DEAR DEIDRE: I’M cheating with a guy my husband also knows. The chemistry between us is amazing.

We’re sneaking out to see one another despite the shutdown but I do feel guilty. I’ve been married for ten years and have a son aged eight and a daughter of five.

I’m 34 and my husband is 37. I love him but I’m not in love with him any more.

I met the man who is now my lover the same night I met my husband when we were all young. They were in a club together with a gang of friends.

They have always been very different though. My husband has always been on the quiet side and steady, while his mate always jumped from one girl to another.

He’s 38. He’s got a partner now and a little boy but he has cheated on her twice that I know of, because my husband has told me.

My husband is a good man but we’re more like friends than lovers.

This guy’s a plumber and came round to help us out a couple of months ago when our washing machine leaked.

My husband was at work – he’s a delivery driver – and the kids were at school, so it was just the two of us in the house.

I offered him a coffee when he’d finished the job and we got chatting. He told me that he fancied me loads when we first met and was always angry with himself for not making a move on me before my husband did.

“It’s like they say,” he said, “You can’t trust the quiet ones.” I was flattered as it was years since anyone had flirted with me. He teased me for blushing then he pulled me close and kissed me.

It felt amazing and I kissed him back. We didn’t have sex that day but he started coming round to our house between jobs during the day while my children were at school and my husband was out of the house at work.

In the end I couldn’t resist him. We have very ­passionate sex and he says I am the love of his life.

It felt scary but amazing . . . and then the coronavirus epidemic and lockdown arrived. Now that the kids are off school, there’s no privacy at home.

He said he couldn’t survive without our loving so a couple of evenings he has told his partner that he has to go out on an emergency job and I’ve told my husband I had forgotten stuff at the supermarket and had to pop out.

It’s been hurried sex in his van but that has almost added to the excitement. But it’s brought home to me the risk I’m running and the choice I’m facing.

I’m scared to throw away my marriage, my dependable husband and our family life. Have I the right to deprive my kids of their dad ­living with them?

But my lover says he has never felt like this about any woman before and he can see himself spending the rest of his life with me.

I love being with him. We have such a laugh together as well as the great sex, but can I really trust him?

DEIDRE SAYS: In a word, no, and there is no way you should be meeting with him secretly, no matter how exciting the sex is.

His work probably takes him into many different homes and environments.

Maybe he’s brilliant about hygiene but even that is not 100 per cent protection. Just imagine if you caught ­Covid-19 from him and infected your husband and children.

It could make them seriously ill and even, heaven forbid, be fatal. How could you ever live with yourself?

For goodness sake, wake up from this fantasy and act like the loving mother and responsible adult I’m sure you are really.

Tell your lover it is over – by phone, not meeting up. He spells trouble and will only make you unhappy, long-term. How many women do you think he’s told they are the love of his life?

Tell your husband you two need to use this ­crisis as a wake-up call to put fresh energy into your marriage and sex life.

My e-leaflet, Your Relationship MOT, explains how to move on and resolve your problems.

My ex says I can't see our child

DEAR DEIDRE: THE coronavirus lockdown regulations mean I can’t have my daughter to stay at weekends, says my ex. Is she right? If so, it will break my heart.

Our little girl is four. Her mum and I broke up when she was only 18 months old.

My ex got pregnant when we’d only been together for six months and we weren’t really good together. She’s 23 and I’m 26.

I was determined to be a good dad though and I love my little girl to bits.

I’ve picked her up every Friday and had her to stay until Sunday morning. It wrecks my social life but she means everything to me.

My ex has been a bit awkward about it recently since she’s had a new man in her life but I’ve kept my cool and we’ve got through it.

Now she’s jumped on the excuse that my ­daughter must stay home with her 24/7. She says it’s the law now. Is that true?

DEIDRE SAYS: No, it is not. The Government and the Family Court have now made it clear that children under 18 can move between their parents’ homes.

It’s important for children to have the support of both parents when they may be picking up on the worried atmosphere around them.

