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Our relationships expert Zelda West-Meads answers your questions

Zelda reads all your letters but regrets that she cannot answer them all personally

My daughter verbally abuses me 

I am 62 and cry myself to sleep most nights. Our 35-year-old daughter and her fiancé still live with my husband and me, even though they both have good jobs. She is now pregnant and I thought that they would be looking for somewhere to rent. When I informed my husband, he immediately said that she should buy, not rent, which they can’t afford. Now I am told that they are going to stay here with the baby. For the past six months I have had nothing but verbal abuse from my daughter. She swears at me and says things like, ‘Let’s hope I don’t turn out like you.’ Once, she got angry with me and threw a plate of food on the floor. She dumps her dirty washing, plates and glasses outside her room. I have tried talking to my husband about how she treats me, but he always takes her side. I have started sleeping on the sofa in the sitting room as I am having problems with the stairs. Now my daughter wants to move into my bedroom. What should I do?

I am sorry that your daughter is being abusive to you, but I am also concerned that your husband is not supporting you. Her behaviour is unacceptable and if he, gently but firmly, helped you to stand up to her, it could make a real difference. Has she always been difficult? Anxiety and depression can make people angry and she may have other mental health issues. Start by telling your husband that you are unhappy, that you are not prepared to put up with this any longer and you want them to move out. Ideally, you should both talk to her and her fiancé together. Ask her if she is worried about how the baby will change her life and whether this is making her upset with you. Say that with a new baby on the way, they need to find their own place before it arrives, but that you will help her with your new grandchild. For family counselling and further support, contact Relate (relate.org.uk, 0300 100 1234) and Family Lives (familylives.org.uk, 0808 800 2222). If your husband’s attitude does not change, I wonder if you want to stay in this marriage.

I can’t cope with his jealousy 

My boyfriend’s jealousy is causing huge problems. Recently, I visited where I used to live and stayed with my ex – our relationship finished three years ago and he has a new girlfriend, but I told my current boyfriend that I was staying with an old girlfriend of mine. While I was away, he rang her and found out that I was not there. Now he is giving me absolute hell for staying with my ex. He constantly checks my phone and emails and stands around when I am on my mobile. He invades my privacy all the time. Is there any hope for the future or should I leave him?

It was foolish of you to lie, but if your boyfriend has always been insecure and jealous, this would have made it even worse. If you had admitted that you stayed with your ex, but that nothing had happened and you were truly sorry for lying, then you might have put this behind you. But because he is insecure, the problem lingers. The trouble with a jealous person is that they often have an inferiority complex and they tend to fear that the person they love will leave them. Sadly, this often proves to be the case because their jealous behaviour drives the other person away. Tell him how much you regret lying, but if he can’t trust you and he keeps checking everything, then this relationship does not have a future. If his behaviour does not change then you need to end it. 

Why did he end our online fling? 

My husband of ten years works long hours and at weekends. I don’t see enough of him, as he spends any spare time playing golf or with his friends. I started a text friendship with a younger man who I met online. He was fun and sexy and I thought that we were getting close. However, he wanted to meet and I did not think that it was a good idea. Then he told me that he was ending the relationship. I was so upset and tried to contact him, but he rejected me in a nasty way. How can you be so into someone one minute and then reject them the next?

You should try to see this as a lucky escape. Sadly, the reality is that this guy was looking for something rather different from the relationship to what you were expecting. While you were lonely and needed to feel desirable again, he was only interested in sex. When it became clear that this was not going to happen, he ended the relationship. If he had genuine feelings for you, he would not have finished things in the unpleasant way that he did. I am sorry that you have been so hurt, but use it as an incentive to sort out the problems in your marriage. Talk to your husband about how lonely and unhappy you are and how neglected you feel. Explain that unless things change, you are not sure that the marriage is going to survive.

  • If you have a problem, write to Zelda West-Meads at: YOU, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS, or email z.west-meads@you.co.uk 

 

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