My husband was furloughed at the start of Covid and then, shortly after he went back to work, he was made redundant.

It was a shock as he'd been with the company for many years but, sadly, they've now gone under.

A few months ago, he applied for and got a new job - which is great, but we had to move into the house that comes as part of the package.

Leaving our old home and uprooting to a new one in a different part of the country was a real shock to the system.

We decided not to sell it because we knew we would want to come back to it sooner or later and anyway our son has stayed on in our old house.

The thing is, I really dislike this new house and have found it hard to settle.

I really don't like the area and there's very few people around of my age - they're all youngsters or "yummy mummies", not like me at all!

My husband won't listen to reason and refuses to even consider giving up the job.

He says that because of his age (he's 60 next month), he's too old to find another one easily and he isn't willing to retire yet.

I'm seven years older than him and I retired when I was 65, two years ago,

His only suggestion is that I should go back to our old house while he stays with the job.

I feel so hurt and can't believe he would put his work before me after we have been married for nearly 40 years.

G. N.


I don't think your husband is putting the job before you when he says he wants to stick with this role.

He's right in saying that finding a new job does become harder as you get older, and I'm sure he wants to continue to work to support you and your family.

In fact, he was probably very lucky to get himself a job at all in the current environment when so many people have, like him, lost their old ones.

Add to that his age and I suspect his chances of finding another one really won't be easy.

Please be careful about the pressure you are putting on him to give up this job - he may well resent it, especially if you're trying to get him to take an early retirement.

A lot of people hate the idea of retiring at all and see it as being put on the scrap heap.

You do not say how long you have been trying to settle into this new house for, but I get the feeling that it hasn't been very long.

Have you really given this new home a chance?

I know it's hard when you move to a new place, to make new friends and get involved with new people, but it takes time and effort.

Knowing you can always go back to your old home - and wanting to so badly - does make me wonder whether you've tried as hard as you possibly can to make things work.

Why not try to come to some compromise arrangement?

Could you, for say, six months, really commit yourself to working really hard at getting involved in the new local community?

Investigate things like the U3A (u3a.org.uk) that runs all manner of local courses and activities.

Contact your local library, too - they will probably have an idea of clubs, groups or activities you might be interested in finding out more about.

If, at the end of that time you still cannot settle at all, why not talk about the possibility of running two homes, one for during the week and one to go home to at weekends?

If you still really can't bear to stay in the new house, perhaps he could be the one coming back at weekends.

Whatever you decide though, you are both going to have to find some kind of compromise, because if you don't, one of you will be very unhappy.


I'm a woman of 44 and have been happily married to a lovely man for 19 years.

Recently I met an old friend I hadn't seen since we were 19 and at university together.

She's 18 months older than me and has never married or had a family, but has instead worked at her career and is very successful.

My problem is that I think I'm attracted to her, and I'm really concerned by this because I have always loved my husband and children.

Family life has always been important to me, and I've never felt any attraction to a woman before.

Although we've not really discussed it, I am fairly certain she feels the same way about me too.

I am so confused because surely, I can't be a lesbian after all this time.

We have tried to see a little less of each other, but it just hasn't worked as I'm still feeling very attracted and confused.

What is going on with me and why do I feel like this?

A. O.


If you still love and are attracted to your husband, then perhaps seeing an old friend has brought back exciting memories of being 19 and experiencing the freedom of university life together.

You can be attracted to people in all kinds of ways and that attraction doesn't always have to be sexual.

It's exciting to come across an old friend again - and good friends are few and far between.

So, re-establishing a strong bond after years apart is bound to involve a measure of love and attraction to one another.

We're all beginning to understand that human sexuality and attraction is not as simple as perhaps we might have thought.

More and more people are realising they're attracted to people for who they are, regardless of their gender.

Perhaps that's what is happening to you - you're seeing something in this friend that you want and need.

It may be something sexual, it may be something emotional - it may be something else entirely.

For now, though, you've both seen what you've missed by letting this good friendship lapse.

Hang on to that friendship.


Three months ago, I left my husband, taking my three-year-old daughter with me.

We'd been married for five years, and he was (and still is) a very heavy drinker.

I was only 21 when I married him and obviously very naive because I didn't realise how aggressive he would get when he gets drunk.

He hit me frequently and it took a lot for me to gather up my things and run.

I've now spoken to a solicitor and have started divorce proceedings.

My family are supporting me, and I should be relieved and happy but, some days all I can do is sit on my bed and cry.

I just don't understand why I feel so low.

My family don't seem to be able to help, other than listening sympathetically when I burst into tears in front of them.

It just doesn't make sense - my husband was cruel and vicious - he hurt me and did some pretty dreadful things to me, but despite this, I think I still love and miss him.

What's wrong with me?

P. C.


There is nothing wrong with you at all.

You've shown great courage by moving out and starting divorce proceedings.

Anyone who has had to cope with domestic violence knows how demoralising it is and how difficult it is to find the courage to escape.

What you now need to do is hang on to the knowledge that you've made the right decision.

I'm sure you do still love him - but who you love is the man you thought you married, not the man he turned out to be.

I'm sure that, had you seen the violent side of him when you first met, you would never have married him.

There was something there to love at the start and that's what you're missing.

Sadly, though, a violent man rarely, if ever, changes.

You could have been exposing yourself and your daughter to a continued risk of violence and abuse if you had stayed.

What you are going through is a bereavement - you are mourning the loss of the husband you loved, despite the fact he behaved so badly.

Once you loved a very different man and it isn't surprising you are mourning that loss.

Grief takes time to work through, so please don't feel embarrassed about relying on your family and if you need to do it a little more, I'm sure they'll understand.

It's great to have people around you that are prepared to listen sympathetically, so I suggest you make the most of this.

Because, I'm sorry to say, you may always experience some grief - not as acutely as you are feeling it now, but you may always love and miss the man you married.

People say that in time these feelings will fade.

The edges are blunted - rubbed off - and in many cases someone or something comes along to bring happiness back into your life once more.

Even so, and especially when you look at your daughter, you will feel an edge of sadness that this man couldn't be the man you hoped he would be - and that will always hurt, even if only a little.

You might find it helpful to contact Gingerbread (gingerbread.org.uk) the organisation for single parents and their children which can provide day-to-day support and practical help.

You will find others, like you, who have been through similar experiences and who are willing to offer their help and support through local groups and advisory services.


I'm 62 and have been widowed for five years.

Last year I started dating again and met a lovely widower a couple of years older than me.

We got on like a house on fire - in fact I fell deeply in love with him, but he could never bring himself to say he loved me.

He said he cared for me but would never commit to anything more, so we separated but we ended up really missing each other.

We've been talking on the phone and haven't actually got back together again yet, but I feel we might soon, but do you think it'll work this time?

Surely, we've known each other long enough for him to be able to say how he feels?

M. P.


He's already told you how he feels - he's said he cares for you and while this might not be as far as you'd like him to go, it would seem it's the limit of his commitment at present.

You don't say how long he has been a widower, but it's quite possible that he may still have feelings for his dead wife and may be unsure about forming another relationship just yet.

I wonder if you might be trying to force the pace a little too much here.

You say you get on well and miss each other's company when you're apart, so consider whether you're able to accept this at present and wait to see if anything deeper develops.

In time he may find he's able to commit himself to you, but also, he may not.

Can you see yourself being ok with that?

If not, it may be kinder to all concerned if you both moved on.

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