But do all you can to avoid escalating any antagonism. If your ex is worried about your child’s safety, that’s understandable.

Reassure her about how careful you will be, obeying all the hygiene and distancing rules.

If you or someone close to you is showing any symptoms, then you should yourself suggest that your daughter stays with her mum and  follows the quarantine rules.

Chat software like ­FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and so on can come into their own in that case. You can find support through Families Need Fathers (fnf.org.uk).

Partner hit me as I held our baby

DEAR DEIDRE: YESTERDAY my partner hit me when I had our baby in my arms.

I know it’s down to work worries on top of being cooped up at home with me and our three little ones, but it has really frightened me. Should I throw him out?

He owns two restaurants and there had been almost no customers, even before they were ordered to shut down. He’s been trying to swap to doing takeaways but it’s just not working.

So I get that he’s stressed and I’ve tried to keep the kids happy and away from him. They’re six, three and six months.

He was rushing out to meet the restaurants’ landlord to ask him to let him off this quarter’s rent because he said it would bankrupt him.

He couldn’t find his car keys and I said something about how I’ve kept suggesting he put them on the table in the hall. He flipped and hit my shoulder – I could have dropped the baby.

He shouted: “It will be a clip round the ear next time.” He’s a good dad and has never hit me before, though he does throw things around in frustration.

I know the general rule is that if he hits you once, leave, but should I forgive him? Would you? I think it was most shocking because I was feeding our baby at the time.

I am too ashamed and embarrassed to ask my friends for advice, as they all love him.

DEIDRE SAYS: Do not take the blame for this on yourself. Abuse and violence are always unacceptable. Share with any friends whose support you would value.

If this is totally out of character, my personal instinct would be to give him a second chance – as long as he apologises and acknowledges how wrong he was to be ­violent and how badly it could have turned out.

You should access expert support to ­discuss your experience, the impact it has had on you and your options going forward.

You can find understanding and guidance through the National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247) or go to womensaid.org.uk for information and Live Chat.

Your partner should contact the Respect Phoneline for perpetrators of domestic ­violence (0808 802 4040, respectphoneline.org.uk).

It can help him to look at ways of tackling how he is feeling and connect him to services that can help him to change his behaviour.

Need help?

THE coronavirus crisis and precautions are creating so many ­different problems on many fronts, so I’m ­putting together a special coronavirus leaflet with helpful information, resources and contacts.

If it would help you, email [email protected] or private message me on my DearDeidreOfficialFacebook page for a copy. You can also follow me on Twitter @deardeidre.

Wife's phone sex with colleague could become the real thing

DEAR DEIDRE: MY wife has been having phone sex with a work colleague and talking about how they will have the real thing when the virus is over. I don’t trust her any more.

We are in our forties and our marriage was fine. We have a lovely home, have always gone on good holidays and had an amazing closeness.

Friends have said how much they envy us. We have two beautiful daughters of 15 and 13. But my wife had seemed a bit distant and distracted recently.

We’ve both been working at home for a couple of weeks and I thought she was maybe just feeling a bit suffocated, though she also seemed more protective of her phone.

She keeps it on silent but it happened to vibrate when she’d gone to answer a ring at the door for a delivery.

I checked it and was horrified to see she’s been having phone sex with a younger guy from her work.

He’s only 29 and they’d been exchanging extremely graphic messages. So I confronted her and she broke down.

She said it was just sex, self-gratification, that there were no feelings involved. She can’t explain why it happened but promises it won’t happen again. But my trust is shattered.

I’m not sure we can get back to where we were or whether we can survive this.

DEIDRE SAYS: If you have had such a strong and happy marriage and family life, it would be sad to throw it all away over one stupid incident. Of course your wife has behaved badly. Say you need to hear her say sorry and mean it.

But there will be a reason why this happened and you can work together to make your relationship stronger if you can manage to talk honestly about it.

