Q I am pregnant after a one-night stand with a guy I regularly bump into when out clubbing.
We ended up in bed after I was dumped by my ex-boyfriend, who I still have feelings for, and hope that one day we can get back together. I have no idea what to do. I am 21 and feel that my whole future is at stake here.
A This is a complicated situation as different men are involved and there are so many feelings at stake.
Never forget, however, that there is plenty of support out there for you and you’re never completely alone. Have you spoken at all to close family or friends?
Before any decisions are made, it would be worth seeking the opinions of those you can trust. Have you contacted the father of your baby?
I feel the best option is to be honest with all those involved and reach out to them for support. There’s a human life involved and the baby will need the best environment possible to be born into.
Then you will hopefully have an opportunity to attempt a reconciliation with your ex-boyfriend. All I can do is advise as an outsider, but it’s crucial you reach for advice from those in your life. It would also be worth contacting a pregnancy support network, such as www.positiveoptions.ie.
Q I’m getting worried about my girlfriend. She’s really nice but lately she’s been obsessing about her appearance. She’s not happy about the way she looks and keeps saying that she wants to lose weight and get a nose and boob job. I’ve told her that she’s perfect the way she is and she doesn’t need to alter her appearance but it doesn’t make any difference. We’re both 19.
A For young women especially, it’s easy to get sucked into obsessions with appearance and to give into societal pressures. It’s important to keep a grasp of reality, though, and to realise that the images of supposed perfection we’re bombarded with are nearly all expertly airbrushed.
Was your girlfriend ever bullied about her appearance? It must be incredibly frustrating for you that she refuses to believe you see her as perfect as she is, and no doubt her friends and family feel the same way. You can’t exactly stop her but you can try to encourage her to work on aspects of her appearance that don’t require something as permanent as surgery.
Weight can be lost with proper nutrition and exercise, make-up techniques can really change facial features and a good bra will give the desired effect too!
Q I don’t know what came over me but I left a department store last weekend with a lipstick in my pocket I didn’t pay for. I’ve been feeling envious and resentful of friends who have more than me, but I have never stolen anything in my life before. I am too ashamed to tell my mum.
A By admitting it to me, albeit anonymously, you’re taking the first step of acceptance of your behaviour and a willingness to halt it now. For that, I congratulate you because it does take courage. You clearly realise that such theft is wrong and could lead you into serious trouble with the law.
While you may not want to speak to your mum about it for the moment, I do strongly advise that you sit down and speak to her when you feel ready to express your thoughts.
For now, though, you need to look closely at what spurred you to steal initially, and how to avoid the temptation again. Try to imagine the scenario if you were caught. The shame and embarrassment. It’s also really important for you to reach a point of contentment in yourself and not feel envious of others. Look at all the positive aspects of your life and character, don’t let yourself and your loved ones down by reducing yourself to needless shoplifting.
Q My sister’s boyfriend is too controlling. She’s 25 and going out with this guy for almost a year but in the past few months his attitude has started to change. He’s become very domineering and always puts himself first. When I tried to mention it, she got really defensive and said that I was just jealous of what she had. But my younger sister thinks the same as me and that she’s being controlled by this guy. To make matters worse, she’s starting to talk about getting married to this creep.
A This unfortunately sounds like the classic case of the overly protective, dominant man who bullies his partner into subjugation. Relationships like that are deeply unhealthy and can lead to future violence. Since both you and your younger sister agree on his changed behaviour, and your other sister is defensive of it, she has probably managed to normalise it in her mind.
You will need to approach this with care, as she has already demonstrated her potential allegiance to him over you. You can only do your best to warn her; it is ultimately her decision and one which must be made by having the courage to stand back and view the whole situation.
Suggest that you and your two sisters go out to lunch or somewhere you will have the opportunity to talk. Drop your concerns into conversation, without it looking premeditated, and explain that from the outside, his behaviour has dramatically changed and you’re simply a worried sister.
To strengthen your position, try to direct her to one of the many outlets for information on unhealthy relationships, such as www.2in2u.ie. Good luck.