HomeTagsPosts tagged with "relationships"

relationships

This is Emily’s story of dating abuse.

He was my first boyfriend and my first love, my first sexual partner. His abusive behaviour wasn’t apparent at first, it just kind of crept in.

We dated on and off for three years while we were in college. During the first six months everything was great, then we had our first fight and that’s when his controlling behaviour started.

He was a verbal abuser, an emotional abuser, and yes there was some physical abuse too.

It started off with his manipulative and controlling behaviour, then accelerated to verbal abuse and finally physical abuse.

I started doubting myself as to whether this behaviour was acceptable or normal within a dating relationship, was it really happening or was I blowing things out of proportion. I couldn’t understand how we had gotten to this.

It’s really hard to reconcile that person you thought you were dating with this new person that you are now encountering. It was so hard to wrap my head around it, that this behaviour could be described as abuse. After all, that only happened to people who were living together, were married or had kids.

I never told anyone, not until we had completely broken up. I was too scared. There was always the threat looming – “you better not tell anyone, or else; you better not try to leave me, or else”. That was enough to deter me.

In fact, I only told my mum six months after we had broken up. I didn’t want to upset her, to worry her.

I was so young that I thought if I just stay with him and do what he wants me to do, then it’ll go back to the way that it was. Obviously I can now see that was never going to happen, but I was naive. It was a lesson that I was going to have to go through, and learn the hard way.

I escaped by moving abroad – I was in college and took the opportunity to travel for the summer and that was the end. That’s how I got out, and I never went back.

Thankfully he’d moved on too, but that was tricky as he was dating another girl in college. Was he abusing her the way he abused me? Could I be a bystander and watch history repeat itself?

He was very targeted in his abuse, he made me lose all of my confidence. He was constantly putting me down, telling me that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t attractive enough.

He would often attempt to choke me, to the point where I felt I could pass out and then he would stop. He loved the power, and he would laugh afterwards, mocking me, insinuating I was stupid if I thought he was really going to hurt me. That he was just messing, just playing with me.

He was careful not leave a mark on me where someone could see. He was clever like that. He was very calculated.

We met in college and we were in some classes together. He loved power and so he would feel more powerful when he put me down, so he used to text me during class with abusive and critical messages, especially when I was delivering a class project or presentation.

He wanted to see me visibly upset and not be able to do anything about it, he liked the control, watching me squirm, he liked to put me off, to see me falter and then he would laugh at me.

He distanced me from all of my friends and family. In fact, he befriended some of my friends in college and told them lies about me so that they would think I was an unkind person, and then they were his friend and no longer mine.

He ran for Student Union president, he was popular, he wanted a career in politics. He was a bully though and some people could see through it obviously as he never won that election. He knew how to talk the talk, he was an experienced debater, so he was excellent at talking people down and pulling the wool over people’s eyes.

A few months after the relationship ended, I went to the Gardaí to make a complaint.

I wanted it to be known; to be on the record should someone else ever make a complaint about him. I had three years of text messages and emails but I had deleted them all when my relationship ended so I didn’t have the physical evidence to show the Gardaí.

So, it became a simple case of she said / he said. I would urge anyone in an abusive relationship to document everything in a diary, to keep a record of texts, emails and photos of physical abuse – you never know when you might need them, and they may ultimately save your life or the life of some other poor girl.

I was lucky, I got really good support from the police, and my college, DCU, were brilliant. One of lecturers was really supportive and he helped me to get counselling through the college services.

Now, after my experience I wanted to help others, I am passionate that other people should not be experiencing abuse within a relationship and I want to support them on their journey to safety.

I don’t think dating abuse is talked about enough, I didn’t even know it was a thing until it happened to me, and even then it was only when I left him that I realised just how wrong it was. It was only after two years of counselling that I accepted that it was abuse, I doubted myself, I questioned myself, I wondered whether I was just being a drama queen, if I was high maintenance or over-sensitive.

