Dear Janice, my partner won’t stop lying.

It’s not just “big” lies like where she has been, or who she has been with, but trivial lies.

Like when I asked her what she had for lunch and she said “nothing” as she was too busy to eat, then when I put rubbish in the bin, I found an empty sandwich packet. And often she tells me she has done something when actually someone else has done it for her.

Sounds insignificant, but it’s constant. I never really know if she does half the things she says she does, who she is with and how she spends her time.

I have “caught her out” so many times that there doesn’t seem any point in calling her out on it because it just causes an awkward atmosphere for us both.

She is a lovely person and we get on great otherwise (so long as I ignore the lies), but I don’t know if I can see a future with her if I can’t trust a word that comes out of her mouth.

What do you suggest I do? Kevin.

Dear Kevin, pathological lying can be a result of low-self esteem, anxiety or past trauma, and sometimes liars need others to view them in a favourable light, so they make things up in order to look or sound better than they actually are.

Usually these people are unhappy within themselves, and this condition is often associated with narcissistic personality disorder. So all in all, the future for you both looks to be challenging to say the least.

Encourage her to see a psychotherapist, but be aware that this can be a difficult process because liars often lie to their therapist too, instead of addressing their behaviour.

That said, without therapy, compulsive lying can last a lifetime. Is this something you feel you could cope with, or even want to? The reality is, the more she lies, the less you will trust her and TRUST is the pillar of every relationship.

I hope she seeks help, and perhaps if you were there too, she couldn’t freely lie without you holding her to account.

I wish you both luck.

Dear Janice, my ex is not coping since we broke up and I feel so guilty. He is a decent guy, but we just weren’t compatible in lots of ways, so we ended our relationship amicably. (Or so I thought.)

But every now and then he texts me when he is drunk and tells me how much he misses me and that life without me is miserable.

I have met him for a coffee and yet again tried to clarify the situation but it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

I’m told he barely goes out anymore and has missed work a few times because he isn’t coping with life.

I know I am not to blame but don’t know how to fix this situation.
I thought about taking him back but realised this would be out of sympathy and nothing more. Any advice would be appreciated. Mary.

Dear Mary, sadly, it sounds like your ex is truly brokenhearted. But this is not your fault.

It takes a huge amount of courage to end a relationship which isn’t working, especially when there has been no major incident, and the easy option would have been to carry on.

However, the likelihood is that you would have grown to dislike one another eventually for not fulfilling each other’s needs.

Speak to his friends and family and encourage them to get him back into the land of the living – preferably without alcohol being involved.

Losing someone you love, even though they haven’t passed away, can still be a loss, so difficult as it may be, distance yourself from your ex and let him grieve.

With lots of love and support, he can eventually move on.

Dear Janice, my elderly neighbour has been in hospital for four weeks now, and every time I suggest visiting her, her daughter tells me it is “not a good time”.

She has been my neighbour for 25 years and we have a lovely relationship, especially after lockdown when we blethered over the fence daily.

I also think she must be wondering why I haven’t shown face.

What should I do as I want to visit but don’t want to upset her daughter? Shirley.

Dear Shirley, if her daughter had given you a specific reason not to visit then I would have held back, but she hasn’t so it can’t be anything to worry about.

What’s the worse that can happen? Your neighbour’s daughter falls out with you? Well, you don’t see her anyway, so not sure what harm it could do.

I am sure your neighbour will be over the moon to see you but if you are still unsure, telephone the hospital and speak to the nurse in charge and ask if there is any reason why she is not allowed visitors. If she suggests you do not visit, ask her to pass on your regards.

If she gives you the green light, take the bull by the horns and go.

I am sure your neighbour will be delighted to see you.