are perceptive in recognising that some people who have not had difficulties or tough times are not sure how to react or what might be expected of them.

    I think you can take your time to share your story and it is always helpful to pause and check out with yourself as to what you want to achieve by sharing information at that particular time. You may find it helpful to ask yourself ' what am 'I' going to gain from this and how do I think this information will be received. Some people think you will need something from them or that they cannot make it ok for you and are not sure what to say or how to respond. Help them by telling them that they don't need to do anything but listen.

    You are moving forward with courage Ella. Be good to yourself

    Karen
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Fax500

    I also find an article on 10 ways to make difficult convesations easier helpful too...maybe it would help you?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Eleanor wrote: »
    Hi Fax500

    I also find an article on 10 ways to make difficult convesations easier helpful too...maybe it would help you?

    Looks like there are some good tips and suggestions here :)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have recently moved to university and I instantly become good friends with one particular guy and we have grown close over the past couple of months. I had never seen him in any other way than as a 'brother' because we had the sort of relationship where we have 'banter'. He also had a bit of a thing with one of my close girl friends, who lives in the same flat as me during the first month at university so I would have never of seen him in any other way than a friend.

    However, last month we all got a little drunk and we all ended up going back to this particular guys flat. Most of the group ended up going back home, but I stayed talking to him for a while and we ended up kissing. I stayed in his room that night and nothing else happened even though we both wanted it to because it felt strange as I had never seen him in this way before. I also felt bad in case my friend who had had the thing with him would be annoyed (which I later found out she wasn't)

    Anyway, I left pretty soon in the morning and ever since I can't stop thinking about it. I have realised that over the past few months I have been falling for him and I hadn't even noticed, I had been mentioning him to people randomly in a conversation, I had been thinking about him all the time, looking for excuses to be around him and wanted to be close to him. I don't know if I should tell him because apart from the kiss he hasn't really shown that he likes me. He sometimes asks where I am to my other friends, is protective over me when we're out, makes flirty jokes, cuddles up to me and comes to talk to me a lot, but I don't know if he is just being a good friend or if he likes me?
    As well as this, I also have a feeling he still likes my friend who he had a thing with before.

    Sorry for rambling on for so long, but what do you think? Do you think he likes me and do you think I should tell him I like him?

    Hi Jess,

    Oh I can see that you are feeling in turmoil and are not sure what to do. You have strong feelings for this guy and are very unsure what he might feel about you. You are searching for signs that he is interested and I sense that you would like him to approach you.

    If you think about someone in your life who you really respect the opinion of; what piece of advice would they give you right now?

    Or another way of getting a different perspective is to ask yourself; if someone could ask me a question which would help me to understand this situation more, what would that be?

    I wonder if you are an instinctive person and when you trust your instincts then you often find they are spot on??

    If you imagine that you said nothing to him, what would you feel? What's at risk if you say something to him? These questions will help you to take a big step back and get some distance to the intensity of this situation. It's that University Bubble thing.

    Has that helped? Come back to me if there is another question there.

    Karen
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've found out since I sent Jo my question that his parents don't like me getting him that stuff, which makes his reaction make more sense. His parents don't really like me anyway, its just something I'm stuck with, but at least I know he doesn't have a problem with it himself now.

    Hi there,

    Well, things are clearer now. You did well to talk about it and I hope you found a way forward in terms of you and him. It is a shame that you think his parents don't like you. It may be about their own assumptions about you and I hope it eases.

    Karen
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Jess,

    Sometimes the best relationships start from friendships. Perhaps talking to him about how you feel might be an option. He seems to really care for you from all you have said.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    We've just had another question come through anonymously
    I love my boyfriend - we've been together six months - but he's suffered from depression and anxiety for a long time and struggles with big groups of people - so he hasn't come out with my friends a lot with me. As a result they hardly know him at all and sometimes make jokes about him and whether he really exists when we're out. I know they don't mean it but it makes me sad - i don't like them being even jokingly mean about him but I also really would like to have a boyfriend who will come out with me and stuff too - their boyfriends come out with us and it is really fun. I feel bad for even thinking this and the whole thing is becoming a real strain.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fostress wrote: »
    We've just had another question come through anonymously

    Hi there,

    It sounds like you really care for your boyfriend and want the best for him. You say feel bad for wishing your boyfriend would come out with you but maybe you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. It must be very difficult for you seeing all your friends with their boyfriends. Have you spoken to your friends about how hurtful you find their comments? Perhaps if they understood how difficult it is for you they wouldn't make jokes about him and whether he really exists.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I love my boyfriend - we've been together six months - but he's suffered from depression and anxiety for a long time and struggles with big groups of people - so he hasn't come out with my friends a lot with me. As a result they hardly know him at all and sometimes make jokes about him and whether he really exists when we're out. I know they don't mean it but it makes me sad - i don't like them being even jokingly mean about him but I also really would like to have a boyfriend who will come out with me and stuff too - their boyfriends come out with us and it is really fun. I feel bad for even thinking this and the whole thing is becoming a real strain

    Hello,

    I can imagine it is very difficult for you. You feel great loyalty towards your boyfriend and know he is having a hard time but you are missing having the fun part of being with someone. That is really human. It sounds like you are very supportive of him and have been for a long time and you kind of want him to be getting better??

    Have you told your friends that you understand that they mean no harm but that you are finding this tough. Who do you talk to?

    I guess it hinges on whether your boyfriend's depression and anxiety is improving? Sometimes, we don't feel that we have a right to say what we need if someone is having a tough time. I think this may be something you want to talk to him about, about the fact that you would really like him to be part of your life with your friends and that you would like to support him to do that.

    the Mind site might help;

    Have a look at;
    I didn't want to tell my partner about how I was feeling because I knew it would upset him, so I kept it to myself, I just put up with it."http://www.mind.org.uk/blog/6399_mental_health_in_relationships

    you are important too.

    Karen
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for all your questions tonight guys and thanks to Karen and Eleanor for all their replies. Feel free to continue the discussion and share your own advice :thumb:
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