Cuddles and cuppas the importance of small gestures in relationships

13 lov

This week, a new app-in-development is making headlines, promising to turn any man into a knight in shining armour.

The app, called HeroBoyfriend, is the brainchild of Dan Groch, a 32-year-old Australian entrepreneur and it offers a seemingly simple service. After asking you a few questions about your relationship, the app will periodically remind you to surprise your partner with “unexpected gifts” and help you “always know the right things to say”. It also promises to keep you on top of special occasions and be “considerate and attentive”.

So far, the app seems to be aimed solely at heterosexual men and assumes that its users are the type of people who struggle to remember what day it is. It also plays into female stereotypes, suggesting that women all fantasise about the same  type of things (flowers! chocolates!).

But could HeroBoyfriend be on to something? Can small gestures such as unexpected gifts really make that much of a difference to your relationship? In fact, research would suggest the answer to that question is a big ‘yes’!

A major study conducted by The Open University

Posted in Relationship | Tagged | Comments Off on Cuddles and cuppas the importance of small gestures in relationships

Long distance relationships

11 lov

If you’re in a long-distance relationship, you probably already have some ingenious ideas for making things work with your partner. But have you started preparing for the time when you move closer together?

Chances are you aren’t planning for your relationship to be permanently long distance. You may already be looking ahead to a time when you and your partner will be able to live in the same town, or even the same home. And, while that anticipation might be really exciting, there’s a lurking danger that things might not go as smoothly as you hope.

We know from research that long-distance couples risk facing greater instability when they move closer together. In fact, the longer they spend apart, the more likely they are to feel unstable, or even break up, when they get back together. One study showed that 82% of couples broke up when they moved closer together [3].

However, all is not lost. Having managed the long-distance situation, it’s likely you already have a good idea of what makes a relationship strong and happy. Studies have shown that couples in long-distance

Posted in Relationship | Comments Off on Long distance relationships

Do parenting styles matter

8 lov

The idea that different parenting styles can have different effects on children’s behaviour has been around since the early 1990s. So what happens when your partner’s style differs from your own?

What are parenting styles?

In 1991, the psychologist Diana Baumrind identified four key parenting styles that are still talked about today [1]. These are:

Authoritarian parenting is used to describe a very strict kind of parent with clear rules in place, that aren’t to be questioned by children. It’s a sort of ‘do as I say’ philosophy which can be very effective in the short term but can lead to children feeling less happy, less confident, and with lower self-esteem in the long term.

Authoritative parenting differs from authoritarian parenting in that rules and guidelines are balanced with warmth and caring. Children can question the rules and are offered explanations as to why they are in place. Children with this type of background tend to be more confident and socially responsible, and may be better at making decisions for themselves [1].

Permissive parenting is where parents have very few

Posted in Relationship | Tagged | Comments Off on Do parenting styles matter

The effects of miscarriage on relationships

A miscarriage is an incredibly painful and emotional time for couples.

A report written by OnePlusOne, featuring interviews with couples who had gone through one or more miscarriages  revealed how different couples deal with the loss of their unborn child.

One participant in the study said that after two miscarriages, she and her partner experienced a lot of severe relationship difficulties.

‘When you go on the down side after a miscarriage, you just don’t want to know. Everybody is to blame and the person you are with gets it the worst.  I’d often go and sleep on my own, and make the excuse that our son was waking up at night. I think the only factor that kept us together at times was the fact that we had a son. We were both quite committed to him.’ (Female, married, 51)

Others feel like communication breaks down between the two of them, which can leave them feeling helpless at times: ‘You know there’s only so much asking you can do and if she’s not ready to talk then that’s it.’ (Male, cohabiting, aged 36)

However, it is more commonly reported that miscarriages can help

Posted in Relationship | Comments Off on The effects of miscarriage on relationships

Relationships in later life overcoming sex and intimacy issues faced by mature couples

Most of us are aware that the frequency and intensity of sexual contact in a couple relationship tends to reduce over time.

But it’s not as dire as you’d expect. Research has found that 47% of married women aged between 66 and 71 are sexually active and 60% of men and women over the age of 50 are happy with their sex lives.

That’s not to say that mature couples don’t experience issues in the bedroom.

Health and the menopause

For many mature couples, health problems have a big effect on their sex lives. NATSAL research recently found that 29% of men aged between 65 and 74 feel that their health has affected their sex life. In comparison, just 17% of men in all other age groups feel this way.

For some women, sexual desire can increase after menopause – possibly because they are no longer afraid of falling pregnant, or because they are no longer feeling stressed out by their menstrual cycle.

Post-menopausal women can experience some difficulties that may disrupt sexual activity such as hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and painful uterine contractions at orgasm.

