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My parents are so unhappy together...how can I help?

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice


I want to tell them it's OK to go their separate ways, not to be afraid.

I want to tell them it's OK to go their separate ways, not to be afraid.

I want to tell them it's OK to go their separate ways, not to be afraid.

Question: I think my parents are not happily married anymore and I don't know what to do about it. I live near and they just never look happy.

Obviously Covid has been a factor, but it's more than that. The fact that I'm so near them makes everything so real for me. I have one brother but he's living an hour's drive away and hasn't been around as much. I want to tell them it's OK to go their separate ways, not to be afraid.

My mum is 58 and dad is 60. She has said things over the years about dad and marriage, but I always just put that down to a row or a bad day. Now I'm starting to put two and two together and thinking that maybe that was a cry for help.

There's been nothing really negative. I think they've grown apart and this past year has showed that. So how do I help? What can anyone do? If I encourage her to leave or say anything like that, I dread to think what her reaction will be. But I feel if I don't say anything they will just keep going, making themselves unhappy. We will support them because we love them.

Nothing will really change except they'll be free to find out what they want for themselves in life.

Answer: It's so hard to step into another person's relationship and make decisions for them. I accept that you have an intuition that they've not had a consistently happy life, but to walk away is a big step, life-changing even. Maybe that's why your parents have hung in there.

You will only really discover what's going on by talking to them. Start in a general way, asking how she/he is and guide the conversation from there. Maybe they just need some help.

Have you ever considered that? Your best approach is to support them as they work out what to do. Focusing on this approach will give you the chance to stand back and release yourself from the responsibility of judging which may result in misconception.

I’m 44 and did still sees me as a kid

Question: I'M 44 and started my first relationship last September. We met on Tinder. He's 51 and divorced with two children who are in their 20s. I live with my dad and he's not happy. He sees this guy as having more life experience and he's worried that he'll do the dirt on me. I've never been with anyone before and I was a virgin when I met him, but he's changed my life.

Even though I'm in my 40s, my dad thinks of me as a kid. He's worried I'll move in with my boyfriend too soon. But I feel this is my time.

Answer: Let yourself settle into the relationship and enjoy the experience for the moment. I think the fact it is happening to you now makes you feel frustrated that you didn't do it sooner. Your instinct is to develop this into something more serious.

Everything will soon be opening up and you can stretch this relationship into all sorts of adventures.

Basically, give yourself more time to get to know him. This will also give your dad more time to process that you may want to move out.

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