Problem Page Edition 11 2017

This week – who should text first, what “taking a relationship break” really means and a worrying case of stalking.

Woman on a grey sofa typing on a laptop

If you would like any advice, feel free to treat me as your agony aunt. Just message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Here are this week’s questions.

Q: My parents yell and hit me and throw objects too when I do not do my school work or get poor grades. Is that abusive? 

Every time I play on my phone instead of doing work they yell at me. Every time I bring back a D grade they hit me and throw objects at me. Is this abusive?

A: Yes it is and I am so sorry to hear that this is happening to you. 

It is clear that your parents want you to do well but reacting like this is not acceptable.

Have you tried telling them how you feel? 

I appreciate this is unlikely to improve matters but it may pave the way for a conversation and some solutions – for example finding you a tutor if you are struggling with a particular topic. 

On your part though, I hope that you are doing your best and not bunking off school. That’s not going to help either. 

Is there another family member or close friend you could confide in? 

You do not say what country you live in but if it is the UK you can call Childline confidentially on 0870 336 2920. 

Rest assured that you won’t be the only one putting up with this. 

Q: Why does he rarely text me first, even though we are dating? 

I’m in a long distance relationship with a guy but he rarely texts me first.  I usually text him first. He sometimes take a long time to respond and then only with “sorry for not replying”. A day after (still rarely) he’ll text me as if nothing’s happened.

A: It really doesn’t sound as if this man is very interested and, since it’s a long distance relationship, that’s not altogether surprising. 

Rather than concentrating on the frequency of the texting, ask yourself how often you actually SEE him. 

Have you made plans to get together? Do you SKYPE or Facetime?

Forgive me but it doesn’t sound much of a relationship if all you do is text one another. 

I would stop texting him and let him do the running but it sounds as if things have petered out, at least on his side. 

I would look for a new boyfriend I can actually spend time with on a regular basis – and closer to home.

Q: When your significant other says they want to “take a break” from the relationship, should you take it as “break up” and forget them and move on with your life?

A: I would, in all honesty because I suspect lots of people use “taking a break” as shorthand for “I want to break up but I don’t have the guts to tell you” or “I fancy sleeping with someone else but I’ll keep you on the back burner just in case”. 

I’m sure you’re feeling really hurt and disappointed but I would be strong and tell them “OK but don’t expect me to be still here when you decide to come back” and then go out and enjoy yourself, date other people and don’t be permanently attached to your phone so that you respond immediately to any casual text, call or Facebook message. 

Let them wonder what’s going on with you and then decide if they’re worth the bother of keeping in touch with anyway.

Q: A boy has loved me for a long time, but I don’t feel the same for him. I think that I can get someone better in the future. So should I commit to him or not?

A: If you don’t feel the same then don’t mess with the poor boy’s feelings. 

Make sure, though, that you are clear what you mean when you say “I can get better in future”. 

Better how? Better looking, a nicer person, a better earner? 

Of course you shouldn’t commit to someone you don’t love but it means having the bravery to tell him and to stand firm in your belief that there is someone better out there. 

Just make sure you’re not about to ditch a really nice guy because you think a millionaire in a Ferrari is waiting around the corner to whisk you off. 

That seldom happens I’m afraid.

Q: My friend has been having a guy follow her and sitting outside her work. The police say he is not a threat. Can she make them take the report?

A: I’m sure lots of women reading this will be totally exasperated at the police’s apparent lack of concern. 

I would tell your friend to go back and report it AGAIN until she is taken seriously.

It may also be worth speaking to Citizens’ Advice Bureau (or similar) for some legal advice. 

Do you have photographic evidence of this guy stalking? Does she know this man? Are you sure you have all the information about the story? 

Are you and her family / friends making sure she is accompanied and not left to travel on her own? 

Has she reported this man to her employer because if he’s making a nuisance of himself outside her place of work, they have a duty of care towards her as well. 

Please don’t take any chances. Call 999 /911 if you have to.

How would you have responded to these questions? I’d love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page.

Disclaimer: All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other health care providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom. 

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