Thursday, April 17, 2008

Q & A: "How can I tell my current boyfriend that his female friend is using him for money?"

Name: Sherrie
Question: How can I tell my current boyfriend that his female friend is using him for money without seeming jealous?

Hi Sherrie,

Explain it to him that you're bringing this up because you care for him and not because it's HER, so to speak. Lay down the facts and show him the evidence to his face. Also see if you can solicit a third party (Another friend, family member, etc.) to also chime in on the situation so he doesn't think it's just your "jealous" opinion. Also, offer resolutions that he can enact to solve his own problem instead of just telling him to cut her from his life. If he feels that it's his decision, then he won't blame you later for ruining a friendship...Hope this helps, and best of luck to you! Have a safe holiday season...

Q & A: "he believes the wife should stay home"

Name: Mireya
Question: hi I have been married for 8 years 6 years ago my husband confess to me that he had sex with his sister since then our lives have been different I just wish he had never told me now I don't trust him at all when they are both together I feel like they are in love with each other. She always gets all nervous when he is with her what do you think I should do because it is really driving me crazy I jus don't know what to do.

Hi Mireya,

Hmmm...Sounds like you and he need to get into some Marriage counseling, and that he and his sister need to get into some therapy, and you to individual therapy as well...Everyone involves needs some professional intervention pronto. Incest is so damaging on so many levels...It's hard to know exactly what the circumstances are or how long this abuse went on for, but it is clearly something you need to work out as this will not go away. It's already been 6 years, and it sounds as if you've never really gotten over the initial shock of it all...How long can you continue to wait for before getting some resolution to this? Go into counseling and see if you can salvage your marriage somehow. You haven't mentioned your relationship with him so I'm guessing your marriage is somewhat fine (If this was never an issue), it's just that you can't get over this revelation (not that it would be easy to). Go and talk it out...try to come to some understanding about the reasons and have he and his sister put to rest their past as well...It can be a very long road before you achieve any resolution on's up to you to see how long you're willing to stay on the ride. You've lasted 6 years already without really making any moves for improvement, so perhaps you can last the time it will take to make things better...But you can't do it yourself or without any action...This is not the kind of family history you can just write off...Good luck to you on this, I hope this helps, and take care.

Name: Tara
Question: I am barely 18 and I'm in love. Unfortunately, he has a girlfriend (I'll call her Karen for simplicity purposes) and one year old baby. We were lovers for a little while before I knew he had a girlfriend but now we're very close friends. The problem is the only reason he is staying with Karen is because her parents threatened that he'd never see his daughter if he broke up with Karen. He loves his baby so much that he puts up with her screaming and jealousy and controlling nature as well as her physical abuse because his daughter is the most important thing in his life. The fact is, he's miserable. He's so young (19) and doesn't want to settle down with her. He can't stand Karen and longs to be independent enough so he wouldn't have to live with her, but he has no education, no car, and no place of his own. I love his baby so much and I know I could take responsibility for her if I had to. I'm afraid to tell him that I am in love with him because his life is complicated enough, and I don't want to make things worse. I love him so much and I'm pretty sure that if he managed to break up with Karen he would be with me. Well, my question is, should I confess that I'm in love with him? And is there anything I can do to help him leave Karen without him giving up his child?

Hi Tara,

Thanks for writing...Some pretty interesting options you've pointed out for yourself in the end...How about this for an option? How about the possibility of being with someone who loves You for You, isn't living with a current girlfriend, hasn't already cheated on you, doesn't have any children who are suffering in an unhealthy living environment, and who can actually contribute to your relationship without being a charity case? Who coulda thunk?

First things first - He CHEATED you...Whatever situation he's in, however bad it is, it is no excuse for him to allow you to form feelings for him, and then for him to later finally come clean about his real situation. Not only did he cheat On you (with an already established girlfriend, so he really cheated on Her - you come in second place), but he also cheated you out of the opportunity to make an informed decision about your relationship with him because of his blatant and outright LIES. I don't care how bad his situation seemingly is...He unfairly suckered you into it and his little web of deceit...If he cared about you a Little, he wouldn't do that to you.

Don't you DARE tell him that you love him as he doesn't even come close to deserving it. It's wonderful you feel so much empathy for him...However, you have not make any drastic mistakes in your life (as he has) where you have to lie and connive to while away the time and keep you from boredom...He is LIVING with his GIRLFRIEND. He might say whatever, but if it is as bad as he says, and if he is even half a man, he'd take care of that situation first before getting someone completely innocent (like yourself) involved. You might feel that you love him, but he certainly does Not love you. He's Using you in the most base sense of the word.

Remember, he's been lying to you from day one, so really take a look at things. You think that the parents are FORCING him to stay with "Karen"? Let's see...He has no education, job, car, income, or place to live (which all equals up to Freeloader in most Parents' eyes), yet they threaten him that he has to stay there? Ummmm....sure. And he's contributing........? NOTHING. I can almost guarantee you that the parents are not forcing him to do anything, other than to finally take on some responsibility in his life, which he does not seem to want to do - He'd rather find other people to sleep with and spend time away from the girl he impregnated and his child. Now for Karen...He wants to be independent from her because she's controlling (he has no job, is living for free off of her/her family's generosity, not bringing in any income or value to the relationship - So what is she doing, asking him to help out around the house? And that's controlling?), she's jealous (he's cheated on her with You, and who knows who else, so she obviously is spot on with that mentality), and she yells at him a lot (this I can believe because this guy is such a loser I'd have laryngitis by now)... OPEN YOUR EYES, Tara!!!!!

