|Heart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.
Q: I don't want to work after marriage, but he's not settled and I can't just live on love. My parents also don't like him. I am confused about the prospect of this marriage. Mona, Lahore
A: You're not confused; you're sorted. You're clear you can't live on love, that he is incapable of being a good provider and its also clear that you don't wish to work after marriage. It's a dead end. So stop thinking, you already have your answer.
Q: I discovered by chance that my dad has been cheating on my mum and I don't know what to do. I am 18 years old and have a younger brother who is 15. My parents have been fighting lately, although they try to keep it from us, I can still feel the atmosphere when they have had a fight. I had no idea what had actually been going on until I went downstairs for my phone and picked my dad's phone by mistake. He had fallen asleep in his armchair and his phone lit up when I touched it. The message on it made it obvious that he has a girlfriend who he has been seeing in secret. I said nothing at the time but the more I think about it the more it worries me. I don't know whether I should confront him. Maybe he would just deny it or it would make him angry – or he would think I have been snooping. I don't think I can even talk to my brother about it but I can't just pretend it isn't happening. I am closely watching my dad all the time to see when he goes out, where he says he is going and what time he comes back. I am confused, please help me. Farhan Ahmed, Islamabad
A: This is a miserable situation for you and it's likely to cause you more problems if you tell tales on your dad. What you can do is talk to both your parents together and say their fighting is making you and your brother miserable, and interfering with your studies. They may have no idea how badly this is affecting you. If that seems hopeless, do you have an older relative you can confide in – grandparents, aunt or uncle? You might be able to ask them to have a word with your dad saying you are really worried about the tension between him and your mum.
Q: I'm a 16 year-old girl and I live with my parents and my sister. My dad suffered a huge heart attack five years ago which left him unable to work. He had been a workaholic, so depression set in and he became very abusive and nasty. He was a different person earlier though you could still see bits of his old self now and then. He suffered two more attacks last year and he now has a pacemaker. I feel so depressed about it that I sit and I cry my eyes out. I'm grieving over the death of the dad I had. He's still here but I don't know him anymore. He's just the shell of the man he was. I walk in the living room and it's his body and his voice but, when I look in his eyes, he's not there. I feel like I'm grieving and it hurts so much. I would talk to my mum and tell her what I am feeling, but this would upset her. What can I do? Azmina, Karachi
A: It is so stressful watching somebody you love fade before your eyes. Remembering your dad as he was and then getting on with looking after the person he has become can help you deal with this situation. Talk through your feelings with somebody impartial like a qualified counsellor. He or she will have no connection with you or your family so it will be easier to talk without worrying that you're distressing them. Doing something practical to help with his care will relieve your mum and perhaps then it will feel easier to talk together about the best way of looking after him. Suggest you go out with your dad for a walk regularly which could help him feel less depressed and it will give your mum a break. Cooking the family meal a couple of times a week would help her too.