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Stalker ex

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 20 May 2016
Dear Patricia Marie,

Last year I met a man through a dating site and went out with him just the once. Before our date I had spoken with him a few times, and felt comfortable enough to progress to the next stage of meeting him. However, during the date it became evident we were not suited, and I cut the evening short. I made it clear I wouldn't want to take it any further, and as far as I was concerned left on friendly terms.

I then went on to meet another man whom I've been with for 8 months and couldn't be happier. The problem is the previous date is incessantly contacting me, demanding I give him another chance, even though I have texted him that I have moved on, and asked him to leave me alone.

Despite this, he continues to phones me at least twice a day. I never respond, but he is now leaving messages of a threatening nature saying if I don't meet him he will tell my new boyfriend I slept with him on the first and only date, which is obviously totally untrue. He emails me the same sort of messages too.

I am wanting to change my contact details but this would create much inconvenience. Thankfully he doesn't know where I work or live, but the messages are becoming more frequent and intense with him declaring his undying love for me.

Perhaps I am overreacting, but I am now becoming scared. I do know where he lives, and have thought about going to see him to confront him, but not sure it will make a difference.

What do you suggest?

Patricia Marie says...

This man is stalking you, and it is imperative that you protect yourself and put an end to his disturbing behaviour. Do not meet with him under any circumstances as this could exacerbate the situation. You are doing the right thing by not responding to his messages. Retain every one he has sent you, and make a note of every phone call. Go to the police with this evidence and tell them you are extremely concerned for your safety. You also need to consult a solicitor for legal advice on the possibility of obtaining a restraining order from the Court, which would prevent this man contacting you. Please do not downplay your fear, as his actions are a great cause for concern, and you are most certainly not overreacting.

I strongly advise you to change your telephone numbers and email address immediately. Be aware also that online social networks like Facebook are an open resource for tracking someone, so be sure to update your privacy settings, or better still, for the time being, remove your profile. These changes will give you peace of mind and deter all future contact, and any resultant inconvenience is surely acceptable, considering the alternative.

His declaration of love is not love, it's harassment, which has to be stopped. Stalking is dangerous and a serious crime. It can cause severe psychological distress to its victim, with side effects such as depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and post traumatic stress, and in some cases even result in physical harm, which is why I urge you to act right now.

For further help and advice call: The National Stalking Helpline. 0808 802 0300 advice@stalkinghelpline.org

My husband was violent last night

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 26 February 2016
First, I'd like to say that my husband is not usually a violent man. Although he often shouts and uses bad language, which can be quite scary, he has never hurt me before. However, last night he pushed me hard against a wall.

He has been incredibly stressed recently, mainly because his mother died and he accepted a promotion with extra responsibility at work. He came home and was shouting and punching things in the house. I was trying to calm him down but he swung round, screamed at me and then shoved me away.

It has left me so shaken and on edge around him. He has apologised repeatedly but I'm so upset with him and can't seem to forgive his actions.

I know he doesn't need extra worry on top of his existing ones but how can I move on from this? Am I overreacting?
Thank you.

Patricia Marie says...

There is no excuse whatsoever for domestic violence. You are most certainly not overreacting, and I admire your courage in acknowledging this is a serious problem. Although it is the first time your husband has physically attacked you, due to the continued revilement you were suffering, it was almost inevitable violence was to follow.

Do not be a victim any more, or feel that you have to forgive him. He must accept the consequences of his actions, and it is now time for you to put a stop to this abuse before the situation worsens. You say he has been constantly apologising, but merely saying sorry is not enough. I would recommend you tell your husband you need some time apart while he addresses his behaviour. Tell him you can no longer risk being treated in this way. If he realises how much he is hurting you, and genuinely wants to change, this will be a good start, but if not, you should question the future of your relationship.

Your husband needs to embark on Anger Management classes as a matter of urgency to gain more self-control, and to prevent further repercussions. I feel he would also benefit from seeing his GP, who could refer him for Bereavement Counselling, as it would appear that he is in denial of his emotions, and has not yet come to terms with the loss of his mother. Having professional support will enable him to deal with the increased pressures at work as well.

You do need to look after yourself. I recommend you contact The National Domestic Violence helpline. They offer 24 hour help and advice, and counselling too, which could improve your self-worth and help you regain any lost confidence, as any form of abuse can leave one feeling insecure and fragile.

