The Ex Riles

My boyfriend and I have been back together for almost six months - he asked me to go back to him - but I have the strange, creeping feeling that he's still in love with his ex. They broke up romantically six years ago but remain good friends. We frequently spend the evening with her and her new love. I like them both enormously, but last night I noticed my boyfriend staring at her with such longing and anger that it's thrown everything out of kilter for me.

Margaret, West Midlands

UNCLE ONY: "He asked me to go back to him." Hmm, a telling sentence. Frankly, Margaret, it's a cut and dried case of denial with transference. Refusing to accept your own wish to escape the relationship, you are transferring responsibility to your partner - responsibility for re-establishing the bond, and responsibility for your own dissatisfaction. You must cease to deny. Face up to and explore your dissatisfaction, ideally with the help of a trained counsellor, and then, if necessary, leave.

AUNTIE AG: Don't listen to Ony, darling, it's so easy to get into a paranoid flap when you're keen on someone. You'll probably find your boyfriend was thinking about the new Ferrari GTI turboprop and some lucky bastard who's been able to afford one, and the ex-girlfriend just happened to be in his line of sight. Modern life is littered with exes and it's perfectly normal to get a bit soppy about them when you don't have to look at them first thing in the morning anymore. So, even if he does think he's in love with her, it's nothing you can't change his mind about. First, don't let him know what you're thinking - it'll only give him ideas. Second, don't be a mug, don't see so much of them, and for God's sake, don't let him see her on her own. Out of sight out of mind. Third, just concentrate on making your relationship as good as you can and having a sensational sex life, so that the last thing he'll want to do is go off with someone. You're the one who's with him, angel, not her, so make the bloody most of it.

HOT ON THE PRESS

You'll have to help me. I am in a situation with too high a pickle content to help myself. Recently, I started to write for the student newspaper and he's in charge. Is it worth jeopardising my future career with the fine publication if everything goes pear-shaped when I collapse across his desk and plead for a hot date? Please could you give me some tips on: a) better ways to ask him out (if, indeed, I should?); and b) how to remain looking slick if he turns me down (on account of preserving a purely professional relationship). Please help or I will inevitably remain single for the rest of my life and have to watch gardening and DIY programmes.

Clare's friend, Southampton

UNCLE ONY: Oh dear, oh dear. Our old friend - low self-esteem! I would question your feelings for this young man and suggest that you are attempting to "cloak" yourself in his professional success. What you really seek is professional success of your own, and the way to achieve that is to work and develop your sense of self. If you are determined to forge a relationship, simply ask him out point blank and if he says no, you have your answer.

AUNTIE AG: Nonsense, darling! What on earth is the point of asking him out for a date when you're under his nose all day? Sex is so much more on everyone's minds in offices when they're supposed to be working, than anywhere you could possibly go in the evening. So, flirt. Not in an embarrassing or obvious way, but sexily and with discretion, using lots of eye contact, cheeky little smiles followed by quickly looking away, standing just that little bit too close, and thinking about sex whenever you look at him. Bide your time, be patient, and don't tell a soul in the office about it. Before long he'll be driven into such a sexual frenzy he'll have no option but to ask you out for a date - so you don't have to worry about being rejected.

GRIN AND BARE IT

My best friend has taken to wearing outfits which are almost completely see-through. It started with her just showing her nipples, but the other day I was in a shop with her and she bought a full-length dress through which you can see practically everything. She says it is the height of fashion and I am just being prudish. But I honestly worry for her safety and when we are out together I'm really embarrassed and think that people might mistake us for prostitutes. Do you think it would be wrong to ask her not to wear the completely see-through dress when she's with me?

Sarah, South Kensington

UNCLE ONY: I really cannot be expected to comment on this without knowing more about the dress. I cannot imagine it is "completely see through" surely it is in a thin, slippy fabric, where just a hint of the female form is revealed, depending how it slips against the skin and how the light falls through it. Or perhaps it is, as you say, very sheer, delicate and slippy? Either way, if you could supply me with a photo and a sample of the fabric I will be able to advise you further.

AUNTIE AG: (Oh God, he hasn't changed at all. Send him back on bloody sabbatical). I think you could insist that she wears pants under it, darling, or you might get arrested, but otherwise it sounds like a hoot to me. Why not accompany her wearing a sturdy suit and polo neck. Then, if they do mistake her for a prostitute, they'll take you for her madam and give you all the money!

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