Dear Janice,

My husband of forty-two years abused me all our married life. I rarely went out because of his jealousy and lost good friends over the years as he made life difficult for me to keep contact with anyone.

Others knew what he was like and that he didn’t want them in our company, so they disappeared.

He passed away a few months back and now I find myself in a position where I have no friends.

He wasn’t a likeable man, therefore very few people came to pay their respects so I didn’t get the chance to reconnect with anyone.

I am lonely and feel sad every day. I just wish I could move on with my life, but I can’t see a happy future for myself.


Dear Jean,

Respect is something that is earned, and not automatically given, …...even for the dead.

It sounds like your husband made your life a misery, that said, there is now a void which is making you feel as though your life is empty and meaningless.

Despite being in an abusive relationship, it was still a relationship and one you are grieving over. Contact for bereavement counselling.

Next step is to start planning your new life. Buy a notepad and pen and begin the search for the old pre-marital Jean. The Jean who loved to dance, paint, sing ... anything that made you happy.

Even writing it down will bring a smile to your face. Search locally for clubs to join. It may be daunting, but there are so many single people out there eager to make new friendships that I doubt it will be long before you have nice people back in your life.

Jean, you have been given another chance at being happy, embrace it and your new life can be exciting and happy again.

Dear Janice,

I have been invited to my friend’s hen do in Liverpool in a few weeks’ time and I am really excited. However my parents say it’s too much for them to look after my son overnight, (he is six, and a bit of a handful), and I don’t have anyone else to ask.

My son’s dad has always been a complete waste of space and hasn’t seen him since he was a baby until the other day when I bumped into him. He asked if he could start spending time with his boy, so I let him take him to the park and as they had a good time, I agreed to let him look after him while I am in Liverpool.

I thought this was the perfect solution, but when I told my friends, a few of them had a right go at me for even suggesting it.

I’m angry because they all have partners and don’t understand how difficult it is with a kid on your own.

This has caused such an atmosphere it has put a huge damper on my weekend away. Anna.

Dear Anna,

Can your ex be a complete waste of space for years and suddenly be trusted to solely care for his son?

You have been the only stable adult in this wee boy’s life, so how will he cope without his mum? How will he feel spending so long with a man he barely knows? His dad should be given the chance to step up but it’s way too early to have him take over, and that’s why your good friends are objectionable to this crazy idea.

I don’t blame you for wanting a much-needed break, but there has to be other options.

Perhaps his dad and grandparents could spend time with him after school and at the weekend while sleeping over at your friend’s home. If they have children, I assume he is familiar with them. Could you afford to pay for a childminder for some of the time? Look at every option to ensure this break is an adventure for your son instead of a memory of abandonment.

Dear Janice,

I am at a loss as to why my son always takes his wife’s side when we have a disagreement.

Even when we both know she is in the wrong, he barely makes eye contact with me, and next minute he is molly-coddling her and agreeing with everything she says. Then she smirks at me, and I could scream.

She is bossy, controlling and twisted beyond belief, so why does he go against his own mother? Ellen.

Dear Ellen,

Who is he going home with after you row? His difficult wife, that’s who. By the sounds of it, disagreeing with her makes his life a misery, so the safest way to side-step conflict is to take the easy path and side with her.

I don’t agree with it, but I’m not in his shoes. He knows you are in the right, but as his mum he knows you are not going to give him the controlling cold shoulder for days on end.

Difficult as it is, grin and bear it because at the end of the day he is fully aware that you are the bigger person by not causing drama.

As for her, well difficult people will always be difficult people. Her behaviour is unlikely to improve but at least you will maintain a good relationship with your son which is invaluable.