AGONY ADVICE: Answers to your relationship dilemmas

Skilled columnist and advisor Fiona Caine answers another set of reader dilemmas.

I am very much in love with the man I live with and he is with me. The problem is his ex-wife. She calls at least every other day with some problem or another, and spends years agonizing over this or that problem. She doesn’t try to persuade him to come back – at least I don’t think she does – but it’s as if she’s so used to relying on him that she can’t make any decisions without him.

READ MORE: Agony Advice – My Husband Never Loved Me

I don’t know how to help and advise him. He is, however, determined to move forward with the divorce and says he knows he will never be able to live with her again.

I would like to know what to do for the best for him and for his children.


I can’t help wondering if this isn’t a very manipulative tactic on his part to make him feel guilty, and use the kids to persuade him to come back.

His marriage may be over, but his responsibilities as a father are not.

Please encourage her to see her children, and to do so as often as necessary.

Maybe if they felt supported, they would cause less trouble, and his wife might not feel the need to unburden herself so often. You say he’s determined to move forward with the divorce, and if that’s what he’s planning on doing, then delaying things won’t help. In time, as she learns to fend for herself, she probably won’t feel the need to call as often anyway.


It’s barely been six months since we planned a big wedding for our daughter, for which we went into debt. Now she says the marriage is over and won’t tell us why. She wants to leave her husband (who is distraught and doesn’t understand either) and come back to live with us.

My husband punctured her heels and says she can’t go home unless she pays off the wedding debt or gives us an explanation. He believes this is the only way for her to face up to her responsibilities. I know she doesn’t earn much and if he forces her, she’ll get herself into debt that she can’t repay. Who is here, and what are we doing to help?


I think it’s important to find out what went wrong in her marriage, but I don’t think threatening her is the right way to do it. It could be that the fairy tale wedding did not properly prepare her for the realities of married life. She may have a sexual problem, which is why she is reluctant to tell her father about it. It could be all kinds of things, and talking about it could be very difficult for her.

Rather than making debt a condition of returning home, why not ask for advice? If she could talk to a Relate counselor, it might help her get through this.

  • If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice.

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