Summer 2014
  Ask Hillie
by Hillie Marshall

Dear Readers,

Welcome to summer and wonderful weather at last! I hope you're able to take advantage of it with a bit of rest and relaxation in the sun. I would usually be the first out to soak up the rays but we moved house in January to downsize and have now started the process of outsizing! There are builders everywhere, we have no kitchen, bathroom, living room and have retreated to the garage! My husband and I are becoming DIY experts and can mostly be found up a ladder with a paintbrush in hand or in my husband's case, tiling floors and walls. Different!

Last Sunday, having retreated to the pub for some food and a read of the newspapers, it struck me that there is always a story in them about someone cheating, whether it's on their partner, the taxpayer or others. So this this month I thought I'd delve into the world of cheats for my article. Hope you enjoy it!

Best wishes



Probably the world has always been rife with cheats but today they certainly get more publicity. Whenever I pick up a newspaper there seems to be headline news about benefits cheats, cheating politicians with their expenses, celebrity cheats, polling cheats, exam cheats and so on. However this article concentrates on relationship cheating.

As in the case of many wrongdoings, relationship cheating is a stimulating, fun, exhilarating and thrilling time. Those snatched secret moments, the anticipation of more illicit trysts, what an exciting time! That is of course until you get found out and, as is the way of the world, cheats are usually found out and then the heartache and remorse begin. Is it worth it? Well looking back over my life and others, I would say no. The misery and havoc that is wreaked on others is utterly cruel and most probably cheats don't understand the enormity of their actions until it happens to them. I believe in karma; what goes round comes round and invariably at some point cheats will get their comeuppance.

Why do partners cheat?
Traditionally it's been thought that men only cheat for extra sex and women for the emotional feelings that are lacking in their relationship. However nowadays men also cheat because they feel the lack of emotional feelings, intimacy and attention in their partnership plus they don't necessarily go for looks. In fact many of them say the other woman wasn't better looking than their spouse!

Maybe affairs are becoming more commonplace because both sexes have so much more opportunity. Women no longer stay at home to bring up the children and many jobs require us to travel away from home. Being happily married doesn't necessarily prevent an affair and we probably put too much pressure on a relationship if we expect romance and companionship to always be at their peak despite the advent of children or difficulties in finances. When a relationship breaks down the rest of us always wonder what went wrong. But if you are away from home, maybe feeling lonely, or enjoying a sense of freedom from being on your own for once and temptation crosses your path, relationship amnesia can settle in. Life doesn't seem real sometimes when you are away and if you feel extremely attracted to someone else, many people don't have the willpower to refuse and seldom think about the consequences.

Although men seem able to seize an opportunity for a one-night fling, women generally crave for more. Women usually start a new relationship with the person they cheated with, which maybe suggests they had felt problems at home and needed an excuse to end a stagnant relationship and find a more exciting new one.

Very successful professionals, especially men have power, wealth and possibly fame, which makes them stand out and attracts others to them. Single women these days are particularly predatory and don't mind whether a man is unattached or not, they're all fair game to them.

How can you tell if your partner is cheating on you?
There are a few telltale signs that could indicate your partner is up to no good!
Your partner:
1. Spends more time working late, going to work at odd hours or starts going out for drinks 'with the boys' every night after work.
2. Phones you and says they're too drunk to get back that night.
3. Becomes secretive and keeps their mobile phone close at hand.
4. Spends more time at their computer and changes the password protection code on it and on their phone. If you ask why you will be accused of checking up on them and trying to control them.
5. Spends more and more time with a new friend, telling you "we are just good friends"
6. Has secretive phone calls and hangs up suddenly when you enter the room. In fact they spend a lot of time on the phone.

7. Erases the history on their mobile phone and begins online billing.
8. Never says "I love you" anymore
9. Needs more space, time alone or away from the family because of stress.
10. Starts looking better and dressing more attractively.
11. Seems bored at home and irritated with you all the time.
12. Doesn't want any intimacy with you.
13. Starts avoiding you
14. Isn't where you expect them to be e.g. working at the office?
15. Becomes more suspicious of you and wants to know what you will be doing and where at all times. You can end up feeling paranoid, nervous and even guilty if you don't stick to your schedule.

I think you should always trust your own intuition. If you keep trying to find excuses for their behavior thinking they'd never cheat on you, don't be fooled into thinking you are being over suspicious or jealous and start doubting your own sanity; do a bit of sleuthing or hire a professional to do it for you, then talk to them in a calm, reasonable and rational way (even though you feel the opposite) and tell them what you have found out. Ask them to be honest with you but be prepared for lies. If things don't add up then you must go with your gut instincts for you'll never be happy in that relationship again if you harbor suspicions. Always keep a level head and store the information you receive for a later date. The more rational you are, the more information they'll give you, which you'll need if you decide to go for a divorce!
It feels wretched to be duped and you feel foolish, hurt and angry at the same time. Whatever you do, please remember it was your spouse's decision to cheat, not yours and hold your head up high. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family and try not to let the negative side of things take you over and become one of life's victims. In the end you'll wear out the patience of those around you and become an unattractive person to be with. Concentrate on the fact that you've been given an opportunity to see your partner's true colours and the sooner you move on the better. It's a chance to find someone else worthy of your affections and who'll love you as much in return.