Both girls and boys should be spoken to about relationship etiquette in school, what’s acceptable and what is not so they can navigate their early relationships more successfully.

So, both boys and girls know where the boundaries are in a relationship, that if they are uncomfortable with any part of their relationship that they should speak up and not quietly suffer.

In particular, girls need to learn to listen to and trust their instinct and learn to assert themselves when they feel vulnerable, threatened, uncomfortable or unsafe.

This is not just about consent for sexual experiences, this is about consent as to how you allow someone to treat you, to talk to you, to control you. This is so important now more than ever, because it’s not just physical or verbal confrontation, its abuse through texts and emails, through social media – there are so many ways to get inside someone’s head now, to abuse from afar.

This should be a priority for the school curriculum and for the Government, to raise awareness of dating abuse and that it’s not OK.

Getting out is easier said than done, you love them and you don’t really believe it’s happening. I would advise anyone in this situation to talk to someone, a friend, a family member, a college tutor, an anonymous helpline like Women’s Aid.

And if you know of someone who is being abused in their relationship, let them know that you know they are having a difficult time. Don’t make accusations where they may feel embarrassed or ashamed or even want to jump to the defence of their abuser. Simply offer them unconditional support should they need it.

Let them know that you are there for them, waiting, whenever they are ready.

I stayed with him because I thought we could get back to the way we were. My heart over ruled my head. I completely lost myself in that relationship. I will never allow that to happen again.

If you know someone is experiencing emotional, psychological or physical abuse, let them know you are worried for them and that you are there for them.

Don’t judge or offer ultimatums, you could push them away and they will never open up to you. Tell them that when they are ready, you will be there for them in whatever way they want you to be.

Above all, tell them that the behaviour they are experiencing is wrong and that nobody deserves to be treated in this way.

Of all people, I know you cannot make someone leave a relationship if they are not ready to do so. But you can still be there for them and point them in the direction of support services they can use to help themselves, when they are ready.

Abusive behaviour is nearly always a pattern of getting power and control over someone else. Validating a victim’s choices and encouraging them to make their own decisions about their life can help to break this cycle of power and control.

If you are currently in an abusive relationship or fear a friend or family member is suffering in silence,  please visit www.whatwouldyoudo.ie where you will find a list of helpful services and advice for    those in an abusive relationship, those concerned for someone else or those concerned about their own behaviour. 

Supported by

Over 300,000 people in Ireland have been severely abused by a partner at some point in their lives. If you have witnessed or experienced domestic violence/abusive behaviour by a partner, or you are concerned you have abused someone, you can prevent it from happening again.

For more information, go to www.whatwouldyoudo.ie

Trending

So, love it or hate it, there's no denying that The Notebook has earned its reputation as one of the most romantic movies of all time.

And even though it has become one of the ultimate Valentine's Day clichés, we're not sure we'll ever get bored of the young couple's rollercoaster romance.

But, while Noah and Allie might seem like the ultimate couple goals, relationship experts aren't buying it.

According to Stylist, a group of romantic experts recently sat down with Time Out to discuss some of the best and worst romantic films of all time.

The list was surprising to say the least, but perhaps The Notebook was the most puzzling choice of all.

We know what you're thinking. How could a romantic expert of all people decide that this was a bad film?

Well, according to psychotherapist, Gupreet Singh, Nicolas Sparks' story is actually too perfect.

He explained: “Noah restores a house for Allie. He writes letter after letter waiting for her. They die holding hands. Talk about idealised love! If you believe in it you start to think: I shouldn’t settle for less.”

“But most average couples are nothing like that. We are humans, we are fallible. Love is imperfect because we are.”

Now, we're not saying he hasn't got a point, but isn't it nice to fantasise every once in a while?

The Notebook was never meant to be a factual retelling of true events, but instead a fictional account of love at its best and at its worst – and in that sense, we think it did a pretty good job.

Sure, most of us probably won't find anyone willing to send us handwritten letters every day for a year, but it's nice to see that this kind of true love really does exist – even if it is just up on the big screen.

