Read our posts about relationships

Sex: Have You Ever Regretted The Night Before?

Sex: Have You Ever Regretted The Night Before?

Is there a topic more emotive, fraught and confused than sex and consent, versus sex and coercion? Impaled on the shameful histories of silencing women and violence against women, many solutions are value driven but goal blind.  How far will the recent call for explicit consent go in protecting women from being victims of rape and men from being perpetrators of rape? One in seven students who responded said that they had experienced serious physical or sexual assault at University. In an NUS survey conducted four years ago, one in seven students who...
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Breaking Up With A Sociopath

Breaking Up With A Sociopath

Are you in a relationship where you are always in the wrong and chaos is the norm? Your partner doesn’t show any concern for anyone other than themselves and has extreme antisocial tendencies?   The chances are you are in a relationship with a sociopath. Sociopaths don’t care if they hurt, bully or maim. They have no conscience and show no remorse. Exiting a relationship of this sort can be painful and difficult but being aware of our former behaviours helps us gain insight, which in turn helps keep us from getting inadvertently (re)trapped in a cycle of...
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Adopting Siblings: Our New Family

Adopting Siblings: Our New Family

My husband and I have been together for nearly 17 years and married 11 years ago. Since marrying we had tried for a family but when it became clear that we wouldn’t be able to have biological children we both (separately) came to the conclusion that we would like to be considered as adoptive parents. I read information on the adoptive process and we approached our local authority and Clifton Children's Society, an adoption service who specialise in adopting siblings, for further information. After attending information sessions by both organizations we asked CCS to...
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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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