Columnist and counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance on how to cope when your husband is pushing boundaries

MY HUSBAND IS PLAYING GAMES WITH ANOTHER WOMAN – AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO

My husband and I have been together for 20 years and have been married for the last 10. We have two children together.

He started flirting with his boss at work and they sort of have an ongoing flirtatious relationship.

He also once tried making out with her, but she stopped him although, she continued flirting with him and tries to keep him interested.

There’s a friend of hers who keeps teasing him and keeps feeding him information about her.

A couple of weeks ago the friend told him (while the woman was sitting there) that she knows they both like each other, to which the woman reacted by saying it might be true.

He teased her about it and asked for a kiss, but she refused. He then went to see her behind my back; she was travelling, and he went on a three-hour drive to talk about what she said, but she told him she doesn’t want to talk.

When I found out, I asked for a divorce, but he told me he loves me and doesn’t want to leave me.

He also said that because he never had any kind of a relationship with a woman before me, he’s interested in this whole thing.

He’s intrigued by the fact a woman is interested in him and is fascinated by all the teasing and the games she plays.

In the end I agreed to let him do what he wants (I thought maybe he would get it out of his system). He said he just wants to go with it for a while and see what happens, and if it gets to the point of sleeping with her, he would.

He said this could be a nice experience, yet he wants me to be ok with it and consider it an adventure.

I am so confused. I feel that if I tell him to stop, he will just hide what is happening from me but, right now he is telling me stuff and not hiding (given our agreement that I am ok with it).

I am okay so far because she’s away, but I’m not sure how I’d feel when she comes back.

I don’t know if she would still be interested in him or is it just a teasing game to her, but I’m scared and am not sure how I feel.

Confused wife

FIONA SAYS: STOP TELLING HIM YOU’RE OK WITH IT IF YOU’RE NOT

No wonder you’re confused!

I suspect your husband is, too, if he thinks the average woman would be happy to let him have an affair without any repercussions.

However, from what you’ve said, that’s really not an option.

His boss – let’s not forget that’s who she is – has rebuffed him twice. She may be flattered by his attention (as he is flattered by hers), but she’s shown no inclination to let things go any further than that.

That may be for personal or professional reasons, or because she’s amused but not serious.

I don’t know how old he was when he married you, but it sounds like he was young and inexperienced. Age hasn’t added to his wisdom though!

I can understand why you feel that if you continue to pretend you’re alright with this game, he’ll tell you all about it – but that’s all a part of his fantasy!

Could it be that, after 20 years together, things between the two of you have become a little stale?

Perhaps it’s time to sit him down and have a sensible talk about what he’s risking if he continues down this path.

That’s not just his marriage, but his relationship with his children and, potentially, his job.

At the same time, perhaps recognise that your relationship might need spicing up a little.

Perhaps a little flirting between the two of you might not go amiss?

Deep down you know you are not ok with him behaving in this way – it you were, you wouldn’t have written to me.

At present he’s taking advantage of your confusion and your love for him, but he’s being grossly unfair and perhaps it’s time you stood up for yourself.

This isn’t what you want out of your marriage – so tell him – but recognise that things can’t just bumble along as they have been.

It’s time to put some real effort into putting the spark back in your relationship and improving things between the two of you.

I’M LOSING TOUCH WITH MY SISTER

I’m 24 and my sister is 28. We’ve always been really close, always shared a love for reading, friends, going out dancing and I’ve always felt like it’s us against the world.

This year we both been seeing people. She started last year but it didn’t work out with the guy she was seeing, and I think that broke her a little, but she found someone else and I am genuinely happy for her.

I’m also kind of sad, as it feels like everything is changing so quickly.

When everything went wrong with her and the guy last year, she didn’t tell me at first, she told our aunt (who is a few years older and they’ve always been close).

Since then, I feel like she shares way less with me and now she is seeing this new guy we don’t talk or hang out as much.