If this guy had one iota of decency, he'd do whatever he can to: 1) provide for his child in any way possible, 2) leave you alone as it is not only unfair to you and your future, but it is completely unfair to the woman of his child, 3) try to make the home life as happy and stable as possible for his child, and 4) if he really chose to be apart from Karen, then he would focus on doing whatever he could to get himself out of there and still maintain a healthy relationship with the Mother (if possible) and the child.

Tara, lace up your track shoes and Run, Run, Run...You are getting sucked into a no-win situation. I bet you that if you asked Karen how things were, she would think everything was good between she and this jerk. I'm sure she has no idea that he's been cheating on her, and if she did, then I'd hope she'd have enough self-respect and care for her child to kick his no-good, leaching butt right out the door. Cut your losses and get away from this fake drama. You deserve to be completely happy with someone who can contribute to your mutual relationship on many levels...Someone who is completely free and clear to make the choice to love you for you, and for you to be free to make that similar choice. I know it's hard to see when you're so close to it, but this guy has lied to you from day one. I wouldn't be surprised if everything is happy at his home and he's merely cheating on Karen...He probably doesn't want to give you up because he sees what a great person you are...But that's too bad. He made his commitments, and now he has to live with them.

Please Tara, leave this jerk and move on...Cut him off completely. It might be hard to see now, but in the future, you'll be SO much happier that you did. Concentrate on YOU and realize all the potential you have within you...and then Work towards it and let NO ONE deter you from it. Once you are on the right path, you will only be willing to share your valuable time with people who will contribute to your life, not unfairly leach away from it. Your future and your future happiness is all that matters, so take it very seriously. I hope this helps, keep in touch, and please take care of yourself...Have a great and safe holiday season!

Name: Faith
City: Lake Charles
Question: Me and My husband began having problems about 9 months ago. We married march 2000 and are from completely different worlds, mine being liberal and not too religious. He was home-schooled and strict Baptist. He did not want me to do any social drinking at all.( probably no more than 2x a month and only 1-3 drinks). I knew he didn't want me to, so I stopped. However, I began to completely change my lifestyle to suit him. I never went out with any of my friends, I couldn't do anything but cook and clean without him pouting or getting upset. and Definitely no drinking at all. I got tired of this lifestyle really fast. I love him so much but I can even have a job because he believes the wife should stay home. I just cant live that way. he doesn't like me (he said that). And he cant accept me going out or drinking. I gave him more than three months to at least try to compromise with me and when he didn't I left. For those 3 months he was so mean, and was very emotionally abusive. Its been 4 months and I have been going out with someone else. He says if he sees us together he will kill him. we are still married because we did something called a covenant marriage where its really hard to get out of. I still love him so much but I gave up so much to be with him and he still wont compromise, yet he says I am the one who is throwing away our marriage. What do you think about the whole thing?

Hi Faith,

Two Words - Marriage Counseling. This guy comes from sounds like a pretty severe fundamentalist background and he needs to open his eyes to what the 21st century is all about. It's not entirely his fault because since he was home schooled, he might not have as much opportunity of broad-based social interaction as others...But he has to come to the table. Your battle is a long one because he doesn't see the marriage as a partnership. He sees the wife as property more than anything else, and for him to realize the real essence and joy of Faith, it will take some serious intervention. Good luck with this one...It might be a long road, but I will say that I hope he sees how lucky he is that you want to work through this with him. Let's hope that he realizes that and is willing to give up his skewed views in order to make this last...Take care, and happy holidays!

Q & A: "she woke up one morning and found her Mom having sex with my ex-boyfriend"

Name: Leanne
Country: England
Question: Hi I am a girl who is in her 20's I have been in an abusive relationship before, I met my current boyfriend nearly one year ago he has a lovely daughter who I love very much, the problems is that I have my own house and my boyfriend stays here a lot and I found some love letters, valentine cards etc. from his x, I don't know how old they are do I confront him about them? or do you think he still loves her please answer this please.

Hi Leanne,

Greeting to the UK! I'm interested to hear how you feel about you current boyfriend as a mate. You mention his daughter, your old relationship, but nothing that gives any perspective to your relationship with him. I get the feeling you're very cautious where he's concerned, and that these letters are not helping things. I'd say to definitely bring them up to him and allow him to explain them. Don't jump to conclusions just yet, as they might be a simple oversight (He brought over some things that had old letters in them from a past relationship - He doesn't care about her anymore, but didn't realize he still had those letters in that old bag, etc.)...I can't imagine that he would try to hide a current affair or love interest and keep the evidence at Your house where he doesn't even live.

You obviously care for his daughter, and that's got to mean something to him...I can't say if he still loves her or not, but I'm thinking that the odds are in your favor that he doesn't...Bring them up to him casually and gauge his reaction. I'm pretty certain they were an oversight and he'll think nothing of them...However, if he creates a big stink about them or seems to cherish them and won't let them go, then that's something to consider...Write me back if that happens and we'll tackle that situation if it comes up...Otherwise, thanks for visiting the site, please spread the word about it, keep in touch, and have a very Safe and Happy holiday season!

