My boyfriend reads girlie mags; DEAR FIONA.
FIONA SAYS: I think you've summed up the problem very well. He is immature and inexperienced. And looking at girlie magazines is his way of dealing with this - pictures of women place no demands upon him and are easy to "control". How you deal with this is another matter. You're right, my first instinct is to advise you to step away from this man. He seems to have a lot of growing up to do. He hasn't even recognised that chatting up other women in clubs is likely to hurt the women he already has in his life! So the chance of a meaningful, long-term relationship developing seems doubtful.
That said, you love him so I suppose you will want to at least try to change the situation. Have you given him the opportunity to change? Have you told him how much his behaviour is hurting you? This may be all it takes to improve things. If not - and he continues to hurt you - you'll have to think hard about whether he is the right man for you.
DEAR FIONA: My husband and I have had enough of winters in the UK and would like to get away for some winter sunshine between October and February. We are both in our early 70s and have been abroad many times in the past.
However, we have never planned to stay away from home for quite this long. We have also heard many horror stories about other Brits who have run into dreadful problems when doing this. Can you suggest a good source of advice for people like us to plan to spend winter abroad?
FIONA SAYS: There are a number of advantages to staying abroad over the winter months. You can avoid the worst of the British weather and the cost of living can often be cheaper. But as you say there are a number of pitfalls to be aware of. I suggest you begin by contacting Age Concern England's helpline on 0800 00 99 66. This organisation produces a range of fact sheets covering just about every issue you should consider when staying abroad for extended periods - for example, what you do about your pension arrangements. It also has a recommended reading list. Alternatively you can visit Age Concern's website (www. ageconcern. org. uk).
DEAR FIONA: We haven't had a proper holiday for over three years.
My husband's immediate boss is a workaholic and expects his staff to put in the same 60-hour week.
Moreover, he frowns on anyone taking more than a few days off. So when I suggested that I would like to have a long three-week break at the end of the summer my husband said I might as well forget it. I know he would like a holiday as much as me but he's frightened that, if he rocks the boat, he will lose this job.
He admits the hours are getting him down (in fact he is exhausted all the time) but he does enjoy the work. I think he deserves a break and wish he would stand up to his boss.
FIONA SAYS: I agree. A boss has no right to exert this sort of pressure on your husband or any other members of staff. He is entitled to a holiday and should not feel guilty about taking it. So encourage him to take a holiday. And if his boss tried to block it - he can make his case by saying that he will be no use to the company (or his boss) if he collapses through exhaustion. If this fails to work I suggest your husband will have to consider taking this issue to senior management. He husband needs to understand that, while his job is valuable, your life together and his health are every bit as important.