DEAR FIONA: ‘Can I carry on loving my husband and my friend?’

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Our agony aunt tries to solve more readers’ problems

Q: For the 15 years we’ve been married, my husband has spent long periods away from home.We’ve both had to adjust to periods when we don’t see each other, but we’ve always trusted one another.

After a recent party, a family friend accompanied me home and while I never intended anything to happen, we ended up in bed together.

I feel so guilty, but at the same time, excited, as I’m really attracted to this man and he is to me.

My husband is a good, considerate man and I don’t want to hurt him, but is it possible to love both men?

A: It’s not impossible, but it’s a sure-fire recipe for unhappiness.

I’m not convinced you are, as yet, in love with this other man; you’re attracted to him, you’re excited by the affair, but I’d say those were signs of problems within your marriage, not love.

While you thought you’d accepted these periods alone, you were clearly missing something. Your new lover has provided that ‘something’, but is it what you really want?

Perhaps what you need is to put some sparkle or magic back into your marriage. A counsellor may help you explore these issues to find out what you really want.

Q: I think I may be an alcoholic as, since my girlfriend and I split up six months ago, I can’t get through a day without drinking.

My immediate reaction to the break-up was to down a bottle of whisky - which made me really sick. In spite of that, I still have at least four or five pints and a few chasers most days and I know it’s having an effect on me and on my health.

I don’t feel depressed about our split anymore – I can see we weren’t suited – but I still can’t stop drinking.

A: You are drinking way over safe limits and your body will be protesting under the strain.

Even if you were to cut your drinking by half, you’d still be way over the top.

It might not be so bad if you had a few ‘dry’ days each week to give your body a chance to recover, but as you can’t seem to manage that, I suggest you talk to your GP.

Be honest about the amount you drink, when, where and why – without the full facts, your doctor can’t help you.

I don’t know if you’re an alcoholic, but you most definitely have a drink problem and you are right to be concerned.

Q: I’ve become very close to my friend for the six years we’ve known one another.

We see each other most days and often spend our weekends together, but recently she can’t stop going on about the new job she’s landed.

I’ve tried to steer conversation to other things, but it still always comes back to how much she is earning or how wonderful her new company is.

To be honest, I’m sick of hearing about it. I don’t want to lose my temper, but she just won’t shut up.

I’m not jealous, as I have a great job myself, but I just don’t talk about it all the time!

A: It sounds like your friend is becoming a bit of a bore. If you want to keep the friendship, it’s worth dealing with this before it causes too much damage.

Try telling her that, whilst you’re pleased that she enjoys her job so much, you really don’t want to keep hearing about it.

If she is offended by what you say, apologise, but say you miss the talks you used to have as she never talks about anything except her job any more.

It is possible that this friendship has run its course – I’d suggest you both need more people and more activities in your lives as I suspect you’ve lived in one another’s pockets for a bit too long.

Write to Fiona Caine c/o Danny Randon, 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, Portsmouth PO6 3EN or Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence, nor pass letters on to other readers.