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Should I regret sex with my ex?

qI was seeing a guy for about eight months and things tapered off, but we're back on now. I slept with my ex a few times when we were on this unofficial, unspoken break.

I'm not stupid enough to think I should tell my boyfriend about the ex and I am very clear that it's him I want to be with now. But I'm afraid that the ex will hold it over me a bit.

We've been friends for years and it's a long time since we were together, but he has made it clear that he would like to get back as a couple and keeps insisting that I can't really love this new guy if it was on and then off and now back on. How can I make him back off?

aYou're in a tricky situation, and unfortunately your decision to sleep with your ex could come back to hurt you and your boyfriend badly. There's no point in regretting what happened as it's in the past now, and while I do believe that honesty is always the best policy, in this case there's no need for your boyfriend to know what happened when you were on the break from each other.

My advice is to completely focus on your current relationship and to cut contact with your ex.

If you're still speaking to him, he will assume that you're still interested and something may, happen. It's not fair on either guy and your responsibility is towards your boyfriend now.

Firmly explain to your ex that you're happy now and keen to concentrate on your relationship, leaving what happened between you in the past. You must ensure that he knows exactly where he stands, and that he won't be hearing from you while you're still with your boyfriend.

qMy parents won't let me get a part-time job as they say it will interfere with my studies and school work, but I'm only in fifth year.

I think it's about keeping me on a short leash, to be honest, as they are really strict about what clothes they will buy me and hardly ever let me wear make-up.

If I had a little job I'd be able to buy these things for myself - but I wouldn't go mad. I'm quite sensible and would even like to save some money.

I want a little experience, a little freedom and a little independence - not lots of any of those things, just a little. How can I make them see I'm a trustworthy teen?

aIt's perfectly normal for parents to worry about the safety of their children, and watching you grow up and crave more and more independence must be understandably difficult for them.

But I really do sympathise with the position that you're in. Getting a part-time job when you're young is a great way to learn about business, responsibility and the value of money. Your parents should be proud that you want to earn your own money. You just need to show them how grown-up and mature you have become.

My advice is to research what suitable part-time jobs are available in your local area, find out about the hours and payment and plan how you might travel to and from the location. Then ask your parents to sit down at the kitchen table where you can present them with your ideas.

Explain to them your reasons for wanting a job and what you would put the money towards. Saving for college, for example, would be a great idea. Show them that you're keen to learn about the working world and get some experience for the future and they will surely want to support you.

qI find it hard to show my partner how I feel, and I know that it hurts him. I don't mean sex, we're fine with that. I mean the small signs of emotional intimacy that normal couples display such as holding hands, reaching out unconsciously to touch one another in company and just being soft towards him.

I'm not a cold person - I want to do these things, but I find it hard and I think it's driving a wedge between us. We've tried to talk about it but it doesn't come out right - how does a person reach out when they're as scared as I am?

aOften it's the small signs of affection that mean the most. Having a healthy sex life is important for bonding and closeness in a relationship, but it's the little ways to show how much you care that can make a big difference to how close you feel to your partner.

This doesn't mean you have to go for full-on public displays of affection every day, but simple gestures make a big difference. I believe that you can train yourself to do them more and more often. You could start by doing something once a day and gradually increase the frequency.

It might be just holding hands, a hug or a kiss good morning, to work on decreasing the wedge between you and building the intimacy again. Aim to show affection to him each day for a month. It should become second nature and improve your relationship.