Dear Janice, I have heard through the grapevine that my ex has finished with his latest girlfriend. I really liked him and thought we got on so well, but to this day I still have no idea why he finished with me. One minute we were planning family get-togethers and weekend breaks, and next minute I received a very short text which merely said, ‘sorry, this is not working for me’.

I still miss him and keep going over in my head what I did to make him suddenly change his mind. Do you think I should make the first move and get in touch with him again? Even if only to find out why he ended our relationship. Sarah-Jane.

Dear Sarah-Jane, no, absolutely not. I can understand your need for some sort of closure on this, but I would take his last text as a clear message that he no longer wanted to see you.

Frustrating as it is, trying to second guess why he ended your relationship only makes you focus on your flaws, because you automatically blame yourself and question what YOU did wrong. Chances are, he is the one with relationship issues. (you mention his ‘latest’ ex).

There could be a dozen reasons why he ended it, and you have most likely gone through every possible scenario, but he ended it and you should leave it at that. Would you really want to regurgitate a relationship with someone who ghosted you? Give yourself a break. Put this one to bed because all you are doing is wasting your energy focusing on something that should be in the past, but you are keeping in your present.

Dear Janice, my younger brother and his partner keep dumping their kids on me. Don’t get me wrong, they are my nephews and I love having them, but the kids are dropped off before dinner time on a Saturday, and they don’t get picked up again until after dinner on a Sunday. I live alone with my daughter, and have a busy full time job, so my weekends are precious to me.

Also, feeding them dinner, supper, breakfast, lunch and snacks is costly and I don’t have a lot of money. On top of that, they never offer to take my daughter, even to the park for a couple of hours. It’s all one way favours. I’m due to have the kids again soon, so how do I tell them how I feel without upsetting them? Amy.

Dear Amy, sounds like they selfishly don’t think further than their great weekend escapes, and it’s unfair of them to off-load their kids on you like this.

Much as you are reluctant to bring the subject up, get ahead of the game, if you don’t want a tense conversation, text them now and give them enough time to rethink their forthcoming weekend. Say you are out all day Saturday and could they please drop their kids off after they have been fed as you and your daughter will have eaten by then. Then, as you have a busy Sunday, YOU will drop them off at 11am, which is plenty of time for them to have a lie in, but also spend weekend time with their own kids. They won’t be pleased, but if they retort in a negative manner, apologise and wish them luck in finding another babysitter. As for them taking your daughter, I would write that idea off. If they are keen to off load their kids so often, it’s highly unlikely they are going to want to take another one.

Dear Janice, The only thing, and I mean the only thing, my husband can cook is pasta. He always thinks he is doing me a favour when he cooks, which is becoming more and more frequent since he dropped his hours in work, and the only thing he can muster up is pasta. He makes a nice sauce to go along with the pasta, but I am getting sick to the back teeth of pasta on top of bloody pasta.

I have tried bringing it up with him subtly, but he only replies “aye, it’s great isn’t it, so versatile and you’d never get sick of it”.

I fear I may turn into a spaghetti noodle at this rate. I make a variety of dishes for him, which he loves, but he still doesn’t take the hint. Angela.

Dear Angela, albeit, a carb overload is not ideal, at least your poor hubby is making an effort. Making pasta is his way of showing you he is at least wiling to cook for you, it’s just that his menu and gastronomic skills are shall we say ‘limited’. Don’t dampen his enthusiasm by dispelling is efforts, focus on growing his culinary skills. Tell him you love his pasta and that because it is so good, he should now try to be more creative. Give him a recipe other than pasta that you really fancy. (keep it relatively simple). If this goes well, set him another task, and another, and before you know it, you could be fine dining with Gordon Ramsay! However, if this doesn’t go quite to plan, chomp your way through his repetitive signature pasta dish until you sign him up for an online cooking course. And doing the course together would be even better.

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