Trending

by

So, being the only single one in your group of friends isn't exactly a barrel of laughs. Sure, you wish them all the happiness in the world, but wouldn't it be nice to have your old pal back, you know, the way it used to be.

All of a sudden the time allocated to your BFF antics gets cut in half and you often spend Saturday nights alone watching ITV gameshows on repeat.

What's worse is when a group of couples insist you tag along on their night out resulting in a selection of awkward photos that'll make you ask – “What the hell was I doing with my hands?”

However, while it can sometimes be tough watching your friends frollic off into the sunset with their SO, there are actually a whole bunch of reasons why being the single one is a blessing in disguise.

1. You can flirt with whoever you want

You know when people in relationships say they don't miss flirting? Yeah, they're lying. 

Having the freedom to form a connection (however small that may be) with whoever you want, whenever you want is not only fun and exciting, it's a truly underrated perk of single life. 
 

2. You can spend all your money on yourself

You'll often hear your friends complain that they can't come out this Saturday because it's so-and-so's birthday in a few weeks. 

You'll offer a half-genuine "no worries, maybe next time", before thanking your lucky stars for your complete financial independence. 

3. Binge watch any series without anyone getting mad

Netflix cheating is a real issues and data has revealed that 46 per cent of people in relationships are guilty of watching ahead of their partners. 

In fact the phenomenon is so big, Netflix have released a series of videos with tips on how to deal with the ultimate act of betrayal. 

But that's not your problem – next episode please. 

4. You don't have to worry about why they're not texting you back

Let's be real, 90 per cent of the texts you receive are from your mam while the remaining come from the various takeaways around your local area.

And you know what? You wouldn't change it for the world. 

5. Your decisions are yours, and yours alone

Move to London?  Travel South America for a year? Go right ahead. 

Not that having a SO should ever stop you from following your dreams, but being unattached makes those decisions a whole lot easier. 

6. All the wingwomen you could ever hope for

There is no greater friend than one who will do whatever she can to find you a date. 

She’ll put herself in some of the most embarrassing situations without even batting an eyelid, because hey, what does she have to lose?

 

Trending

So, there's nothing like finding a partner who loves you unconditionally to provide a little confidence boost, right?

Wrong. Relationships in which one person is considered more attractive could actually have quite the opposite effect, apparently.

According to a new study, women with attractive partners are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and develop eating disorders.

Researchers from Florida State University found that when it comes to heterosexual relationships, women who are deemed less attractive than their partners are more likely to follow strict diet and exercise regimes.

And of course, the study, published in Body Image Journal earlier this month, also found that men, regardless of how attractive their partner may be, rarely feel the need to do the same.

113 newlywed couples in their twenties agreed to have their attractiveness rated by an independent group of people and answer questions about their motivation to eat healthy and balanced diets.

(Now, we're not entirely sure what 'scale' of attractiveness was used in order to rate the participants, so we're going to go ahead and reccomend you take these results with a pinch of salt.)

The study found that the women who were deemed less attractive than their partners had an increased motivation to diet and were at higher risk of developing disordered eating.

Andrea Meltzer, assistant professor of psychology at Florida State and study co-author, said in a press release, “The results reveal that having a physically attractive husband may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive. 

“In order to better understand women's dieting motivations, the findings of this study highlight the value of adopting an approach that focuses on a couple's relationship.“

Hmmm…

We can't say we're convinced to be honest.

Diet, exercise, or don't – who cares?

You're the one with the super attractive partner, so the jokes on them.

Trending

Dating in your twenties is a dangerous game. Whether you're looking for a passionate fling, or something a little more serious, chances are you're going to get hurt pretty bad at some point.

Well, a new study has revealed why twenty-somethings struggle when it comes to staying faithful to their partners, and the answer is so cliché it almost hurts – we're just trying to find ourselves.

Yep. Turns out we're as predictable as the plot twist in a Hugh Grant film, and we hate being tied down at that pivotal point in our lives.