Name: Amna
City: Karachi (Pakistan)
Question: do u think that any such thing as ''momentarily attraction'' exists? my best friend's boyfriend is attracted to me but only in my presence...we r in a same college and we've been friends from the start...the reason why he gets attracted to me is that we both have same interests and hobbies...but there is no friends gets really jealous...what should I do?

Hello Amna,

Greetings to Pakistan! It's hard to say what's going on in this situation...You mentioned that he's attracted to you in your presence, but it seems that you two only seem to connect over common interests, which is very innocent. You've already stated that there is no chemistry, and if there's none of that, then I think there's really nothing to worry about in this whole scenario. Tell your friend to stop being jealous and be happy that you can relate to her partner on a friendship level...If she's jealous of the interests that you two share, there's nothing stopping her from learning more and participating more in the common interests as well...Then she'll really have nothing to be jealous of and can be happy that her best friend, her boyfriend, and she all gets along so famously. Hope this helps, and take care...

Name: Casie
City: Murfreesboro
Question: This is going to sound like a total Jerry Springer episode but it really happened. I went out with this guy for six months. I fell deeply in love with him. He is 22 and I am 17. Well, we broke up promising each other that we would still get back together because we truly loved each other. Well, at my thanksgiving dinner today with my family he came and he also brought is new 39 year old g/f with him. He was invited because he is a friend of the family. Well, his g/f brought her daughter with her also (which she is my age!). I knew her daughter because we had met a few years ago and had been really good friends. Her name is Krystal. Well, I found out today that this guy that I supposedly was supposed to marry is a loser. While I was with him he was sleeping with Krystal. They were sleeping together for about a month and she woke up one morning and found her Mom having sex with my ex-boyfriend. I have no clue what to do. I really need advice! Please help!

Hi Casie,

Wow...Yes, you definitely have tickets to Springer. Time for you to simply let go...Completely forget about this guy. Let your family know what's going on with him (you might want to leave out the sleeping together part since you're so much younger than him and in some states it could be illegal, not to mention just morally wrong) and they'll take your side as well. First off, he cheated on you, so he's gone - done, finito, bye-bye...Now, Krystal and her Mom need their heads examined, and I mean that literally - Especially for the Mom. It's one thing for a woman to have a fling with someone much younger (as long as no one gets hurt, there's nothing wrong with it as long as everyone's an adult), it's quite another to make moves on your daughter's boyfriend (or even allow him to make moves on her)...And it's Quite another to continue the relationship in full view and defiance of her daughter's feelings...That's just about the coldest thing I've ever heard of...Distance yourself away from all these people...What a complete waste of your time. Concentrate on yourself and making you the best person you can be...Get focused on your future, because if you don't, no one else will (that's one of Life's little unmentioned promises). One day you can be sure that you will fall in love with someone who doesn't use their age as an advantage (someone more in your age group) and also won't sleep with your friends and their families. I'm glad you see that this is so far gone it's almost laughable enough to be a trashy television show...I'm just sorry that you were involved. It's time to cut your losses and move on...Hope this helps, and hope the rest of your Holidays are MUCH happier...Take care.

Q & A: "I am in the military and she is an exotic dancer"

Name: Sen
Question: I am a student , 23 years old. My problem is that so long I have lived like a loner, which is what everyone thinks about me. Now I want to change: I realize I won't be able to live that way. But I am not able to do it i.e., to change myself, to become more social, share with everybody and take part in social life. Please advise me how to proceed. Thanks for providing help online.

Hi Sen,

Thanks for writing...I guess the best way is to start small. Start building relationships with those that you spend the most time with...if you live in a dorm, then really take advantage of the setting and start to hang out with some of the people who you deem receptive. It's all very casual...You don't need to feel uptight about it. If you don't live in a dorm, then I am sure your school has clubs that meet often and might have shared interests that you can contribute to. All you need is a connection, whether it be through shared experience or common interest, to start some kind of friendship. Just be loose, be yourself, and don't worry what other think of you. Once you start opening up a bit, you'll feel a lot more comfortable with it...It's all about building trust with certain individuals and them doing the same with you. Open up a little, and listen to them when they reciprocate...You'll have fast friends in no time. Just don't put too much pressure on yourself and everything will work out fine...Hope this helps, and have a Safe and Happy Holiday season!

Name: Kayla
Question: I was just told by my X boyfriend that I'm bad at kissing. What can I do to improve my kissing skills?

Hi Kayla,

Thanks for writing...Improving any skill takes practice and open communication with your partners. This does not mean to open a kissing booth or just go kiss-crazy on the general population. When you find yourself in a relationship with a suitable partner, be open and honest about it and keep trying...Just remember everyone likes different things. One partner might like a kissing style that is wholly different from what another likes. You must simply be happy and comfortable with your own style, and if you really like the way one person kisses over another, then try to keep that in mind for the future. But again, everyone likes different things...Just take your time and talk to your partner about it if it really bothers you - I'm sure he'll be willing to help you practice.

LAST NOTE - Your Ex-boyfriend is REALLY NOT the best place to heed advice from when it comes to personal issues...It Just Might come across a little skewed. Keep in mind the source of your information and take it with a grain of
salt...Anyway, hope this helps, and best of luck to you...Have a great Holiday season!

