agony-auntThe other day I asked you to be an agony aunt.  It seemed to go down well and so here is another problem…..

“My partner and I have been together for seven years. My partner has said that before we met he was in love with another woman. At the time the woman wasn’t interested in him and she now has a partner. But my partner and the woman have started meeting for lunch, chatting on the phone and emailing. He says it means nothing but it upsets me. Should I tell him that he has to stop contacting her?

What would you say?  Please…

1) Feel free to post your advice in the comments section below
2) Read other peoples’ comments – if you think the advice is good, press the ‘thumbs up’ button

Let’s see who can come up with the best advice!


  1. ask to stop. if he don’t or starts lying about it, it’s the end of your relation. Face it. save yourself from all the pain and quit. I have been there.

  2. I don’t think anybody should tell their partners what to do, but one should be able to tell them some behavior upsets them explaining why in detail.

    In other way: Don’t command, express your fellings.

    1. Interestingly I would agree with this statement in most circumstances. Not in this case.

      Man: “I’m going to rob a bank”
      Woman: “That upsets me. I would appreciate it if you’d not do that.”
      correct reply would be: “No you’re not! I’d call the police if you would.”

      In this case it’s:
      Man: “I’m going to put our relationship at risk, by semi-dating another woman I fell in love with.”
      What’s next? “Yes, I’ve also kissed her now. But it still means nothing.”
      What would you say then? “That upsets me”?

      What do you expect this to end in?

    2. This sure has an extraordinarily high number of votes compared to any of those who have given more concrete advice….

    3. This sure has an extraordinarily high number of votes compared to any of those who have given more concrete advice….

    4. Sorry folks…this keeps posting in the wrong area. My comment was referring to David Rivera’s 35 thumbs up and not Geodetective’s where my comment keeps landing.

  3. He is already seeing this woman and if he was in the least considerate of you he would not have agreed to meet her in the first place.
    You can ask him to stop or rather explain that it hurts you. If he says that you are being too oversensitive and there is nothing going on then..well. He may well be just taking her to lunch and nothing else.If that is so he wont have a problem stopping seeing her.
    If he doesn’t stop then I am afraid its not looking good for your relationship.

    1. “Why?”
      Easy. This guy decided to have a relationship with you. Not with you and another one. It’s extremely unwise to start chatting and lunching and calling with another one.
      Why did he choose this woman to chat with, and not the grandmother of your neighbour? Because he is in love with her. That’s not “nothing”.

  4. Do exactly the same – start meeting an ex-lover & emailing them etc. Tell him it means nothing to you. See how well he takes it – he is obviously a mature, considerate individual (like all us men)

  5. Explain to your partner that it hurts you because he told you that he loved her once before, ask him directly if he loves you still. Then tell him (calmly) that he can meet whoever he wants but that you are worried you may lose him. And ask him to be honest with you if he falls in love with her again, so you can both move on amicably. Best to be honest AND kind to each other. Dont go on about it to him, nagging, asking questions, as it might push him towards her even harder. And remember she might be totally in love with her partner and have no ideas about doing anything with him.

  6. Personally, why not tell him that this rekindled relationship is making you feel insecure, considering what you know about his past feelings. You could then ask if there is anything he could (honestly) tell you to make you feel less insecure. This does come with some risks, as he may not be willing or able to reassure you that your insecurities are misplaced, so you may need to think about whether an ugly truth is better than a comforting lie. Difficult.

  7. Ask to join the two of them at lunch, I like to meet my partner’s friends. If you do meet her, then you may be able to judge the situation a little better for yourself. If he refuses, I think you have a problem.

  8. Jealousy and insecurity are difficult things in a relationship. I know…I’m the insecure one. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that the hurt is real. I would sit down and explain in a patient and adult manner that this friendship is hurting, perhaps suggest coming along to the lunch-dates and see how all three get on. The fact that he is not hiding the meetings suggests there’s nothing really to it.

