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Ask the sexpert: commitment-phobic boyfriend
I've been with my boyfriend for five years and we've been living together for two years now. We've talked about marriage and having children and my boyfriend has always said he wants that and that I'm the one for him. But recently family and friends keep asking when we're going to get engaged and each time they do he backs out of the room or just walks away.
I've asked him if that means he doesn't want to get married but he says he does he'll just do it in his own time. But to be honest it's quite embarrassing when he does that in front of people as it makes it look like he doesn't.
What can I say to him to sort this out? Or am I fighting a losing battle and need to be honest with myself that he's afraid of getting married?
Siski says: I can't say for sure whether your boyfriend actually does want to ask you or not, but what I can tell you is that when a person feels pressured into something it can take all the joy out of it. Imagine that you've come up with a great birthday present for your boyfriend - a new phone that you know he's had his eye on, say - and he keeps dropping these gigantic hints that he'd really like a new phone. His friends and family members also drop huge hints to you. Can you see how that would take the fun and joy out of getting him that phone? It feels as though the present has become something you've been told to get him, or even been pushed into, whereas before it felt like a wonderful act of giving.
So I would get everyone to back off completely and do the same yourself. You use the phrase 'fighting a losing battle' as though marriage is something you're trying to win from him, and that it's against his will. Is that how you feel? It sounds as though he hasn't said he's against marriage or even against marrying you, so it may just be that he doesn't like being pushed into something.
If he wants to ask you, he will, in his own time, in his own way - but he needs to feel he's doing it because he wants to, not because everyone expects it.
If you have a sex or relationship dilemma, email your questions to Siski at firstname.lastname@example.org.