Factsheets -

Can they do this to me?

Being bullied at school
Is this discrimination?
Factsheets -

Clash or match?

What if they are older than me?
Long distance loving
Factsheets -

Getting it together - friends, girlfriends, boyfriends

Getting serious - or not
Personal space
How can I make my relationship work?
Factsheets -

Getting through the hard stuff

Surviving sexual assault - (young men)
Surviving sexual assault - (young women)
Factsheets -

Happy families

Where can I go for help with getting along with my family?
Factsheets -

Love or creepy?

Scary dates
Factsheets -

Male and female

Challenge the old ways
Factsheets -

Playing safe online

Grossing me out
Factsheets -

What can I do about an abusive relationship?

Factsheets -

When is it not okay?

Am I being abusive?
What about child abuse?
Factsheets -

Who can help?

If you are in danger call 000 or
tell someone you can trust

If you would just like to talk to
someone, help is at your fingertips ...

All the services below are available and free* for young people to use.
All the 1800 numbers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The person you speak to will be an experienced counsellor, not the police, not a government department.
You will not have to give your name.

* Please note that all mobile phone calls made from within Australia to Kids Helpline—using Optus (including Virgin), Vodafone, and Telstra—and 1800 Respect—using Telstra—are now free.

Relationship Advice

Are you having problems with a friend, partner or family member or would you just like to talk to someone about where to "draw the line"?

Call 1800 MYLINE (1800 695 463)
or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Online Safety and Cyberbullying

Are you being bullied online or has something happened online that makes you feel uncomfortable, scared or sad?

Call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
or go to the Kids Helpline online
counselling service

Relationship Violence

Are you or have you been:

  • scared of someone hurting you?
  • sexually assaulted?
  • concerned about violence in a relationship with a friend, partner or family member?

Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or
talk to a counsellor online.

Crisis Support, Suicide and Mental Health

If you would like to talk to someone about anxiety, depression, loneliness, suicidal thoughts or attempts:

Call Lifeline on 13 11 14

To find out how to report cyberbullying, offensive content, scams or online abuse, or just find out more about cybersafety, check out the Cybersmart website.

You can also download the Cybersafety Help Button to your computer for help and advice on a range of online risks including cyberbullying, unwanted contact, scams and fraud, and offensive or inappropriate material.

Legal rights and responsibilities

If you want some legal information you can go to the Lawstuff website and search in your state or territory. If you can't find what you want, you can send a legal question to Lawmail. Lawyers will reply to your message as quickly as possible, usually within 6 days.

Assisted Call Services

For the Translating and Interpreting Service please call 13 14 50. If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment, you can call the National Relay Service on 13 36 77.

Your Questions

Read responses from our expert psychologist, to some of the most commonly faced issues

The questions and answers below on this page help provide advice to others who may be in a similar situation. Please note the advice provided on this page is of a general nature and not specific to any individual or personal circumstance.

Please do not send questions raising urgent issues. If you need help, see our contact details for free counselling services.

The circumstances described in some of the questions below may raise legal issues. We suggest that contact be made with the Police or with a lawyer to find out what assistance or options may be available in these circumstances.

