There will come a time when these excuses run out — and you will have to decide whether to stay or to go:
1. The mobile phone bill goes missing. If lengthy calls to your lover have sent the telephone bill spiralling upwards, the last thing you want is for your husband to discover that nearly all the calls have been made to just one number. Worse than that, you definitely don’t want him calling that number!
2. You stop cooking for him. If he gets home, asks what you’ve made for dinner and you reply, “I’ve made reservations’, he knows he’s in trouble.
3. You often talk about how good the window cleaner is, how the tennis coach has really improved your game or why the builders need to stay longer than intended. The wife of a rich, successful man, if she feels neglected and second best to the attractions of work, may find solace with a lover who has far less material wealth but does not substitute financial rewards for affection and attention.
4. You really don’t care how his day went at work! The conversation and gossip about his work once fascinated you. Now it bores you to tears. You are no longer interested in his work because you are no longer interested in him. It shows.
5. You look younger and trimmer - and he still hasn’t noticed! If he no longer notices your hair, make-up or figure, he will probably be slow to twig that someone else has. By the time reality has dawned, it may be too late.
6. You are suddenly spending more time with girlfriends. You suggest a separate bank account for your “girly” indulgences, so that you don’t have to bother him all the time. At least that’s what you want him to believe. But what will happen if he finds your bank statements or discovers your pin number?
7. When work commitments prevent him from coming on holiday, you are unusually understanding. You tell him that you’ll enjoy the sun and finally read all those unopened books. Instead, you plan to meet up with the guy he had dismissed as a beach bum on your last trip together to the Caribbean. You tell him you know that he is too busy to call - and that you’ll ring him.
8. You begin to wear younger, sexier clothing. He’s long past noticing anything new you wear - although when he does, he is quick to complain about the cost. You are careful if you use the joint account to pay for them, and you always tell him what you’ve bought - even if you don’t tell him why.
9. You are embarrassed in his company. Suddenly he can’t do anything right in your eyes. His fashion sense belongs in a different age, his jokes aren’t funny anymore and you begin to compare him - unfavourably - with more dynamic and successful friends and colleagues.
10. Sex is a definite no! The headache excuse is so see-through, it’s transparent. You’ve tried the one about being worried that the children will hear. Perhaps the gym or the tennis has tired you. Perhaps there is a late night television programme that you really can’t miss.
Nicknamed "The Barracuda" for her tenacity, Marilyn Stowe is one of the UK’s most sought after divorce lawyers, and is the senior partner at Stowe Family Law.