Jennys' Story

Does Counselling help?

Indeed it does - At the age of 72 my husband left me for his first wife.

We had both been divorced and met as colleagues, we married in 1989 and had been married for 18 years. I thought we were devoted to each other and so this came as a dreadful shock especially as he had taken me to the hairdressers and asked me to telephone him when I was ready to come home. This I did and there was no reply – so I ran home thinking he must be ill, everything that belonged to him had gone including many items, pictures off the walls, china etc that had been part of his divorce settlement. Also the bank account had been emptied and he had taken the brand new car. All I had left was £5 in my purse and savings in my name which he had been unable to take. However this did not last long as he took the divorce through the courts over a period of two years and I still had the house to maintain.


They, my husband and his ex wife had just come into some money, a substantial amount, from the sale of land that was still in their joint names, and for this reason he had told me to wind up my secretarial business that I had been running for 11 years as he said I would not have to work any longer.

As you can realise I was devastated my family were scattered from Scotland to Devon and they had their careers and families to think about so they were not near to help me. However, I had lots of friends, really good friends, who were there to support me. I had to go on benefit as I no longer had an income from my business and only had a basic OAP pension. Having had a reasonably comfortable life I was in pieces.


Then my GP suggested that I had counselling - I was a little apprehensive about this but agreed to see Vanessa. This was the best thing that could have happened to me – even though I had lots of friends who supported me and listened to me I was always wary of really letting myself go when I was with them, as although these friends were, and still are, very good friends we all know that people talk, not being detrimental but just chatty, so I felt I still had to bottle my worries. However Vanessa was different, I knew whatever I told Vanessa would be confidential, in fact I started looking forward to our meetings as I knew I could pour my heart out to her and she would listen. Vanessa would often ask me if I had tried “this or that” and between us we very often came up with good ideas to get me out of the mess I was in.


My husband wanted the house sold and split down the middle – he had a roof over his head living with his ex wife – so I would talk to Vanessa about trying to get equity on the house to pay him out – Vanessa would listen encouraging me to fight for survival.


I did fight – it was very hard – but with Vanessa’s faith in me constantly telling me I was strong and would get through this terrible time I began to have faith in myself and I was not going to let myself down or indeed Vanessa. I contacted several companies that advertised giving equity on property and I eventually managed to pay him out – so at least now I had a roof over my head even though financially things were still very tough.


I continued to see Vanessa often telling her how lonely I was as all my friends had husbands or partners and being on my own at social events I felt very lonely. I told Vanessa that I had thought of going onto a “dating line” to see if I could find some male company. I was still quite “down” but there again Vanessa encouraged me but we both knew that at my age I would have to be careful.


The last time I had a counselling session with Vanessa I took a gentleman with me that I had met on the “dating line” telling Vanessa that I would no longer need to see her professionally and thanked her for being there for me when I thought I was “at the end”.


The strength and encouragement that Vanessa gave me was amazing and I know that without her I would not be in the position I am in today – I have a wonderful husband, we married in October 2010, Vanessa was there to wish us well, and I now have a lovely home and much happiness.

Counselling really does help - in fact throw away the happy pills – a good counsellor is what everyone needs in times of despair.


This is a true story.                                                                      

Jenny McD

'Change may be easier than you think'