Advice columnist Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships
AM I WASTING MY TIME WITH HIM?
Q I’ve been with my boyfriend for two years but I feel like I’m wasting my time.
He won’t meet my family and I’ve never met his, either. He won’t meet my friends, although I have to put up with his mates. He never tells me what he’s thinking and, after all this time, I’m still no closer to knowing how he feels about me. What should I do?
A By the sound of it, you’re just a trophy for him to parade in front of his friends.
If he thinks that’s all it takes to have a meaningful relationship, he’s clearly mistaken and you’re clearly not prepared to accept life on these terms.
I strongly suggest you break up this sham of a relationship – and as soon as possible.
I’M SAD ABOUT DRIFTING LIFE
Q Over the past three years, since I lost my job after an accident, my life has been drifting, and I’m getting more and more depressed.
I’ve been forced to move back with my parents, which, at 29, is difficult, even though they are easy going.
Both my sister and brother have secure jobs and successful relationships – and I’ve got neither.
My mother encouraged me to see my GP, who referred me to a counsellor. I went twice but he didn’t seem to understand me.
A few of my friends have tried to help, but I can only dump on them so much, and I’m pretty sure they’re fed up with me.
A Please go back and talk to your doctor. If you didn’t “gel” with your first counsellor, you can get a referral to a different one. With the right support, I’m sure you’d start to feel better, but don’t expect any counsellor to understand you right away.
You don’t say whether it’s your accident or depression that is holding you back but, either way, when you feel able, talk to your local job centre.
Tell your friends how you’re feeling, but also show them you are trying to find a way to recover, and I’m sure they’ll stick by you. Finally, don’t forget that the Samaritans charity provides a confidential counselling service for anyone who has a problem and needs a good listener – call 08457 90 90 90, 24 hours a day, every day.
NUISANCE BROTHER-IN-LAW IS CAUSING ROWS
Q My brother-in-law is becoming a pest. He keeps dropping in when he knows my husband is out.
At first, I thought nothing of it, but when his visits became more frequent, I asked my husband to speak to him.
While things improved for a short time, he started visiting again, so I asked my mother-in-law to intervene. She completely lost her temper with me and said I was trying to cause trouble between the brothers. We haven’t spoken since.
Now my husband says I should have spoken to him first, which leaves me feeling completely alienated.
A You and your husband made it clear that these visits weren’t welcome. Your mother-in-law was probably shocked by your accusation and her natural reaction was to defend her son. Clearly, the guilty party is your brother-in-law, but his behaviour is threatening to divide the family and they are closing ranks.
For now, ignore the issue with your mother-in-law and concentrate on getting your marriage back on track. If your brother-in-law calls, don’t answer the door to him, but call your husband immediately.
This is a difficult situation for you and will require a good deal of tact, but if you and your husband stick together, I’m sure you can sort this out.