Ask Fiona: Younger man has drifted away

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on family dramas, emotional issues and dysfunctional relationships. This week, mother-daughter communication problems, a younger man and what to do when owed money

Dating a younger man can be complicated

ABOUT four years ago, I met a guy who's a lot younger than me – about half my age in fact. We used to spend a lot of time together but then his sister moved in with him about eight months ago and I don't get to go to his house any more.

To begin with, he used to come to me, but now he doesn't even do that. He phones me about once a week and when I asked him why he didn't stay with me any more, he said he was afraid his sister might come round and catch him.

I'm so sad and upset about this – should I just call on him?


FIONA SAYS: It's over – let him go.

I really think calling on him would be a big mistake. Quite often men who have affairs with a much older woman are either very public about it or else they become embarrassed.

I fear, in his case, while he enjoyed the affair privately, and it may even have been something to boast about to his friends, his sister's presence has changed his views.

The relationship has dwindled to nothing over several months and now he has virtually cut contact altogether. Go to his house and I fear you will end up being embarrassed and upset.

He has drifted away from you and, although it hurts, I think you will have to accept that it's almost certainly over and time to move on.


I'm owed £1,000 after selling my car

I LIVE alone on a small pension so life is a bit of a struggle. Last year, I sold my car to a man who was supposed to be a friend of my son's. He was paying me weekly but then he started missing payments.

As he had a young family and I thought I could trust him, I let it slide. Now he hasn't paid me for a month and when I spoke to my son, he said the guy has moved.

I think he's gone with the money he owes me, which is over £1,000. I know it's stupid, but I've got nothing in writing. What can I do?


FIONA SAYS: Recovering the money may be tricky

This is a horrible thing to do to you – does your son still have contact or know of someone who does? That would be the first step; I also think you should ask your son to help.

I would also suggest you contact the local Citizen's Advice bureau who may be able to do something. You say there is nothing in writing, but the DVLC in Swansea will have records to show you as the owner.

After that it will be his word against yours that he has paid you in full for the car and perhaps the CAB will suggest you try the small claims court. I have to say, though, that I fear recovering this money will be difficult and you may just have to chalk this one up to a bad experience.


My daughter is refusing to talk to me 

I WAS chatting with my daughter last week when suddenly she started screaming at me and then slammed the phone down. She's never done anything like that before and I've been worried and hurt ever since.

I've no idea what I'm supposed to have said, but she won't take my calls. I'm concerned she may be ill or something – she has three young children and I know she's been finding them a handful lately. We've always got on so well, so I can't understand this.


FIONA SAYS: Pick a good moment to call

It rather sounds as if she either misheard or misinterpreted something you said to her. As you don't know what it is, it's a little difficult to move things forward.

It may have been she was having a bad day and perhaps she felt the need to bring the conversation to an abrupt end because one of the children was playing up. Could she have been yelling at one of them rather than you?

She may not be refusing to take your calls – she may just be busy. Why not choose a time when you know that the children will either be asleep, or otherwise not needing her attention, and call her again?

Don't start the conversation by referring to the last call, but ask her if there is anything bothering her and if you can help at all. If you can don't live too far away from her, I'd suggest you try and see her.


It's just one thing after another

OVER the last 18 months I've had one problem after another. First I had to have a hysterectomy, then I developed a number of allergies, then my husband left me.

I've now been told I have cancer and need a breast removed. Please don't tell me to think positively – I can't. Who is ever going to want to be in a relationship with me with all these problems?


FIONA SAYS: Share how you're feeling with family and friends

I'm not going to suggest you think positively – why should you, after all you've been through?

I am going to say that it's a positive thing that you've survived all this and are still looking to the future. You may think that future is bleak, but whether you share it with someone or are on your own isn't the point.

At this stage you need to concentrate on getting through the operation and getting well again. You may find the scars fade and that reconstructive surgery (if available) means that the end result isn't as bad as you fear.

Do contact Breast Cancer Care ( for support, especially when you're feeling down, and do talk to your friends and family as well. If they think you're "being brave" and don't want to talk about it, they won't know how to approach you.

If you make it clear you need their support, I'm sure they will give it.

If you have a problem you'd like Fiona's advice with, please email


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