Posts Tagged "Relationships"


Fine whines: Does complaining always work? – National

by BBG Hub

Complaining about something — whether it’s about an item missing from your food order or your partner’s behaviour — isn’t always easy. 

While many of us scoff at the idea of someone constantly airing their grievances, expressing dissatisfaction in a meaningful way can actually increase happiness levels, studies show

Customer alleges Samsung tried to silence him after complaint

Constructively complaining can also be an indicator of high self-esteem, research out of Clemson University in South Carolina found. 

“When people complain strategically, that’s where the true benefit comes from,” said Robin Kowalski, a psychology professor at the university.

“People who are effective complainers… are the ones who do it in moderation, and are selective in the audience to their complaint.”

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When complaining is constructive

Kowalski has studied why we complain and how to do so effectively for 30 years, after she was told by a supervisor that she’s a successful complainer. 

In 2014, Kowalski and her colleagues asked more than 400 university students to write down complaints they had about current or former partners for a study

How to make an effective complaint over bad products and services

How to make an effective complaint over bad products and services

They found that those who complained with purpose, looking to achieve a result or cause change, had higher levels of happiness than those who were annoyed without a strategy.

Tactful complaints that are done with intention, with mindfulness at its core, can actually give you the results you’re looking for, Kowalski said. 

Using social media to complain

Amanda from Toronto has no problem complaining to a company or store if they don’t provide the service she’s paid for. (Global News has agreed to withhold Amanda’s last name for privacy reasons.)

She holds businesses to account on social media platforms like Twitter to solicit a response so they can fix an issue.

“It’s really about, here’s the problem I have as a consumer,” she said. “What can you do to help me?”

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Amanda recalls the time she tweeted at a home appliance store about a poor customer experience when they shipped damaged products for a kitchen renovation that were worth thousands of dollars. 

Consumer complaints about wireless and internet services continue to grow

Revealing the problem on social media in a public way caused the store to leap into action and replace the products they sent, she said. 

“I’ll complain looking for a solution as opposed to complaining just to make a complaint public,” Amanda said, adding that social media adds more weight to complaints since others can see them.

It’s important to be reasonable in your complaint, as you should only complain if you have a real issue that requires a solution. But understanding your rights as a consumer can give you the confidence to actually vocalize your dissatisfaction, she said.

Know what you want — and why

Those who are able to complain only when they have a clear objective in mind — not because they are simply upset in a moment — often have a better sense of self and self-esteem, Kowalski said. 

This is especially true when it comes to complaining in public, like at a restaurant. 

Someone who is more confident in themselves will only complain if something is truly wrong with their meal, as opposed to complaining about food only so others will think their standards are high, Kowalski explained. 

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The most common relationship problems and how to fix them before it’s too late

People who like to complain even when there isn’t a real problem may be participating in what psychologists call “impression management,” which is trying to control how others see you, Kowalski said. 

Her research has found this tactic is also used to elicit sympathy, like complaining that you are sick when really you are feeling fine. 

How to complain effectively 

Venting and constantly expressing anger for attention or without an objective can make you feel worse, research out of Iowa State University found. 

But holding complaints in, especially when it comes to your relationships or even your workplace, can also have negative impacts on your health.

Kowalski’s research from the mid-90s shows that some may hide their feelings if they are worried about how others will perceive them. This is particularly true if someone has a high need for approval. 

Learning how to complain in a constructive way can help to improve your relationships and have your needs met, said Amy Cooper Hakim, a psychologist based in Boca Raton, Fla., who specializes in workplace relationships. 

“If we complain in a constructive manner, we’re doing so to improve a particular situation for ourselves, or for others,” Hakim said. 

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Before you make a complaint, first decide whether it’s worth complaining at all. Ask yourself: will this bother me in the next five minutes, or five hours? 

If something is not going to be a problem for you within a few hours, it might not be worth bringing up, Hakim said. But if it’s going to be an ongoing issue, you should address the problem and figure out how to solve it. 

Picking and choosing your battles may make your complaints seem more legitimate to others, as you won’t be known as someone who constantly complains, she said. 

Fighting all the time? How to know if your relationship is worth saving

She also recommends trying to take emotion out of the situation, even though that can be hard to do.

“When we are emotionally invested and angry, we come off in a certain way where we could perhaps be seen as a whiner,” she said. “But when we can specifically look at the fact of the matter… we [should] focus on that.” 

Also, consider the relationship you have to the person you are complaining to, she said. Complaints should be framed differently depending on if you are speaking with your boss, versus a close friend.

“You can appeal to someone’s soft side if they know you, if they have experienced something similar,” she said. “Think through who you’re speaking to before you just speak.”

Complaining a lot could mean that you are very effective at it, but Hakim recommends using those skills wisely. If you become known as a complainer it can weaken your arguments. 

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For Amanda, she doesn’t see complaining as a bad thing, but rather a sign of empowerment, especially for consumers.

“It’s just holding companies and people accountable for the products and services they provide,” she said. “I’m asking for something that’s reasonable.”

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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A public affair: When cheaters get caught through social media – National

by BBG Hub

Justin Timberlake recently made headlines when he was caught on camera cosying up to and touching his co-star Alisha Wainwright.

The performer took to social media after the photos were widely shared online to apologize to his wife, Jessica Biel, and their family.

“A few weeks ago I displayed a strong lapse in judgement — but let me be clear — nothing happened between me and my co-star,” Timberlake posted on Instagram.

“I drank way too much that night and I regret my behaviour. I should have known better.”

