Life

Ask Fiona: My husband can't swim – what should I do?

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships. This week, marital struggles, a retiree wants to learn to swim and a 14-year-old worries about her sexuality

Teenage girls can often feel isolated

MY husband is too embarrassed to ask this himself, but he wants to learn to swim.

He recently retired and we'd love to do more travelling, but he really wants to learn to swim before we go.

He's afraid that, if he joins a class, there will be him and a load of children.

I've told him there are adult classes, but he doesn't believe me.

Can you advise?

YO

FIONA SAYS: I can do better than that, I can tell him where to find classes.

He's not the only adult, by any means, that has missed out on learning to swim as a child.

So much so, there are schemes all over the country to help people like him.

Go to the Amateur Swimming Association website (swimming.org.uk) where you can find the nearest class by putting your postcode into the "Pool Finder".

There is a special icon that shows where the adult learners' classes are.

It may not be in your nearest local pool, but it won't be that far away.

There are also intensive courses for those with a holiday deadline to meet.

I'M NOT ATTRACTED TO ANYONE

I AM 14 and beginning to think I must be a lesbian.

I've never been attracted to any of the boys I meet - not like my friends seem to be.

I'm not attracted to any girls either, but at least I like some of them.

I can't talk to anyone about this as I'm too embarrassed.

CK

FIONA SAYS: Not being attracted to the boys you meet doesn't make you a lesbian.

Whilst most people are attracted, at some point in their lives, to one sex or another, some people are attracted to both and some feel no attraction for either.

In other words, there's a whole range of feelings you could have and, at 14, it may be that you're simply not ready yet to feel something one way or another.

I wouldn't mind betting that some of the girls around you who talk about boys as being attractive don't feel that much at all.

They could well be doing it to make other people think they're more mature and grown up than they actually feel.

Don't put yourself under pressure; just be content to remain uncommitted until such time as you feel ready, whichever way that takes you.

MY HUSBAND RESENTS ME WORKING

MY husband has always been the dominant partner in our relationship and I've always had to make the compromises.

He wanted me to stop work once I was pregnant and although I missed it, I loved my children and he provided for us well.

Last September, when our youngest went to secondary school I decided to get a job.

At first it was nothing much but they recognised potential in me and I've been promoted, twice.

My husband is resentful about this and is forever making things difficult for me to get to work on time.

It's making me bad tempered with the children when I know that really I am angry with him.

Our relationship is at an all-time low and I'm thinking it might be best for us to separate.

JW

FIONA SAYS: It's great that you've found a job you enjoy and the confidence to assert yourself.

Talking about separation before you've talked to your husband about your feelings, though, seems a little extreme.

If he's been used to being the breadwinner and you've allowed him to dominate, he's probably finding it hard to cope.

It's perfectly possible that he could learn though and, whilst it might not be easy, your relationship deserves a chance.

You need to start talking together about your marriage, your relationship, your expectations and where you see you both fit within your marriage.

It may be hard to start talking like this if you've never done so before, but give it a try.

If you can't manage on your own, contact Relate (www.relate.org.uk) for help in getting a dialogue going.

Your husband won't know how strongly you feel about this unless you tell him.

If, after you've tried talking and things still aren't working, then begin thinking about separation.

Life

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