Home' LOTL : January 2006 Contents 39
By Dawn Cohen
QMy best friend copies everything her new girlfriend does. She
might even dump me because I have told her she is not herself
anymore. All I have done is be honest. Left out.
AWhen a couple begins a serious relationship, both parties undergo
a major transformation. No matter how strong the bonds with
old mates, friends will suffer loss when their newly partnered buddy
adapts to the change. It’s possible your friend is giving up too much
of herself, but right now she can’t hear that because the relationship is
If you criticise her, you force her to choose between you and her partner.
She has a responsibility to nurture her friendship with you while she
adapts to her new lifestyle. Meanwhile, you must give her space to work
everything out. I know it grates, but unless she asks your advice, butt
out of how she has changed. Her relationship with her new girl is her
business. Even if she does ask, unless her girlfriend is actually abusive, be
diplomatic. How she relates to you, however, is very much your business.
Give her lots of time to adjust, but in six months, if she isn’t pulling her
weight in the friendship, tell her you need more from her.
QI am ready for a child but I am single. I know it would be better for
my son or daughter to have two parents, but I don’t want to wait.
Am I selfish? No go solo.
AThe myth that there is some ideal stereotype family for kids is
eating away at your confidence. Your child will need very close
adults other than you. You will need financial, practical and
emotional support to parent. Whatever society tells us, there is more than
one formula for meeting those needs. Grandmothers, aunts and close
friends have been helping raise kids since the beginning of time.
Yes, some mothers say being a single parent is harder than you can
imagine. At the same time, it’s possible to organise support systems
that make it manageable. Thoroughly research the options. Talk to single
parents and plan back up for yourself before you get pregnant.
QMy girlfriend has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. She is
pregnant and I am concerned it will be passed on to our baby. I
don’t want to worry her when she is dealing with so much. Twice
AYou must be so stressed right now. You are dealing with the shock
of whatever your girlfriend went through that led her to treatment,
your feelings about the diagnosis and looming parenthood. Your
partner is getting help, but you need help too. While schizophrenia does
have a genetic thread, your child is less likely to have schizophrenia
herself than to need help in dealing with her mother’s disorder. Family
therapy and individual counselling early in her life will help. You need to
see an experienced, government registered psychotherapist, preferably
with qualifications in psychiatry or other specialised training in mental
illness. The therapist will give you more specific information on how to
support your child.
The opinions expressed in this column are the personal views of the
writer. They are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.
If you need medical or psychological help please see your local GP or
“I know it grates, but unless she asks
your advice, butt out of how she has
changed. Her relationship with her new
girl is her business.”
From $30 per/head
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