Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas

 

I'm getting married this summer, but I'm starting to have second thoughts. It turns out that my fiancé can't swim, or even ride a bike. He doesn't know how to change a plug, and when I asked him to bleed the radiators he didn't know what I was talking about. True, he can always fix my computer, but I'm starting to get irritated by his inability to do anything practical. My father was always fixing gates, repairing machines etc. It's preying on my mind and I'm starting to feel he's not a man. Do you think it's just pre-wedding nerves, as my mother says?

Yours sincerely, Carla

Virginia says... It's not "just" pre-wedding nerves. It is pre-wedding nerves. You ought to listen to them. It's usually after a few years of marriage that little things start to irritate us in our partners. Suddenly, we just can't bear the way he runs his fingers through his hair, or we get goosebumps of rage and horror when he says "penny for your thoughts" yet again. Those irritations are always an omen that something's deeply wrong and nine times out of ten signify the beginning of the end.

Because our rational minds won't accept that everything's over, it's our subconscious that has to shove through all our resistance and come up with childish and rather primitive reactions, to get the message home to us. We find ourselves suddenly recoiling at failings – or sometimes just habits – in the other person that previously we haven't thought twice about. But you're getting the heebie-jeebies before you're even married! Think about it! The moment you get to the honeymoon hotel and find your hapless husband can't understand how to put the key card in your bedroom door, your marriage will, effectively, be over before it's begun.

You're not marrying your father, you're marrying, I hope, a nice, sweet, kind guy who loves you and who has the added bonus of being able to sort out computers – something I bet your father could never do. He's a head man, not a hands man. Perhaps you're the one with the practical skills, not him? I always remember my exasperated husband (no genius at changing lightbulbs), giving me an electric drill for Christmas, and I was totally thrilled. Lots of women are far more practical around the house than men – there's no law that says women must lie lounging in the bath pampering themselves before cooking the supper while their husbands stomp around looking for gates to fix. You seem to be living in the stone age.

And if you're not that practical, get your dad round to mend the sink and unstick the doors. Or get a handyman – or woman – in. There is more to life than fixing shelves, and perhaps you ought to make a list of all the other qualities your fiancé has – on top of the computer wizardry – to make certain you're not making a mistake before calling it a day.

But frankly, the strength of your feeling about all this makes me certain that what your "nerves" are telling you is that this man just isn't right for you. And bleeding radiators has nothing to do with it.

Readers say...

Love matters more

I was married to a man who could fix things (not very well) and he turned out to be useless at love and commitment. During the six years after my divorce, I learned the rudiments of DIY. My second husband can't fix a plug, put up a shelf or bleed a radiator. He loves me unconditionally, has a brilliant mind and can wash, iron, clean, cook and shop for us because he was an independent bachelor before we met. If we need a handyman, we pay one.

Janet Berridge By email

He's not for you

Oh, for heaven's sake, Carla! If you define true masculinity by a man's ability to mend things, this man is not for you.

If you want to marry your father, tough – you can't. You could, of course, learn to mend things for yourself but then, with your outlook, you might fear you were turning into a man.

Or you could learn to value a person for what he or she is and pay someone to mend things for you – but that would mean growing up.

Sara Neill By email

Next week's dilemma

Dear Virginia, My 15-year-old son watches porn on the internet all the time (I know this because I've looked at the browsing history on his computer). My friends tell me that this is normal now for teenagers in the internet age, but I find it deeply disturbing that he is exposed to films and images that give him such a distorted view of women and sexual relationships. I've raised it with him and done my best to explain that real life and real women aren't like that, but I doubt it has any effect. Am I right to worry? What can I do? Yours sincerely, Laurie

What would you advise Laurie to do? Email your dilemmas and comments to dilemmas @independent. co.uk, or go to independent.co.uk/dilemmas. Anyone whose advice is quoted will receive a £25 voucher from the wine website Fine Wine Sellers (finewinesellers.co.uk)

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
News
Night job: Pacha nightclub DJ, Joan Ribas, is the new kingmaker on the island
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family
film'I survived it, but I’ll never be the same,' says Arash Amel
Life and Style
Retailers should make good any consumer goods problems that occur within two years
tech(and what to do if you receive it)
Life and Style
healthIf one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

    £30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

    Guru Careers: Account Executive

    £18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

    Day In a Page

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada