Dear Janice, this may sound petty, but my boyfriend loves his precious car more than me!

Most evenings he comes home from work, eats, changes into his overalls, and heads out to the garage. He is there till late, by which time he is shattered and heads to bed.

The other night, in an attempt to tease him away from his beloved “Suzie” (yes, he even has a name for it), I slipped into some really sexy underwear which I wore with the skimpiest of skirts and, if I say so myself, I looked hot and irresistible. (Or so I thought.) I shimmied into the kitchen where he stopped in his tracks and eyeballed me up and down. But instead of passionately ravishing me like I hoped, he continued to button up his overalls and mumbled something about working on his carburettor! (I don’t even know what that is.) I was left standing alone in the kitchen looking like an out-of-work lap dancer. My friends found it hilarious, but I felt such a fool.

How can I get him to pay more attention to me instead of “Suzie”? Megan.

Dear Megan, Some guys do like to get dirty, but it seems yours prefers engine oil to baby oil!

Having a hobby you are passionate about can be a wonderful thing, but your man is obsessively putting all his efforts into the wrong type of bodywork.

If he has always been this way, then it’s going to be extremely difficult for him to change.

Could he be asexual? (A person who has no sexual feelings.) But if his obsessive behaviour is recent, then perhaps it’s avoidance and you need to get to the bottom of why.

Book a weekend away. Go by train so that Suzie is left at home, and see how he reacts when it’s just the two of you.

If all is good, then a compromise must be agreed on his tampering time with Suzie.

If not, have an open and honest discussion before one of you gets traded in ... and I suspect it won’t be Suzie!

Dear Janice, I absolutely hate my job. After years I am still on minimum wage. Everyone takes advantage of me as I can’t say no, whereas others do, and I end up with all the crappy jobs.

I know in my heart I need to find another job, but I suffer greatly from anxiety, so the very idea of meeting new people and learning new things is weighing on my mind. This is the only job I have ever had, so I don’t imagine I would get anything else even if I had the courage to apply.

How can I get out of this rut? Derek.

Dear Derek, Well done for acknowledging you are in this situation. Many people never do.

Your confidence and self-esteem seem to be at an all-time low and this is something you need to work on outwith the workplace.

There are many areas you can challenge and develop yourself in, which in turn should give you the confidence to take tackle your work life.

Most likely you are more highly thought of in your workplace than you imagine. You are consistent and reliable which are fundamental qualities.

Find your area of interest and focus on that, then join an agency which specialises in your interest. Speak to a recruitment consultant who can advise you on potential job opportunities.

Training and gaining new skills will help you too. There are many options out there.

Good luck.

Dear Janice, last year my wife was made redundant and she has made it clear she has no intention of finding another job, which means I pay for absolutely everything. We are only in our early fifties and although she didn’t earn much, I feel she is too young to retire.

I have a well-paid job and have always paid for the bulk of everything, but it annoys me that she still expects the lifestyle we previously had. All funded by me.

If I raise the issue of her working, she stomps off and sleeps in the spare room for days on end. I think she is selfish, but what can I do? JT.

Dear JT, You clearly out-earn your wife because you have taken on the bulk of the family expenditure since you got together. And I suspect you have never been slow in making this point to her.

I believe this row over her not working reveals more fundamental issues in the marriage.

Your wife might see you as controlling with money and withdraws from you emotionally and sexually as a way of confronting this issue.

Be honest, will her take-home salary really make a huge difference to the finances?

Yes, of course it will help, but perhaps you are more focused on her not working than the money. Are you jealous of her not working at such an early age?

Intervention by a professional counsellor is the best way forward as you are in an emotionally damaging cycle which can only result in your relationship going one way.

Contact who can help.

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