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My partner is still in love with his girlfriend who passed away

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 30 September 2016
Dear Patricia Marie,

My partner of three years is still in love with his girlfriend who died 5 years ago. He was only with her for a few months, but describes their time together as truly magical, until she died in a car accident. Although we have a lovely relationship, it saddens me that I doubt I will ever reach that height in his affections. I wanted to be the one truly special person in his life, as he is in mine, and it makes me feel second best, even though she is no longer around.

How can I stop thinking this way, as it is destructive and pointless, but still so upsetting for me. He has never had counselling for his loss as he says nothing can bring her back. Before he met me, he never spoke of her death to anyone, not even his family or close friends.

Please can you help me?

Patricia Marie says...

Losing someone close so suddenly can be utterly shocking, as there is no time to become accustomed to the space they ultimately leave in your heart and your life. This must have been very tragic for your partner, and I would draw comfort from the fact that he is able to confide his grief in you. Retaining love for his deceased girlfriend does not mean he cares less for you. Have you considered he may feel guilty that he couldn't have saved her. Focus on reassuring him that counselling could help him move on from his loss in a positive healthy manner, as no one should be expected to deal with such trauma by themselves.

Look at the positives - he sounds like someone who is trying to be honourable. He is showing he was committed to her, and is being honest, which is really important too. Be kind, try to imagine the pain he must have felt, losing her in this way, and let him know that you understand she meant a lot to him. Tell him that he doesn't need to forget her to embrace you.

Avoid comparing yourself to someone who is no longer here, and assuming you fall short. You could never take her place, just as she could never had been who you are, and have what you and your partner share. Acknowledging her memory is far healthier than trying to banish it, and could enrich your relationship. Nevertheless, if the thought that there was someone else he cared about that much before you met still bothers you, then perhaps you are the one not ready for the relationship. It is only you who is allowing the past to affect your present, and jeopardise your future happiness.
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MUA Luxe: The Art of Illumination

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
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on Wednesday, 28 September 2016
I recently attended the 'Art of Illumination' evening by MUA Luxe cosmetics, launching their new luxe highlighter collection. The event was held just off of Oxford Street in Central London in a beautiful open white space filled with small tea light candles, white furs, and gilded mirrors.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by the organisers, and headed straight over to the table of treats. This included rose infused lemonade, bags of popcorn, cake pops, and prosecco. It was all presented beautifully and I was tempted by the lemonade as I mingled with the other guests!

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The new highlighting collection included three products: the illumination highlighting kit, the glow beam liquid highlight cushion, and the glow beam highlighting powder. MUA Luxe were also launching a brand new range of liquid velvet matte lipsticks. As you walked around the space, there were large posters of different face shapes hung from the ceiling, all appearing blank. Guests were to take a black light torch to shine on the posters, where 'highlighting spots' would reveal the best places to highlight and accentuate your face shape. I thought this was a quite clever and innovative way to demonstrate where the products would prove most beneficial.

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Next, we all stood round for a highlighter demonstration by an MUA Luxe makeup artist. She sat down a member of the MUA Luxe team as a face volunteer, and swiped her cheekbones, cupids bow and nose with each product. We learnt a few tips and tricks while applying highlighter (like spraying your brush with setting spray before applying to make it stay all day). My favourite product was easily the glow beam liquid highlight cushion: it's a subtle coverage and a gorgeous golden colour, the perfect addition to make any makeup look pop!
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The makeup artist finished off the demonstration by applying one of the new liquid lipsticks. The range comes in four colours: red, dark brown, light brown, and blue. I was a bit taken aback by the blue, but I think on the right person, it could look amazing! I left the event with the goodies to try for myself, and I haven't stopped wearing the different highlighters since.
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I favour one of my children

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 22 September 2016
Dear Patricia Marie,
I'm worried that I love one of my children more than the other. While one is sweet-natured, funny and full of character, the other is sullen and unresponsive. My husband doesn't seem to notice the difference, but to me it's obvious and I find it hard to treat them in the same way. I hate myself for it, but I'd rather spend time with one than the other. Is it really such a big problem, and, if so, how can I stop this cycle?

Patricia Marie says...


If you think favouritism is no big deal - think again. The consequences for both the golden child and the least favourite can last a lifetime. Many adults embark on counselling due to the psychological damage of having either been the rejected, or indeed the favourite sibling. That early message of 'you are the special one' to a child can give a distorted view of themselves and their place in the world. For those parents who show preference and turn a blind eye to inappropriate behaviour, the child can then grow up struggling with rules, as well as lacking in morals and may struggle to find a partner who cherishes and spoils them in the way their parents have.

Whereas, the least favourite can go through life never feeling good enough, constantly feeling they are undeserving of love and kindness - often embarking on partners who treat them poorly. Step into their world and try to imagine how they are feeling - indeed, both are victims of your favouritism, and unless you see things more clearly and break the cycle, you could jeopardise any future relationship with them.

Your letter indicates you are feeling guilty for your behaviour - this recognition is a good step towards promoting positive change. Starting to treat your children equally, losing comparisons and begin celebrating, rather than criticising their differences, will allow you the opportunity to turn things around and create a healthy, happy family.

And finally, sibling love is unique. Who but your brother or sister remembers, the family rituals, the good, bad and crazy fun times - all those childhood memories that help to bond this special love. Favouritism can ruin a relationship between siblings, depriving them, sometimes forever, of a precious resource, one of the best gifts you, their parent, will ever give them; one another.
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The Emotional Driving Test

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Wednesday, 21 September 2016
IMG 3343When I got the call about participating in an 'emotional driving test', one that would put my senses through their paces to determine my emotional intelligence behind the wheel, I jumped at the chance. What exciting technology, I thought to myself, and how on earth is it going to know how I feel and what I need to better myself into a cool, calm, collected driver? Only one, small problem. I don't drive.

