DEAR FIONA: ‘I started taking money from the till in our shop’

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Our agony aunt deals with your problems.

Q: Five months ago, I started taking money from the till in our family shop.

Every day, I took about a pound to spend on sweets at school. I do it because all my friends have money to spend and I don’t, and although I really hate myself afterwards, I just can’t stop.

Please can you help me as I don’t know what to do.

A: I’m glad you have asked for help because it shows you already know this has got to stop.

It’s making you feel guilty and it’s also against the law because it’s not taking, it’s stealing.

I suspect going to the till has become a bit of a habit, so the best thing to do to break the habit is to avoid going near the till at all.

Telling your parents what you’ve done will be hard but, if you can, I think you should confess and apologise.

I also think you should ask for their help because having money that you can call your own is important to help you grow and manage in future.

If they do give you pocket money, it might be an idea to try to save some to pay them back – especially if you decide not to tell them now.

You might also like to call Childline (childline.org.uk) when you need help – on 0800 1111.

Q: My husband is driving me mad. He has the TV on all the time.

It’s on when we are eating, when friends visit, and even when he’s reading the paper. I can’t remember the last time our home was quiet and I could just sit and read in peace.

There’s a constant background babble and if I ask him to switch it off, he just looks at me as if I’m crazy.

Once, I got so angry I switched it off and he didn’t talk to me for a week. Am I being unfair?

A: If anyone is being unfair, it’s your husband.

I wonder if there isn’t something more fundamentally wrong with your relationship and if he isn’t doing this on purpose to upset you.

Have you asked him why he feels he needs it on all the time?

You have an equal right to use your living room as you wish and, if he doesn’t want to share, perhaps you could find some other space you can make your own.

That is not going to improve your relationship though, and I think there is something that needs to be addressed.

Q: My 25-year-old boyfriend dumped me and got engaged to a 19-year-old girl who he works with. We were going out for four years and whenever I mentioned the possibility of getting married, he said no man should settle down until he’s at least 30.

I knew he had been spending some time with this girl, but stupidly I believed him when he told me she was having a few difficulties at work and that he was only trying to help her.

I feel used and rejected and although he says he wants us to remain friends, I’m finding it hard.

A: I am not surprised you feel hurt. His offer of friendship may be an attempt to ease his guilty conscience, but if you accept it or not depends on whether you feel able to forgive him.

It may be that his offer is genuine and he doesn’t realise how hurt you are, but my feeling is you are not yet ready to do this and that you need more time to get over the pain.

It’s also possible you decide you don’t want to ease his guilt, but I think you do need to accept that, while you wanted a permanent relationship, he didn’t want that with you.

Try to see this as a lucky escape from a relationship that wasn’t right for you.