Name: Will
Question: Well here is my question. I am a little confused about a relationship of sorts that I am in now. The girl I met is 22 and I'm 24. I am in the military and she is an exotic dancer. hen everything first started we just sat and talked, and had really good conversations. I mean I like her a lot and would really like to be her significant other. She has had a really bad experience just recently and one night I spent at her house we didn't "go all the way" but there was a sexual encounter. The next day she told me that she really liked what happened but just wanted to be friends. So as of right now I have spent the night with her a couple times and did nothing, as well as hanging out together. Now she has told me many times that she really cares about me and knows my exact work schedule without me even telling her. When I get stuck out of town because my job entails me to do that sometimes she gets upset. Whenever she goes out she always calls me to go with. I really like her and I don't want to ruin this by making the wrong move. She says she wants to be friends but I feel there is more to it. I have asked her about it and she continues to say just friends. She's told me that I was a unique person and I know things that she hasn't told other people just as she knows things about me I haven't told anyone. So to sum it up my question is am I reading too deeply into this or is there really a chance for a relationship? Please help cause I'm really confused, Thanks

Hi Will,

Thanks for writing...Interesting situation. Take into consideration her situation on things (which it seems like you do) and look at things from her perspective. First of all, she's an Exotic Dancer. There's nothing wrong with that, but I am sure that with her being leered at everyday from men (single, married, whatever) and knowing how simple it is to effect them with a look, move, or whatever, her view of men might be a little skewed. She probably looks at the general male population as a bunch of hormone-indulged lemmings who will throw money away for little return...She also has probably seem some instances where the general ideology of Trust and Men has been pretty shattered. She's seen men actively offer to cheat on their wives/girlfriends, spend more time at the bar than at home, waste money that they really can't afford, come off as desperate and a little sad, and the list goes on and on...Imagine if you worked in such a setting - I am sure your view of the opposite sex and relationships would be scarred and cynical. Also, you've alluded to the fact that she had a really bad relationship as well, so that just pushes her even farther away from the commitment table...

So in walks Will...Now I am taking it for granted that she met you where she works. If that's the case, you were probably simply one of the everyday, leering crowd. But you've differentiated yourself from the others, and now I'm sure she's confused about it all. Listen, she will have a lot more trust issues to deal with than the average woman because her entire career as a dancer she's been bombarded with the reality of what's in front of her. I am sure she's met some very nice people at her work, but I am sure she wouldn't think of dating them...Also, I hear that some clubs really discourage any kind of relationships with customers because it could be seen as something less than savory...So as far as building trust, you (and truly any other guy) are really behind the 8-ball.

That being said, it sounds like you are making some progress and are really interested in her as a person, which is important (I can almost guarantee you that any other males at her job really don't care to find out what she's all about). Be patient...You've got to realize that it will take her a lot longer to get to the same focus and trust level that you would like to be at. I think there is a chance for a relationship, but it will be a long and potentially difficult road. One thing that might help her is to leave that environment altogether so she can see a more universal view of people...Right now, she's only being presented with a very defined view of what people are all about.

I think you're doing fine...Just keep it up and be persistent without pushing too much. She will soon realize that you care for her more than simply as an object to gawk at or a trophy to own...And that she might have a true future with you. Just be understanding of her situation and help her see things the way they really are where you are concerned. This will take time, but I think it's not a lost cause...Good luck, hope this helped, and have a very Safe and Happy Holidays to you.

PS - Thanks for keeping our country safe...You and your brothers and sisters at arms have the debt, gratitude, prayers, and best wishes of an entire nation...Don't forget that...Good luck and God Bless...

Q & A: "don't know how to tell my Mom I am bisexual"

Name: Beverly
City: Glendale
Question: I feel alone and lost. Last June I lost my husband of 37yrs. Since his death I have tried to meet other people of my age, one reason is because I am not a very outgoing person. I'm 56 yrs old and I am looking for someone to just be a friend. Just someone to talk to and maybe go out with. Not a romance. I've tried to find out if there is a widow's club here in AZ, but can't seem to find one. I go to church every Sat or Sun. I have gone to grief sessions but I just can't seem to move on. I just don't know where to start. I work and I have friends at work but I still don't feel like I have a life of my own. I married my husband when I was 17 and he was 20. He was my whole life. If I could just meet or talk to someone who has been through the same as me.

Hi Beverly,

I am so sorry for your loss. Thankfully, there are a lot of outlets that might be of benefit to you, and it looks like you've already taken advantage of two of them. Church is a great place to meet someone, and there might be times when the church will sponsor a singles get-together for their congregation. You might also want to look around to see if there are some religious-sponsored single get-togethers that are not sponsored by a particular church. You should be able to find this via the newspaper or even through general advertising at church. The grief group is another way to gel with people who are in the same life situations as yourself. I've also heard of clubs sponsored by hospitals and community centers that are focused on getting widowed people out with others who have lost. Volunteering is another great way to get out of the house and meet interesting people. There's a gazillion clubs/chat rooms on the internet, but the only issues I have with them is that sometimes you have to be extremely careful who whom you meet/share personal information with on the internet (there's a lot of wonderful people out there, but as in real life, there are some whom you might meet in cyberspace that has ulterior motives), and also the more time you spend on the internet is more time you're spent cooped up in the house. Look into doing some volunteer work if you have the time, or at least joining some community clubs that share your same interests. Just getting out and getting on with your life will bring you more exposure as well as more self-confidence. It won't replace your loss, but it will make it more bearable through these difficult times...I hope this helps, and best of luck to you...

Name: Jaime
Question: Well I use to like this guy Joe. Recently he was put in jail for 1-3 years. I started talking to his brother Jason. Now I like Jason and he likes me. I don't know what to do. Because their brothers. But then again Joe is in jail for a long time. What should I do?

