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Relationships chat with Jenna & Amelia
Relationship advisers Amelia and Jenna took some time out from answering questions on askTheSite and joined us in live chat to talk about family relationships, break-ups and more.
Lau: Is it OK to have nothing to do with my father?
Amelia: Hi Lau, thanks for your question. Do you live with your father right now?
Lau: No, I dont. It's great, I have nothing to do with him.
Amelia: Sounds like maybe youve had a tough relationship with him. There are lots of different types of families though, do you have other relatives who you can talk to and who support you?
Lau: I don't really need any support, I'm all good. But everyone else is all "Oh that's a shame, you should be in contact with him, you might regret it in time etc..." Everyone is curious that I only ever talk to my mother, but I'd only get annoyed if I mention my dad.
Amelia: If you're happy with that situation and it works for you then that's the main thing. It's nice that people are interested in your situation I suppose...! But only you know what your relationship with your dad is like. If you're happy with how things are then you shouldn't feel pressured to contact your dad. It's good that you have your mum.
If you're annoyed with people asking perhaps you can think of something to say to them that politely shuts them up? Something like, "Well, it works for me."
Lau: Yeah, I think it would be more unhealthy to have him in my life than out of it, so it does work for me, but I wouldn't want to be 30 and developing some lack-of-father syndrome.
Amelia: Well, you don't have to make any decisions here and now. When or if you feel ready to contact him, perhaps you can. As long as you've got plenty of other support then there's no reason why you have to have a relationship with your dad if you don't want to.
Jo7: That's right. And try not to worry too much about what other people think. You have to do what makes you happy. In this day and age there really isn't a typical family unit anymore.
Lau: Thanks guys.
Broken-Angel: I dated an older guy and I miss him a lot. The police have said I shouldn't speak to him and I was just wondering how I can get over him? I really liked him.
Jenna: Broken-Angel it's always hard to get over someone.
Lau: Distractions are good!
Jenna: Good point Lau. Have you thought about keeping yourself busy with other things?
Broken-Angel: Yeah, but those things always happen to be other guys...
Jenna: What about getting a hobby, joining a sports team or focusing on something you really enjoy?
Broken-Angel: I am Grade 8 on the flute and I play a lot, but I can't stop thinking about him.
Jenna: Giving yourself time to get over someone is important. Just allow yourself to have those feelings for a while, you can learn from it.
Broken-Angel: Yeah, he's a lot older than me, so I know it wasn't right. I know in the future I'll regret him.
Lau: Yeah that's good advice. You should focus on why it was wrong and use it as motivation to put it in your past.
Jenna: Sounds like you're taking a mature attitude towards it, it's very difficult but you will get through this. Have you got any close friends you can talk to?
Broken-Angel: Everyone knows, but I don't want to tell them everything because they'll think I'm weird. He was in his twenties you see. You just don't do that in my school. I really loved him, however stupid that sounds, but I'm sure I'll survive.
Jenna: It might feel like you're just surviving at the moment, but you're taking the right steps to move forward. No one will think you're weird; they might just be unsure how to respond or find it hard to relate to what you're going through. As the police have advised you not to contact him, it definitely sounds like you're doing the right thing.
If you're struggling to talk to someone, have you thought about writing down how you are feeling, maybe as a letter to him or to yourself? This can be a great way for you to get your thoughts straight and for letting go.
Amelia: Here's a link on how to be single and happy, might be worth a read? TheSite also has an article on getting over it which might help. Remember it's better to be on your own than it is to be with someone who doesn't treat you properly.
Broken-Angel: Yeah, I might try writing it all down and thanks for the links :)
Lau: I find going for a run always puts things in perspective.
Broken-Angel: Oh no! Not exercise!
Lau: Yes exercise, it's the best cure for everything. It will make you feel better.
Jenna: What about something else that makes you feel good?
Broken-Angel: I just never had a chance to say goodbye to him, but I know if I speak to him now I wont stop.
Jenna: It sounds like you're very self-aware, a really positive place to be. How about writing a goodbye letter to him? You don't have to send it, but keep it for yourself and get down exactly how you're feeling.
Everyone's first serious relationship is hard to get over, so how you're feeling is totally understandable, especially as you've opened up to him and now the police are involved too. It's a lot to deal with. You seem to be really mature about the fact you must get over him and it's good that you want to. In time you will take this experience away with you and realise why it had to end.
Amelia: If you're feeling like you want to talk to someone about this then Childline would be a good place to call. They're geared up to talk to people about things just like this. You can call them on 0800 1111.
Broken-Angel: Jenna, he wasn't my first. That's the worst part.
Jenna: I see Broken-Angel. It sounds like you had a strong connection with this man and he's clearly had a real impact on your life. That's where it can be hard to get over. You're being really strong, following your head rather than your heart.
Lau: I think you need to decide if you're ready to move on from it or whether you still want it. Do you think what you and he felt was real and healthy?
Broken-Angel: I know it wasn't real, not for him.
Jenna: It's good that you know that.
Broken-Angel: I kinda wish I didn't.
Lau: Well, if you know that then that's half the battle! You just have to reinforce it in your mind.
Jenna: You've been through a really tough ordeal, but time is the best solution at this point and it really does work. Think about how you fill that time though, keep yourself busy, try and stay positive and look after yourself.