    Failing that, B & Q have a sale on, for products such as shovels, heavy-duty bin-bags, duct tape and bags of lime…

    As an aside, is it weird that the most disturbing aspect of this post is the lack of closing quotation marks? How can I know when the dialogue from the woman finishes? It’s truly disturbing me…

  9. Consult a professional astrologer.

    The four people involved have complex journeys through their lives that are interacting in surprising and complicated manners. One way to start unthreading the complications is to return to the start of their journeys.

    Our birth signs coupled with knowledge of location and circumstances of birth give us a good starting point to start a good investigation. Just as a Doctor will take a full medical history rather than leap in and diagnose the symptoms that are presenting.

    Astrology is not the full answer but it is a vital starting point if we are to have any prospect of success in unravelling the complications that are Human lives and Human relationships.

  10. Explain how it makes you feel. Give him the opportunity to tell you what it’s all about for him. If it is more than friendship: trust that he will tell you. Jealousy can push partners into other peoples arm. For me Trust is everything in a relationship. Once that is gone it is the beginning of the end. I trust my husband to stay at his ex’s house (she is in a foreign country, she is his good friend, it saves on hotel bills, I trust both of them and I know he is mad about me).

    If you don’t trust him and and let him know you think he is already having an affair, it could feel to him feel like there is no point in remaining true to you. It’s like if you were wrongly fined for dodging the congestion charge one day… then you might as well drive around inside the congestion charge area, because you have already paid the price. How much worse can it get doing the crime if you have already been punished for it?

    If you don’t trust him then the relationship might as well end there, because it will be hell for you both.

  11. It isn’t nothing.
    You don’t have lunch, chat and email with simply anyone. (assuming all communications are 1-to-1)

    The main thing is to discuss and not demand that he stop contact.

  12. If the other woman is his mother, let him meet with her. If it’ s not his mother , you should meet with her and make her your partner then seven years from now you should find his mother and meet with her. Then for your finale, you should meet with his father and claim that you were both of their mothers all along.

  13. Being honest is always going to work out better for you and for him. I assume you still have fondness for your partner and feel the relationship has legs. In which case, demands and ultimatums are not going to work out well for either of you.

    When something hurts us, we shut down our introspective and empathic selves. We stubbornly refuse to see the other person’s view. That applies to both of you. Until we properly understand the other person’s motives, we will not move beyond our naive reactions to a place where we can make a decision that balances reason and emotion.

    I suggest you try having a frank and honest discussion with him. Lower the stakes initially by letting him know you love him and are not about to leave him. Find out if he’s willing to answer some questions you have and reassure him you’re not trying to pick a fight, you just want to understand what’s happening. As directly and neutrally as possible, ask him why he’s doing this. Once he’s engaged, keep asking ‘why?’ until you get to the root of what’s happening. Maybe there’s something sinister, maybe not, but you won’t know if you make no effort. If the relationship is worth preserving, then go for it.

    One more note – If he objects to the discussion, explain to him why it’s so important for you to understand what he’s doing. Superficially, it looks and feels as if he’s taking up with an old flame and that would be a threat to your relationship. If he still insists it’s nothing and tries not to engage, remind him that you’re not trying to control him, just understand what’s happening. Remind him that you are feeling hurt and upset and you don’t want to feel that way and you just want his help.

    A relationship isn’t a war, it’s a negotiation. The closer you come to DEFCON 1, the more likely things are to explode. But you can avoid that by acting now.. I suggest it’s worth the effort.

    TL;DR. Ask him why. Gently.

  14. Objecting may only make you come across as over-demanding or possessive. I’d suggest that you go along with him to the lunches, meetings etc, as you’re interested to meet and get to know his old friends. And ask him what they chat about in a pleasant way. If there are objections or dismissals of these suggestions then maybe there is a problem. But if he is really still interested in this woman or still in love with her, your objections won’t make it go away but probably drive him more towards her. If that is the case, in the end he will have to choose between you and in that case your being understanding and trusting rather than issuing ultimatums and causing bad feeling will only count in your favour.

