Counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships.
I CAN’T STOP HAVING AFFAIRS
Q I’m married with two great kids and my husband is a lovely man but I seem to have a destructive streak and can’t help having affairs.
I had my first one on my honeymoon and I know my behaviour would shock most people, but I can’t help it and don’t even feel guilty.
Even when one relationship got out of hand and my husband found out, he forgave me - and it hasn’t stopped me since.
I’d like to change but I don’t know how - it’s like an addiction.
A Something has happened to you in your past that makes you value excitement rather than loyalty and a warm, loving relationship.
You are jeopardising your family in all kinds of ways - you risk your health and that of your husband and you also risk the happiness of your children.
You have to get to the bottom of these feelings and I suggest the best way of doing this is to undergo some fairly extensive counselling.
Contact Relate (www.relate.org.uk) as soon as you can.
There is no reason why you can’t have passion and excitement in your relationship with your husband, if you’re prepared to work at it.
I’VE NEVER HAD A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP
Q My dad died when I was a child and my mum had health problems so I lived with her until she passed away 18 months ago. Although I was desperately sad at the time, I’ve realised that it is my chance to move on. Out of the blue, I’ve met someone who wants a relationship with me but I’m 51 and have never been intimate with anyone before. I am too embarrassed to tell him this but I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to tell him I’ve never had a close relationship.
A Pretending to be something you’re not is no basis for a good, loving relationship, so I suggest you start by not pretending!
You wouldn’t want to find out that he was lying to you, so it is best to start things off as you mean to go on; openly and honestly.
He will appreciate this far more than the awkwardness that would arise if you try to be something you’re not.
However old you are, the first time can be a little nerve-wracking but try to relax and allow the relationship to blossom.
SON, 12, IS A REAL PAIN
Q My son is 12 years old and he’s becoming a real pain to live with. I’m a single mum and he’s my only child, so we’ve always had to muddle along together, but lately all he does is grunt. He’s moody, unco-operative and won’t do anything I ask him, so I end up shouting or nagging, which upsets both of us. I end up feeling guilty because when I can actually get him to talk, he says I’m just moaning and getting at him all the time. If only he’d pull his weight a bit more and cheer up a bit, I’m sure I’d be better too, but I can’t get him to see this.
A Your son sounds no better or no worse than any other 12-year-old going through puberty.
It’s a testing and confusing time and the need for acceptance from their peers doesn’t gel well with domestic chores and cuddles from mum.
It’s a natural phase to start rebelling against authority but the only place he can carry this out safely is within his family - you, so don’t be too harsh on him.
You need to keep firm boundaries, though, which although he will hate, he will appreciate later.
In time he’ll come through this but it would help speed things up if you start treating him like a young adult rather than your little boy.