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Relationships chat with Amelia & Freya
Amelia and Freya, peer advisors on askTheSite stopped by to answer your questions on long-distance relationships, marriage proposals and supporting your partner through the tougher times.
User1: I've been in a long-distance relationship for over two months and we're both very much in love but lead very stressful and busy lives. We try to see each other every week, but its more like every two weeks. We've had a really rough time of it as I ended up in hospital and was completely dependent on him. This really put us under strain, and even though we've come out on the other side of that, we're both scared of the possible problems of our relationship.
He seems to think that I'm going to change whilst at university and I'm worried about how he copes with the financial strains he's under. He's in a lot of debt and does a very stressful job for little money. We do communicate our feelings a lot, but there often seems to be an underlying fear of the future between us. How can I resolve this?
Freya: Hi there. It sounds like you're going along the right route and you have a very supportive relationship. You've been through a tough time before and you have supported each other through this time. Remembering this support could help you through further tough times in your relationship.
Amelia: You seem to be at a time in your life when lots of things are changing and that can be very scary but it can also be quite rewarding. The best thing to do is to see what happens and keep communicating with your boyfriend. This article on coping with the transition to university has some advice on coping with relationships in particular.
Freya: The future can be really scary and there aren't any guarantees. Keeping communication going as Amelia says, and enjoying each others company, should help you to continue to have a strong relationship.
Jo7: It really does sound like you're on the right track and its natural to have these niggling worries but focusing on the positives might help to curb your anxiety.
User1: I seem to be constantly thinking of the future. I love my partner very much and I really can see myself spending the rest of my life with him. I know that he feels the same. I have been engaged before and it ended very badly; it was an abusive relationship. I said to myself after that, that I would never propose again, and I know that it's very early days right now. I wouldn't be looking at saying anything this side of Christmas but I'm scared of suggesting it because of the past and because I'm scared of seeming obsessive, help!?
Amelia: Sounds like you're getting quite upset about this. Perhaps take some time to think about what this step in your relationship would mean? The thing to remember is that getting engaged doesn't necessarily safeguard against things going wrong in the future. If things are great now, then there's no reason why they wont continue to be so.
You mention you might wait until after Christmas and this sounds like a good idea. By then you will have had your first term at university and have more of an idea of where you stand with each other. Take some time to think about it and enjoy getting to know your boyfriend even more. It's still early days as you say.
Freya: It might also be worth reading some more about whether you are ready for marriage.
User2: I've just moved back home after a while and I'm finding it really hard to meet people and reconnect with old friends. I've seen loads of people I used to hang out with - a lot of them are up to the same old stuff. I've been thinking about taking up an evening class or something in September. I also get on with people at work and I've been spending a bit of time with them outside of work. However, I'm finding myself (more often than not) in on a weekend, with nobody I can really call or hang out with. Any tips on how to reacclimatise?
Freya: Hi there. Perhaps you could also get involved in some volunteering? Do-it.org.uk lists volunteer opportunities in your local area, another way to meet new people and do something different. It's great that you are trying to make friends in different areas of your life, like work. Continue to build these relationships as you might find you have a lot in common with your work friends.
Amelia: This situation could end up being a really positive experience for you. You've recognised that you want to move on and do something different, so use this opportunity to try new things - like volunteering as Freya suggests - new activities, hobbies and sports too. Your evening class sounds like a great idea! You could meet lots of new friends and learn new things.
It can be a bit hard work at first but it will be all the more rewarding in the long run. It might take time, and it might not all be brilliant fun and exciting but even if you met one person who you really got on with, it would be worth the effort.
Jo7: It sounds like you're definitely on the right track, so keep persevering!
User3: I'm a 20 year-old female student who is bisexual. I have had a girlfriend for over a year now, and I love her to bits. I came out to my mum after two months in the relationship and it didn't go down well. My mum was in tears; she was disappointed, couldn't understand why and thinks its unnatural. A year down the line nothing has moved on. My girlfriend wants me to confront my mum and come out to the rest of my family, and if I don't we are going to be over because she says I am not taking it seriously and am ashamed of her (which I'm not)!
I don't want this to end, but I'm not ready to tell the rest of my family, and I don't want to disassociate myself from my mum either! I feel under pressure, and stuck in the middle. I need her to hold on before I come out to the world and especially my family. Is that too much to ask? Or should I be clear with all my family and celebrate who I am no matter what the consequences are?
Amelia: This sounds like a really tricky situation. The first thing to remember is that you should always do what you feel comfortable with, so don't feel pressured to tell anyone unless you're ready. So far it sounds as though you've done everything you can to try to make it work, and it's not an easy thing to have to deal with. You should feel proud of what you've done so far.
