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Hypothetical Sticky Situation

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 19 February 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,
I have recently come out of a 4 year relationship because my ex told me he would want an abortion if I were to ever become pregnant. Not that he would force one on me of course, but that would be what he would prefer. This crushed me, not because I'm against abortion (because I'm not, it's a personal choice in my opinion but an emotional one I couldn't go through with).

My ex and I split up because of that, and I've been with someone new for the past three months. The new gentleman in my life also told me he'd prefer an abortion. While the new boyfriend reassures me that his feelings aren't personal against me, he feels he simply isn't mature enough to entertain the thought of wanting a child. I have no intention of ever becoming pregnant before marriage, however I do want some reassurance that no matter what happens, the man I love would be there for me.

I am not ready to have a family right now, nor am I planning to. But I find it incredibly difficult at my age (28) to consider that a man who is truly emotionally mature and responsible and in love can also not even entertain the fact of not wanting an abortion. I truly believe that I could never handle the emotional reprucutions of an abortion, and cannot quite come to terms with the fact that the men I seem to fall in love with don't see a pregnancy as something they would have an emotional connection with.

My question to you is, should I stay with my current boyfriend and just trust that he doesn't mean this personally, or leave him and seek out a man who is on the same page as me in regards to this sensitive topic?

Patricia Marie says.....

You are making decisions on assumptions, and by doing so not only are you putting intense pressure on yourself, but are then unable to fully enjoy your relationship. If you were to get pregnant, the fear of your partner wanting you to have an abortion and abandoning you is so overwhelming you are almost wanting to risk ending it for something that may never happen. I'm wondering if these insecurities are connected to deeply buried feelings, igniting past fears of loss and separation.

Even if you were to meet someone who initially gave you assurances, the reality is people and situations change and we can leave ourselves open to disappointment if things can't always be as we had initially hoped. You are wanting guarantees, something life cannot give us - no matter what the circumstances. Not sure the men you say you fall in love with aren't able to connect emotionally to a pregnancy, but suspect it's more likely they are neither ready nor wanting to be fathers just yet.

I believe you could benefit from some counselling which would help explore your fears and anxiety, enabling you to deal with things in a more positive way, so you can enjoy your relationship in the here and now and be in a better place to deal with whatever the future brings.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a therapist in your area www.bacp.co.uk

I dislike my daughter's boyfriend

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 23 October 2014
Dear Patricia Marie

I was so thrilled to see that The Lady now has an agony aunt as I have been deeply concerned lately about my daughter and would welcome some help.

Jenny (my daughter) who is 19, and lives at home with me, has a boyfriend who seems intent on controlling her life.  He tells her he loves her but from my point of view he seems to be very dominant over her.  If she gets ready to go out and he doesn't like her outfit, he will tell her and she will immediately go and change.  If she suggests that she would like to go out with her friends, he will say he wants to accompany her, and that it is strange if she doesn't want that.  If she doesn't text and ring him constantly, and be always available to receive his phone calls, then he accuses her of seeing someone else.

They have now been dating for six months, but he has mentioned getting engaged and I feel this would be disastrous.  What can I do to make her see what he is doing? I really dislike him to the point I just want him to find another girlfriend and leave my daughter alone.

Patricia Marie says...

You're a mother and of course you worry about your daughter. She may be 19, but is still your little girl and your need to protect her from an abusive boyfriend is perfectly understandable. However, if she's not complaining about him and prepared to put up with his behaviour, then you have to accept she is a grown woman with her own mind and capable of making her own decisions.

By telling your daughter what to do would merely be mirroring her boyfriend's controlling behaviour, and the last thing you want is to cause friction between you and your daughter by expressing your dislike of her boyfriend. She will not only resent you for interfering, but worse, she could even consider leaving home. At least whilst shes living with you, you're able to keep an eye on her, and be there for her when she needs you.

Concentrate on bonding with your daughter - spend some quality time together. Offering a loving, compassionate, concerned and non-judgemental presence will create trust. And if she does open up to you, be prepared to advise. Remind her that domestic violence often starts as mental abuse, with the abuser controlling their partner, including choosing what they wear and dictating their friendships.

