Are you in need of advice? Do you, perhaps, have something that’s bothering you which you can’t share with your friends and family? Write to email@example.com and she will answer in her no-nonsense style, just like one of your own aunties. Feel free to write in with a pseudonym if you’d like to remain anonymous.
Dear Aunty Pat,
Please tell me what to do…..I am married for 3 years, to a kind and loving man, but we have no children, because my husband keeps putting it off. He is only interested in cars. He goes in for every new model that comes into the market, and is only interested in keeping it shiny and clean, and won’t use it if he has to go off the beaten track, when he hires a cab. I have been very patient, and thought it was a passing craze, but now am at the end of my tether. Should I leave him, before it is too late, I love to have my own child, even a single one. I am now 35 years old and I love him too. What options do I have? I hope he reads this!
I don’t think you should waste time and energy speculating if your husband will read this. You say you love him but then obviously your relationship is not at the level where you can confide anything and everything to him. How can I tell you if you are to leave him, since that is solely your decision. I think you should tell him what you feel, and say you are so despondent that you are wondering whether to end your relationship. Tell him that he has his cars to lavish attention on, and you want at least one child. I don’t think he will be so selfish as to deny you this. Remind him that your biological clock is ticking and you won’t have even the option of having a baby. So you will have to bring matters to a head and then take it from there. I really can’t imagine anyone not wanting to have a child of their own.
Dear Aunty Pat,
Help! For years my best friend’s daughter (let’s call her Mary) has been very engaged in a battle of one-up-manship with my daughter Anne. For eg, when Anne started German classes, Mary was enrolled in the same language school a few weeks later, bringing papaws and mangoes for the teacher and acting all smarmy around him! Anne goes for swimming, Mary turns up; Anne started jazz dancing, guess who appears the next term? And now to add insult to injury Mary is sniffing around a boy that Anne is keen on. My daughter is very naive and no match for the seductions of this teenage siren. I don’t want to be an over-protective mother and I know I should let my little girl grow up and develop the resilience so important in later years, but there are times when I want to slap that Mary! I don’t want to lose a much-loved friend just because her daughter is a sexy smart-ass. Aiyo, what am I to do?
Dear Frustrated Mum,
I know exactly what you feel, because my own daughter went through a similar thing, and was of course really naïve and totally unaware of the true intentions of this friend of hers, which was basically to do better at everything she did. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I know how irritating this can appear to a fond mum. Well, she can try her hand at everything your daughter does, but if your daughter is better at that particular activity, nothing can stop that. So however much she tries, she won’t succeed unless she’s better at it. I think you should drop a few gentle hints to your daughter that all is not as it should be, and explain why. She will definitely get annoyed and irritated, but it will plant the seeds of doubt in her mind. Then if you can show her that certain things aren’t really coincidences, the penny will drop and she will realize what’s actually going on. I know we should allow our kids to learn from their mistakes, but if this girl is pretending to be a close friend but actually has ulterior motives, it is better that it is exposed. People like this will not remain friends for life and your daughter will eventually learn the hard way if she refuses to listen to your cautions. Or else she might take matters into her own hands and fight back. Your friend needn’t get involved and even if she asks you anything you can pretend that you know nothing.
Dear Aunty Pat,
I’m a widow with one son. He is 36-years-old, is handsome, educated and a non-smoker. He’s got a responsible job as a financial controller in a big organisation, earns a good income and is always surrounded by friends — both male and female. He has impeccable dress sense, is a good dancer and because he plays the guitar and sings as well, is generally the life and soul of the party. But he’s never had a serious girl-friend, and has been best man at several weddings. I’ve asked him several times about his plans to settle down and he brushes me off saying he’s got a whole lot more living to do and is not ready to tie himself down to one partner yet.
I have a few health issues and want to see my son settled before I kick the bucket. Lately, I’ve been having serious misgivings about his sexuality. Why hasn’t he been snapped up by one of the many beautiful young ladies who are always going out with him for dances and parties? How do I broach the topic?
I suppose when you consider your son’s age, yes, probably he should be married by now. But each individual is different, and I’ve noticed nowadays the younger generation is certainly not in a hurry to rush into a permanent relationship. They are independent and self sufficient and enjoy their freedom. You can’t find fault with them because everywhere you look now you can see failed marriages and divorces. So in that sense, I suppose it is better to be sure than be sorry later. You could jokingly ask him if he’s not interested in girls but guys and then if he wants to tell you anything if such a thing exists, he will. But he sounds like he wants to be free for a while before entering into anything permanent. If there are so many ladies around him and willing to go out with him, I don’t think he’s into males or you would have noticed some signs by now. So stop thinking of kicking the bucket and enjoy having him around and all to yourself as long as it lasts!
Dear Aunty Pat,
I confided in a good friend about a problem I was having with a family member and found out later that she has gone and spoken to my family member about it. I think I should forget about her as a friend. What is your advice?
Friend or Foe
I can understand your anger because you trusted this person and didn’t expect this kind of reaction from her. Yes, I don’t think she is a true friend of yours. It is even worse because it is about a member of your own family. It sounds like she has a grudge against you and is taking it out by being spiteful behind your back, and turning even your family against you. You will never be able to trust her again, however much she may apologize and promise never to do something like this again. But the seeds of doubt will be in your mind and you won’t believe her. Things won’t be the same and I think you should keep her at arm’s length. Be polite but distant and she should get the message.