A housemate who is trying it on with a reader's boyfriend, sleeping problems and an adopted person looking for their birth parents
Q: My friend and housemate keeps flirting with my boyfriend - it was low key at first like laughing too hard at his jokes, but it has now escalated to the stage where he is becoming uncomfortable.
If she knows he is calling around she drowns herself in perfume - the same scent I wear as he likes it - and puts on some revealing clothes.
I don't want to cause a scene and make things awkward for us all as I do share a house with her, but it's becoming intolerable and embarrassing.
At this stage, I can't believe that she doesn't know what she is doing, it's just too obvious to us all - so what's her game?
It certainly does sound like very strange behaviour, and it's difficult to believe that she doesn't realise what she's doing. It's also completely inappropriate to flirt that openly with somebody else's partner, and especially the person she has to live with.
Your frustration is understandable. It's a tricky one to approach though, because telling her outright to stop flirting with him will make life very awkward, and you want to keep peace in the home you share.
If I were you, I'd keep my boyfriend away from the house and arrange to meet up elsewhere for the time being.
She may just be going through a phase, and if she gets a boyfriend of her own, I'm sure she'll stop her flirting.
Q: I used to be a great sleeper but lately, for no reason, I find it hard to drift off and then wake up an hour or two later and cannot get back to sleep.
This has been going on for five months now - with brief periods where I am so exhausted I sleep deeply for one or two nights - but it makes no difference as I am permanently tired.
I have kept a diary, stopped drinking caffeine and alcohol and I sip camomile tea in the evening and do a brisk walk daily. There is nothing bothering me professionally or personally and I am single and in my late 20s.
I do not want to take sleeping pills but I really need to do something to break the cycle.
Can you advise me if there are any dietary issues that can cause sleeplessness - I do find myself eating more chocolate these days as my energy levels are so depleted after such a lengthy time without decent sleep.
I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling to establish a proper sleep regime. Being overtired can really affect how your body and brain work, so no doubt you're feeling the effects of getting less sleep.
It can be tempting to rely on caffeine and sugary foods like chocolate to keep you going throughout the day, but they provide false energy and can actually drain your body's resources, which further exacerbates the problem.
Sugar can also make you wake up in the middle of the night when eaten in the late afternoon or evening. This is because you experience a blood sugar crash a few hours after eating sugar, which your body sees as a stressor and causes it to pump out adrenaline, your fight or flight hormone.
That's what causes you to wake up suddenly in the early hours, feeling wide awake with a racing heart. My advice is to cut out refined sugar as much as you can and focus on eating natural, fibre-rich, whole foods.
Good evening snacks to encourage sleep include banana or unsweetened oatcakes with almond butter. It would also be a good to speak to your GP about your sleep problems, and a blood test to check that everything is okay.
Q: I was adopted when I was two and have no memories of my birth mother. The family who adopted me had two children of their own and treated me the same - with lots of love and care and kindness - and I adore both my parents and my brother and sister.
My dilemma is that we never speak of the fact that I am adopted - it's just not mentioned.
For example, when my siblings introduce me they just say 'this is my sister' - no explanation of the fact that I am adopted, which is of course lovely, but lately, as I feel a strong urge to find my birth parents. This absolute pretence that I am not adopted has become an issue as I find any conversations in that direction get shut down immediately and absolutely.
How can I fulfil my own needs without hurting my family? I'm in my 30s so I feel a sense of urgency now.
It's wonderful to hear that you have been so fully and warmly made to feel exactly the same as your siblings, despite not actually being their biological sister. But I can also understand why you would want to seek out your birth mother and at least get to know a little bit more about her, and even meet face to face if that is possible.
Your own family may just want to protect you or encourage you to leave behind the fact that you're adopted, and that's why conversations are discouraged.
But I feel that you have every right to find out more information, and especially if your emotions tell you the same. If I were you, I would go ahead and make some enquiries.
If it actually comes to anything, you may want to bring it up with your family at some stage in the future. You will just have to explain that it was what you wanted and you don't want to offend or hurt them.
I would like to think that they would be supportive and understanding.