Standing back and watching our children make mistakes is the hardest thing for any parent.  Nevertheless, you can still be her hero, but let her be her own hero too, by allowing her to solve her own problems, and learn from any bad decisions.

For your continued support I recommend reading:  BUT I LOVE HIM: Protecting your daughter from controlling, abusive relationships by Jill Murray. Finally, the National Domestic Violence Helpline offer a free 24 hour helpline: 0808 2000 247. It may be wise to make this number available to your daughter.


Have a dilemma? Please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

How do I get my wife back?

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 11 September 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

I am writing as I need some advice on a terrible decision I think I have made. I am a 45 year old man, I had a lovely life, an excellent job, comfortable home and three adorable children along with a doting wife. I met a younger lady and after some time I left everything for her. Six months on, the excitement of being with somebody new has worn off and the grass is definitely not greener on the other side. I have just ended the relationship with my new girlfriend and would do anything to have my old life back, but am so ashamed and embarrassed of what I have put my family through. My wife refuses to answer my calls, and ignores my texts. Her mother drops the children to me when they come to stay, so I don't even get to see her. My sister-in-law contacted me recently to tell me my wife still loves me, but at the same time despises me for what I have done to her and our children.

With your professional guidance I am hoping that I can fix this and my family. Any advice would be highly appreciated.

Patricia Marie says...

The decision to leave your wife and children for another woman would almost certainly have had a huge effect on your family, and you cannot expect everything to fall back into place just because things haven't worked out for you. Wanting your wife to conform to your wishes so soon after the hurt you have caused her would be unreasonable.

The commendable thing is that you have not only seen your errors, but have understood the consequences of your actions. However, you are going to have to do a lot of hard work to convince your wife. I would suggest you initially write her a letter of which she would be able to digest in her own time. Explain that you do not want to put any pressure on her at all, but would love to meet up to tell her in person how very sorry you are for the hurt you have caused.  You've learned a hard lesson, and hopefully you can give some consolation to your wife by accepting and owning your share of the blame, and most importantly, whatever the outcome, be able to continue a positive relationship with your children.

A huge concern and something you need to ask yourself is: why did you feel the need to walk away in the first place?  Clearly something wasn't right between you and your wife and this needs to be addressed before any thoughts of a reconciliation, otherwise, you could end up in the same situation as before. Perhaps before any life-changing decisions are made, you could both benefit from attending Relate (relate.org.uk) as having professional help would enable you to explore any issues that contributed to the breakdown of your relationship. And do remember, sometimes we search long and hard for something that we fail to realise we already have.


Have a dilemma? Please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

My husband is insensitive

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 28 August 2014
Dear Patricia Marie

My husband spent his early 20s working away in the states doing all kinds of jobs, and he still describes that period as the best days of his life. I find that so insulting since he's now married to me and we have two lovely children. Recently we were at a party when he started bragging about his US years and I just lost it. How do I make him understand how insensitive he's being. He also tells our friends at any given opportunity that he has always popular with the women and hasn't lost his charm. How dare he make such comments. I do love him, but am beginning to think he's not the man I married which is causing me to resent him. I do not think he deserves me or our beautiful children. My friends think he is a joke which is very embarrassing for me. Please can you offer me some advice.

Patricia Marie says...

A relationship shouldn't be a battle to see who has had the best experiences, and it can be difficult to live with someone who gives the impression they have seen and done it all.  Sometimes for whatever reason when things aren't going right, people look back on the past with rose tinted-spectacles.  The need for your husband to convince you that others think so highly of him, is a sign of insecurity, and by shifting it and projecting it to you, he is reassuring himself. He is covering up his lack of confidence by displaying unacceptable behaviour, typical of the sort of person who values themselves so little they're always afraid there not loved. The only way to work through such anxiety is to work on self-esteem. Counselling will help, but first, he needs to admit he has a problem which may not be easy.

You need to have a proper chat, make it clear that you're not a jealous person but his trips down memory lane are wearing you down. How would he like it if you were constantly reminiscing about the fun times you shared with your friends? Discuss what you can both do to enhance your relationship. Whilst working hard to bring up a young family you can sometimes lose sight of each others needs as a couple. Make some special time for each other, so you can both feel loved and appreciated. Hopefully your husband will begin to see he cannot continue to act in this way, as he could risk losing the life he has now. Memories are precious but the past cannot be allowed to intrude on the present.

