Ten years ago, heavily pregnant, I said goodbye to a regular monthly social group that I knew I wouldn't be coming back to for a little while. 'Make sure you get out as a couple as soon as you can,' was their parting advice. Looking forward to meeting my baby, and anticipating the tired and intense times to come, the advice fell on stony ground.
If we want to fully realise yet another pledge in the Queen's Speech 'to work to bring communities together and strengthen society,' then as the party of Government we have an opportunity - and an urgent duty - to help families build strong and happy homes for the benefit of themselves, their children, and society as a whole.
As someone diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I have struggled with relationships for as long as I can remember. This struggle manifests itself in pushing people away, seeing others as only good or bad, lots of jealousy and a number of other behaviours.
I've learnt many lessons growing up depressed and because of it I became a stronger adult. I was 15 years old when my depression started. I was bullied daily in secondary school, failed my classes and I kept being told I was a failure by one particular teacher...
I was around 11 years old when I began to believe life would be easier for me and for everyone around me if I just - wasn't around. Heavy I know. I didn't have a clear idea of what "not being around" would look like, that came later. At that point, that thought was the fire I played with, the tip of the iceberg, and it surely did snowball.
We know that not smoking, drinking in moderation, eating healthily and exercising are good for both our physical and mental health. We are told so regularly. But we don't hear nearly enough about the deep impact of building and maintaining good relationships and how to do that.
Some argue, "learn how to speak up for yourself. Just say "no." But nos are often ignored and become impossible to say when someone feels like they have no choice. The CONTEXT in which consent is given is the most important part and needs to be taken seriously by us as individuals, by court officials & police, and by the whole of society.
After looking at the global body of evidence, the Mental Health Foundation found striking evidence showing the impact of relationships on our health and wellbeing to be comparable to well established risk factors such as smoking.
At the heart of most relationship problems nowadays is unclear expectations and contradictory roles or goals between partners. Modern couples are plagued with a whole set of new problems - where to live if each partner's job is in a different location?
For many years, I have had an ad-hoc system of gauging where my relationships with others, especially my personal assistants and volunteers, are. I do not actually keep count or make any formal records, but I keep a mental note of where they are roughly are in terms of points.
With the increasing sexualisation of western society, I have noticed that there is one area that women find particularly difficult to discuss for fear of upsetting their partner or appearing abnormal: Superficial Dyspareunia.
Society is structured for those who cohabit. These beings can blissfully skip through the grey landscape looking down their raised noses at those who walk alone. Like the token awkward third wheel to society, the singleton is shamed, shunned, and at a significant disadvantage when it comes to most things.
If we scroll through our Instagram feeds, we find pages dotted with posts that quietly slander the single life. We find parodies illustrating solo Netflix binges; empty sides of a bed and screenshots documenting how we get more notifications from Apple about our iCloud being full than we do actual messages.
There are plenty of types of breakups, probably just as many as people in this world. There are breakups in which you are coming out of a long relationship, which leads to an also long and some times tedious breakup period.
What actually counts as cheating in the digital age could become highly subjective. We need to reconsider what it means to be monogamous in a world of VR porn and internet-controlled sex toys.
How then do couples overcome the tyranny of anger and abuse so they can feel safe to tell the truth and connect? It's of course never easy because the roots of anger and frustration go way back and they are habits learned in our family of origin.