Boyfriend gives the hand to the girl sitting next to his girlfriend. Man cheating on her girlfriend. Love triangle.
Emily Clarkson is here to answer your tough questions this week – read on for all the guidance (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Metro’s agony aunt Em Clarkson is here to solve all your problems – this week she tackles toxic mums and Christmas, how to navigate disappointment in a friend, and how to let down a bride easily.

Dear Em, My BFF is having an affair with a married man and I’m so disappointed.

Oh my god, I don’t even know her and I’m disappointed too.

But people do sh*tty things all the time, and it’s just really annoying when it’s the people that we love doing them.

There isn’t a lot you *can* do, to be honest. Contrary to what the rom-coms would put in your script, it’s not realistic that you involve yourself too massively in this. If she doesn’t know you know, tell her. If she does, then sit her down and communicate your disappointment to her: tell her that she’s hurting another woman and she’s hurting herself too.

Tell her that she deserves more than this and that if a guy can do it with you, he can do it to you. Tell her that you think she’s playing with fire and it’s breaking your heart to watch.

Metro columnist Emily Clarkson
Em Clarkson is battling the tough questions from you all this week (Picture: Natasha Pszenicki)

And prepare yourself for the fact that she will probably tell you that it’s not what you think and that he and his wife are separated and that he’s going to leave his family to be with her.

This means this might be as far as you go with it, really.

There’s not much more you can do to alter her behaviour or the course of her relationship, so you just have to work out what you want to do about your friendship.

I don’t know if you have an unconditional kind of thing? If you do, and if love transcends disappointment then you ride it out. Otherwise, you gotta tell her that you can’t stand by and watch her behave like this, and you’ll be there to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong but for now, you’re out.

Dear Em, my friend’s hen is costing A LOT and I can’t afford it. How do I tell her I can’t go without hurting her feelings (I’m also a bridesmaid…)?

Tell her and tell her now: ‘I love you, I would do ANYTHING to be there with you to celebrate you and I am so honoured and proud to be your friend and your bridesmaid but I just cannot afford it right now. I don’t earn what you do, life is really expensive right now and whilst no one is more disappointed than me, I just can’t justify the expense and I hope you understand. Let me please take you out separately to celebrate, or maybe I could join you for just a little part of the event, but I simply can’t commit to this right now.

This is a VERY hard message to argue with, and unless you have a proper bridezilla on your hands, your friend will receive this with the compassion and understanding it deserves.

If she doesn’t, then she’s being a bit of a dick.

She may be disappointed not to have you there, but I hope she’s mature enough to realise that her feelings don’t need to be hurt because this isn’t personal. You aren’t doing anything wrong, I don’t think you’re a bad friend and it’s absolutely fair enough that you don’t go, and I’m sorry you’re in the position in the first place. But just make sure that you’re honest with her.

I know talking about money is uncomfortable, but it’d be the lack of honesty that’d lead to hurt feelings, so communicate clearly and genuinely from the off and you’ll both be okay.

Ever been in a similar situation? How did you handle it? Share your experience belowComment Now

Dear Em, I don’t want to spend Christmas with my parents – it’s breaking my dad’s heart but my mum is toxic.

You know it’s for this very reason that I’m not convinced it IS actually the most wonderful time of the year. For the vast majority of us, it’s logistical chaos and inevitably ends up with someone being disappointed, whether that be our in-laws, or our parents, whether they are together or apart.

And as heartbreaking as it is for your dad, I get that this is a horrible position for you to be in too, it’s never nice being the one to ‘let someone down’ and the strength it must’ve taken you to lay down a boundary like that is gargantuan, so I tip my hat to you.

It sounds as if you’ve made your decision, so ultimately you need to be honest, and your dad is going to have to make peace with that. I’m sure he wants the best for you and without his own feelings in the game, would condone that you do what makes you happy, if he is making you feel guilty for your decision, remember that that is coming from his own place of pain.

Only you know what you can handle right now, and if it isn’t your mum then that’s okay, Christmas is just a day, and you give it as much power or weight as you want.

Try and find a way to spend some time with your dad or do something nice for him, but remember that it’s okay to protect yourself too. 

Want to ask Em Clarkson a question?

With nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram and a reputation as one of the more honest influencers out there, Em is often asked for advice in her DMs. Now, she wants to do the same in Metro, as our newest columnist.

No topic is off limits. So if you’ve a question for her agony aunt series, email