Previous Questions

I am a fifteen year old boy and sometimes it feels like my girlfriend goes out of her way to upset me by flirting with my friends. Since I mentioned it to her she tries to annoy me even more by talking about good looking men. I know she's saying it to wind me up but I can't control my feelings of jealousy. I sometimes plan to follow her when she's going out with her friends to see if she is seeing someone else. When I brought it up with her she said she loved me and I was being stupid. But how can I be sure? I don't ever want to lose her. Sometimes I think it's her friends that are leading her on.
<p>It is clear that your girlfriend means a lot to you. People usually get together because they find each other attractive in some way. For a while they focus all their attention on each other and so feel unique and wonderful in each others' company. They stay together longer if they feel safe enough to gradually open deeper parts of themselves up to each other. This can feel very special, but if something shakes that sense of safety, people can feel super-vulnerable very quickly. It's often said that our first or earlier romantic relationships seem pretty special on one hand, and extremely powerful on the other. This could be because they trigger and release very intense feelings for the first time: feelings, thoughts and behaviours which mightn't even have seemed possible for you just a couple of years before. In other words, everything is new and-like many things we haven't experienced much before - it can feel extraordinary at the same time that it can feel out of control. It's hard to work out how to contain this force, and we can find ourselves in the middle of something that feels way-stronger than us. Passion, joy, love, confusion, jealousy, grief and terror can all become parts of the same package. Fear of being hurt or losing that special connection can make some back away from the relationship. Others may decide to just put up with or agree to everything the other person demands or does, just to avoid losing the relationship. Then there are those who react by trying very hard to control their partner's behaviour so they can feel safe again. All these are natural human responses. The problem is, no matter how much we'd like to, we cannot force others to change their behaviour unless they are ready and willing to change themselves. We can however try to better manage our own thoughts, actions and reactions - as difficult as this can seem when all those things seem to be controlling us ! It's OK to be in a relationship and still think people other than our partners are good looking. It doesn't mean we're going to drop everything and be with those other people. However, if some of those regarded as 'good looking' are mutual friends, or are being flirted with by your girlfriend, it is natural for you to be uncomfortable with that. If this is happening you have a right to discuss this with your girlfriend: to go beyond 'mentioning' it and actually let her know how you feel, without getting cranky at her. If your girlfriend is mature enough to not be into game-playing, she will be able to hear how her 'winding you up' is causing you some pain. As people who care about each other aren't into deliberately causing each other pain, she should hopefully understand. At the same time, you are getting insight into some of your own thoughts and behaviours that need to be monitored: your jealousy and your need to know where she is and what she's doing. These are both signs that you are not feeling secure in the relationship, might be getting anxious and are trying to reduce your anxiety by finding a way to 'control' the situation. This could lead you to try and control your girlfriend. You becoming a bit of a control freak could scare her and result in you feeling ashamed of yourself. The unpredictable behaviour of her friends is something else you can't predict, let alone control. So, it's important to recognise two uncomfortable possibilities: when another human being is involved, there are some things you might never be "sure" about; and, you might one day "lose" this relationship with your girlfriend. This could happen because you, she or both of you choose to move on at some stage. If you accept these possibilities, you might have a chance to deal with some of the intense stuff churning inside of you. First try and explore what your bottom-line values are: what are the things you won't do to 'keep her' - both because you know it's going against someone else's rights and because you know it will cost you your self-respect (let alone the respect of others). For example, secretly following her around might seem like a solution but has the potential to make things worse. It can also be creepy. Next try to understand that, if this relationship might not last forever (as much as you currently wish it would), and in fact may be the first of many relationships for you, you need to direct some of your attention and energy onto other things: things that could feel totally insignificant compared to the relationship, but which could help you reduce some of that anxiety, overwhelm and all-or-nothing intensity: take some of the pressure off. Practising not spending all your time with your girl, giving time and energy to friends, sport and other activities, exploring your own creativity, and even the kinds of mixed feelings your relationship is triggering, will help you to stop reacting to her and starting to re-connect with the real 'you' at the centre of things. Talking things through with relationship phone counsellors at 1800 MY LINE (1800 695 463) or Kidshelpline (1800 55 1800) would greatly assist this process for you. These could sound like the last things you want to do, but may really help you get some clarity about things, and so would probably be good for your relationship too. If you return some of these things to your life, it will stop being all about her and could make you more of an equal partner in the relationship. The aim is to be able to connect with her without being so afraid of losing her - and experiencing the pain that could go with that - that you can't be yourself or enjoy her. Instead aim to be someone who is more than just an anxious, controlling shadow of himself. Someone that can talk to her caringly and honestly - while still having fair expectations of how you should be treated. Someone who is able to work out whether he's getting enough from the relationship to make it worth continuing with. This is a very hard balance to maintain, and most of us don't get it right, but it's worth giving it a go. When we love, there is always the possibility that we will one day lose that love. No one wants that pain, and sometimes we do crazy things to try and avoid it. Yet we take the risk of having relationships because our attraction to and need to connect with the other people outweighs the fear of losing them for a time. Whatever happens between you and your girlfriend this time, you will learn an amazing amount about joy, pain, yourself and about relationships as a whole. All that wisdom and strength will help you deal with other intense situations in the future with your integrity and respect for yourself and others intact.</p>
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