READ MORE: Single by choice — Why these Canadians don’t date

But Timberlake is not the only one to get caught canoodling — or cheating — thanks to social media. A recent Washington Post restaurant review reportedly exposed an ongoing affair after a woman’s husband was photographed with another woman at the establishment.

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For Jordan, who asked to only be identified by his first name, a Facebook message was how he discovered his long-term girlfriend was cheating.

The Toronto-area resident said his girlfriend had recently called off their engagement, but he had no idea why. When a stranger sent him a note saying he was involved with his partner, things became more clear.

“I looked at [the message], and it said: ‘Want to know why you’re not getting married? Ask [your girlfriend] and whatever she says, you can be sure that it’s just the tip of the iceberg,’” Jordan recalled.

“I was shocked, that’s the only way to describe it. I was beside myself… It was like something out of a movie.”

Are you digitally cheating? Here’s what an online dating expert has to say

Are you digitally cheating? Here’s what an online dating expert has to say

Social media has changed the way people cheat — and get caught cheating, says Toronto-based psychotherapist Jupiter Vaughan.

Dating apps or sites specifically created for extramarital affairs, like Ashley Madison, have made cheating more accessible. This is especially true for people already tempted to stray, Vaughan said.

What’s more, Vaughan says because so much of our lives are documented online and phones double as cameras, it is much easier for cheaters to be caught.

“Getting caught cheating pre-technology, you had to literally run into the person or you had to be told by a friend. And that friend didn’t have a camera, so they had no proof,” said Vaughan.

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“What if a friend is lying? What if you don’t want to believe that person? There was a lot more up in the air. Now, it’s like, ‘I saw Bob with Jane, and here’s my photo.’ Everyone’s a detective, and it’s a really different landscape.”

Social media also makes it easier to reach out to people who are being cheated on, as in the case of Jordan.

After Jordan received that heart-wrenching Facebook message, he got the man’s number and called him. After their chat, Jordan had more questions for his girlfriend.

READ MORE: The millennials who have never been in a relationship

“I made her kind of give me a timeline of everything that happened because it had been [going on] for about three months,” he said. “She had deleted all of their text messages… and I knew I didn’t trust her.”

He left their shared home, and they eventually broke up.

Moving forward

Vaughan says if you receive information or photos regarding a cheating spouse, you should first verify the source. If there’s photographic evidence, it can be hard for cheating partners to deny the allegations.

After you confront your partner, it’s important to surround yourself with loved ones and lean on a strong support network, Vaughan said.

Therapy can also be instrumental in working through the loss and betrayal that often comes with affairs.

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What should you do if your partner is texting their ex?

What should you do if your partner is texting their ex?

Jordan has learned a lot through his experience. He says he coped by spending time with friends and putting himself in positive environments.

He says even though being cheated on was devastating, learning about the affair through social media was eye-opening. Had he not received that first Facebook message, it is unclear if the cheating would have come to light.

It’s been a few years now since the incident, and Jordan has moved on. He is in a happy relationship and is getting married this year.

READ MORE: Does watching porn count as cheating? Experts debate digital infidelity

His advice for those who discover cheating?

“Don’t close yourself off to the possibility of meeting someone else.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Why some Canadians go family-free over the holidays – National

by BBG Hub

Lori Harito felt refreshed after last year’s holiday season — largely because she got out of town.

Harito, a Toronto-based PR professional, and her partner decided to head to London, England, for 12 days and forego rushing between her family’s Christmas celebrations and his.

“We pre-planned that we would cook Christmas dinner and stay in all day watching Netflix. And that’s exactly what we did,” she said.

“I will always remember the tranquility because it was in direct contrast to the chaos of family get-togethers. That’s not to say I don’t love being with my family, but I spend so much time with them outside of the holidays… that missing a few weeks won’t affect our relationship.”

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Like Harito, some Canadians opt to spend the holidays away from family and prefer a more peaceful, quiet pace. For those who have strained familial relationships or no close family, getting out of town may be the best option for their well-being.

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“If you have an experience or you feel a certain way that isn’t… the societal expectation, then you begin to think that something must be wrong [with you],” said Rana Khan, a Toronto-based psychotherapist.

“It is at those times that I like to remind people to not get caught in thinking what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘wrong,’ [but] turn their thinking towards what’s helpful and what’s unhelpful.”

Why the holidays can be emotional

The holidays can be a joyous time for many, but they also come with a lot of expectations, said Khan. These can include how you think you should act and feel, as well as how others should behave.

Between giving the “perfect” gifts, making good impressions on in-laws and hosting, the pressure can be a lot.

Overcoming holiday depression

Overcoming holiday depression

What’s more, if you head home for the holidays and you have a strained relationship with family, unresolved feelings can surface. Khan says people can find themselves frustrated with relatives if there’s a past history of conflict.

Death, divorce, and changes in family dynamics can also be hard to deal with during the holidays.

“Things that happen annually generally make people feel nostalgic and reflective as they begin to think about how things used to be,” explains Khan.

“If there is a difference between how things used to be and how things are now, it is common for people to feel lonely or sad as a result.”

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The decision to stay or go

When you are making plans for the holidays, Khan says you need to be honest about what you want to do and why.

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He suggests asking yourself things like: Who are you doing this for? Who benefits from your actions? What would others want you to do? Could others be harmed by your decision? Could you be harmed by your decision?

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If going home for the holidays will put you in a bad place — whether mentally, physically or emotionally — you may be better off elsewhere. Of course, not everyone can afford to leave town, but you can choose where to spend your time.

