Sex after babies

After giving birth, when it hurts just to go to the toilet, the thought of having to resume love-making can be worrying.

Sex postpartum isn’t something that most women, or men, talk about openly – but it can be a major concern.

As well as fears over pain, new parents find themselves exhausted with looking after the baby, adjusting to their new roles, and uncertain about how to start a conversation about sex with their partner. (more…)

Staying friends brings benefits

You’re about to have that awkward conversation with your partner – that you want to break up. But should you suggest ‘remaining ‘friends’? Or cut them out of your life completely?

Relate relationship counsellor Gurpreet Singh has been talking with HuffPost Online about the benefits of remaining friends.

It can help you bring good energy into your next relationship

“History, sadly, has a way of repeating itself,” says Singh. “If you have unresolved issues from a past relationship it’s likely you will carry them forward.” By forcing a resolution with your ex-partner, and parting more amicably, you are likely to go into your next relationship with a more positive mental outlook. (more…)

Not good in bed?

The thought that you might not be particularly good in bed is one that occurs to lots of people at some point in their life.

Insecurities around sex are one of the most common problems that affect relationships.

So… the first thing to say is, if this is something that’s on your mind: you’re not alone.

What do we mean by it? (more…)

When your partner is unreliable

Is your partner unreliable?

At the less serious end of the spectrum, it can be things like always being a bit late when you arrange to meet, or taking longer than you would like to reply to texts – niggling stuff that can get on your nerves, but isn’t necessarily a big problem.

More seriously, it can take the form of emotionally draining behaviour. An unreliable partner is unpredictable in the way he or she treats people: freezing you out and refusing to talk, or swinging between being kind and short-tempered. This form of unreliability can impact your security and self-esteem, and easily stray into becoming emotional abuse. (more…)

Left cold by a long relationship

While men and women lose passion with age, women are often left cold by longer relationships, says a study of British sexual attitudes.

The findings, from the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles in Britain, are based on the experiences of nearly 5,000 men and 6,700 women.

Relate sex therapist Ammanda Major told BBC Health that losing interest in sex isn’t necessarily abnormal, and there were many different reasons why men’s and women’s needs change. (more…)

The burden of debt

Being in debt can place a huge strain on a relationship.

Having enough money is a basic need, so when you’re under the pressure of debt, it can make you feel scared, upset, stressed and worried about the future. Some people find it can creep into every moment, and make it difficult to enjoy any aspect of their life.

Staying strong as a couple can become tough. Debt can cause one or both partners to become withdrawn and cold; for others it might lead to repeated arguments. Depending on how the debt was accumulated, it can also create issues over trust.

How might it affect our relationship? (more…)

Managing exam results – tips for young people and parents

Now A-Level and GCSE results are out, you may be wondering how best to support your teenager facing up to their disappointment.

Not everyone got the grades they dreamt of and, although outwardly younger people may not appear so upset, deep down they may well be feeling the stress of despair, guilt maybe, and anger that their friends have done better.

Childline figures show a 21% rise in counselling sessions over the last year for young people worried about their grades. Relate is the UK’s largest provider of children and young people’s counselling in schools and here in Bedford and Luton by far the biggest number of counselling sessions we do are with young people of exam age. (more…)

What not to say to someone with dementia

Seven things not to say to someone with dementia are the latest helpful tips from the Alzheimer’s Society.

Those of us who know someone with dementia will recognise how communication can get more difficult over time.

How and when language problems develop will depend on the individual, as well as the type of dementia and the stage it is at.

It’s not just the person living with the condition who may struggle to recall things or find the right word. What we say when we’re visiting someone with dementia, or looking after them full-time, is also important. (more…)

Open relationships: things to think about

Relate counsellors called up by Huffington Post have been giving their thoughts on open relationships – where both partners in a relationship or marriage agree they are permitted to have sexual relationships with other people.

Proponents of open relationships say they have found the answer to differing sex drives, and satiating a desire to have a variety of sexual experiences, but others just see it as glorified cheating without consequences.

So what should you be asking yourself if you’re considering taking your relationship down this route? (more…)

Letting go and moving on

It can be difficult to stop living in the past, especially if you’re still carrying around the emotional baggage of a former relationship.

Relationships can have a pull on us long after they’re over. It can be difficult to accept that something that was once a really big part of your life is now becoming a memory. Likewise, unresolved issues can make it difficult to accept that the relationship has ended.

Clients often tell our counsellors that they feel stuck going over and over what happened in their last relationship, and that makes it feel impossible to move on. It’s also a lot harder now to disconnect yourself from painful reminders of the past: simply logging on to Facebook and seeing updates or photos of an ex can leave you heartbroken all over again. (more…)