I’m a truck driver who still works a 15-hour day at 73. In my 20s, I married a posh girl I loved because she was skinny. (I hate myself for this, but if a girlfriend put on weight I’d engineer a split.)
We had two children I loved, but she had an affair.
A while later I met a lovely girl called Pat who was 7½ st. Over the years her weight doubled, so we split up but remained friends.
I visited Thailand with a friend to enjoy bachelor life, but started a four-year relationship. It ended because I wouldn’t marry.
I decided to take a holiday in the Philippines and met a pretty girl called Mia. Hours later, I was visiting her family in a shack with no water.
We kept in touch and I visited again a year later, after caring for my parents who both had dementia. Mum left me £1,500 and I bought Mia’s family a plot and built them a house.
Mia came over to visit and begged me not to send her home. I told her I wouldn’t marry. She said she wanted to work and send money back. In the end I married her, but warned we’d split up once she got status.
The only person I told was my ex, Pat. I gave my daughters large sums of money so they wouldn’t resent Mia.
She got her UK passport and worked in a care home and cleaned houses, sending money home. Time passed, I loved her but not in a true romantic way.
Five years ago, I holidayed in Thailand while Mia visited the Philippines, I had a massage with a gorgeous young girl, Kulap. I asked her out, and she stayed with me for the next 12 days. I was in love like never before. But Mia was due to arrive, so I told Kulap I was married.
She wouldn’t speak to me, but I gave her £1,200. When I came home I fell very ill, and Pat and Mia saved my life. Kulap stayed in touch and I went back to see her. It felt so good to have this gorgeous girl on my arm.
Pat saw my emails and told Mia. They went mad. Then my daughters heard. It’s not a nice thing, they said, a 73-year-old with a 37-year-old. I explained that I wanted to snatch at romance, but everyone sided with Mia.
I’ll still go to Thailand. Am I wrong to want two weeks of happiness? Go on, shoot me down.
This week Bel advises a 73-year-old reader who’s considering leaving his wife for a 37-year-old masseuse from Thailand
Do you really want to sit on the shooting range like a little plastic duck at the fair while I take aim?
Instead I’ll reach out, carry the duck from the range and cradle it in kind hands. Poor duck, I whisper, why are you setting yourself up for a journey to the plastic recycling box?
Your handwritten letter was 18 neat pages long, and you closed by apologising that it ‘turned into a novel’.
The advantage is that there’s masses of information, only précised here, and I must confess to readers (who will be goggling at your tale of vanity and romance under exotic skies) that you’re honest about your failings and not the entirely silly, selfish old geezer you sound like.
There’s a daft life force behind those pages I reluctantly warm to. Still riding motorcycles … age shall not wither you … or so you think. But let’s cut to the chase. You ask: ‘Am I wrong to want two weeks of happiness?’
Well, yes, Fred, you are. The price of your Mills & Boon nonsense is too great.
More from Bel Mooney for the Daily Mail…
Your notion of ‘happiness’ is sitting on a moonlit beach with a Thai woman on your arm who is young enough to be your daughter.
You have a shallow, lifelong obsession with good looks (including your own) and can’t see beyond that. Oh, you acknowledge Mia’s toil in the care home is admirable, but you justify your hankering after Kulap by assuring me you’re ‘not a bad person’ and deserve ‘happiness for two weeks in 52’.
Your loyal, loving Filipina wife kicked you and threw a vase when she found out about your lying and cheating. Go, Mia!
In spite of everything, she wants to stay with you. Why, when you’ve already said she can have the house? You’ve been financially generous to many people, but should ask yourself whether that gets you off the hook.
You’re 73 and were it not for the two women you’ve hurt so badly, you would have died.
You have two daughters you love, but who thoroughly disapprove of their old daddy-goat’s actions.
You’re a grandfather as far away from dignity and common sense as ever, who concludes his saga with the sentence: ‘No one has ever loved me as much as Mia, but I just can’t help myself with Kulap.’
Oh please! What will happen when you can no longer drive trucks (soon, surely?) and have no spare cash?
Why not wonder who’s going to cut your toenails and clean you up when you’re old?
What would you do if Mia gave up on you?
Why not stop your foolishness and save your own life?
My man drinks to drown debt woes
Me and my partner live together and have a seven-month-old daughter.
My partner has his own business which hasn’t been doing very well for the past couple of years and he’s got into debt. I feel we no longer have intimacy at all, and I’m not just talking about sex. He shows little affection and sleeps on the sofa as he says he’s worried about money.
