I’ve recently become Facebook friends with a guy I went to school with. He’s now married with children, but we’ve been messaging each other and he’s asked if I want to go for dinner with him. I would love to see him, but I’m worried that it might lead to something inappropriate. There used to be a spark between us, so if I don’t meet up with him, I may always wonder “what if?”. What should I do? Name withheld, via email
Are his wife and kids invited to dinner? If they are, then accept his offer, catch up on his life, squeeze his kids’ cheeks and leave with a warm glow in your heart. And if they aren’t – avoid, avoid, avoid! Nothing but trouble can come from meeting an old flame for a dinner date his wife doesn’t know about, so either cancel or, if you really want to see him, suggest making it a proper reunion by inviting a few more school chums. And then? It depends. If his intentions were good, then he’ll take your reunion idea and run with it. And if his intentions were bad, then he’ll stop messaging and flee into the virtual night.
After marrying my husband two years ago, things have changed for the worse. We are best friends, but we rarely have sex and life seems to have become mundane. We have fun when we go on holiday, but we obviously can’t afford to do that all the time! How can we get the spark back? Polly, via email
You need to shake up your routine. There are numerous ways to do this – role-playing, sex texting – but given your email, the simplest solution is infusing your everyday life with holiday horniness. Holidays aren’t about cash, they’re about mindset. So think about what you do on holiday that you can do at home. So if you enjoy breakfast in bed, try it tomorrow. If you shower together, get splashing now. If you watch DVDs naked, draw the curtains and press play. And if you simply drink cocktails then have rampant sex, glug some rum and get down to it.
Since my best friend had a baby she brings it along every time we meet up – even to the cinema! Would it be nreasonable to ask her to leave the baby with her partner occasionally? Ana-leigh, via email
There’s nothing worse than some gurgling brat interrupting your film. It’s bad enough when it’s your date. But baby-crashing is just what happens when your friends have children, I’m afraid. You arrange to meet for cocktails and then end up sat in some child-friendly restaurant that gives you crayons, has a hideous colour scheme and only serves “fries”. It truly is a terrible state of affairs. Sadly, it isn’t acceptable to ask someone to leave her child at home. So next time you’re arranging a film date, take her to see Shame and then call social services. That should put her off for a while.
In a quandary? Email Kiki at email@example.com or send her a tweet @KikiDeBeauvoir
I run a children’s clothes shop in a shopping centre and our sales have suffered in the recession. We’re thinking of selling our clothes online – how should we go about it? Debra, via email
A website is a great way to boost profit as it allows you to reach a huge number of people, including new customers who live too far away to visit your shop. To make your website profitable you need to ensure people know about it and can find it via search engines. Sites such as Webmasterworld.com explain how to do this. With internet sales, there are regulations to follow, so make sure you have clear terms and conditions, including delivery and returns policies.
I’ve been at the same company for two years and haven’t had a pay rise. My role has changed significantly and I want to speak to my boss about my wages. How can I convince her to give me a raise? Claire, via email
In the current climate people are taking on new tasks but finding their wages may not reflect this. I think it is important you have a meeting to discuss a pay rise, but don’t be disheartened if your company can’t adhere to this immediately. Take your original job description with you and explain the extra tasks you now undertake. Before the meeting, look at adverts for jobs similar to yours, note the salary on offer and show this to your employer to boost your case.
Dear Dr Hilary
I’ve suffered from headaches for years. My doctor thought my contraceptive pill was to blame and changing to the mini-pill has eased them, but I’m still getting tension headaches. I’ve been prescribed the headache-preventing drug amitriptyline, but I don’t like taking medication. What can I do? Sophie, via email
The oestrogen in the combined pill can cause headaches. Changing from the combined oral contraceptive to the oestrogen-free mini-pill has clearly helped, so it’s likely this was a cause of your headaches, but as you’re still suffering, your GP should investigate whether dehydration, stress, diet, anxiety, teeth grinding, eye strain or muscle tension – all of which can cause migraines – are also to blame. If your GP can’t work out what the problem is, ask him to refer
you to a specialist headache clinic, where they can run tests to help find an answer to your problem.
Dear Dr Hilary
I’ve been diagnosed with psoriasis on my feet and hands. My GP prescribed Betnovate cream and Balneum bath oil, but I itch all over, and at night it’s so bad I can’t sleep. Is there an alternative? Linda, via email
Psoriasis is a common skin condition resulting in itchy red patches covered in silvery scales. It’s especially common on the scalp, knees and elbows, so the fact that you have it on your hands and feet is unusual. I wonder if you have been wrongly diagnosed – see another GP for a second opinion. If the condition is psoriasis, ask your doctor for a coal tar treatment such as Dithranol cream, and a vitamin D derivative cream such as Dovobet. Taking an antihistamine such as Piriton will help ease itching. If these treatments don’t work, ask your GP to refer you to a dermatologist.
Got a problem? Email our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org