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“Bel Mooney: Kids Change Everything – Life No Longer Revolves Around Your Own Needs”


Dear Bell,

I’m crazy and will do a lot of hurt (maybe) but don’t feel able/want to stop.

I don’t feel very much about my husband; We rarely have sex (we don’t fantasize about it anymore).

Our boys, ages eight and six, and the two-year-old girl adore their dad who is an amazing dad and a really decent guy.

I know it’s worth a lot more than me.

Thinking of him with a loving partner makes me happy; Thinking of him alone and sad is awful.

But I’m in a relationship with a man I adore. He is well off and successful and having sex with him is all I ever dreamed of.

He wants me to leave my husband and live with him and have his child.

The big question: Can I resist the passion that will tear my family apart?

I didn’t think anyone would find me attractive enough to want me back at my age (36).

My boyfriend makes me feel young and sexy again.

I have been a housewife for ten years and I adore my children, but I hate my life here with my husband in this house and on this street.

Loneliness drove me crazy until I met “him” – but what should I do?

I have three children, no money and no skills with which to find a job.

Therefore, my beloved had to provide me with a home and support me and my children (of course, they would see their father as often as possible).

I’m not sure I want any more kids but with “him”, maybe. . .

I recently ended our relationship but I secretly cried. I simply can’t work.

He reached out to us and I felt saved. I live in a dream world.

When I am not with my lover, all I can think of is him, but it is much better than my previous empty life.

How can a woman who is so lucky to have three healthy children say her life is empty?

What is wrong with me? I do not know what to do. I’m so wrong.


Mad, destructive sexual passion. I really understand. My wasted shirt is in the closet, and I won’t deny it’s there.

But my understanding tends to stop when people choose it over their children’s happiness.

Please do not confuse this romantic eroticism with deep love: love is what your husband shows every day in getting along with his miserable, cold, busy wife and being a great father. If you’re sorry to upset you, I feel sorry for him.

No words from me can judge you as harshly as you do yourself. You use the word “false” and must realize that your self-pity will infuriate many readers, as it does mine. You call yourself worthless to justify your actions, but it just doesn’t work.

All I can do is lay out some probabilities, to help you decide where to go next, though a hot sex guy is as capable of rational thinking as Anna Karenina when she eloped with Vronsky, with disastrous consequences.

You describe your new man in romance novel terms: a dream lover full of money and status and who delivers all of that plus orgasms. prisoners! What is the chance of daily affection for the average husband? Flattered and stirred up by Mr. Big, you now deny the love that should have been your husband’s.

You’ve only had a kid for two years, so I suspect your coldness is only due to this relationship.

Bored, trapped, and worried about getting old, I was ripe for picking. Now you are lying in the matrimonial bed, burning in every cell. If I told you that the heat goes down in time, would you believe me?

This phrase “he wants me to have his child” is covered in male narcissism. But imagining himself as an inseminator is a world away from becoming a caring stepfather figure. Does your lover really imagine three little kids bouncing around his love nest, paring down his style?

When you picture yourself as the female who is helpless and needs a home made for her, I get frustrated. This is a young woman in the 21st century, speaking in Jane Austen terms. Why? You need to flatter your lover because your self-esteem is so low.

Assuming he’s happy to take over your mind, you’ll generously allow your husband to become a wonderful part-time dad.

But what if a good man wants custody and surprises you with a response? I have no doubt that these three little ones need their father and their place in the house of the man who truly loves them. Why give them up because you’ve discovered the joys of sex? Where is the justice? You say that you don’t feel much for your husband, but your letter is full of affection and respect.

You admire his good qualities, you know he’s a great father, and you want him to be happy. So which is braver: fleeing and destroying, or surviving and building?

What would happen if you found the courage to confess, sit down and talk about how you can change this ordinary life that you don’t like so much and recreate a future together? He may tell you to leave, but it’s still worth a try.

Once you have kids, life won’t be about your own needs, and I don’t care how old-fashioned you make me look.

Please do not confuse this romantic and sexual excitement with deep love: Love is what your husband demonstrates daily in enduring his miserable, cold, busy wife and being a great father (Stock Image)

Please do not confuse this romantic and sexual excitement with deep love: Love is what your husband demonstrates daily in enduring his miserable, cold, busy wife and being a great father (Stock Image)

Dear Bell,

I promised my 30 year old daughter £40,000 from the sale of a house.

She was in the RAF and moved from the camp to our house. She bought a spaniel and when her partner also returned from the Falklands, he brought his spaniel. They lived with us for a year and our bills doubled.

My wife works part time but I am retired. If you mention contributing, my daughter just said it’s her home.

After that we sold the house, she bought hers for £40,000 and at Christmas 2022 we helped her move.

