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My man refuses to get the snip

QMy boyfriend asked me out three months ago when we hooked up in a club and it has been going great. We love doing the same things and he's very caring, not to mention very sexy. Last Saturday I had friends around to my apartment and I discovered that my boyfriend had asked a friend of ours out a few weeks before me. The girls thought I knew, or pretended they did. I feel differently about my boyfriend now, as the other girl is better looking than me and much more out there and fun. Now I feel second best.

AThe problem here is your lack of confidence. It's great that you're getting on well together and I urge you not to push him away due to your limited self-esteem.

As a single man he was perfectly entitled to ask out your friend. While you may see her as prettier and funnier than you, it's clear that he chose to be with you because he prefers everything about you. You're the girl he's with now and it's important that you focus on understanding this.

In my experience, there is little a man dislikes more in a girl than petty jealousies and silly insecurities. Rather than getting caught up in worrying over whether your boyfriend still fancies this girl, laugh it off and enjoy the fact that you're with him and not her. Your boyfriend has done nothing wrong and it's unfair for you to see or treat him differently because of it.

Everybody has a past and it's necessary for the health of a relationship to accept that and move on.

QI'm 31 and married and have two young children, aged two-and-a-half and five months, and feel lucky to have them. I also feel this is my limit, as I am very driven and need the challenge my job offers me. I've asked my husband to have a vasectomy, but he said it wouldn't be fair of me to deny his 'future wife' the chance of having a baby.

It's not the first time he has made veiled references to us splitting up and is always dividing up things in our home into his and mine. Should I be worried?

A You are the only two people who can truly know which way it may go. It could be simply that he is a realist and is considering his options if anything were to go wrong between you. It's likely he does not even realise the impact of what he's saying and, if you haven't shown any reaction so far, he has no reason to reconsider his attitude.

I would be inclined to agree with him on the vasectomy, however, as nobody knows what the future may hold. You're still young and you may decide down the line that you're not the ambitious career woman you once were, and that the idea of expanding your family is appealing.

I suggest that you raise your concerns with him and question why he makes so many references to your future as a couple. Let him explain his side before making any further judgments.

QWe have a big problem in our relationship, though it might sound trivial to others. I spring out of bed first thing in the morning, while my boyfriend sinks further down under the duvet because, as a night owl, he is usually up until two in the morning. He stays up late watching films and listening to music, while I head off to bed by myself. I feel I am missing out on his companionship as I spend a lot of time alone. He just says he is who he is, and I just have to accept that.

AI understand how it must be getting you down. Though you're a co-habiting couple you must feel that you're living separate lives. That closeness that you get from the nightly ritual of getting ready for bed and going to sleep together is extremely important for a relationship. I can't imagine your current routine helps your sex life either!

He must wake up feeling groggy every day and that would put a strain on your relationship too, particularly as you're an enthusiastic early riser.

It sounds to me as if your boyfriend is being stubborn and is trying to bully you into acceptance. You must do your best to reach a compromise. Talk to him and ensure he understands that his love of late nights is chipping away at your relationship. Explain that he must make an effort to share your routine at least some of the time.

I would encourage you to agree on a few nights of the week where you don't mind him staying up late, as long as he goes to bed at the same time as you on the remaining nights. Communication and compromise are key.

QI have recently taken a pay cut as the company I work for is experiencing financial problems. I have a few birthdays coming up and have asked friends to take my lack of funds into consideration when opening their gifts. A couple of friends are cool with this, but a friend has said that since she took me out for dinner to celebrate my birthday, it's only fair I return the treat. It's not just that I don't have the money to do this, I also feel very hurt by her coldness to me.

A It's admirable that you've had the courage to be open with your friends about your monetary status, and that the majority of them have been sympathetic.

It's hard to believe that a so-called friend of yours would be so harsh as to insist that you bring her for dinner. Her attitude is self-centred and shows little regard for your reality or feelings. It's not how a friend should behave.

Calmly but firmly explain that it won't be happening and you don't appreciate her demands when you're struggling. Stay cool and confident and don't let her intimidate you. If I were you, I would keep a wide berth from her for a little while and, hopefully, she will realise how inappropriate her behaviour has been.