Dear Coleen

I hope you can help. I’m a 75-year-old man and my wife is 55. We were together for 25 years and had a wonderful marriage, and loved each other very much.

She used to put hearts and romantic notes around the house to remind me how much she loved me.

However, last year, she became obsessed with checking her mobile phone and was never off Facebook and other social media. She also fell out with her friends of 30 years and hurt them very much.

She started picking arguments with me and also provoked rows at work. When we used to go out together she seemed happy, talking to people, but changed as soon as we came home. Then on one occasion, she was very nasty in the car after a shopping trip, which led to a row, and she told a woman to call the police, who then got in touch with me.

I’ve always looked after her – and our home. She’s suffered from ­depression and sees the doctor about it. She is also going through the ­menopause, which hasn’t helped.

She’s since left and cleared out our bank account, and tells everyone I was bad to her when all I’ve done is love her. I don’t know what to do.

How can someone so lovely and caring suddenly change and become so nasty and hurtful? She’s told me there’s no one else involved.

Coleen says

She could be having a mental health crisis caused by a number of things – her ongoing depression, perhaps the age gap feels more like a gulf, and the menopause. I’m going through that myself and it is tough – emotionally I’m up and down and all over the place.

Mid-life is a very challenging time and I think some people will do anything to fight against it. You start questioning what you’ve done with your life and what you still want to do.

Perhaps it’s easier for her to blame you and have people think you’re the baddie because it gives her an excuse to get out and helps deal with her guilt.

All you can do is don’t be proud – reach out to friends and family, and get support. I think what you’re missing is the life you used to have with her, but the past year hasn’t been great.

Keep in touch with the people who are still in contact with her. Say you’re worried about her and stand up for yourself. Explain the things she’s saying about you aren’t true.

In terms of money, get some advice from the bank and set up a new account so you have somewhere to deposit funds. If she has no intention of trying to repair your relationship, you need to get legal advice on where you stand in terms of your joint assets.

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