Dear Maura | 

'My sister's behaviour has ruined my relationship with my parents'

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill

Money doesn’t mean life is perfect

I ENVY SISTER'S LAVISH LIFESTYLE Dear Maura: My relationship with my parents is ruined because of my sister’s wealthy husband. She’s able to take them on amazing holidays, out to expensive restaurants and shopping with mum to buy her the best clothes. I’m so frustrated by her lifestyle. She did a bit of a mickey-mouse job when she left school, met her husband and that was it — the perfect world laid at her feet. As a stay-at-home mum she always looks great and when we meet I never do because I’m juggling a job, three kids under the age of 10, and a husband who works away sometimes so it’s all left to me. This situation is getting me down these days. Maybe I’m just tired in my own routine or my own life. I don’t know. I can’t go anywhere or do anything different because of our finances — no long summer holidays to recharge the batteries for my family. I try to focus on our three wonderful children, that we all are healthy, mam and dad are great, but it’s still tough. If only I didn’t want what my sister has maybe I would be happy.

Answer: You have given yourself the perfect pep talk writing that you’re blessed with a beautiful family and no worries about your parents — focus on that. I’ve no doubt your mum and dad don’t favour your sister because of material things. Unfortunately, you have got into the habit of looking at your sister’s life as perfect. To be jealous at times is part of being human. Talk to your mum and dad about how you feel. They will reassure you of their love. Also open up to your husband about the stress you are under, trying to manage everything, especially when he’s away. You have great coping skills and have been able to simply get on with your routine but at what cost to you? Time to talk and let those close give their support.

I HATE HOW MY FRIEND TREATS HER MAN Dear Maura: My best friend is treating her boyfriend like dirt. He stays with her no matter what, but he talks to me about everything. I keep telling him to walk away but he won’t — he feels if he did, he’d never hear the end of it. I really like him and we were kind of together before she got her claws into him. It’s terrible to see them out together knowing how he truly feels. I’d love to say something to her — to ask her if she knows how her boyfriend feels? I’m not sure she even loves him. I can’t stand seeing him like this because I care about him. What can I do to help? Answer: All you can do is be the shoulder he needs to lean on, judging by everything he has to deal with in his relationship. However, that’s about as far as it goes for you. He must find the strength to stand up for himself. It will give him confidence and self-respect that evaporated when he went into this relationship. If you interfere, you’re taking control away from this poor man. Think about it: one woman is treating like crap, and another is trying to rescue him. At some point he needs to be heard, he needs to speak up. Then he can walk away from this situation a stronger person.

Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann Maura O’Neill All pictures are posed by models

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