Virginia Ironside

Virginia Ironside is an agony aunt, columnist and author. She writes the weekly Dilemmas column for The Independent.

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Reader dilemma: My friend's short temper is causing problems between us

"They seem to think that shouting and then imagining that it has all blown over after five minutes is a morally superior way of behaving"

Reader dilemma: I'm 52 and single, so my parents treat me like a child

"Try to see things from their point of view. They see you (wrongly, perhaps, but that’s their interpretation) as lonely"

2. Fermanagh Northern Ireland

Reader dilemma: Should we return home to Northern Ireland?

"It partly depends on your accent and your circumstances"

Reader dilemma: My partner is deaf but won’t admit it

"She may be terrified of old age and everything that goes with it. And have you asked her if anyone in her family was ever deaf?"

Reader dilemma: I don't know how to make friends

"The art of making friends is simply a social skill, not something that comes naturally to anyone unless they’ve been brought up in a social environment"

Reader dilemma: My girlfriend broke up with me twice before but says she wants me back - will I get hurt again?

"Tell her how hurt you feel when she distances herself from you, and explain that you're frightened of her behaving the same way yet again"

Reader problem: My son shouts abuse at me, how can our relationship improve?

"The sad truth is that this boy is gone. He is not hiding underneath, under a sea of madness. He has been transformed completely."

Reader dilemma: Our stepfather's children didn't care about him when he was alive - so do they deserve his money now?

"I’ve experienced dilemmas of this kind myself in the past, and been sorely tempted to sneak in, grab the money and run"

Reader dilemma: My wife only wants to have sex when she's drunk

"So much of the problem with sex is anxiety – men are too anxious to get an erection, women too anxious to have an orgasm"

Big Ben strikes 11pm as the lights turn off on iconic buildings while London marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War I

As it gets darker, I feel depressed. Do you think I have SAD syndrome?

It has always been around the time when the clocks change that I’ve felt either suicidal or very ill

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