Some women also

Posted in Relationship | Tagged | Comments Off on Relationships in later life overcoming sex and intimacy issues faced by mature couples

Porn and couple relationships

Do you feel like your partner watches too much porn, or prefers watching porn to being physically intimate with you? You’re not alone. On theCoupleConnection, many of our users come to the relationship forum to voice concern over their partner’s porn viewing habits:

‘My boyfriend recently admitted he is addicted to porn and watches it a minimum of four times a week. It has been seriously affecting our sex life for the past eight months, as we barely have sex. He’s admitted that sometimes he prefers to watch porn and look at other women and masturbate than have sex with me’ – forum post ‘Boyfriend addicted to porn’.

‘He would lie about watching porn, he watched it about five times a week minimum but normally more – he lost count’ – forum post ‘Boyfriend recovering porn addict’.

‘He will go almost a week without having sex with me but he watches porn every day and claims he’s getting ready for me’ – forum post ‘What to do’ .

This can be distressing, but it can be useful to know why your partner is watching porn, and how to discuss the issue.

Why a

Posted in Relationship | Tagged | Comments Off on Porn and couple relationships

How to convert your civil partnership to marriage

As of 10 December 2014, previously civil-partnered couples will have the option to convert their union to marriage.

There are two ways to convert your civil partnership into a marriage:

  • A ‘standard conversion’
  • A two-stage process followed by a ceremony

Please keep in mind that you may only convert your civil partnership to marriage if you registered it in England and Wales, or overseas in a consulate or armed forces base.

Standard conversion

This is an administrative process where you and your partner go to a register office and complete a form about your civil partnership.

You will need to bring the following documents to the appointment:

  • Proof of name and date of birth
  • Proof of address
  • The original civil partnership certificate

A legal declaration will be drawn up for you to sign.

Two-stage process

This process begins like a standard conversion. You will need to book an appointment at the register office and bring the required documents (see Standard conversion).

Once you have signed the declaration, you can have a ceremony at a venue where same-sex weddings can take place.

Posted in Relationship | Tagged | Comments Off on How to convert your civil partnership to marriage

Set yourself relationship goals

At the start of the New Year everybody starts talking about the changes they want to make. Most say they want to lose weight, exercise more or drink less alcohol. Some set themselves bigger challenges like learning a new language or passing their driving test. Others make plans to see the world.

Some people, however, prefer to focus on improving their relationships. Perhaps you are considering working on your own couple relationship and making it stronger this year?

You may already have identified the problem areas in your relationship, but if not, read the list below to see if you identify with any of the following statements:

  • I want to spend more time with my partner
  • I want to react better during arguments I have with my other half
  • I want to feel closer to my partner
  • I want us to share the same vision of the future
  • I want both of us to be a more confident as parents
  • I want to understand my partner better, and I want him/her to understand me too

If you relate to any of the statements in this list then our GOALS section could be useful.

In the Goals section of

Posted in Relationship | Tagged , | Comments Off on Set yourself relationship goals

Want to learn more about your relationship

Where do you go to learn about relationships? To help young adults get more information on the realities of being in a couple, relationships charity OnePlusOne has launched LoveSmart.

The online tool uses relationship science and interactive animations to encourage users to set boundaries, communicate effectively and understand their emotions. The site also looks at sex and intimacy within a broader context of dating and forming relationships.

‘The site covers matters such as “What kind of relationship am I in?”, “Do I have to have sex?” and “Can I be friends with my ex?”’ says OnePlusOne Director Penny Mansfield. ‘Our hope is that we can answer the questions of young adults while showing them how to improve the quality of their relationships.’

OnePlusOne has identified a need for young adults to be given more education on couple relationships. Recent research findings have shown that many young adults  feel that they are missing out on this when at school and some are turning to pornography to learn more about sex.

‘It’s a myth to assume that the only thing young adults are interested in is sex,” continues  Mansfield. ‘They care very much about their relationships

Posted in Relationship | Tagged , | Comments Off on Want to learn more about your relationship

Relationship status It complicated

Relationship status? It’s complicated

When people list their relationship status as “it’s complicated”, you may wonder what could be so complicated about it. Surely you are simply ‘single’ or ‘in a relationship’, right? Well, new research has emerged suggesting that for young people in particular, it’s not necessarily so straightforward. Although monogamy – an exclusive relationship with one partner – is still considered the ‘norm’ in our society, more casual relationships are increasingly common for adolescents.

When someone says ‘I’m in a relationship’, there’s a good chance you’ll picture a man and a woman in a steady, sexually exclusive relationship. And you wouldn’t be alone with that assumption. A study by four authors published[1] in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships[2], confirmed that despite Western society becoming ever more permissive and accepting, monogamy is still considered to be the most desirable and ‘normal’ way to engage in a relationship.