Has she felt a bit taken for granted, or did the attention from a younger guy maybe turn her head? My e-leaflet Cheating – Can You Get Over It? can help you do just that.

How do I help my 91-year-old mother who lives alone?

DEAR DEIDRE: MY mum is 91 and lives alone. I’m doing her shopping for her but I can’t leave it on her doorstep as they advise, because she’s too frail to pick it up, take it inside and unpack it.

So I do that, but I’m worried I may be putting her at risk. In any case, surely she needs some face-to-face company?

She says she’s already lived longer than she expected and has got to die sometime, so she’d rather take the risk than be left in total isolation.

People talk about FaceTime and things but Mum can’t manage to sort all that out now.

I do try to keep two metres away from her and never stay more than about ten minutes. Am I being too irresponsible?

DEIDRE SAYS: Of course it is important to try to protect the elderly and vulnerable, but I think it is important to remember they are adults and capable of making their own decisions.

Make sure your mum really has fully understood the risks and then ask what her choice is.

If it is to see you and have a quick chat while you unpack her ­shopping, just make sure you have done everything you can to minimise the chance of passing on the virus.

Keep those two metres between you and wipe down any surfaces you touch. Wash your hands beforehand and tell her she must wash her hands as soon as you leave.

And keep an eye on developing guidance at ageuk.org.uk and carersuk.org.

My daughter has fallen ill and needs help with the baby

DEAR DEIDRE: I’M worried sick because my daughter has a three-month-old baby but has fallen ill with what is almost ­certainly coronavirus – only of course she can’t get a test done to be sure.

I’m 56, she is 31 and her husband is 33. He is a lovely guy in many ways but he’s no idea how to take on looking after the baby.

He keeps phoning me in a panic and meanwhile my daughter is feeling worse and worse.

I live alone and I’m desperate to go round and help, but according to the rules they should self-isolate for 14 days.

DEIDRE SAYS: There are some situations that hurriedly put-together regulations do not allow for.

Are you feeling well, are you not in a vulnerable group, and are you as sure as you can be that you have not had contact with anyone who might be incubating the virus?

For example, you have not been using public transport regularly to get to work? If you are as confident as you can be that you are in the clear, phone her GP’s practice.

Speak to the GP, the midwife or practice nurse. Explain what is happening and ask if they agree that your best course of action is to help care for your daughter and grandchild.

Once there, though, you will have to stay, though I am sure your daughter will be glad of the support.

My fella's gone off sex

DEAR DEIDRE: I THOUGHT that being in self-isolation with my ­boyfriend would boost our sex life but he hasn’t come near me.

We weren’t living together but I suggested he move in with me so we could be together for the lockdown.

It meant I could cook for him and so on and I thought it would be good for our relationship.

I’m 23 and he’s 26. We’ve been together for two years and we used to have sex all the time, morning and night.

Now we haven’t had sex in five months. I thought things would pick up now we’re living together but he hasn’t come near me – no kisses, nothing.

He just gets into bed and goes on his phone. I’m feeling really unloved and unattractive to him.

He just doesn’t want sex with me. I’m not sure whether he’s bored or­ simply doesn’t want me any more. If I try to talk about it he gives different excuses.

Last night it was that he doesn’t want my flatmates to hear – but it never stopped him before. I’m feeling really upset and lost, and find myself crying at the thought of losing him.

DEIDRE SAYS: The problem clearly predates the coronavirus crisis but that won’t have helped.

Most of us are trying to be practical and level-headed but also have a current of underlying anxiety, and worry is a real sex-drive killer.

You say nothing about how caring and loving he is out of bed but nor that he has talked about breaking up.

If the atmosphere between you is at least friendly, try to warm it up by offering him a relaxing all-over body massage. Ask for one in return the next day.

It can only do you both good and may help you feel frisky – or at least open the way to talking more intimately. Me-leaflet on ­Massage For Couples explains in more detail.

If he is cold and uncaring all the time, it is time to call it a day once lockdown comes to an end.

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