Ask Alex

The Answers You Need

Is your relationship on the rocks?  Do you feel like going on instagram during sex? Do the men you meet ghost you after a few dates? Is it OK to drink cocktails naked? All your questions answered here, anonymously and confidentially.  

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My new boyfriend is totally gorgeous but the sex is a let down. He never takes the lead, he fumbles and he finishes really quickly

Every girl’s worst relationship nightmare!
Okay, so maybe it’s not every girl’s worst nightmare, but the truth is that most women will be frustrated to find themselves with a boyfriend who does not know what he is doing in the bed department. It is a difficult one to approach because you need to build his confidence rather than focus on the negative.  Many men think that they are really good in bed, because many women fake their orgasms.  
The best way to approach this problem is to show your delight when he is doing something right and tell him how much you are enjoying  it. If you give positive feedback and ignore the stuff that does nothing for you, you will find that he will soon start focusing on the things that make you squirm with pleasure, rather than the things that make you lie on the bed like a corpse!
It may be that he just lacks a bit of confidence in bed, but he’s never going to know what you want unless you actually tell him.
I know in the cold light of day it can feel mortifying to bring up sex, but when you’re in the mood, why not suggest things?
Obviously, although he may be great in every other way, if he’s not doing it for you in this department once you have discussed the matter, you should really think about moving on to a guy that is a better match in this department.

I'm fed up with my boyfriend helping his ex through her latest break-up

There are no real rules regarding how much contact with an ex is appropriate. It depends on the players involved and their individual comfort zones. Your boyfriend's behavior is out of your comfort zone, which means you have to talk to him about boundaries. Set some together. And don't be afraid to ask for what you really want, which is for her to go away. He needs to know that his current relationship has to be his priority. You're not wrong. His interest in making you comfortable should outweigh his concern for an ex-girlfriend. You're his present.

I keep falling for married men and ending up alone
The four long-term relationships I've had have all been with men in existing relationships and I am always the one who gets hurt but I can't stop myself

Mate poaching is a robust phenomenon, and it is here to stay. When single women see a moderately attractive male, they are more interested in him if they believe he is already in a relationship! In fact, one sizable study found 90 percent of single women were interested in a man who they believed was taken, while a mere 59 percent wanted him when told he was single.
For the most part, married men who are regular cheaters never have intentions to leave their wives. Essentially they want it all — at everyone else’s expense.
Women who date married men, do so for several reasons.  They may be very competitive and want to prove that they can win over the wife. Others are excited about the illicit sex, so much so, that they mistaken the feeling for love.  There are also those who like the man to be prescreened by someone else.  You should explore, why it is that you are attracted to these relationships and see them for what they really are, which is a source of heartache for you and anyone else involved.

Will playing with my breasts make them bigger? My boyfriend insists it will.  He is 22 and I'm 19.  He spends the evening fondling my breasts to see if his theory works. I don't think there is any truth in it and I really wouldn't mind them having a rest.

This is one of the most common sex-related myths that people seem to have. While many women find squeezing and pressing boobs arousing, there’s absolutely no data to suggest that they can grow bigger with pressing or squeezing. Normally, when a woman is aroused, there is some blood flow to her breasts which makes them marginally bigger temporarily. Restrict your boyfriend's fondling sessions to the extend that it makes you happy.  There is absolutely no truth to his theory.

How do long distance relationships last?

Long distance relationships can work under certain conditions.  Love alone will not carry you through forever. 

Condition number one is that he finds an equivalent job in your  city/country. This is very important because if your man agrees to move distances for you he needs to feel that his career is also making a forward move. If he gets a crap job he will eventually feel resentful towards you.

Secondly, you need to have a plan in place to visit each other at regular intervals of no less than once a month, ideally every two weeks. If it it is unaffordable to visit the romance will fizzle out. On the plus side, the visits will be amazing and totally worth your while. The new locations, the airport goodbyes, knowing that you will not see each other for weeks... Very, romantic.

Thirdly, when. he is with you, he will have left all his friends and family behind. You will need to make an extra effort to introduce him to your friends and also invite his friends and family to visit often. Finally,  you need to be working   towards a realistic resolution to the problem. If the long distance is ongoing and there is no realistic scenario on how it will resolve itself, it will be impossible to maintain after a few months. These are some of the ingredients that are necessary for a long distance relationship to work.

If you are thinking of moving to his location, all these conditions will also apply to you. A word of caution, if you do move to his city/country, make sure you keep your base for a few weeks just in case you find out that once you are together and you are seeing him every day, the romance fizzles out. The risk is that  you find yourself in a strange city, with no friends and a damp squib for a boyfriend. Long distance relationships are  powerful aphrodisiacs, but they need an expiration day in order to work.

If someone ghosts me, should I reach out to him with a text or email?

1. In general should you text someone after they have ghosted you? Why or why not? 

Ghosting was invented by a generation of young adults who grew up being able to hide behind a keyboard.  Meetings that start in cyberspace and online dating sites can easily be gotten rid of by ignoring or deleting the party that did not live up to the promise.  It is an easy way out. If you have been ghosted, he does not really want to see you or hear of you again.  Could he have been more clear?  Don’t deluded yourself that he is busy, or something along those lines,  Almost certainly, he is done with you.  It goes without saying therefore that to avoid getting your confidence knocked any further, you should not text him or contact him in any way.  Just delete his contact details, forget about him and move on.

2. If your advice is that you shouldn't

generally, in what circumstances should you actually reach out and why? 

There may be a case where the offending party has read too many magazine articles about how to get someone to really want you by being unavailable.  If the ghosting has been less than a week then you can still hold some hope that the person is just misinformed about dating techniques and is not necessarily ghosting you.  Either way, you have to decide if this sort of person is the right one for you, but don’t judge them too harshly.  The internet is full of such advice to the clueless.  I would generally recommend that you don’t contact them more than once if this is the case.  

