I've been with my girlfriend for seven years and we're both divorced.

She was married for over twenty years and has three kids, while I was only married for a year (there's 17 years between us).

I've battled with bouts of depression and drinking, which was putting a strain on our relationship. We decided I had to stop or risk losing her.

I stopped drinking straight away, but then, when she was at a friend's wedding, I started again, because I was anxious and afraid that she might meet someone there.

It put a massive weight on us and I said I'd get help for it, but I didn't. I'm not one for opening up about my problems and my girlfriend knew something was up.

So, for Dutch courage I took a drink to help myself open up, but as I hadn't eaten that day due to stress, that didn't exactly go to plan.

Now she has ended the relationship due to the lies I've told and she says there's no going back.

I've told her that I'm going to go to a local support group, but that doesn't seem to be changing her mind.

Please help me.

K. D.


Not opening up about your problems has got you where you are now - but you've made a start by writing to me.

If it was your girlfriend writing to me, I'd be telling her that someone who persistently lies to her, distrusts her and drinks to excess isn't a good bet for a long-term relationship.

You've told her you're going to do something before, so telling her you are "going" to do something again doesn't give her much faith that you will.

Alcoholics Anonymous has a Helpline you can reach on a daily basis. Go to or call 0800 9177 650 where you'll find the support you need to change the way you think about drinking,

Your girlfriend has three children she is responsible for - she won't want to bring them up around someone who lies and drinks to excess.

You need to change not just your drinking habits but also the way you think about life in general, if you're going to stand a chance of winning her back.

"Dutch courage" doesn't work and as for your depression, alcohol will only make this worse.

Talk to your doctor as well as a support group; maybe consider asking for a referral to a psychotherapist who could help you with confidence issues.

Once you have started down this road, then approach your girlfriend and see if she will consider her ultimatum.

She is more likely to be receptive if you can prove you've done something to help yourself but, if she's not, that doesn't mean you should stop working at this.

Whilst you owe it to her to try and turn your life around, more importantly, you owe it to yourself, too.

You will never be the person you're meant to be whilst you rely on alcohol to alter your moods and outlook.


Four years ago, my husband and I divorced over what, to me, was his unreasonable behaviour. He was constantly chatting up younger women.

Our daughter, who was then four, stayed with me during the week and every other weekend she went to her father.

About three months ago, the school social worker contacted me and said that the school suspected my ex had been sexually abusing her.

I stopped her visits immediately and the police were involved, although they've now said he's unlikely to be charged, because there's not enough evidence.

The whole thing has been a nightmare and I can't believe I was so stupid not to have seen this was going on for so long.

My daughter is having counselling and they think she'll be alright but I feel as though I'm falling apart.

E. O.


Let's get one thing straight, assuming the social worker is correct you are in no way to blame.

There is no way you could have reasonably known what was going on so, please try not to feel guilty.

Having said that, no matter how many people tell you this, the guilt won't go away completely and I think that you too should consider counselling.

Thankfully, your daughter does not seem too traumatised by this and it seems she is receiving all the help and counselling that she needs, but it is your needs that are not being met.

Please consider talking to the social worker, who may be able to source some local counselling for you too.

You may also find it help to contact Parentline Plus on 0808 800 2222 ( This is a free, confidential 24-hour service for anyone with a parenting problem.

Finally, you do not say if your husband is contesting this or not.

If he is and it goes to court, do make sure the social worker is prepared to stand by you.

The last thing you need is for the judge to insist on re-establishing visiting rights if there is any doubt.