Spending the holidays with friends or chosen families can be very comforting.

“Making conscious, well-thought out decisions is often the most helpful thing you can do during the holidays,” added Khan.

Even though Harito has a great relationship with her family, getting out of town is a tradition she plans to continue. She says her family is supportive of her decision — even though they miss her on Christmas.

Holiday hangover hacks

Holiday hangover hacks

This year, Harito and her partner are going to Italy, before heading back to the U.K.

She can’t wait.

“On New Year’s Eve we will be in London with some of our friends who have already started planning things,” she said.

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“All we have to do is show up with champagne.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Cuffing season: Why are people more inclined to date during the winter? – National

by BBG Hub

As it gets colder and the holidays approach, singles enter “cuffing season.”

“Cuffing season” refers to single folks who “cuff” or become coupled up during the winter months. This seasonal trend typically begins in the fall and extends into the new year.

While the term was first defined by Urban Dictionary and largely gained traction on social media, it has become recognized widely enough to spark essays, playlists, and endless memes.

(‘Cuffing season’ was also short-listed for Collins Dictionary’s word of the year in 2017.)

READ MORE: Single by choice — Why these Canadians don’t date

But is there evidence to support cuffing season, or is it something created by the dating industry? According to relationship experts, people may be more likely to settle down in the cold.

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“The desire to commit to a partner during the cooler months is reflected in online dating data,” said Jessica O’Reilly, a Toronto-based relationship expert and host of the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast.

O’Reilly points to Facebook data that showed more people were partnered up on the days around Valentine’s Day and Christmas.

She also highlights previous U.S. research that found an increase in keyword searches related to sex and “mating behaviours” in the winter months.

How to thrive in a long-distance relationship

How to thrive in a long-distance relationship

It’s important to note, however, that researchers found an uptick in dating searches during the summer, too.

Justin Lehmiller, a sex researcher and fellow at the Kinsey Institute, says this is likely because both the winter holidays and summer months bring more travel and vacations.

“Being in that vacation state of mind where people are more relaxed and have a chance to get away from work for a little bit, I think that opens up the door to the possibility of exploring relationships more,” he said.

Cold weather may affect mood

Lehmiller says there are factors, however, that are unique to cuffing season.

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The author of Tell Me What You Want says some research suggests testosterone levels may increase in cooler months, which can affect sexual desire.

READ MORE: Dating too young is still taboo, but some experts say ‘connection’ matters more

“There’s also research looking at how sunlight exposure affects production of serotonin in the brain — and that chemical is important for regulating mood,” Lehmiller explained.

Lehmiller said because there’s less sunlight exposure in dark, winter months, people may experience lower moods.

“Some people may try to compensate for that by going out and seeking social connections and relationships to boost their mood.”

The holidays can be emotional

Between watching endless romantic holiday movies and wanting to share a New Year’s kiss, the holidays can make people feel lonely if they’re single. There’s also the social pressures the season brings.

Emma Watson calls her relationship status ‘self-partnered’

Emma Watson calls her relationship status ‘self-partnered’

“Folks want someone to take to the company party or family gatherings,” O’Reilly said.

Lehmiller echoes this and says some people don’t like showing up single to these types of events — “especially when there’s family who may be putting pressure on us to get married and settle down,” he added.

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What’s important to keep in mind, however, is that you should be up front and honest with a partner if you see the relationship being temporary.

READ MORE: Sex hygiene — Best ways to stay fresh when getting frisky

O’Reilly says if you’re inclined to “cuff” yourself to someone every winter, ask yourself why.

If you aren’t really into a relationship but are dating anyway, it may be best to focus on self-love this season, she said.

“Do you need to change your attitude toward winter and appreciate the beauty of the snow instead of complaining about the cold? Do you want to do something to increase your energy levels and mood by working out, dancing, meditating, painting or writing?” she said.

“See if you can shift your perspective just a tiny bit to appreciate the weather.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Single by choice: Why these Canadians don’t date – National

by BBG Hub

Actor Emma Watson recently opened up to British Vogue about being happily single.

The 29-year-old acknowledged the social pressure to be partnered up by her age, but told the outlet she’s come to a place of self-acceptance.

“I never believed the whole ‘I’m happy single’ spiel,” she said. “I was like, ‘This is totally spiel.’ It took me a long time, but I’m very happy [being single].

“I call it being self-partnered.”

Watson’s remarks sparked debate online, with some taking issue with the term “self-partnered.” Jezebel even published an article questioning why Watson simply can’t call herself single.

READ MORE: The millennials who have never been in a relationship

In the piece, writer Hazel Cills argues the term “self-partnered” stigmatizes the idea “that a woman could be alone forever and be okay with it.”

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Others applauded Watson for her comments and said they, too, will co-opt the term.

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When being single is a choice

But for some Canadians, being happily single is not only a mindset — it’s a deliberate choice.

“I’m 100 per cent honestly not dating because I don’t want to at all,” said Vanessa Vakharia, founder of the Toronto-based tutoring service The Math Guru.

“I have no interest in being in a relationship whatsoever.”

Dating apps can exacerbate unhealthy habits

Dating apps can exacerbate unhealthy habits

Vakharia, who is in her 30s, says she is happy focusing on her career and genuinely enjoys spending time doing things that matter to her most. Between work, hosting a podcast and being in a band, Vakharia carefully considers what she puts her energy into.

Dating is not high on her priority list.

“Any time I evaluate whether I want to take on a new project or not, one of the main questions I ask is, ‘Do I have time?’” she said.

