Q I HAD a drunken one-night stand with a male colleague - we have both agreed it will never happen again, even though, in truth, the attraction is still there. We also decided that nothing will be said to anyone else about it. I am 29 and engaged so if this gets out my whole future is cancelled - do I tell my fiance or just rely on this other man's discretion?
AThis is a really difficult decision, and it's one which you should come to on your own. You're afraid that this highly damaging information will slip out and lead to the end of your relationship and your conscience is telling you that you must come clean.
Presuming that you're certain this is the man you want to marry, and the one-night stand was a mistake that will never happen again, my advice is to say nothing and rely on your colleague understanding that it's crucial for nobody to ever find out about this. People do make mistakes and while this is certainly a serious one, I feel that it's best to learn from it and then bury it away forever.
No good can come of revealing what happened and, while you will have to learn to live with the guilt, at least nobody else can get hurt. Have a serious talk with your colleague and agree that nobody must ever find out about that night and make a pact that you should never allow yourselves to be in a situation where it could be repeated.
Q My mum and dad spilt up when I was little and both are now in new partnerships. At the age of 19 I feel I am grown up and the relationship has been maintained between the two couples and us three children from the first marriage. But now my dad has told us that his partner is expecting their first child.
I should be happy for them but I feel upset and even jealous of this new step-sister or brother. I desperately want to be fair about the whole thing and not cause a fuss, but I have an awful fear that he will forget about us three from his first marriage when this new child arrives.
A It's always refreshing to learn that ex-partners can move forward with their lives and remain on friendly terms. But, at a time that should be a great celebration, you're facing fresh worries for the balance of your family.
You fear change and have convinced yourself that a new baby will take attention away from you. Please try not to worry so much.
A new baby will take up plenty of your dad's time, but you will, hopefully, be able to get involved with babysitting and spending time with the new arrival.
Voice your concerns in a quiet moment with your dad. Your feelings are entirely natural and I'm sure he would appreciate knowing about them. It would also make him aware of the importance of finding time for all of his children.
QIn school I was always afraid of failure -- whether it was to do with the academic or sporting side of the curriculum -- I would simply opt out and take a back seat rather than take a chance that I would mess it all up and come second.
I have carried this approach into my work life. However, I am beginning to realise that I am a talented young woman, ambitious and, ultimately, I am the only one holding myself back. But I am so afraid of standing in the limelight that I am practically mute in the work place. How can I overcome fear and make a name for myself?
A It's such a shame that you have been held back so much in life through being afraid of failure. It's natural to have fears, but achievements, however small, all help to build up self-esteem. Fears must be banished before they are allowed to become all controlling. Luckily you have realised this before it's too late, and you can start a path to developing greater self-confidence.
Once you can see the results of your efforts, you will build up the self-esteem to really get noticed. You may find it difficult to achieve all of this on your own, so my advice is to book an appointment with a specialist in the field of self-confidence and personality development. They will, hopefully, inject your mindset with the self-belief you need. I suggest somewhere like the Paul Goldin Clinic, where confidence building is one of their most successful treatments. www.paulgoldin.com
QI am in my final year of college but I despair about the state of our country and want to apply for a job overseas in a warm climate.
My mother has never been stable (it's just the two of us and she had a lot to cope with as a single mother and drink sometimes became a crutch) but she is now threatening to never speak to me again if I leave the family home. She says she has sacrificed her life for me and that now I need to be here for her.
A It must be incredibly tough to find yourself torn between loyalty towards your mother and your desire to make a better life for yourself abroad. It is unfair that she's using emotional blackmail to guilt you into staying in Ireland with her.
I advise that you confront her about the fears she has. Explain that you want to support her and you appreciate all she has done for you, but you also have a life to live.
Alternatively, change your mindset towards this country and search for a job here. It may be tempting to go abroad for many reasons, but the grass is not always greener.
Most importantly, you must stand your ground and communicate all of your concerns to your mother. Ensure that she can see the situation from both perspectives. Good luck.