Surely your luck will change in 2016

This new year maybe, just maybe… your luck will change.

Each new year, hundreds, no thousands, probably millions of people ask themselves: ‘Why haven’t I been asked out?’

It’s not just you, we promise.

The Office for National Statistics calculates that 51% of the UK population are single (although their definition of ‘single’ is ‘not married’).
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How to avoid family arguments this Christmas

Christmas can be wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your family, but, as so many of us know, it can also come with a whole host of pressures and challenges.

It’s no surprise really. The hothouse environment of having lots of contrasting personalities all together indoors for long periods at a time. All the emotional and financial pressure of buying gifts and putting up decorations. And that’s to say nothing about sorting out all the food…

But Christmas doesn’t have to be an emotional obstacle course. If you’re dreading the holidays, why not try out our five tips for a more harmonious festive season? (more…)

Co-parenting Christmas – how to deal with the holidays if you’re separated

If you’ve recently gone through a divorce or a separation, Christmas can be a stressful time of year.  What was once a chance to spend quality time with the family can now serve as a reminder about how much things have changed – and can bring up some complicated emotions for you, your ex-partner and your children.

Whether you’re spending time with the children this Christmas, spending it alone, or a combination of both, it’s entirely normal to feel a little overwhelmed or upset.
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Why teenagers join gangs

Finding out your teenager has joined a gang can be worrying and upsetting for any parent.

It can leave you concerned they’ll end up on the wrong side of the law or in a violent situation. You may want to talk to them, but aren’t sure if you’ll be able to get through. Perhaps you’ve already tried and haven’t had much success.

Why do teenagers join gangs?
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When does it get serious?

When you’re dating someone, it’s pretty obvious. You go out together, hang out at weekends, and probably do other stuff, too. But figuring out whether you’re just dating or in a serious relationship can be a grey area.

For some, you’re serious after three months of consistent dating; for others, it’s not until after you move in together. But it’s hard to know – unless you talk about it.

Relate researchers asked 6,000 people relationship questions, including what they think defines a ‘serious’ relationship. Half of all couples said ‘sharing problems’ is the top indicator that things are pretty serious.

That’s ranked even higher than ‘being exclusive’ (cited by 44%) or ‘getting married’ (cited by 39%).

Basically, conclude the researchers, if you don’t share your problems, you still have things to work on. In a great relationship you share the good and bad things in life and help each other through them.

If you’d like to talk with one of our counsellors about relationship issues, give us a call on 01234 356350.

New beginnings

People of a certain age don’t always readily admit to using Relate’s counselling services. Chat with younger people and there’s nothing odd about finding someone to talk with in confidence. Their mates do it; they do it.

So it was a bit surprising when a lady of more advanced years came up at a public event where we were promoting our services and thanked us for the counselling sessions that might have restored her relationship with her husband – but ended in her decision to divorce. We remember her comment: “Best thing I ever did.”

That encounter came to mind when we read this week about another woman who celebrated freedom from her ex by throwing a ‘divorce party’.

For many, when marriages come to an end, it can be a time of depression, hiding out under the covers, crying for weeks. But for others it’s a time to party, a day to celebrate a new chapter in life.

“When I walked in, I cried,” said the party host. “But they were happy tears. When my friends started to arrive, all of them dressed up for the event with gifts (yes, you get gifts when you get divorced!), I thought I was living in a fairytale. The crying stopped.”

Divorce, she later concluded, didn’t have to mean you’d failed.

Quite the opposite in fact.

Give us a call at Relate if you’d like to talk with a counsellor about divorce. We’re on 01234 356350.

Good communication better than pills?

In a week when we were told that talking therapies are just as effective as antidepressants, the comparative benefits of a new pill for low libido in women have also been brought into question.

Popularly described as Viagra for women, Flibanserin is taken daily and aims to treat low desire, but has potential side-effects such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue and insomnia. In a similar way to antidepressants, it can take weeks to have an effect.

One study showed that women who took Flibanserin had just 0.8 more satisfying sexual events per month on average than women on a placebo – who also found their sex lives had improved!
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How To Decide Who To Spend Christmas With And Avoid Family Rows

As the Christmas lights go up and the heart-warming festive TV adverts appear, anyone who hasn’t confirmed how they are spending Christmas this year may be feeling under pressure to commit. New Picture (7)

Who to spend Christmas with sounds like such a simple question but it can actually be rather complicated and cause a lot of stress and tension within families and between the couple themselves. In fact, Relationships charities Relate Bedfordshire and Luton and Marriage Care say that this is something which often comes up in the counselling room. The charity has therefore released top tips on how to avoid rows about who to spend Christmas with. (more…)

Should you be worried if your teenage son is watching porn?

People have different responses to porn. Whether they think about it from a moral, ethical or even legal point of view, often no two people have the same opinion.

One of our Relate counsellors says that clients’ sexual issues frequently, to a greater or lesser extent, involve problems with attitudes towards using porn.

Some see it as a harmless pastime, while others feel degraded by the mere thought of it. For some, using porn gets out of control and has detrimental effects on them and those around them. (more…)

How much sex you need for a happy relationship?

According to a study in the journal  Social Psychological and Personality Science, the magic number is once a week.

The study used data on sexual frequency and happiness from more than 30,000 Americans who completed a social survey between 1989 and 2012.

It found that couples were happier if they had more sex, but that more than once a week didn’t increase their happiness.

The once-a-week rule held true regardless of age, gender or length of relationship.

The take-home message, says lead author Amy Muise, is that the pressure is off – the average person doesn’t benefit from having sex as often as possible. “Sex does not have limitless benefits for well-being,” she says. “Only too little is bad for you.”

This new study supports evidence from another in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization that found couples who were having sex about once a week – and were asked to double their amount of sex – enjoyed it less, and were slightly less happy than before.

Apparently, the average amount of sex American couples have is, indeed… once a week.

So that’s all good.