  15. Let it go. Your partner is being open with you about this friendship, so assume the best, that your partner is also being honest about the extent of this friendship. You cannot control your partner’s life or friendships. Look into yourself to figure out why you might be jealous, and rid yourself of the jealousy. If you can’t, let your partner know how you feel, without making any demands. Your partner’s response and actions will tell you more about how your partner feels about you, and about this new friendship.

  16. Ask him to sometimes invite you too to the lunch with her, or ask him to bring her over. If nothing is wrong he should oblige and you could see what sort of relationship they are having.

  17. If your partner was in love with her enough to tell you about it then he still is. If nothing has happened yet he is secretly hoping something WILL. Let him go before you get really hurt. Then you’ll see where his heart really lies. People can’t help who they fall in love with.

  18. Like the great song standard says; “ALL, OR NOTHING AT ALL.”
    Believe it or not, promoting this kind of friendly (liberal) contact, breeds promiscuity.
    Don’t believe me? Try it yourself!

  19. Real lovers let lovers love others. Love is not something to control; it’s more of a guide in this exploration and learning of life. This also sounds like a great experiment for “questioner” to investigate her insecurities. Giving permission also defuses any inclinations to do something because it’s “dangerous”. You may want to go back and read your wedding vows. Find right relationship, live your life in honesty and leave the “victim” role of what “he is doing to you”… rather, he is doing this “for” you to know yourself and your boundaries. Good luck and good learning!

  20. I would not say he has to stop seeing her. But I would express how I felt about their contacts, how it actually made me feel, e.g. anxious, threatened, whatever, and that I love him and didn’t want to lose him. I’d attempt to open up the conversation and see what we both could learn form this.

  21. The ex girlfriend now has a partner. Why not suggest having the two of them over for dinner? That should be comfortable enough for everyone and you can probably put your worries at bay. If your partner disagrees to this, I’d want to ask why.

  22. Don’t tell, demand or require. That way lies failure of the relationship. I am uncertain about telling him how it makes you feel. Best would be to ask, to enquire what this relationship is about. This needs to be out of genuine interest not an inquisition. Do not just assume innocent until proven guilty. Go further and let him know you see this as innocent and you want to know more because you are interested in him.

  23. have lunch together…body language will give great insight along with the actual conversation…all U need is love someone once sang…

  24. I have recently been in contact with a girl I was in love with 50 years years ago, and whom I have not seen for 37 years, only to find out that she is still married to the guy she met after we split up. So with regret I shall have to let it drop as I think to continue contact is inappropriate.

    Similarly for your partner to see an ex-girlfriend he should realise is inappropriate and is not fair on you if he loves you and he should be prepared to stop it. It is also not fair on her partner and to carry on can only lead to unhappiness.

    If he is not prepared to see reason get ready for a lot of hurt on all sides. You need to fight for what you have.

  25. It’s hard to let go of someone you once loved, even if you think you have moved on. Give him time. This time around, he needs to say goodbye to her. Then it will truly be over with her. Don’t try to stop him. He’ll only resent you and keep wondering, what if. Let him find out.

  26. You’ve been with your partner for seven years and it seems from your letter that he was only interested in her before you two got together. Think to yourself. How many people did you have feelings or crushes on before your relationship began, or even during your time together? How many of these have you acted upon? How many do you now simply view as friends? While your mind has leapt back to that point during your understandable worry about him spending a lot of time with another woman, there is nothing to say that it’s anything but an innocent meeting of two friends.

    You should not tell him to stop seeing her as taking that sort of control in a relationship will turn the other person into the sidekick or puppet. How would you respond if he demanded you stop seeing someone you were friends with. Many a seemingly healthy relationship has fallen apart because two people simply weren’t communicating well enough. That a crush from seven years ago has affected you so deeply appears to show that trust and self esteem, at the very least when it comes to this woman, are an issue for you. The fact that he wanted her when you two got together may have left you feeling like his silver medal without even realising it, and I have to wonder what he’d say to you if he knew that?

