Later Life Relationship Counselling & Advice

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Brother's weight loss

Maggi, can you advise me? My husband and I live in the next street to my brother. He was divorced about 18 months ago and we see him every week. Either he comes to us for a Sunday roast or we share a take away meal at his after we've all been to a football match or the cinema. We've always enjoyed each other's company and he and my husband are really good friends.

His divorce was pretty messy and he doesn't get to see his children much now as his ex manages to keep them busy out of school so there is no space for him. I know he worries about them a lot as they make it clear when they do see him that they're finding it hard to settle with a step-dad figure in their house.

My difficulty is that I don't seem to get my brother to take his health seriously and I think he is unwell.  He is 53 and getting thinner quite fast. I just don't know if that, and his tiredness and lack of energy, is due to sadness, depression and missing his kids or not eating properly, or something more sinister.

I've tried to ask him if there are any other physical problems but he tells me I'm a fusspot and makes a joke of it. He says he's getting 'buff' again to attract all the younger women! I don't see buff, I see gaunt. How can I get him to see he needs to go to his doctor and get a check up at the very least?

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Hitting a low point

Nothing seems to be working out for me right now. I'm hitting fifty in a couple of months, the two kids are in their bolshie teens and I'm struggling to have any decent conversation with my husband.

I'm finding it hard to get off to sleep, feel exhausted all the time and frankly can't get enthusiastic about anything, even food or sex. I have an overwhelming urge to just walk out of the door and disappear.

Everyone in the house seems to be completely absorbed in their own world. They'd hardly notice if I wasn't here!

Six months ago I said goodbye to a man who was the only one who seemed to understand how I felt. He had been a family friend and was over here temporarily. He's now gone back to Australia, after five years living near us.

We spent long hours together as a group of friends. His wife was a lovely woman but totally driven by her successful business and he was a stay-at-home-dad. He'd often come round to our house and chat and was very aware of how lonely my life looked from the outside. He was gentle, considerate and a great listener. Although we never spoke of this I think we were both feeling we were getting too close. And now that family have gone away and I miss his company so much. It has made me look at my own life and feel things are not right.

What one earth shall I do? Am I depressed? Where do I start?

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In later life, especially once we’ve retired, friendships and relationships can become even more important than before because we have more time for them. It can be a wonderful phase of life in which to spend more quality time with partners or children, friends or relatives, and to strengthen bonds with them.

But for many reasons, things can go wrong. Maybe we and those closest find  it hard to see eye to eye despite our nearness, or maybe one of us takes the other for granted or is unaware of the effect we have, or can't work out how to help. 
Whatever the reason, Maggi Stamp’s articles each month, which deal with many specific difficulties that people bring to her, can be immensely helpful. She strictly respects confidentiality and never identifies those who write to her.  But the individual worries they raise are invariably felt by others, so her responses can help many.

To the right, you’ll see all the subjects that Maggi has written about and we’ve collated them into broad categories to make it easier to find advice most appropriate to your situation.

 

 
Topics covered in these Articles



Planning Retirement Online

 

Bereavement, Loss, Separation & Empty-Nest Syndrome

163 - Son is in love
161 - Sad Mum
158 - New Start for Widower
157 - I fear losing my son
147 - Breaking away from family tradition
146 - Saying Goodbye to an emigrating Friend
145 - Friends and Neighbours
144 - Dealing with the sadness of a Step Son leaving home
140 - Who's Having Fun?
137 - Alone of Lonely
131 - The hidden side of being an Ex-Pat
114 - A friend has just been widowed
106 - Parting gifts
105 - Give in? Not me!
91 - Gay widower
87 - My family are emigrating
82 - Estranged family in France
73 - How to have a good death
70 - Going to Singapore..
69 - I've never really grieved for my sister
60 - Facing the inevitable
50 - How do I move on?
32 - Children flown, new home, coping with builders, being a carer, husband often absent…
11 - We are never ready for this
7 - Sarah leaves home

Caring for Parents & Elderly Relations

164 - Partner has moved mum in
133 - Mum worries
127 - Facing possible dementia in older parents
66 - More about Caring
65 - Caring, a duty, an honour or a curse?
53 - My father has Parkinsons disease
33 - My mother insists on spending...

