Columnist and counsellor Fiona Caine advises a young woman feeling confused after a one-night-stand, and another whose husband keeps leaving

I SLEPT WITH A GUY AT A PARTY AND NOW DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO

I’ve always been quite a shy person and haven’t been on many dates but just over two weeks ago, I went to a party where I met a really nice guy. We spent the whole evening chatting and got on fantastically – I was thrilled as it doesn’t often happen to me like that.

Anyway, it turned out the party was at his cousin’s house and, at the end of the evening, he asked me to stay over and spend the night with him. I liked him so much and thought he seemed genuine so, to my own surprise, I agreed.

The following morning, I went downstairs for a glass of water, before he woke up. His cousin and some of the other people who had also stayed over were laughing and teasing me so much that I felt used and dirty, so I left. I just walked out without saying goodbye or anything.

Over the next couple of days, I waited for him to call but I didn’t hear anything from him, so I sent him a text. He didn’t reply and now I don’t know what to do.

I know we really liked one another, and I really, really want to see him again, but on the other hand, I don’t want him to think I’m a pushy slut desperate for him.

D. L.

FIONA SAYS: YOU MIGHT NEED TO PUT THIS DOWN TO EXPERIENCE

I know this felt very special to you, but I fear that, for him, it may well have been just another one-night stand. Those with a bit more experience will probably recognise the type that can turn on the charm and make you feel like you’re the most important person in the world. I’m not saying he is that kind of person – just that the signs are there.

There are, of course, other possibilities; his cousin may have said something about you that put him off; he may have been offended that you left without saying goodbye. Perhaps he thought you’d run off because you’d regretted what happened between you, although I would have thought your text would have reassured him, in that case.

It might also be that he had a bit too much to drink and didn’t even fully remembered what happened between you. There are so many possibilities here, but you have done the only sensible thing you could do.

You contacted him and, having done so, you’ve waited for him to contact you.

Whilst I’m tempted to say, “just forget him”, I recognise that will be hard for you because, you don’t sound like the kind of person to treat something like this as meaningless. So, as long as you’re sure you have the right number, maybe send just one more text message.

Keep it simple, saying something to the effect that you’re sorry not to have heard from him, that you enjoyed the evening and hope to hear from him again. If there’s no response to a message like that, then I think you’re going to have to assume he doesn’t want further contact with you.

Putting an event like this down to experience isn’t easy but I’m afraid that’s how you will probably have to view it. Keep your dignity and don’t make any other contact, however difficult it feels.

Whatever happens, nobody should feel ‘dirty’ for having casual sex – providing that it’s fully consensual and everybody involved is comfortable with the situation of course. As well as thinking about your emotions, it’s important to be fully prepared in terms of contraception and practising safe sex too. Brook (brook.org.uk) is a useful source of information and guidance on sexual health and relationships for young people.

MY HUSBAND IS REFUSING TO GO ALONG WITH OUR DAUGHTER’S WEDDING WISHES

My daughter has just got engaged to lovely man and they plan to get married next summer. She’s planning a very special, dressed up occasion and wants the men to wear top hats and tails. When my husband heard this, he hit the roof, saying he’s not going anywhere dressed like someone from a Fred Astaire musical.

He’s refused to talk about it any further and my daughter just thinks he’ll come around in the end. I know him better though, and when he digs his heels in like this, I know he won’t budge.

I am worried that this is going to spoil what should be a lovely day for our daughter and I don’t know what to do.

B. V.

FIONA SAYS: THEY MAY ALL CHANGE THEIR MINDS BY NEXT YEAR

It’s quite unusual, these days, for men to wear top hat and tails except to the most high-society weddings, so your daughter may change her mind by next summer. On top of it being a little over the top for most modern brides, it’s really not that comfortable for the male guests on a summer’s day; it’s very hot!

Nothing will be gained by you getting too stressed about it now – there’s plenty of time nearer the wedding for that!

If she decides it’s really what she wants, then I suggest you leave your daughter to manage her father. Most daughters seem able to manipulate their dads more easily than wives can. If he really digs his heels in and refuses to go with the dress code she stipulates for the wedding then, closer to the time, it might be worth pointing out a few home truths.

Make sure he realises that he might be the only man there not wearing a morning suit and that it’s her day, so he risks harming his relationship with her if his stubbornness get the better of him.

WHY DOES MY HUSBAND KEEP LEAVING AND COMING BACK?

During my 24-year marriage, my husband handled all the money matters and always dealt with paying the bills. I didn’t work during this time and, as it was effectively his money, I was prepared to let him spend it as he saw fit.

In July 2017, he left on what he said was a business trip, but the next day I received a short letter to say he was leaving. He then simply disappeared, leaving me, his children and his job.

Naturally I was very shocked and hurt, then, a year later, I got a solicitor’s letter with divorce papers. By then I’d had to move into a small flat, find a job and start to rebuild my life.

Via his solicitor I wrote explaining our circumstances and asking for money – at least for the children, both of who are at university. After that, money appeared in my account regularly, so things weren’t as bad.

I’d started to feel my life was back on track when, three month ago, he turned up on my doorstep! He said he’d made some dreadful mistakes, that he still loved me and asked if I would take him back. I don’t know why I should have believed that he was sincere, but I did, and he moved in straight away. My kids were furious with me and they were right because a month later, he was gone again only to return the following week.

He’s left and returned twice more since then and I feel so totally confused.

How can he behave like this? I wonder if I’ll ever be free of him.

S. W.

FIONA SAYS: DO YOU REALLY WANT THIS CYCLE TO CARRY ON?

Since walking out on you in 2017, he has returned three times, only to let you down each time. Nothing he has said or done since suggests that he is in any way ready to do anything about repairing your marriage.

I suspect that, deep down, you know that if you continue to let him back into your life again, he is only going to continue to hurt you. Is that what you really want?

I can understand why your children are angry – they must hate to see the way he is treating you. You have made a new life for yourself; you have a job; a new home and you clearly have the love of your children – do you really need to continue to let this man hurt you?

If you genuinely want to be free of him, the next time he turns up, tell him to leave – and make sure you mean it.

MY BOYFRIEND KEEPS LOOKING AT YOUNGER WOMEN

For the past 18 months, I have been going out with a man who is four years younger than me. When we’re alone together, he’s great, but if we go out, he seems to spend all his time looking at younger women.

We’ve had lots of arguments about this and he doesn’t seem to understand why I get so upset. I’ve had two relationships go sour on me over the past six years and, on both occasions, these men left me for younger women.

I love my current boyfriend and he says he loves me, so why can’t we get over this and move on?

T. H.

FIONA SAYS: HAVE YOU EXPLAINED HOW YOU FEEL?

Does this man know about your previous relationships and how badly you’ve been hurt? If he did, he might understand why you get so upset; be prepared to be more reassuring and be a bit less obvious about looking at other women.

I don’t know how old he is but it’s pretty immature of him to be so inconsiderate, and perhaps he needs to grow up a bit. If he can do that and be more understanding then that would be progress but, from your past experiences, I think your confidence has taken a knock.

There will still be situations where you encounter other women and, unless you can stop feeling anxious, I suspect there will be more times when you feel your relationships is under threat. If you can learn to feel more confident about yourself and if you can start to believe that he really does love you then hopefully you’ll cope better.

You need to heal after what’s happened and, to begin this process, I suggest you contact Relate (relate.org.uk) and arrange to talk with a counsellor.

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to help@askfiona.net 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.