My partner says he doesn't want another child
Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships. This week, advice on having another baby, the trouble with fantasies, and coping with shoplifting
WE HAD our first child three years ago and now I'd like another but my partner says no. He only ever wanted one child but I thought he'd change his mind. We have argued and argued about this and it's driving a wedge between us.
I love him but I resent his attitude and wonder if I should just get pregnant anyway, presenting him with a situation that he can do nothing about.
FIONA SAYS: You always knew that
Getting pregnant without telling your partner could cause you more problems and might drive him away for good. You know he only wanted one child but counted on being able to change his mind. You haven't though, and as this isn't something you can compromise on you may have to either accept the situation, or change the partner.
You say you love him but resent his attitude – how much do you think he would resent you if you did something as deceitful as getting pregnant without warning him? You need to talk to one another, without criticism on confrontation, and see if he is ever likely to change his mind.
For many people, one child is simply enough so for the sake of the child you've got perhaps you should put some effort into repairing your relationship. You might both need counselling support in order to cope with each others attitudes, in which case, contact relate.org.uk for further help.
HE FANCIES A THREESOME WITH MY SISTER
I thought our sex life was good but we did a sex survey that asked about fantasies and my husband confessed he'd fantasised about a threesome. I thought it was a joke and asked if he had anyone else in mind and he said he'd always fancied my sister.
I was so shocked and upset even when he said it wasn't something he wanted to do, just something he fantasised about. I wish now that we'd never done the stupid survey and that he'd never told me how he feels because now, whenever I see my sister, I find myself worrying about it.
FIONA SAYS: It's only fantasy, not reality
The problem with verbalising fantasies is that once they're out in the open they take on a reality that can offend or introduce doubts in a relationship. Even if your husband was only joking, though, he's been a bit insensitive in naming your sister. How would he react if you said you wanted his brother to share your bed...?
Unfortunately you can't put this genie back in the bottle so you are both going to have to find some way to come to terms with it. He needs to show you he loves you and he needs to help you rebuild your confidence. He's told you it's nothing more than a fantasy and that it's nothing he'd ever act on, so please try to accept his word and put this whole unfortunate episode out of your mind. One final thought – don't let it spoil your relationship with your sister – it's not her fault.
WHY DID I SHOPLIFT?
I am so upset and embarrassed by my behaviour and don't know where to turn. With plenty of money in my purse I tried to steal some things from a local shop where I've been going for ages. I was stopped outside the store and escorted back in and, after several interviews, the manager told me he was not going to press charges and let me go home.
He was kind but said he would prefer me not to shop there again. Since then I've lived in fear of someone finding out. I know I have been stupid, but I'm also terrified that it may happen again.
FIONA SAYS: It's not about stealing, it's about something else
Please don't wait until the compulsion to do this strikes again; contact your doctor right away. The majority of women who shoplift don't do so from need but from an underlying problem like stress, depression, or even an eating disorder. I'm sure the store manager realised this, which was why you weren't punished. But unless you do something about it right away the urge may well strike again.
As charges weren't pressed it is extremely unlikely that anyone else is ever likely to hear about it. Please put that idea out of your mind and concentrate, instead, on ensuring it doesn't happen again. Tell your GP what happened and ask for a referral to a specialist. Many well-known people have suffered from this and they all talk of the shame and embarrassment they feel, so your doctor won't judge you.
In the meantime, try to avoid shopping on your own, don't take bags to the store with you – use their new bags instead – and always stick to a shopping list.
HOW CAN WE CELEBRATE OUR MARRIAGE?
My husband and I have our 30th wedding anniversary coming up and we'd like to have some kind of ceremony to acknowledge this. Neither of us is religious, but we can't think of any other way to do something official. What are some other options?
FIONA SAYS: By something that's personal to you
I think you'll find that most local authorities' registration services can offer something for you. There is usually an option on the 'Registration Services' page of the local authority website covering celebratory ceremonies and services. The idea has been developed to celebrate all kinds of special events or express or reaffirm a commitment of some kind. An event can be held in a special place with a celebrant present and with family and friends in attendance.
Of course all this costs but, if you wanted, you could organise something for yourself, in your own house or garden with as many or as few people present as you like. You can make up your own vows, say the words that mean something special to you or exchange some kind of symbol. Congratulations! I hope you find a special way of celebrating your marriage.
:: If you have a problem you can email me, Fiona Caine, at firstname.lastname@example.org.