A teenage girl falling out with her pals, boyfriend issues and a non-existent sex life
Q My teenage daughter used to have a small, tight group of friends who she would hang out with constantly. But in recent weeks she has been locking herself away in her bedroom instead of meeting her pals in town.
I contacted one of her best friends because I was worried. She told me that they had a fight and my daughter said some horrible things and that she didn't want to be friends with any of them anymore.
My daughter is very stubborn and had previously told me there was nothing wrong. I am very concerned that she is making herself very isolated but I don't know how handle this situation, without it blowing up in my face and appearing like an old, interfering biddy.
A I very much understand why you want to get involved and can really empathise with how worried and helpless you must be feeling. But situations like this are part and parcel of being a teenager and growing up around people your own age.
Every one of us will go through an uncomfortable situation with friends at some stage, but it's the lessons that we learn about our own tolerance, patience and understanding of others that makes it a valuable part of life's many experiences.
My advice is to step back and allow her to figure out what went wrong, how she can be more open-minded towards others and less stubborn. The very best you can do is be a supportive and understanding mum. Be there for her if she wants to have a cry and express her emotions.
It's a little drama that will blow over, and she might let you talk to her about it soon. Be there for her without the temptation to interfere.
My boyfriend has started to go to Pilates with some pals from work and I feel really threatened by this as it's a mixed group of them and I know by the way he said it that outsiders aren't invited.
We've been together a long time, about seven years, and just moved in together last summer and up until now have done everything together, particularly sporty things as we both love to keep fit.
We're even in the same gym and go out running together - I know that people say it's good for couples to have separate hobbies but I think this has come out of the blue and I was cheated on my by previous boyfriend so I really don't like it.
Should I tell him that I would prefer if he didn't go to the classes or at the very least needs to let me come with them?
A As you have been together a long time, live together and he knows how sporty you are, it does sound very strange that he hasn't invited you to join the class.
I could understand if it was just him and his best friend, but as it's a group of them, it would surely not make a big difference to have an extra person there. It would also be really nice for you to meet some of his work colleagues, and I'm sure he speaks about you a lot to them.
If I was in your position, I would tell him how much I would like to sign up for the classes and I was going to go ahead and put my name down. If he gets very defensive and insists that you don't, then you're perfectly within your rights to ask him why he doesn't want you involved.
I heard the results of a study last week about older people having sex - apparently lots of over 70s still do and as often as twice a month. My wife was never very forthcoming in the bedroom and when we had a family used the kids as an excuse for not engaging sexually.
I kind of put up with it but I am only in my early 50s and she has decided that that part of our lives is over. Then I hear about all these over 70s have a grand old time and I wonder why we can't be like this.
I don't think I want to spend the rest of my life celibate so I need to make her understand that our future together depends on this.
A it's a tough situation that you find yourself in, because you're still relatively young and enjoying life. If your relationship with your wife is perfectly good in every other way, then it does seem odd that she's not interested in you sexually.
Of course, this is the area that you need to focus your energies on now to try to improve on the lack of bedroom action. If I were you, I would try to figure out exactly what has turned your wife off sex. It could be because she has lost a lot of confidence in herself, her sexual abilities or has some body hang-ups. Hormones probably also play a big role.
Reach out to her with kindness and empathy as she may be feeling defensive about the subject, and gently speak to her about this important aspect of your relationship. Make sure she understands how much it means to you and the future of your relationship.