So what’s the problem? Well, monogamy being placed as ‘the normal thing to do’ can mean that anyone choosing a non-traditional form of relationship, such as polyamory (multiple partners) or an open relationship (not sexually exclusive) may feel marginalised and excluded when it comes to

Posted in Relationship | Tagged | Comments Off on Relationship status It complicated

Letting the in laws interfere a bit

Though it might hurt at first, letting your in-laws interfere a little with your parenting may have a positive effect on you, your relationship, and your children.

In-laws are often portrayed in a negative light. We all know the comedic stereotype of the nagging, interfering mother-in-law who keeps telling you how to raise your child, and the useless father-in-law who falls asleep in front of your television. But we probably also recognise that our children’s Granny and Grandad (or Nan and Grandpa, or Mimi and Pops [1], or whatever you call them) might just as well be loving, sharing people, who only want the best for you and your family.

In fact, research has shown that the members of your wider family, like uncles, aunts, and grandparents, can be a valuable source of emotional, financial, and practical support when you make the transition to parenthood. [2]

When you have a child, it’s likely that your social network will shift and change as you adjust to your new lifestyle. Many parents find that the group of people they actively spend time with gets smaller, but those who remain in their lives become closer. [3] The friends

Posted in Relationship | Comments Off on Letting the in laws interfere a bit

From teething to timesheets easing back into work after a baby

After having a baby, going back to work might be the last thing you want to think about. But the better prepared and supported you are, the easier the transition will be.

That doesn’t mean you have to start thinking about it before you’re ready, of course. In fact, having a baby can directly affect the way you feel about your work. [1]

When you become a parent, you may find that your focus shifts away from work entirely. One study showed that mothers in particular tended to let go of work-related goals as their interest in family-related goals increased. [1]

This may not be the case for you and, even if it is, it won’t necessarily be forever. By the time children are nearing school age, many parents start to take more of an interest in work, and often reconnect with old ambitions, with as much vigour as they had before becoming a parent. [2] Some parents really look forward to going back to work after round-the-clock baby care.

Going back to work after having a baby is a significant life transition. Rather than just seeing it as part of the overall experience

Posted in Relationship | Comments Off on From teething to timesheets easing back into work after a baby

Is there a soulmate out there for you

Is there one perfect person out there in the world for you? And, if so, what are the odds of finding them?

What is a soulmate?

When the idea of soulmates first emerged in the 1930s, it was seen almost as a magical connection between two people destined to be together. These days, we tend to think of a soulmate more as a person we can connect with and are compatible with – someone who shares the qualities that we feel are most important to us [1].

Does your soulmate exist?

The question of whether your soulmate exists is a very personal one. If you’re looking for someone, you may already have an idea in your mind of the important qualities they should or shouldn’t have.

Narrowing down the field like this can help give you an idea of what sort of person your ‘soulmate’ might be – their age, their interests, their hopes and dreams, and maybe even what they look like. Some of these qualities will be ‘deal-breakers’.

But here’s the exciting part: most of us don’t actually know what we’re looking for until we find it. According to relationship

Posted in Relationship | Tagged , | Comments Off on Is there a soulmate out there for you

My partner has had an affair with a colleague at the office party

You’ve found out that your partner has had an affair with a colleague. Perhaps they told you personally, maybe you found a message on their phone, or a mutual friend told you.

Right now you’ll be going through a range of emotions and your mind will be reeling with questions – Why did my partner cheat? Has he/she cheated on me before? Did he/she prefer having sex with this other person to me? Is our relationship over?

It’s a horrible experience to go through, and although it may not feel like much of a comfort, it’s useful to know that you’re not alone in this situation. Many CoupleConnection forum users have been through something similar:

‘I discovered messages on her phone around 4 months ago… I just decided to [ask her about it] and hey presto she came clean on everything. She said it started as friendship but they have been sleeping together for about 6 months now,’ posts Philly in My Wife’s Secret Affair With Her Boss.

Several surveys have been conducted into workplace affairs and flings, which suggest that a fair number of people have found their partner cheating on them with

Posted in Relationship | Tagged , , | Comments Off on My partner has had an affair with a colleague at the office party

How to have a good breakup

How to end a relationship

Is there a right way to break up with someone? Does it really make a difference how you go about severing the tie that once kept your hearts intertwined?

Well, yes it does, actually. And there are two key variables you should try to keep in mind. The first is how direct you are, and the second is how much concern you express towards the person you’re breaking up with [1].

The more direct you are, the more considerate you’re likely to be. Imagine a scenario where you break up with someone by avoiding them, or drifting away, or even putting all your flaws on display in the hopes that they’ll break up with you.

