Life

Ask Fiona: Why am I having feelings for my husband's best friend

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships. This week, debt, domestic abuse and vasectomies

I'm having secret feelings for my boyfriend's best friend

I THINK I'm in love with my husband's best friend and I've felt this way for years.

Whenever I'm alone, I can't help but think about him, but when my husband is around, I don't think of him at all.

He and his wife don't have any children whilst my husband and I have two.

Sometimes I feel that if I had married this man instead of my husband, my life would be so different.

My husband is a good man, but he shows very little interest in me and is wrapped up in his work and his hobbies.

GS

Fiona says: Your life would indeed have been different, but that doesn't mean it would be any better.

You wouldn't have your children – indeed, you might not have had any children if his childlessness is the result of a medical problem.

You might have a husband who is more interested in other women than he is with his wife.

In other words, it's all fantasy and speculation, not a reality that you have to live with.

It sounds as though you and your husband have been drifting along for a number of years and have got into the habit of taking each other for granted.

Maybe that's why you fantasise about his friend.

Rather than continuing to drift, you and your husband need to find the love that brought you both together in the first place.

Start talking, tell him you want more and ask him to help you get back the relationship you used to have.

If you need help, contact www.relate.org.uk for support and counselling.

Are vasectomies reversible?

My boyfriend is widowed, his wife died of cancer three years ago.

Before she was diagnosed, he had a vasectomy as his wife had just had their third child.

We have been together for the past two years and are planning to get married.

I would love to have children and he says that he doesn't mind.

Is it possible to reverse a vasectomy that took place seven years ago?

DP

Fiona says: It is a much more complicated procedure than the original vasectomy and the results vary a great deal, but it is possible.

Generally, before a reversal is carried out, doctors will want to assess his and your backgrounds and fertility to be sure of the best outcome.

Your chances of getting this operation on the NHS are limited and there will almost certainly be a waiting list.

Talk to your doctor and discuss the options – if you're willing to pay, ask for a referral to an appropriate consultant or specialist clinic.

Do make sure your fertility is tested before he undergoes major surgery, just in case.

My sister is trapped in an abusive relationship

My brother-in-law has regularly beaten my sister throughout the seven years they've been married.

I've repeatedly tried to get her to leave him, but she's depressed and so lacking in confidence she doesn't dare.

Both our parents are dead and we have no really close relatives and I don't have enough space for her and her children.

If only I could find somewhere safe for her to go, I think I could persuade her to leave this creep.

How do I find out about getting her a safe place where people will understand her and help her?

HD

Fiona says: Women's Aid (www.womensaid.org.uk) will be able to offer your sister help, advice and counselling.

They will also be able to offer her a place to go, with her children, where she will be safe.

Please recognise that your sister is currently doing what she thinks is best for her and for her children, so be careful not to judge her.

If you do, you may make it harder for her to gain the confidence to leave him.

Your sister will need time and space to plan her escape safely – the riskiest time for domestic violence murders is when a woman has just left, or is trying to leave.

For some women it takes many attempts before they eventually leave, so do please continue to support your sister even if she doesn't do what you think she should.

Hopefully your sister will get the support she needs and be able to break away from this abuse, but be aware, it may take time and may try your patience.

Money worries are out of control

I'm badly in debt; up to the limit on my credit cards and I owe money to three hire purchase companies.

Now I can't even afford to pay my rent.

I'm too scared to talk to my bank manager who has written to me about my overdraft and, when my wages go in at the end of the month, I'll still be overdrawn.

I've just left home and am living in a flat share for the first time.

I know a lot of people in this situation get into difficulties but I've made a right mess of things and I'm really worried.

CM

Fiona says: It sounds as if you're just starting out being independent of your parents and, like many people in your position, you're struggling to adjust.

Rather than ignore the letters from your bank, you could find they're the people to help you, so pick up the phone.

National Debtline (www.nationaldebtline.org) can also help, call their free helpline on 0808 808 4000 and they will help you.

You'll need to a fixed budget each month to pay off the loans and credit cards, as well as a plan for working out your priorities and other regular expenditure.

Money management is something people really need to be taught at school – and thankfully it is now happening.

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