Of course, there may always be the very slim chance that they did have an emergency which prevented them from contacting you, but as there is no way for you to known that, follow the advice from the point above.  Most emergencies will resolve themselves after a week, long enough for him to drop you a text...

3. In those circumstances, what should you say? And what should you avoid saying?

Always keep it light and non committal.  There is no reason to make him think that you are needy and unhinged.  Say something along the lines: “ I really enjoyed our time last Friday.  I had a look at the website your recommended and I agree with what you said.”  That’s it.  Say no more.

 4. What is the best way to get over being ghosted?

If you are dating in this day and age, you will get ghosted, no doubt.  Maybe more than once.  I suggest you treat it as a case of bad manners and possibly a narrow escape from someone who would be bad news anyway.

My new boyfriend always wants to pay for me and give me gifts.  I think this is sexist.

What do you think about accepting gifts from your date or SO? 

Giving and receiving gifts is a great way to show how much you have been listening and paying attention to what your SO likes and enjoys.  Feminism does not change any of that.  Similarly to what was acceptable in the olden days, the gift has to be proportionate to the stage of the relationship, it has to be thoughtful and given as a gesture of love rather than obligation or to buy love.  Feminism should not have a problem with any of this and in this light it is not at all sexist.

What about when it comes to allowing your date/SO to pay for you?

Almost all women enjoy being taken care of, and having their date open doors for them, help them with their coat and discretely take care of the bill when it arrives.  This is the truth.  Feminism has complicated this simplest of flirting rituals and has made bill paying an awkward situation between the prospective couple.  When a guy treats a girl it makes her feel feminine but more importantly (and this is crucial), it makes their date feel masculine. If the man is allowed to feel masculine, the relationship will be more satisfying for both.  Of course in this day and age where women earn as much as men, and sometimes more, it would be unfair for the man to always pick up the bill.  A good strategy is for you to pay for things such as tickets to a movie or a concert, taxis or in general things that are paid in advance and are not as visible as paying at a restaurant.

If you have been dating him for a few weeks you can say that you want to send your share on PayPal or something.   If it is a first date, you must absolutely pay your  share to avoid feeling that you owe your date a favour that needs to be repaid...

A lot also depends on the financial situation of the couple.  If your date is financially much better off than you then let him pay for the meal and you can perhaps buy him an ice cream or pay for the taxi home.  

When it comes to feminism as it relates to courting and dating there is a lot of misunderstanding as to what is acceptable.  Given a choice most all women prefer to be treated as women and the man to take charge in the affairs of the heart.  This does not infringe on women’s rights.  It is just a way to set the scene for romance to blossom. Equality is better defined in areas such as the workplace, major family decisions, promotions, pay and the like.  When it comes to dating, women always prefer to have a prince on a white horse. And men get excited about flirting with a mermaid or saving a maiden in distress.  It is only a game and feminism has nothing to do with it. Allow your man to be a generous prince, both of you will benefit.

I am worried I'll be single forever! Why can't I meet anyone?

Nothing stays the same, so being single now - even if it's been for a long time, does not mean you will be single for ever. But if you want a relationship, you can't be sitting at home waiting for your prince. You need to be open to all opportunities, get involved in activities that interest you, go out and meet people. Swiping on dating apps may appear like an easy way to find someone from the comfort of your own home.  The problem is that Sometimes I banter back and forth with them but ultimately it ends in delete many men it is only a game or a way for hooking up. Often you banter back and forth with someone and think that you are getting somewhere but ultimately it ends in delete and there is of course the problem of arriving at a date expecting to meet a slim 30 year old with a full head of hair and instead encounter a balding 50 year old with a pouch.  Best way to find the man of your dreams is to pursue your interests and look for a mate in this setting.  Go hiking, dancing, to a board game cafe, to a gallery opening, a film club, whatever works for you and you enjoy doing.  You will be less awkward and probably find a better suiting mate.

I am approaching 45, what is the best way to meet a serious partner?

I often talk to women in their late thirties and forties who are desperately seeking to find a good man. These women are attractive, with fulfilling careers, good friends and interesting hobbies. What they are finding out, is that suddenly the available pool of men has decreased drastically. They have come to realise that the man of their dreams is not about to magically appear on their doorstep and are looking for advice on the best way to date at this stage of their lives.
Here are my best tips for you ladies:
The number one tip is to identify the right places to look. Where are the cool 40-somethings hanging out? Have you considered, film festivals, cafes, museums and art galleries? Where do you truly like to spend your time? This is the best place to start.
Make up your mind if you want children or not. Once baby making is off the table, a lot of the pressure comes off and you will feel liberated to allow a budding romance to move at its natural pace. Guys will appreciate this attitude, nobody wants to feel under the gun or hear the loud ticking of the biological clock. There is a lot of social pressure to have children, have you truly contemplated whether you really want them?
Don’t limit yourself to men in your age group or older. In this day and age, women in their late thirties and forties are mostly fit and tend to take very good care of themselves. You can date anyone you want as long as you find them fun and interesting.
Newly divorced men can be trouble and come with baggage. They may be jaded and have a lot of complications both financial and practical. When there are children involved a divorce is costly and takes a lot of time. Time that you could be enjoying yourself with someone who is only thinking of you instead of his next court date or custody arrangements. Think twice about taking on this sort of burden.
Use your friends to help you meet eligible guys. Most of your married friends will be delighted to help you and their single male friends. We all have a bit of a matchmaker in us. Don’t be embarrassed to ask.

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