By Bunmi Sofola

Dear Bunmi,
Some months back, I told my friend that I heard a particular company I was interested in had a vacancy and I intended to apply. She seemed really interested in the details and I thought she was just being nice. I applied for the job and didn’t even get shortlisted.

When I saw my friend again, I told her how the interview went. It was then she told me she also applied for the job too – and got it! I was so shocked that I let her know what I though of her in no uncertain terms. But she told me she’d done nothing wrong. But I think she’s behaved outrageously. What do you think?
By e-Mail

Dear Kate,
What your friend did is a betrayal of trust. Whether or not she had a right to apply for the job, if she’d been totally innocent, she would have told you what she was doing. The fact that she kept quiet about it means she knew she was in the wrong. Her getting the job now looks as if you weren’t good enough.

I wouldn’t trust this friend of yours in future. The only way forward is to end the friendship and walk away. Only, don’t start to mistrust every potential friend. Most people would either have steered clear or been open with you about what they were doing. So keep on trusting. It isn’t worth losing your trust in human nature over one friend’s bad behaviour.

I don’t think he’s up to the task

Dear Bunmi,
Recently, my boyfriend and I were discussing what would really turn us on. For years I’ve had this fantasy of a rough sex with a really macho man. I’ve had one or two meaningful relationships but the men I’ve met were not really macho. Least of all my current boyfriend who’s somehow weedy. Now he wants us to act out my fantasy but his physique won’t turn me on in that way. How can I put him off?
By E-mail

Dear Dejoke,
Fantasy isn’t reality. So you don’t need your boyfriend to be a genuinely strong man to act out your sexy dreams. Simply close your eyes and pretend. You never know-he may be more powerful than he looks! But if you’re really sure this won’t work, explain to him that although you like to fantasise when you’re alone, you don’t need or want to act it out. That will let you off the hook and spare your feelings.

Is my son heartless?

Dear Bunmi,
I lost my husband suddenly last year when he had a heart attack and since then, I’d been so lonely. We did most things together and most people in my situation would want to be around family. Our daughter lives abroad, leaving only our son who lives fairly close to me with his family.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with him – or tried to, at least. He was good to start with, but now he’s hinting, not too subtly, that I need to get out more. Why is he behaving like this? I am 54.
By e-Mail

Dear Abigal,
It looks as if your son feels it’s not good for you to be so clingy after a year of mourning the loss of your husband. It’s certainly great to have a family around, but sticking only with people you know limits you to a very hum-drum life.

I agree with your son – at your age you need to move on with your life. It’s time to find new friends and interests. What about your old friends – surely they could give their support too? I’m sure your husband wouldn’t want you to mope for long – so be brave and make a fresh start. Look for a new hobby or even start a business – no matter how small — to keep you busy.

Pregnant for my possessive lover

Dear Bunmi,
My boyfriend of four years is so possessive and jealous that I sometimes fear for my life. He thinks I’m having an affair if I just pop out to the market or if I stop to talk to a man – any man. I’ve left a few times only for us to make up again. Now I’ve just found out I’m expecting a child for him and he’s ecstatic. Only, he’s got even more of a hold on me now. He watches me like a hawk and could be verbally abusive. He doesn’t look like a man I want to spend the rest of my life with, but I don’t want an abortion. Please help.
By e-Mail

Dear Nike,
Do you want your baby to be brought up in an abusive environment? Be firm with your man that you’re not putting up with his jealous and possessive behaviour any longer – and if he carries on, walk out or enlist the help of people who can talk to him. The problem with excessively jealous people is that they can’t change. Even when they’re with the ugliest partners, they still suspect them of two-timing. Life is too short to spend your life dodging the blows of a partner with a problem. Think before you leap should be your watchword here.

Does masturbation make you infertile?

Dear Bunmi,
I’m in my twenties and I masturbate a lot – I believe it is more fulfilling than sleeping around. My friend recently told me she read somewhere that masturbation can make you infertile. Is it true?
By E-mail

Dear Judith,
Relax. Touching yourself doesn’t cause infertility – that’s just a myth put about by people who don’t want you to enjoy yourself. Of course you shouldn’t mess about with dirty fingers, which might cause infection. But otherwise, the truth is that masturbation helps keep your sexual parts in working order, and helps you learn what turns you on. In fact, studies suggest women who masturbate are far more likely to enjoy their sex lives and be able to reach orgasm than women who don’t.

He still mourns his dead partner

Dear Bunmi,
I’ve been with my boyfriend for over a year and I’m completely in love with him. But he says he can’t return my feelings as yet. He was involved with a girlfriend for years and they loved each other until she lost her life in a motor accident. He talks about her most of the time and still has her pictures on his walls. Do you think I can help him get over this terrible tragedy?
By E-mail

Dear Angelica,
Though one year is a long time to still be obsessed by a dead partner, give your man a bit more time and show him your sympathy. Don’t compete with his ex- be completely different instead. That way, you won’t always be comparing the two of you.

If he doesn’t change after a while, don’t hang around – especially if you realize in your heart of hearts you’ll never be more than second best in his eyes – getting stuck in grief over a dead partner can be a sign of problems. Quite frankly, your man should have moved on by now.

I feel sorry for my mother-in-law

Dear Bunmi,
I thought I had a good relationship with my mother-in-law but I noticed she started becoming cold towards me when I had my second child, who is a boy. My husband is her only child and doesn’t want to hurt her feelings by talking to her. She’s fallen out with virtually everybody in the family. She’s divorced from her husband because he had children by another woman. Whenever there is a family do, she insists she wouldn’t attend if her ex-husband is invited. They have been separated for over twenty years!

I see her ending up as a sad, old, lonely and bitter woman. I just feel sorry for her and wish I could help her.
By e-mail.

Dear Aminat,
Your mother-in-law had been allowed to get away with her selfish behaviour for a long time and changing that is almost impossible. You can’t confront her either since your husband will not back you up.

Your children need their grandfather and you should include him in their up-bringing. It is her choice if she decides to stay away. As much as possible though, show her you care for her, but don’t let her get under your skin.

I hate being shy

Dear Bunmi,
I’ve always been on the quiet side and find it hard to make new friends. I’m sure this has to do with when I was young – I always feel rejected as other kids didn’t want to play with me. As a result, I still carry around this awful feeling of not being good enough. I feel so lonely and want to have good friends. Can I change?
by E-mail,
Dear Uche,
Of course you can change, particularly as you’re aware of what makes you feel this way. It may be just a case of deciding not to buy into those childish messages any more and practicing new ways of behaving until you leam to think differently. Whatever way forward you choose, you don’t have to feel trapped by the past. You can change. You’ll be surprised at the number of shy people like you waiting for the opportunity to make new friends.


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