Great Britain

From saucy texts to gym romps — Dear Deidre reveals some of her favourite letters from the ’00s and ’10s

AS The Sun’s Agony Aunt, I have been helping you with your dilemmas for 40 years now.

It is still the most wonderful job to be entrusted to help with your worries.

To mark my four decades on the paper, I have opened up my files from across the years.

I estimate there have been between six and seven million letters, emails, messages and calls to my helplines.

Although the subject matter of your problems shows just how much society has changed, they also show we are still grappling with the age-old dilemmas – around love, sex, family and relationships.

I have updated a few answers where necessary so the contacts are correct.

The 00s

Husband has smut ty messages on mobile

DEAR DEIDRE:  I FOUND sexy messages on my husband’s mobile phone, things like: “R u a stud muffin? Me 2.”

Then I found condoms and a pair of women’s panties in his pockets. We’ve been married for four years. I’m 36 and he’s 24.

Recently my husband told me he was going to a funeral. He didn’t come home afterwards, and when I called one of his friends, he told me my ­husband hadn’t been at the funeral.

I started checking his pockets. That’s when I found the messages on his mobile, the knickers and the condoms.

I know he goes upstairs to make calls to a woman several times a week.

I confronted him about the panties and he said he had set a trap for me because I keep going through his things.

He’s now saying marriage is not for him and he’s taken off his wedding ring.

For the past few months, the only time he says he loves me is before we make love.

Otherwise he’s cold and callous. When will it end? Or am I over-reacting?

A note from Deidre

THE number of people owning mobile phones went up from roughly one in five to four in five during the Noughties, paving the way for more cheating.

But for the straying parties, it also upped the odds of being caught.

DEIDRE SAYS: You are under-reacting to your husband’s intolerable behaviour because you are hoping your marriage can survive.

Your husband was young to marry and settle down – and he is still showing immaturity in how he’s handling this now by trying to push the responsibility for ending your marriage on to you.

Tell him he has a choice – either make an effort to save your relationship, or leave.

Either way, make an appointment with a relationship counsellor to help you see how you go from here.

Find out more at relate.org.uk or tavistockrelationships.org.

War has left us in crisis

DEAR DEIDRE: MY husband fought with the Army in Iraq and now we’re ­fighting to save our marriage.

He’s 37 and I’m 36. We’ve been married for 11 years and have a daughter aged eight. We’ve always had a great relationship.

He left the Army after returning from the war last year and started a new job straight away.

He came home recently and dropped a real bombshell, saying: “I love you but I’m not in love with you.”

We have decided to give our marriage another go but there’s no real feeling between us any more and I can’t live without love.

He wants just to carry on and forget all about his past experiences — but how is he going to get his love for me back?

A note from Deidre

THE Iraq War began with the US-UK coalition invasion in 2003.

Conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan continued throughout the Noughties.

DEIDRE SAYS: It is easy for us back home to underestimate the strain and horror of war, while men like your husband don’t want to distress their partners.

Much of his problem is that he rushed straight to another job.

He is likely to be suppressing lots of bad memories and his love for you has damped down, too.

Contact the SSAFA Armed Forces charity and ask for help to organise suitable counselling (ssafa.org.uk, 0800 731 4880).

It will really help you both to move forward.

Dogging just too dodgy

DEAR DEIDRE: MY girlfriend wants to try dogging. She’s even researched where and how.

I’m 25 and she is 26. We’ve been together for five years.

This all started after the attention over the Stan Collymore incident.

She found a nearby dogging location on the internet.

I consider myself good-looking and well-endowed, but I really don’t fancy the idea of someone else watching or joining in.

How can I persuade her to forget this?

A note from Deidre

FOOTBALLER Stan Collymore was caught “dogging” in 1994.

DEIDRE SAYS: Tell your girlfriend dogging is risky and sordid.

It might sound fun on the internet but think of the reality of seedy couples in cars.

It tends to appeal to people who are too emotionally damaged to enjoy normal, loving sex.

If she wants to spice up your sex life, there are lots of variations you two can try.

My e-leaflet 50 Ways To Add Fun To Sex explains.

Online sex guy 'dumped' me

DEAR DEIDRE:  AN older man I met online was charming and messaged me every day – until we had sex.

I’m a girl of 16, he said he was 40. We were always flirting online and he worried about my parents finding out.

Then he suggested we meet. He had to drive over 100 miles to see me so I felt I really meant something to him.

A couple of weeks later we met again and he gave me a full-blown French kiss.

Then we went back to his hotel for sex.

That was a couple of months ago and he hasn’t messaged me since.

Did he just use me?

A note from Deidre

NEW technology in the 2000s enabled young people to build an online life — and until the end of the decade there were next to no parental controls, which brought its own set of problems.

DEIDRE SAYS: Use just as much caution when meeting up with people you have got to know over the internet as you would with total strangers.

This man could have turned out to be dangerous. Never keep such a meeting secret from your parents.

And don’t have sex with anyone until you have developed a serious, caring relationship.

My e-leaflet Staying Safe Online will help.

Make new friends, preferably nearer your own age and face to face.

Caught on camera

DEAR DEIDRE:  SEXUALLY, my boyfriend and I like to be adventurous.

We are both 23 and filmed ourselves on his parents’ video camera.

They had recorded his graduation and later took what they thought was their tape to his relatives — but it was our video.

We rushed to his relatives’ but it was too late.

His mother, who disapproves of sex before marriage, called me terrible names.

How do I win his parents round?

A note from Deidre

DO you remember camcorders? 


DEIDRE SAYS: They should be more receptive to an abject apology once they have cooled down.

You are adults and did nothing you believed to be wrong.