The study, published this week in the Journal of Sex Research, surveyed 104 adults with an average age of 22, who all admitted to cheating in the last six months.

To make them feel a little better about themselves and encourage total honesty throughout the survey, participants were given a paragraph to read about how common cheating is.

They were then questioned about their current and past relationships, had their attachment to their current partners analysed and were asked to explain the ins and outs of how they cheated.

Interestingly, most participants did not try to make excuses for being unfaithful, but rather explained that they did it for reasons related to independence and interdependence.

Most felt as though their relationship was holding them back from new experiences and stopped them from reaching their full potential as an adult.

When it came to issues related to interdependence, many participants said their current partner was not fulfilling their need for intimacy, they felt lonely, or they didn't have enough in common.

The study's authors said: "Because emerging adulthood is thought to be a time of exploration and experimentation, it is possible that engaging in infidelity is a path through which individuals seek to meet their developmental needs for independence and interdependence and promote their individual development." 

Basically twenty-somethings cheat because they have no idea who they are or what they want, apparently.

Others reasons cited by participants included boredom and excitement as well as being under the influence of alcohol – *eye-roll*

So, go out and find yourself, but just try not to hurt anyone during the process. 

Trending

Breaking up with a significant other is hard. And being friends with that person after a split isn't easy either.

However scientists say that there are seven reasons why we're drawn to staying buddies with our ex's.

According to a study by Justin Mogilski and Lisa Welling at Oakland University published in Personalty and Individual Differences, there are a list of reasons why former partners stay friends.

The study asked 348 volunteers to list why they might do so, and they came up with 153 reasons.

Image result for chris martin and gwyneth paltrow

A second group of people were then asked to rate each reason on a scale of of one to five. They were also asked to complete personality questionnaires.

And from that, the researchers were left with seven main reasons:

1. Sentimentality – "They made me a better person" or because you went through a lot together, good or bad.

2. Pragmatism – "They have a lot of money or offer transportation to certain places."

3. Continued romantic attraction – "Still having feelings for one another."

4. Children or shared resources such as a pet, property or a car.

5. Diminished sexual attraction which makes it easier to have a platonic relationship.

6. Social relationship maintenance – "Having friends in common and minimising drama."

7. Sexual access – "To keep having sex with them."

In most cases, friendship wth an ex was described as more tense than other friendships (obvs) and each person had more negative feelings towards their ex than another friend.

So, you can be friends with an ex, but it clearly comes at (some sort of) a price.

Trending

So, there are many reasons why people stray when they're in committed relationships.

Perhaps they feel unloved by their partner, maybe they're just bored – either way, there is no justifiable reason to cheat on a significant other.

However, it now seems there might be some external factors making us more likely to do so.

A new study has revealed that people with tattoos are more likely to have a passionate affair (apparently). 

What's more, it seems women are the biggest offenders with many baring secret tattoos that are only revealed during an intimate encounter.

Now, this information should be taken with a pinch of salt, as the study was conducted by a dating website devoted to married people looking for a fling on the side.

VictoriaMilan surveyed more that 3 million of its members across 16 countries about their body art, and the result were quite interesting.

Scandinavian women were found to be the most likely to have tattoos, with Denmark coming in first place (42.3 per cent), followed closely by Finland (41.1 per cent) and Sweden (40.8 per cent)

Falling just short of a top three spot, Ireland came in at number four with 40 per cent of female users saying they have tattoos. 

Founder and CEO of VictoriaMilan, Sigurd Vedal, said the results show just how much a tattoo can reveal about a person's personality.

“Tattoos are a sign of personality, creativity and rebellion, and now we know they are a sign that the person probably has a great sex life.” 

“This may spark a worldwide hunt to discover the craze for sexy intimate tattoos, as men like to discover things that are seemingly just for them.”

Hmm. We're pretty sceptical about this one to be honest. 

Trending

By the time the first hit came, I was already a shell of a person. When you see the psychological signs, don’t ignore them. When it feels wrong, it is wrong.”