Broken-Angel: Yeah, I guess I just have to sit it out till I find someone in the future.
Jenna: You will find someone again, but maybe spend this time focussing on your school work and your self esteem? It's important to try and be happy on your own.
"We all fear being ourselves with people we really like, that's totally natural."
Amelia: Here's a link on building self-esteem which might help you to be happy on your own.
Broken-Angel: OK, thanks everyone, I just wanted to talk about it.
Sally: I feel a bit silly now I'm here.
Amelia: Don't worry! No one's judging. Don't feel you have to ask anything but if you do want to we're here to help.
Broken-Angel: I have another for now. My mum's boyfriend just dumped her, is there anything I can say to make her better?
Amelia: That must be tough, your poor mum. There's plenty you can do to help her. Just being there and doing little practical things can help - like keeping your room tidy and making her a cup of tea. Do you talk to her about things like this?
Broken-Angel: No. I don't really speak to her at all. I avoid her most of the time.
Amelia: Oh dear, that's tough. Do you want to be closer to her? It sounds like you're concerned about her.
Broken-Angel: Yeah I kinda do, we aren't close at all.
Amelia: Just letting her know you care will make her feel better. Lots of teens (and adults) have problems with their parents, so don't feel bad that you're not that close to her.
You could do things with your mum - perhaps just go shopping with her or suggest going out for a walk or offer to cook dinner or something? Little gestures can mean a lot.
Lau: It's good to bond over something so you're not awkwardly trying to make conversation over silence but there's something to focus on.
Broken-Angel: Yeah I think I'll talk to her about it.
Amelia: That's great. It's definitely worth trying to talk to her even if it feels hard or awkward. It will help to take your mind off of your ex as well which might help you.
Broken-Angel: Thanks everyone.
Sally: So, my boyfriend just ended things with me after we slept together, he said I have too many issues. He is the only person I have been with since stuff happened and the only person that has seen all my scars and stuff. I feel like a right freak. I really can't trust anybody. Do you think I would be better off just being on my own? I totally feel stupid now.
Jenna: Sally it's completely natural for you to feel that way and don't feel stupid. It doesn't sound like he treated you very well, that's hard but maybe you can move on from that? Perhaps he felt overwhelmed and didn't know how to support you.
Sally: It'll probably just happen again with someone else though.
Jenna: If you feel that way at the moment then maybe being on your own to clear your head would help. That doesn't mean in the future things wont work out. People have lots of issues in relationships and when you find the right person you can support each other and work through them together.
Sally: Maybe, I just feel so stupid. Sometimes it just feels like two steps forward and 10 steps back.
Jenna: You shouldn't feel stupid at all. Its great that you opened up to him and in a way you should feel proud for that and that you're working through stuff. It's just a shame he wasn't the right guy. In the future you'll be able to trust someone again and he may even realise how insensitive he's been. Is there anyone you can talk to about how you're feeling?
Issues like this can be very up and down and when you have a relapse you can feel very low but this is only natural and you shouldn't put yourself down. Whether it feels like it or not, you can learn from this experience.
Sally: I feel like it's my fault maybe I should have been more honest with him but it's really hard to do that.
Jenna: Of course it is and even being at all open can be difficult. We all fear being ourselves with people we really like, that's totally natural.
Not everyone reacts in the way you want them to either, but it doesn't mean people wont. Give them a chance, although that can be scary, every relationship is different.
Amelia: Here's a link on sex and self-esteem which might help you to feel more confident in yourself. You also mentioned scars - it could be that you self-harm or have in the past in which case this link on self harm and relationships might help.
Jenna: Lau mentioned exercise earlier too, as a way to boost your mood. Focussing on other things can help, even if running isn't for you.
Sally: I had a horse for 14 years. He was my life, kept me busy, but he died last year.
Jenna: That's such a shame, is there anything you can get involved in or help out with at the stables to take your mind off things?
Sally: I haven't been down to the stables since, but I have my little cat.
Jenna: Maybe you could think about going back, when you feel you're ready. It sounds like it was something you really enjoyed and loved doing. You shouldn't underestimate that.
Lau: Yeah, why not help out and get up a bit of a sweat? Anything that gets your heart rate up will make you feel better, you can't avoid it, and it would be a good distraction! I'm pretty sure no one is going to turn you away from mucking out ;)
Sally: Yeah, everybody would let me muck out, lol.
Amelia: Here's a link on dealing with death too. Just because your horse wasn't human, doesn't mean you don't go through the same tough emotions.
Sally: He was my best friend, I should go back. I still talk to him and don't want him to think I have forgotten him.
Jenna: Maybe you would feel close to him if you were at the stables?
Lau: I lost my dog of 16 years not so long ago and that was awful. You have to get back into it, good pet owners can't stay away from animals, there are too many animals out there that need good owners.
Jenna: Thats true Lau. It can help you in your grieving process too. And back to your original question, it's really brave to trust someone in a relationship especially if you're nervous about scars or things that you've been through. Try not to let this bad experience get you down. They wont all be like that!
Lau: It's OK not to open up too easily as well, when you find someone you really connect with it will happen naturally.
Sally: Thanks for listening to me.
Jenna: No problem Sally, glad to help.
Amelia: Hopefully we've given you some things to think about.
Sally: Thanks, bye.
Jo7: Thanks everyone, see you next time!