Freya: Maybe you could try talking to your mum calmly about how you feel and about your relationship. Try this exercise suggested by the BBC to make sure the conversation stays calm.
Amelia: The fact it's been a year also demonstrates to your mum that you're really serious about this. Let her know that you're still the same person as you always were; nothing about you has changed.
Freya: If your mum does manage to listen then maybe you could suggest she has a look at this article about supporting your gay child.
Talking to your girlfriend about how you are feeling and that you are trying to talk to your mum could help too. This could reassure her that you are trying to resolve this but that you need some more time. This article about when coming out goes wrong might also be worth reading. It could also help if there is a family member who you could talk to about this. They might know how best to approach your mum.
"There are never any guarantees about the future, relationships change, you never know what's going to happen. Loving someone is always a risk so maybe think about what makes you happy now."
User4: I've got a mate who's cool, I feel very laid back around them and we have a lot in common. I could talk to them for hours and not get bored. I think I am developing a weird crush but it seems like an intellectual crush, rather than the usual cuddly romantic crushes I get. I think they might be into me a bit but I'm not sure. Is it possible to have a non-romantic crush, but also a sexual interest in someone?
Amelia: I think when it comes to attraction there aren't really any rules, we can always be surprised by our own crushes!
Freya: Perhaps you could talk to them about how you feel. It might turn out to be a really good relationship, you have lots in common, get on really well and you said you are sexually interested in them.
Teagan: I suppose its down to what sort of relationship you want - a life long relationship, a holiday fling or a fuck buddy?
Amelia: That's a good point Teagan. There are lots of different types of relationship and relationships start in lots of different ways.
Teagan: Some sort of attraction is a good start. There are numerous instances where friends become relationships, and good ones too!
User5: My girlfriend wears revealing clothes all the time. I really don't like it but I don't know how to deal with it?
Freya: It can be a difficult situation. She could be very confident about her body and not see it as a problem. Maybe talking to her about how it's making you feel would help and perhaps you can come to a compromise.
Amelia: It does sound like she's quite confident about the way she looks, which is a good thing. Perhaps think about why you don't like it? It could be that you're feeling a bit jealous. As Freya says, it would definitely be worth having a chat with her about how you feel. Try not to get angry about it if you can - it's unlikely she'll appreciate you telling her what to wear! Good luck with it, hope that helps.
50cent: Ive been with my gal for about six months and things have moved really quickly and we are so close. But now she's told me that she's got MS, which is a permanent illness.
Amelia: That must have been really difficult to hear.
50cent: Yeah it was, and I was thinking long term with her. Im not sure if I want to be with her because it could become a big burden for me. I've got exam stress, family issues and now this, I don't know what to do or say to her.
Amelia: I can understand how that would be a worry, for both you and her. It can be really hard to know how to act in this situation, you probably want to be supportive, but obviously have your own issues with the exams and such like.
50cent: I still chat to her and stuff but in terms of that closeness we had I don't think it's going to work. That really depresses me because she's amazing.
Freya: There are different types of MS so maybe finding out a bit more about the illness might help you.
Amelia: You might need to give it some time, to let yourself get used to it and see how your girlfriend feels. Right now you're probably in shock so it would be worth seeing how things go for a bit.
50cent: Thats true. Every time I mention it she starts balling her eyes out and I do the same thing. I just want to work it out because there's really no one else I'd rather be with.
Amelia: Whatever relationship you're in there are always issues that come up. It sounds like you really like her. There are definitely ways that your relationship can work with this illness.
Freya: It probably seems daunting at the moment but there are different types of MS. Some can have an affect on every day lives and others can come in episodes and be years apart.
50cent: That's the thing, we could be enjoying life for ten years or something and then all of a sudden something might happen; that's what I'm scared of.
Amelia: There are never any guarantees about the future, relationships change, you never know what's going to happen. Loving someone is always a risk so maybe think about what makes you happy now. If you've found someone you love then it's worth holding on to that. You need to decide whether it's worth holding on to. You're not doing anything wrong if you do decide that you can't be in this relationship. Give yourself a bit of time and space to figure it out and keep talking to her.
50cent: I need to think about it as you say. I appreciate your help, thank you.
Amelia: If you love her and you decide to support her through this, it will affect you and your relationship. But, you also don't have to stay in the relationship because of the MS. Its good that you're thinking it through. If you have any further questions please write into askTheSite, or take a look at the discussion boards.