Our agony aunt tries to solve your problems
Q For the past four years, I’ve worked as PA to the managing director of a large company, and I think I’m in love with him.
He is kind, polite and supportive of all that I do and is everything I’ve ever wanted, but he’s married.
He is very loyal to his wife and family and has never shown any interest in me, but that doesn’t stop me fantasising about him.
I dream about him and have followed him home, once I even rang his home at the weekend, but hung up when his wife answered.
I thought I could be happy just thinking about being with him, but now my feelings are becoming much more intense and painful. I’m wondering if I should tell him how I feel.
AYou’re in love with a man who loves his wife – this isn’t a relationship, and it’s going nowhere.
Tell him how you feel and you lay yourself open to a painful rejection.
If he had any feelings for you, he would have given you an indication by now, but instead he’s made it clear to you that his loyalty lies with his wife and family.
Ideally, I think you should find yourself another job, but if that’s not possible, take an extended period of leave and go and do something completely different, preferably abroad. You need to shake up your life and break away from the trap you’re in.
Q My husband’s company offered him the chance of a 12-month contract to work abroad on a special project last year. It meant he earned a big bonus, but, inevitably, we saw very little of each other.
He’s now home and we’re beginning to get our lives back together again, but last week I asked him if he’d been out with anyone while he was away.
I was so shocked when he hesitated before answering me, and he eventually blurted out that he had taken a woman out a few times.
He said he’d done it to make up the numbers on group outings, but admitted he did it because he’d been feeling lonely. He promised me nothing had happened and that he would never do anything to hurt me.
I want to believe him, but I don’t know how to trust him after this.
AI can’t help but wonder why you asked the question in the first place.
Whatever your motivation was, you’re now feeling more uncertain than ever, and for what? Many people working overseas without their family feel lonely and it’s perfectly possible that his socialising was entirely innocent.
It would seem he decided to be truthful when you asked him and, if he’s never been unfaithful or lied to you before, could you not accept his word?
You need to make a real effort to get your marriage back on track and it may be you’ll need help, visit relate.org.uk.
Q My step-father has been nasty and aggressive towards me since I was a child.
I’ve never been able to do anything right and he’s never allowed me privacy in friendships or phone calls. I know it’s partly because he and my mum have marriage problems, but he’s always refused to see a counsellor.
My mum tries to tell him to stop, but he just carries on. I’m 32 now and still living at home because I can’t afford a place of my own.
AAt 32, you really should be more independent, even if that means sharing a flat or renting a bedsit. Your mum and step-father’s problems should not be ruining your life and self-esteem.
Leaving home may not be easy, but if you’re finding life intolerable and want to be independent, it’s probably your only solution.
You can’t force your step-father to change, not after so many years of behaving in the same way, so if you want your life to be different, you have to change it yourself.