If you're just as meddling as we are, and you want to have a go at answering some problems, we have tons of them for you over here.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Sadly this blog is now defunct.

If your problem was not answered, please feel free to email me (see profile) privately.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Sorry, but due to a lack of resources we're not accepting any new problems at the moment.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Should I Become a Bisexual?

Today's answer comes from Clare.

A Problem:

well, first of all thank you. I promise to try and do something nice for someone I know, or randomly, in return.

I've only ever dated women but in the past year I've drunkenly kissed (my first ever) 3 men and I'm a bit confused. I half want to explore my sexuality but worried that I'll close the door permenantly on a wife n kids if I do - it's not something I really want to hide from any future partners.

There's a Queer social group in the town where I live - but I'm half tempted to only focus on my bisexual attraction to women and pretend I'm straight.

Coming out as bisexual feels much more daunting somehow than if I were gay.

I'm single at the moment - but ready for a romantic monogomous relationship - can half imagine this being with a man though.

An Answer:
Well, speaking as a fellow bisexual...

Sometimes we are viewed with suspicion bordering on jealousy because of our ability to pick and choose. I remember a certain amount of resentment in the separatist Gay Militant days of the mid 80s, because bisexuals had the ability to opt out of homophobia, by focusing on our heterosexual urges.

They were right. We can. You can ignore your attraction to men, and never have to face any prejudice or awkwardness.

But hell, what a boring (and oppressive) route to plump for!

And yeah, say the love of your life turns out, at some point in the future, to be a woman. Do you really want that woman to be the kind of person who will allow her relationship with you to be spoiled by homophobia?

You have a whole world of excitement and new experience just sitting there waiting for you. Don't deny yourself. Go for it.

Apart from anything else, maybe that love of your life has a six o'clock stubble or is camp as a row of tent pegs. Maybe those children you dream of will be part of the growing tribe of children adopted by gay men. Who knows? Go on. Shoo. Go find out.

By Clare.

[There may be more answers to this problem here]

Remember, we are NOT qualified to give you advice. But if you have any problems you would like us to solve, post them here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Friend in Need?

Today's answer comes from Linda.

A Problem:

I believe a friend of mine is in a bad relationship. I don't think it is going to go where she wants it -marriage, kids. He is younger, and less mature. Despite the fact that he has met her parents several times and they live in a different state, she still has not met his even though they live in the same city. It is an acceptance problem; he thinks they will have a problem with my friend because she is not from their home country. Yet he insists that 'when the time is right' he will introduce her. This has been going on for years. The parents don't even know they live together.

I could continue on about their problems, but I want to ask about mine. What do I do as a friend? I have tried being supportive about how she feels at the time -happy for her when she is happy, counselling when she is not. But this has been going on for so long.

She recently said she knows she needs to break up with him. I tried to restrain my excitement, saying yes if will be hard but she deserves so much more.
Next time I talked to her she said things were getting better.

Is there anything I can do other than wait?

An Answer:

How lucky your friend is to have you care about her so much. I can understand how exasperating her situation must be for you.

A simple initial reaction from me could be to gently, suggest that your friend's ‘problems’ are just that, i.e. her problems. As such, she’s the only one that can make choices around her life and solve them. But it’s never that simple when people we care about are involved. It's perfectly understandable that you feel uncomfortable witnessing her unhappiness. It’s so difficult to give advice to our loved ones on important life issues isn’t it? And affairs of the heart are a veritable minefield, likely to explode in your face if you tread too harshly. If your relationship with your friend is good, she may accept some feedback if it’s given kindly - particularly if she’s asked for advice. If she hasn’t, I’d tread much more carefully.

You asked what do you do as a friend, and I’m going to keep it very simple. Keep doing what you’ve been doing: Support her to the best of your ability in whatever she decides to do - whether you think that’s right or not. When we care about people, it’s easy to think that we ‘feel for them’. In reality we can only feel our own feelings. We then project what we might feel in that situation onto the other person. If you’re able to separate what you feel from what your friend feels, it might give you greater objectivity - so you feel less embroiled in it all. This will help you be supportive without having the emotional turmoil yourself.

Is there anything else you can do but wait, you asked? Well, yes, you could focus more on you for a while, so that when your friend does need you, you’re not too drained by her needs to be able to support her.

Good luck.

By Linda.

[There may be more answers to this problem here]

Remember, we are NOT qualified to give you advice. But if you have any problems you would like us to solve, post them here.

I Need Freedom at Work

Today's answer comes from Joe.

