Dear Fiona: Our agony aunt deals with your problems

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My husband’s stress at work is affecting the whole family

Q My husband is under incredible stress at work and I’m worried about him.

The doctor has given him a succession of different pills, but nothing is helping.

In the past six months two of his colleagues have been made redundant and he is having to do all their work as well as his own. It’s so unfair, but he’s afraid to complain as he doesn’t want to get the push too.

I’ve tried to explain he can’t go on like this, but he won’t listen and things between us are strained as he takes his temper out on me and the kids. What can I do to help him?

A I can understand your husband’s reluctance to risk upsetting his bosses in case he lose his job, but he does need to explain he is finding it difficult to cover the workload of three people.

As long as they think he is coping, they won’t give him any help, but if he could suggest to them that he is afraid the quality of his work might suffer without this, they might listen.

A little part-time assistance now and then could ease the pressure on him and reduce his stress.

If he won’t speak up at all though, there is little that can be done to ease the situation.

Try and make life at home as stress-free as possible, perhaps by cost-cutting or getting a job yourself.

He might feel more confident about looking for a new post where his efforts are better appreciated.

Q One of my nipples is inverted and ever since an ex-boyfriend called me a freak, I’ve never shown my breasts to anyone – not even my fiance.

I’m worried about how he’ll react when he finds out and, as we’re due to marry later this year, I’m wondering if there is anything that can be done so he never needs to know.

I’m terrified he’ll reject me when he sees my breast and I don’t think I could cope if he did.

A You’re not a freak so please try to forget what your thoughtless and stupid ex-boyfriend said.

Inverted nipples are incredibly common and can happen when the nipple is too tightly attached to the breast.

Talk to your doctor first because occasionally it can be the symptom of something else, but if you get the all-clear, you can gently ease out the nipple by holding it between your thumb and forefinger.

There are medical devices, too, that can be used to help pull the nipple forward if this doesn’t work.

Do please stop worrying; the chances are your fiance won’t even notice and even if he does, he probably won’t think much of it.

Q I feel there is something wrong with me. My ex-husband and I married straight after school, but split up after nine years. I then had a difficult relationship with a married man and although we loved each other, after five years he went back to his wife.

Now the man I’ve been with for the past four years has left me. Why can’t I sustain a long-term relationship?

A I find it strange you can say this when all your relationships have lasted a long time!

My longest relationship, before my husband, was two years and I don’t think I’m unique. You, on the other hand, have kept the men you have relationships with around you for a long time by comparison. You may not have found the one to last the rest of your life, yet, but don’t despair.