auntie ag and uncle ony

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Love will keep us together

A new job took me to a new town and I started seeing a colleague who found himself in similar circumstances. I find myself falling in love, but he is convinced our relationship has no future and we wouldn't be seeing each other if fate hadn't thrown us together. Now, I have to move to the other side of the country for my job. He keeps telling me what a great opportunity this is for me, as well as going on about his long-term plans, which clearly don't involve me. How do I make him fall in love with me over the next few weeks or at least convince him we should continue seeing each other?

Gaby, Bristol

Uncle Ony: A long-distance affair with a commitment-phobic is a difficult proposition. I can only empathise; Mrs Ony took herself off to Venezuela some months ago and so far I've only had one postcard.

Auntie Ag: I'm afraid you can't make him fall in love with you, angel, but with a bit of luck, once you have gone, he will find that he really misses you. Make him a firm invitation to come and visit you for a weekend, and move mountains to have a wonderful time (you will know better than I what this involves). Then, and this is the hard bit, darling, leave the ball firmly in his court and let him arrange the next time you meet. If all goes well, it may be soon, but if he really doesn't want to make the effort, be prepared to let go.

it's not good to talk

My boyfriend has the most appalling telephone manner when we speak, quite at odds with how lovely he is in person. He gets all snappy and dismissive and laddish.

Francine, Lyon, France

Uncle Ony: Your boyfriend is expressing a deep dissatisfaction with your relationship. Often the only way we can manifest our most profound feelings is non-verbally; through body-language, or, as in this case, through tone. You urgently need couples counselling - but I wouldn't hold out too much hope.

Auntie Ag: Oh, rubbish, Ony, the man is just being plain rude. Don't panic, angel. Often phone calls are rushed, or something else is happening in the room, or someone else is standing at our shoulder listening in avidly. Pick times for chatting, when you both know you won't be disturbed and he can relax, knowing the whole office or his flatmates aren't eavesdropping, and you can fluffy-bunny at each other to your heart's content.

he says she says

I am in the most terrible pickle. I have two friends, Nancy and George. I introduced them and they seemed to get on splendidly. But now George is keen and Nancy isn't and I am caught in the middle. George tries to find out bits of info about Nancy and Nancy won't tell George she isn't interested. I dread speaking to George as every conversation now turns to Nancy and I think Nancy is being a bit mean.

Helen, Alton

Uncle Ony: I suspect Nancy is, in fact, interested in George, but since he is your friend, he is also "your" property, and she is subconsciously reluctant to let matters proceed without an overt signal from you that you are prepared to cede your "right" to George. Emphasise to Nancy that you have no romantic interest in George, and you will find that they will then quite happily come together.

Auntie Ag: Oh, how aggravating. I quite agree that Nancy is being mean. Stringing people along is just as unattractive in women as in men. Refuse to be drawn in, and any time George introduces the subject of Nancy, firmly say: "Why don't you ring her yourself?" If he phones her enough, she will soon get tired of the game, and choke him off herself.

going ga ga

Several of my workmates are having babies and keep asking me when I'm going to have one. It's driving me mad. I don't want one, especially having seen theirs, is the short answer, but they all look at me with horror when I say so.

Melanie, St Albans

Uncle Ony: Your vehemence makes me believe that you are in denial. After all, reproduction is one of the most basic human instincts. Could it be that you are jealous? Mrs Ony expresses similarly strong views, but I have been decorating the nursery since she's been abroad.

Auntie Ag: How rude and tactless of them, angel, it makes my blood boil. How do they know you haven't been trying for a baby for years? In any case, it's none of their business. Next time they start up this nonsense, look aside, cast down your eyes and shed a little tear. Refuse to explain; say "No, no, it's nothing" and sigh deeply. That should shut the rotten harpies up.

wooden it be nice

My husband is very keen to get a ghastly fitted carpet for our flat, on the grounds that it would be nice and warm for our little son, who has just started to crawl. But I want stripped, varnished boards, as they are more stylish and easier to wipe.

Naomi, Sutton Coldfield

Uncle Ony: Confrontation is not the way to solve this, Naomi. Confrontation means a win-lose situation that leaves one party with hurt feelings and an aching void deep inside. Why don't you have carpet in the living room and boards in the kitchen, thus creating a win-win situation which will make you both happy?

Auntie Ag: Tell him gracefully that you'd be delighted to fall in with his Axminster fetish, angel, but not, of course, until your little boy is grown-up enough not to spill, dribble or mess on it. That will be at least five years, darling. By then the sproglet will already be into Playstations and designer trainers, and you won't have enough money to swap boards for carpets.

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