Agony Aunt deals with problems in personal relationships

Moving to a new country

I am moving to America in a month as my father has got a transfer there. I will be starting school from the 8th grade and although I am excited about moving there, I am also really nervous about it. First of all, I will be the new kid there and I am quite shy. I cannot initiate a conversation and therefore, I am scared that I will not make any friends. I am also really worried about studying there as their system is very different from ours. I don’t want to fail and embarrass myself and at the same time I don’t want to look stupid by asking too many questions. Please help me as these two worries are really troubling me and I am unable to sleep thinking about this.

Ans: Moving from one country to another can be very overwhelming and adjusting to everything would take time. It is natural to feel apprehensive before going to a new place and meeting new people. The new school may have provisions to help you ease into the new environment and curriculum. Making friends and settling into the new environment will take time and you should give it time. You can take the time to observe your classmates and see who you feel is most approachable; you can start a conversation with them. I understand that talking to new people can be intimidating but think of this as a challenge.

Shopping addict

I am a housewife and I have become addicted to online shopping. I stay at home and keep ordering things irrespective of whether I need it or not. As a result, my husband and in-laws are really angry with me and the credit card bill has come really high. I don’t know how to control it and it is really taking a toll on my work and relationships. I get extremely excited when I see that there are offers and use any excuse or coupon to shop. I really need help for this but I don’t know what to do.

Ans: As this is an addiction, it would be advisable that you visit a counselor as well. In the mean time, on your own, you can temporarily suspend your card and ask your husband to not give you extra money. You can also pursue a hobby to keep yourself busy so that you spend your time wisely and productively. To help you with your guilt feelings, you can also start de-cluttering your house with the unwanted things so that it gives you a sense of motivation to overcome this problem.

Dealing with the ‘other’ man

My mother is having an extra marital affair since the past 6 years. My father does not know about this and has never suspected it. I have met that man. My mother and him, both claim to be in love. That man is also married and has a young child too. He said that he didn’t want to get married to his wife and was forced into it and all this happened while he was dating my mother and claimed to be in love with her. I was in school when I first found out about it and although I didn’t really understand much I figured that since my father was kind of verbally abusive and had hit my mother in the past, she went on this path. Upon re-evaluating right now, I have just come to realize that my mother may be instigating my father’s short temper by being very annoying and silly. I don’t know how to deal with the situation now especially as my father is severely diabetic and at risk of suffering from a stroke. I don’t know whether I should support and encourage my mother. Please help me.

Ans: It is always better that your father knows about the affair from your mother or you. It is not your responsibility to begin with to justify the affair to your father. As far as your mother, try and speak to her and explain your reservations regarding the affair and your concerns towards your father. Seeking family counseling will help immensely so that all of you are made aware about the dysfunctionality that is currently seen in your family and with professional help you all can gain a better perspective to resolve these issues.

Exercise junkie

My 59 year old mother has always been very into exercising and being healthy. It has never been a problem and she has always encouraged my brother and me to follow her healthy habits. Although at this age, she has started over exercising for her age as she is afraid that she will not be fit if she doesn’t keep up with her rigorous routine. She is even strict about her diet and we are worried that if she exerts herself too much, it may cause health problems. Please guide on how to deal with her stubbornness and help her out or to at least get her to relax a little on her strict routine. 

Ans: Getting her to speak a professional trainer and dietician who can explain to her the repercussions of excessive exercising and dieting can help. Under the pretext of healthy living we can also encourage her to pursue alternate forms of exercise such as yoga and meditation so that it helps with relaxation and does not over exert her.

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