DEAR FIONA: He won’t have a vasectomy

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Our agony aunt tries to solve more readers’ problems

Q When my partner and I got together, we agreed that once we’d had two children, he’d have a vasectomy.

We’d discussed the fact sterilisation for me was complicated and risky, and he always said I’d be having the babies, so it would be up to him to have this done.

Now the time has come, he’s changed his mind and refuses to have the operation.

I’m fed up taking the Pill and am unhappy about the reports of side-effects if it is taken over a long time.

We can’t afford for me to get pregnant again, especially as he may be made redundant soon.

I have a good job and can’t afford to lose it as making ends meet, if both of us were out of work, would be impossible.

Why can’t he see sense?

A Is it possible that, with redundancy looming, he is simply feeling too vulnerable right now?

While it may be the most reasonable option, it could be that he sees this as just one too many attacks on his masculinity.

Were you to give him a little more time – at least until the uncertainty about his job has resolved itself – he might change his mind.

In the meantime, or if he is still set against having a vasectomy, you could look at alternative forms of contraception.

Or you could consider being sterilised yourself; yes it’s a more complicated procedure than it is for him, but it’s very common and relatively low risk.

Speak to your GP or contact your local family planning clinic.

Q I’ve been suffering badly with panic attacks ever since my mum died. It’s got so bad the doctor has given me time off work and some tablets to help calm me.

My boss, who is very understanding, suggested I came in for the office Christmas Party as he thought it might cheer me up.

In fact, I think it’s made me feel worse as many of my colleagues avoided me or were very distant with me.

One even left the room when I walked in.

Now I’m in a complete state and cannot see how I can possibly go back to work after this.

I thought these people were my friends, but it’s clear they think I’m a nutcase.

A Although this seems insensitive and hurtful by your colleagues, try not to read too much into it.

Many people find it difficult to cope with illness in others, and I suspect it is this that made them behave as they did.

When people don’t know what to say, they tend to avoid saying anything at all.

In this case it meant they tried to avoid you.

It’s their problem, it’s not you and you are sick.

After all, your doctor has you signed off work because you’re sick.

Try to put this out of your mind and concentrate instead on getting well again.

As you seem to be depressed too, you may need more support than simply time off work and some tablets.

Please do talk to your doctor about how unhappy you are feeling.

It may be that some other medication or, perhaps, counselling, could help you get better.

As an alternative you could contact a self-help group like Anxiety UK (anxietyuk.org.uk) which can help you in all kinds of ways.

There’s even a smartphone app available.