Dear Maura: How do I let my guard down?
Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill
Dear Maura: My boyfriend says I don’t know how to be in a relationship — and he’s right. A lot of the time, I prefer my own company or I do stuff and don’t say anything to him.
He’s annoyed because I went to a friend to borrow money, and he didn’t get a chance to help. That sort of thing. I want to be better at this but in my twenties I was treated really badly by a guy, and two of my best friends lied to me and went on holiday even though we were supposed to go together.
So I have a place where I feel safe and it’s only for me — I block everyone else out. Sounds dramatic, but I’m 32 now and it’s worked. Because there are no surprises in my life, I can control everything.
The problem is now I’m in a relationship, I can’t keep locking myself away. He’s a lovely person and I’m sure I could talk to him, but I don’t know where to start. I think if I’m to break out of this safe place, my boyfriend is the person who can help me. I worry that I’m making this situation more serious than it is. What do you think?
Answer: The wound that’s inflicted when trust is broken stays with you for a long time. You don’t go into detail about your boyfriend from your twenties but that experience has stayed with you until now.
You were betrayed by a friendship you thought was real. All of this has influenced you and if you’re feeling uncomfortable, that’s something you need to talk about. I think your boyfriend has made you feel that now is the time to break this cycle.
All you need to do is explain what happened and how that has made you so protective of yourself. Your experiences are a very powerful way of helping him to understand your past and how that has influenced you.
Why won’t my fiancée take my name?
Dear Maura: My future wife doesn’t want to take my name when we get married. We know one other couple where she’s kept her own name and the children have his. But it’s messy and I don’t see the point. Some of my friends are slagging me and asking why — I can’t give them an answer. She says she just likes her name and doesn’t want to lose it. Me, I prefer everything straightforward and normal. Answer: I really don’t see what the issue is here: she likes the name she’s had since birth and wants to hang on to it. More and more women are doing the same, so it’s certainly not unusual. You’re just a bit self-conscious because your pals are having a dig. They’re only joking. Do you think your fiancée’s decision is diluting your masculinity, or am I being a bit over the top? Maybe you just need to stand back and see the bigger picture. You’re in a loving relationship and your focus needs to be on what’s important. If your future wife wants to do this, agree with all your heart — that’s what marriage is all about. Look out for each other, prioritise what’s important and you’ll have a wonderful life together.
Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann email@example.com Maura O’Neill firstname.lastname@example.org All pictures are posed by models
inquest | Man (28) whose remains were found hidden in north Dublin wardrobe died of gunshot wounds
mansion battle | Claudine Keane ‘reduced to tears’ after OAP tenant stopped paying rent on £3.8m home
Latest | Chloe Mitchell: Man arrested as police continue to search for missing 21-year-old
Sicko | Kildare man (72) caught with thousands of child porn images and clips jailed for nine months
RIP | Dancing With the Stars pro Kerri-Anne Donaldson dies aged 38
threat to kill | Melanie McCarthy McNamara’s killer ‘snapped’ and threatened to slit prison officer’s throat
Shots fired | Gardai investigating drive-by shooting in Limerick City
Feud murder | Man goes on trial accused of being gunman who shot The Monk’s nephew Gareth Hutch
Horrific | Former X Factor star charged with murdering nine month old baby
radio ga ga | Former RTE 2fm radio DJ Nikki Hayes admits laundering €10,000 through bank account