Not only would that show a lack of compassion on your part, but it’s might also make things harder after you breakup. So, while ending a bad relationship is sometimes the right choice to make, it really is worth trying to do it as kindly as possible.

While it may seem harder, being direct is a much more compassionate way to leave your lover. Be clear that you want to end the relationship,

Posted in Relationship | Comments Off on How to have a good breakup

Why it OK to ask for relationship support

It isn’t always easy to ask for help, particularly with something as personal as your relationship. But trouble finds us all from time to time and, in those moments, it doesn’t hurt to get a bit of help before things get out of hand.

Even smaller issues – things like not being able to talk to each other, a lack of affection, or simply growing apart – need dealing with. Although they may not arrive with quite the same sense of urgency as bigger problems, it’s usually best to deal with them as early as possible. Taking early action can make it easier to reach a solution, and stop problems from getting much bigger [1].

How to ask for help

Sometimes, asking for help can feel like an admission of failure, but this isn’t necessarily the case. By seeking support, and taking steps to resolve your difficulties, you’re taking responsibility for your actions and looking for ways to make the best decisions. This leaves you in a much better position to protect your relationship, and even strengthen it, than you would be if you allowed the issue to fester [2].

The first person you

Posted in Relationship | Tagged | Comments Off on Why it OK to ask for relationship support

The future of online dating

A new report from the Imperial College Business School and online dating service eHarmony, has predicted that, by 2040, almost 70% of relationships will be formed by people who met online.

We’re taking a look at the wider research that’s been done on this topic, to bring you some evidence-based tips on how to navigate the world of online dating as it takes a bigger role in the way we meet people.

In many ways, online dating can make things much easier, streamlining the process and removing some of the challenges associated with meeting people offline.

Flirting with someone face to face can be quite stressful, especially if you feel self-conscious or nervous about meeting new people. If that sounds like you, it might feel like a big risk to put yourself in front of someone you find attractive and try to make it clear that you’re interested.

Meeting people in an online environment takes a bit of that pressure off. Using a dating website takes a lot of the ambiguity out of your intentions, and might help you put yourself out there in a way that feels less vulnerable than approaching people out

Posted in Relationship | Comments Off on The future of online dating

One faith both faiths or no faith

Interfaith parenting

For many parents, faith can play a very important part in how you choose to raise your children.

If you and your partner have different religious beliefs, you may have different ideas and values about parenting. There are going to be some big decisions to make and, as with any big decision, it’s really useful to be able to plan ahead so you can make a compromise together.

Choosing a faith

In an interfaith family – broadly speaking – you have three options about how you fit religion into your family: one faith, both faiths, or no faith.

You can choose to raise your child within the values of one set of religious beliefs and values, or, as many parents do, you can opt for a combination of the two. If you don’t want to make this decision for your child, you may also opt to set religion aside, so your child can form their own belief system [1].

Of the various research projects done in this area, some results suggest that a mix of both faiths is best, while others say it doesn’t matter too much as long as

Posted in Relationship | Comments Off on One faith both faiths or no faith

Are you and your partner due a date night

More than a third of couples admit that they can’t remember the last time they went on a date together.

A new survey from OnePoll has asked 1,000 people in relationships how often they have a dedicated date night together, and 39% of couples say they have left it so long that they can no longer remember the last time.

Spending dedicated time together allows you to catch up, and remember what you love about each other. It’s an opportunity to talk about the things that matter with someone who cares, away from the banalities and distractions of everyday life.

So, for the one in 10 of us who say they never manage to organise anything, and the one in five who say they only manage it twice a year, let’s take a look at why it matters and what we can do about it.

Why should we have a date night?

Those who regularly make time for date nights say that they feel happier – in fact, 78% of couples believe they are less likely to split up if they make time for each other. Date nights facilitate some of the most

Posted in Relationship | Comments Off on Are you and your partner due a date night

Write a thank you note to your partner

It’s lovely to e-meet you all. My name is Will, I’m 22, and I make short films on the internet.

I wanted to drop by with a quick message about a project I’m working on, as I hope it might appeal to some of you.

Last year, I had a breakup. As a result of said breakup, I found myself becoming more vocal with my feelings that I shared online. It was daunting at first, but I was overwhelmed by the response and, more importantly, the support I received.

Just like the people who use the CoupleConnection, I put my emotions out there to people who had been through similar or even different experiences and, in turn, they opened up to me about their own lives, sharing their own stories. It helped me move on, and I hope it helped them too. It got me thinking about how empowering a support group can be, even if its members never know or meet each other in person.

Since then, I’ve been gathering love-letters from people all over the world for a crowd-sourced book called This Modern Love. I’ve posed a range of relationship questions on

Posted in Relationship | Tagged , | Comments Off on Write a thank you note to your partner