Our agony aunt, Fiona Caine, attempts to solve readers’ problems
Q My boyfriend and I have been going out for three years now. I’m still with him, even though he has told me that he doesn’t love me and won’t marry me.
We argue a lot these days and he says we should call it a day, but he also says that if we’re going to finish, I’ve got to do it.
But why should I? I don’t understand why he just doesn’t end it – it’s as if he can’t leave me. I think he should be the one to do it.
A Have I got this right? You are both trapped in a loveless, uncaring non-relationship that is causing pain for both sides – yet neither of you will finish it because you want the other person to take the first step?
Does this not strike you as just a bit daft? Come on you two – grow up and move on. Life is too short to waste it like this.
Q I have always thought my husband was honest, so I was deeply hurt when he was found guilty of stealing from his employer.
I was also shocked to learn he had a criminal record for similar offences. He has just started a one-year prison sentence and I just don’t know how I am going to cope.
This is the first time anything like this has happened in my family and I am very embarrassed and hurt by it.
I do still love him and want to visit him, but am terrified of going to the prison.
A I’m so sorry, I am sure this must be very upsetting for you. Finding out someone you love and trust is not who and what you thought they were is shocking.
There is help available though. Action for Prisoners’ and Offenders’ Families merged with Family Lives (familylives.org.uk) a couple of years ago, but they still help families affected by imprisonment.
There is also the National Offenders’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003. It’s a freephone number and is open weekdays from 9am-8pm and from 10am-3pm at weekends. They will help you understand what to expect when you visit your husband.
You and your children have done nothing wrong and you shouldn’t be punished for your husband’s crimes. Your parents may be shocked but I’m sure they won’t blame you.
Over the coming months, your love and loyalty may be tested. If you want to give your husband another chance, it’s important that he’s honest with you.
You may need relationship counselling when he comes out of prison, so do please write to me again if you think you need more help.
Q My boyfriend is a lovely guy – everyone likes him and he’s the most good-hearted man imaginable. What worries me is that he can be so naive sometimes and other people see this as a weakness and take advantage of him.
He puts up with shoddy goods and service rather than complain because he says life’s too short to waste dealing with hassle.
It means I’m the one standing up for his rights and it leaves me wondering if we’re really that compatible, and whether we have a future together.
A I really don’t see what the problem is here. I’d have said you have the perfect balance. You are prepared to be the fierce one and do battle if you think anyone is taking advantage of either of you, while he is happy being warm, friendly and keeping things on an even keel. To me that sounds like a winning team. Try to accept that you are both different and balance one another beautifully and I’m sure you’ll soon find you don’t feel quite so resentful. After all, wouldn’t it be boring if everyone was the same?