“I have made the decision not to take on a relationship because I know that to be a good partner, that means diverting the time I spend on the current projects that fill my schedule to that relationship.”

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READ MORE: Why some people have sex even when they aren’t in the mood

While Vakharia is happy with her lifestyle, she says others often have a hard time believing she is OK with her single status. Whenever people ask her about her love life, she often feels pressure to justify her situation.

“People make you to feel like you should be on the defensive, like you’re supposed to be like, ‘Oh, I’m not dating, but I’m fine!’ or, ‘I’m not dating but I just met this [person],’” she said.

“We act like our goal [in society] is to meet this dream person and have this fairy-tale ending and settle down — especially at my age.”

According to Laura Bilotta, a Toronto-based dating coach at Single in the City and host of The Dating and Relationship Show on Global News radio, there’s many reasons why people opt not to date.

These reasons can include wanting to spend time on themselves, focus on their careers or because they feel exhausted from a previous break-up.

The current landscape of online dating isn’t always appealing, either.

Are you digitally cheating? Here’s what an online dating expert has to say

Are you digitally cheating? Here’s what an online dating expert has to say

“In the online dating world, so many people play games and that gets really annoying and frustrating,” Bilotta said.

“And eventually you just take a break and say, ‘You know what? I’m better off being single right now.’”

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Twenty-nine-year-old Sasha Ruddock says women are often raised to believe that happiness is directly linked to marriage and kids.

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The Toronto-based body-positivity activist believes this can cause people to spend less time on themselves, and more time looking for a relationship.

“I believe it’s normal to want companionship, but we have to question our need for it,” Ruddock said.

“Do you know yourself? Do you like yourself? What are your heart’s desires? We weren’t taught self-love.”

READ MORE: Own a house with your partner? Here’s what happens if you break up

Despite all the valid reasons for staying single, the societal expectation that people should be in relationships by a certain age still harms single folks, Bilotta said.

One of the first questions people ask is, “Why are you single?” Bilotta said, which can make people feel like they should date, even if they don’t want to.

Carolyn Van, 34, has experienced this first-hand.

The Toronto-based educator and business consultant says she loves her life and happily chooses to be single. She is grateful for her life and feels no void.

When it comes to others accepting her situation, however, it’s often a different story.

“People have a tough time believing that I’m happy  — and then I’m treated like a lab subject,” she said.

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Lack of friendships impacts men’s mental health — here’s how to deal with it

Lack of friendships impacts men’s mental health — here’s how to deal with it

“I get a lot of questions. A lot of skepticism. A lot of assumptions of my life experiences.

“If anything, I think this reveals much more about those who ask these questions, so I mostly observe and take it as an opportunity to learn about people.”

Sometimes Van says she will challenge people and ask them questions back about their decisions to be in a relationship. Some folks get the hint.

“I say cheeky things like, ‘Maybe one day, you learn that you don’t want to be a partner or parent anymore. You should just keep your options open!’” she said.

“They aren’t used to getting these questions and comments. It’s my way of putting a mirror in front of them.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Own a house with your partner? Here’s what happens if you break up – National

by BBG Hub

The last thing you expect when you buy a home with your long-term partner is to break-up shortly after.

But that’s exactly what happened to Nora, who asked Global News to change her name for privacy reasons.

Nora and her boyfriend dated for about three years before they decided to buy a house together in an Ontario suburb.

At the time, she was given financial advice to put the home in her name because she was earning more money while her partner was finishing school. Nora also took advantage of the government’s first-time homebuyers tax credit.

READ MORE: ‘Normalize it’: How to discuss adoption, donor conception with your child

Only a year after living in the home together, Nora and her boyfriend split. They didn’t have any formal agreement about their property and who would be responsible for paying what.

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Their mortgage was in Nora’s name, and the couple had another personal loan, too.

“I ended up getting a lawyer because I was very unsure [of my rights] and it was a ton of money we were talking about,” Nora said.

“She unfortunately advised me that he could get up and walk away if he really wanted to, and I would have to take him to court to try and get the money that he owed,” she said.

Must-have tips for first time home buyers

Must-have tips for first time home buyers

Thankfully, Nora and her ex-boyfriend came to an agreement through her lawyer. The pair decided they would sell the house, and he would be responsible for his half of their outstanding debt.

“I was, in all honesty, very lucky, but it was incredibly stressful,” said Nora.

“I had no idea the sort of risk I took.”

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The importance of a cohabitation agreement

Nora’s experience is not that uncommon. More Canadians are in common-law relationships today than in the past, data shows, and many are buying homes together.

More than one-fifth of all couples — 21 per cent — were living common law in 2016, according to Statistics Canada. This is a big jump from about 6 per cent in 1981.

READ MORE: More millennials are signing prenups — and experts say that’s a good thing

What’s more, the government agency says many adults now choose to live common law before marriage. The latest available data found that 39 per cent of married 25- to 64-year-olds lived common law with their current spouse before getting married.

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But common-law partners don’t have the same rights married couples do, and many don’t understand the risks of buying a home together, says Diana Isaac, a family lawyer at Toronto’s Shulman Law Firm.

In Ontario where Isaac practices, common-law couples do not have any automatic rights to property like married couples do. This means if a couple lives together but their home is only in one person’s name, as in Nora’s case, a cohabitation agreement is important.

A cohabitation agreement is essentially a contract that outlines how a couple will deal with assets like property and spousal support should they break-up or one person dies, Issac says. It helps prevent future legal issues, and clearly outlines who owns what.