Remember, we all have a right to live without fear of violence and abuse.

The free National Domestic Violence number is: 0808 2000 247 www.refuge.org.uk

Valentine's Day

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 11 February 2016
Yet again another Valentine's Day is upon us. If you feel sad and frustrated because this is a reminder that you're single, it might help to realise that you are not alone, and many dread this time of year. Here's some tips to not just get you through, but also to help you have the best Valentine's Day ever!

Enhance your social life to encourage new relationships
Venture out of your comfort zone and find out what's happening on the singles scene. A number of bars and venues hold singles parties, especially at this time of year, where you can celebrate as an unattached person. Don't take your love expectations with you though. Just go for a great time and to discover new people with whom to converse and share cocktails. Also consider joining a reputable dating site, or embarking on new hobbies and interests. How about arranging a fun night out with friends? Who knows, any of these could lead to an unexpected encounter.

Treat yourself
Don't yearn for that Special Someone to treat you. Go and buy that beautiful bottle of perfume you love. Treat yourself to some flowers. Splash out on a yummy box of heart shaped chocolates. Even better, treat someone you love, such as a close friend or family member - Valentine's Day needn't just be about expressing love to a partner.

Celebrate being single, and be happy within yourself regardless of your relationship situation
Just because others are partnered up on Valentine's Day, doesn't necessarily mean that they are blissfully happy. Remember the advantages of being single, such as free time, less responsibilities, the ability to make your own decisions, staying up until midnight eating ice cream and watching a slushy film, not having to tolerate your partner's family or watch those football matches. Then think about how some of these would evaporate within a relationship. Enjoy this single time. Just because Valentine's is approaching, don't rush into the wrong relationship and settle for less than you deserve out of loneliness.

Get some perspective
Do remember, whilst at this moment you may be without a partner, there are plenty of Valentine's Days in a lifetime, and many possible people with whom you could eventually fall in love. Put away the soul searching love songs, and listen to energising music to lift your mood. Don't make the day about loneliness, make it about happiness, and instead of moping around, be inspired by Bridget Jones, who after having enough of being alone, and constantly belting out "All by myself" became determined to find love, and did just that.

Avoid being swept away by a tide of gloom
Sometimes we can feel desperation at our single status, because of the sheer bombardment of media suggesting we will risk missing the boat. Try not to make this day about what you haven't, more about what you have in your life. Celebrate the strengths and achievements that testify to you being a whole and healthy person, someone who has space for love should it come along, but who doesn't need such a relationship to create self-worth and happiness.

And finally.......
Make sure you acknowledge the people who do matter, and make this Valentine's a day about love, even if you are single. A day when you can strive to open yourself up to change and be willing to focus not just on the love you hope to receive, but on the love you can give.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

I don't find my partner sexually attractive anymore

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 15 January 2016
Dear Patricia Marie,

I have been married for just over 2 years to my second husband, who is kind and loving. The problem is that I don't find him sexually attractive anymore. I love and care for him, but, to put it bluntly, no longer fancy him. I am 52 and menopausal, so keep thinking this may be contributing to my loss of libido, which has now started to affect our relationship. Our sex life was good when we first met, but it is now almost non existent. I want our love life to return to the way it was, but don't know how to do so.

Thank you for reading my problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Patricia Marie says...

In the early stages of a relationship, sexual desire can be intense, then generally the passion is replaced by deeper love, warm companionship and familiarity. Nevertheless, loss of libido can become a serious problem for many couples, and appears to become more common with ageing. Often when someone is withdrawing from intimacy, they tend to push their partner away, yet, ironically, this is the time when communication is more important than ever. For many couples celibacy can become a habit, and the only way to break this pattern is to start indulging again. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Do consider there are many psychological reasons for not wanting to make love, such as stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, and depression. Part of the desire to make love is purely physical. The rest is emotional. Relate can offer expert Psychosexual Couples Counselling which you may find beneficial. The menopause doesn't help either, as most hormones have an impact on sexual feelings and behaviour, so eliminate any problem here by arranging a blood test with your GP.

Can you share with your husband your desire to rekindle the fireworks between you both? This should open up the channel of intimacy and help create a reconnection. Plan ahead for an intimate evening. It's surprising how sending a few flirty text messages throughout the day can instigate sensual thoughts. Prepare an easy supper, so you won't feel tired, enjoy a candlelit bath together, and see where this leads - which may not necessarily be to the bedroom. Variety really does help. There is nothing quite as boring as predictable sex.

