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Dear Rosanna: 'My boyfriend is a filthy slob'

Rosanna answers questions about house training and hygiene, sexy texts, a needy ex and teenage allowances

Dear Rosanna, I am living with a slob who leaves stubble in the sink, the toilet seat up, wet towels on the floor, dirty mugs in the living room, clothes on the bedroom floor and who cuts his toenails in the kitchen.

We met at work and I was smitten by his sophisticated office manner. He was all charm and courtesy while we were dating. How has it gone so wrong since we moved in together, and what can I do to turn this slob back into my sexy boyfriend? I’m not sure I fancy him any more.

Rosanna says:

It's well recognised that you only really get to know somebody when you live with them. He has proven that he can be a charming, well-groomed individual and, while it is quite nice that he feels he can be himself in your presence, I totally sympathise with your disgust at his current behaviour. Hygiene is so important.

I would suggest that, instead of dropping hints, you are completely upfront with him. Tell him that you'd like to keep the romance alive by you both making an equal effort with cleanliness and domestic chores. If he respects you, he should take this seriously. Assign chores and make them fun. Turn up the music, dance around the Hoover, and dress up as a sexy French maid! Encourage him by making housework less of a bore.

Dear Rosanna, I am 15 and my boyfriend has been sending me some very flirty texts which, in recent times, have become quite graphic. He has also sent me a couple of photos of himself with his top off, as he thinks he is quite buff. My mum looked at my phone, which I am furious about, and has made all kinds of accusations about myself and my boyfriend. Nothing has happened. How can I convince her of this and get her off my back?

Rosanna says:

As you're not yet at the legal age of sexual consent, your mum is right to be concerned about your safety and well-being. She is only trying to protect you from a whole set of risks, including STDs and teenage pregnancy. However, I also don't believe that she has the right to look at your phone and interfere so heavily in your relationship.

It's a delicate line, and you need to be honest at all costs. I advise you to reassure her that you're not sexually active with your boyfriend and that you're well informed of the potential risks.

Also I would strongly urge you to tell your boyfriend to stop sending you suggestive texts and images, as they are inappropriate for your age and are causing your mother great concern. Out of respect for you both, I should hope that he agrees.

Dear Rosanna, My boyfriend says he is over his ex, and yet he still meets her for a drink and texts her all the time. She had a crisis recently when she was burgled and he was the one who arranged to have her locks changed, and is helping her make an insurance claim. I’ve told him he does everything for her that a new boyfriend should be doing — she has yet to meet someone — but he insists he would do the same for any friend.

Am I right to be suspicious or am I being paranoid?

Rosanna says:

It's always refreshing to see ex-partners who have managed to remain friends. However, problems tend to arise when a new girlfriend or boyfriend arrives and jealousies are unearthed. I don't necessarily feel that you should be suspicious in this case.

He has chosen to be with you now and not her, but I do understand your discomfort and I know that I would feel the same in that situation. Out of respect for you and your relationship, I think that your boyfriend should back away from his ex and focus his energies on you. He can't have two women competing for his attention and his priorities need to be adjusted.

Explain to him that, while you don't want to come across as jealous, it is inappropriate for him to be spending so much time with his ex-girlfriend and it will inevitably lead to problems for you both. These issues can only be hidden for so long until they reveal themselves, often explosively. Good luck.

Dear Rosanna, I am a transition year student, I haven’t a bean to live on and my parents don’t seem to understand how big a problem this is. I am too young for a part-time job and have no money to get my hair done, or for make-up or meeting my friends for coffee. My parents say they can’t afford to give me an allowance but seem to have enough money for nights out for themselves.

Rosanna says:

I suspect that your parents don't realise how much everyday activities cost. They will have been used to covering your expenses as a child but, now you've grown up a bit, you're yearning for more freedom and that's entirely normal.

I clearly remember asking frequently for pocket money to take the DART into town and have coffee and lunch with my friends. It's such a wonderful year to see and learn more about the outside world, away from the protective shield of family and school.

Explain to your parents that it's time for a little more freedom, which they'll need to support until you're old enough to get a parttime job. Make a list of travel and food expenses - it needn't be much money, just enough so that you can have some fun with friends. They will hopefully manage a way to budget so that their nights out are not compromised and you still get an allowance.