Understandably, we didn’t see much of them, but it felt like a change. Not once were we invited to their home, but when we gave a gas bbq, they were at our house the day after we picked it up! Last Christmas it was due to go to her partner’s family, they had delivered the gifts days before.

On December 23rd I had one day surgery to remove the cancer from my lips and nose. The next day, my daughter took her cat to a house near ours, but she didn’t visit.

On Christmas Day, I unwrapped a cheap pair of Crocs and wife four Body Shop products. It was clear that these were “recycled” gifts.

We think she knew we were upset, especially my wife who was an amazing stepmother. Then she blocked us on all social media and didn’t return calls or texts.

We are angry and upset. I even felt suicidal due to the poor health and feeling so sad because of her treatment. How do we proceed?


I promised my 30-year-old daughter £40,000 from a house sale (file photo)

I promised my 30-year-old daughter £40,000 from a house sale (file photo)

All the truth in Shakespeare. For mistreatment by his eldest daughter Goneril, King Lear curses her and hopes one day she too will know, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth / To have an ungrateful child!”

Lear’s cruel experiences at the hands of his two daughters soon drive him mad and this is the only one of Shakespeare’s four tragedies that I cannot bear to see again. The torment is too much.

I think you know why. As parents, we invest so much in our children (or most of us do), that evidence of their indifference is so hard to bear. It inevitably makes us wonder, on one of those dark nights of the soul, whether it was our fault: have we been too indulgent/forgiving? What did you do wrong? Sadly I could print a letter every two weeks from parents of adult children who were disappointed, disappointed or angry.

You mentioned insultingly cheap Christmas gifts, which seem like a poor “return” on a generous deposit on the house. Why don’t you get hurt and upset? The gifts are symbolic and the message they convey is carelessness and lack of affection.

But of course, what hurts you the most is your daughter’s failure to check up on you after the hospital procedure.

She was willing to live with you with her partner, to use gas, electricity and water and to have two dogs which must have added the burden to the family. She and her man didn’t donate a penny, but they did get £40,000, plus a free gas barbecue. If you and your spouse feel used, you certainly have every right.

But what do you do? She knows you think Christmas gifts are frivolous (were they meant to be poured over her?) so maybe her silence is due to guilt.

I’m afraid there’s little you can do except call her partner, man to man, and ask for his help. Ask after the Spaniard (it sounds silly, but it’s a friendly way) and then tell him how upset you both are because of your daughter’s silence. Ask him if he knows exactly what you’re supposed to do, because you’d like to get him right.

Apart from that, I advise you to rest your wife and take care of your health as much as you can.

Is your daughter’s selfishness really worth this present despair when you have your own life to live?

I suggest it isn’t, because this 30-year-old will reach out when she wants something. Do I sound sarcastic? maybe. But as a parent, I understand that, and I want you to toughen up a little bit.

But of course, what hurts you the most is your daughter's failure to check up on you after the hospital procedure (Stock photo of the family)

But of course, what hurts you the most is your daughter’s failure to check up on you after the hospital procedure (Stock photo of the family)


Have you fantasized about something for years only to let your imagination run wild at the last minute? This was the story of Barbara Hepworth’s famous garden – and me.

In 1970, one of my first newspaper articles was a long book review of a new illustrated autobiography by one of my idols, the great sculptor Barbara Hepworth.

Hepworth admired her genius, but also because she was a strong woman in a world dominated by men, raising four children while producing some of the most acclaimed works of the 20th century.

Contact Bel

Bill answers readers’ questions about emotional and relationship problems each week.

Write to Bel Mooney, the Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email bel.mooney@dailymail.co.uk.

Names are changed to protect identities.

Bell reads all of the letters but regrets not being able to enter into a personal correspondence.

Her studio and garden in St Ives became famous, and a place of pilgrimage after her death in 1979. But although I had seen her work in other museums, I never made time for St Ives – until this week.

Two artist friends moved last year from Gloucestershire to near Penzance, so we drove 206 miles for one night to see them in their new home.

An added joy would be seeing Hepworth’s current gallery at Tate St Ives and her wonderful studio. I longed to sit at peace in that lovely garden at last, contemplating her work among the leaves and communing with the spirit of the great lady. . .

Could there be worse weather? We struggled to park the car, walked through the rain and wind to the Tate, queued for lunch after a long drive, then enjoyed the gallery – before finally darting uphill to find the studio. So far, there has been a storm driving horizontal rain.

It blew my Broly from the inside out. My coat was wet, and the water splashed inside my sweater; I was exhausted. Finally, I sat down on a chair in the studio. But the garden? The promised dream after 53 years?

Drenched in water, I could not face the exit, but looked inconsolably through a misty window at looming sculptures in a downpour, while the wind howled. How weak Lady Barbara thought me – but most of us have to accept our limits in the end.

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