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Your problems: Miriam Stoppard's advice column; So ashamed of my stolen kisses.

LETTER OF THE DAY WE'VE recently celebrated our ruby wedding with family and friends. We renewed our vows at the church we married in and had a party afterwards.

During the evening, I was very drunk and my wife found me kissing another woman.

Naturally, she was very upset and we stopped speaking to each other for a while.

We did make it up but since then another situation from our courting days - when I dated two other women - has surfaced. I was stupid to tell her and she's still hurting.

I love my wife deeply. Her love and commitment to me has always been total, right through our marriage and courtship.

She tells me I've broken her heart. She feels betrayed that I'd been unfaithful to her, although I've told her many times there was no sex.

IF your wife still needs to be convinced, your words are far more persuasive than mine could be. For that reason, I've taken the unusual step of photocopying your letter and sending it back. Show it to your wife.

I'm impressed by what you don't say as much as what you do. There's no attempt at self-justification, no excuses, just a deep regret that you should have hurt the woman you love.

It seems that the incident at your ruby wedding celebrations was nothing more than an excess of alcohol and high spirits. Foolish, yes, and painful for your wife to witness but not something that should be allowed to threaten your relationship.

Your wife seems to have accepted that it was unimportant in itself but that made her think back to your courting days. When we're young we're less thoughtful, less careful about other people's feelings than after a lifetime of experience.

We're also more spontaneous and self-absorbed. I'm sure it was in this spirit that you dated two other people when you were in a committed relationship with the girl who was to become your wife.

You had every opportunity to go off with another girl, and that would have been very normal behaviour for a young man. But you didn't because you were in love.

Perhaps these very brief encounters actually helped you to understand that you'd made the right decision.

Have you ever come across the saying that the past is another country -they do things differently there? It's true even for our own past. I know I wouldn't wish to be held to account for everything I did and said in my late teens and early twenties.I'M going to stay with my grandfather in the States this summer after my GCSEs. I'm taking my friend with me as her parents want to give her a treat after the exams.

It will be great but what's worrying me is my friend and I are very different. She likes clubbing all night and getting off with boys.

I'm not the kind of girl who will snog anyone and anyway, my grandfather won't like it if we go out all the time at night. How can I satisfy my friend's expectations?

YOU mustn't take self-sacrifice to extremes - it's your treat, too. Your granddad has generously agreed to be chaperone and your first priority should be to show your appreciation by not giving him any hassle. I expect he's busyWill boy-mad pal spoil our US trip? making plans to show you girls a great time and you ought to fit in with what he's arranged.

Next, you have to consider what you would like to do and not just pander to your friend's interests. After all, you are doing her a big favour.

To be fair all round, I suggest you divide your time between what granddad has in store and what appeals to you and your friend.

Don't wait until you're in the States. Sort out an agreement now, so she doesn't have any illusions and the trip lives up to everyone's expectations.I'VE fallen in love with my mother-in-law. She's 45 and a divorcee and we've been flung together a lot recently because my wife's been working abroad.

Several of the nights my wife was away we had too much to drink and ended up having sex, which was a wonderful experience.

She's taught me things I never knew and since my wife came home, we've tried to meet whenever we can. I don't think I can live without her. Is it illegal and could I marry her if I get a divorce?

A MAN cannot marry his mother-in-law, but legality isn't really the issue here. Morally, what you two are doing to your wife is very wrong.

I suspect you're in lust and not in love and you probably saw EastEnders where Grant got himself into a terrible messI've fallen for my sexy mum-in-law when he tangled with Tiffany's mum. The repercussions were horrendous and the pain and anguish of your wife's discovery that you've been bedding her mother are likely to be equally traumatic.

You're a weak, selfish man and your wife deserves better. But if you get out now, you might be able to save your marriage and avoid wrecking your three lives.

If it comes to a choice, your mother-in-law will almost certainly give you up for the sake of her daughter and you'll be left high and dry. Some people might say that's a fitting punishment.I'M 73 and I have very high blood pressure for which the doctor has given me tablets over the last five years. I masturbate several times a month and have done so since my wife died.

Recently the doctor said he needs to change my medication for something "a little stronger".

I didn't want to tell him about my habits but do you think I could be damaging my health through masturbating?

REGULAR masturbation won't harm your health, in fact it's good for every organ in your body.

High blood pressure occurs when there's an increase in force of blood flow against the artery and heart walls. Smoking, too much alcohol, obesity and stress are contributing factors. Releasing sexual tensions can only be good for you.

Blood pressure may be brought down by losing weight, moderate exercise and a low-salt diet. Avoid animal fats found in meat, eggs, butter and cream.

But, for severely-raised blood pressure, one or more antihypertensive drugs may be prescribed, such as diuretics, beta-blockers, vasodilators, ACE inhibitors and calcium antagonists which work in different ways on the heart, blood vessels and nervous system to reduce blood pressure.

One or a combination of these drugs may be prescribed, leading to satisfactory control of hypertension in most cases.I'VE been happily married for 30 years but since the menopause got its teeth into me I've been having a few problems sexually.

I seem to have lost my sex drive in that I'm just not interested any more. This isn't because I don't love my husband - I do - and we've always had a very good sexual relationship. It's just the way I feel and I wonder if other menopausal women have similar feelings?

I haven't had a hysterectomy and my last period was about two years ago. Should I try HRT?

IT isn't true that the menopause marks the beginning of a woman's sexual decline, but many women do notice some changes in the way their bodies respond during arousal and sex.

This is often due to physical changes in the urogenital system. Oestrogen receptors are found in abundance in the genital organs and these keep the system healthy and resistant to infection.

When hormone levels fall during the menopause, the receptors can no longer bind with oestrogen resulting in a dry, itchy vagina and vulva, which causes pain during sex.

All forms of HRT should relieve vaginal dryness and soreness, although if vaginal symptoms are your only menopausal symptom, a local vaginal oestrogen cream or pessary may be all that's needed.

Hypothyroidism bec-omes more common in the menopausal years and this may be another cause of low sexual desire. A simple blood test will determine if your thyroid is working efficiently.MIRIAM'S PHOTO CASEBOOK

Mum can't break away - Day 3GIRLS, I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU... WE'RE

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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Stoppard, Miriam
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 9, 1999
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