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I'm pregnant AND we just broke up

Q I recently broke up with my long-term boyfriend. It was my decision and one I intend to stick by, but two days ago I found out that I am pregnant. We ended on good terms, although I suspect he thinks we may get back together. We won't, as I see no future with him, but having a baby in these circumstances is a shock. I need to tell him and my family, then there is my work situation and coming to terms with being a single mother to contend with. I feel overwhelmed, so I am keeping it all to myself.

AIt is perfectly understandable that you're feeling overwhelmed by the situation you find yourself in. However, it's good to hear that you ended on good terms with your boyfriend and that he still cares for you.

The father of your child is the first person you will have to break the news to. I would recommend you arrange to meet him somewhere quiet and private as soon as possible. I hope that he will be completely supportive.

After that, you'll need to tell your family and employers, who will be able to make arrangements for your maternity leave. I have every confidence that you'll have a network of support from those around you.

Once you have opened up to everybody and shared your good news, you will be able to start preparing for your new arrival. Good luck.

QI graduated from college two years ago and got a job in the computer industry. The company went bust one year later and I have been sending CVs ever since. I feel that my only chance at a good future is to go abroad, but I am an only child and my parents are devastated that I would even consider this. I really want to have a career. I am not married and I have no children. I feel this is my chance to take the next step in life, but guilt about my parents is holding me back.

AYou find yourself in a position that many young people have been facing in Ireland. You're qualified, ambitious and available to work, yet the jobs are not there. I understand why you're considering the idea of emigration for a better future. While I'm not an only child, I'm extremely close to my parents and I know they would be upset if I decided to move abroad. But I believe that it's important to follow your dreams and to live with no regrets.

My advice is to discuss with your parents the many options available outside the country. If I were you, I would make London my top choice for finding a job. It's a thriving capital with a large Irish community, only a short, relatively cheap, hop from Dublin. If you were working there, you would be able to go home regularly and your parents would also be able to visit you often.

You must make them realise that while you know it would be hard to leave them, this is important for your future and they would soon adapt to you being away. Outline the many positive aspects and ask for their support and understanding.

QA good friend of mine only calls me when her boyfriend is acting up. He regularly ends it with her and then she calls at all hours of the day and night and wants to talk for ages about how she cannot cope without him. I usually just listen. I have occasionally suggested that she could move on from the drama, but nothing ever changes. She can go a whole two hours on the phone without asking me what's going on in my life. I am loath to ditch a friend but this seems like a one-way friendship. Should I stop taking her calls?

AYour friend sounds like a drama queen, the kind of person who thrives on upset in her life and enjoys the attention she gets from it. She may be bored with her career or her social life, and has discovered that being at the centre of a storm gives her a sense of relevance and importance.

You have made an effort to be kind and understanding with her in the past, and she now views you as the go-to friend when she needs to vent. She is taking advantage of your patience.

If I were you, I would point it out to her. Explain that while you're perfectly happy to listen to her issues, as that's what friends do, you would appreciate it if she took the time to ask how you are too.

QAn ex-boyfriend from 10 years ago recently got in touch and asked to meet me. I agreed and now he keeps calling and texting and asking to hook up. He's a lovely bloke but I am confused about what he expects as he is tactile and always complimenting me. His constant presence is also annoying my partner who thinks he is trying to get back with me. How do I make my ex cool off and accept a casual friendship?

AI think it's nice that your ex has got back in touch. It's also great that you still think he's a lovely guy. I believe that if you put time and energy into building a relationship with another person, then it's worth doing your best to stay friends with them after the romance has died.

However, as you're in a relationship with somebody else now, I understand why your current partner is feeling uncertain about your ex's motives.

My advice is to arrange to meet this guy for a casual coffee and broach the subject with him. Press him about why he felt the need to contact you and explain that his touchy-feely behaviour is giving you mixed signals, whether intentional or not. You must explain that while you enjoy his company, you have moved on and are with somebody else now.

Explain that another go at a romantic relationship is not possible, but you would really like to remain friends. Once you have established these boundaries, you will be able to reassure your boyfriend that your ex knows exactly where he stands.