One in five women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, and unfortunately that number is on the rise. RTÉ are confronting the reality of domestic abuse in revealing new online documentary series – UPFRONT: Domestic Abuse. 

The two part documentary follows RTÉ reporter, Della Kilroy, as she talks to the women behind the statistics.

The series delves into the many forms of domestic abuse, from physical, emotional to sexual and financial. It also shows the various support option available to those who think they might be in an abusive relationship.

What's more, UPRONT: Domestic Abuse will feature an interview with a perpetrator who is currently enrolled in a rehabilitation programme.

Last year, Women's Aid received over 16,000 calls reporting domestic abuse and the charity revealed they have seen a huge increase in the amount of young women coming forward.

As well as that, a 2016 study conducted by the team here at SHEmazing revealed that dating abuse affects one in three women, with 60 per cent believing it was their fault.

Results also showed over half of the 1,000 women surveyed admitted to knowing someone in their immediate circle of friends that had been in an abusive relationship.

Any woman, regardless of age, class or occupation can find themselves in an abusive relationship and in this new online documentary we see business women, students and mothers share their own individual experiences.

Researcher and reporter for the RTÉ Player series UPFRONT, Della Kilroy said: ''You might think you don’t know someone that has been affected by domestic abuse, but research suggests you probably do. One in five women in Ireland will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime.''

''This means that every day in Ireland, women are beaten, raped and even hospitalised leaving ongoing physical and mental health issues. This doesn’t just happen in the home, as evidence points to an increasing number of young women experiencing abuse in dating relationships.''

UPFRONT is available to watch now on RTÉ Player .

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised, please contact:  Women’s Aid freephone 1800 341 900 1800 341 900 or visit  www.womensaid.ie and www.2in2u.ie

Trending

When it comes to sex, we all know there's a first time for everything, and that includes a visit to the sexual health clinic.

But before we go any further and delve into the details of your debut appointment, it's important to remember that there is not a single thing you can present to a healthcare professional that they won't have seen before.

And now that that's out of the way, it's time to focus on the practicalities of your visit.

The wait

Look, no one exactly relishes the prospect of prolonged stay in a crowded waiting room.

And when that waiting room is littered with pamphlets that are enough to make your imagination run wild, the waiting game is made all the more agonising.

So, in order to make your first visit as stress-free as possible, be sure to research your chosen clinic, and establish whether they provide appointment slots or operate on a walk-in basis.

Upon arriving, you'll generally be presented with a form which you'll fill out and return to reception. Providing the correct details is vital in order to receive your results, so this is not the time to go incognito.

Sexual History

Once the wait is over, you'll be brought to a private room where you will meet your healthcare professional who will do their utmost to put you at ease.

The slot will generally begin with a chat about your sexual history. And again, this is not the time to get coy.

Be honest, be candid and be prepared to answer questions that may make you squirm, but don't, above anything else, be embarrassed.

You are taking responsibility for your health, and there's not a single person in that clinic who will have anything but respect for you.

Physical check-up

And now comes the moment to hop aboard the examination table.

Your practitioner will talk you through everything they need to do, and explain the process as they go. You can expect to have your genital area checked for rashes or lesions, a smear test  conducted depending on your age, and a swab of your throat, vagina and anus depending on your sexual history.

Your practitioner will ensure the examination is as brief and comfortable as possible. And yes, you can be examined while on your period, but if you'd rather wait that's totally up to you.

In addition to this, you may be required to give a blood and urine sample so the practitioner can test for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis

Results

Following your examination, your practitioner will talk you through the clinic's follow-up procedure, and explain how soon you can expect the results of your visit.

Some results can be provided on the day and if you have tested positive for a particular infection, you'll be prescribed medication and given a thorough overview of the treatment required.

This post-examination period is your opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding your visit or your sexual practice.

