Q. After being single for several years, I’m in a new relationship with a girl but am already making all the sacrifices. How can I make it work on my terms?

Ruby says: Negotiating the early stages of a relationship is like brokering a ceasefire in a civil war. You either learn to compromise or you don’t. When you argue – like when rogue militia conduct dawn raids on your supply depots – that either prompts a full-blown conflagration, or you learn to live with it.

If you make too many concessions, though, you will be enslaved. And that’s bad.

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote that “all warfare is based on deception”. Accordingly, you should project an appetite for confrontation and the sense that you have nothing to lose – the sense that, should the relationship end, you won’t lose any sleep.

If her insurgency continues, though, you should consider the ‘nuclear option’, which entails sleeping with one of her friends.

Dear Reuben

Reuben says: You spent so long trying to find a girl that you’re now bending over backwards to keep her happy. Ask yourself, how far are you prepared to go?

Consider the parable of the male anglerfish, which inhabits the deepest reaches of the planet’s oceans.

He spends his entire life looking for a mate and, when he finds one, he bites into her and releases an enzyme that causes their skin and blood vessels to fuse. The male then slowly wastes away, all of his organs eroding until only his testicles remain, which release sperm whenever the female releases an egg.

In your desperation to find a woman, you risk becoming like the male anglerfish, stripped back until nothing remains but your pathetic gonads. The poor anglerfish cannot help his fate, cannot escape his nature. You, on the other hand, have a choice.

» Got a sex or relationship worry? Email dearreuben@tntmagazine.com