Hi Jaime,

Thanks for writing...My advice is to drop both of them. Joe is now a felon, and his brother is not showing much loyalty to him (I'm sure the family is so proud of both of them). Stay away from that whole family and concentrate on what is REALLY important in your life - which is getting yourself on the best and right track for your future. Joe and Jason are mere distractions from what you need to accomplish in making you the best Jaime you've ever dreamed of. Keep on doing what is right for YOU and everything else will fall into place...You'll soon be much more confident and realize that you won't have time to waste on people who drag you down or keep you from moving forward. Eventually you'll find someone who really appreciates who You are and not know what the inside of a prison looks like as well. Wouldn't that be great? Anyway, happy holidays to you, and best of luck...

Name: Melissa
City: Keanry
Question: I am a 17yr old woman that is going through this problem: I am bisexual and have had a relationship with a girl before but don't know how to let my Mom know that I go this way cause I'm scared that maybe I will one day turn totally dyke, you know, help me please

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for writing...It's hard for me to really remark on this because I'm not too sure to what extent you're delving into this lifestyle. You say you've had a relationship with a girl, but for how long? Exclusively? There's a lot of questions that I don't know the answers to where you are concerned. All I know is that you very well might be what is considered "Bi", but you also might be simply experimenting as well. I say this because you emote fear of "turning" into a "dyke"...You make it sound like some progressive, uncontrollable disease, when it's not. I think the best thing for you to do is going to see a counselor and getting this all out on the table. I'm not saying you're Not gay, and I'm not saying you are...I think that at 17, most people go through some very complicated, conflicted, and emotionally charged times where it's hard sometimes to see which way is up (or down for that matter). Bisexuality is one of those somewhat gray areas that people have difficulty setting down what are the parameters that qualify such a designation...In other words - who's to say? Go to your counselor...Just because you had a one-night stand or an exploratory tryst with another girl does not necessarily mean you're dedicated to one lifestyle or another...Only YOU can ultimately determine that direction. Talk it through and hopefully you'll feel better about this whole situation soon....I hope this helps, and have a very happy and safe holiday season...

Name: Natalia
Question: I met a guy and we have such a connection it's not even funny and he has to move away for a little while and get his life together and I want to tell him EXACTLY how I feel but I don't know if I should do that or how to, he knows that I care but it seems like I should tell him. I don't know though. He seems to be getting nervous that he is moving and keeps telling me that I will always be in his life. I don't know what to do.

Hi Natalia,

Thanks for writing...If this person actually has to move away to get his life back in order, let him. It's a great litmus test for you as well...If he gets it straightened out and returns, then his mind will hopefully be clear and set and the two of you can continue what you have built thus far. If he doesn't return, then it's all the best as you want to be able to grow with a person instead of your entire relationship being spent on helping him rebuild. Remember - You Both deserve to be's equal. If you tell him how you feel, it might put a little undue stress/weight on him when he needs to be focused...It might make you feel better that you got it off your chest in the short term, but it might do more harm than good in the long run. Let him get his act together and see how it turns out. If he comes back a better man, then it's better for you as well...If he doesn't, then it's still good for you because you can be happy that you are not entrenched in a difficult relationship...It gives you the freedom to be with someone who is well-grounded themselves and has the foundation set to really build a wonderful future with you - together...that's what you ultimately want, anyway. Best of luck to you, please spread the word about the site, and have a very happy and safe holiday season...

Q & A: "she is a bit concerned that I'm aroused watching men"

Name: Mike
Question: been married for 2 years. recently after getting drunk one night we each slept with our best friends in front of each other. After a few weeks went by, my wife told me for almost a year she hasn't been happy and doesn't know if she wants to be married or not, she said she has feelings for my friend but not enough to leave me. she insists that our marriage or what is lacking in it is the problem. she separated from me for a week, and says she needs to figure out if she wants this. again, she insists she loves me and misses me but wants to make the right decision, now I'm waiting on her. I told her cut and dry I would change and could go on without her I made it clear I wanted to work this out, yet she is still unsure. am I a waiting fool or is there more to it? what should I do?

Hi Mike,

RUN, don't walk, to a marriage counselor. While there are people who swear by "open" marriages, I never see them lasting very long. It only leads to confusion and pain, and most times sooner than later. She's confused because I think she sees issues with the partner swapping as just another yet very serious issue aside from the original problems she saw in the marriage. This is not going to be solved quickly...It will take a lot of work to put this back to being somewhat normal, but if you love each other, then both of you have to come to the table and give it your all. There's obviously communication issues that are a cause, as she didn't tell you of her feelings for over a year, and then your recent co-dalliance just exacerbated the situation. This is nothing that she will be able to figure out on her own...This is a major problem in Your marriage so Both of you need to work on it Together... Going to counseling immediately is the first step. Oh - and find other friends as that "history" will now always be an issue in your marriage and the friendships of those you had that "shared" experience with. Hope this helps, and best of luck to you...

