Ask Fiona: I don't think I'm ready to say 'I do' at the moment
Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships. This week: marriage, mortgage worries and first aid
MY fiance and I are planning to marry later this year.
We've been together for three years now and the thing is that, although I love him and wouldn't want to be with anyone else, I don't think I'm ready for a wedding.
It's the responsibility that terrifies me as I've always lived with my parents and have never had to juggle money and pay all the bills.
I know my fiance will expect me to deal with things as I'm an accounts clerk, but I'm worried sick I'll get us into debt.
Do you think he would understand if I delayed the wedding?
I'm afraid he'd be very hurt.
FIONA SAYS: I don't think fears about money are a good reason to delay a wedding, but if you think your fiance is financially irresponsible, or you can't talk to him about your concerns then yes, do think twice.
That said, you've not indicated this is a problem and as any good marriage is a partnership, you should be able to share your fears with him.
He shouldn't "expect" you to deal with finances just because your job is about finance; he needs to shoulder some of the responsibility as well.
Talk to him and explain you're not confident about handling the finances by yourself.
Sooner or later you're going to want to leave your parents and set up home on your own, so you're going to have to face this issue at some point.
It's common to have last-minute doubts before getting married, but fears about financial responsibility shouldn't be a reason for calling things off.
I CAN'T SHOULDER THE
MORTAGE ON MY OWN
THIS has been a really tough year so far. We moved into our new home in April but then, two weeks later, we heard my husband had lost his job.
I am still working and am bringing in enough to just about keep us afloat, but it won't be enough to keep up with the mortgage payments.
All our savings went on the deposit, so we have nothing in reserve and I'm so afraid we are going to lose – not just our new home – but everything we have worked for.
FIONA SAYS: You need to speak to your mortgage provider at the earliest opportunity and explain what has happened.
Please don't wait until you are seriously in debt as, while building societies and banks can force the sale of your home in order to repossess their money, they generally only do so as a last resort.
They would probably much prefer to find a way of helping you keep your home, as forced repossession costs them a lot of money.
You may be able to negotiate a payment holiday (where no payments are made for a period) or perhaps you could pay interest only for a while.
Although that will, of course, potentially extend the term of your mortgage, you may find a way, down the line, of paying back additional sums and so reduce the term again.
Until your husband finds another job, money will, no doubt, be tight, so contact everyone else you owe – or will potentially owe – money to.
By that I mean suppliers of gas, electricity, water, telephone, credit cards and any other loans you may have.
National Debtline (www.nationaldebtline.org) or the StepChange Debt Charity (www.stepchange.org) can help you with financial planning and debt management.
Handled properly, I believe you've a long way to go yet before you risk losing your home, so try not to let this situation get you down too much.
Hopefully your husband will find another job before too long and things will become easier for you.
FIRST AIDER WORRIES
No one in the company I work for seems to have a clue about what to do if anyone has an accident and I can't seem to find out who is responsible for first aid.
There don't seem to be any procedures in place for getting out of the building in the event of a fire and, from the look of the fire extinguisher, the last time it was checked was four years ago.
I have only been here a few weeks and am still finding my feet so I don't feel confident about making waves, but I am worried.
How should I approach this?
FIONA SAYS: You may have only been with the company a few weeks, but I think you're right to be concerned.
Get together as much information as you can, especially on things like first aid courses and fire safety checks and ask to speak to your manager.
The Red Cross and St John Ambulance run first aid courses (www.redcrossfirstaidtraining.co.uk and www.sja.org.uk) and your local fire brigade can help with fire safety.
Explain to your manager that you're not trying to make a fuss, but that you are concerned both for your colleagues and yourself.
Your company could face legal proceedings if anyone found out they have failed to tackle health and safety properly and I'm sure they wouldn't want that.
Finally, be prepared to lead by example and, if you feel strongly enough about this issue, suggest to your employer that you would be willing to be sent on a first aid course.
HOW DO I MAKE A MOVE ON AN OLDER GUY?
I'VE recently been seeing quite a lot of a guy who's been a friend of my older brother's for years.
He's quite a bit older than me (27 to my 19), but I have become very fond of him.
We've not been out on dates, but I've been to events with him and to the cinema several times – sometimes with my brother, sometimes with other mates.
I know he sees a girl quite regularly, but I get the impression this isn't serious.
We seem to be stuck at "friends" and I'd like things between us to be more than that.
How can I get him to see that he's important to me and I'm not just a little girl who hangs around with her brother's friends?
He is a very shy person and I don't want to push him away.
FIONA SAYS: I think you are right to be hesitant in this situation – as you say, you don't want to push away someone who is clearly a good friend.
The age gap between you is really not that great, but it depends on how he sees you.
If you are just his friend's little sister, he's probably never considered a relationship with you.
You say he is seeing someone, but don't think it's serious, however, you can't discount the fact he may be quite happy in this relationship for now.
It may well be that he just sees you as a young friend and hasn't thought beyond that.
Given time, this friendship may develop into something more serious and indeed, relationships based on a strong friendship tend to have a greater success than those based on attraction alone.
You don't appear to have been given any indication that he's interested in you, so although it's frustrating, bide your time.
Make sure, though, that from time to time, he sees you looking and behaving as the young woman you now are and not just as the girl he's known for some time.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket though, make sure you got out on dates and have other relationships.
If this one is meant to be, it will develop in time, but, if it isn't, you still have a good friend you can rely on.