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Is my workmate after more than friendship? Birmingham Mail's agony aunt.

Byline: Ask Fiona

QAN OCCASIONAL lunchtime get-together with my work colleague has moved to an occasional drink after work.

It's never been more than that but he was fun to be with and for reasons I can't understand, I never told my husband.

He probably thought I was meeting up with colleagues, not thinking it was just one colleague.

The other evening, though, he told me he was having problems with his wife and this made me think that perhaps he wanted more from me.

I enjoy his company but I'm wondering if I should stop seeing him; I don't want to risk my marriage. BP

A What started off perfectly innocently has started to become a lie from your husband and that's why you need to stop it.

Not because he may want more from you - that, you can resist.

You've become caught in a trap; your friendship with this man has grown so that now it feels hard to get yourself out of the situation.

You've enjoyed his company, the hint of naughtiness about it has added to the fun.

Now it's time to face up to the situation you've got

Place your FREE ad now on 0800140 9022 or see the Dating Point ad in our classified section yourself into and call a halt to it.

Tell him (at a lunchtime meeting with others around) that you're happy to remain friends but that your husband and son mean too much to you to risk upsetting them.

He may say he doesn't understand, he may even be a little hurt but it's far more important that you don't hurt your husband or son.

Q WE HAVE a 14 year old only son whose most precious possession seems to be his PC.

He spends most of his time in his room, doing homework, studying, downloading this and that and chatting.

Apart from the odd supervisory visit or two, which he really detests and the daily half an hour together in his room in the company of French verbs and dispersed socks, we do not enter his room much.

I have started worrying he spends too much time on his own.

We do give him lifts and talk, have all meals together and see him off to school.

We also hear Sunday Mass together and go out together sometimes but otherwise he spends most of his time on his own. It is not the first time he made it clear he'd rather be on his own. Is this right? WA

A I think you're right to identify this as a problem.

Increasingly young people spend so much time on their computers that they can neglect their health, their families and their studies.

He may be keeping up with his studies and would probably say he is interacting with his friends through his computer but this isn't a substitute for talking to people face to face. And although you say you do have 'supervisory visits', do you really know who he's chatting to?

The fact that he seems to spend so much time alone with a machine would worry me, as a parent, too.

Research, though, seems to indicate this isn't as much of a problem as one might expect; the effect of excessive computer use on a normally confident, friendly and outgoing person is probably minimal.

Call me old-fashioned but I am not reassured by their findings and would want any child of mind to limit their computer activity.

The fact that he claims he prefers being on his own indicates that perhaps he's not as confident, friendly and outgoing as you might wish. You don't mention whether or not he takes part in any physical or sporting activity and perhaps finding something he could enjoy with other young people could help to break the pattern he has got into.

If he doesn't enjoy sport at school, consider introducing him to new activities; archery, golf, table-tennis - anything that perhaps he hasn't tried before.

Even if he doesn't make new friends he may get physically fitter.

Prising him out of his room may not be easy but I think it is well worth a try.

Send your questions to Ask Fiona, c/o Features Desk, Birmingham Mail, PO Box 78, Weaman St, Birmingham B4 6AY

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 22, 2008
Words:719
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