Some advice for NC from Uncle Robin
I've had another one of my peculiar dreams. This time, I dreamt I was working as an Agony Uncle, and I received the following letter:
"Dear Uncle Robin
"I've been in a relationship now for just a year, and it already seems to be going horribly wrong. My partner, Dave, started out insisting that he was sure we were going to be good together - we seemed to enjoy the same things, we had a lot of interests in common, some people even said we looked alike!
"But now everything's changed. He doesn't take any notice any more of what I want from the relationship, and some of his friends have been saying really nasty things about me. I'm beginning to wonder if I made a big mistake and should walk away. Many of my friends are telling me to get out - last night, I got a real hammering because they seem to think everything's that going wrong is my fault.
"But I'm worried that I'd be even more unhappy on my own, because many of my former friends disapproved of Dave all along and now won't have anything to do with me.
"Sometimes I think Dave wants me to leave and will make things so horrible for me that I'll just pack my bags and go. But part of me still thinks we could do great things together, if only he and his friends would pay more attention to what I want.
"What should I do?
The letter was signed simply "NC".
This is what (in my dream) I replied:
"I think you first need to consider what you want from this relationship. You say that at the beginning your partner insisted that the two of you would be good together. Was he right? Has it been good - for you, I mean? Do you think - even if he and his friends aren't being very nice to you at the moment - that it could be good again?
"Or do you agree with the friend (Paddy someone?) who's accusing Dave of a breach of faith? If you do agree, then clearly you have to ask yourself if you really do want to carry on.
"All relationships go through rough patches, and that's as true in politics as it is in love. (Am I right in thinking that you and Dave are both politicians?) But you need to listen to your friends as well, and if they're saying you might have made a big mistake, well, you need to ask yourself if perhaps they're right.
"I know how hurtful it is when people say horrible things about you, especially when it's all reported in the newspapers. But what's important now is what you think. Can you and Dave rebuild what you had before? Is there still enough trust between you for you to be able to carry on together, perhaps recognising that the happiness you felt in those wonderful early days could never last for very long?
"I do wonder from what you say in your letter if perhaps you were always keener on this relationship than your partner was. You may have felt you had little choice at the time, that you were being swept along by forces so powerful that you couldn't control them - but now, a year later, you do have more of a chance to reassert control of your own life.
"You need to think carefully about what your friends are telling you. Are all of them really friends? Are they thinking of what's best for you, or what might be best for them?
" You're understandably feeling pretty miserable at the moment, and the next few days aren't going to make things any easier. There may well be news that makes you feel even more depressed, and you have to accept that Dave will probably be thrilled to bits and not even notice how upset you are.
"But I think he's going to try to make things up to you. I think he'll tell you that he wants to put the last few weeks behind you and re-start your relationship on a stronger footing. (By the way, if it makes you feel any better, Alastair Campbell now says he's beginning to feel sorry for you ...)
"Anyway, here's my advice: don't do anything rash; and don't take too much notice of what Dave's friends - or your friends, for that matter - are saying. But be careful not to lose all your friends, because, as you suggest in your letter, you may need them to come out and support you again if you and Dave do decide to go your separate ways."
As I say, it was a most peculiar dream.