Help with issues about sex

It’s not easy talking about problems with sexual or emotional intimacy – especially when sexual relations are absent, difficult, painful or just plain distressing.

Once you’ve summoned up courage to make an appointment by calling the Relate team on 01234 356350 – and asking to see a counsellor to help with issues about sex – you’ll be seen by a sex therapist who will listen sensitively to your description of the problem and ensure that any suggested treatment meets your needs.

Quality of the relationship counts for most

“It’s not the piece of paper that’s important, it’s the quality of the relationship,” says Relate counsellor Barbara Bloomfield in an interview about living together, commitment and marriage.

Around 80% of couples co-habit before getting married, but it’s not always seen as a precursor to marriage. A 2012 report suggests that 21% of people live together to reduce costs – and a fifth of people living together have already ruled out marriage.

Some people live together because it’s cheaper and they’ve ‘fallen into it’ without thoughts to the future. If they’ve planned to spend their lives together, intending to be committed to one another, and possibly thinking of getting married at a later date, they’re more likely to remain in their relationship longer-term.

Tell-tale signs of a toxic relationship

“If you’re afraid to tell your friends or family what’s happening in your relationship, it’s probably toxic.”

“If your partner directs, advises, or orders you to not talk to friends and family members, it’s probably toxic.”

Those are messages from one contributor to a chatroom discussion about tell-tale signs of a toxic relationship.

When you’re in the middle of a toxic relationship, others agree, it can often be hard to recognise the signs that something isn’t right.

That’s the point…

What’s the point of keeping up contact with someone who doesn’t recognise you?

A survey says 42% of the public think there is no point in maintaining contact when someone reaches this stage of dementia.

But family visits at this stage can stimulate feelings of happiness, comfort and security, says the Alzheimer’s Society. “Spending time with loved ones with dementia is important even after they fail to recognise the faces of friends and family.”

Even as the condition progresses, people with dementia can still retain an “emotional memory” – they continue to feel happy long after a visit or experience that they may have forgotten.

D-Day for help with divorce

Today has been dubbed D-Day (with apologies to those with wartime memories). D-Day is the date in January when more divorces are expected to be filed than any other day of the year.

Christmas has come and gone. You’ve given it one last chance. You didn’t want to spoil Christmas for the children. But after all that indecision and change of heart, your mind is made up (well, at least as far as it could ever be given how momentous it all is). And you fix to see a solicitor.

Which caused one Sunday supplement this weekend to speculate on what you’d want your friends to say if it were you seeking a divorce.

Christmas Closing

Our office will be closed from 5.30pm on Wednesday 23rd December and will reopen at 9.30am on Monday 4th January 2016.


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’).

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.

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?