Mum’s the Word

Mum’s the Word

Agony aunt Sandi, the Jewish News and Channel 4 Jewish mum of the yearoffers a shoulder you can rely on

With Sandi Firth


Dear Sandi,

My very close friend’s husband recently left her and their three children for someone else. As much as I want to be there for her – she’s constantly on the phone and I can’t say no if she asks if she can pop round – it’s beginning to have an effect on my own marriage.

I’m constantly looking out for ‘signs’ and feel drained by all the negativity and trying to constantly prop her up. Strangely, I seem to be the only friend there for her. My husband is getting fed up, too, and we just wondered what we can do to make the situation easier all round.



Dear Arleen,

You don’t say how long ‘recently’ is, but I suspect this is very new and raw and your friend is clearly lucky to have you.

In this kind of situation, many friends turn away because they simply don’t understand how your friend is feeling. It’s not their fault  – but thank goodness you are there for her.

Many women in this situation suddenly have doubts about the security of their marriage, but men – surprise, surprise – cannot feel the way we do about female friendship. If they had a friend in the same situation they wouldn’t be feeling insecure, so you have nothing to worry about. Just be there for your friend, but be aware that she may, in time, turn away from you as you will have taken the brunt of her feelings and she may regret that later on.

In the meantime, why not meet for a coffee or lunch? Go somewhere neutral, which will get you both out of the house. Tea or coffee and sympathy never fails!


Dear Sandi,

My 15-year-old-daughter still hasn’t lost her ‘puppy’ fat, but I know it’s because of the way she eats.

She’s still slim, but I’m fully aware that I’m watching her all the time. I just don’t want her to have a weight problem when she’s older. What shall I do?



Dear Angela

Stop watching her! I’m sure she’s aware of it and it will only make her eat more – that’s for sure. There are so many problems these days regarding weight and looks and it’s up to you as a parent to make sure your family eat well.

I’m sure by the mere fact that you’re showing concern you do that already, but try not to worry too much, as this will then become an issue with your daughter.

You say she’s slim and that’s great. She’s on the brink of womanhood and I don’t envy her one bit! When I was that age, a long time ago, the word ‘diet’ didn’t even exist.

I guess it’s near exam time now and a little bit of comfort food won’t do any harm. And with all the lovely fruit around at the moment, you can make sure she’s eating healthily too.

If you have the time, you could make a pretty fruit platter that will encourage her to enjoy that, rather than the food you don’t like her to eat – then she could make her own, as this can be fun and fruitful!


Dear Sandi

I have been happily married for 36 years. Three weeks ago, my wife was contacted via the internet by an old boyfriend from her teenage years. He lives in America and wrote that he’s recently split from his wife, will be in the UK in August and would like to meet up with her.

My wife has been perfectly open about this and wants me to go with her. I find the prospect of that really daunting and yet if I don’t go I know I’ll be behaving like a jealous idiot, worrying about what they’re getting up to. I really need some help on this.



Dear Michael,
Worry not, I’m here to help you and I do understand your predicament.

First and foremost, your wife has been totally upfront about this and that’s a big plus. The internet is very powerful and sometimes it works in our favour and sometimes it doesn’t. Now that he has separated, your wife’s ex has decided to travel and catch up with old friends.

If you treat this lightly, so will your wife –but if you challenge her with mistrust and suspicion it will be that, rather than the  meeting itself, that could cause a tear in the fabric of your marriage.


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