| 3.8°C Dublin

His children get in way of love

QI'm 33 and dating a separated man with two young children. I didn't meet them until we'd been together for three months, as I was afraid I'd fall in love with the children and be heartbroken if we broke up. But now I find I'm living a totally different nightmare, that of being a weekend mum. I'm struggling with cooking chicken nuggets and watching Disney movies when I'd rather be out on the town. We're supposed to have the children every second weekend but my boyfriend's ex finds a reason to drop them over on Friday evenings and then returns on Sunday night looking all rested and happy. It was my boyfriend who left her, and not for me, but for another woman and it didn't work out, and I think this is his ex's idea of revenge.

AYou have found yourself unwittingly caught in the middle of this domestic muddle. You want to spend the time with your new partner, but you have also landed yourself with the two kids to look after.

This is unfair on you and may start to put pressure on your relationship. While spending time with the kids and getting to know them is a normal part of being in a relationship with their father, having to act as second mum with all the responsibilities is asking too much.

I strongly advise you to raise all these concerns with your partner and ensure that he understands your position. You want to be able to enjoy the weekends as a couple without behaving as parents together. Suggest that he speaks to his ex about this, too, as they will need to come to an alternative arrangement. You are well within your rights to insist on her making changes and taking more responsibility for her own children.

QI thought I was over my ex but this weekend I saw him out with another woman and I've been barely coping since. I've not been able to eat and my concentration is history, I can barely watch TV never mind get things done in work. Briefly, he dumped me after we were together for 18 months and that was a year ago. I've been on dates since and have made a real effort to get out. But when I see him, it's like I'm right back sitting on his sofa and him telling me he didn't love me any more. My legs go weak, it upsets me so badly. Will I ever get over him or is there a chance I'm one of those women who only loves once? I'm 24.

ABreaking up is incredibly difficult, particularly as you were at the receiving end and it wasn't what you wanted. But moving on is normal and he is trying to get on with his life and is enjoying being back on the dating scene. It is so unfortunate that you happened to spot him out with somebody else just when you thought you were over him. It's a challenge that's been thrown at you which you'll have to focus on overcoming. You may never lose your feelings for him, but spending quality time with good friends and family, concentrating on work or a favourite hobby and, when you're ready, starting to look for somebody else to date may all help to distract and heal you. Broken hearts take time and plenty of love and understanding from those around you. Don't be afraid to seek help and support from loved ones.

QI've lost 3st after being the fat one in our gang for years but instead of being happy for me, my friends have gone weird. Some are even cutting me out of things, or at least forgetting to invite me along. I'm finding it hard not to stuff my face with junk food I feel so lonely. Before, I used to be really busy and it never mattered if it was all couples and me, everyone seemed happy to have me along. I'm looking alright since the weight came off and am getting attention from guys and I think this has a lot to do with it. But I'm 20 and didn't plan on being thin and sexy – and having no friends to hang out with. How can I make myself popular again without having to get fat?

ACongratulations on addressing your health and working hard to make positive changes. It's not an easy thing to do, particularly when you're feeling pressurised to return to your old self by your friends. However, your own health, happiness and well-being is of the utmost priority, so please don't be tempted to oblige them and return to your previous lifestyle habits.

You've come this far. My advice is to continue on as normal, offering your time and friendship as you always have.

It sounds to me that they may be a little envious of the new you as it brings their own lifestyle habits into light. You have done nothing wrong here, so hold your head high and feel very proud of yourself.

If your friends cannot accept the new and improved you, then they're not worth your time or energy.