Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships. This week: modelling, controlling and a mid-life crisis
Q I am very worried about my daughter who recently got engaged and moved in with her fiancé.
To begin with he seemed so caring and loving, but he’s turned her into a complete wreck.
She’s lost all her self-confidence and he has turned her away from all her friends, and she can’t go out unless he knows every detail of where she’s going and with whom.
Then, when she gets home, he interrogates her again.
She reached breaking point and came home to stay with us, but he bombarded her with phone calls and messages, saying he was sorry, loved her and wanted her back.
She caved in and gave him another chance, but I’m really frightened for her as I’m afraid he might become dangerous.
I worry that, if I interfere, I risk losing her as she won’t listen to anything bad anyone says about him, but what can I do?
A Her fiance sounds very insecure and jealous, so I think it’s important she tackles this problem soon because, as you rightly fear, this sort of jealousy can indeed lead to mental and physical abuse.
You are also right not to interfere, but you can make sure she knows you love her and you will be there for her if she needs you again.
I don’t think there is anything wrong in giving your daughter useful information and you could start by making sure she has the contact details for Relate (relate.org.uk).
Encourage her to contact them to talk through the problems, because jealousy like this really is a monster and one that needs to be banished quickly, if their relationship is to survive.
Q My husband and I have been happily married for the last 23 years.
Recently he has seemed a bit depressed and I finally persuaded him to tell me what was troubling him, but I really wish I hadn’t.
Apparently he ran into an old girlfriend (from before he and I got together), and found he was still attracted to her.
Now, every time he goes out, I worry it’s to see her and, on top of that, I’m worried my anxieties might drive him away.
A It could well be that your husband is going through a mid-life crisis and it has unfortunately coincided with an ex-girlfriend appearing on the scene.
Many men seem to go through an emotional crisis is their middle years and it could be nostalgia for past youth, or a wish to be seen as still desirable, driving him towards this woman.
Could it be he told you to encourage you to express your feelings more strongly?
If you can be strong and show him love and reassurance, perhaps this crisis will run its course.
Q My baby loves the camera and, with bright blue eyes and a gorgeous smile, everyone says he should be a child model.
He won a Beautiful Baby competition when he was six months old and I thought that might lead to something, but it didn’t.
I’m really interested in the idea of getting him into modelling, but how?
A The most usual route is through a model agency.
Be aware they get literally thousands of approaches each week from parents who think their child has what it takes.
Most are rejected.
If you have the photo that won your son the Beautiful Baby competition, send that, telling the agency of his success and enclosing another couple of up-to-date pictures.
Netmums.com has an online baby and child modelling club.