Denmark’s new divorce laws mean couples have to wait before splitting

Denmark’s new divorce laws mean couples have to wait before splitting

These agreements are especially vital if property is only in one person’s name (i.e. “on title”) but both parties put money into it. Cohabitation agreements are also valuable when one partner moves into another person’s house, and begins contributing to the household.

This is because if a couple splits, each person keeps whatever they technically own — including property.

“If the person is not on title and they have contributed to the home, the title would take precedence,” explained Isaac.

“The individual that is not on title would have to prove their contributions by way of a trust claim in order to have an equitable interest, which becomes very complicated and very costly.”

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In cases like Nora’s, if she and her boyfriend didn’t come to a post-split agreement, she would have been on the hook for the house, Isaac said.

READ MORE: Canadians fear debt almost as much as they fear death

“When that mortgage statement comes through and your name is on there, you’re responsible for it.”

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Laws vary across Canada for common-law spouses

Common law legislation varies from province to province. In Ontario, couples are considered common law if they’ve lived together for three years or more. If they have a child together, a couple becomes common law sooner.

In B.C., couples are considered common law if they’ve shared a home in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, or they’ve lived together under two years but have a child together.

Money 123: the drawbacks of home equity lines of credit

Money 123: the drawbacks of home equity lines of credit

The Civil Code of Quebec currently does not recognize common-law couples (or “de facto spouses” as they’re called in the province). In 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Quebec does not have to give common-law spouses the same rights as married couples.

In 2018, efforts were put forward to change Quebec’s legislation regarding common-law couples.

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In Manitoba, all laws in the province governing property rights of married couples are applicable to common-law partners who have been living together in “a conjugal relationship for at least three years.” Common-law couples can also register their relationship at the Vital Statistics Agency.

It is important couples understand the laws in their province so they can make informed decisions. Isaac suggests couples talk to a lawyer to draft cohabitation agreements prior to moving in together.

READ MORE: ‘The current system is broken’: changes coming to Sask. divorce and separation laws

Nora wishes she knew about Ontario’s laws earlier. She wants unmarried partners to know it’s important both parties protect themselves if they’re going to put money into property together.

If her ex didn’t agree to cover his half of their home, it would have been up to her to figure it out.

“When it was deemed that there was no way this relationship was going to be salvageable … I had no interest staying in [the house],” she said.

“It just had too many bad memories.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Men struggle to keep friends — and it’s hurting their mental health – National

by BBG Hub

Friendships are an important part of a healthy life, but research shows men struggle to keep them.

Men often have fewer close friends as they age, experts say, which directly impacts their mental well-being.

According to a 2016 survey by U.K.’s Movember organization, men lack “social connectedness.” The survey found one in 10 men couldn’t recall the last time they made contact with their friends, and older men were at greater risk of social isolation.

What’s more, over half of the men surveyed reported having two or less friends they would discuss “a serious topic” with, and 19 per cent of men over 55 said they lacked a close friend — period.

READ MORE: 28 per cent of men believe they could lose their job if they discuss mental health at work

“Men tend to not have deep friendships in the way that many women do, which denies them the opportunity to share deeply personal and emotionally sensitive information with others,” said John Ogrodniczuk, the director of the University of British Columbia’s psychotherapy program and founder of men’s depression resource HeadsUpGuy.

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“Because of this, many men can end up feeling lonely, even though they may indicate that they have friends in their lives. In fact, after surveying more than 5,000 men who had visited HeadsUpGuys, we learned that loneliness is one of the most frequent stressors in men’s lives.”

Why friends are important

A lack of close friendships can negatively affect not only men’s mental health, but overall well-being, says Dr. Ari Zaretsky, the psychiatrist-in-chief at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

“Having a social support system has been shown to promote resilience, not only for mental illness but even for physical illness,” Zaretsky said.

How to help take care of your mental health while in school

How to help take care of your mental health while in school

Research also shows that social interactions have a positive effect on life satisfaction.

A recent study on the role of friends found that good-quality friendships help people feel supported. When people have less frequent social interactions, researchers found, they reported lower life satisfaction.

Joshua Beharry, a B.C.-based mental health advocate and project coordinator at HeadsUpGuys, experienced this first-hand. When he was dealing with severe depression 10 years ago, he hid his symptoms from his friends.

He believed he could handle his mental health issues on his own, even as his condition worsened.

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“This led me to basically waiting until I was so sick that I couldn’t hide my symptoms anymore,” Beharry said.

Beharry says his friends realized something was wrong when he kept cancelling plans and became increasingly withdrawn. Once he admitted he was struggling with depression and sought treatment, his friends were supportive.

READ MORE: Cancer can severely damage your mental health. Why don’t we talk about it?

“Instead of having to continue to hide how sick I was from my friends, I could finally be open with them,” Beharry said.

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“They were much more supportive and understanding than I had expected, asking lots of questions about what I was going through and what they could do to help.”

This is not surprising to Zaretsky, who says social support is key to dealing with mental health issues like depression.

While Zaretsky believes in a comprehensive approach when it comes to tackling mental health issues — which can include medication and psychotherapy — friendships are an integral part of the recovery process.

Focusing on men’s mental health

Focusing on men’s mental health

And you don’t need a large group of friends to notice the benefits, Ogrodniczuk points out. The amount of friends one has is less important than the quality of those friendships.

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“Strength is demonstrated by actually allowing yourself to be vulnerable,” Ogrodniczuk said.