Grandparenting: Boundaries & Building Relationships

160 - Bad Start to the Year
152 - I'm starting to become afraid of my daughter-in-law
144 - Dealing with the sadness of a Step Son leaving home
143 - Live in Grandaughter issues
122 - Teenagers! Are they truly Zombies?
119 - Generation Gap or Brave New World?
101 - Our four grandchildren are all overweight
100 - Grandmothers wanting more access to grandchildren.
98 - (a) Grandmother as helper
55 - Grandparent's longing
54 - My grandson has terrible rages. How can I help?
52 - How can I restore relations with my granddaughter?
13 - I don`t like granny
10 - So good when they go
2 - Boundaries of being a grandparent

Helping & Making Friends, Advising Others

169 - Brother's weight loss
166 - A good neighbour
146 - Saying Goodbye to an emigrating Friend
135 - Trapped by Tradition
131 - The hidden side of being an Ex-Pat
130 - Kindness is Contagious
122 - Teenagers! Are they truly Zombies?
119 - Generation Gap or Brave New World?
115 - Friendships, old and new
114 - A friend has just been widowed
110 - My best friend's husband is keeping her awake at night
95 - Unplanned pregnancy in the modern world
84 - Friendship
83 - My son is having relationship problems
46 - How do I tell my pregnant daughter that I have cancer?
45 - Say hello to a neighbour
43 - A daughter`s marriage in danger
38 - Should I intervene?
33 - My mother insists on spending...
17 - My brother is very ill; how far should we interfere?

New Relationships, Re-marriage & Step Families

163 - Son is in love
162 - Bill Bailey
161 - Sad Mum
158 - New Start for Widower
153 - I really like my son's Girlfriend
135 - Trapped by Tradition
128 - Can we really tell how it will be? Bullying within relationships
121 - Old colleagues and uncertain relationships
117 - New partner integration woes
114 - A friend has just been widowed
104 - Troubled step-mum
99 - Step daughter-in-law problems
96 - Am I being too demanding of my new partner?
91 - Gay widower
90 - I need some help with my step-daughter
77 - I'm afraid of losing him
44 - Problems with stepdaughters
34 - Becoming the victim of an obsession
29 - I think he only wants sex, not a relationship
20 - When the past gets in the way
6 - A new start after divorce
4 - First steps to a new beginning

Physical & Mental Health, Alcohol & Drug Issues

169 - Brother's weight loss
166 - A good neighbour
164 - Partner has moved mum in
160 - Bad Start to the Year
158 - New Start for Widower

148 - Jealous Of Best Friend...

148 - Feeling Dull
139 - Working through the Menopause
138 - Alone or lonely
127 - Facing possible dementia in older parents
126 - Breaking the circle of negativity
125 - Guilt can corrode
116 - I am worried about my son’s depression
111 - The hardship and loneliness associated with hearing loss
110 - My best friend's husband is keeping her awake at night
109 - I wish I could relax the way my dog does
108 - Retirement is an anti-climax
103 - My wife is changing
97 - My husband is always angry and unpleasant with me
94 - Is my partner alcoholic
93 - My son is suffering from depression
89 - My husband drinks too much
85 - Can there be compensations for dementia?
81 - I fear I have lost my husband
80 - I’m at a loss as to how to help my wife
78 - My teenage daughter is battling depression
75 - My Husband Binge Drinks
63 - My son is depressed
57 - Reminder: What alcohol can do
53 - My father has Parkinsons disease
46 - How do I tell my pregnant daughter that I have cancer?
40 - Cancer has destroyed my sex life
39 - My partner is an alcoholic
26 - My husband`s stroke makes him impossible to live with
23 - Depression and the family part three
22 - Depression and the family part two
21 - Depression and the family
19 - Alzheimer`s - How do we cope?
18 - Dr Alzheimer`s Prison

Relationship Breakdown & Divorce

168 - Hitting a low point
163 - Son is in love
160 - Bad Start to the Year
148 - Jealous Of Best Friend...
142 - Too much anger
141 - How can I get her to talk?
139 - Working through the Menopause

135 - Trapped by Tradition
121 - Old colleagues and uncertain relationships
113 - I can't get over my divorce
112 - Divorce in the over 60s
107 - A later-life affair needn’t be the end
104 - Troubled step-mum
81 - I fear I have lost my husband
71 - When divorce is the best choice...
59 - Trouble with my daughters and ex-husband
51 - Testosterone loss
50 - How do I move on?
49 - Consequences of divorce
36 - After divorce: Can you be good friends with your ex?
30 - Late divorce: how mother and daughter react
27 - I admit I have neglected the physical side of our love
26 - My husband`s stroke makes him impossible to live with
15 - Is it our age or is our marriage on the rocks?
9 - What about the children
6 - A new start after divorce
4 - First steps to a new beginning

