Dear Janice, I have been dating a guy for a couple of weeks now and I really like him. I love being in his company as he is such good fun and makes me laugh.

In fact, until last night I couldn’t fault him.

I was so looking forward to dining at the posh restaurant he booked but the second he started eating I stopped in my tracks.

What a bloody noise. Slurping, chewing, gnawing, and that was just the starter!

I froze and reckoned my icy glares would make him realise what a disgusting racket he was making. But no, he was completely oblivious to the fact that he was eating with his mouth open, and bits of food were flying out.

I really didn’t enjoy our meal one bit because I was so transfixed on watching his every mouthful, and the noises were affecting my brain.

He asked me out for a meal again and I made an excuse not to go.

I really like him, so what can I do? Debbie.

Dear Debbie, it sounds like you have misophonia, which means “hatred of sound”. People with this condition experience intense rage when they hear the sound of chewing, swallowing, spitting, throat clearing, crunching, sniffing, tapping and joint cracking, to name but a few.

These auditory stimuli incite misophonia, and this is why you felt it was affecting your brain.

This condition cannot be cured unfortunately, so let’s look at your options.

You can ban all food and drink whilst in each other’s company for the rest of your lives, or you could dump him. Debbie, you are guaranteed a lifetime of constant irritation. (Although he does tick so many wonderful boxes when not eating!) Or be bold and address the situation.

If you don’t have the nerve to bring this up, then next time you’re having a quiet drink, buy him a packet of crisps.

This way, your rage will instantly mount, and it’ll be easier to address.

However, instead of putting the blame on him, apologise and say that you suffer from a condition which makes eating noises totally insufferable, and it causes you to feel anxious and irritable.

Stress that you really would appreciate it if he could be more aware of this.

Fingers crossed this does the trick.

Dear Janice, by now we would either have been on holiday, or have one booked, but this year my husband keeps stalling.

When I try to make plans, he comes out with nonsensical excuses and now says we should leave it till next year.

So, I’ve decided not to mention it again as it just seems to irritate him.

Since January, he hasn’t quite been himself, and has been distant and aloof with me.

He’ll randomly head out for a walk or go to the pub on his own. He also does lots of overtime and has sporadic work events.

His colleague’s wife clearly had no clue what I was talking about when I bumped into her and moaned about all the overtime.

He is 50 and seems to be working more hours than ever, and I barely see him.

What do you think is going on? Jackie.

Dear Jackie, with all this overtime, he must be raking in the cash, so clearly money is not the issue.

Working long hours, he should be longing for a well-earned break. He isn’t.

He has a reason for not going away with you, and I think you have an idea what that reason is, but you don’t want to address it.

Burying your head in the sand and hoping this will all go away is not the answer.

So, start digging.

You are his wife and have every right to expect him to tell you where he is and why he is spending little time with you.

Next time he announces he is going out; grab your coat and say you’ll go too.

When he next works overtime, call his place of work, say he has left his mobile and you need to speak to him urgently.

If he has nothing to hide, then this won’t be a big deal.

If he has, he will be angry and know you are on to him.

Either way, this will be the time to have a conversation and get to the real reason behind his changed behaviour. The outcome of your discussion will guide you towards your next move.

Dear Janice, my partner of six months went mental when he caught me reading a message on his mobile.

It pinged while he was in the bathroom, so I lifted it and started to read (it was just an alert), but when he saw me, boom, he went ballistic.

I can’t see what the big deal is as he could look at mine anytime.

He’s still really frosty with me and I don’t know what I did wrong. Maxine.

Dear Maxine, two things are concerning. His overreaction to you opening up his phone, and his temper/moody behaviour.

You should be transparent and feel at ease with what’s on each other’s phone, if not, why not?

There will be a reason.

As for his temperament, bullying you by silence so that you behave according to his rules is a huge red flag. Perhaps you should re-evaluate what you see in this guy.

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