DEAR Janice, this may sound trivial, but I must have shown my girlfriend the correct way to fill the dishwasher at least 10 times now and still it’s an absolute riot. There’s a plate then a bowl then a plate etc and she only fits in a third of what I can. I feel I am hitting my head off a brick wall. A two-year-old could do this task so why can’t she? Steve.

Dear Steve, to be honest you might as well hit your head off a brick wall because this situation isn’t going to change. Two, 10 or 20 years old, it doesn’t matter, she is either not interested or just doesn’t see it as an important issue like you do.

I repeatedly asked my ex-partner if, for safety reasons, he could please put knives sharp-end-down in the basket. Did it make any difference? Not one bit. Time after time I almost lost a digit, and I often wonder if he did it on purpose!

There is no point in repeatedly checking up on her stacking skills because you will only be disappointed. You get annoyed and stressed and she receives another disapproving glare. So, give in and take full control of the dishwasher. That way, you’ll never be disappointed. Perhaps in future you might consider putting your next girlfriend through psychometric testing to evaluate her stacking skills among others before you set her up to fail.

Dear Janice, I think my wife has a problem with alcohol. We are both fairly big drinkers and since lockdown I admit we have been consuming even more units that ever. It’s never been an issue until recently when I found an empty vodka bottle in her bedroom drawer. I never said anything but have just found another empty half-bottle behind tins in our kitchen cupboard. Should I say anything? Dan.

Dear Dan, I’m afraid there is no skulking around this one. You need to pick a time, preferably before you both start to tipple, and tell her you have found the empties and that you are concerned for her health. After all, if you are both already drinking heavily then there should be no need to consume even more alcohol on the fly. I feel that she does have a drink problem because hiding bottles tells me that she understands

it’s unacceptable to drink even more.

Only two things are likely to happen when you confront her. She’ll stop the secret drinking. Result! Or she will up her game of find-the-bottle and get extremely adept at finding hiding places, so you will really need to up your game too.

This is not easy, but at least you have a starting point. Let’s hope she takes on board your concerns, and if not, there is lots of help, support and guidance for you within this link:

Dear Janice, I have been seeing a guy for six months now. We can’t really spend much time together with all the restrictions, and it’s never been a serious relationship on my part, but now I want to finish it. I was about to text him to end it, but my friend says this would be really rude. Gemma.

Dear Gemma, your friend seems to have more respect for your boyfriend than you do. Relationships break up all the time for a variety of reasons, however, this poor guy doesn’t seem to have done anything wrong except exist and play by Covid rules. Fine if you want to move on, but give him the courtesy of a phone call and explain that it’s not working for you, wish him well, and leave the situation in a more dignified manner.

Dear Janice, I feel like I’m now an insomniac as every night I lie for hours staring at the ceiling and just can’t get back to sleep. I do fall asleep fairly quickly as I’m exhausted, but always about three in the morning I’m wide awake again. I’m continually knackered. Any suggestions? Stuart.

Dear Stuart, my (ex) husband used to say that the best cure for a sleepless night was to listen to me talking. A couple of minutes of my chit chat and he was snoring like a drunken sailor! However, insomnia is a common problem, even more so now with all the related issues Covid has dropped at our feet, and lack of sleep can be extremely debilitating. Even when you’re absolutely exhausted you can still ping eyes wide open in the middle of the night.

Often people who suffer from interrupted sleep have difficulty switching off from life’s pressures and troubles. I found that my sleepless nights were the result of something or someone I couldn’t switch off from. So, getting to the bottom of your issues and worries will help.

Prescription sleeping tablets should only be a short-term fix but can often help you return to a regular sleeping pattern.

I assume you have tried sleeping in a cool environment, cutting down on your alcohol consumption, etc, so why don’t you try using a meditation app on your mobile? The calming sound can help take your mind off your troubles, slow down your heartbeat and put you back to sleep. Even just the boredom of listening to it can be enough! Darken your bedroom and give it a try for a few nights.

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