Relationship With Partner

168 - Hitting a low point
162 - Bill Bailey
160 - Bad Start to the Year
158 - New Start for Widower
148 - Jealous Of Best Friend...
148 - Feeling Dull...
143 - Live in Grandaughter issues
142 - Too much anger
141 - How can I get her to talk?
134 - When sex is not happening after a hysterectomy
128 - Can we really tell how it will be? Bullying within relationships
126 - Breaking the circle of negativity
123 - Retirement Plans: we can't agree...
120 - Can an affair be useful to a marriage?
112 - Divorce in the over 60s
97 - My husband is always angry and unpleasant with me
80 - I’m at a loss as to how to help my wife
61 - Jealous of the son-in-law?
48 - How can I make my husband listen to me?
23 - Depression and the family part three
12 - Time for a Spring-clean
5 - Holidays can spell trouble
3 - Still strangers after all these years

Relationships with Exes, Siblings & Extended Family

169 - Brother's weight loss
160 - Bad Start to the Year
152 - I'm starting to become afraid of my daughter-in-law

150 - When love upsets the family
147 - Breaking away from family tradition
144 - Dealing with the sadness of a Step Son leaving home
143 - Live in Grandaughter issues
136 - Getting crowded by his Girlfriend
117 - New partner integration woes
67 - Family Secrets
36 - After divorce: Can you be good friends with your ex?
35 - My elder son’s behaviour is causing concern with my ex and his new partner
24 - How well do we know our brothers and sisters?
17 - My brother is very ill; how far should we interfere?

Older Parenting, Relationships with our Children & Partners, Estrangement

168 - Hitting a low point
167 - Sex and the boyfriend
165 - When children retire
163 - Son is in love
161 - Sad Mum
160 - Bad Start to the Year
159 - The Power of Young Love

157 - I fear losing my son
154 - My son is gay...
153 - I really like my son's Girlfriend
152 - I'm starting to become afraid of my daughter-in-law
149 -Wit's end - Son's Girlfriend lacks respect
144 - Dealing with the sadness of a Step Son leaving home
136 - Getting crowded by his Girlfriend
132 - Later parenting; raising younger children at 50 plus
116 - I am worried about my son’s depression
102 - Engagement trouble
100 - Grandmothers wanting more access to grandchildren.
98 - (b) Can't please everyone
88 - My son was was made redundant
87 - My family are emigrating
86 - Angry with my daughter-in-law
83 - My son is having relationship problems
82 - Estranged family in France
79 - Difficult daughter-in-law
76 - My son has distanced himself from me.
74 - Wedding Plans
64 - Problems with daughter-in-law
63 - My son is depressed
61 - Jealous of the son-in-law?
59 - Trouble with my daughters and ex-husband
56 - My stepdaughter treats me with contempt
47 - My son has gone
43 - A daughter`s marriage in danger
31 - The daughter who keeps going home to mum
28 - We are worried about our son`s choice of partner
25 - Am I losing my son to his girlfriend?
22 - Depression and the family part two
16 - We can`t get on with our daughter-in-law
14 - Black sheep or just different?
10 - So good when they go

Sexual Relationships

168 - Hitting a low point
167 - Sex and the boyfriend
141 - How can I get her to talk?
134 - When sex is not happening after a hysterectomy
120 - Can an affair be useful to a marriage?
107 - A later-life affair needn’t be the end
96 - Am I being too demanding of my new partner?
95 - Unplanned pregnancy in the modern world
91 - Gay widower
77 - I'm afraid of losing him
72 - Am I going through the male menopause?
68 - I'm attracted more to another woman than my husband
58 - Our sex life is the problem
51 - Testosterone loss
40 - Cancer has destroyed my sex life
34 - Becoming the victim of an obsession
29 - I think he only wants sex, not a relationship
27 - I admit I have neglected the physical side of our love
8 - Sex in a long-term relationship
3 - Still strangers after all these years

Work and Retirement, Self-image, Dealing with change

169 - Brother's weight loss
168 - Hitting a low point
165 - When children retire
160 - Bad Start to the Year
156 - Retirement Habits

148 - Feeling Dull...
142 - Too much anger
140 - Who's Having Fun?
139 - Working through the Menopause
130 - Kindness is Contagious
126 - Breaking the circle of negativity
125 - Guilt can corrode
124 - Am I getting sidelined?
123 - Retirement Plans: we can't agree...
118 - We moved house 8 years ago but I can't settle
113 - I can't get over my divorce
108 - Retirement is an anti-climax
105 - Give in? Not me!
92 - Maggi's personal 'end of year audit'
88 - My son was was made redundant
72 - Am I going through the male menopause?
62 - Downsizing: the emotional issues
42 - I`m ashamed of my weight and I don`t feel loved
41 - I`m 54 and I don`t want to go on working.
37 - How we feel about getting older
32 - Children flown, new home, coping with builders, being a carer, husband often absent…
15 - Is it our age or is our marriage on the rocks?
1 - Retirement, a hidden sting?

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