Have a dilemma? Please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.


In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

I'm afraid of being hurt

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 12 June 2014
Dear Patricia Marie

I am nervous about committing to any woman or even letting them get close to me. I have pushed away lots of women who have truly adored me. I don't want to end up a lonely old man.

I am 46, physically fit, kind and loving and have a good job and fantastic family and friends. At university my girlfriend suddenly announced she was pregnant and left me. Later a friend told me that she had never been pregnant. Two years later I fell head over heels in love with another girl. We went on holiday and her ex-boyfriend turned up. I woke up one morning to hear them having sex in our apartment. In 1994, I was working in Gambia and in love with an intelligent, beautiful woman, but we had to go our separate ways and she met someone else.

I adore women and have no problem attracting them. I have had some wonderful relationships but as soon as we get close I bring down the shutters and behave appallingly until the relationship breaks down.

I have started dating an incredibly attractive woman. I have tried to explain my behaviour patterns to her but she doesn't seem to understand or want to be patient with me. I don't want to break her heart, but I'm afraid of being hurt. 

Patricia Marie says...

Few things are as painful as wanting a loving partner, yet not being able to find one. Then once we do meet who we were looking for, we sometimes begin to question the relationship, which is what you are doing.

It is understandable that you are fearful of falling in love again after your experiences.  When we fall in love we can never be sure that person won't hurt us, because the very act of loving someone makes us vulnerable. The alternative though, as you describe it, could be a very lonely one. Although I am not suggesting that you commit to the first woman who shows you an interest.

I do question if the woman you are with at this moment has the understanding and empathy you need.

Take a moment to look at what you've accomplished so far, and all of the things you hold dear. They are a result of your commitments, intentions and actions. You made them happen, and you have the same power and ability to create the loving relationship you want. We all have inner barriers that sometimes prevent us from using this power. They are erected during our childhood, and we build even more with every unsuccessful relationship, and can only see evidence of them when we keep having the same unhealthy relationships over and over again.

When you next meet someone lovely, explain about your past and your fear of commitment and how you would like to change. If the woman really loves you and is right for you, she will understand and try to help you through this, and then you will then be able to build a strong relationship together.



Have a dilemma? Please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.


In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

It's the dog or him

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 21 February 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

After the heartbreak of many failed attempts at IVF, my husband and I are having to come to terms with being unable to have children. However, in December we made a decision to get a dog and have fallen in love with him. George, our Bichon Frise, has enhanced our lives in a way I had never thought possible. The problem is, I never want to leave him, he is my life, I adore him and cannot trust anyone to look after, him which is causing problems between me and my husband. I do not want to socialise anymore, prefering to be with George. We had previously booked a holiday for July this year, I have told my husband to cancel it. He is furious and has now said its him or the dog. What do I do?

Patricia Marie says...

It is vital you and your husband establish some boundaries and limitations. Yes, do enjoy your dog, he is helping to fill a void in your life, however, he is not leader of the pack. You and your husband have a relationship to safeguard and nurture, which you cannot allow your dog to dominate. You have both come through a painful time together, and it would be unfair to let your dog come between the bond you clearly share with your husband, and would like you to consider his point of view.

Your dog has become a substitute child, and you are not allowing him to be what he is, a delightful pet, and for all your sakes needs to be treated like one, so you and your husband can get to enjoy him without further resentment. You both deserve the forthcoming holiday, and there are many reliable dog sitters about, who you could share your anxieties with, and perhaps come up with a plan to make the separation easier to cope with.

The emotional pain of failed IVF treatment can cause much anxiety, and feel you could benefit from some counselling, which would help you come to terms with the fear of loss and separation. The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a qualified registered therapist in your area. www.bacp.co.uk

Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

Constant criticism

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 07 February 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

My partner says he loves me, but he never stops criticising me. Whether it's my opinion on matters to do with our family, or even the political party I support, he thinks I'm always wrong.