We can all take what we have for granted. Remind yourself of all the things you used to find seductive about your husband, then re-visit those memories, which could reignite the spark between the sheets.

I recommend: Reclaiming Desire by Andrew Goldstein and Marianne Brandon.

Relate: 0300 100 1234 www.relate.org.uk

Tips for a healthier and happier New Year

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Monday, 04 January 2016
Dear readers,

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful New Year, and have included some tips to encourage this. However, sometimes life doesn't always run smoothly, and I therefore continue to look forward to helping and advising you with any problems that you may encounter.

LEARN TO DE-STRESS
We can often be pulled in many directions and rarely stop to recharge. Prioritise the important tasks, such as work, but ensure you create a good balance of relaxation time too. Try meditation – switching off and relaxing your mind is an excellent way to take stock of life and find peace, even just for five minutes, and enhances wellbeing.

BECOME MORE HEALTHY
The festive period may have left you feeling sluggish due to lack of exercise and overindulging. Feel more energised by making healthier eating choices, and raise fitness levels as well as overall happiness by increasing your exercise. You don't necessarily have to rush out and join a gym. Small changes can make a big difference, such as walking instead of taking the car.

QUIT SMOKING
If you are a smoker, giving up is probably the biggest simple step you can take to improve your health. Sometimes this addiction cannot be fought alone - help is only a phone call away. Ring the NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0300 123 104. Kicking this habit will increase your chances of living a longer, far healthier life.

CUT DOWN ON ALCOHOL
Alcohol has been linked to obesity, cancer and liver damage. If you regularly drink too much alcohol, it can make you feel anxious, and interfere with your sleeping patterns. This habit needs to be broken, so, instead of heading for the bottle, try a relaxing bath, and have some non-alcoholic drinks in the fridge to enjoy. Diverting your thoughts to something pleasurable will help keep you focused. If you really can't resist, allocate dinner time only to enjoy a glass of alcohol.
If you think you may have a problem with alcohol call Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) on: 0800 9177 650 www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk

TAKE UP A NEW HOBBY
Do something different - be it embarking on a part time course at your local college, joining a dance class, or taking up cross stitching. There is nothing more empowering than learning a new skill, and new found enjoyment helps keep depression at bay.

MANAGE YOUR MONEY
If you are experiencing financial gloom, make 2016 the year to address this. Start by listing your income and expenditure, then plan a budget and stick to it. Give yourself rules, such as leaving your debit and credit cards at home. You will be amazed how much you can save by not having available cash to hand. If you can, tear up your credit card to avoid the temptation to spend unnecessarily. Ignoring any creditors only makes things worse, so be brave and contact them to arrange an affordable repayment plan, thereby regaining control.

ELIMINATE NEGATIVE RELATIONSHIPS
If you are in a relationship with either a partner or a friend, which is causing you to feel unhappy, resentful, exhausted, drained, or bad about yourself, take responsibility and either work on improving the relationship, or sever ties, and spend more time with those who make you happy.

And finally, some wise words
'Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instil in us'. Hal Borland

I'm worried for my friend

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 18 December 2015
One of my friends has recently set up a joint account and is planning on renting a house with someone she met on the internet six months ago. He seems nice enough but my husband and I have noticed he has some serious money issues and lies a lot, for example when he told her he has never been engaged before when in fact he has. He has become friends with my husband and tells him things that are different to what he tells her. She is completely in love with him and is planning their entire future, oblivious to his financial situation. I don't know what I should do. I can't tell her anything my husband has told me about him as I don't want to spoil their friendship or be in the middle. Also, I'm worried it's none of my business. However, I'm struggling to sit back and do nothing when I'm worried he might hurt her. Or am I just overreacting and should ignore it? Please help. Thank you.

Patricia Marie says...

You are concerned that you don't wish to jeopardise your husband's friendship with this man, yet they have only known each other for a few months, and in this time he has lied about both personal and financial matters, so perhaps discord between them is preferable, to protect your friend from making a huge mistake with him.

However, please remember, your friend is in love with this man, and may be in denial if told something she doesn't wish to believe. Rather than being seen as a caring friend for disclosing this information, you might be construed as a troublemaker, which could cause you great anguish, despite your good intentions.