Name: Phil
Question: My wife and I have been married about three years. We communicate well and have a strong marriage. Like many other guys, I look at attractive women on TV. and computer. My wife knows that I would never want to cheat on her. She trusts me... Here's the issue: I consider myself to be completely heterosexual. I dated lots of women prior to marriage. I would never want to be with a man. A few years ago, my wife and I started to watch figure skating occasionally. After a while, I gradually became a big fan. I like to watch men's figure skating more than women's. I noticed about a year and a half ago that I would often become aroused when watching men's figure skating. My wife began to notice that I like the men's more than the women's figure skating. She even asked me if it turned me on at all. I was reluctant at first, but I have admitted that it often does turn me on. I am embarrassed to admit that watching men figure skate is arousing to me. I don't get aroused watching other men doing other things. It's pretty much just figure skating. My wife has been very supportive and understanding. Naturally, she is a little bit concerned about the fact that I'm aroused watching men. I would never cheat on my wife with a man or woman. Is this very unusual? Should we be worried? I follow websites that cover men's figure skating. Sometimes I get stimulated looking through these websites. My wife will read this message and any response that you give. Thanks for any suggestions that you can give.

Hi Phil,

Thanks for writing...My first inclination is to guess that there's a lot of latent, historical, deeply underlying/hidden emotions that you are carrying below the surface that is leading to this kind of reaction. Seems to me that there are some issues that are unresolved (or maybe never confronted) that come to the surface during whenever you become immersed with this sport. The best and most helpful place to start is with a counselor/therapist. I don't think that it's an issue that is threatening your marriage as your wife seems to be solidly in your corner. However, this situation might be alarming enough to you to not simply just let it slip away unactioned. I'm pushing for closure on this as there could be a lot more to this than what I can tell, but also it might really be nothing at all...But it bears investigation if you are worried about it. Sorry for being a little brief on it, but I'm thinking that it will take a lot of concentrated digging with a therapist in person to get to the root of the matter. Let me know how you progress on this, and I hope this helps...Best of luck, and Happy Holidays!

Q & A: "I love him, but how much more do I have to give up to be with him?"

Name: Sammie
City: Nutley
Question: Hi - I am so torn right now; I have been in a wonderful relationship for 7 months. The last 4 have been long distance due to jobs etc., Now we are at a point that the traveling is too much and we want to be together everyday. I have already compromised, willingly, to leave my career to start a life where he is (but not before he proposes). My dilemma is this- he loves his outdoor activities and in a conversation he told me that his 2 week vacation is his time...not to be with me etc., He said no matter what, family or not, he is not going to give that up and if I have a problem with that they we have a bigger problem. I can't help but get angry, and I know I sound like a selfish martyr... but come on... when is it my turn not to give in to something? Help... I love him, but this is making me crazy how much more do I have to give up to be with him? Anxiously to hear your advice

Hi Sammy,

Thanks for writing...As you already know, relationships are built on sacrifice and compromise. That being said, there's never room for a martyr in an equal relationship as once that mentality starts, the balance of "power" is shifted - away from the martyr, usually. So now it all depends on your perception. This man has (rather harshly, I will admit) stated his need to have some "selfish" time during the year. Try not to look at it as a slap to you or a declaration that he doesn't want to spend time with you. Look at it as a time for you to actually take advantage of his time away and for you to do what You'd like to do independently. I'm going on the assumption that he will have No issues if during your vacation you wish to go off and do whatever you'd like on your own - If he does, then you need to take a hard look as to how devoted he is to the thought of your future together.

Remember that people move towards each other at different speeds. He might be hanging on to this notion of "his time" as some of the last vestiges of what he sees as his dwindling individualism. I'm sure that as you two grow together and spend more time together he will see that the joys of spending vacation time with you might be a heck of a lot more fun than sitting in the woods by himself. Give it some time...Relationships are in constant flex and growth. I'm happy you two are looking towards the future, but remember things sometimes progress slower than one would like. Give it time and be open with your feelings with him. Make sure he realizes that although you understand his still feeling that he needs his "space", he's in a Relationship and has to try to work at making you see his point of view in a more accommodating light - In other words, as ardently as he fights for his own feelings, he has to just as equally keep yours in mind. Hope this helps, and best of luck...Don't be a stranger!

Name: Jeanette
Question: Me and my Husband are trying to get pregnant, but I'm also trying to lose weight in the same time. I'm taking some metabolism Herbal diet pills. If I end up being pregnant will the diet Herbal pills effect my pregnancy or the baby?

Hi Jeanette,

Congrats and Good Luck on your attempts to grow your family! As you take on this new responsibility, you definitely want to be smart about it. Speak to your OB/GYN and regular internist and bring the bottle along with you so they can read the label and look at all the ingredients. Most pills have the warning on the label anyway that you should consult with your doctor, and if you're trying to get pregnant, that's excellent advice to follow. As a last resort, try to contact the manufacturer directly to see what their official recommendations are for someone in your situation. Chances are, they'll tell you to keep off that stuff in the best interest of your child. Hope this helps, and best of luck to your new endeavor! Have a wonderful holiday season...

