DEAR FIONA: He won't let me near him
Our agony aunt tries to solve your personal problems
Five years ago, I met a guy and we hit it off immediately. We quickly became inseparable and he moved in.
Everything was great but, for the past year, things have been very different and he’s been avoiding having sex with me unless I force the issue - which makes me feel guilty.
I know he still has sexual needs because he watches porn on his laptop, but, when I confronted him about it, he got defensive and said it wasn’t important. He doesn’t seem to understand why it upsets me and he’s just stopped being affectionate with me.
We went out last week for the first time in ages and when I tried to hug him, he stepped away and I realised then I couldn’t remember the last time he’d hugged me.
We’ve hardly spoken a word since that night, he’s gone back to his porn and the silence is driving me nuts.
Do you think he has gone off me, or just doesn’t want physical contact anymore? TG
FIONA SAYS: HE NEEDS TO TALK TO YOU – OR HE NEEDS TO GO
Whether he’s gone off you or whether he doesn’t want physical contact isn’t really the issue. Something is clearly not right and unless you can get him to accept this and talk to you about it, you will never know.
A genuine relationship is based on a partner accepting and acting on the other’s feelings and needs.
For whatever reason, this man has stopped having a real relationship and has taken refuge in internet porn.
This lets him create whatever fantasy he likes, and makes no demands on him as a real person would.
The fact he continues to view it, knowing how unhappy it makes you, just supports my view that he really isn’t thinking about your needs at all.
If your relationship is to stand a chance, this selfish behaviour must stop and, despite the current silence, you must try once again to get him to talk to you.
Explain that you are unhappy and that his behaviour is suggesting he is too. Go on to point out that by viewing internet porn (and avoiding sex with you) he is making you feel inadequate.
If he can’t or won’t engage in this dialogue and change his behaviour, you must decide if you’re prepared to let things go on as they are.
If you’re willing to let him go on as he is, then accept he will continue to take and give very little in return.
If, however, you decide enough is enough (and I hope you do) perhaps it’s time to show him the door.
Who knows, it might be just the jolt he needs to start acting like a grown up.
MY FAMILY DON’T LIKE MY EX
I had an abortion when I was 16 but although it was a bad time, my family were really supportive and helped me move on.
I’m still a little sad about it, but I know it would have been a terrible mistake to have continued with the pregnancy.
My parents were angry with my boyfriend and persuaded me to stop seeing him, however, four years on, I’m worried how they’ll react when they find out I’m seeing him again.
We have been meeting secretly for six months and we’re both getting fed up with sneaking around.
I want to tell my parents but I know they’ll be angry as they blame him for my abortion.
They’re wrong though, as we both decided to have sex, so I’m just as much to blame as he was, but what can I do? I hate lying to my parents. KC
FIONA SAYS: EXPLAIN HOW YOU FEEL
You’ve answered your own question really; you’re not happy with things as they are and you can’t really relax unless you come clean to your parents.
They may be disappointed, perhaps even angry, but let them see you’re serious about this relationship, in spite of what happened in the past.
If they see that, at 20, you’re a sensible, mature young woman, taking responsibility for past mistakes, then there is every possibility their anger will be short-lived.
MY BEST FRIEND IS LEAVING AND DIDN’T TELL ME
When my husband died four years ago I was grateful for the company and support of a good friend.
She lives just around the corner from me and, when we are not working, we spend a lot of time going out walking and talking.
I was chatting with her husband recently and was shocked when he mentioned they were moving soon.
I must have let my feelings show because he immediately wondered why I didn’t already know.
I now feel so hurt and afraid and I don’t know what I’ll do when she goes as I’ve never found it easy to meet new people.
Why didn’t she tell me sooner? WP
FIONA SAYS: THERE ARE WAYS TO STAY IN TOUCH
I suspect your friend was aware how much you depended on her and knew how upset you’d be, so simply didn’t know how to tell you.
Whatever her reason, don’t let this spoil your friendship.
Talk to her soon and let her know how much you value her and that you understand how difficult it must have been for her to tell you.
Once she’s moved, you can stay in touch by telephone, email, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook or any of the myriad way of connecting now.
It’s so much easier these days than it ever used to be so you’re not losing a friend, just changing the way you interact - and you can, of course, visit!
Before your friend moves, though, think about ways you can meet new people and perhaps ask her to help you.
You might want to take up a new sport or activity, do an evening class or two, or given your love of walking, join a walking group or the Ramblers (ramblers.org.uk).
You may have found it difficult to make friends in the past, but your life has changed and, perhaps with a little effort, you might find it easier now.
MY SON IS SO UNHAPPY
When I divorced three years ago my two daughters stayed with me and my now 14-year-old son moved in with his father.
Since then I have seen him a couple of times a year, but it always bothered me that he looked so unhappy.
When we got together last week for my youngest daughter’s birthday, he looked okay but, the moment we were alone, he burst into tears and accused me of abandoning him.
I tried to explain that it was not that simple, but we were both upset and he ran out of the house still crying.
I have tried to call him a couple of times but he won’t talk to me and I’m desperate to know what to do as I feel so guilty. DB
FIONA SAYS: WORK TOGETHER WITH HIS FATHER TO HELP HIM
He is clearly deeply upset, so it’s important you get through to him and talk about this.
Your son needs to know you love him and, if he won’t talk to you on the phone, you’ll either have to go and see him or else write to him and explain.
Twice yearly visits sound very infrequent to me and I can’t help but wonder why there has been so little contact.
This certainly won’t be enough going forward, as you need time to talk through these complex issues.
Might your ex-husband help as, surely, he will be worried seeing his son so unhappy too?
And what about your daughters, his sisters - have they felt equally abandoned by their father?
Whilst you and your husband may have thought the separation agreement you worked out was for the best, it certainly hasn’t felt that way for your son.
Somehow or another you need to build trust and loving support for your son - which may mean you and your ex-husband have to work together to help him.
Otherwise he may be permanently scarred by what has happened to him.
If you have a problem you’d like Fiona’s advice with, e-mail her by clicking here