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Consumed with guilt over relationships

A few years ago, I had a couple of brief relationships — they weren't really sexual but they did involve heavy petting.

Now I feel guilty about them and I’m afraid of possibly seeing the men involved in case they say anything.

I am also terrified at the thought of anyone finding out. I hate the thought that these men know intimate things about me — what if they tell other people?

One of the men concerned is now married. If he says anything to his wife about me, I’m afraid she might hurt me, even though they weren’t even together at the time. All this anxiety is ruining my life, so please help. KS

FIONA SAYS: FORGIVE YOURSELF

You don't mention that you are married but unless you are, you really have nothing to feel guilty about.

Even if you are now married, if you had these relationships when you were single, there is no reason for you to feel bad.

If you were married, you still didn't have a full-blown affair.

I wonder what it is that makes you so consumed with guilt.

This is something fairly innocent that happened some time in your past — it is something you should be able to put behind you. So why should you think that, after so long, these men will suddenly reveal your secrets to others?

You are feeling terribly guilty and the guilt is more than punishment enough.

Can you not forgive yourself or is there something that has happened recently that has triggered this reaction?

Do you think it would help to talk to someone who won't judge you but will just listen? Contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or you can find the local branch number in your phone book.

Belfast Telegraph