He's left me scared

I HAVE recently split up with the boyfriend I’d lived with for almost two years.

Although everything was great at first, he gradually became nastier and nastier to me.

He was very cruel and made me take part in some very unpleasant sexual games, which I loathed. The result is that I’m now so terrified of sex, I feel frightened if a man even speaks to me.

I used to be such a bubbly, outgoing person, but I can’t see myself ever having a relationship again. - TL

Fiona says: After being so cruelly treated by your ex-partner, it’s no wonder you’re petrified.

Deep down, you know all men are not like this, but at the moment, you don’t have the confidence to tell the good from the bad.

Rebuilding confidence will take time and you should make contact with the family and friends with whom you’ve lost contact. They can help you through this difficult period.

If you feel you need more help, try talking to a Relate counsellor (relate.org.uk).

You need to believe you are worthy of a loving, equal relationship where your wishes are respected.

They're refusing to move

MY parents are both in their 80s and have lived in the same house for the past 32 years.

It’s an old house and, although they both have small pensions, they simply cannot afford to keep up with the amount of maintenance the house needs.

I’ve suggested they sell up and move into a smaller place, which would give them some extra capital, but they’re determined to stay in their house until they die. What other help is available? -DB

Fiona says: I suggest you contact Age UK (ageuk.org.uk); aside from their numerous helpful publications on all manner of issues, they have people you can talk to, who will support you in helping your parents.

They can tell you about grants and refer you to any local schemes that may be operating in their area to help them with things they might need to stay put.

If they have a big house with lots of space, why not consider taking on a lodger or a student?