I’ve been in a relationship for two and a half years, but for the past few months have been living in a different city to my boyfriend due to work. We see each other every couple of weeks, but the longer this goes on, the more I think I don’t want us to stay together because I’m OK on my own. Should I try to make the relationship work? Natalie, via email
End things now. That probably sounds clinical, but it’s also sensible, as long-distance relationships only work when both partners are 100 per cent into each other. And since you’re not, it means your relationship is going to falter sooner or later. This means that you can either hide from the truth, keep spending money on travel, watch the tension grow and risk a bitter “never contact me again” break-up in six months’ time. Or you can confront the truth, make an adult decision and end your relationship in a manner that allows you to remain friends, or at least not enemies.
I know this sounds crazy, but I’m so paranoid when it comes to sex. I’m not currently in a relationship but when I do have sex, I’m really conscious about what I look like and am worried my partners won’t fancy me without clothes on. My friends tell me not to worry and that I’ve got a good body but I can’t seem to get past this in the bedroom. Please help. Lauren, via email
Join the club! I think I’ve got more spare tyres than my local garage. But I tell myself that the person I’m with likes me enough to want to sleep with me, and since one in four British adults are obese*, in the grand scheme of things I’m not all that bad. And if that’s not enough to conquer your paranoia? Flick the lights off and choose positions that hide or flatter the body parts you’re conscious of. So go on top if you’re worried about your bum, do it doggy style if you want to hide your stomach, and stand tall and bend over if you want to elongate your legs.
Last year I took a new position in my company and I accepted the promotion with certain criteria, including specific responsibilities. I’m now nine months into the role and none of this has materialised. I’ve tried talking to my boss but she shrugs it off. Where do I stand? Sandra, via email
Was the criteria put in writing in a new contract? If so, you could go to your HR department and they should be able to advise you. Nine months is a long time to be in a role with no change and you shouldn’t have to stand for it, so it’s important your boss understands the seriousness of the situation.
I’m about to start a new job at an upmarket women’s clothes shop and I’m worried my new employers think I’m something I’m not. I have a very ordinary background, albeit in retail, and I’m concerned the customers are going to be more middle class than me. How should I handle this? Helen, via email
Starting a new job can be daunting, but you have to remember you were given the job because you deserve it and your new employer thinks you are the right candidate for the role. Your background should not affect your work. I’m sure you’ll soon prove yourself if you do the best job you possibly can.
I have a relapsing form of multiple sclerosis but want to start a family. My nurse says I should have children before I’m 30, but my husband and I are trying to save for a house. I’m 27 now, should I put my health and babies first or wait a few more years? Liz, via email
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that affects nerves in the spinal cord and brain. It causes problems with balance, sight and muscle movement. The decision to have a child is a personal one, but I think you should put your health and future family first and start trying for a baby now. You’re still young, which means your chances of conceiving will be greater, so make the most of your situation. Babies need love and care, and you can provide these now, whatever your living arrangements are.
Dear Dr Hilary,
I suffer from very itchy prickly heat. I take antihistamines, cover up in the sun and have tried different remedies but nothing helps. What else can I do? Lynsey, via email
Prickly heat is due to waterlogging of the skin and blocked sweat glands. However, polymorphic light eruption (PMLE), caused by an allergy to UVA radiation in natural sunlight, is a more common reaction. To help, use a sunblock with 5-star UVA protection, such as Soltan Moisturising Suncare Lotion SPF50+ (£4.49, Boots.com) and antihistamines such as Non Drowsy Hayfever And Allergy Relief tablets (£8.49, Boots.com). Also, ask your GP about desensitisation, which involves being exposed to ultraviolet light over a number of weeks. This is done in spring to give your skin protection through the year. You’ll need to have the process repeated each year.
My friend wants us to move in together but I think we’d end up falling out. How can I break it to her that a flat share won’t work? Bella, via email
A flat share you say? Share has never been a word in my vocabulary. It’s either mine or it soon will be. “Have you eaten my cheese?”. “Why are you drinking at 9am?” and “Is that my boyfriend in your bed?” are just some of the pathetic gripes I’ve had to put up with from various “room mates” over the years (even when it turned out that I was actually married to several of them). The answer is to put this friend of yours off ever wanting to live with you. Start by casually mentioning your newfound penchant for cooking in the nude, terrible flatulence, a love of heavy dubstep and cheese stealing. That last one should really put her off the idea of moving in together.
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