Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships.
Q I’m really worried and don’t know who I should talk to because I’m gay and my parents, who are very religious, have always been outspokenly anti.
They think I’m a typical lad – I’m 15, good at sports and doing okay at school with plenty of friends.
I’ve been told I’m good looking and my parents go on and on about my having a girlfriend, which is not going to happen.
I’ve had sex a couple of times with another bloke from school, although he’s left now.
I know this isn’t a “phase”; I know who I am, but I don’t know how to talk to my parents about it.
Are there any gay guys who are normal lads like me?
A You might be surprised to find that MOST gays are normal lads like you!
Coming out to your parents may seem difficult as you know they will have problems accepting you for who you are, but really, that’s their problem, not yours.
It’s a good thing that you’ve recognised the need for someone to talk to. Not many people are able to acknowledge their own problems and realise what sort of help they need.
The LGBT Foundation (lgbt.foundation) would be a good place to start.
There is also a helpline for support and guidance on 0345 3303 030 which is open from 10am to 10pm every day.
Q Many years ago when I got married, I lied about my age.
On my marriage certificate it said I was 36 when, in fact, I was 46.
I suppose it was because I was afraid my husband, who was only 34 when we married, would think I was too old for him.
He never did find out and, since he has now sadly died, I feel it is silly to continue this fiction. I’m worried I will be prosecuted when it comes out.
A I’m not sure how you’ve managed to keep this a secret for so many years, but please don’t panic.
Whilst it is never a good idea to falsify official documents, the General Register Office is quite used to making adjustments like this.
Contact your local Register Office and ask for an appointment.
You will probably need your marriage certificate and your birth certificate, together with any other forms of identification you hold.
Q I’ve been married for eight years to a man who has developed a habit of teasing me and putting me down in front of other people.
His first wife left him, taking his two children who he rarely sees.
I work full time and although we don’t have children, he tells people the house is a mess, my cooking is dreadful and my bum’s too big.
He thinks he’s funny, but it humiliates me.
I have told him repeatedly that I find his behaviour hurtful, but he says I am over-reacting and he loves me.
All in all, I feel like a doormat and although I don’t want my marriage to end, I don’t think I can take much more of this. Am I being silly?
A Absolutely not – although I can’t say the same for your husband who seems like a complete fool.
Humiliation and criticism are not the actions expected of a genuine, loving partner.
Your husband seems hell-bent on driving you away.
He needs to understand his behaviour is wrong. If he doesn’t, insist you see a counsellor together.
If he won’t agree, think very carefully about whether he really is the person you want to remain married to.