Whether you're unclear of symptoms to look out for, unsure of the reason for a particular test or need clarification on the results procedure, do not bite your tongue, but instead speak up and ensure you leave your appointment with a clear idea of what just took place and what to expect in the future.

And once it's over? Go treat yo'self for prioritising your health and taking responsibility for your welfare.
 

Trending

It's a widely known fact that women don't orgasm as often as men through intercourse alone.

And as a result of this, we're often described as complex creatures, when the simple fact is we need more than a few short, swift thrusts in order to climax. It's not exactly rocket science.

And, according to Jannette Davies who recently featured in Channel 4 documentary The Super Orgasm, no matter how eager and dedicated your partner is to you and your needs, if you can't bring yourself to orgasm, it's unlikely your partner will be able to.

Speaking to Marie Claire, Janette, who owns a sexual positivity company called Scarlet Ladies, insists that masturbation and communication is the key to ensuring an orgasm.

"My one piece of advice for women is to get to know your body," she advised when reflecting on the obstacles faced by many women in the bedroom.

"The most important thing is learning what works for you. I understood my body because I masturbated – and that is hands down the reason why I can have multiple orgasms."

We're constantly advised to be open with our partners, but when we don't know how to achieve orgasms by ourselves, this can surely only result in a 'blind leading the blind' exchange.

"Communication is important, but you can’t communicate what you want from a partner if you don’t know yourself," Jannette reminds the public.

For many women, orgasms are as much a mental and emotional process as a physical one, so it's vital you're open to the various processes that go into achieving one.

"I think when you are in denial of any sort or have something that you are holding back it makes it 10 times harder – we all know orgasms are in your mind."

Sounds like it's time to get reacquainted with ourselves…
 

Trending

So, there’s nothing new about male facial hair, but it’s safe to say that the past few years has seen a beard renaissance of such.

Now, we’re not complaining.

But why do so many of us find them so damn attractive?

Well, science finally has the answer.

According to Marie Claire, researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia surveyed over 8,520 women to find out why bearded men leave us weak at the knees.

The participants were divided into three groups and each were shown a different series of photographs.

The images featured the same men without facial hair, with stubble and with a fully-grown beard.

The researchers then asked the women how the men in the images rated in terms of sexual attractiveness, short-term relationships and long-term relationships.

Interestingly, the women were most attracted to men with stubble while full beards scored the lowest.

When it came to short-term romances, stubbled men remained the most desirable.

However, in a rather interesting twist, fully-bearded men came out on top when it came to long-term relationships. 

But why?

Well, Barnaby Dixson, co-author of the study, explained that the rugged look is indicative of a ‘male’s ability to compete for resources.’

Apparently, beards also represent certain protective qualities that our subconscious tends to look for when choosing a life partner. 

So, if you're confused as the way you cant get that guy from the coffee shop out of your head, don't worry, it's basic instincts. 

 

Trending

Sometimes (especially in the morning) we love coffee more than we love our significant others.

It perks us up, warms our bodies and basically gets us ready for the day ahead.

Much like a romantic partner, don't you think?

So, it makes total sense that scientists have found that drinking coffee can actually play a huge role in our relationships.

Happy Coffee

A study in the Journal of Family Psychology examined 68 newlyweds to find out the secret to relationship satisfaction.

During the research, couples were asked to speak about their interpersonal experiences (conflict, sex), relationship satisfaction and the amount of sleep they get each night.

The scientists discovered that the more sleep people got, the happier they were in their relationships.

And here is where the coffee comes in. A lot of our physical and mental strength relies on sleep, and we all know how grumpy we can get if we have a sleepless night.

café, chain, coffee

Therefore, coffee was found to give people "self-regulation" for when they didn't catch their zzzs.

The experts said: “Caffeine moderates the relationship between sleep deprivation and depletion by replenishing self-regulatory resources (e.g. overcoming a fight with your partner).

Basically, if we have a sleepless night, we don't make wise decisions, and coffee steps in as a temporary solution to make a balanced judgement.

Now, get thee to Starbucks.

Trending