Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk

I want children but my partner doesn't

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 15 January 2015
Hello Patricia Marie,

I am very happy in my relationship with my partner, but we have a problem. When we met we both agreed we never wanted children, and that was fine, but I have changed my mind and desperately do want a child. My partner is adamant that he does not, and is understandably unsettled by my change of heart.

What can I do?

Patricia Marie says.....

The problem is you have changed your mind but your partner hasn't. You need to tell your partner how much you want children. Don't try to pressure him, but gently ask why he doesn't want them. He may bring up some interesting points that you may not have considered and could understand better after hearing what he has to say. If he remains adamant that he does not want children, then you have a decision to make.

What has made you change your mind, can you ask yourself what is it about motherhood that appeals to you, and are there ways that you can accomplish that without having children of your own? For instance, do you have nieces and nephews you could enjoy spending time with? For many childless couples they can fill an empty void, bringing the greatest pleasure to their aunts and uncles.

Nevertheless, if you give up your desire for children you could end up resenting your partner and regretting that decision deeply. Also, most importantly, do you value having babies more than you value your future with your partner? If the answer is yes, sadly, you have to ask yourself, would it be better to end the relationship, and in time find someone you love who does want children. Before making a life-changing decision, you may both benefit from contacting Relate, www.relate.org.uk for some counselling.
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Overreacting or not?

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 09 January 2015
Dear Patricia Marie, 

My boyfriend and I have been together two years and we plan to marry next summer. The problem is he swears at me all the time. When his angry, it's almost every other word. I've told him many of times that it bothers me and sometimes he will apologise and promises to change, but then he goes back to his old ways, starts shouting and tells me I'm a prude to object. I don't know if the swearing is then going to turn into violence. Am I overreacting?

Patricia Marie says.......

The man your planning to marry has so little respect for you, arguing and belittling you when you ask him to stop swearing. His refusal to listen and the anger he displays is a cause for concern. This isn't the act of a loving man ready for marriage.

Your partner is verbally abusing you as well as dismissing your feelings, and if you allow this behaviour to continue you will begin to see yourself and your needs as unimportant, of little consequence and irrelevant. Verbal abusers use bad language to gain control, and whats scary, as in the many cases of domestic violence, verbal abuse tends to increase over time, as both abuser and victim adapt to it, often leading to the abuser resorting to physical violence to maintain their control.

 Whist I admire you for acknowledging this is a serious problem, it is now time to put a firm stop to this abuse, before the situation worsens. Your boyfriend's G.P could refer him for anger management classes, although be prepared for his refusal to attend, as nearly all abusers are often in denial and blame others for their behaviour. In addition, ask him to go with you to relate (relate.org.uk) to have a few sessions with a counsellor in preparation for a happy marriage.
If he is unwilling to deal with this problem, think again before marrying him.

To help you to recognise, gain a better understanding and respond safely and appropriately to abusers, I recommend: ' The Verbally Abusive Relationship' by Patricia Evans.

The free phone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline is: 0808 2000 247
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A letter from Patricia Marie

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 19 December 2014
Dear readers,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for sending me your problems and dilemmas over the past year.
I take time to read each and every one of them and feel privileged that you have trusted me with your most intimate concerns.

Over the past few weeks I have received numerous emails relating to Christmas, highlighting that this time of year for various reasons can be a very stressful time.

Many of us are extremely busy, and once all the shopping for gifts and food has been completed, the cards written, the house decorated, and presents wrapped, we can all be left feeling completely exhausted. Sometimes our happy ever after image of the perfect family scene does not work out as we had originally planned. Maybe its the heightened expectation or indeed, the stress of it all.

This time of year extended family get-togethers can sometimes prove rather challenging. If you sense tension rising - suggest a good walk which can often diffuse the most awkward situation.

Whilst Christmas inevitably is about compromise, finding time to visit numerous friends and relatives, having to entertain at home - it is also a time when many are having to face loneliness. If you know of anyone who will be spending Christmas alone, ask yourself is there anything you could do to improve their situation. Would it be possible for you to invite them to join you for lunch, or if they would prefer to be in their own home, could you offer to take a meal to them, and perhaps include a small gift - you would be bringing the spirit of Christmas to someone who would have otherwise felt isolated at this significant time.