Although I do understand your wish to enlighten, you may risk your friendship in the process. Nevertheless, you could have a candid discussion with her, and explain how worried you are that she is verging on a huge commitment with a man she barely knows. Suggest she checks his authenticity, and particularly the personal facts he has communicated to her. If she shows resentment at your suggestion, be prepared to let her find out the truth for herself. Some of the best lessons ever learnt are those we learn from our mistakes and failures. After all, the error of the past can be the success and wisdom of the future.

It is possible that this man may have no ulterior motive, other than perhaps retaining information for fear of being misjudged by your friend. If it should prove that he has been manipulating the truth, is not to be trusted, and the relationship does crumble, continue to be there for her, and she will see that you are very much a friend she can depend on.

My boyfriend constantly puts me down

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 06 November 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,
My boyfriend constantly puts me down, particularly when we are out with friends, and it is really starting to cause a problem. He says it is just his sarcastic sense of humour, and all his past girlfriends have found it amusing, but I am starting to lose my confidence when I am with him.

I am reasonably attractive, with a slim figure, but have always had low self esteem, ever since my mother walked out when I was 14 years old, and my father made it obvious I was a nuisance to him.

It has taken me a long time to accept myself as I am, and although I don't want to break up with him, I also don't want to start feeling bad about myself again. If I try to talk to him about it, he just gets angry, and says I have no sense of humour and that he is only joking, but he does seem to pick up on all the things I don't like about myself and make them into 'jokes'.

Is there anything I can do to make him stop?

Patricia Marie says...

People who constantly find fault in others, are generally insecure and unhappy within their own lives. It's unhealthy for any relationship to be filled with criticism. Make your partner aware of how much he is jeopardising yours. Perhaps he grew up with a critical parent, was bullied himself, or maybe he is carrying regrets or resentments from previous partners.

This man is able to make you feel worthless because you are allowing him to, and constantly facing such negativity is quite understandably wearing away your happiness. If you really want to salvage this partnership, calmly ask him why he feels the need to verbally attack and belittle you. I suggest you make it clear that you will not tolerate this behaviour any more. If he realises how much he is hurting you, and genuinely wants to address his issues, this will be a good start, but if not, you have to ask yourself why you would want to stay with a man who is making you so unhappy.

If you can't make a decision right now, have some time apart, to allow you to re-evaluate your feelings. It could be that your boyfriend's attitude has reignited in you painful memories from the past which you may not have dealt with at the time, and I therefore believe you could benefit from some counselling. This will empower you by building your self esteem, enabling you to think more clearly, and help you make better decisions both at this present time and in the future too.
You may come to a decision to sever ties, but remember, no relationship is ever a waste of time. If it doesn't bring you what you want, it teaches you what you don't want, and do keep in mind, all endings bring new beginnings.

I recommend you read Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, by Mira Kirshenbaum: A Step by Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay in or Get Out of Your Relationship.

The British Association of Counselling and Therapy (BACP) 01455 883 300. www.bacp.co.uk

My relationship is falling apart

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 17 July 2015
Dear Patricia Marie
I've been with my other half for 6 years and we've been friends for what seems like forever. He's always been a very confident person and I know he can be a bit of a flirt. We've always joked about it before and I've always trusted him, but now I feel he's taken it a bit too far and is taking advantage of my laid back attitude. Whenever we go out he ignores me and speaks to other women instead and some of our mutual friends have mentioned to me how inappropriate he is. Also, he left his iPad connected to Facebook when he went out the other night and when I went to use it there were countless messages from women I'd never even heard of on the screen. I didn't even know he used Facebook that much. I don't want to speak to him about it and make things awkward as we're due to get married in a month. Also I think I'm worried about what he'll say. However, I feel he deserves to be confronted as it's not fair and I'm doubting whether he's the right man for me to commit to. I can't believe this is happening and I feel completely overwhelmed. It's like I don't know him anymore. Please help me. I want to get to the bottom of this, even if all I discover is that I'm overreacting. Thank you.

Patricia Marie says...

Finding messages from women on your partner's Facebook does not necessarily reflect how he feels about you. It's more likely this type of social networking has become a habit to him. However, to initiate a stable married life, it's a habit that needs to stop. After all, I doubt he would approve if you were chatting online to different men. You need to confront him and set some boundaries, which your relationship clearly doesn't have, and take responsibility for the way your partner has been treating you. It seems you have allowed him to behave unreasonably until it suited you to question otherwise. As harsh as this may seem, the reality is unless you start to respect yourself, nothing in the relationship will ever change, and you are wise to question matters now, before getting married. You both need to have a serious talk about the future you are planning together, as communication is key to a relationship's health, and speaking openly about concerns should help reduce your anxiety.

