For the past 25 years, I always thought I had a good and loving marriage, but my husband has just jeopardised everything by saying that he wants to have an affair. He says it's with a woman he works with and that they have become very close, though he assures me that they haven't slept together yet. He wants to continue to see her and eventually sleep with her, but only if I agree. Despite this revelation, he also said that he loves me and wants us to stay married.

That was three days ago, and he immediately started sleeping in the spare bedroom to "give me space to think it through". The problem is, I am no nearer to understanding any of this.

I don't want to lose my husband but I don't think I could cope with sharing him with another woman. What should I do?

Many readers will already be shouting, "Show him the door" and I have some sympathy with these responses. Your husband has put you in an impossible position with this selfish request and probably has no idea how hurtful, insulting and disrespectful it is. This is a major life decision for you and, as you've already indicated, you do not want to lose him. The best way forward is to defer any decision until you've both had a chance to talk through this issue with a Relate counsellor (

If your husband won't engage in the counselling process, please go on your own. It will better prepare you should the worst happen.

I retired a couple of months ago and was looking forward to spending more time with my husband, like we did when we were first married.

He retired two years ago and has been busy with projects around the house and garden. I thought he would welcome me helping but, far from enjoying our time together, we seem to be getting on each other's nerves!

We argue over trivial things like the fact he keeps leaving the milk out of the fridge - it drives me mad.

He admits he's feeling irritable too but how is it that, after 35 years of marriage, we can't cope with being around one another?

If this situation is causing you both to be so stressed that your marriage is at risk, then it's far from trivial. I'm not altogether surprised though, because when you both worked, you spent so much time apart that you probably never got to the point where you aggravated one another. Now you are spending all your time together, there is no such safety valve. In this case, you may find it helpful to contact a Relate counsellor (