Dear Janice,

I am lonely. All I do is work and watch TV.  I have no real friends, only work colleagues, but I don’t know how to change. David.

Dear David,

I am sorry you are in this situation, but sadly you’re not alone.

Change is easy to say but can be difficult to put in place, so well done for reaching out and recognising you have a problem.

You need to build positive relationships with others, and I don’t necessarily mean romantically. When you share interests and hobbies, (food, music, sports, etc) anything which connects you to others, this forges a bond between you. Even with strangers!

List your interests and join groups with people who share commonalities. Find your tribe!

That way, even if you are shy, you will be able to chat about something others will be interested in.

David, connecting with other people is vital for our mental health and well-being, so make that list.  Good luck.



Dear Janice,

My mum passed away after a short illness and four months after her funeral my dad has met someone else.

My parents were in love for 20-odd years, therefore I can’t understand how he has gotten over her so quickly.

He has removed all pictures of her from our home, cleared out all of her things and dumped them at the charity shop.

This new woman is pleasant enough, but she is never away from our home and is now part of our everyday lives.

They are planning a holiday and want me to go with them, but I can’t as I feel I would be betraying my mum’s memory.

I have tried talking to him, but he just says that life moves on and that I’ll get used to it.

I miss my mum so much and feel overwhelmed by the whole situation.

I’m too young to find a place of my own and I feel trapped in circumstances I never thought I would be in. Kyle.

Dear Kyle,

First of all, my sympathies at losing your mum which must have come as a massive blow.

I have no clue what is going on in your dad’s head (or his new partners), because even if your parents had an unhappy marriage, four months is no time at all to replace his wife (the mother of his child). Apart from the emotional turmoil everyone has to deal with, it shows little respect for her family and friends.

Everyone needs time to grieve, and you have barely had any, so now your emotional needs must take priority.

Grief can be overwhelming at any age, but you are young and haven’t had support from the person closest to you, so now is the time to take the next step in getting help and advice.

Contact who can

help you understand grief and

lend support at this vulnerable,

and incredibly sad time in your


I suggest you also talk to a family member, perhaps an aunt or uncle, or your mum’s friend, who will also be feeling first-hand the sorrow of losing her.


Dear Janice,

My boyfriend is still living with his ex and has no plans to move out.

Despite us being together for nearly a year, his ex doesn’t know anything about me as he says her finding out would only make an already difficult situation worse.

He says he is staying put until his teenage sons are older and only then will he break up his family.

Despite all this, we do spend a lot of time together, but I am wondering what I really mean to him, and how long I need to stay in the background without being his significant other.

He agrees it is not an ideal situation and says he wouldn’t blame me for walking away, but in the same breath, he tells me that I’m the love of his life.

I am hurt and confused and feel like a fool when my friends ask about him and our situation.

What do I do? MS.

Dear MS,

He really has got everyone exactly where he wants them, hasn’t he? And all to accommodate him.

Both you and his ex are being kept in the dark which is never a good sign. Let’s be honest, you know deep down that there is more to his home situation than he gives you credit for.

It is understandable that he doesn’t want to break up his family whilst his sons are still living at home. I get it. But, even if that is admirable, is it fair to you?

This boils down to your expectations, and how much you are willing to compromise.

If you were happy and willing to wait for the never, never, you wouldn’t be writing to me.

So…... next step.

Where do you want to be a year from now? Can you realistically see anything changing?

I doubt that even if you gave it two years, much will be different.

This means it’s time for a final chat. Put your cards on the table and let him do the same.

If you are the love of his life, he will not let you slip through his fingers, regardless of his homelife.

So, be brave, have that chat and plan the life you deserve, not one which at present is offering you nothing.