On betrayals of trust, coping with resentment, when to move in together and teen eating disorders
Q A friend has just told me that my ex is showing nude photos of me he took on his mobile to his friends. I thought it was a bit of fun when he took the photos and, because I loved him, I trusted him. He dumped me out of the blue a few weeks ago. I can't remember exactly what I'm doing in the photos as I was drunk at the time, but I know it is not anything I want his friends to see. How can he be so cold and cruel? I'm 21 and feel a total idiot and very scared.
A This is a serious and disgraceful breach of trust. For him to dump you and then go about showing your intimate photographs is a disgusting reflection of his character.
However, you will have learned to never pose for nude photographs again. It has landed too many people in trouble in the past. Think of the many leaked nude photographs and sex videos involving celebrities. No matter how safe you feel with somebody, remember how instantly photographs can be sent around the world and seen by millions of people.
If I were you, I would contact your ex-boyfriend to tell him that you know what he's been up to, or even try to meet him face to face, and demand that he deletes the photographs. He will hopefully feel guilty and regretful if he knows that he's been caught by you. He still may refuse. Either way, you must hold your head up high, try to move on and consider it an important lesson learned.
Q I am the 19-year-old daughter of a single mum. I have had no contact with my dad and so my childhood was spent alone with mum. I feel hugely responsible for her and have had to deal with her heartache and depressions over the years.
We live in rented accommodation, so when I plan my future I don’t only think about buying a house for myself but also for her. I am training to be a beauty therapist and work in the evenings as she is not good with money and runs up bills. I’m sure I sound ungrateful, but I often think my life would be happier if I had a dad and siblings and that my mum is selfish. How can I stop being so resentful as I know she did her best — it just wasn’t very good?
A I have no doubt that there are many young people who find themselves in this situation. You feel under pressure to support your mum while trying to forge your own future. I commend you, because it can't be easy to deal with such responsibility. I also admire you for recognising that you feel resentment towards your mum and for trying to deal with it.
The important thing is to focus on the positive things in your life and what you have achieved. Concentrate on being the best beauty therapist you can be and on improving the relationship you have with your mother. You can't bring siblings and a father into your life that easily, but you can make huge improvements on what is already there. I would also advise that you contact a support group, where you can speak to others in your situation. You may want to consider other options, such as cohabiting with another single mother and her children. It would mean some company for your mum and substitute siblings for you.
Q At what point in a relationship do you think a couple should move in with each other? I have been with my boyfriend for almost two years -- I am 22 and he is 26 -- and we're going to the States on holiday in August. I wasn't worried until my best friend announced she was moving in with her boyfriend and she has only been with him for a year. Should I be putting pressure on my boyfriend to live with me? I was quite happy until my friend put this idea in my head.
A The decision to move in together is individual to each relationship. It should happen when you feel comfortable with the idea of spending so much time together, and can deal with the financial and practical pressures of maintaining domestic stability.
I know couples who have broken up because they decided to move in too quickly and before they were ready. I only moved in with my boyfriend after being together for four years and we were happy that we waited until we knew the time was right.
My advice is to casually bring up the subject with your boyfriend and gauge his feelings. If all goes well on your holiday, then you may feel that you're ready. Just relax, enjoy your relationship as it develops naturally and don't rush.
Q I think my 16-year-old daughter is bulimic. She binges on food and I often find food wrappers under her bed. And I know she spends all her pocket money on junk food. Every so often I go into the bathroom and get a whiff of vomit. She hasn't lost weight, but given the amount she is eating, she isn't putting weight on either. I know I need to talk to her but I have no idea what to say.
A You have every right to be concerned for your daughter's health. She must be helped as soon as possible before she inflicts long-term damage on her body. The serious side-effects of cycles of bingeing and purging include dehydration, constipation, infertility, peptic ulcers, electrolyte imbalance and even cardiac arrhythmia and cardiac arrest.
Explain gently that you are worried that she has developed bulimia based on the evidence you have seen. She will probably deny it initially, but I advise you to pursue it -- don't drop the subject because it's uncomfortable. Explain to her that you sympathise, outline the health implications of the disease and say that she must seek help or support to overcome it.
I would urge her to speak to a doctor, preferably a GP she knows and trusts. By encouraging her to speak, you will help her deal with the underlying issues she's facing.