I cheated on my boyfriend a few months ago and felt so guilty about it, I told him. He reacted as you’d expect and we briefly split up. We’re now back together, and he says he has forgiven me, but I’ve noticed he seems to be far more into sex than he was before. Is this normal and should I be worried? Name withheld, via email
Why did you cheat? Why? Why? Why? This question has been banging around your boyfriend’s head and, at present, he believes the answer is “because your sex life wasn’t good enough”. Was this actually the reason you strayed? If so, result – he’s worked out the issue so the only thing you should be worried about is pregnancy (keep using protection!). If it wasn’t the reason, it’s decision time. You can keep schtum and hope the real reason never raises its ugly head. Or you can tell your man the truth and ensure it doesn’t.
My partner and I have been trying for a baby for three years without success. I’m desperate to have a child and am considering adoption, but my partner doesn’t want to go down that route. I’m worried this may be our only option and am now questioning our relationship. Is there anything I can do to change his mind? Name withheld, via email
Take a deep breath. Now type “fertility treatment” and “surrogacy” into your computer’s search engine. Done that? Excellent, read all the information you can and now discuss these options with your partner. Is he interested? No? Bad news, it’s natural or nothing for this guy, so you have two paths open to you: keep trying or reconsider your relationship. And if he’s willing to give your other options a go, but eventually neither work out for you? Then it’s ultimatum time. You love your man, but you want a baby and adoption is now your only option, so either he reconsiders or you walk away.
I was dismissed from my job due to extended sick leave. Now I’m better, I’ve been applying for jobs and, at interview, I’m asked why I left my previous role. I’ve told the truth, but so far I haven’t had a job offer. I know there may be other reasons, but do you think I should answer differently? Haley, via email
If you have proof of your illness you may have a case for unfair dismissal from your previous job. Look at Direct.gov.uk for help. As for new jobs, an employer shouldn’t be put off if your illness won’t affect your work. It’s best to turn a negative into a positive. When they ask why you left, say: “I left for health reasons which are now resolved. My time off made me more determined and let me assess my next career steps.”
While I was out walking my dog, I had an idea that I think would be of interest to dog owners. However, I have no clue how I would go about putting this idea into practice! Do you have any advice? Julie, via email
You should start by getting your idea patented, although be warned, this can be costly and complicated! Approach a firm of patent attorneys for a consultation meeting or speak to the Intellectual Property Office for general advice. For some more tips on starting up a business, have a look at my website Michellemone.com. Good Luck!
Dear Dr Hilary
My five-year-old daughter seems to have an allergic reaction to certain foods. When she eats her face turns very red. How do we work out which food she’s allergic to? Justine, via email
You should keep a food diary. Note down everything your daughter eats, and when she gets a reaction. Include details such as how quickly the redness comes on, if it’s restricted to her face or if it spreads to her body, and how severe it is, too. Is there an itchy rash? If so, is it pink and flat, or raised? You could also take a photo of the reaction, then share this and the diary with your doctor who can arrange allergy tests. If your daughter has an allergy, she will be put on a diet to exclude foods she is sensitive to. It could also be that she doesn’t have an allergy, and the redness in her face is a reaction called autonomic vasodilatation. This is harmless flushing of the face caused by eating, and your daughter should grow out of it.
Dear DR Hilary
I have a really dry mouth and struggle to produce saliva. As a consequence, my lips sometimes stick to my teeth and my throat hurts. Chewing gum or sucking sweets doesn’t help. What else can I try? Kate, via email
It could be that you are suffering from Sjögren’s syndrome, a disorder of the immune system where white blood cells attack the body’s salivary glands, causing a dry mouth. Sometimes the tear glands in the eyes are also affected, resulting in dry eyes. The cause is unknown, but it affects three or four per cent of adults in the UK, and is more common in women. There’s no cure, but treatments include pilocarpine tablets, which stimulate saliva production, and eye drops. Stay hydrated, cut down on alcohol, and suck on ice cubes for relief. Visit the British Sjögren’s Syndrome Association at Bssa.uk.net for more support.
I’ve not had a real boyfriend to speak of in six years. Am I being too picky? Jenni, via Twitter
When it comes to pickiness, you’re asking the wrong slut. A sniff of a vodka martini and I’m anyone’s. In fact, I’m fussier about my shoes than I am about my husbands. However, six years is a long time. So I’d urge you to simply get drunk and lunge at the nearest male. But Jenni, your use of the word “real” disturbs me (have you been resorting to blow-up man dolls? I tried that once, but it left me feeling quite deflated), as does your phrase “to speak of”. A boyfriend is not “to speak of”. Everyone knows the best relationships are affairs so clandestine, not even the person you’re sleeping with gets told.