Ask Fiona: Why did he leave when he said he loved me?
Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective to a a daughter who's concerned about her mother's welfare and a girlfriend who's been abandoned by her partner
FOR the past two years, I've been having a relationship with a man who, although not divorced, has separated from his wife. He lives in a flat near me and we have spent a lot of time together, often staying at each other's homes.
He has always maintained that he has no feelings for his wife, which I believed, because he seemed to spend so little time with her; he only ever visited her place a couple of times a month so he could see his children.
However, a couple of weeks ago, he told me that he felt things were becoming too serious between us, and that he needed some space to think about what to do for the best. I'll admit he had always said he wasn't ready to love again but, despite this, he had said recently that he was falling in love with me.
Anyway, I gave him a week to think things over and started to call him several times a day to find out how he was feeling, but he's not taken any of my calls and didn't answer the door when I called to see him last night – even though I could see that he was in. He's also changed his social media page to show that he is no longer seeing anyone.
I feel so hurt and confused. How can he cut me off like this having said that he loves me?
FIONA SAYS: It's possible that he's just as confused about this as you are; his feelings for you may have started to grow and the prospect of having a serious relationship again frightened him.
Or perhaps he never had any intention of permanently leaving his wife and he was only ever after a casual relationship. It's also possible that he and his wife may be trying to rescue their marriage.
Whatever his reasons, he has made his intentions clear by not responding to any of your approaches and changing his social media page status. Sadly, it looks like it's over. This is likely to be painful for you to accept and I'm sure you will be upset and angry for some time. However, you need to find a way to move on and you won't be able to do this if you continue to follow him.
As a first step, I suggest you sever all social media links and don't be tempted to revisit them, because whatever is there will only ever act as a reminder to you of what might have been.
For the same reason, you may find it painful to continue to see some of your joint friends, so I suggest you take a break from them until you feel that you are on the mend. Instead, look to meet new people and create friendships that will not remind you of him. If you feel that you need support to get you through this, please contact counselling service Relate (relate.org.uk). A Relate counsellor could also advise you how best to avoid finding yourself in this position again.
That being said, please don't spend too long trying to analyse why it all went wrong. It's better, I think, to concentrate on the new things in your life. In time, this memory will fade, and from then on it will start to get easier.
What should I do about a bullying district nurse?
MY elderly mother's GP has arranged for a district nurse to visit her a couple of times a week. She can no longer leave the house and has a long-standing ulcer on her leg that requires a dressing to be changed regularly.
However, she is becoming increasingly upset by the nurse who, she says, is aggressive and bullies her. If she dares to stand up to her, the nurse apparently shouts at her and refuses to change the dressing.
Is there any way that my mother can be assigned a different nurse? After a recent surgery, she is already very frail, and I am worried that the stress of this is just making her worse.
FIONA SAYS: I have tremendous respect for the district nurse service which is trying to meet ever-increasing demands, at a time when its losing nurses due to funding cut backs.
Because of this, nurses are under tremendous pressure to do more in less time. None of that excuses this kind of behaviour, however, and it should certainly not mean that treatment is withheld.
I think your mother's first course of action must be to have a chat with the doctor who arranged the home visits. It would be good if this could be arranged as a home visit with you in attendance, rather than a phone call.
In the meantime, ask your mother to keep a record of what happens and what is said between her and the nurse. Hopefully, this should mean that a different nurse can be assigned or, if she is the only option, a change in her behaviour. If things do not improve though, you may have to make a formal complaint and the Patients' Association (patients-association.org.uk) can advise on how best to do this.
How can I help my heartbroken son?
My son is in a complete state, as his wife of only six months thinks she may have made a mistake in getting married so young. Also, because she needs space to think things through, she has forced him to sleep on the sofa.
This has been going on for a couple of weeks and he doesn't know what to do for the best, so I suggested that he move back home for a while. However, though the sofa is uncomfortable, he thinks his best chance of mending things is to stay put and help her get through this.
I know she is only 21 (and he is 24), but how can you go from loving someone enough to marry them and less than six months later change your mind? I'm so angry. Do you think I should have a chat with her and point out a few home truths?
FIONA SAYS: Absolutely not. "Home truths" are the last thing she needs and venting your anger to this confused young woman will solve nothing. In fact, it more than likely will make matters worse.
I know you want to help, but I think you need to leave these young people to sort out their own problems; after all, they are adults. Though your son is upset and seems confused, he is actually thinking about things quite clearly.
Moving out, even temporarily, might send the wrong message and give him less opportunity to talk with his wife. Continue to support him when you can, but be wary of being too judgemental about her and the problems they are having. You don't want to say something that you may later regret, should things improve between them.
I can't afford to be a parent now my husband has left
MY husband left me two months ago when we learned that I was pregnant for the second time. There was no argument – he simply packed his bags and left, saying that he wasn't coming back.
Since then, I have heard from him only once when he popped in to collect his CDs. He's refused to provide any support for his child, even though I'm already struggling to cope financially, and I'll probably have to give up my part-time job as my pregnancy advances.
So far, I've been too busy to think about what has happened, but now I realise the mess I am in. Yesterday I burst into tears at work and haven't really stopped crying since. I'm completely exhausted, have a permanent headache and yet I still can't sleep properly. It all feels so unfair but what can I do?
FIONA SAYS: Your husband's irresponsible behaviour has created a lot of stress for you and I am amazed that you have lasted this long before seeking help. Your GP should be your first port of call, because you can't do what needs to be done if you're feeling run down and not getting enough sleep, which won't help the health of your unborn child, either.
Once you're feeling better, you'll be more able to tackle the practical issues of child maintenance and possible benefit payments. The Child Support Agency is no longer accepting new cases but a new agency, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) fulfils a similar role when parents are unable to reach a child support arrangement. Before you can access this service, though, you must firstly talk to another agency called the Child Maintenance Options (cmoptions.org).
I know this must seem like jumping through unnecessary hoops, but the CMS will not let you raise a new case without a preliminary discussion with the CMO. Once you get this underway, I suggest you then approach Citizens Advice (citizensadvice.org.uk) for legal advice and to discuss which benefits you may be eligible for.
If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence