Dear Nick

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Dear Nick,

After loving someone from afar for nearly a year, I'm finally going out with him tonight. But this morning I woke up with a hideous spot on my nose. It's a disaster. Should I cancel?

Mary, Glasgow

Oh, Mary! Mary, Mary, Mary! How superficial do you think men really are? Hmmm? Well, I'll tell you. They're much too superficial to notice something as small as a spot, just as long as you have plenty of cleavage showing.

I am in a happy, long-term relationship, but I also get on very well with one of my ex-girlfriends. She - my ex - is having some hitches moving house, and she's asked if she can sleep on the floor of my flat for a couple of nights until her move is finalised. My current girlfriend is...

Josh, London, W1

That's enough, Josh. I've had to cut off your letter half-way through because, frankly, I don't need to read any more. For all I know, you would have gone on to say that you just wanted to help out a platonic pal and that your current girlfriend hadn't objected. I don't care. The fact is that whatever your girlfriend may claim, deep down she loathes the idea with every fibre of her being. She may not admit it, but she's afraid that your ex won't end up sleeping on the floor. And I don't blame her. Two old flames are as safe together as a recovering alcoholic and a cocktail cabinet. There is only one situation in which you are allowed to be in the same room as your ex-girlfriend without your current one there as a chaperone, and that is your ex's funeral. And even then, it should be a closed casket. If it isn't, your current girlfriend will keep asking you how thin your ex was looking.

My girlfriend and I agree that honesty is vital to a healthy relationship. We keep nothing hidden from each other. But when she asks if a particular dress makes her look fat, and I...

Pete, Bristol

Sorry, Pete, but I've had to cut you off as well. I could tell you were about to explain for a page or two that you don't want to upset your girlfriend, but, on the other hand, you don't want to be deceitful. I expect there was lots of earnest stuff coming up about how important it is not to be hypocritical. And I'm sure it was all deeply fascinating, soul-searching stuff. But this is not a philosophy column, and I'm not here to explore the mysteries of the universe. When your girlfriend asks you about her appearance, you must always give the most flattering reply possible. Don't question it; it's a law of physics.

A man I know recently told me that he wanted to move our relationship on to a less platonic level, shall we say. When I turned him down, he was annoyed, and said that I'd led him on by laughing at his jokes. Surely most men wouldn't take such an insignificant thing to mean that a woman was interested in them?

Louise, Harrogate

Of course they would. If not, you'd never hear a joke from a man again. And you women have only got yourselves to blame. Every time a magazine survey asks what you look for in a man, you lie and say "a good sense of humour".

My girlfriend and I have been together for more than two years, but for the last three months I've wanted us to break up. The thing is, I'm still very fond of her and I really don't want to hurt her feelings. I'm beginning to worry that I'll never work up the courage to end the relationship. What can I do?

Name and address withheld

by request

No problem, Adrian Beesley of Laurel Road, Birmingham. Glad to help!

I feel I do my fair share of household chores, but my wife says I just do a token amount. It's becoming a real bone of contention. What should I do?

Mark, Chester

You could try agreeing with her, as she's probably right. Otherwise, stick to your current technique, but with a little refinement: clean the toilet. It may just take a minute or two, but its symbolic significance is almost infinite. No need to bother with other housework, because when your wife complains, you can finish the argument by looking hurt and exclaiming: "Look, who cleans the toilet?" Buying the milk is one to remember, too.

My ex and I really are just platonic friends now. And my girlfriend and my ex are good friends, as well. So...

Josh, London, W1

Josh, I'm not going to tell you again. Forget it, OK?

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