“It’s often a very scary thing for many men, but when they actually do open up to others, they find that they deepen their relationships and have a stronger sense of self.”

Why men may have fewer friends

There are a few reasons men may have fewer friendships — especially as they age.

When men get into romantic partnerships, they often become inclined to lean on their spouse for emotional support and therefore put less emphasis on maintaining outside friendships.

READ MORE: Vast majority of workers with mental health issues keep it secret from their boss

“A lot of guys recognize that friendships are important, but don’t make the maintenance of such relationships a priority in their lives, instead prioritizing other things like work and family,” Ogrodniczuk said.

Men may also rely on their partner’s social network, meaning should a separation occur, they are left with fewer close relationships.

Notions of masculinity are also factors. Experts say it’s common for men to view mental health struggles as signs of weakness, and avoid talking to friends about problems as a result.

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Ogrodniczuk says the influence of “masculine socialization” can cause men to doubt what is “permissible” in friendships. For example, men may question whether or not it is OK to tell a friend they need help or open up to them about something serious.

This can lead to more surface-level friendships or acquaintances rather than deep, meaningful friendships. Casual friendships may be harder to maintain, too, experts say.

New study says more men are working themselves to an early grave

New study says more men are working themselves to an early grave

Zaretsky echoes this, adding when men do speak about their issues with others, they’re often self-conscious.

“They sometimes do it reluctantly,” he explained, “and I think that they have difficulty many times with talking about feelings and thoughts.”

How can men improve friendships

So how can more men move past these factors and develop meaningful connections? In order to improve and maintain friendships, men need to recognize the importance of close relationships and make them a priority, Ogrodniczuk said.

If a man is struggling with mental health issues, Ogrodniczuk suggests starting a conversation with someone they trust.

READ MORE: ‘It feels like failure’: Why Canadian workplaces should offer stress leave

“Sometimes it’s as simple as saying something like, ‘I’ve been feeling like sh-t lately and I’m not really sure what’s going on. Can I run some things by you to get your take on them?’” he said.

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Plus, Beharry says stigma around mental health issues is slowly eroding, and there’s less taboo around talking about struggles today than there was 10 years ago.

“There are a lot of male celebrities and athletes who have spoken out about depression as well, which I think goes a long way in opening up important conversations and helping to shed ideas that associate mental health issues with weakness,” he added.

Beharry now understands the benefit of opening up.

Becoming a dad can take a toll on men’s mental health

Becoming a dad can take a toll on men’s mental health

He says since being upfront about his mental health struggles, more men have reached out to him with similar experiences, too.

“Some people are better at listening and others are better at helping you out with tasks and keeping up with life,” he said.

“If the first person you talk to doesn’t really help, don’t get discouraged and shut down more; keep reaching out and building supports.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Couples are adding cannabis to their weddings. How to do it in a legal, safe way – National

by BBG Hub

Since it was legalized a year ago, more Canadians are using cannabis, Now, some are even planning their weddings around it.

From bud bouquets to marijuana food pairings, there are plenty of different ways you can incorporate cannabis to your nuptials.

The growing desire to put weed on wedding menus doesn’t surprise Leslie Andrachuk. She’s a chartered marketer and CEO of Alpha Woman, a digital publishing company focused on supporting female leadership in the cannabis industry.

READ MORE: ‘The sky didn’t fall’: Police, lawyers still adjusting after cannabis legalization

“There’s a huge opportunity in this industry,” Andrachuk told Global News.

In her work planning events with Alpha Woman, she’s seen first-hand the increase in clients who want to offer cannabis the same way they would alcohol at larger events.

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For those couples planning their wedding right now, experts say adding weed to the menu has many benefits.

The case for having cannabis at your wedding

In Andrachuk’s opinion, making your wedding cannabis-friendly can only serve to make your guests feel more at home.

Now that recreational marijuana is legal, it’s a person’s right to partake — but at events like weddings, it’s often the case that there’s nowhere appropriate to do so.

“It’s a really great idea to offer individuals who want to consume cannabis a segregated, safe, beautiful place,” said Andrachuk.

It’s also been a longstanding issue that people who need regular doses of medical cannabis often don’t have anywhere to do so. “Medical cannabis users have long needed a place to be able to consume safely at events like this,” she said.

“Make them feel comfortable and make them feel safe — just as safe as the people who like to drink alcohol.”

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READ MORE: After a year of legal weed, some questions we’ve answered and some we haven’t

Canadian Cannabis Wedding Expo co-founders Corey and Laureen Cauryn Cameron want to help enthusiasts incorporate cannabis into their big day.

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Laureen is a wedding planner, and as legalization was approaching last year, cannabis integration became a prevalent topic of conversation within her industry.

“People have always enjoyed cannabis at these events, but typically it’s in the parking lot or little secret groups going outside,” she told Global News.

“How are we going to handle this new variable in our events?”

Study shows students driving after consuming cannabis

Study shows students driving after consuming cannabis

That’s when she and her husband decided to create the Expo, in the hopes that they could connect couples with the appropriate vendors.

“With these conversations coming up, I decided we should provide some leadership and some guidance in an elegant way,” Cameron said.

“It’s an amazing plant. We don’t need to make it taboo anymore.”

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There’s a ‘risk’ associated with serving weed

Unfortunately, most provincial governments have restrictions on how marijuana can be distributed at a wedding or other large-scale events.

“There’s no permit. The only legal distribution is through retail sales,” said Laureen. “If you are incorporating cannabis into your wedding, you have to follow provincial guidelines for gifting — whatever that might be in your province.”