At first, I welcomed the space, I needed it since I was glad for her and happy to figure some things out for myself.

I spoke to her about recently and she says it’s because I don’t ask, but I don’t want to have to beg for information; I want her to tell me things because she WANTS to.

Why am I not the person she tells things to anymore?

N. M.

FIONA SAYS: IT’S A TWO WAY STREET – TALK TO HER

I wish I could tell you that you can turn back time and be as close as you were when you were younger, but life doesn’t work like that.

I suspect she turned to your aunt for advice because she felt the need to speak to someone with a bit more life experience.

You say you needed space to figure some things out – have you discussed those things with her?

It goes both ways – perhaps she felt you were isolating yourself and keeping things from her.

Her life is moving forward and, if this boyfriend is “the one” she will be sharing things with him, more and more – and that’s as it should be.

You’re seeing someone too – and perhaps you’ll be sharing things with him if he’s the right person for you.

If not, and you want to talk about it, who better than your sister?

SHOULD I STAY WHEN HE HAS EARLY ONSET DEMENTIA?

I have recently met a man in his early fifties and I’m really attracted to him, however I’ve found out that he has early onset dementia.

It’s not very advanced, but I’ve noticed that he forgets things sometimes and can be moody and a bit strange.

He’s told me he loves me, and I definitely feel something for him, but what sort of life do you think we’d have if he ever moved in with me?

Are there any new drugs out there that can keep it under control, indefinitely?

E. B.

FIONA SAYS: CONSIDER WHETHER YOU’RE EQUIPPED TO TAKE THIS ON

I’m sorry to say that dementia is a progressive health condition which means, over time, it will get worse.

What’s more, memory loss, intellectual and behavioural disorders tend to reach an advanced stage more quickly in younger patients.

Rather than gradually getting worse for 10 to 15 years, as often happens with older people, young-onset Alzheimer’s can reach an advanced stage quite rapidly.

However, there are many forms of dementia and all of them manifest themselves in different ways.

Bearing in mind I’m not a doctor, to the best of my knowledge there is no cure for this – there are certain drugs that can help with symptoms, but I know of nothing that will slow its progress.

For someone of his age to have dementia is very rare indeed; so, are you certain that’s what’s wrong with him?

There are all kinds of reasons why he may be forgetful and moody, and I think you need to really get him to open-up with you as to whether he’s been diagnosed with this or not.

Most people with young-onset dementia will become frailer as the condition progresses, which means they will gradually become dependent on others for their care.

If dementia is what he has, you will need to consider what you are taking on.

I would urge you to visit the website for the Alzheimer’s Society (alzheimers.org.uk) to find out as much as you can before you commit yourself to this man.

It may seem harsh but, if you can’t cope, better to walk away now before he becomes more seriously dependent on you.

SHOULD I GIVE MY STEALING EX ANOTHER CHANCE?

I’ve been with my boyfriend on and off for the past three years.

He’s younger than me and he’s always been a bit of a tearaway.

When I found out he’d been taking money from me, we had a huge row but, before we had a chance to get back together, he was sent to prison for two years.

He’s not been in touch, but his mate told me he feels bad about stealing from me.

I can’t stop thinking about him and think I still love him, so should I give him another chance?

P. A.

FIONA SAYS: HE DOES NOT SOUND TRUSTWORTHY

He may be attractive in all sorts of ways, but he has been thoroughly unreliable.

You only have his friend’s word that he feels guilty about stealing from you, which was a despicable thing to do and he most certainly should feel sorry for it.

Unless he is willing to at least write and say so though, how are you ever going to know for sure?

I’d like to think he’s not written because he’s embarrassed, but with his record of coming into and out of your life in the past, I suspect he’s not given it much thought.

You are the only person who can decide if you’re willing to give him another chance or not, but until he proves otherwise, he can’t be trusted around your property or that of your friends and family.

Please think seriously about the kind of person you want to spend your life with; I know I would prefer to be with someone I can trust.

:: If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]