DEAR FIONA: I’ve lost my friends because my boyfriend doesn’t like them

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Our agony aunt tries to solve readers’ problems

Q I’m 18 and in love with a guy who lives miles away, which means we don’t see each other as much as I’d like. It’s made worse by the fact he has to work some weekends too, so I never really know when we can be together. I’ve tried suggesting we should move in together, but he says he’s not ready for that yet.

He’s 19 and my brother was married when he was 19, so I can’t see what the problem is.

Because he doesn’t get on with them, I’ve lost most of my school and college friends, so I am stuck indoors most of the time with my parents and I’m feeling very fed up and lonely.

A You need to be very cautious about anyone who tries to alienate you from your friends. This young man is controlling your life and you’re not even living together yet.

As for that, your brother is probably the exception rather than the norm, as most young men aren’t ready to settle at 19.

I understand your need for security, but the harsh reality is he’s neither willing nor ready to provide it.

I’m sure if you were to concentrate on rebuilding the social life you used to have with your friends, rather than try to force the pace with him, you’d be a lot happier.

It’s not as if this boyfriend of yours has to see them – you can do that on your own.

Concentrate on enjoying your own life and the rest will fall into place soon enough.

Whatever happens between the two of you in future, never let him cut you off from friends and family – things can go wrong in relationships and you never know when you may need them.

Q A year ago, I started experiencing very powerful panic attacks. On a couple of occasions, it was so bad I really thought I was going to die.

They came as a complete shock because I had always seen myself as a confident woman, running my own company and regularly making presentations in public.

The worst symptom is a tightening in my throat that makes me feel like I’m choking.

My doctor referred me to a psychiatrist, who taught me a few relaxation techniques and things improved, but they’ve started to come back. I am single with no family and there’s no one I can talk to.

A Please go back to your doctor and talk to him about this – don’t feel that just because you’ve had help for this condition once, you can’t have help again.

There’s a lot of useful information about panic attacks on the government website nhs.uk, but I would also suggest you contact Anxiety UK (anxietyuk.org.uk).

You will see a lot of helpful information on the website, but you can also join a support group, which, as you don’t have anyone you can talk to, I think would benefit you enormously.

Q Nine months ago my girlfriend gave birth to our baby girl. She was fine to start with but in the past four months she’s been getting more and more depressed. She’s still breast-feeding so is getting up at strange hours in the night, so she’s always tired. I’m sure this isn’t helping. Unfortunately, we don’t live together as I have custody of my two sons after my divorce and we both felt we should try to keep them at the same school.

A It may well be that your girlfriend is suffering from post-natal depression and the separation from you isn’t going to help her. She will need professional advice and support to overcome this so do encourage her to see her GP.