“My boyfriend has had affairs but I’m 52 – so should I dump him?”

Dear Coleen

I know I need to end the relationship I’m in, but I don’t know how to do it. I’ve been hurt by boyfriends in the past and I’m quite dependent on my partner as a result. Also, I’m 52 and never thought I’d be single again at my age.

My partner is 61 and we’ve been together for seven years. The first few years of the relationship were fine, but then I found out he was cheating on me – and I suspect he still is when he gets the opportunity.

He’s never made me feel I’m enough for him and criticises the way I look and even says I’m bad in bed, although it doesn’t stop him wanting to have sex with me.

I’ve always been able to move past his affairs because they’re usually short-lived. He gets bored and moves on to the next thing.

However, I’m just exhausted by it now and think the only option is to leave, but it’s hard to find the confidence to do it.

My friends and family have never liked him and have always encouraged me to dump him, and I can’t explain why I’m still in this situation. Can you help?

Dear Coleen

Coleen says

I’ll tell you why you’re still in this situation – because this horrible man has destroyed your self-esteem and, if you stay with him, you’ll get to a point where you’ll feel so worthless and dependent that you might never find the strength to walk out.

Don’t be stuck with this person for the rest of your life – he doesn’t deserve you and you deserve to be happy and to be treated with respect.

Your life isn’t over at 52. I’m 55 and got divorced a couple of years ago and my whole life has opened up, and I’ve never felt happier or more at peace. I’ve also stuck my toe into the dating pool again and I can promise you, there are plenty of lovely men out there who would jump at the chance of a date.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Please believe you are worth more than this relationship. You might need some help to see this and I can’t recommend counselling highly enough – it’s what finally gave me the confidence to end my first marriage.

When you do take control and find the courage to put yourself first, it’ll be a huge relief. And please reach out to your friends and family – it sounds like they’ll jump at the chance of helping.

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