I’m in my fifties with a good life, four children and two beautiful grandchildren, but I’ve become disillusioned by all the secrets and lies from my husband.

Since I went through the menopause I have felt I’ve lost my mojo, but I’d I thought we were doing ok until an incident recently. He went for a long weekend away with three friends and they visited lap dancing clubs! When I asked him later he lied, both about having a lap dance and about how much he spent on dances (he took £1500 cash from bank). All his friends had made a pact to lie about it!

He expects me to just like it or get over it! There have been other incidents in our relationship. He has paid for porn, stayed out all night with no explanation, sent porn emails around his office and inappropriate texts to women at work, got into fights, been charged with assault more than once. All of this he blames on drinking too much and not feeling like he has grown up. I don’t know how we can regain trust.

Ammanda says…

I can see from what and how you write that you’ve probably felt really lonely and unheard for a long time. To me, it seems that the lap dancing issue is the latest breach of trust and has maybe reminded you of old, painful feelings that have never been repaired or supported.

You say you have a good life. Certainly children and grandchildren (although frustrating and tiring some of the time) add a wonderful richness to most lives. But it sounds as though your husband’s behaviour has created an undercurrent of distress that he has never taken any responsibility for.

But there are several things I’d like to address. First off is your loss of ‘mojo’. This is a common problem for some women around the menopause. While lots feel they can celebrate this change in their lives, others are left feeling downtrodden by all the symptoms it can bring. It’s often at this time that they might look for additional reassurance and support from a partner.

You say you thought you were doing OK, but I’m left wondering what sort of conversations you might have been able to have about your needs around this time. Finding out he had been to a lap dancing club must have been such a blow to your self-esteem at a time when it may have been already rather dented.

About the lap dancing: I found myself wondering if it was the action itself or the fact he and his friends lied about it that truly bothered you. I don’t for one minute suggest that you don’t have a right to be outraged by his attending a club (although reactions to lap dancing vary depending on different relationships) and ordinarily I’d probably be saying that you need to talk it over before moving on.

But from what you say, it seems there’s a history of unhelpful behaviour involving other women, unexplained nights and inappropriate communications. The most important part of all of this is that he has blamed it on drinking and not ‘feeling like a grown up’. With all this in mind, I’m tempted to say that you’ve got into a pattern where you’ve been the grown up – or even ‘mummy’ – to someone who resists taking responsibility for what they do and the effects of their actions on others.

This sometimes happens in marriages. We assume roles, even though we don’t actually sit down and openly agree to them. I think you may have fallen into this yourself as a way of keeping your marriage going. Again: lots of people do this – and it’s particularly common among couples who have children  – but it’s not usually particularly healthy for anyone involved. It must have been really difficult for you to keep all the pain and resentment that will have built up over the years to yourself.