Your chance to get your worries off your chest
Whether it's marriage guidance, relationship advice, workplace or career difficulties, or family problems I'm here to help. A problem shared is a problem halved, so if something is getting you down or troubling you please email me at [email protected]

Dear Hillie
Last year, after the death of my son and 2.5 months later my mother, I had to move my father from Texas to Ohio due to dementia.  My sisters have been no help.  My younger sister told me to "Never call me again" when I asked her for $350 dollars to help move my dad. Now my father is in a psychiatric hospital being evaluated for placement in long term care due to the dementia.  My sister in now contacting me to find out what is going on via text even though I have had no contact with her this past year. She was rather cruel when she told me not to contact her any more and she has never apologised for the things she said. Do I owe her a response?  She was never close to my father and hasn't helped him in any way. My older sister has just taken money from him and used his credit cards.  Thank you!

Hillie says:
What a tragic story, my heart goes out to you and thank goodness your father has one loving and compassionate daughter. No you don't owe your sister a response but maybe she is having regrets about her behavior and this is her way of trying to get back in touch with you. Reply to her by text and give her all the relative facts about what has been going on with your father this year and see if she responds. As for the appalling actions of your older sister, I think you should contact your father's credit card company, tell them what's happened and ask for their advice. Also alert the doctors, nurses and security at the hospital to watch out for your sister in case she tries to extort money from your father again. I wish you the very best in these difficult times and well done for being so strong, attentive and caring for your father. Although he has dementia I'm sure he's aware how much you have done and are doing for him.

Dear Hillie
I just don't know what to do about my husband. For months now, he stays out after work and comes home at 2 o'clock in the morning! Sometimes he doesn't come home at all and texts me to tell me he's drunk and that he'll be back in the morning. We have 3 children together and he hardly spends anytime with any of us. When I confronted him about it, he told me he has to work long hours to provide for all of us. I can understand this but why does he feel the need to stay out getting drunk instead of coming home to see the kids and me? And he hardly ever wants to make love anymore. The only time he wants sex is when he comes rolling in drunk. I've recently got fed up of this now and have told him we should end the marriage but he has avoided this and carried on like I never said anything! What shall I do?

Hillie says:
From the way your husband is behaving at present, you might as well officially become a single parent for you are in all but name. Then you can start to build some structure into your life with your children and not be wondering all the time when or if he is going to turn up drunk or not. I think you should seek professional advice from the citizen's advice bureau as to how to start the process of ending your marriage. Once you know what you are doing, have a serious talk with him when he is sober and tell him that you are starting divorce proceedings. Really mean it this time so he actually hears what you are saying and fully understands.

Dear Hillie
A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and I had to have a hysterectomy at 25 years old. Anyway, I am absolutely fine now and have beaten the cancer! I am now 27. And I have met a man whom I have been dating for about 6 weeks now. But I'm scared. I know I need to tell him about the fact I can't naturally conceive a child. But what if he runs for the hill? I really quite like him and he has already made noises about falling in love with me. Please help!

Hillie says:
I think you have no choice, you should tell him as soon as possible. He will appreciate your honesty at the beginning of your relationship rather than feeling duped if you tell him much later on. Tell him what happened and how much you would like to have children in the future if he would also. Although you cannot conceive you could still have a child by a surrogate mother and your partner. You will need to give him time to think about this and whether he wants to continue your relationship. If he really likes you, then things should work out well as you would not be denying him in future from having his own biological children.

Dear Hillie
Me and my partner have been trying for a baby for years now. She really really wants one. It's like it's become her obsession. We have just started a course of IVF now to see if that will help. But I just feel like I've become her sperm donor as she constantly times it to the minute when we need to have sex. She gets so depressed about not being able to conceive and hardly wants to go out these days. It's getting really hard for both of us and I feel like it's completely taking over our lives!

Hillie says:
It obviously is taking over your lives. I suggest you finish this course of IVF then call a halt to anything else and take her off on a relaxing holiday. While you're away have a serious talk with her about other options like adoption or surrogacy that you could consider otherwise your relationship will suffer and there definitely won't be any babies. Very often it's the stress of trying to conceive that stops it happening and when the prospective parents relax and decide to adopt a different course of action, they conceive. Indeed there was a story in the news a few months ago about a woman who gave birth to twins a few days apart from her other baby from a surrogate mother!

Hillie Marshall
Hillie began her working career as a radiographer and then started in show business as a singer and actress, eventually being theatre producer for her company Edwardians Unlimited. Following her divorce in 1989 and with two young children to bring up, she founded Dinner Dates, the social events and holiday Company for single people. Today Dinner Dates is the UK’s longest established company of its kind with over 17,000 members nationwide. The phenomenal success of Dinner Dates for singles gave Hillie the idea of a social events company for couples, so in 2007, she set up Dinner With Friends, the UK’s first couples only dining club. In July 2011 she sold both companies.

Not only is Hillie a successful business entrepreneur, her experience with people has been put to good use and, as both an Agony Aunt through the internet and in magazines, she offers advice and a sympathetic ear to thousands, making sense of personal and relationship problems.

Hillie is an accomplished author and has written three successful books on relationships. She has given relationship advice on numerous TV and Radio shows such as GMTV, Richard and Judy, The Big Breakfast, Esther Rantzen, Kilroy, The Vanessa Show, The Time The Place, Carlton’s After 5 and was ‘Dr Date’ for LBC.

She has two children and lives in West London with her husband.

You can e-mail Hillie at: [email protected]
Her books: 'The Good Dating Guide', 'Hillie Marshall's Guide to Successful Relationships' and 'Agonise with Hillie' can be bought on line at:

Words copyright: Hillie Marshall 2014

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