Zelda West-Meads answers your questions

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Zelda West-Meads YOU for The Mail on Sunday

Zelda reads all your letters but regrets that she cannot answer them all personally

Zelda reads all your letters but regrets that she cannot answer them all personally

Zelda reads all your letters but regrets that she cannot answer them all personally

Will a relationship ruin our friendship?

I have been good friends with a girl for the past five years. We met at university but we both dated other people. Now we live and work in the same city and have lots of friends in common. I get the impression that she would like to have a relationship with me, and one of her friends has confirmed this. She is a lovely person – incredibly attractive, intelligent, great fun and sexy, too. I value her and I’m worried that if she did become my girlfriend and we broke up, we would lose our special friendship. 

When you look back on life, the things you regret the most are the things you haven’t done, rather than the things that you have. If you are attracted to her and she feels the same way, do you want to miss out on the opportunity to have a lovely relationship? Some start with instant sexual attraction, but often the relationships that are more likely to endure begin when you are great friends – as well as being attracted to each other. The friendship helps you to survive the inevitable ups and downs of a relationship. Of course, there is always a risk. When you fall in love, you become vulnerable, but she might turn out to be the girl who you want to spend the rest of your life with. Imagine how you would feel if she started going out with someone else and you realised – too late – what you were missing.  

My husband makes me feel stupid 

My husband and I have been married for 26 years and when things are good between us, it is great. However, he has always been difficult and I feel as though I am walking on eggshells. Unless it’s his decision, nothing is right, and if he doesn’t get his own way he sulks and blames me. If I try to talk to him, he rolls his eyes. When I talk to other people, he ridicules me and makes me feel stupid. Years ago, I told him I was depressed and he mockingly mimed playing the violin. Five years ago, he told me he had become impotent because I always rejected him. I have never had a great sex drive, but I did enjoy sex with him. He refuses to get help. I recently had a panic attack when we were out and he just turned away and a stranger helped me. I can’t do this any longer. I feel rejected, unwanted and unloved.

It sounds as though you have been in an unhappy marriage for years with only brief interludes when your husband treats you nicely. He is controlling, unkind and demeaning. He appears so self-focused that I wonder if he is narcissistic. Some of the main characteristics are arrogance, self-importance, an intense need for admiration and a lack of empathy. Interestingly, 50 to 75 per cent of people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are men. It would also explain why he blames his impotence on you. It is not easy to treat, but long-term counselling with a psychotherapist can be beneficial. However, he would have to accept that he needs help and that may not happen. You would probably be happier if you ended the marriage. It will not be easy because he has controlled you for years. I hope that your family will support you. Contact Lawyers Online (lawyersonline.co.uk, 0844 346 3635) to find a divorce solicitor near you. Get in touch with Anxiety Alliance (anxietyalliance.org.uk, 0345 296 7877) for more advice and support about anxiety disorders, panic attacks, phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder.

He didn’t tell me he has HIV

A couple of days ago, I found out that my boyfriend of one year has HIV. I knew that he took a daily pill, but I thought it was for thyroid problems. The shock was unbearable and when I confronted him, he said that he hadn’t told me because of his fear of rejection. He caught it from a girl he slept with a few years ago. I am hurt about being lied to for a year. A couple of days have passed since I found out and he expects me to have got used to it. He says that I am overreacting and that we should move on and go back to normal, but I feel justified about being upset.

I can see why your boyfriend might have been scared to tell you the truth at the beginning. However, he should have told you and no wonder you are shocked. His attitude doesn’t say much for him, I’m afraid. He should be more understanding and prepared to talk this through. Meanwhile, the first thing you must do is have an HIV test. There is no cure, but there are effective drug treatments. According to the Terrence Higgins Trust (tht.org.uk, 0808 802 1221), HIV treatment works by reducing the virus in the blood to undetectable levels, which prevents it from damaging the immune system. This also means that someone who is having effective treatment can’t pass the virus on. As he takes a daily pill, it is unlikely that he has passed on HIV, especially if he uses condoms. Get tested anyway for your peace of mind. You can also call the Terrence Higgins Trust’s free confidential helpline for more information. If you love each other, you may be able to sort this out together, but you could find that his deceit and lack of understanding have damaged your trust in him.

 

If you have a problem, write to Zelda West-Meads at: YOU, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS, or email z.west-meads@you.co.uk

Zelda reads all your letters but regrets that she cannot answer them all personally

 

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