Dear Janice, my girlfriend can’t swim.  It may not seem like a big deal, but we plan on going on lots of foreign holidays, and I can’t imagine how we can have the same fun if she can’t leave dry land.

I’ve offered to teach her, but she is adamant it is not happening.

How do I change her mind?



Dear Jack, find out if she simply never got round to learning, or if she has aquaphobia (a fear of water).

Some people with this condition even fear showers, baths or just being near water!

There are lots of treatments which can help such as exposure therapy, hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.

If she has just never learned, then that’s a whole different matter, and you have kindly offered to teach her, but from my experience, like driving lessons, it’s best left to the professionals. So, book her a block of lessons.

But, if she still can’t swim, remember, many non-swimmers still do lots of water-related activities. Be patient.

It’s not going to make or break a holiday.


Dear Janice, my wife is spending money faster than I can make it.

Her friends are comfortable financially, and she acts like we are in the same league, but we’re not.

I have asked her repeatedly to stop spending, but as it’s a joint account, she does what she wants.

She works part-time, and when I suggest she goes full-time to help us out, she simply laughs at me.

I am constantly checking our account and am constantly worried when I see that she has bought yet another useless item.

Her latest is a steam cooker. Despite rarely cooking a meal, we already have a cooker, microwave, air fryer, slow cooker, pressure cooker, and now this.

It’s all such a waste. Her answer is that her friends have them, so why shouldn’t she?

How can I get her to see sense without causing more grief?



Dear Joe, it will be difficult to avoid an argument when discussing this matter because you should be working as a team, and you are clearly not, never mind your wife’s lack of respect for anything you say. This is not a partnership.

Giving her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps she has no real perspective of how your finances work.

List every single monthly bill, both your incomes, and show her in black and white how the sums don’t add up.

Then, give her two options.

She keeps spending, but needs to add more into the pot, ie a full-time job, or she reigns it in and cuts out buying useless crap.

Tell her honestly that your finances are a constant worry and it’s affecting your mental health.

Lay it on thick. Could you lose your home if your debt spirals? Then where might she end up in comparison to her wealthy friends?

This could be the reality of your situation, and she needs to know where you are at before things take a turn for the worst.

I hope the penny drops and she realises the seriousness of your financial, and marital, situation.

Best of luck.


Dear Janice, we haven’t seen our dad for nearly 40 years.

He disappeared out of our lives, and we never knew what had happened to him or where he had gone. 

He left our mum a note to say he had left, but no explanation as to why.

Our mum died 10 years ago none the wiser about his sudden disappearance.

Recently I was told that he is alive and well and where he lives, and I want to meet him.

However, my sister says that if I do, she will disown me.

He is 82 years old now, and I have so many unanswered questions, and realise I may not get the chance again if I don’t do it now.

On the other hand, I couldn’t live without my sister because she has been a huge support to me since my dad left and mum died, and I would be devastated if she abandoned me.

I wondered if I should visit him and not tell her.



Dear Jane, you and your sister have shared a lot of grief, but you have also shared honesty and love, so don’t go behind her back.

Firstly, ask the source of information to find out if your dad is willing to see you. If not, then there’s not a lot you can do I’m afraid.

If he is, then you need to make your sister understand that you need answers before it is too late.

She is angry, and no wonder after all the years of abandonment, but I doubt if she would ever cut you off. Her threats are made out of anger, disappointment and fear that you will both be hurt yet again.

Rather than taking the risk of you and your sister’s relationship breaking down, talk to her, preferably with another member of your family present who can keep the discussion from boiling over.

Also, it might be a good idea to get ahead of the game. Contact

This organisation has trained mediators who can help families in conflict.

They can also help you deal with the outcome of your visit to your father if all does not go well.


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