Name: John
City: FL
Question: Hi,
First off, I just want to let you know how thankful I am for finding a page like this. I just need some advice on an issue I have...My mom works with this lady who has a daughter that goes to my old high school. I'm a freshman in college, and the girl, Jen, is a sophomore in high school. Throughout high school, I never went to any homecomings or proms because I never found someone that "special." Jen was going to go to homecoming in a group with her friends, but didn't have a date. She said she was going to be the only person in her group without a date, and was considering not going, so I offered to go with her. I've met Jen in person twice, yet I talk to her online often. She really is a nice girl, and I am glad that I am going to be able to go to the homecoming dance with her. The thing is, however, that I am really nervous. I think she's expecting me to be cool about everything because I'm in college, but I am so nervous. Since I've never gone to any of the dances when I was in high school, I don't really know what to expect. If I can have one wish granted for homecoming, it'd be that she has a great night. But I know that if I'm nervous like this, she probably won't. I've never really fast danced before, so I don't know what to do when it comes to that. I've slow danced with some people, but all I did was pretty much go around in slow circles when dancing. I don't know if that's what I'm supposed to do, or if there are any specific steps to it. We're just friends, but I don't know if I should hold her hand wherever we walk. I'm so terrified of disappointing her. When I offered to take her to homecoming, she said that I "made her day." Homecoming is next weekend. I've had butterflies in my stomach ever since I asked her, and I've had a total of 2 meals in the past 3 days. I don't even feel like eating, because my stomach is in knots. I want her to enjoy herself next weekend. What can I do to ensure that that's what happens? Do you think she's nervous also? And what about the dancing part? Thank you so much for your time.

Hi John,

Thanks for writing and for the compliment as well! Let's hope we can help you here...

First off, take a breath. She'll be there with you, but will also be mingling with her friends, showing you off (You know, the older, "cooler", college-age guy who's going to the date with her), and just relishing the night. Unless there's a big dance contest, I'm not thinking that there's going to be a lot of people ringing the dance floor collectively critiquing your every move. You want her (and yourself) to have a great time? Then just chill and let her relish in the night...By being relaxed, both of you will be able to just go with the flow and enjoy the evening. If you fixate on every possible aspect, you'll be too wound up and uptight to just hang loose and have fun, and that might have an adverse effect on her night as well. Be happy she trusts you enough to escort her, and just enjoy yourself (and BE yourself - don't forget that she likes your friendship because of You, not because of your dance moves)...Hope you both have a blast!

Q & A: "Every single kiss I've experienced has not been appealing at all"

Name: Kim
Question: I have a ten year old son who is VERY smart to say the least. I have a couple issues with him. He does not do the written part of his homework because when he reads something, he retains it. He feels that if he knows the answers now and when the test comes up then there is no reason to do the homework. I have tried to tell him that it is something that it is something required by him and all the students so it has to be done. But I still have to fight with him on it. He will often tell me he left his homework at school on accident. So I told him that when he forgets his homework, he has to copy the dictionary...word by word. This does not phase him....he loves to read and to learn. I tried giving him extra chores...he has no problem with that either. His teacher does not have an answer for me. Any suggestions? One other thing. His anger. He will not talk to anyone about things that bother him. I have tried going through the school, me, my husband, and I have even paid for counseling. Nothing comes out. He has not seen his natural father since 1994. That is by my ex-husbands choice. I gave him full-contact and he decided not to write, call, or visit. Basically, there are several issues that need to be addressed so he is not angry all the time. How can I get him to open up to me more?

Hi Kim,

Thanks for writing...This can be a pretty difficult thing to handle, so my heart goes out to you. There's two separate issues here, so I'll take them one at a time:

His School - Ask to see your son's standardized test scores. He might be a gifted child and is above the current level of his grade...If this is the case, then the district will have to look into getting him into a special program or to institute individualized sessions for him to follow. He might even have the opportunity to get into a "gifted" school or class within his current school. Also, sit down in a conference with the counselor, your teacher, and the principal and ask for their assistance in trying to collectively decide the best course of action to assist your son to realize his potential and make the most of it. If your son is a distraction/disruption in the class since he's bored, they will be happy to help focus him better while allowing the other children to have a more centered environment within the classroom.

His Anger - I think this might come from the fact that he's really missing a "father" figure in his life. Contact Big Brothers/Big Sisters and see if they can set him up with an older male who will hang out with him, spend time with him, and generally bond. I'm taking for granted here that he's an only child...I think that since the father is absent and he has no siblings, coupled with the fact that he might be smarter than most kids his age, he might really feel isolated...This will give him a chance to share fears and thoughts/dreams/stories with an older male in confidence...It will do wonders for his psyche. Another thing to do is to get him involved in after-school activities...Have him join the YMCA, or the local soccer/football/baseball/basketball/track programs that should be run through your town/county/park district. The local Boys & Girls club should also have programs...If he's bottling things up inside and has no outlet to release them, then things will just continue to fester and continue. Remember - No matter how smart you believe him to be, he's 10...That means that there's going to be a lot of things he still has questions on and doesn't yet understand...Work with him and allow him to grow through them...Hope this helps, and best of luck to you...Have a great holiday season!

Name: Renee
Question: I have always been very shy. I'm a lot more social now than I used to be and am making a lot of friends, but I'm still not quite as social as most of the people I know. I'm a college freshman. What I'm getting concerned about is the fact that I've never had a boyfriend or even been out on a date. I was unpopular in high school, and most people wouldn't talk to me. I'm making many new friends in college, but many of the freshmen I know are getting boyfriends and girlfriends already. It's kind of making me feel bad, because I want to experience those kinds of relationships like everyone else. I feel that I need someone, but I have no idea how it works. I have no idea how people get together or start going out, since I have limited social experience. What do you do, just wait for someone to become interested in you? It's never happened to me before, and I feel it'll never happen if I don't do something. But I don't want to make a fool out of myself. Please help.

