Miscellany: Absolutely everything you will ever need to know about relationships: The truth

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Dear Nick,

My girlfriend complains that I don't buy her flowers. I think this is unfair, because the presents I do buy her are much more personal and thoughtful than an Interflora bouquet. Who is right?

Daryl, London SE16

Daryl, when it comes to the balance of power in a relationship, God gave women all the advantages. Specifically, He gave them breasts. When used correctly, these can drain a man's anger, sap his will and work other mystic spells upon him beyond the power of words. So how on Earth can men compete? How did God equip us to bewitch the female of the species? I'll tell you: He invented flowers. That's all. It's not much, I know, but it's all we've got, and if you don't take advantage of it, you're a fool.

My girlfriend wants to move in with me. We've been together for over a year now, and I can see that sharing a flat is the logical "next step". But I'm not sure I'm ready. Couldn't we just carry on the way we are? Or would she see that as rejection? Can you help?

George, Manchester

Don't worry about a thing, George! If your girlfriend wants to move in with you, she'll do so whether you like it or not, so there's no need for you to make a decision at all. Unless you change the locks, there will be pink cotton wool balls in your bathroom and something called a "throw" on your settee before the week is out.

Please help! Much to my embarrassment, my boyfriend has started talking about our sex life with his mates in the pub! I know this because one these mates is going out with a friend of mine, and she passed on everything my boyfriend said about me. What should I do?

Tanya, Derby

This sounds like an enviable arrangement. Men are generally useless when it comes to discussing their sex lives with their partners - for that matter, women aren't much better - so this is the best chance you'll ever have of finding out what he actually thinks about your bedroom activities.

My wedding anniversary is coming up and I'm thinking of whisking my wife away to Paris for a surprise holiday. Any tips?

Ian, London N1

"Accidentally" mention the surprise a couple of days in advance. Women hate surprises, and if you spring it on your wife in the taxi to the airport, she'll be too stressed to enjoy herself. She'll worry about the work that's piling up, about who's watering the plants at home and, mainly, about your inept packing. You'll be saying, "Ah, is there any finer sight than La Voie Triomphale at dusk?" She'll be saying, "I wish I had a more comfortable pair of shoes with me."

My boyfriend has bought me some lingerie for my birthday - if that's not too elegant a word for some tacky scraps of red nylon. He reckons the outfit is sexy, but it makes me feel like a bimbo Page Three model. Can I refuse to wear it?

Helen, Swansea

Bimbo? Page Three? Yup, that's exactly what he had in mind when he bought it. But if Helen's boyfriend is reading, he should take my advice: the next time you're buying underwear, buy a bunch of flowers, too.

That's all for now. If you have any more questions about relationships, simply purchase a copy of my book, `Men Are From Lowestoft, Women Are From Peebles', available from this newspaper at a special trial price of just pounds 39.99.

Dear Serena returns next week. Send your questions about modern manners to The Independent, 18th Floor, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL

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