    The best thing you can do is to sit down with your partner and have a serious discussion about this, making sure you’ve both dedicated enough time to really work through your feelings and issues. Explain to him exactly why him seeing her and being in such frequent contact bothers you and ask him to be honest with you about the nature of his relationship with this woman and whether he still feels the same way as he used to. Try to see things from his point of view and make sure he can see things from yours too.

    1. This actually sounds like a pretty good approach! Finding an armadillo that large might be the toughest part of the solution, though.

    2. @ricardo

      I am sure there will be a website or app somewhere for people who want to hire frozen armadillos.

      I do not advocate killing whether with or without the singing of songs afterwards. Yet seeing creative brainstorming to find solutions is much more gratifying than the mathematical “rational” approach common in other answers.

      We must not be afeared to think defiantly outside the box. The problems are not in a box so neither is the solution and thus so must we not be.

      Our world is in a mess due to too much rational/logical thinking. The “science” of economics is based solely upon that. Let us celebrate free thinkers who go beyond that model to find answers in the deeper truths of our reality.

  27. Do not, do not tell your partner to stop communicating with his former flame. It will encourage/force him to keep communicating with her to spite you and will prove that you do not trust him. If you leave it alone, one of two things will happen — he will realize that the love he has is far more valuable and naturally back away from the old flame, or he will dump you in favor of a unrealistic dream, in which case you should be happy to be rid of him.

  28. Is he excluding you completely from all these meetings/contact? People from old friendships and relationships do swing by every now and again but if all is innocent and above board then they should be welcomed into your existing life and not sectioned off from it.

    If you are being excluded, and your partner is being secretive, then that would be worrying. Explain to them that you feel concerned, especially given their former feelings for this person. If they wish to have continue the friendship are you able to offer friendship too and welcome them into your joint social circle? If you are but your partner is not willing to do that then alarm bells should be ringing loudly.

  29. What is the radius (relative to its unit square size) of the largest circle that can be drawn on a chess board so that the circle’s circumference lies entirely on black squares?

    1. A circle can only intercept a straight line at two points. Hence largest chequered square 3 by 3.

      By the way, newcomers (it seems there are a few), Richard used to do puzzles on this site (not any more it seems) and we kept them going while he was away for the last few months.

    2. I don’t understand this answer. I would have thought the largest circle had to circumscribe a white square, so the radius would be half the diagonal – which is sqrt(2)/2. What have I missed?

    3. Chris – that’s one possibility, but you can do better by having the centre of the circle in the centre of a BLACK square and then the circle passes through corners of the eight black squares that surround that black square:

    4. Doh! Of course. Thanks – that reply makes it clear (which Eddie’s didn’t really).
      Although it took me a little time to realise that your answer of sqrt(5/2) = 0.5*sqrt(10) = sqrt(1.5^2 + 0.5^2) (using Pythagoras for diameter and radius)
      Isn’t maths fun.

      (But should we refrain from more puzzles until we see what Richard does tomorrow?)

    5. Sorry ChrisR – didn’t read all your comment. I was thinking of tweeting Richard and asking him if he minds all this fringe activity on his blog.

    6. I really wonder if Prof Wiseman is that bothered. We were “hijacking” an earlier post for ages without any comeback. Even here, he puts on the first agony aunt post “let’s see who can come up with the best advice”, but then doesn’t make any comment this time to say who did come up with good advice or reflect anything that was said in the comments. Does he really read any comments?

  30. Tell him you are ready to take the relationship to the next level and ask if he would be interested in a threeway with you and the other woman.

    He will inevitably pitch this idea to her.

    She will reject the offer and be offended that he offered. The resulting tension will end their romance.

    You however will have introduced a fantasy that will be difficult for other women to compete with.

    On the off chance she accepts the invitation, you know her designs aren’t long term anyway.

