Ask Fiona: Where is the genuine love after 30 years marriage?
I HAVE been married for more than 30 years and, strange as it might seem, there have rarely been any moments of love between us that I can recall.
We have two grown-up daughters who have moved on and have given us grandchildren to be proud of.
But my wife, who is not a bad person, finds it extremely difficult to show any love or affection towards me or our kids.
She seems to be OK with the grandkids so far, but I know that when they get older, she will become distant with them also.
We haven't had any physical contact for the past 20 years. In fact, we rarely speak to each other and have never fallen out or had an argument.
I have said to her a few times that maybe we should seek marriage guidance, but she immediately clams up and says absolutely nothing for weeks.
My kids adore both of us, but they know something is not right with her, and with us.
As I write this, I wonder would anyone actually believe me because to the outside world she would seem to be a lovely person.
Over the years, I found that when I would meet up with friends, she would be left sitting on her own simply because she will not converse with others.
I think I have been a good provider; she has access to all monies.
Maybe I am the problem.
I am really trying and I don't want to leave, but I would really love to be loved before I die.
FIONA SAYS: The fact you've contacted me seems to indicate you've reached the end of your tether with your relationship.
You don't say whether your wife has mental health problems or not, but your description of her behaviour indicates she might have, so do seek help from your doctor.
You say there have only been rare moments of love between you, but the fact there have been some and that she is adored by your children, indicate it's something she is capable of.
So what has gone wrong and when did it happen?
Perhaps her behaviour was triggered by untreated post-natal depression, for example.
You can go alone for marriage guidance and I certainly think it would help you.
As for being loved "before you die", if you want that love to come from your wife, she is going to need help to change, but if she won't allow anyone to help her, change is unlikely to happen.
That may mean you have to make hard decisions about your future together.
Do talk to your daughters so they are aware of the situation; it will give them a better understanding of the situation, whether or not you decide to leave.
WE DON'T LIKE OUR DAUGHTER'S NEW MAN
WE'VE always got on well with our son-in-law, so when he and our daughter separated it was hard.
She is now living with someone else and expects us to accept him as readily as we did her ex.
She says we are being disloyal to her by wanting to keep in touch with him, but I think the real problem is that we just aren't as comfortable with her new man.
I think she knows that, really, what we want is for the two of them to get back together.
To be honest, I can't see that happening now, but we'd still like to stay in touch as he's a nice guy.
FIONA SAYS: No-one outside a marriage really knows what goes on within it, so you may never really understand what caused your daughter and son-in-law to split up.
Hard though it may be, you will have to accept the fact their relationship is over.
If you want to stay in contact with your son-in-law, explain to your daughter that it's because you like him as a person, not because you want to pressure her into a reconciliation.
Let your daughter know that you love her and want her to be happy, whoever she is with, but that you're just not quite comfortable with her new partner yet.
Whatever you do, don't take sides as this will risk pushing your daughter even further away.
In time, she and her ex-husband may find that a friendship is not out of the question, but don't expect this to happen when they are both likely to be feeling hurt.
I STILL WORRY ABOUT HIM
MY ex-boyfriend and I split up nearly seven years ago and have stayed friends over the years.
We were just too different; I'm ambitious and he just isn't; I like to get out and about, have lots of friends and take lots of exercise, while he's content to be a couch potato.
He used to happily admit he was bone-idle, so a split was inevitable.
He is now living with a much older woman and seems to have gone from bad to worse.
He no longer works and is being kept by her.
He's put on loads of weight and I understand that all he does these days is sit in front of the TV.
How can I stop him ruining his life?
FIONA SAYS: I really don't think you should interfere.
You have a fair idea of what makes him happy and his new partner seems happy to provide it.
It may not be your idea of happiness, any more than it is mine; it may not be good for him and his health will certainly suffer, but he's an adult and has made his own choices.
It may make you sad, but I feel all you can do is wish him well and get on with your own life.
MY PILES ARE SO PAINFUL
THIS may seem like a trivial problem, but I am in great pain as a result of piles.
I've put up with it for ages, hoping it would get better on its own as I'm far too embarrassed to go to my GP, who is a woman.
I don't know who else to turn to, so please can you advise what I can do to relieve this problem?
FIONA SAYS: Piles (or haemorrhoids) are incredibly common and your doctor would not be at all surprised to hear you ask for treatment for them.
Changing your diet to include more fibre and avoiding straining when you go to the toilet will be recommended first.
You can get creams, ointments and suppositories (which you insert into your bottom) from your local chemist without a prescription, which relieve any swelling and discomfort.
It's certainly not a trivial problem and worth checking with a doctor if you've had them a long time.
She won't be in the least embarrassed, but, if you can't face a female doctor, there is no reason why you shouldn't ask for an appointment with a male one instead.