Read our posts about relationships

Becoming a Grandparent

Becoming a Grandparent

I was pleased when my son and daughter-in-law announced they were expecting, but I had no idea what a transformational rite of passage it would be when she became part of our family. How much love would be unleashed, how it is to see her little personality shaping itself and to have a soft dough hand thrust trustingly into mine and The Old Man's as we stride down the street with her, pausing to examine dogs, doorways, shop, windows at her command. In fact I fear I've become a sentimental old bore whipping out my smart phone if someone as much as enquires...
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Don't Judge Me Because I'm Married

Don't Judge Me Because I'm Married

I got married when I was 21. I’m now 23…and still married – success! It’s a decision which has had a more profound effect on my sense of self than I ever imagined, which I realise might sound a little odd. When I told people I was getting married I was called insane, romantic (not always as a compliment), foolish, brave, and surely-pregnant. On the day itself,  I was called beautiful, so that’s all good. The time afterwards has easily been the most interesting, but I’ll get to that. My parents very vocally didn’t approve, so the month before became the worst...
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Cheating - Should You Confess

Cheating - Should You Confess

The illicit thrill of an infidelity may linger for a while, but often deeper and darker emotions such as guilt, even shame for the betrayal of a person we still love hang around for longer. The key question for many then is should I tell them, given that honesty is now considered paramount to relationships and key to trust. I don’t believe there is any one right answer because there is a huge difference between a drunken one night stand that means nothing (in which case why tell?) and a longer liaison where deceit and mixed emotions are in play. There are however...
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We All Use Sexist Language, Women Too

We All Use Sexist Language, Women Too

Adjectives have now become the scapegoat for a sexist culture - these naughty words are seen to be drenched in misogyny.  First “bossy” came under fire; now “feisty” is targeted. Forget feisty's positive meaning - apparently the fact that it is commonly used to describe women provides sufficient proof of bias and bad intent. When I went through the list of additional 'women only' words presented in The Telegraph Wonder Woman, I felt the frisson of easy recognition that often accompanies what psychologists call the 'confirmation bias': it is much easier to think...
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Don't Rush Forgiveness

Don't Rush Forgiveness

In my psychotherapy practice I often sit with people who are struggling with forgiveness.  Many of us, whether in therapy or not, have a hard time forgiving both ourselves and others. Someone close to us betrays our trust. Someone takes something from us, be it a purse, a car, or our very sense of safety in the world. We’re told when this happens that we must not act like victims. We’re “survivors” of every awful thing that befalls us. We seek the experience of forgiveness in order to free ourselves from hatred, anger, grief and again, victimhood. But forgiveness is...
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Why We Shouldn't Fear Touch

Why We Shouldn't Fear Touch

The media impress upon us the often horrifying results of inappropriate touch. As increasing numbers of celebrities have come under investigatation, media coverage has been innundated with examples of inappropriate touch.  The fact that Rolf Harris is now serving five years for using his celebrity status to control young women is a case in point.  Are we  fearful of touch?  We now struggle to decipher what is appropriate and what isn't.  At this years sports day, I was surprised to discover that primary school teachers are no longer allowed to put suntan lotion onto...
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Parenting and Gender: What's the Difference?

Parenting and Gender: What's the Difference?

When my triplet daughters went to university in 2005 my household switched overnight from one in which I, as a female, was in a 4:2 majority, to one in which I was outnumbered. Suddenly it was just me, my then three-year old son, and his dad. The shift in dynamic is one I'm still getting used to as my son grows up. I confess I miss my daughters, and I miss female company. People assume I'm an old hand at this parenting lark, but the truth is that raising one boy is very different to raising a trio of girls, and is providing just as much of a learning curve. Parenting...
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Workaholics Infect Domestic Life

Workaholics Infect Domestic Life

In Sheryl Sandberg's best-selling book, Lean In, she argues that a major reason why women don’t assert themselves at work is that they think it will make other people see them as selfish, cold and unpleasant workaholics. For men, success is correlated with niceness but successful women are often perceived as bossy and dislikable. Sandberg cites Deborah Greenfield, Professor of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour at Stanford, who explains that this is the result of a widespread assumption that women not only are nurturing, but that they should be – which...
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The Psychology of a One-Night Stand

The Psychology of a One-Night Stand

The stereotype of a one-night stand is a brutally selfish, egoistically satisfied male, and a woman shamed by regret and disappointment. Yet a memorable counter offensive was launched more than 40 years ago when Erica Jong, in her novel Fear of Flying, celebrated a female fantasy where “zippers fell away like rose petals, underwear blew off in one breath like dandelion fluff”. And, with the subsiding ecstasy, your partner melted away, freeing you both from embarrassment and commitment. For many men and women, this is the promise of a one-night stand.  The “zipless...
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