“How do I cope with suddenly being rich?” – Dr Louise answers your burning questions

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Woman counting her money. (Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Woman counting her money. (Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

It’s as if my friend is sleepwalking

I’m extremely concerned about my best friend. Her husband and a female colleague text each other continuously. He contacts this woman first thing in the morning and texts her last thing at night.

Lately they’ve been spending Saturday mornings together at work alone or at her home when her husband is away on business, on the pretext of work. I think he’s having a midlife crisis – he’s in his fifties and she’s in her late thirties. It’s as if he’s her knight in shining armour, coming to her rescue professionally and personally. 

My friend sought professional advice but hasn’t done anything about it yet. I don’t know if she prefers to pretend it’s not happening or accepts her husband’s excuse that they’re just friends and she’s like a sister to him. She asked him to set boundaries but he refuses to do so.

I’ve seen them together away from work and they definitely don’t behave like siblings. I feel like shaking my friend and telling her to wake up. I think she fears if she insists her husband ends the relationship he might choose the other woman over her. How can I help her?

- Chloe, email

Dr Louise’s advice

You say your friend sought professional advice on how to handle the situation, so the ball is now in her court. You’re probably right in assuming she’s afraid her husband will choose the other woman if it comes down to it. Maybe she hopes the affair will run its course.

You can’t really do anything about the situation other than advise your friend and be there for support. It’s up to her to take action if she so chooses.

It’s not easy when you give advice because you see disaster about to happen but have your advice rejected. So it’s understandable you feel frustrated and helpless.

But all you can do as a good friend is to be ready to help her pick up the pieces if this blows up eventually – as surely it will, because I doubt this woman’s husband will take kindly to his wife being romanced behind his back. The truth has a way of coming out eventually.

Can hypnosis help during childbirth?

I’ve heard that childbirth can be made less painful with the help of hypnosis. Is this true?

- Lavinia, email

It is indeed true that the perception of pain can be blocked by means of a hypnotic trance induced by a trained hypnotherapist.  I have assisted during a surgical procedure (removal of a gall bladder) where the patient could not tolerate anaesthesia and so hypnosis was primarily used for pain management. The problem however is that it’s not as simple as it seems. Only 20% of people are able to undergo major surgery without anaesthetic and using hypnosis. These people are excellent hypnotic subjects and are able to cut off the perception of pain.

It’s important that the patient is trained by the hypnotherapist before the surgical procedure or childbirth in order to be familiar with the process. Sixty percent of people can have minor surgery with the assistance of hypnosis, but they also have to work with hypnotherapist before surgery. In pregnancy, hypnotherapy is used for these reasons.

  • To help the pregnant woman to relax, as this makes the normal birth process easier.
  • To help the woman to partially control her pain with imagery and self- hypnosis during the birth.
  • To give her suggestions to help the body heal better after the birth.
  • To help the baby to be less stressed by knowing what will happen (the hypno therapist can address the baby in the womb).

How do I cope with suddenly being rich?

I recently inherited a lot of money – more than R10 million. Before this I lived a fairly simple, middle-class life. My husband and I have a comfortable home which we worked hard to buy and maintain. We have two dogs we love and lots of good friends.

The inheritance was from a very rich family member – my mother’s brother – whom I last saw when I was a child. I’ve always been frugal and to suddenly have such a large sum of money is beyond my comprehension.

I don’t know what to do with it. I’m afraid the money will corrupt us and change our happy lives. What do you advise?

- Anonymous, email

Dr Louise’s advice

Your uncle must have kept tabs on you throughout your life without you realising it and decided he trusted you to do the right thing with the money – to make your life more comfortable without it changing the essence of you. I would suggest using some of the money to go on holiday with your husband, somewhere where the two of you can relax away from everything and everyone and discuss what you want to do.

When you come back from the holiday, find a good financial planner who can help you invest the money wisely.

You want to keep living the way you have been, so why not use some of the money to start a project that would benefit the disadvantaged. This type of work can be very rewarding and help you to keep your feet on the ground and your values in place.

If you don’t feel comfortable starting something yourself, you (and your husband) can get involved in existing projects that benefit the community.

Seeing that you have the means, put a bucket list together and indulge yourselves by ticking off at least one item each year.

But also keep reminding yourselves that the best things in life can’t be bought, even though money can make life much more comfortable.

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