Agony Aunt Annie offers advice to a reader who has just left a useless husband and is being comforted by her best friend…

Dear Annie

Please can you advise me on this complicated situation. I have been through a very difficult marriage with an extremely irresponsible and depressed man. I have tried to work this relationship out as we have a nine-year-old daughter together.

I feel like I’m the only parent in the house

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I earn three times what my ex does and I take responsibility for most of the bills. Not only that, but I do all the chores, arrangements, policies, etc, etc. My ex works a low-key job and then comes home and games. He refuses to do anything when at home, and so to keep the peace I cope as best I can.

I picked up a lot of weight as I comfort ate. I started talking to my best friend a lot and he encouraged me to go to a counsellor.

I realised how I was enabling my ex and I started to take control of my life. I lost a lot of weight and started going out with friends and laughing again. My ex hated these changes and constantly told me how terrible I looked thin.

I realised how I was enabling my ex and I started to take control of my life. I lost a lot of weight and started going out with friends and laughing again. My ex hated these changes and constantly told me how terrible I looked thin

My best friend has been a constant support and gives me the male perspective. We are platonic friends as he is happily married. I have met his wife and she knows that we are friends, as we carpool to work everyday.

My ex is now accusing me of having an affair

This was made worse by a mutual friend of ours asking if I was having an affair as i always seem to be with my friend.

I finally had enough of parenting him and we separated. He moved back in with his mother. The divorce has not been finalised yet and my so-called affair is being brought up.

He continues to act in immature and irresponsible ways, creating embarrassment at work and social events. My friend stepped in at the last incident and took charge of the situation, telling my ex that he cannot talk to me in the abusive manner in which he does and to respect my boundaries. He backed down, but then I got 14 text messages about being unfaithful.

I want this man out of my life but I still have to manage his visits to my daughter

They are so sporadic and unreliable that my friend has stepped in a few times to help my daughter too. He has been a better and more reliable father figure to her than her own father.

My mother has voiced concerns when my daughter mentions my friend. Why can’t people understand that we are just friends?

My life is far more peaceful with my ex gone and I have all the support that I need. How do I convince everyone that we’re just friends?
Love
Ina

Dear Ina

Thank you for your letter. It sounds like you’ve had a hard time with your husband.

Being around someone negative and overly dependable on you can be exhausting

We constantly train our children towards responsibility and independence with the hopes that they will eventually leave and live independently on their own before they create their own overly-dependent little offspring who constantly demand every scrap of their energy, every second of their time, every clean shirt they own and every stray thought that doesn’t involve childcare.

Congratulations on your first child leaving

It would seem that he has not reached independence, and so I think it is fitting that he has gone back to his mother. Let’s hope he has many chores and many consequences and reaches responsible independence before he makes it into an old age home.

Let’s talk about what you’d like in a relationship with a man

Someone responsible and independent would probably top your list. Every girl wants a man to stand up for her and believe in her.

Shared interests and good communication are a must. You have a daughter so a good relationship between her and the man would be essential.

It seems that you have someone ticking all these boxes

You need to be emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically connected to have a good relationship. You’re able to tick three of those boxes in this current relationship.

This man is spending more time with you than with his wife. I can see why even your mother thinks that you are having an affair.

Ask yourself this: Is there room in your life for a relationship with a man who gets you, supports you, understands you, wants to spend time with you and connects with your daughter… or is there already a man doing all this?

You are beautiful!
Love and blessings
Annie