  31. It is an issue of trust. If you trust your partner, then no harm done and let him have his fantasy. If you don’t trust your partner, then this is the least of your problems. Either find the trust or find another partner.

  32. A strangely shaped object has a circular base and a single linear top edge which is parallel to a diameter of the circular base. The side surface is formed by straight lines from all points along the top edge to the base. These lines are all perpendicular to the top edge. What is the volume of this object relative to a cylinder of the same base and height? Solution can be determined without complicated mathemaitcal techniques.

    1. I realised that the shape you are describing is approximated by a Calippo wrapper (type of lolly, see Google Images). So, maybe I’m HALFway to an answer.

    2. It would be exactly 1/2 the volume of the cylinder.

      Assume the object is inside the cylinder, so that it shares the same bottom circle, and the top line is a diameter of the cylinder’s top circle Consider any vertical slice perpendicular to the top line through both objects. On this slice there will be an isoceles triangle where it intersects the object and a rectangle where it intersects the cylinder. Area of the triangle is 1/2 bh, and the area of the rectangle is 1/2 bh. Let slice thickness -> 0 and number of slices -> infinity and the limit of the volume ratios remains 1/2 all the way.

    3. Thanks Ken,
      I could visualise the problem but not the solution (although you’ve slipped on the area of the rectangle)

  33. More information is required, eg, how long ago was your partner in love with this woman? (if its over 5 years then the love in him may have subsided and he just wants her as a close friend)…. are you a jealous person? are you seeing things that may or maynot be there? ….. do you trust this man? is he prone to affaires? how did you meet? was it on the rebound from this woman? (if it was your in trouble!) please fill in the blanks………. …… then make your own responsible dicision and stop projecting your problems onto the rest of us! we have all screwed our own lives up! …….. what makes you think anyone else knows more than you! …… good luck love alex.

  34. It used to be normal, before becoming ‘partners’ and living together, a couple would exchange wedding vows to forsake all others. Lacking such a vow, what grounds for complaint does the partner then have?

  35. Without googling, what’s the effective resistance between diagonally opposite vertices of a cuboid wire mesh electrical circuit with a resistance of 1 ohm along each of the 12 edges?

    1. 5/6 ohms. It’s essentially a series of 3 1-ohm resistors in parallel (=1/3 ohm) followed by 6 in parallel (=1/6) followed by 3 in parallel (= 1/3). 1/3/ + 1/6 + 1/3 = 5/6.

    2. You’re a clever cookie Ken, but you didn’t mention symmetry and the fact that the potential is the same at the end of the three resistors attached to the input and output – that’s the clever bit!

    3. True. I left out those details. If I could do it easily I would have posted a diagram showing how the network can be simplified where potentials are the same, by shunting those locations together and creating the series of 3 sets of parallel resistors. 3 – 6 – 3.

      Here’s a variation: Change one of the resistors to 2 ohms. (2 cases: (1) the 2-ohm resistor is adjacent to the start or end junction, and (2) it’s not–it’s in the middle somewhere.) I haven’t solved this one (yet).

  36. Asking him to stop will probably be fruitless. Tolerating the behavior clearly threatens your relationship. So, ask him, how can you be sure “it’s nothing.” If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, it’s time to consider breaking up. If third parties (children?) are affected by the break-up it gets more complicated, and you have a right to expect more of a commitment. I’d suggest counseling in that case. He needs to recognize that his behavior is a real danger to your relationship.

  37. Hiya I’m in need of some advice I had my last wage of my employer but they took over 100 pound for all sorts of things like £50 for administration fee witch we got email no paper involved £50 for training I didn’t do and £30 for a uniform I paid for myself .and I started in march this year on a zero contact I didn’t give notice I was leaving I asked them to pay me holiday pay witch I never ad and they didn’t pay me any of it I got 577 pounds to live on for month my rent is 325 council tax is 88 a month an then have to pay gas electric ect please if any one as any advice please let me know xxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: