ASK ZELDA: Our relationships expert Zelda West-Meads answers your questions

I have no one in my life to support me

I am in despair. Several years ago, my husband left me for a younger woman and took all our savings. Some of my so-called friends knew about the affair, but did not warn me. It turned out that the only reason she was with him was money – and when that ran out, she dumped him. 

I tried to support him, despite our divorce, but when I recently asked him to help with some house repairs, he refused. He told me the house will have to be sold. But with the reduced amount of money I have, I don’t know if I could afford something else in the same area. 

On top of this, my son has a problem with alcohol. He had been sober for two years, but recently went on a binge which caused a big bust-up with his fiancée. 

He has always been difficult, but I have never stopped supporting him. It is all getting too much for me. I repeatedly help my friends, but it’s never reciprocated. Why do I attract these problems?

It is hard enough when a man walks out on you, but taking all your savings with him is appalling. 

Sadly, you may have to sell the house – but please contact a solicitor immediately to find out what your legal rights are. 

When agreeing on the final settlement, hopefully they will take into account the money your ex-husband took. 

Try Lawyers Online (lawyersonline.co.uk, 0844 346 3635). You could get support with your son’s alcohol problem by contacting Al-Anon Family Groups (al-anonuk.org.uk). 

Perhaps he, too, has been hurt or damaged by his father’s behaviour, so talk to him about this. I hope that as well as you being there for him, he can be kind and understanding towards you. 

Please also see your GP about possible depression. I am sorry people have taken advantage of your kindness. It sounds as though you find it difficult to say no, which might be connected with your past. 

Perhaps you had strict parents and always had to be well behaved? Try reading How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty by Patti Breitman and Connie Hatch. 

Also contact the National Women’s Register (nwr.org.uk), which organises fun and interesting events where you can meet new people and make friends.

Should I marry him or end it?

I am getting married next year to a lovely man. We have been together for five years and I get on well with his two children of 12 and 15, who spend every other weekend with him. 

We are both in our early 40s, but I have not been married before. I love him, but have felt for a long time that he is more of a brother to me than a future husband. 

I recently went abroad for a conference and met a man on the flight out who was attending the same event. There was an instant attraction. 

He was clever, charming and sexy and we would meet after work, have dinner and have amazing sex. I didn’t expect to, but I have fallen for him. 

I don’t think our relationship has a future as he is married and has children. I don’t want to hurt my fiancé, but I don’t know what to do.

The longer you delay making a decision, the more hurt you will cause. You are planning to marry a lovely man who you no longer fancy. 

Was the sexual chemistry ever there or do you think you loved him because, in all other ways, he was just the sort of man you wanted to be with? 

Perhaps what your brief affair has shown you is how unrealistic it is to marry someone you are no longer attracted to. 

Once married, you would almost certainly be tempted to have more affairs. Or you might avoid making love to your husband, which could tempt him into having an affair.

I think you already know that the other man is not a potential partner. As hard as it is, however, you need to think seriously about the future and try to decide if your fiancé is truly who you want to be with long-term. 

If he isn’t, then it would be kinder to end the relationship.

My close friend is dating my ex

My relationship with my boyfriend ended two months ago and we agreed to stay on good terms. 

Last week, I threw a party for my close group of friends. I knew that one of the girls had always fancied him, but I asked her to be sensitive to my feelings and not spend lots of time with him. 

She completely ignored my request – they talked and danced all evening and now they are an item. 

We mix in the same circle and I find it difficult when we all get together. Should I just walk away and forget them all?

I think your friendship with this girl won’t last and is probably not worth bothering with, but don’t walk away from your other friends. 

Good friendships are important and can last a lifetime. I suspect that your other friends might not know what to say about it, so they appear to ignore the situation. 

Talk to two or three of the ones you feel closest to and explain how difficult this is – I am sure they will be understanding and support you. 

It might be fun to bring another male friend along when you are meeting up with this group to give you confidence and a distraction. 

It doesn’t have to be a serious date – or even the same man every time – but it might help to take your mind off your ex and your former friend.

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

 

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