TV’s Steph and Dom Parker, 51 and 54, draw on their 20 years of marriage to solve your relationship problems . . .
Q: I was in a relationship for four years, which ended when she left me. Four years later, we rekindled the affair.
She asked me to go on a two-week cruise and said she would pay as money isn’t a problem for her, while I live on a pension. However, I decided to pay my share in instalments and to date have repaid £600.
The problem is, the holiday was a disaster! She had been on the same cruise with a friend and had seen all the sights. All we did in every port was find the shopping centres.
An anonymous reader asked TV’s Steph and Dom Parker for advice on paying the outstanding balance on a holiday from hell with their ex (file image)
Also, we both love ballroom dancing and there were dances every day on the ship, but this was a no-go as she said she had a bad toe, so we danced only twice. I will admit, I didn’t help matters as I was frustrated and became argumentative.
We’re no longer together, but my question is, should I pay the remaining balance or not?
STEPH SAYS: I admire your determination to try to rekindle what was once clearly a good relationship — although a four-year gap is quite a long time!
However, people can change and I think you should give yourself a pat on the back for giving it another go.
You strike me as the sort of person who likes the finer things in life, and this lady seems to be the same, so you can be forgiven for thinking this holiday would have been fabulous.
You probably, and understandably, hoped the trip would cement your relationship — and there’s nothing wrong with having such an optimistic outlook. But, as we all know, it takes two to tango, and I’m a bit puzzled as to how serious she was about the relationship when she offered the invitation.
I’m also baffled that she didn’t seem to want to spend any of the holiday doing the things you like, or, indeed, making sure you had a good time occasionally.
I can’t help but think she wasn’t really interested in rekindling a proper relationship. Could it be she’s bored so, with money not in short supply, is filling her days with holidays all the time, and just wanted someone to go with her?
Steph (pictured left with Dom) advised the reader to cut all contact with his ex after he finishes paying for the holiday
Or, of course, it could well be that she was very serious about the two of you and was simply being generous as — lucky her — money is not a problem.
Either way, it doesn’t really matter any more. You can’t change the past. You went on the holiday. You did the right thing by insisting on paying your way at the time. And you must continue to do so now. The way you act at this moment is about your own self-worth and your independence, too.
The last thing you want is to end up feeling you’ve been ‘bought’, or that you have had no control over your decision to go away with her.
You must continue to pay your bill, but, once it’s done, I would suggest you cut all contact and chalk this up to experience.
Pay up then cut all contact — for good
Don’t forget, you made the decision to go in good faith, believing you were investing in your relationship.
I’m not sure your friend could say the same for herself.
I’m afraid I don’t see the relationship being salvaged here, not even on a platonic basis, as she has been so cavalier with your own needs and did nothing on the cruise to try to help you enjoy what was your holiday, too.
Pay your outstanding balance as quickly as possible and go and find yourself a woman who will treat you with the consideration you deserve.
DOM SAYS: Oh, dear. Well, first things first, it sounds as if this is definitely not for rekindling. Were your lady friend to make overtures again, I’d categorically rebuff them. It seems to me that you are rather incompatible.
I’m surprised you didn’t already know that after four years together first time round!
I have to say, I am always of the opinion that you should never go back. Relationships break down for good reasons — and they will break down again. But then, you probably know that now.
Dom (pictured) says the fact things went wrong with the reader’s ex changes nothing in regards to their money arrangements
That said, just because the relationship is over, it doesn’t mean your obligation to pay what you agreed has been discharged. She offered to pay for you, which was kind, but you said you’d pay her back in instalments, which was the right thing to do.
The fact that things went wrong changes precisely nothing with regard to the money!
Neither does the fact she’s got a few quid in the bank and you have to watch the pennies — the financial difference between you matters not one jot. What strikes me is that, while you clearly talked together and made a plan for the financial side of things, you didn’t do so when it came to what would happen on your holiday. Your mistake was a lack of research.
It’s OK that she didn’t want to go sightseeing — when I’m on holiday, all I want to do is find the pool and bar — but it’s a shame she didn’t tell you that. It’s a bit like going on a skiing holiday if you don’t ski — you wouldn’t then expect the other people there to hang up their boots and spend time in a chalet watching the snow fall.
Would she paint the same picture?
So I sympathise with you on the fact that she didn’t seem to care about what you wanted. But I don’t see why you couldn’t have gone your own ways in port — her to the shops and you to the ruins or whatever.
Ditto the dancing. If the poor woman’s got a bad toe, she’s got a bad toe — forgive her that. But there’s no reason you couldn’t have found other partners to dance with — with your lady friend’s agreement, of course.
You admit you became frustrated and argumentative, so the disastrous trip was perhaps not all one-sided, and I do wonder if she’d paint exactly the same picture as you.
Whatever the reason your dream trip turned into a nightmare, the sad reality is that neither of you got what you hoped for and now things are well and truly over. But a gentleman always honours his commitments. Settle up and move on with your head held high.
If you have a question you’d like Steph and Dom to tackle, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org