The TV presenter and comedian advises readers as Weekend’s agony aunt
want a repeat performance of the wedding and the run-up to the ceremony. I really want her to be happy and enjoy the day or, if she feels she can’t manage it, not hold it against me. She makes me feel as if it’s my fault for putting her in these situations.
She hasn’t met anyone else to share her life, but of course can bring a friend — male or female — and she knows lots of my friends so she wouldn’t be isolated. Do you have any advice on how I can make the day easier for her? DearGraham At a friend’s party last week, I met a handsome, funny guy who said he was a sex addict and was currently being treated. He has since left a message on my mobile phone, inviting me to dinner (I gave him my number before he made his startling revelation). Three days later I still haven’t called him back, even though we really clicked. My worry is that I might be getting myself into something I can’t handle. Am I being a prude? Or is it wise to be cautious?
LindaB,Hastings DearLinda I know this is a serious problem that is recognised by medical science, but I can’t help thinking that deep down all men are sex addicts. However, I could be wrong and, if he starts pleasuring himself with a bowl of lasagne over dinner, then I apologise.
But you obviously like the guy, so why not accept his invitation and see where it goes? Nibbling a breadstick by candlelight with this man doesn’t automatically mean you’ll end up at some busy lay-by on the A40 surrounded by soap stars.
Of course this could all be a clever ploy because, if you go on a few dates with someone you think is a sex addict and he doesn’t lay a finger on you, it won’t be long before you start thinking: “What’s wrong with me?” Pretty soon you could be a desperate exhibitionist riding the night bus in a revealing outfit.
All men may not be addicts but we are all creeps. DearGraham I don’t fancy my wife any more. We’ve been married for 10 years, have three children and in many ways I do still love her. She’s an attractive woman (with her clothes on), but I’m ashamed to say that when she takes them off she looks a bit saggy and worn out. The fact is that the spark’s gone.
There’s a woman at work I find myself thinking about all the time. She’s made it clear she’s keen. Surely the odd, discreet shag (it’s only sex, after all) would be OK if it means I’m better able to play Happy Families?
BenT, Richmond Dear Ben You have obviously written to me in the hope that I will give you my blessing for an affair you have already decided to embark on. I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.
What you say is true: sometimes sex is just sex. But an affair is called cheating for a reason. If the game is Happy Families, then you are about to break all the rules. Every lie you will be forced to tell your wife and children makes the whole idea of happy families one enormous lie.
You have, in that brilliantly male way, come up with a perfect solution to your problems. It’s just that it causes more problems for everyone else. How long do you think the keen woman at work will be content to be the sexual equivalent of a motorway service station? Do you honestly believe that your sagging wife is happy to watch you touch your driving gloves more than her? In 10 years you’ve had three kids and I’m guessing she has noticed your diminishing ardour.
You and the rest of your family should be a team and you must work together to make things better for everyone. Dragging someone else into your grim scenario helps no one. And yet there is a sad inevitability about the whole grubby cycle in marriages of affairs followed by forgiveness followed by more affairs.
Please understand that I’m not trying to diminish your problems, but there must be other avenues to explore because I just can’t see how becoming someone you don’t like or respect will make you happy. DearGraham I’m really in need of your advice. When I got married two years ago, my mother struggled with the wedding day because my father was there with his second wife.
He has been with this woman for 20 years (my parents split up 25 years ago and my mother has been on her own ever since) but, in the runup to the wedding, my mother kept going on and on about how awful it would be for her to see my father because she still feels so hurt.
I tried everything to make her comfortable on the day and ensured that our friends gave her a lot of attention, but I can’t tell you how much of a cloud she cast over the wedding.
We had a baby last year and want to have her christened soon, but I’m dreading telling my mother because I don’t DearSarah What a lovely daughter you are. I’m touched that you still care about the feelings of a woman who doesn’t seem to care about yours. Twenty-five years on and she still hasn’t managed to come close to a single self-help cliché. She should have notes on her fridge and in her lavatory telling her to “Get Over It” and “Move On”.
My only advice would be to invite her but make it very clear that you don’t want a repeat performance of her behaviour at your wedding. Be firm. If you indulge her maudlin self-pity, it will only get worse. Remind her that this is a special day for your baby and your husband and if she feels she won’t be able to enjoy it then she shouldn’t come. Offer her an alternative of a really lovely lunch, when she could give her grandchild a special christening gift, and see which she chooses.
I know you mean well, but by pandering to her adolescent sulking I fear you are simply prolonging her agony. You are the child of the broken home, you were the bride and you are the mother of the baby. Your mother needs to realise that the occasion is not about her — and your husband must never feel that you might one day turn into her.