Aunt and Uncle Agony

No problem is too big or too small for Aunt and Uncle Agony. This duo is Stuff readers' sounding board for questions and dilemmas. But be warned: Advice could be conflicting and is based on no sound qualification. And be further warned: The Agonys are from the same planet but different worlds. Uncle's blunt, bordering on obnoxious; Aunty's practical, caring and kind. So either live by the Agonys' advice, or take it with a grain of salt.

Advice: Mortgage or Morocco?

05:00am 16 Dec 2011 72 comments

So mum and dad bought her a house and now she's stuck with a mortgage when she'd rather be in Morocco. What to do?

Join the Agonys in this discussion and send your own dilemmas to

My dilemma is pretty uncommon for someone of my age. I'm 19 and own (1/3 share with my mum and dad) an apartment in the city and, until recently, I've been working in a office job full-time and paying a mortgage etc, like any common middle-aged hooha.

I left school at 16, not because I was thick, but due to my disregard for tertiary education. The idea of uni seemed (at the time) ridiculous, as I was never committed to my studies and found myself thinking I was more of a "practical" learner who worked on the basis that a good reference from a happy employer was worth more than a BA of any kind, which may be total crap now I think of it...

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Recently I found myself, after three years of slogging away in my 9-to-5 job, sinking into depression from the idea that I was watching my youth fly by as I worked hard and saved to make my mortgage payments. So I quit and, after looking to try and get away from a job that would bring me back to the same predicament, I find myself failing and completely lost.

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Tawdry triangle - whose side am I on?

05:00am 09 Dec 2011 52 comments

What to do when the sordid love lives of those nearest and dearest collide and in the aftermath you're caught in the middle - that's this week's dilemma up for dissection.

Join Aunt and Uncle in the debate and don't forget to email to get your own life sorted.

Two weeks ago, I found out that one of my 'closest' friends has been having an affair with a married man. Sounds straight-forward enough but it turns out the married man is/was her best friend's husband - she was even a bridesmaid at their wedding five years ago.

The affair has been going on for about two years now. If this wasn't enough, the husband has left his wife saying that he never saw a future together anyway and has always loved my friend and plans to spend the rest of his life with her and start a family.

As I know all parties involved - the husband and wife, my friend and her now ex-boyfriend, I really don't want to get caught in the middle of all this. However, it is already starting to happen, the wife has been talking to me at length about how she feels and now my friend is trying to come see me and has sent an email saying she has never been this happy and that she doesn't think she's done anything wrong.

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His smell is turning me off

05:00am 02 Dec 2011 87 comments

When it comes to personal hygiene, everyone has their limits. But this week's writer faces a real dilemma with her boyfriend only showering once a week. What should she do?

Join Aunt and Uncle in the debate and keep your dilemmas coming to

Dear Aunt and Uncle Agony,

I've been with my boyfriend for many years. He's amazing in nearly every way and I can't imagine life without him. However, there is one ongoing issue which is severely affecting how I feel about him: his personal hygiene is getting worse and worse.

In the early years, he was always clean-shaven and showered, with minty fresh breath before coming to bed at night. Nowadays, he only shaves once a fortnight, showers about once a week and only brushes his teeth when I force him. He is a pretty heavy smoker and, as his job is a physical one, you can imagine what he smells like after a while.

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How do I know if he's 'the one'?

05:00am 25 Nov 2011 71 comments

How do you know when the person you're with is 'the one' when you're living together and dealing with domestic drudgery?

This week Aunt and Uncle Agony consider just that and invite you to dissect the problem with them. They also want to hear from you. Keep your woes, dilemmas and conundrums coming to  Our discretion is assured.  

Dear Aunt and Uncle Agony,
I am really confused with my relationship now. I am a 28 year-old-girl and bf [boyfriend] is one year older than me. We are both serious about our relationship and want to settle down soon. However, I get confused sometimes and am not sure if he is the right one for me.

We have been together for three years and bought a house together recently. I know I always want a mature man like lots of other girls, who can take care of me and take the responsibility. Bf is not romantic at all, but he is nice to me. He has strong opinions. There are lots of times he would say it's up to me but, once I have made a decision, he would make some negative comments.

For instance, when I wanted to change the bedroom door position because it's not easy to open, he said it's not doable. When he couldn't convince me (he's not a builder or not even a handy man), I suggested we get some professional opinions. However, he said he wouldn't trust the builders because they could make everything happen as long as we can pay more. Even if I found a builder to get some quotes, he would doubt if this person was trustworthy. I feel like he's living in his own world, doesn't want to hear others' opinion, but insists on his.

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Is this one lie too many?

05:00am 18 Nov 2011 72 comments

This week the Agonys consider whether a woman should trust her partner after catching him being dishonest after hacking his email account. Tell us what you think, or share your dilemmas by emailing - all inquiries are kept confidential. 

Dear Agonys,

I have been with the same man for 5 and-a-half years now, and we have been seriously discussing our future (marriage, kids etc). We have had a pretty good 5 years, except for 2 years ago, when I found out that he had befriended a girl at work and that, according to him, she had professed her love for him, but he had told her he was attached and that they could only be friends. We have a pretty small community, and I heard word on the street that, according to her, he had told her they would start a life together and he would buy an apartment for them to live in, and that he would often come out to meet her at night. He of course denied all of this and said that he was friends with her and that was all. And that he didn't tell me because he thought I didn't like this girl (we shared a class in university). He said he was sorry he kept their "friendship" from me, I forgave him, and that was it.

Fast forward to last month when I did a horrible thing, which I have never done before, I snooped at his files on his laptop. I found a letter written to a girl he had met 10 years ago on holiday (before we had known each other). He had attached an email address for her to contact him on (an email which I have never seen before). So, I checked the date the document was composed. It was about a month ago - a pretty new email. I decided to send him an email on this account pretending to be her, just to see what his intentions were.

I know I shouldn't have done this, because I had forgiven him for the last incident and I should trust him fully. Damage done. So, I wrote pretending to be her, asking him how he was doing, what he was up to, and if he was married or if he had a girlfriend. I got his reply, he told "her" he had been searching for her for years, that he'd like to catch up with her for "chit chat" and that he was not married, no partner. Boo.

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