A Problem:

Bit of a thorny one, this. I like to think of myself as someone who loves and needs freedom, probably because I have an all too precarious sense of my own independence. So perhaps no big surprise that I've chosen to work in a very heirarchichal corporation that, whilst on the one hand expects its staff to be creative and productive, also at some level requires a high degree of unquestioning compliance with (what I experience as) its byzantine and quite disciplinarian attitudes. I struggle to bridge both aspects.

You won't be surprised to hear that this has led me into some considerable conflict with my (female) line mgmt. I should add that I'm a bloke.

The conflict has recently led to me being disciplined by my mgmt, tho' some of the allegations my mgr made against me have been disproven, and indeed led to her own deputy being disciplined herself. In other words, very conflictual, very nasty, very difficult to move on from and to rebuild trusting, respectful relationships. But make no mistake, I want and need to get out of this hole. I also want to keep my job, because there's a great deal that I enjoy about it.

I'm not saying I'm an innocent party in all this, however I'm certainly not the only cause of the problems.

How do you recommend I try and move forward from here?

An Answer:

Most companies I have worked for are like this. When I first started to work for firms with restrictive attitudes I tried to fight back, but found that there was no sympathy or support from other employees, including other new ones. The first time I ended up quitting and going to a different job, but found that my new place of employment was basically no different than my old one. Many companies later I find that to be true of most organizations. For some reason new people do not change corporate attitudes, but are themselves changed to support them.

I don’t know what type of work that you do, but I am sorry to say that you will also probably have to adapt or find a company that is more progressive. Try to ignore what happened in the past and follow the rules now and in the future. If it comes to the point that you cannot handle the corporate culture then it would be best to be silent and find another job, rather than speaking up or acting ‘incorrectly’ and getting the sack. Unless you were really vocal and created too strong an impression with management then this conflict will be soon forgotten, as long as it does not establish a pattern of conflict. Your past transgressions will be forgotten as long as you ‘toe the line’, realize you will be beaten down, and change to be like everybody else.

By Joe.

[There may be more answers to this problem here]

Remember, we are NOT qualified to give you advice. But if you have any problems you would like us to solve, post them here.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I Gave Up Cannabis

Today's answer comes from Linda.

A Problem:

This new year I gave up cannabis. I had a pretty heavyweight habit which grew over a period of 16 years into a 2g a day addiction. My partner and I want to have a baby and had heard that cannabis can effect sperm motility. Also recently I would have coughing fits when smoking my bong. The combination of these two points is what has motivated me to quit. But the truth is I love cannabis and don't want to give it up. I have suffered from reactive depression in the past, often brought on by anxiety. I believe that cannabis has been really helpful as a stress management tool. I have been going through the usual symptoms of withdrawal, sweats at night, short and fitful sleep, overtiredness, clammy hands and feet, being easily wound up by nothing much at all, loss of appetite. These are hard enough to deal with. But I'm also worried that if I stop smoking cannabis, I will start worrying and stressing. I know this could well end up being a self fulfilling prophesy. My freinds all give me rational advice in support. But when I'm feeling like this I don't care about the rationale of giving up which I am all too familier with. I just want to feel relaxed and comfortable. I want a space in my day when I can unwind and switch off like I could with cannabis. I could so easily pick up the phone and go get another oz of the smelly stuff. I don't really know what my question is but I am finding this all sooo hard.

[There is more on this problem here, where the correspondent has added some up to date info]

An Answer:

It seems as though there’s a lot going on in your headspace!

I’m sorry to hear that you’re still experiencing uncomfortable moods, but it is early days in your journey - consider how long you were using. But given your struggles, well done for the abstinence which you’ve said is your goal, and for being positive enough to notice that the withdrawals have improved.

The issues you’ve described, i.e. past and present anxiety/anger stuff makes me wonder if there’s something going on at a deeper level. I don’t want to get too Freudian on you because we’ve all got our deeper level stuff. However, if you addressed this I think it could make a difference in your life.

After a period of abstinence from a heavy habit of any substance, it is normal for prior feelings and states to return. I wonder though, what’s at the heart of your feelings? Gaining some insight into this and exploring ways to manage your current thinking, feelings and behaviour could be very helpful. Maybe you always had tendencies towards anxiety and short-temperedness throughout childhood, or maybe they were reactive feelings. Either way, if you weren’t supported in managing them it’s understandable that you eventually looked for ways to suppress them (with cannabis in this case). Also, lack of understanding from significant others might have led you to the view you’ve expressed here of wishing to be different, i.e. ‘laid back’. I’d gently suggest that it’s important to accept yourself, as you are, the whole package. Imperfections (as you see them) and all!

