Dear Janice,

My partner has a five-year-old dog which she is absolutely besotted with.

At first, I thought it showed her kind and caring side, but now she just comes across as obsessive with her selfish decisions and rules about her dog which are really restricting our lives.

For instance, if we go to the local pub, we can only stay out for three hours because her dog apparently gets upset if it is left any longer.

I booked a romantic Valentine’s overnight stay and she insisted we stayed at a dog-friendly hotel and take it too!

I have asked her many times to consider a holiday abroad, but she is adamant there is no way she can leave her ‘baby’. Apart from going everywhere on my own, I don’t know what else to do.

She says it’s me who is being unreasonable because I knew she had a dog when I met her and, that if it was our child we wouldn’t go places and leave it.

I can’t see a way to change this. Any suggestions?


Dear Frustrated,

I am frustrated too!

Sometimes pet issues can lead to separation or divorce, so best to try to sort them out now.

Most people would agree that her decisions are unreasonable, but it sounds like she has other issues going on here. Is your partner suffering from separation anxiety? 

Being attached to our pets becomes unhealthy when it interferes with our daily functioning, and it sounds like your partner ticks that box.

When there is an issue, getting to the specifics can help find a solution, and I suspect the problem stems from your partner, and not her dog.  Let’s face it, animals, if they are well looked after, fed, watered and in company, are perfectly happy.

Using the ‘if it were our child’ scenario doesn’t wash with me. If you had a wedding, funeral etc, you would leave your child, so why should a dog be any different?

There are wonderful, caring dogsitters and dog walkers out there, so the animal being left is not the problem, it is your partner’s reaction to it that it.

Talk it over, and if nothing changes, then you must ask yourself how much of YOUR life are you willing to forego if your partner can’t meet you halfway.

Address her issues now, or look forward to years of frustration and resentment having to play second fiddle to a dog.

Dear Janice,

How can I convince my dad that my ex has changed?

When he had an affair, my parents were massive supportive as I was left to deal with the breakup and our distraught children, so I can see why he is angry and upset at me for giving him a second chance.

We are not rushing into anything, just meeting up now and again and hoping we get back to the happy couple we were.

We have both dated other people during our breakup, but agree that we are right for each other.

My husband regrets what he has done and I want to move forward, but how can I convince my dad that it’s the right decision?


Dear Claire,

At this early stage, you can’t.

Being an overprotective and guarded dad is natural after his daughter and grandchildren suffered because of another man’s actions, so try to understand it from his position in all of this.

It is unrealistic to expect your dad to trust his son-in-law again so soon, and he must fear history repeating itself, and also picking up the pieces of your life again if it all goes wrong.

Remember, affairs do not just affect the injured party, but the wider family too.

Further down the line, suggest they both meet for a chat and hopefully your husband can go someway to convincing your dad that given a second chance, his intentions are genuine.

Understanding why something like this has happened is the route to acceptance and moving forward, therefore, it would be a good idea for you both to attend couples counselling before you go back to being a full-time married couple again. Good luck.

Dear Janice

My mum refuses to babysit my three-year-old son.

I don’t ask her to commit to babysitting on a regular basis, you know, like every Saturday night, but every now and then would be good.

I am single and need a break from being a mum, but she says if she starts babysitting, then it will become a regular thing.

I know it wouldn’t because I don’t have the money to go out often, so not sure why she is being this way.

Any ideas?


Dear Jane,

Your mum seems set in her decision, so leave her out of the picture and do not ask her again. (for now anyway).

I don’t know her reasoning but it seems to me, apart from everything else, that she is missing out on valuable time with her grandson that she will never get back.

Why not set up a rota system with your friends and take turns minding each other’s children? This way it won’t cost you a penny and your son can enjoy the company of other youngsters too.

Or, ask a relative who just might jump at the chance to look after your son now and then.