Luckily, Hannah from Hyundai UK and the designated researcher for the test does, so it was no issue she arrived. With surprise, confusion and laughs, we swapped places for the day. I was to be the researcher, and she was to be the guinea pig. After hooking her heart monitor up and fixing the GoPro's in place (so behavioural psychologist Patrick Fagan could assess her reactions to the test), we were off on our 30 min designated route around London.IMG 3364
My job was to listen to the computer and complete its robotic voice orders throughout our drive. We had to remember to remain quiet to get a more accurate reading of Hannah's reactions and expressions to the test while on the road. My first task was to feed Hannah sour sweets, which she was more than happy about.

Throughout our route around Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Westminster and back, the tasks varied: spraying new car smell, feeding her chocolate, smoothies and water, playing unnervingly loud car beeping noises and metal music (then turning it back to Pharell's 'Happy), spraying a seaside scent, speaking to Hannah for an allocated time about her day, and then opening a jar filled with petrol. On top of all that, we were told to open and close the windows sporadically, where noises from the aligning streets would be equally as loud and distracting. Needless to say, I wasn't even driving, and it was a rollercoaster of the senses.

Hannah handled the tasks well, and her driving was superb. Although there were some intense distractions, Hannah kept her calm. I failed my driver's test twice in America, so I can only imagine how I'd do in the middle of England's biggest city with IMG 3353noises and smells and tastes being thrown at me. Her GoPro footage will be sent back to Patrick to determine her emotional intelligence behind the wheel, and as well as what would conditions would best suit her for a casual and calm driving experience.

Over 1,000 people have taken the same test in the UK, and as it so happens, women are 12% angrier drivers than men.
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The Helen Titchener trial

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Monday, 12 September 2016
Helen and Rob Titchener's domestic violence storyline in the Archers on Radio 4 has utterly gripped the nation, touching so many people in the real world. Almost five million listeners tuned in to last week's dedicated week long trial, to see if Helen would be found not guilty of the attempted murder of her husband, Rob. The opening episode began with Rob taking his place on the stand, shedding crocodile tears, and portraying himself as the loving, devoted husband he clearly wasn't. He'd underestimated the determined Anna, Helen's defence counsel, who put it to him that he'd passed the knife to Helen, stating the only way she could escape was to kill herself, and daring her to do just that before he lunged at her young son, Henry...

As the trial continued, gasps were heard from the gallery when Helen finally broke her silence and admitted that Rob had repeatedly raped her in a bid to have a child. Many listeners took to social media to comment on this powerful episode, praising Helen for being brave in revealing the truth. Although distressing, observing other people's lives, either from listening to radio productions, watching soaps, or indeed, in real life, can often allow us to see our own situation more clearly. Helen's mother, Pat Archer, was clearly overwhelmed on hearing her daughter's heartbreaking evidence, confirming that it isn't only the victim who is affected by domestic violence, but their families too.

It was only when Rob's ex-wife, Jess Myers, took to the stand and spoke of their acrimonious marriage, revealing that she had also been raped by Rob when they were together, that gave the glimmer of hope Helen's supporters needed to hear. Rob was questioned on his ex-wife's evidence, giving an Oscar-winning performance, and insisting both Helen and Jess were needy, unstable women. In Anna's heartfelt summing up, she put it to the jury that Helen did what any one of us would had done under these intense circumstances - protect herself and her child.

In Sunday's unique hour-long episode, the jury found Helen not guilty. Social media was at meltdown with messages of relief and joy at the result. Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women's Aid, immediately responded "thankfully the judge and jury saw Helen's actions for what we all knew they were - the actions of a woman in fear of her life and fearful for her child. We don't know what will happen next - but we know that she will need support from a specialist domestic abuse service, to help her and her children to rebuild and recover. She is free - but the invisible prison of domestic abuse will stay with her for a long time. Helen, Women's Aid is here for you. We stand in solidarity with you - and all survivors of domestic abuse."

For every fictional Helen there are real ones, and as this plot has shown, abusers are often initially charming and loving, until their partner is fully committed to them. Then begins the gradual process of controlling and intimidating their victim, and, just as Rob did with Helen, gradually isolating them from family and friends, and making them wholly dependent on the abuser. There are many reasons why women struggle to leave in these circumstances - fear of retaliation, having young children and nowhere to go, no money of their own, worrying they won't be believed, as in the case of Helen, when Rob came across to others as a caring, loving, man - a pillar of society. Often victims convince themselves that their abuser's behaviour will improve, and indeed, question if it was their fault, that they in fact, deserved this.

The skilful writers have been praised for their realism, which at times many listeners found disturbing and uncomfortable, never expecting anything quite so shocking to happen in The Archer's tranquil village of Ambridge. Raising awareness through this emotive storyline, that domestic violence can happen in any community, and to anyone, has encouraged others to reach out for help, and set themselves free from abuse.

The Helen Titchener Fund, which was set up by a fan of the show, reached its target of £150,000 as last night's unmissable episode aired. The money raised will go to Refuge, the domestic violence support charity.

Women's Aid can provide both practical and emotional support, and, alongside the love of family and friends, victims can survive to enjoy the abuse-free life they very much deserve.

Women's Aid: www.womensaid.org.uk 0808 2000 247

The Archer's can be heard on BBC Radio Four every day Sunday to Friday at seven p.m. And they're repeated the following day at two p.m. - except on Saturdays.
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