Your mention of self-fulfilling prophecy shows insight. Indeed if you look forward to a life of worry and misery it is much more likely to be what you get. If on the other hand, you choose to think you will get better and your life will improve then there’s a really good chance it will. Put another way - you don’t say how you’ve achieved your period of abstinence but I’d suggest you notice what works and do more of that. It’s important to view your goals with positive self-talk i.e. don’t say, ‘I’m giving up cannabis.’ Say ‘Instead of using cannabis, I will….’ It’s important that you do something instead, or you may feel a void or sense of loss.

There are techniques you could use for anger/stress management. They won’t necessarily offer the fast fix you get from cannabis but with practice they will work and be long lasting. The bottom line is: If you can reduce your feelings of anger and anxiety, or manage them better, or both - you may not want cannabis.

I’m not qualified to comment on cannabis’ effects on sperm motility, but as I’m sure you know, there’s plenty of info on the net if you want to do your own research and become better informed.

I’ve also got these suggestions:

1 It’s worth being on that waiting list for counselling. Some brilliant counselling work can happen six months down the line, when you feel like you’re in a good space and don’t need it!
2 Browse the self-help section of your local bookshop, where you’ll find amongst the rubbish, lots of good books on relaxation. Also hypnotherapy CDs on anxiety and stress management.
3 Try auricular acupuncture to help with anxiety.
4 Try meditation, if you are a novice start with 10-15 minute sessions. Again there are some good resources, which may help with this.

Good luck, you’ve taken on a tough challenge and I sense you have the strength to cope and don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for your successes!

By Linda.

(Linda works as a 'drug and alcohol practitioner' for people who have problems with various forms of addiction)

[There may be more answers to this problem here]

Remember, we are NOT qualified to give you advice. But if you have any problems you would like us to solve, post them here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Broke His Heart

Today's answer comes from Linda.

A Problem:

I was with someone for nearly a decade. I don't doubt that I was deeply in love with him, though the last few years were more like living in stasis as flatmates. I left him recently, and it broke his heart.
I am having two problems.
firstly, I'm finding it hard to deal with the guilt of it all. I did love him, I tried to do all the right things, but I still left him in the lurch. I can't understand quite why, even now. There are just so many things that were just fine. But I still ran off.

Secondly, even though I was in love with my partner, I spent an awful lot of the time with huge crushes on other men. I don't just mean "ooh he's tasty", I mean serious crying at night, and desperately throwing myself at other men. Luckily, none of them ever threw back, until right at the end. These crushes lasted for months on end, and in one case, about two and a half years, a situation that was only relieved when the crushee left the country.
Is this normal? Will I keep doing it? It scares me. Was it a sign that things were wrong all along?
I'm now with someone I (again) love very much but I'm terrified of this happening again.
sorry for rambling, I hope you can help, or at least offer your wordly wisdom.

An Answer:

Your dilemma has really touched me, because I think you're being awfully hard on yourself. You're very critical and expressing guilt, yet you've maintained a ten year relationship (not easy) during which you tried your best to make things work. You then had the courage to walk away, which is very hard when you still love someone, and know it will hurt you both. But isn't that braver and fairer in the long term?

I'm wondering if your 'crushes' on other people in the later years were indeed (as you have suggested) a sign that there were problems in the relationship.  Sometimes we hope things will resolve themselves wihout us having to act, and sometimes we
try to sabotage them indirectly.  Were you perhaps doing that?

We humans are allowed to make mistakes, but it seems you are reflecting rather harshly on yours. As to whether this will happen again, there's no 'Mystic Meg' method of divining this. Thank God, because it means we can be agents of our own destinies. I can only suggest that you try to accept what you feel are your past mistakes, show yourself more kindness and let the past go.  Where's the evidence that this will happen again? It's a completely different relationship, and will have a different dynamic. 

If you are unhappy with recurring patterns in your behaviour, you might want to seek counselling. But sometimes 'repetition is the staple of life'. That is we sometimes repeat mistakes as if to practice, before changing. We learn something new each time, whilst developing and growing.

Finally, beware self-fulfilling prophecies. Worry about a relationship going wrong can lead to anxiety, and then behaviour which causes just that to happen. Have some faith in yourself and your partner, keep the relationship in the 'here and now' and enjoy the wonderful experience as it's happening.

Good luck.

By Linda.

[There may be more answers to this problem here]

Remember, we are NOT qualified to give you advice. But if you have any problems you would like us to solve, post them here.