| 4.6°C Dublin

Ask Majella: Majella O'Donnell solves your problems

A woman who has been married for twenty years wonders if she is bi-sexual while a job offer abroad is causing difficulty for a couple.

Dear Majella,

I'm a 46-year-old mother-of-three and I've been married to my to my husband for 20 years. Until now, I've been happy enough with my marriage. My husband really loves me, he's a fantastic father and he's incredibly supportive of the family. But several months ago I met a woman through a pilates class. At first we were very close as friends, but now I'm starting to have feelings towards her. She is gay and sometimes I do feel like I'm flirting with her. I go out of my way to spend time with her, like going for lunch together during a working day or meeting at the cinema. I'm certainly having sexual feelings towards her and I think I might be losing interest in sex with my husband. I'm worried that I could be bi-sexual, but never have realised it until now. I have been attracted to women in the past but not on this scale. I'm so worried I'll do something which could tear our family apart but, on the other hand, I really feel like if I ignore it and stay away from her I'll be terribly unhappy without her. What should I do?

Majella replies: Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer to your problem. It is purely a choice that you have to make and a very difficult one at that. So, let's look at your choices.

The first option is to stay with your family and try to work through your feelings in the hope that you can rekindle your love and sexual feelings for your husband. From the description that you have given me of your marriage, most women would be very envious. You said that you 'might' be losing interest in sex with your husband, but if you are thinking about this woman in a sexual way, then of course your husband is going to seem rather dull after all these years. You must decide whether or not you think leaving your husband and causing hurt and pain within your family will be worth it and, unfortunately, that is something that you cannot guarantee.

However, if you feel so strongly about this woman, would you be living the rest of your life feeling extremely unhappy? The second option is to take a risk on a relationship with the woman. It is a huge risk and I am not saying that it would not be worth it, but you need to be pretty certain that this is what you want to do. If we were to take the gender issue out of the scenario, would you feel differently? If it was another man you fancied, would you consider leaving your family for him?

If you were extremely unhappy with your life then it may well be worth leaving it all behind, but you are not. What if things didn't work out for you and this other person? Would you be happy to be on your own or would you want your old life back again? If the answer to that is a 'Yes' then that says it all!

Maybe you just need to concentrate on your life with your family and distance yourself from this other person for the time being. You owe it to your family to do everything in your power to make things work before you decide to throw it all away.

Dear Majella

I've just been offered a job in Abu Dhabi through a friend of mine who works over there, but I'm not sure whether or not to take it.

My girlfriend was gobsmacked when I told her. She got really upset and would barely speak to me even though I just told her about the offer. She thinks I've been plotting a move without her, which is not the case. I told my parents, and my mother was distraught also. She was hiding it well but I could tell she had tears in her eyes. The thing is, I've stuck out the recession here with appalling pay and conditions and this opportunity would see a huge increase in pay and would give us a better lifestyle for the future.

It feels like it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I just wish my partner could be more open-minded. I'm thinking that if I turn it down now, in a few years time I'll regret it and be resentful that she wouldn't let me go.

Majella replies: You are absolutely right! You would regret it and probably be very resentful, and feel that you were forced into that decision.

I can understand that your girlfriend is upset at the thought of losing you, but it doesn't have to be that way.

If this is an opportunity for you to make a better life for yourself then you should go for it. You have to do what you believe is right for you.

I am a firm believer that you only have one life and you need to live it to its fullness. If this is what you really want, then you go for it. If the relationship is meant to survive, then it will. You cannot live your life for other people.

It is your life and it is up to you to make the very best of it. What if you turned this offer down and your girlfriend leaves you in the future? You would be very disappointed that you had given up this chance.

Your mother is obviously going to be sad at the thought of you going away but I'm sure she would want what was best for you.

I say go for it - and good luck!

Weekend Magazine