It may sound trivial, but my boyfriend has a serious addiction to his phone. He’s constantly glued to it, playing games and browsing the internet. Even when we’re in bed, he’s always checking it. He knows how much it annoys me, but refuses to put it down. I want him to notice me again! What can I do? Name withheld, via email
This problem isn’t trivial, it’s extremely common. Lots of smartphone users are highly addicted. Boring solutions include setting daily time/message limits, but a more satisfying one involves shaking up your sex life. I’ll explain. Smartphone addicts get their kicks from the fact that the next level of a game, the words in a text and the information on websites are unknown and could make them feel good. So, if you keep surprising your man sexually, you’ll replicate this and wean him off his handset. Answer the door naked and hide sex toys around the lounge. Blow his mind and soon the only thing he’ll be addicted to is you.
For some reason, my boyfriend’s mum has a problem with me and it’s getting worse. We’ve been together for two years and she constantly makes nasty comments, from saying my cooking tastes horrible, to telling me I’ve gained weight. My boyfriend says he’s in a tough position but I want to stand up to her. I’m worried this could mean the end for us. Sophie, via email
It’s not your job to confront her; it’s your boyfriend’s. But if he’s not going to do it and you’re happy to stick with a man who’s intimidated by his mum, you need to have it out with her, in front of him. Why? If there are no witnesses and she dislikes you as much as you say, she’ll twist your words against you. If he is there, she’ll have to reveal her problem with you. Which is? You smell. Just kidding. I imagine she’s worried about losing her son to you. In which case, it’s down to her son to reassure her this isn’t the case.
One of my friends falls in love after one date, and when things don’t work out she’s devastated. Then she meets someone else and we have to go through it all again. Why can’t she just be single for a bit? Selina, via email
Someone who’s bipolar about boyfriends is brilliant – you don’t need to bother with soap operas or celebrity gossip. Pour yourself a long martini (or four) and let her latest story unfold. That said, it can be excruciating when a friend drones on about their love life, however dysfunctional. At one point, I took to pre-recording a series of sympathetic noises and letting it play while I left the phone off the hook and went to do something more exciting. Like filing my bunions. And just so you know, asking a woman like this to be single is like asking me to go six hours without a drink. It’s against the very fibre of their being. Don’t bother.
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I’m the breadwinner in my family and have been offered two new jobs. One has great career prospects with a salary to match, but it’s not the sort of company I can see myself working for. The other job is less well paid, but I think I’d be happier there. Would it be irresponsible to take the less well-paid job just because I think I’ll enjoy it more? Name withheld, via email
Why did you lie on your CV? Was the qualification a requirement in the job description? If so, explain to HR that you don’t have the qualification on paper but feel you have the relevant experience. It will be down to your employer as to the action they take. Hopefully, they’ll appreciate your honesty and reasoning.
Dear Dr Hilary
For the past 14 months, everything I eat or drink has tasted bitter. My GP suspects a virus in my taste buds, but has been unable to treat it. Will my taste return to normal eventually? Becky, via email
A persistent bitter taste is known as dysgeusia and often follows cold or flu-like symptoms. Since you’ve been suffering for a long time, it could be caused by inflamed gums, and some medicines or vitamin supplements. Dysgeusia has also been associated with diabetes and some nerve complaints. But one of the most common causes is acid reflux, where acid in your stomach comes up the gullet into your mouth. Maintain good mouth hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth, and by cleaning your tongue. Also take antacids to neutralise the acid in your stomach.
Dear Dr Hilary
My mother has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and her medication has caused her hands and feet to swell. Can you suggest any alternative or natural remedies? Natalie, via email
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system starts attacking cells in the soft tissues in the body, especially around hands, wrists, shoulders, feet and ankles. It can cause swollen, stiff, painful joints and, if not treated, it can lead to joint deformity. Physiotherapy is one option as it keeps the muscles active around inflamed joints. To reduce inflammation, try omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, or evening primrose oil supplements (£1.99, Boots.com), which contain gamma-linolenic acid. But these aren’t sufficient on their own. Anti-inflammatories and DMARs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatics) can really halt the disease’s progress, under hospital supervision.
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