But write them a note saying how horrified you were to have put them in an awkward situation, and give them a big bunch of flowers.

Ask your boyfriend to say sorry, too.

Watch out that, as the woman, you are not copping all the blame because of double standards.

The 10s

I have risked it all over affair with hunk at gym

DEAR DEIDRE:  I’VE been having sex with a hot trainer at the gym and now my husband says he can never trust me again.

We have been married for ten years and have two children. I’m 36 and my husband is 40.

I put on weight so I joined a gym — I’d go every day after work. Meanwhile, my husband did everything for the kids.

A new trainer started at the gym. He’s 25 and, of course, fit.

We were alone in the studio one night and kissed. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other and had amazing sex.

I started getting home even later — going to the gym then meeting my lover for sex. My husband followed me one night and banged on my lover’s door.

Afterwards, I told my husband I was craving attention. He looked shocked and said: “You’re never here for me to give you attention.”

Why did I need to go off with this guy? My husband puts me and the kids before himself.

I love him dearly. I don’t want this to be the end.

A note from Deidre

MORE and more of us are heading to the gym to find our fitness mojo, with a growing number also finding a new partner too.

According to data from Mintel, approximately 5.7million of us held a gym membership in 2017, and this is expected to rise to 7million by 2022.

DEIDRE SAYS: He is bound to feel hurt. If you were feeling unhappy, you should have told your husband.

You could have then tackled this together.

Tell your husband again how sorry you are, and ask him to give you another chance.

Tell him your commitment is 100 per cent to him.

My e-leaflet Cheating – Can You Get Over It? will give you the best chance of getting back on track.

My wedding Brexit blast

DEAR DEIDRE:  I GOT horribly drunk at an old school pal’s wedding last month and had a bust-up over Brexit with his father-in-law.

My wife says I need to apologise to his whole ­family. I am 31.

The bride’s father was talking loudly by the bar about his views on Brexit.

Having made good use of the free bar, I ­shouldered my way into the group and told him he was stupid.

The people he was talking to tried to intervene but I got worse and swore, apparently.

People tried to shush me because there were children around.

I apologised to my friends — but what about my mate, his bride and her parents?

A note from Deidre

In 2016, 51.9 per cent of voters in the EU referendum were in favour of leaving.

Four years on, debate continues and it is still a thorny issue for many.

DEIDRE SAYS: Try to find out the home address of the bride’s parents.

You must have some mutual connection if you think hard enough.

Send the bride’s mother a big bunch of flowers with a note saying you are so sorry, and hope it didn’t spoil her or her daughter’s big day too much.

I bet her old man wasn’t totally sober either.

He's so glum

DEAR DEIDRE:  IT is driving the family crazy the way my husband has been reacting to the whole Covid-19 situation.

For my birthday recently he gave me handwash and a mask.

I’m 58 and working from home.

My husband is 65 and has become really negative since retiring.

Once the pandemic struck, he was constantly looking at the news and glued to the Government’s daily briefings.

He’s so lethargic now, too.

He no longer washes, and eats only what I fix for him.

A note from Deidre

THE unwelcome arrival of Covid-19 this year has changed all our lives.

Almost every letter I receive now covers an issue created by the virus — or must include advice related to it.

DEIDRE SAYS: He might have lost his identity along with his job, and become depressed.

Covid gives him the sense his glum feelings are normal.

Tell him you are worried about how low he is clearly feeling, and be firm that he must see his GP.

Talk to him about putting his intelligence to good use now he has retired, perhaps through voluntary work – or check out the University of the Third Age (u3a.org.uk).

Trans woe

DEAR DEIDRE:  I AM transitioning from male to female but my dad insists on still calling me his son.

I’m nearly 30 and I came out as trans two years ago.

I’m fully transitioning socially but he still talks as if I’m going to stop, to make him happy. He is 58.

I go to a trans group that runs a section for parents and partners.

He doesn’t want to know but he is still my dad and I long for him to accept me.

A note from Deidre

PROBLEMS around gender identity have soared during the past decade, with readers aged from their teens to their sixties questioning whether they were in the wrong-sex body.

During this time referrals to gender identity clinics have doubled just about every year, but thankfully younger generations seem more accepting.

DEIDRE SAYS: Understanding of trans people has expanded hugely over the past few years but many feel conflicted and threatened.

There is a grief tangled up in his emotions.

Tell him very calmly but clearly that he hurts you every time he calls you his son.

For support to find the right words to talk to him, contact FFLAG (fflag.org.uk 0300 688 0368).

Unsure about same-sex love

DEAR DEIDRE:  I AM getting married in three months, to a fellow woman, but am having doubts.

We are both 27. When I was younger, I dated men.

My last relationship with a guy was ­horrible and abusive.

I love my fiancée very much and we have bought a flat together.

Part of me can’t wait but I worry more every day as the wedding draws closer.

Am I making a mistake? Am I in denial about my sexuality?

A note from Deidre

I’VE always prided myself on my problem page being a gay-friendly space and have had people now in their forties say what a comfort the column was when they were teens trying to find the courage to come out.

Same-sex marriage was legalised in 2013 but sexual identity still troubles many.

DEIDRE SAYS: Your wedding day will be a very public avowal of your love and maybe you’re not 100 per cent sure of the attitudes of family and friends.

If your fiancée is the right partner for you, it would be a real shame to let the prejudice that lingers in some parts of society put you off.

But if your doubts stem from conflict about your sexuality, you need to be sure before you commit.

Find support through Switchboard LGBT+ (switchboard.lgbt, 0300 330 0630).

Holly, Phil and Dear Deidre console This Morning caller who broke down in tears over pet cat's death

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