Dear Janice, three months ago I met a wonderful girl who I immediately connected with. All was going fantastically well until I met her two children.  

I naively thought that their appalling behaviour was because I was a stranger, and that the situation would improve the more they got to know me.  

It hasn’t, in fact, I took them all for lunch at the weekend, and it was challenging to say the least.  

The kids wouldn’t sit in their seats, couldn’t use cutlery, slurped and spilled drinks, picked at their food, cried and complained about everything.  

What saddened me most was the fact that their mum seemed oblivious to the chaos and let them run amok.  

I was embarrassed and couldn’t wait to get out of there.  

I really like her but I can’t stand her kids, so how can our relationship develop from here? Jason.  

Dear Jason, sorry, but I doubt it can develop.  

You should be brutally honest with your girlfriend about how her children’s behaviour upsets and embarrasses you, but she clearly doesn’t see the issues you (and probably others) see.  

Much as you have hit it off with this girl, she comes as a package, and if her children are causing you grief then you need to ask yourself if this is how you see your life for the foreseeable future?  

Of course, there is always the chance that these kids will grow up and develop manners and respect, but can you really sit back tight-lipped for the next few years and endure this?  

There is always the possibility of you having a child together one day, so how do you reckon that would work out?  

I think it’s game over to be honest, and my guess is that she will be in complete defence of her children’s behaviour, but it's at least worthy of a discussion.  

Dear Janice, even although he has another partner, my ex still texts me on a regular basis.  

Because a year ago we split amicably, I felt it would be churlish to ignore his messages, but he is still reaching out with tales of woe asking for advice on his latest partner and I feel like he sees me as his personal Agony Aunt!  

What should I do? Grace.  

Dear Grace, trust me, he does not see you as his Agony Aunt, he sees you as the ex he still loves and misses and who he would welcome back in a heartbeat!  

Next time he messages you, wish him all the very best and explain that for both your sakes, it is time to cut ties and have a clean break.  

He will most likely argue that staying friends is harmless, but in my experience, there is usually one half of a broken couple who hasn’t emotionally accepted the situation.  

It might seem cruel to be kind, but he can only move on with his life when you have taken these steps.  

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