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If you are following the gifting guidelines, the marijuana needs to be purchased from a government retailer or grown in your own house.

READ MORE: Cannabis can help with better sex, but low doses are key

Andrachuk said these kinds of legal roadblocks can lead to missed opportunities and unsatisfied guests.

“It’s a constant frustration. For people who aren’t that interested in alcohol, we would prefer to be able to offer them [cannabis],” she said. “It’s up to [adults] to educate themselves.”

The two hope the law will loosen up over time. “There’s definitely room for growth and improvement,” Laureen said.

A lot of rules and legal policy surrounding the use of cannabis is still quite tight-gripped … but it will be interesting to see how it relaxes as people realize on October 18, 2018, there weren’t a million car crashes and people missing work.

“It’s a very safe product to consume and most people do it with a level head.”

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Different ways to feature the flower in your big day

There are plenty of ways to incorporate weed into your wedding. In Laureen’s experience, the most common way is to invite your guests to bring their own and smoke it.

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“A lot of people are having it as a cocktail hour-type thing, so after the ceremony,” she said. “[Also] very common right now is within the florals.”

“Bud bars,” which mimic an alcoholic bar but have all kinds of cannabis on offer, are also an option.

READ MORE: Here’s how much cannabis costs across Canada

They typically have a budtender on hand to “inform and educate,” said Laureen. “Adults can make their own informed decisions.”

“Some people don’t want to have alcohol at their wedding or want people drinking. Cannabis can offer a good alternative.”

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However, Andrachuk says the hosts should exercise extreme caution when “gifting” cannabis to guests.

“You have to buy it yourself, just as if… you were to give a little branded bottle of wine,” she said.

“My advice to… anyone doing this — because the regulations are very gray — there’s always going to be a risk.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The psychology behind why some people are always late – National

by BBG Hub

Picture this scenario: You’re out to meet a friend for dinner, but they let you know they’re running 10 to 15 minutes late.

Sometimes, it’s a write-off; things can happen. But if you know someone who is chronically late, it can quickly start having an impact on your relationship with them.

Rana Khan, a registered psychotherapist based in Toronto, says there are plenty of reasons why people fall into this habit. He says people often blame laziness or a lack of motivation when it comes to being late, but Khan says this often isn’t the problem.

READ MORE: How being late can be good for your health

“In fact, laziness and not being motivated is a response to the real culprit, which is avoidance,” he tells Global News. “Avoidance stems from fear. Fear is a powerful emotion and it is an emotion that is familiar to many of us.”

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When it impacts your relationships

Khan says if someone in your life is always late, communication is key.

“You could say, ‘I have been noticing that you’re often late, is there anything that I can do to help?’” he said. “Perhaps something is going on in their life which adds context to why they are always late.”

This person could be providing care for their family, struggling with their mental or physical health, or they have very little control over their own life and what happens.

“I think back to my own childhood and recognize how in my South Asian household it would take forever for me to leave the house because I would have to say bye to my grandparents, my parents — I would have to tell all of them where I was going, when I would be back, who I was going with … All such things were out of my control.”

READ MORE: Not washing hands after pooping is spreading E. coli ‘superbug,’ study says

Once you get to the root of why someone is always late (or what they could be avoiding or fearing), it will change the tone of the conversation.

“Your likelihood of doing any harm and being met with defensiveness decreases when you approach someone with care and compassion.”

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Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor emerita of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, tells Global News that when you don’t realize what being late can do to a relationship, it can hurt you both down the road.

“Even if your partner is understanding, the other people who expect you to be there on time will become irritated if not downright angry,” she said. “If you’re on the receiving end, you need to find a way to communicate to your partner how the lateness is causing problems.”

She recommends working with your partner to help him or her through some of those tips — yelling at them will not work.

How being late can be good for your health

How being late can be good for your health

Radhika Kowtha-Rao still remembers how she was treated when she was once late to pick up her child.

Her daughter was in a Girl Scouts program and right before she was going to leave to pick her up, Kowtha-Rao noticed her dog was missing from their home.

“It was November and dark, so I switched on lights and stepped out only to realize in panic that someone left the gate open and the [dog] took off,” she said. “I found him eventually, put him in and ran. I was late by 10 minutes.”

When she drove up, her daughter, her friend and her friend’s mother were still waiting outside. She apologized and explained to the mother why she was late.

“She walked up to my window and glared at me and hissed, ‘You are late and I do not appreciate that. This is very rude of you Radhika,’” she recalled. “I was hurt and sad, and to this day, though we exchange pleasantries at common places, she continues to be cold to me.”

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Can it be cultural?

There are some phrases like “Indian Time” or “Island Time” — ultimately, the idea that people from certain cultural backgrounds are more likely to be late.

In Kowtha-Rao’s experience as an Indian woman, it is not uncommon for people to be late.

“No one is expected to be on time. No one shows up on time,” she explained. “No one cares as much and it’s all one big loose structure.”

Of course, this is not to imply all South Asians are always late all the time or don’t get annoyed at others being late, but Krauss Whitbourne added that our own culture or upbringing can affect how we behave around time.

If you are used to being late to family gatherings or events, for example, and it is not looked down upon, it may be hard to understand why being late for a non-family gathering is a big deal.

“The problem arises when your own cultural, or sub-cultural, background doesn’t mesh with the norms of your workplace or even relationships,” she said.

How to break your late habit

Khan says being late all the time becomes a habit when you know there are no consequences for lateness.