I’m sure he’s in debt but uses this as an excuse to drink heavily. He recently didn’t come home for three days, only telling me the first night that he would be sleeping on the sofa at work.
The second night, I thought he would be back but he didn’t appear and his phone was switched off. He’s back now, but I’m angry with him. This isn’t a one-off either, as he has previously not bothered to tell me he wasn’t coming home more than once, although this is the first time it’s gone on for longer than one night.
I was ‘off’ when he came back this time, and he asked me if I’d spoken to anyone today. He’s trying to claim (as he has done before) that I’m upset because I haven’t spoken to anyone else. I had, and it wasn’t that.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a hair appointment in the morning and he was supposed to be looking after our daughter but when I got up, it was clear he was still drunk.
I’m fed up and feel I’m a single mum anyway. Should I just give up and leave him? Or is it worth trying again although I’ve already told him how I feel?
Bel answers readers’ questions on emotional and relationship problems each week.
Write to Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or email [email protected]
A pseudonym will be used if you wish.
Bel reads all letters but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
The situation you describe would be regarded as intolerable by most women.
After 16 years sitting in the advice columnist’s lumpy, rather worn and patched chair, I’m wondering how many times I have mentioned the fact that couples need to give each other consideration and have conversations.
In truth, older people can find they have run out of chat (as well as hopes and dreams), but you are young, with a life before you. Oh, and a child as well.
Because your man’s strange, selfish behaviour is unacceptable I might say, ‘Oh, call it a day and find somebody else’. But you have a baby daughter, and so serious thought is essential, followed by cool, decisive action.
First, I’m wondering how long you’ve been together and whether the baby was planned. You see, it sounds as if you don’t know the man very well.
You write, ‘I’m sure he is in debt, but uses this as an excuse to drink heavily’ … but that sounds as if two vitally important subjects have not been discussed, as they should be between a couple in love. You need to find out more about his business. If he is sleeping on the sofa because he is stressed and miserable, you should be trying to help him. But if he has withdrawn because he no long wants to be your partner that’s also something that needs some attention. Surely?
You say you’ve told him how you feel, but in what terms? If my man was staying out like this, I’d want to know if he’s having an affair. So tell him that without honesty there’s no relationship, so do you want me to leave or not?
No temper, because that diminishes control. But I would insist on knowing … or else no future.
You could, of course, go for couples counselling, but that would be a step taken after decisive discussion.
I can understand why you say you’re already like ‘a single Mum’ since you lack help as well as sympathy from the man you’re sharing your life with.
Does he love you? Do you love him? Does he love your daughter? None of this information is in your letter, so you need to start talking.
If you are going to split up, then the younger the baby the better, although life will be tough for you. But worse than a loveless household? No.
And finally… Help this cool granny get a grip!
When I was a university student in London (1966-9), the King’s Road was stuffed with boutiques; cool young men lounging outside wore vintage stripes and Lord Kitchener’s Valet jackets in scarlet and gold, and beautiful girls in mini fur coats and miniscule dresses thronged the pavements like iridescent butterflies. The soundtrack was Jimi Hendrix, the Kinks, the Beatles, Bobbie Gentry, Aretha Franklin, Motown … and oh, bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.
Now those hits and clothes may still rock through our minds but the ‘Sixties generation got older … and older … and now here we are, still feelin’ groovy but probably thinking about hip replacements, mobility aids, and wondering how we managed to dance all night and still get up in the morning.
Thought of the day
. . . one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child . . . it come to me, that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all round the house. I knew just what it was. When it happens you can’t miss it. from The Colour Purple by Alice Walker www (African-American writer, b.1944)
Once bed was synonymous with sex; now I ponder about how to be most comfortable reading my book. There’s nothing wrong with any of that; we all have to go with the flow. What’s more, younger people recovering from accidents or illness need all sorts of aids to make life easier — even if their idea of music is dance or grime!
So I was delighted to find a terrific website called Granny Gets A Grip. To understand the name you need to know that one of the coolest boutiques in Chelsea was called Granny Takes A Trip — and believe me, that trip wasn’t a day out on a coach with a packet of sarnies.
The website was founded by two friends who point out that the whole ageing process may have changed in our time (look at fashion and holidays for example) but ‘no one stays in the prime of life for ever — there’s no beating the ageing process, and physical deterioration gets us all in the end.’
Sophie Dowling and Miranda Thomas have both experienced looked-after parents and ‘we are now getting older ourselves, and felt we could put that experience to good use.’
And grannygetsagrip.com is the result — full of things I think many of you could find useful. And this cool granny, too.