Q: I married my husband when I was 18. I thought I loved him, but I know now it was in order to get away from my parents.
We’ve got three children and I realise I’ve got nothing in common with him at all. We fight and argue all the time about money, the children or our home. It leaves me feeling miserable and I know marriage doesn’t have to be like this.
Should I leave my husband? He’s good with the children and works hard, but do I have to put up with a loveless marriage until our children are grown up?
A: You were quite young when you married and a lot has happened since then – not least of which is a young family to care for.
People change so much between the ages of 18 and 25, as do their hopes for the future – it’s no wonder many young marriages fail.
However, yours could succeed if you both try to work out your differences. You thought you loved him once so, for your children’s sake, couldn’t you try again? Think back to what it was that made you both happy and try to find ways to bring this back into your marriage. Counselling with Relate (relate.org.uk) could help you to get this process started.
Q: My son is 22 and when he was home from college for Christmas he told us that, when he finishes this summer, he’ll be moving into a flat with some friends.
My other son got married and left home just a few months ago, and the thought of losing them both so close together is breaking my heart.
We’ve always been such a close family and I know my husband and I will miss him terribly. I want to try to persuade him to stay, but my husband says I should let him go.
A: I don’t know your son, so it’s impossible for me to know what might persuade him to stay, but I’m not sure you should be trying to stop him anyway.
Sooner or later he’ll want to leave home, so let him go freely. If you try and force him to stay, he’ll become resentful and when he does go, he’ll be less willing to come back and visit you.
It’s a scary time when your kids leave home, but perhaps the best thing is to be honest and admit how sad you feel to your husband and son, or talk to friends in the same position. I am sure you’re not alone in feeling like this.
Try to fill the void by finding new friends and interests. You must have something you’ve always wanted to do, but been stopped from doing so because you had a family to look after. It’s time to explore such dreams and ambitions.
Q: On a skiing holiday in Canada last year, my daughter fell in love with a young ski instructor.
I gather they had a great time together and have been Skyping and emailing ever since. She’s planning to go and see him in a few weeks’ time and can’t wait to get back there.
I want her to be happy, but I’m worried she’ll be let down; I’m sure he sees thousands of young women.
Should I try and prepare her for possible disappointment, or will that make me seem like a killjoy?
A: Years ago, without Skype, I would have been more cautious.
Not all holiday romances end in disaster, but the fact they’ve been able to talk to one another, face to face, gives them a better chance.
Your daughter should try and be realistic. They’ve been in regular contact, but don’t really know each other and may feel differently when they reunite.
I’d encourage her to enjoy her holiday, whatever happens, and encourage her to take sensible precautions just in case she feels differently. After that, you’ll just have to leave her to make her own decisions.
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