Our agony aunt answers your personal problems
Q I am 24 and have been going out with my boyfriend for about three years.
We have a lot in common; we like eating out, dancing, going to the cinema and spending lots of time in kayaks. In fact, that’s how we met.
However, we also tend to argue a lot; and the one issue that often triggers this is he keeps looking at other women.
He starts by giving them marks out of 10 and then moves on to give additional points for boobs, butt and legs.
Last week he stared at a woman in the shopping centre for ages assessing her points, and I am sure it made her feel uncomfortable.
He insists it’s only harmless fun, but I have told him countless times that I find it demeaning and hurtful.
It also makes me jealous, but he seems unable to accept this and stop what he is doing.
We say we love each other and have even discussed marriage but, if he keeps behaving like this, would this be such a good idea? What can I do to get him to stop?
A You’ve made it clear over the past three years that you don’t like him looking at other women in this way, yet he continues to do it.
It’s worth re-stating that; despite being told repeatedly he is hurting you, he carries on anyway. What does that say about him?
Doesn’t it suggest a few things you might need to consider carefully before committing to marriage.
If he can continue to hurt you, can he really care about you?
Is he too immature or perhaps too stupid to understand?
Does he genuinely believe it is acceptable to stand and stare at women in public when he’s with his long-term girlfriend?
Is he simply unreasonably stubborn?
Worse, might he even enjoy making you jealous, knowing it hurts you?
It may be one of these, or it may be none of them but, whatever the reason or reasons, I suspect this behaviour is ingrained, and he is unlikely to change easily.
Couple this with the fact you seem to argue a lot already and you might see why many women would have shown him the door already.
However, this is your decision and you need to consider whether you still love him enough to continue trying to change his behaviour.
If you do, and reasonable requests have failed so far, I suggest you give him a taste of his own medicine.
When next you’re out together, start looking at men and grade them out of 10.
Hopefully, once the boot is on the other foot, he will see sense.
If he still can’t, or won’t, see that his behaviour is hurtful, perhaps you should look elsewhere.
SHOULD I MOVE ABROAD WITH HIM?
Q My boyfriend, has been offered a permanent job in the USA.
It’s a great opportunity for him; he’s keen that we go together and I am tempted because I love him.
However, I would have to give up so much - my job, my flat and my friends, and of course my family.
It feels like a huge decision, made worse by the fact he’s got to let his employer know his decision early in the New Year.
He is so excited by the whole thing and is full of the things he wants to do when he gets there and I don’t want to burst his bubble by saying anything negative, but I can’t avoid this any longer.
What should I do? LB
FIONA SAYS: TALK TO HIM ABOUT YOUR DOUBTS
You’re right, this is a big step for you both. You can’t avoid it any longer and you really need to talk because, while he might want you to come with him, you’ve got to know, first, whether that’s even possible.
Were the two of you to be married, obtaining a visa might be easier but you’re not, so you might not be allowed to go for any longer than a holiday.
On top of that, he needs to understand exactly what he is asking you to give up and why you are struggling to decide.
If you both truly love one another, talking this through will help you to overcome any obstacles and find the best way to move forward.
However, even if the practical issues can be overcome, you may still have doubts in which case you may have to settle for a long-distance relationship, at least at first.
The USA isn’t that far away though and, with a good job and a reasonable income, one or the other of you should be able to travel regularly.
You don’t have to make an immediate decision either.
It might be more practical for him to get settled in his new job and for you to go over there and see if you like it, before you make a reasoned, long-term decision.
I MISS MY HUSBAND
My husband died eighteen months ago and I now live alone in a flat that I once loved, but which now just reminds me of what I have lost.
Most days I sit staring at nothing or lie in bed and curse the world.
I have two daughters who visit occasionally and, while I am happy to see them, it just makes me feel even worse when they leave.
I rarely go out, preferring to get my food delivered rather than risk breaking down in tears at a supermarket and frankly, all I want to do is die and be with my husband.
I have become a bitter and twisted old woman. ND
FIONA SAYS: YOU NEED SUPPORT
You’re neither bitter nor twisted, but you are lonely and probably very depressed.
And once depression takes hold like this, it simply stops you from seeing all those things you could do that might make you feel better.
Please contact Cruse Bereavement Care (cruse.org.uk or crusescotland.org.uk), a national charity that provides emotional support and counselling for people affected by the death of a loved one.
Counselling can take place by phone, email or face-to-face, which means that, until you feel ready, you don’t have to leave your home in order to get help.
As for crying, just let it out wherever you happen to be because, oddly, it really will make you feel better.
SHOULD I AGREE TO A THREESOME?
For the past year I have been seeing a man who lives nearby.
I know he sees other women too and, to date, this hasn’t bothered me, but I’ve now started to feel that I want more from him.
He’s asked if I’d like to join him in a threesome with another woman and I said no, as I don’t really like the idea, but now I’m worried he’ll lose interest in me if I don’t agree.
I don’t want that to happen, so what should I do? Anon
FIONA SAYS: THIS MAN ISN’T A LONG-TERM OPTION
When all you wanted from this man was sex you could have walked away from anything that made you uncomfortable.
Now you’ve started to develop feelings for him and it sounds like you’re hoping it will grow into something more permanent. I think you need to be very careful.
You probably won’t want to read this but, if he continues to sleep around, I’m afraid I see little chance of a proper long-term relationship developing.
It sounds like he’s only interested in sex and, on top of that, he’s having multiple partners, which significantly increases your risk of exposure to a sexually transmitted disease.
There’s no guarantee you’d keep this man around, long-term, whatever you agreed to do to make him happy so, if you want love, as opposed to risky sex, I’d say look elsewhere.
If you have a problem and you’d like Fiona’s advice, email firstname.lastname@example.org