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‘After five years together my partner she still keeps our relationship a secret’

Dear Coleen

Five years ago, I started to play sport after work with some colleagues in my office and some others from the same company. I was getting over a difficult divorce and feeling lonely, I needed to get out and about.

I got really friendly with one of the ladies who played and she explained she’d lost her husband several years ago. We started walking for fitness, going out for day trips and having a great time laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

Eight months later while out on an all-day walk we stopped and chatted and the first kiss happened, followed by several others.

Over time we have become very close. If we are alone, we are like any normal close couple, but if family, friends or work colleagues are about it’s like we are just friends and nothing is allowed to be said.

I tell her how much I love and care for her and that I’d love to be able to tell everyone we’re together. I have also spoken to my grown-up children and to her kids (who are even older than mine), and they are all happy for us to be together. I’m sure they have spoken to her to say they’re OK with our ­relationship and I get on really well with them all.

She hasn’t been able to say she loves me after all these years, which hurts
so much. I would also love for us to live together too, but when I speak to her about it, she doesn’t say no or yes, just that she doesn’t know what to do.

What’s your opinion? Am I wasting my time?

Coleen says

It sounds like she’s terrified, but she’s not letting on why. If she has been widowed, it could be she’s worried about taking that next step in case it all comes crashing down and she is left devastated again. So perhaps she’s worried about getting too close.

She may even feel guilty over her husband. I’ve met lots of widows and widowers who can’t bring themselves to commit to relationships because it feels like a betrayal, even years after their partner has passed away.

However, I totally get why you’re upset that she’s treating you like a dirty secret. And it’s understandable that you’re insecure about how committed she is. So I think you have to quiz her on that and explain how it’s making you feel as if she’s ashamed of you.

I know you love her, but I also think you need to get a little tougher and think about your own needs and your wellbeing.

Perhaps a little time apart from each other would make her realise what she has to lose.

More of our agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s advice on your sex, family, health and relationship problems

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