I'm happy with my new boyfriend, but my ex keeps telling me he wants me back.
Q: I'm happy with my new boyfriend, but my ex keeps telling me he wants me back. I've told him we can be friends, but I'm sick of him and his mum - who's friendly with my mum - trying to get us back together. How can I sort this out? Alexa, by email
TOXIC: Wow, you must be some catch - are you free next week? Sorry, I digress. The first thing that's clear here is being 'friends' is not an option. Maybe if you end up in the same nursing home you can slurp liver and onions and laugh about "the good old days", but right now, befriending him is impossible. The second thing that's obvious is that you need to send your message via an influential intermediary - namely his mother. Get your mum to ask her round, then turn up and explain that while you're flattered by her son's interest, hooking up again with her pride and joy just isn't going to happen. If that doesn't work, two words: restraining order.
TANTRIC: Does this guy's family really have nothing better to do than obsess over your life? Or does some part of you secretly want to stay in contact with your ex? It's a bit late to realise that the grass isn't greener. Exes have terrible timing: they tend to show up right after you've moved on. He may only want you back now he's realised you're with someone else. If you are happy in your new relationship, don't let him wreck it. These people aren't your in-laws, or even your ex in-laws. You owe them nothing, so delete them from your phone and your life. And tell your mum that you don't want to hear your ex's name again.
Q: I've been seeing my man for a month and I like him a lot, but he has no dress sense - he lives in holey T-shirts and scruffy jeans. How can I get him to change? Jo, by email
TOXIC: A month in and you're dictating his dress sense? Attempting to create an alternative 'look' for your man after four weeks will see you (rightly) branded as a boyfriend-moulding psycho. Which means... set fire to his wardrobe! I jest. You need to take him somewhere with a dress code and see if the rejection embarrasses him into upgrading. Failing that, you're either going to have to embrace the holes in his clothes or create one in your life and let him go.
TANTRIC: The key to changing a man's style is to make him think the whole thing is his idea. If you nag, you'll sound like his mum, making him rebel even more. So when it's time to 'replace' a worn shirt, gently steer him into a shop with attractive sales assistants. With hot girls telling him how the blue "really brings out his eyes" - and once he realises good clothes get him more female attention - he'll have a new wardrobe in no time.
THE TOXIC TRUTH: CLEANING
The Toxic Bachelor takes you on a journey into men's minds. But be warned, it ain't pretty...
While a man will sleep with you if your room's dirty, he'll be thinking: "Skanky - never again". Hypocritical, of course, since our idea of domestic bliss is having a number two with the door open. To us, houses are just a set of paths to objects we need. While Kirstie and Phil might describe a house as having a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom, men would describe it as having a bed, sofa, TV, fridge and toilet. As a result we take Flash Wipes to the bits we use, and let vermin wage civil war in the rest. An attitude that we will only change if a) you embarrass us by starting to clean up, or b) we buy a house, which is when we shift to treating the place like a cherished child and discover the merits of elbow grease and a bottle of bleach.
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