Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine advises a teenager who resents her sister's boyfriend, and grandmother who wants to maintain access to her grandchildren.

Nothing's the same now my sister has a boyfriend

I AM 17 and my sister is a year older. Until three months ago, we were inseparable - but now that she has a new boyfriend, I hardly ever see her. We've always been so close and shared all our feelings, but now I have no one to confide in. We used to go out dancing together three or four times a week, now it's as much as I can do to get her to have a cup of coffee with me at my college once a week.

I'll admit, she seems really happy and says she's in love with this guy, and there's a lot to like. He's good-looking, kind and clearly thinks the world of her, but I can't help it, I hate what he's done to my sister and I hate him. Nothing is the same anymore and I feel so lonely now. Do you think there is any way I could persuade her to dump him? – PV

Fiona says: I'm afraid this sort of change was bound to happen

Your sister is very happy and says she loves this guy, so if you genuinely care for her, why would you want to spoil this? If the situation were reversed and it was you with an exciting new boyfriend, would you take kindly to your sister if she tried to persuade you to dump him? I think not.

I know you're struggling to come to terms with this change, but I'm afraid it was inevitable, at some point, your lives were always going to diverge. You need to accept this, be happy for your sister, and find a way to move on. Key to this, I think, is filling the void in your life that your sister used to fill.

Because your relationship was so close and so easy, I suspect that you've not developed many other friendships but now is the time to do so. Make a start by trying to be more open to friendship in your classes at college. Consider spending more time with your fellow students and take part in any social activities that they organise. It would also be a good idea to join any extracurricular activities at college that appeal. Then I suggest you widen your social circle outside of college by developing new interests. This might include starting a new hobby, sport or club and a search online will reveal many options I'm sure. It doesn't matter what you do, the key is to meet as many new people as possible and maximise your chances of making new friends. You may find this daunting at first but please persevere. Others may seem full of confidence, but I assure you they are likely to feel just as nervous as you in new situations.

Finally, you may have to adjust to seeing less of your sister, but that doesn't mean your relationship is any less strong. You can still stay in touch through social media and your mobile phone. Show her that you're happy for her and I am sure she will continue to be a caring, loving sister.

When you do get the chance to see her and chat, be positive for her, not miserable. If you complain and grumble, she may be even less likely to want to spend time with you. Instead, talk about the new things you are doing and the new friends you are making. You might even find yourself a boyfriend - and perhaps that will even lead to double-dating!

My son's ex wife doesn't like us seeing our grandchildren

MY son's divorce a year ago was very upsetting for everyone. He accepts it was his fault (he had an affair) and now has no contact at all with his ex-wife.

He only sees his children once every couple of weeks and only for an afternoon. His ex-wife also tried at first to stop us from seeing our grandchildren. Thankfully, we were able to get a legal contact agreement in place so are now able to see them. My ex-daughter-in-law isn't happy about this though and tries to prevent it. She frequently cancels arrangements and does all she can stop us from being affectionate with the children or buying them gifts.

I hate that the only ones who seem to suffer here are the children. It's so unfair but what can we do? – EM

Fiona says: This is so hard - but don't give up

This is a desperately sad situation and, unfortunately, all too common. It's a situation that is far from ideal for the children, but I suspect that your son's ex-wife is also far from happy. It's been a year but she's probably still very angry (perhaps with some justification) and contact with you may just be too painful a reminder. Which may explain why she's unable to see the benefits of letting her children maintain contact with their paternal grand-parents.

You've been fortunate in securing a legal right of contact and it's difficult to see what else you can do even if she continues to disrupt this. So, for the moment, I think patience is what is needed. Please continue to see the children as often as you can and try to stay on good terms with their mother.

In time, as feelings become less raw and antagonistic, things should improve. In the meantime, you may find it helpful to contact Grandparents Plus (

I'm getting married - but my ex wants me back

MY fiance and I have been engaged for almost two years and we plan to get married later this year. We are very happy together and he is not my problem; it's my ex-boyfriend who I nearly married four years ago. He broke up with me shortly after we'd set a date for the wedding and although I was upset at the time, I remained on good terms with his family. About three months back, when I was having a cup of tea with his mum, he popped in to see her and since then he has been phoning me and begging me to get back together with him.

I've told him I love my fiance and that I'm not interested but he won't give me a break. I don't want a major row - his sister is going to be one of my bridesmaids - but how can I get him to see sense? My fiance will probably beat him up if he finds out! – WD

Fiona says: Is it time to totally block his calls?

Your close friendship with his family does not give this man the right to take advantage of the situation. He's counting on the fact that you're getting on well with them, so he thinks you won't make a fuss. Well perhaps it's time to start being very much firmer.

Take one more call from him and tell him that he must stop ringing you any more, otherwise you will report him for harassment. Then stop taking his calls - if he's ringing your mobile, you can see who's ringing so just cut him off. If he's calling you on a landline then get a call interception system and, if it's him, don't take the call. Hopefully, after a few attempts, he'll give up - but if he doesn't, speak to his sister and his mum and ask or their help in getting him to stop pestering you. If he persists, then tell them that you will be contacting the police to complain of harassment. I hope it won't come to this because it may, unfortunately, make your friendship with his family difficult.

Finally, I am slightly concerned that you think your fiance is likely to resort to violence so easily. That's certainly not something to be encouraged and perhaps you should be considering getting him to think about anger management. If he resorts to violence, then your friendship with your ex's family will be well and truly on the rocks.

Worried I'll never meet anyone after losing my girlfriend to cancer

IT took me a long time to recover after my girlfriend died four years ago from leukaemia. About 18 months ago, though, I felt ready to start dating again but found I didn't know where to start. I tried all kinds of groups and clubs but felt these were for much younger people. Most of my friends are in relationships - indeed, many are married and certainly not interested in going out to meet new people or starting new relationships - so I feel particularly alone and low.

Loneliness is the biggest part of my life at moment and I feel that I need help to find a new relationship. I am 35 and feel that the years are going by and I am still on my own. – NY

Fiona says: How about focusing on your social life first?

Losing someone so traumatically will have taken an emotional toll on you. So starting dating again, on your own, by going to pubs and clubs is going to be particularly hard. For dating, I'd strongly advise you to think about other options - such as on-line dating or matchmaking services. That way you are certain to meet people who are interested in forming relationships, and are not just out for the evening to have a good time.

I would, however, also encourage you to widen your circle of friends. Join adult education classes, sport clubs, theatre groups - anywhere where people meet to do things together. It doesn't matter what you do, just as long as it brings you into contact with new people who could become friends. And who knows where new friendships could lead?

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.