I’m 20 and I work on my dad’s greengrocer stall. My boyfriend is a butcher and we got together because his work place is right beside where we put our stall. We use their kettle to make tea.

He is 28 and he seemed really lovely when he first asked me out. We had a few dates and he was so complimentary.

He was used to seeing me in woolly hats and jumpers as it gets so cold at work. He was constantly saying, “You look a million dollars” or “You scrub up well”.

He made me feel like a princess. We saw each other regularly for the first month but I started to miss my nights out with my friends from college.

My boyfriend met them once but said he didn’t like them.

He started getting stroppy with me if I arranged to see them.

He’d say things like, “I’d be nicer to you if you stopped seeing that lot”. He also banned me from talking to other guys on the market. If he was in the shop window I’d have to blank some of my old friends. It was ridiculous.

I found out that one of the guys from another stall liked me but he apparently knew what my boyfriend was like. He walked by and passed me a note one day with his phone number on it.

I texted him and he asked me to meet him in a bar outside town. I got along so well with this new guy. He’s 26 and we have so much in common. He’s the perfect gentleman. He knows some of my friends and said what fun they are.

We went back to his place and had sex and I’d never felt so connected before.

He has a girlfriend but he says he’s sick of her. She tries to control him so we are in the same position really. Should I break up with my boyfriend?


NEARLY three in four women experience pain during sex at some time during their lives.

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DEIDRE SAYS: Your relationship with him doesn’t sound at all healthy. Making demands that you not see friends is probably just the start of his coercive behaviour. It’s heading towards abuse.

He’s emotionally blackmailing you into cutting ties with friends and the next step will be your family.

You are not his property. Your relationship should be an equal one.

You have to find the courage to stand up for yourself and recognise that you are with an abusive partner. He is unlikely to change his ways.

Find support through the National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247) and see womensaid.org.uk.

When you move on from this relationship, it may encourage the other guy to move on from his unhappy relationship too.

Don’t get drawn into an ongoing triangle.

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