Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships.
Q After my divorce three years ago, I thought my world had crumbled.
My husband left me for a woman I’d regarded as a close friend for many years and it took me a long time to get over that pain.
I did eventually start going out with other people again, but that invariably means one-night stands.
I’m not particularly proud of the fact I’ve slept with most of these men as it just seemed easier to say ‘yes’ than to resist.
I feel like I’m being used when all I want is a warm, loving relationship.
Is that too much to ask?
A After a long-term relationship or marriage has ended painfully, it can feel easier to embark on short-term affairs that require no commitment.
It’s not too much to expect a close, loving relationship, but you may be going about it the wrong way.
Try giving yourself a bit more time to get to know a man before saying ‘yes’ and that way you can more accurately assess what someone’s intentions are.
Try saying ‘no’ next time and give yourself time to find out whether your date wants a one-night stand or is looking for something more serious.
Q I know it’s said you can’t love two people at once, but it’s not true because I do.
Four years ago, I had a brief fling with a woman I met through work that I fell deeply in love with.
I finished it because I love my wife and although she was upset, we worked through it and stayed together.
I couldn’t get over the fact I really loved the woman I had the affair with though and so I made contact with her again.
We’ve not seen each other, it’s just been phone calls, but I know not seeing her means I am missing a part of myself so, last week, I told my wife.
She was terribly upset and has asked me to leave home - which I’ve done, but reluctantly, because I really love her, too.
How do I resolve this as I’m missing her and our children?
A You say you love both your wife and the woman you had an affair with, but neither one of them can be happy with you as things are.
You say you love two people, but I venture to suggest you love a third person even more – and that’s yourself.
You’re putting your desire for a woman you can’t even see above your wife and your family. I fear there is an element of fantasy in this relationship.
You need to face the fact your wife has made it clear that whilst you may want to love two women, you can’t HAVE two women.
I suggest you contact Relate (relate.org.uk) and speak to a counsellor to try and help sort your feelings out - before it’s too late.
Q Since my dad died four years ago I’ve lived with my mum. But, at 29, I’ve decided it’s really time I had a place of my own.
I’ve bought a flat which I’ve been doing up and hope to move in over the next month or so, once all the building work and decorating is finished.
Mum is fit and healthy and has many friends, but she’s getting more and more upset at the prospect of my moving out.
A There is never an easy answer when this situation arises.
The death of your father has probably heightened your mother’s feelings of vulnerability.
Why not try and find ways to reassure her; stress you will see her regularly and that you’re only a phone call away.