herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Am I just using ex as a sperm donor?

Q: AN ex-boyfriend from 10 years ago just got back in touch and we took up where we left off. He seems pretty keen and I still like him a lot. We split because of work commitments - I moved to the UK for a few years and the commute made us call time.

I do like him a lot but I wonder if my age (37) plus the familiarity is encouraging me to convince myself that he's the one. How do I know if he's really the man I want to make a life with or if it's just that my 
biological clock is ticking 
loudly?

He's lovely and we enjoy being together but there's not much passion and I didn't spend the last decade pining for him.

A: It sounds to me that your biological clock is pushing you towards this man when you don't necessarily have huge feelings for him any more. However, at least you ended your relationship a decade ago on a positive note and he's keen now to revisit where you left off.

While passion isn't the most important element of a relationship, it's still necessary for a couple to feel a certain amount of passion and attraction towards one another. If you don't feel it now, you certainly won't five years down the line.

My advice is to 
perhaps spend a little more time getting to know him in a friendly way and make it clear that you're not in a 
position to get into a full-on relationship again, but you would like to be friends.

I think that something stronger may develop if you give him a chance, but you can't make promises without feeling the attraction towards him. Go with your gut instinct and do what's best for you.

q I'M making a will and always intended to split things evenly between my son and daughter, but now I'm not sure as she married well and is doing fine while my son made some bad investments in the good years and is heavily in debt. I'm in poor health so I need to make my mind up.

I love both my children equally and there has never been any discussion about money. They get on so well and I just don't know what to do because she doesn't need the money while he can barely make ends meet.

My husband was a wise man and left me well provided for, so there is a substantial sum - but only enough to change one person's life in a big way.

aI can appreciate your drive to help out your son more than your daughter given their current financial statuses, but I strongly feel that this will ultimately cause family problems for them.

You're extremely lucky to be in the situation where you can help them out, but you can't predict what will happen in the future and your daughter may also fall on hard times.

My advice is to organise a get-together with your son and daughter. It's best to be up-front with the situation so they both know what's happening.

Explain that you're torn between who to give the money to and see if they can agree on who should get the most, or whether it be split evenly.

Appeal to your daughter to consider her lifestyle compared to her brother's, and the fact that he may be more in need of the money to begin to rebuild his life. Taking the honest and up-front approach will benefit everybody and ensure no one's left disappointed.

q My sister is a comfort-eater and in the last year has piled on the weight - she was 
studying for her final college exams and food became the basis of study breaks, but to be honest I think she has to be binging in private to have got as big as she has.

The problem is that she needs to start looking for a job but no smart clothes will fit her, plus employers do make harsh judgments based on how you look - I know they might think that her weight suggests she is lazy and undisciplined. She gets angry when I try to talk to her about it and is the same when my parents try to bring it up.

We all just want to help her, but we don't seem to be able to get through to her. Myself and my brother are both slim and healthy while she was always a little bit chunky, and I think this just makes her feel more resentful and alone.

aYour sister is obviously going through difficult times, and she must realise that she has put on weight but doesn't want to acknowledge it at the moment because it means admitting to herself and others that she has a problem.

She most likely needs a little bit of time to process this change in her body shape in her head and build up the motivation to tackle it. Criticising her and making remarks will do nothing positive for her and may make her binge privately even more than before.

So the best way to approach this is with subtlety and kindness. Encourage her and lead by example. Ensure that you all make a big effort to sit around the table as a family to enjoy healthy meals.

Place an emphasis on eating plenty of vegetables, healthy soups and salads to help her see that you can eat a satisfying but nourishing meal. Also encourage her to join you for walks, jogs and gym trips. Hopefully the natural endorphins produced from exercise and seeing results will spur her on to take full responsibility for her health and lifestyle.

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