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“If … you catch yourself feeling like you can get away with being late, you may be on track to formulating a habit,” he said.

To tackle this habit — if it is more than just being lazy — he says it is important to understand your fears.

“Often, what fear needs is more information, it needs clarity, and it needs some sort of control.”

READ MORE: 8 signs you’re in a toxic relationship — and how to get out

Identify why you’re always late, ask yourself how you can control the situation and monitor and evaluate how late you are when you have to meet others.

Krauss Whitbourne agrees, adding it is important to notice a pattern, but also to reward yourself when you are on time.

“Tell yourself the real time or date is earlier than what’s required and set reminders on your phone with plenty of advance notice,” she said.

Schedule realistic timelines for completion, whether it’s getting ready in the morning or finishing a big project, she added.

“Check actual drive times for getting to places a day ahead of an event to take rush hour into account when planning your route.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘No means no’ consent training overlooks nuances of sex: experts – National

by BBG Hub

Most campuses across Canada now require students to take consent training, in an effort to better protect students.

Research has found one in five women studying at a post-secondary institution in North America will be the victim of sexual violence over the course of her studies, according to the Canadian Federation of Students.

However, some experts say the traditional “no means no” curriculum is no longer sufficient because it overlooks the ways young people communicate during sex.

READ MORE: Schools tackle sexual assault even before students hit campus

A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research asked 615 university students to describe a time when they refused sex in the past.

Authors found a surprising number of young adults never used the word “no,” and some didn’t use any words at all. Roughly 53 per cent of the reported refusals included some variation of the word “no,” but 37 per cent involved excuses or non-verbal cues.

Among the wide range of responses were actions like telling their partner they weren’t in the mood, lying about not having a condom and physically pushing their partners away to signal that they didn’t want to have sex.

WATCH BELOW: Universities struggling to confront sexual harassment reality, prof says

As a result, researchers are calling for consent training that includes less explicit and non-verbal refusals, too.

The new way to talk about consent

Educator and sexual violence support worker Farrah Khan says calculating for nuance during sex is a step in the right direction — and several Canadian campuses have already begun to do so.

As the manager of Consent Comes First Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education at Ryerson University in Toronto, she is responsible for awareness, education, training, support and response to sexual violence on campus.

READ MORE: Man’s decision not to wear a condom, after agreeing to, is sexual assault: Ontario judge

Campaigns like “no means no” and “yes means yes,” she adds, fail to see that consent can also be communicated in other ways, like through body language.

It also makes consent seem static, which it isn’t. Consent should be “freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic and specific,” said Khan.

Part of teaching this to students is teaching them that “it’s a normal part of a relationship to have rejection,” she said.

“Somebody saying to you ‘actually, I’m not feeling this’ or ‘this doesn’t feel good to me’ isn’t saying ‘the sum of you is horrible’ or ‘I don’t want to be with you,’” she said.

“It’s saying, ‘I don’t want to do this.’”

WATCH BELOW: How to talk to your partner about your STI and the legalities around disclosing

Khan also worries about treating consent as a “checkbox,” because she worries it makes consent “an obstacle that you just have to get over to get to the sex.”

In her view, sex education needs to move beyond risk aversion to include pleasure, too. Students need a place to find answers to questions like, “How do I know that something feels good? [or] How do I know that I want to have this sexual activity?” Khan said.

She believes this is starting to happen on campuses across Canada. “Students and educators are starting to recognize that it doesn’t resonate to just say ‘OK, you need to know what consent is… this is the law… don’t do it.”

READ MORE: What the Brett Kavanaugh allegations reveal about alcohol and sexual assault

Consent training also needs to discuss sexual stereotypes.

“For young men, there’s a sexual stereotype that they’re always up for sex,” said Khan. She frequently receives messages from young men across the country asking if it’s OK that they don’t want to have sex sometimes.

“We have to demystify the things we’ve been told about sex,” she said.

Not everyone can just say ‘no’

Uche Umolu is the founder of the Consent Workshop, a Canadian organization that provides education and resources so youth can make healthier, sex-positive decisions.

During training with the Consent Workshop, it’s assumed that “not everyone can just say no,” Umolu said. “Lots of university students find themselves in very complicated types of situations,” and they aim to address the subtle differences that can arise.

To do so, they prioritize an “interactive approach” with activities and conversations designed to reflect possible scenarios — and appropriate reactions to those scenarios.

WATCH BELOW: STI rates in Canadian teens going up; how to talk about safe sex

Instead of using what she calls “cliche lines” like “consent is sexy,” Umolu aims to help students arrive at these understandings on their own.

For example, training focuses on “body language… and how to know when you’re making someone uncomfortable,” she said. “Only then can students start to realize the difference between, let’s say, sexual coercion and rape.”

The Consent Workshop also works to dispel stereotypes about perpetrators and victims. “Traditional consent training has this stereotype… but both come in different forms,” she said.

READ MORE: Even in a #MeToo climate, only 28% of Canadians understand consent

Khan and Umolu both agree: consent training needs to focus less on risk aversion and more on healthy relationships.

“We actually teach people how to recognize positive body language and… how to always check in with your partner,” said Umolu.

“Nobody is having a conversation like, ‘should we go ahead and have sex?’ before they have sex. Now, we should be teaching kids how to foster positive relationships and how to be more aware of other people’s needs and wants.”

Where to get help

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

Ending Violence Association of Canada, Assaulted Women’s Helpline (Ontario) and the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters & Transition Houses all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.

— With files from Mike Le Couteur


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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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