Sunday, December 5, 2010

Q. Whenever my boyfriend and I are out in a big group, he hardly pays me any attention. He says it's because he likes catching up with our friends and that no one likes really coupley couples, but I feel ignored. Am I being unreasonable?

A. There's a fine line when couples are in a large group of friends. If they are all over each other, then everyone else is excluded. But your boyfriend seems to have gone to the other extreme. Have another chat with him, tell him how you feel and see what compromise you can reach. However, you also need to make more effort to enjoy catching up with friends, too. Does your social life have to revolve around him? Get more involved with the group and focus on developing your own social skills and confidence, and being a person in your own right. Having something fresh to talk about when you come back to each other can only enrich your relationship. Also, when he sees you enjoying yourself, and chatting with other people, namely men, he will probably want to stick a little closer to you.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Q. My ex cheated on me two years ago. He broke my heart so I left him and moved on. We still talk and I love him like a friend, but my mates keep telling me to cut him out of my life. I am over him, but will this ruin my chances of future happiness?

A. It is possible to be friends with exes but it takes about six months to make the transition from lover to friend. You seem to have gone through this process and if you're being honest with yourself, and you're truly over him, then what's the issue? Just because your friends hold onto their past hurts doesn't mean they have the right to judge you. Follow your heart and if it feels right, then carry on doing as you are.

Q. My bloke loves going down on me and even though I like it I don't have the patience to let him bring me to orgasm. As soon as I'm turned on I want sex. How long should it take and how can I relax and enjoy it?

A. There's no set time limit. Some women enjoy oral sex but if it's not your favourite thing, there's no reason why you have to do it for longer than you wish. Tell your boyfriend what you've told me - that you like him going down on you but once you're turned on you want penetration. Telling him will relieve the pressure you're feeling and you'll probably find you're able to relax and enjoy both oral and penetration more. Some women feel uncomfortable getting pleasure or find sex a bit embarrassing so they want to get on with penetration to avoid other activities that make them shy. Be sure this isn't the reason why you want to jump ahead. Spending time exploring oral can be good, but if it continues not to work for you then don't keep doing it.

Q. I had a one-night stand with a bloke I met in a club, which is totally out of character for me and we haven't spoken since. Now I've met someone I really like, but have just seen that he is Facebook friends with my one-night stand. Should I say something, or just hope they're not that close?

A. I wouldn't worry about it. It's none of your new man's business who you've had a one-night stand with, and the other bloke you slept with has clearly accepted it was just a casual thing. Although it's difficult, I'd avoid reading too much into what's posted on Facebook, as you might end up making yourself unnecessarily anxious. Just concentrate on the relationship with your new man and focus on enjoying being together.

Q. My bloke cheated then I found out I was pregnant with his child. I took him back but I'm worried I might start to resent him. How can we deal with this mess before the baby arrives?

A. You should get professional help now. Your GP may be able to refer you to a counsellor or try Relate ( or the British Association for Sex and Relationship Therapy ( Recovering from cheating takes time and can only work if you are both equally willing to address this. If he seems unable to help reassure you, consider this is good for you and the baby long term. Speak to your GP and midwife as they can help.

Q. My boyfriend and I have been together for two years but I still feel second best to his mates. He's just told me they've booked a lads' holiday over Christmas and New Year. Is it completely unreasonable to expect him to run these things by me first?

A. A long-term relationship is supposed to be a partnership and yes, you and your boyfriend are supposed to talk about things like holidays and special events. After two years it seems as though your boyfriend still likes the single life and spending all his time with his mates, and he expects you to fall in with his decisions. So start asking yourself if this is what you really want. Is this relationship good enough or are you just making do? Who is really holding this relationship together? You or him? If you started behaving as he did, would it last? This may be the wake up call you need to decide what you really want and not settle for second best.

Q. I'm in a happy relationship, but there's a man at work I've got a crush on. I'd never act on it, but I find myself fantasising about him. It's almost like I'm imagining an affair so I can get it out of my system. Is this normal or disloyal?

A. Fantasy is part of our sexuality and it's not always logical, predictable or welcome. However, in most cases it's harmless and just part of being human. Even in the most dedicated relationships people can see a stranger and fancy them before realising it. It could be that this man represents excitement and distraction at work. So think about whether your job's really using your abilities and if it isn't, see if you can apply for a promotion or think about a new job. Also, consider what this crush has taught you about your own relationship. Are you in a rut? Perhaps you need to spice things up with a weekend away or a bit of role play? Try to use this experience as a positive one to get more from your life.

Q. I've been seeing a man for six weeks but although we've kissed, he hasn't made any move towards sex. Should I give it time, or admit he just doesn't fancy me and cut my losses?

A. Let's have a think about what you can do in six weeks - grow your hair a quarter of an inch, do half a term at college, get a table at one of the more popular London restaurants... its not a very inspiring list, is it? Because, let's face it, six weeks really isn't very long. And yet somehow we expect it to be plenty long enough to make one of the most important of all personal decisions - whether or not to start a sexual relationship with a new partner.

I'm old-fashioned. So shoot me. In these days of the MTV generation, where everything has to be accomplished within the same time scale of a promotional video, we're so used to making snap decisions that anyone who tries to take their time is either gay, weird, or plain not interested. Yet believe it or not, there are men who think with their brains not their lunch boxes, who prefer to hesitate now rather than regret later and who feel a quaint need to at least get to know and like a woman before swapping bodily fluids with her.

Yes, there is a possibility that he just doesn't fancy you (although any body language expert will tell you that regular snogs are a fairly reliable indication of attraction). If you're celebrating your first anniversary with a quick peck on the cheek before the last Tube home, you should probably start worrying. But six weeks? Relax and wait a while.