I know I shouldn’t have, but I’ve lied to a man I met on an online dating site. After five dates, I still haven’t told him I have a child. The longer I leave it, the more I worry about how he’ll react. I don’t know how to bring it up in conversation – I’m worried he’s going to think I’m weird! Lucy, via email
What do you mean by “lied about having a child”? If you mean you’ve claimed you don’t, then obviously he’s going to find the revelation weird. But if you mean you simply haven’t mentioned your child, then it’s early enough for it not to be an issue. Either way, you need to tell him. How? Well, if you’ve openly lied, then you blame it on nerves and the fact you liked him. And if you’ve just not mentioned it, then you reveal that you like him and don’t want to keep anything from him. And then what? He heads for the hills or he doesn’t. If he does, move on. If he doesn’t, maybe it’s time for your kid to meet “Mummy’s special friend”.
I would like to know how I can stay friends with my ex-boyfriend. We were together for four years and both have new partners. While my ex’s girlfriend is happy for us to meet up for a drink, my new boyfriend isn’t. My ex and I no longer have feelings for each other, but I don’t know how to curb my boyfriend’s jealousy. I’d like to stay in touch with my ex but worry it will ruin my new relationship. Kate, via email
Before we go on, it’s important to state that your boyfriend trusts you. He just doesn’t trust your smarmy “Fancy a quickie for old time’s sake?” ex. I know, I know, you’ve told him over and over again that it’s not like that. The problem is, when it comes to exes, actions speak louder than words. This means you need to show your man that you and your ex no longer have feelings for each other. The best way to do this is a double date. It’ll be awkward at first, but when your bloke sees that you only want him and your ex only wants his new girlfriend, he’ll relax and you’ll all start to have fun.
I’m due to start a three-month temp job and believe there could be a chance to stay on afterwards. Do you have any advice on how I can get my employer to notice me during this period and consider making my contract permanent? Natasha, via email
You’ve been given a fantastic opportunity to prove yourself as an invaluable member of the team. My advice would be to try to make yourself indispensable. As well as doing your own job to the best of your ability, I would ask to take on other responsibilities and be an all-round helpful employee. Put the extra hours in and show your boss that you’re not afraid of hard work or a new challenge.
My son was recently diagnosed with autism and I’ve been doing lots of fund-raising in support of related charities. It’s been going so well, I’d like to set up my own charity and continue the good work. How do I go about doing this and how realistic is it that it will be a success? Jess, via email
Congratulations on the work you are already doing. It is people like you who keep charities going and benefit those who use their services. You need to consider that there are a lot of charities out there and whether it makes sense to start afresh or continue working for one that already exists. If you’re set on starting your own, have a look at Charity-commission.gov.uk. Good luck!
Dear Dr Hilary
For the past six months, I’ve felt constantly bloated. I’ve tried wind-relief tablets, but my stomach is still like a football and it’s painful to wear jeans or tight trousers. What can I do? Maria, via email
Occasional bloating is very common. However, persistent, uncomfortable bloating is not – especially when there don’t appear to be any obvious digestive symptoms, such as diarrhoea, constipation, cramps or wind. It’s very important that more serious causes of abdominal swelling are ruled out, such as ovarian cysts or ovarian cancer. In the UK, 6,500 of us are affected by the latter every year*, and it is the fifth most common cancer in women. Chances are it won’t be anything of the sort, but persistent bloating, deep pain during sex, lower back pain, change in bladder or bowel habits, and appetite or weight change are some of the most common symptoms. The earlier the diagnosis, the greater the chance of a cure, so visit your doctor urgently.
Dear Dr Hilary
My husband’s feet look awful. They’re red around the toes and skin is flaking off. He’s always rubbing them, but won’t see a doctor. Can I buy something to fix this? Hannah, via email
Your husband’s dermatitis could be fungal in origin, such as athlete’s foot, but it may also be an allergic reaction or a condition called psoriasis. Either way, it is unsightly and uncomfortable. Irritation by sweat or compounds contained in shoe leather may be making it worse. If he still refuses to see his doctor, he could at least avoid wearing trainers, try putting on two pairs of cotton socks, and applying an antifungal/anti-inflammatory cream such as Canesten HC or Daktacort, which should cover pretty much all bases.
I’ve been invited to someone’s hen do but not the actual wedding. Should I be offended? Shoshanna, via email
Oh Shoshanna, you’re what’s called a “fun friend” – great for getting the party started, not so great for meeting the family or featuring in the wedding photos. The bride will fob you off with talk of seating plans and the budget (whatever that is), but deep down you’ll know the real reason. No need to despair, though. I too am the “fun friend”, “a good-time gal”, “the resident lush”. No one ever invites me to their weddings, christenings or bar mitzvahs any more (admittedly, that incident with the rabbi and the sausage was embarrassing, even by my standards). But when anyone wants a shoulder to pass out drunk on, they’ve got my number on speed dial. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.