Ask Fiona: My 'charming' husband beats me behind closed doors and I don't know what to do
Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance to a woman who's afraid to leave her abusive husband, and another who's having an affair
EVERYONE seems to think I have the perfect marriage, but the reality isn't like that. My husband can charm the birds from the trees, we have a lovely home and plenty of money. The world sees this witty, charming man but once we're home, he's a completely different person.
He has an incredibly short temper, which I am regularly at the brunt of. When he loses it he becomes violent and aggressive and I've ended up in hospital twice in the past six months, both as a result of him hitting me. He's broken my nose, I've had cracked ribs and lost a couple of teeth, but he's always so sorry afterwards and says that he just can't help himself, so I end up forgiving him.
I know he had a difficult childhood and whilst I still love him, I am finding it harder to keep this a secret. I tried dropping hints to my mother over Christmas but she didn't pick up on them - perhaps because she only sees him in 'charm' mode. She just said all marriages have their ups and downs and you have to put up with the bad times as well as the good. I don't think she's any idea how bad the bad times are and I'm so frightened that things are only going to get worse. I know you'll tell me I should leave him but I'm used to having nice things and a lovely home so I don't know if I'd cope on my own. I'm so confused and unhappy.
I'M HAVING AN AFFAIR AND SO CONFUSED
I'VE been having an affair for the past year with an amazing man who is interesting to be with and genuinely listens to what I have to say. It feels so good to have a two-way conversation with someone again, as my husband never seems to have any time for me these days – he's far too busy with his job. I still love my husband, even though I hardly see him, and I felt so guilty about this a while back that I went for two months without seeing my lover. It didn't last though and I am seeing him again, but how do I choose between the two of them? Is there is any hope for a happy future in all this?
WE'VE STOPPED HAVING SEX SINCE OUR SECOND BABY WAS BORN
WHEN I had my second child, 18 months ago, I went off sex completely. It was a difficult, forceps delivery, and while sex was uncomfortable for a while it wasn't painful – just nothing at all, to be honest. I struggled to explain to my husband how I felt, and he tried for a while to persuade me, but after one unpleasant row, he gave up. I never said that I would be like this forever and I hoped he would be patient but now he has stopped even mentioning it. Just recently he moved into the spare bedroom and I am worried that this means the end of our sex life for good. I do still love him and I'm sure he loves me too, so what has gone wrong and how do I put it right?
MY MISCARRIAGE HAS LEFT ME SO UNHAPPY
I LOST my baby in the fifth month of pregnancy early last year. My partner and I were both devastated and although we want to try again, it somehow feels wrong. It's not helped by the fact that I burst into tears most days. We've been trying now for six months but I'm still not pregnant which adds to my unhappiness. I'm beginning to think there is something wrong with us.