Relaxation is most important for our wellbeing, more so at this time of year. Allow yourself some peaceful time, get to enjoy a nice walk, read a good book or your favourite magazine - indeed anything that would offer you some precious time away from the hustle and bustle the festive season brings.

And finally, I hope Christmas magic finds each and every one of you, and shall look forward to being here for you next year throughout 2015 whenever you may need me.

Very best wishes,
Patricia Marie.

THE SILVER LINE helpline (0800 4708090), set up last year by Esther Rantzen, offers help, comfort and support for all those facing loneliness, not only during the festive season, but 24 hours a day.


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 hate Christmas

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 11 December 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,
 
I always hate this time of year – Christmas.  My closest friend died in a car accident on Christmas Day five years ago, and every year I am reminded of her and how much I miss her.  She was such a vibrant, happy person and she used to love Christmas. 

I visit her grave every year, put flowers there, and talk to her, and this year I have explained to my boyfriend of nine months that I don’t ‘do’ Christmas, and why.  He seems a bit irritated by this, but has said he will visit the grave with me.  He wanted me to spend the day with his family and children, but I can’t do that.  I have to honour my friend’s memory.
 
Nobody seems to understand.  How can I make them see that I feel it is wrong for me to celebrate this day?

Patricia Marie says...

This time of year brings much sadness to those remembering their loved ones, and the pain is often heightened when others are wanting to celebrate the festivities.

If you can plan Christmas to include remembering your best friend, the day may not seem quite so daunting. Take some comfort from lighting a candle in memory of her - have a photo nearby and tell others of the special times you shared. They will want to be included in your thoughts, rather than feel isolated.

Sometimes we can feel no one understands because we don't open up - so do talk to your family and friends, they care about you and will be conscious of your loss. I suspect your boyfriend is not so much irritated but frustrated by your refusal to enjoy the nice times that you so deserve.

Be grateful for the time you had with your friend and focus on this rather than there absence in your future. Have you considered that she wouldn't be wanting you to be feeling so miserable, or not making the most of the life she can't have. So with this in mind, perhaps you could you try to compromise and enjoy the loved ones that are here with you today.

If at anytime you do feel tearful, that's fine too. Don't be so hard on yourself, look to the future and believe things will get easier.

Over Christmas time professional help and support is just a phone call away. Cruse is an excellent organisation offering bereavement counselling which I feel you could benefit from: www.cruse.org.uk (0844 477 9400) You may also find the below poem resonates with you.

SHE IS GONE

You can shed tears because she has gone,
Or you can smile because she lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
Or you can be full of the love you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she is gone,
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
Or you could do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

By David Harkins



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 miss my daughter's ex boyfriend

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 04 December 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

 My daughter has recently split from her boyfriend, we were the family he never had and I miss him terribly. For the past five years he has spent Christmas with us, however this year my daughter has invited her new boyfriend who not any of us are keen on and insists I am not to invite her ex, who is still in love with her. I am so upset as I know he will have nowhere to go, won't receive any  presents and feel disowned by us. Plus the new boyfriend has a huge family and isn't even keen on coming to ours. I am now beginning to dread Christmas. Would very much appreciate your advice.

Patricia Marie says...

I am wondering if you could try to see things from your daughter's perspective. For whatever reason, she split from her ex-boyfriend because things didn't work out.  Would you rather she be unhappy in a relationship because it suits you for her to be with someone you approve of?

When it comes to the loves and losses of our children, wisdom demands unfashionable restraint. Sometimes, when your child splits from a long-standing lover, the ex can see you as someone who can plead their case - but your loyalty must always be with your offspring. Your  daughter has to make her own choices, and even if we don't always agree, however difficult, it is our role as parents to support our children's decisions rather than risk jeopardising the relationship.

I predict even if you invited her ex, he would decline, as to be in the presence of your home could ignite painful feelings for him, which you may not have considered. You are not responsible for him, and maintaining an attachment could be delaying him from finding his own future happiness.

For now,  perhaps you could meet up before or after Christmas on neutral territory with a small gift, this way you won't feel your completely disowning him, but gently distancing yourself.

I have a feeling the other family members are mirroring your feelings and believe once you let go of the past, you will embrace the future and look forward to new beginnings. You may allow yourself to get to know your daughter's new boyfriend, and whats more, even get to like him.



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


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