Dear Janice,
My partner and I have been together forever. He is a wonderful guy. He picks me up on nights out, helps with all of the household chores, compliments me often, and, when he has time, he encourages me with my coursework, so all in all I shouldn’t complain.

But every year I get so excited on the run-up to Valentine’s Day, and every year I am disappointed.
Then I get angry with myself for getting all hyped up just to be let down. 

I want to be spoiled with roses and romance, but all I get is a bog-standard card and a bottle of prosecco.

He doesn’t see it as a big deal and laughs when I go off on one. 
Trust me, I do hint like mad beforehand so why does this happen to me?

Dear Shirley,
You set yourself up with expectations of a Romeo and Juliet evening which obviously never turns out as you imagined. But YOU imagined it. Not him.

Valentine’s Day is a day to express love for one another, which usually means flowers, chocolates, dinner etc, but buying gifts is the easy part of any relationship whereas loyalty, thoughtfulness, and kindness (need I go on?), are qualities you can’t put a price on.

Your guy sounds like a keeper. The kind of trustworthy, reliable partner most people would happily swap a bunch of overpriced wilting roses for.

The problem lies with you, so ask yourself why. Are you comparing yourself to friends who receive such gifts, and you feel left out? Social media is full of outpourings of love by means of grand gestures, but you would do well to bear in mind that often these expressions of love are empty and meaningless. They just tick the box of expectation.

Shirley, your Romeo is there for you on a daily basis, not just on February 14th. 

So, next year, ignore the hype, be grateful for what you have and ... perhaps you could surprise your lovely man with a home-cooked candlelit dinner and treat him for a change. You never know, turning the tables might give you more pleasure than constantly expecting the never-never.

Dear Janice,
I’m a fit, 50-year-old female. Am I too old to date a 36-year-old?
He seems mature and we laugh a lot together in the pub but my friend says I’m making a fool of myself. Should I give him a chance?  

Dear Jackie,
You don’t need your green-eyed friend’s permission to live your life, so if you’re both single, go for it. Having flirty fun with a younger guy is way better than hours of mundane boredom with an older one!

Dear Janice,
My plan has always been to move away from my home town at some point in my life but my girlfriend says there is no chance she will ever move.

We want children and I want more for them (and for us). I don’t want us to spend our lives in our small, depressing town, but she can’t see this.

Her argument is that she would need her mum about for childcare and that all of her extended family and friends are nearby, so why would she move?
She has only been abroad twice for a hen do, so isn’t well travelled either.

Every time I bring up the subject I am met with the same attitude, but I can’t just let it go. I think she is being shallow, small-minded and stubborn, and can’t see the bigger picture.

So how do I convince her otherwise?

Dear John,
You have hit your very own nail on the head. Of course she can’t see the bigger picture. How could she, if she hasn’t experienced it?

You might as well tell her you want to move to the moon, because what you are offering is alien to all she knows.

She has never experienced anything other than her own environment and she believes she has everything she needs in her life right where she is. And perhaps that is true.
She has friends and family she can turn to, and a feeling of community and belonging. Even if it seems miserable to you, she feels secure where she is, and thinks that if it was good enough for her, then why not her children?

That said, there is a big, exciting world out there for a young family to explore and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.

Instead of continually throwing all the negatives about your home town in her face, it’s up to you to gradually make her aware of the positives a move could bring.

Better schooling, a nicer and safer environment, etc. A new home with a spare room for her mum and friends to stay over.  Take her for drives to different areas, check out show homes, visit local pubs and play areas, and simply spend time outwith your home town. Perhaps as she begins to experience these alternatives, her mindset may shift to the lifestyle you want.

But the reality is, John, unless you are both on the same page with this, then one of you is always going to be very unhappy. So then your compatibility as a couple comes in to question.