Just recently he told me my plans on improving my status at work were not worth considering and not to bother trying to progress further. Only yesterday he called me an idiot and said I talk rubbish. He is making me feel worthless and I am at the point where I could walk away from this increasingly difficult relationship. I would be grateful for some help.

Patricia Marie says...

Your partner's intolerance suggests to me that he's a very insecure person. Having your own ideas and opinions angers him, because this represents a challenge and a threat. Your wanting to progress at work is showing that your not dependent on him to succeed in your own right, which is taking the control away from him.

Many couples have different points of view, but respect each others right to do so. This man is making you feel worthless because you are allowing him to. His offensive behaviour towards you is disrespectful, and the name calling abusive, yet, you say he loves you.

I'd like you to consider what your perception of love is, and to ask yourself, do you deserve to be treated in this way. When two people choose to share their lives together, there must be an understanding of accepting behaviour. You say you are at the point of walking away, have you made your partner aware of how his behaviour is jeopardising your relationship.

If you feel this relationship is worth saving, and only you will know this, my suggestion is for you to both attend Relate (relate.org.uk) and have some sessions with a counsellor, or I fear this abusive relationship could become increasingly worse.


Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows



I think Christmas is going to break us up

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 13 December 2013
Dear Patricia Marie,

I have been with my partner for 6 years and Christmas is a major problem in our relationship. Over the years it has got increasingly worse as he will not be flexible on Christmas arrangements.

He is totally dominated by his family and submits to pressure of spending all the time with them. I am included but this is not my point surely a relationship should be a split decision? And even when I try and talk about the issue, he flies off the handle and we don't get anywhere.

I know this seems ridiculous but I think it's going to break us up. I love him and want us to be together but I just don't know what else to do.

Patricia Marie says...

I am not sure Christmas is the main reason you are at breaking point, rather it's highlighting the negative areas within your relationship thats contributing to the way your feeling.

Firstly, if your boyfriend is unwilling to compromise, you need to be focusing on your wishes for the festive season. If you're wanting to be with your boyfriend that's fine, but does it have to be completely on his terms? Perhaps if you were able to take some control, you may then begin to feel your Christmas is not being dominated by him.

It would be interesting to find out why he is so accepting of his parents demands? Is he using them as an excuse to do as he pleases? Your partner's dismissal of how you are feeling, and the childish behaviour he displays when he doesn't get his own way will only continue if you allow it to, and more importantly, if this problem is not addressed, it could become destructive within your relationship in the future.

If you are unable to talk to your boyfriend without him behaving irrationally, write him a letter, this way he can digest things and think before he responds. If you believe this relationship is worth saving, you need to work at it together, not alone.



Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.




In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

His children are against us

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 01 November 2013
Dear Patricia Marie,

I am so delighted to have discovered that The Lady offer an agony aunt to help their followers. Could you please give me some help?

Recently I have been dating a man who is widowed with two children aged 31 and 35. We are getting on really well and are planning to travel the world together but his children are so against our relationship they have asked my friend to choose between me or them.

I am so distraught - I have a chance of personal happiness and I am fearful that it is all going to be destroyed by his selfish unthinking children.

Do you think I should just walk away and make life easier for him or should I pursue my chance of happiness and just consider my future?

Patricia Marie says...

You say you have only just met a widower, yet feel your chance of happiness is dependant on you travelling the world with him? You would be left distraught if this wasn't to happen?

There seems much pressure and expectancy not only on yourself, but on this gentleman to be responsible for your happiness.

You describe his children as selfish and unthinking. After the loss of their mother, their father is clearly very dear to them and yet in a short space of time you wanting to embark on a world trip with him must only intensify their loss and grief.

I'm wondering if you could consider things from their perspective. A meeting with these children, where you can all speak openly and discuss everyone's feelings may help.

Don't expect them to embrace you immediately, but if you are able to come to an understanding, this will be a good starting point for you all. I urge you to consider where your fear of his children destroying your happiness is coming from and would recommend embarking on some counselling sessions to explore this issue at a greater depth and enable you to hopefully find the happiness you are searching for and so deserve.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a qualified registered therapist in your area. www.bacp.co.uk



Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.



In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

Email: patriciamarie@tenharleystreet.co.uk
Telephone number: 020 7467 8389


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