Although expecting your future husband to make you happy all the time is unreasonable, being with the right person should bring a sense of security as well as fun and laughter. You will know you're marrying the right person if he treats you with care and respect, and you don't feel the need to monitor his phone calls or computer. Nevertheless, it doesn't mean that the two of you won't have problems to deal with. A successful marriage is not just about sharing the good times, but dealing with the difficulties life brings, and bonding from such experiences.

Sometimes real problems surface nearer the wedding date, because you're moving closer to a lifetime commitment. By ignoring them, or putting them off, you may be trying to convince yourself they'll go away by themselves. Please don't allow yourself to feel pressurised, and let the cost of any financial losses influence your decision in any way.

Remember, doubts don't mean doom, but must be addressed. You are right to be feeling overwhelmed and anxious, but anxiety and doubts are not the same thing. If you are really unsure about getting married, believe in your instincts, be strong and take action.

My heart is broken. How can I trust another man?

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 02 April 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,
I am 60, and have recently split from my boyfriend of 3 years. We had a fabulous relationship, or so I thought, until I found out he had been cheating on me with two other women. He hasn't denied it, and says he doesn't know what he wants anymore, and is moving miles away to start a new life on his own. Whether this is true or not makes no difference, he doesn't want to be with me.

What makes it so upsetting, is I believed him when he said he loved me. I am extremely intelligent and never had any reason to doubt he was anything but faithful. Our sex life was fantastic, and we had so much in common. To say I feel empty is an understatement, as I know I will never meet anyone like him again. In fact, I don't think I could ever trust another man again. My heart is broken, and I don't know what to do.

Patricia Marie says.....

There is nothing worse than a broken heart, and it's not surprising your scared of falling in love again after such a painful experience. You loved your boyfriend, therefore the intimacy you shared was particularly meaningful to you. For him, the attention of three women more than likely made him feel powerful and desirable.

Yet the reality is he is nothing more than a Casanova who is not to be trusted, and simply doesn't deserve you. When we fall in love we can never be certain that person won't hurt us, because the very act of falling in love makes us vulnerable.

The alternative is to be alone - which I feel in your case would be such a waste, as you are clearly a person who demonstrates warmth and passion, which others could benefit from. Don't let your ex's untrustworthiness jeopardise your future happiness.

It is a natural instinct if you have been hurt to put barriers around you and not allow yourself to trust, but if you do that, you could miss out on the joy of spending a lifetime with someone lovely and worthy of you. Ensure you surround yourself with friends that you can trust and depend on to get you through this bad time, and hopefully in time your heart will begin to heal.

For a comfort therapeutic read, I recommend: 'I Can Mend Your Broken Heart' by Paul McKenna.

My Son Won't Settle Down

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 19 March 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

My 30 year old daughter has been happily married for 10 years now, while my 25 year old son is still drifting from one relationship to another. He introduces his girlfriends to us as the love of his life, and a few months later it's all over. My husband and I have enjoyed wedded bliss for almost 35 years. It is extremely upsetting that while one of my children seems to have followed our example, the other has not. I am becoming increasingly concerned by my son's erratic behaviour.

Patricia Marie says.....

Having blissfully happy parents can sometimes be an unexpected disadvantage. Your son could be approaching every relationship with totally unrealistic expectations. If he measures every one of his new relationships up against what he experiences at home, he's soon going to feel disappointed. It may be that you're applying unfair demands.

Your son could be introducing every new girlfriend as 'The One', because he feels that's what you want to hear - and it seems to me that he is desperately trying to seek your approval.

He is still young enough to be playing the field, and maybe you should let him do so, free from the weight of your expectations. Whilst it's a comfort for you to know your daughter is happily married, you cannot compare your son's situation to hers, as this could jeopardise your relationship with him. Your son has his own unique personality, that if you were to embrace, could enrich your relationship with him. Trust that he is an adult, able to make his own choices regarding his relationships, and believe based on his many experiences, that when he is ready, your son will hopefully be able to make a good decision that is right for him - not one that is expected of him.


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