Hi Renee,

Be strong within yourself. One thing that you'll notice that most of these dating people have is self-confidence. Focus on yourself right now...You need to realize that you never Need to have someone in your life, but be honest with yourself and realize that you actually do have a lot to offer another person. Once you have that in mind, then you'll be more selective and prudent about those whom you share your heart with. You want to do something, but don't forget - there are women (men do this too) out there who go from partner to partner, night to night, being completely miserable within themselves because they are trying to force themselves into some kind of "loving" relationship. To them, love is like panning for gold...

Concentrate on yourself and who you are and what kind of future Renee can have an all the other peripheral aspects of things, relationships included, will fall into place. Don't force the issue as you'll never be happy that way - only desperate...Be patient and self-fulfilling and things will work out better and more quickly than you ever imagined. I hope this helps, and best of luck to you. Happy Holidays...

Name: Vilija
Question: I'm 16 and I've only kissed a couple of guys in my life. Every single kiss I've experienced has not been appealing at all. I don't find it fun, special, amazing, or anything I've been told kissing was!! I'm wondering why this is. I'm guessing maybe its cause its with the wrong people....and I dunno if that's it. it just grosses me out!! I dunno what my problem is, and I want to change it!! for once id actually like to enjoy kissing. see another thing is, ill like a guy, but when he shows he likes me back, and were in a kissing-type situation I try to avoid it!! I seriously wonder why this happens. I am sooo prude and I wish I wasn't sometimes!! please help me!! thanks!!

Hi Vilija,

As Confucius used to say - "You's Gots to Chill, Girl!" Take it easy - Life is not like in the movies most times. It will be extremely rare to have a full symphony going on with the romantic music in the background while you kiss some boy. Take it easy...Don't rush things. When it's right, it will be right. Your gut feelings shouldn't be considered "prudish", but maybe just simply "smart". You can't hurry or force love...Just be patient. When you finally spend time with that certain someone who really cares for you and you openly care for him, and when you do share your first kiss, you'll understand what other people have been telling you. Trust that little voice inside you and just take it easy...It will come. In the meantime, concentrate on making Vilija's future as bright as possible...Hope this helps, and take care.

Q & A: "I should be concentrating on my wedding, he is on my mind"

Name: Jessica
Question: I am 23 years old. I am engaged and will be married next year to a very nice man who is 12 yrs older than I am. We have been together for 5 years and now we have bought a home together etc.

About 3 months ago I got introduced to one of my brother's best friend. He and I are from the same place, we are both Puerto Rican and ended up having a lot in common. He is married with 2 kids, I even know his wife. There are a HUGE physical attraction between him and I and that night we ended up kissing. We continue to see each other meeting at my brother's place 2 weeks in a row. Both times we kissed passionately, talked and flirted but that is it. Next time I saw him it was at a house party at his house where my brother and his girlfriend ( who is future my sister in law) went to. I had a lot of fun, I could feel him looking at me when I danced with another guys, etc. That night before I went home I said goodbye to him, he said that he would meet me at my brother's house and that is exactly what happened. My brother went to drop off his girlfriend and I stayed in his place. His friend showed up and we had sex that night. It wasn't good at all I mean I didn't enjoy it at all. He left after we were done and that was it. The days went by he and I talked on the phone etc. and we ended up seeing each other again for another house party at his house. We had a good time that night too except that night I got upset at something he did and ended up leaving the party. He called me and told me to meet him and so I did. We ended up having sex in my car that night, and this time it was better. When I told my brother about it he said that I should call it off and end it because his girlfriend is my sister in law and if anyone found out about it, it will cause too much problems. I called the next day and called it off and he agreed. I haven't talk to him since and I miss that. I am going to see him again in another 2 weeks or so for another house party that I was invited too by his wife. There are days that I want to just hear his voice and talk to him like before. I am confused because although I know I should be concentrating on my wedding, he is on my mind. I wish I can just talk to him and hear what he has to say.

Give me some advise... what is the best way to act when I see him again? Do I act indifferent, friendly? I want him to want me yet I know that I shouldn't play games with him. I know the proper thing to do is just forget about him but I genuinely like him as a person, and want to become his friend. I am not sure what to do? I know better yet he is just too appealing to me that I cannot resist. I am not the only woman he messes around with, to him this is a life style. He is not the only person I have done this with either. I do love my future husband and I know that once I am married I will not do this anymore. It is just that I like the attention and excitement that comes along with him. He is a funny individual and I enjoy his company. I need some advise ASAP. What do I do when I see him in 2 weeks?

Hi Jessica,

Thanks for writing. You have serious thinking to do...It sounds to me like you should call off your wedding AND you friendship with this guy. Your brother is completely right...This whole scenario is WAY too close to home where the repercussions will be felt for a very long time. There are so many things wrong with this picture that I don't even know where to start...

I'll start here - If you think that going to the altar and getting married is going to be the impetus that will change your cheating ways, unfortunately you're wrong. You are already exhibiting pursued actions of infidelity, so it will be very easy for you to fall back into cheating whether you have a ring on or not. Not once did you exclaim any worry about hurting your future husband, its effect on your potential marriage, etc. You are seriously taking you future for granted with your fianc?and that's wrong as well. All you talk about is the fact that you can't seem to stay away from this guy who repeatedly cheats on his wife, and how you don't want to play mind games with him and possibly hurt him (Ummmmm...what about your FIANC????), and you want to have him as a friend (with friends like THAT, who needs enemies OR Husbands?). That's Your problem (I'm not going to go into what caliber of person this other guy is as it seems extremely low), and you have to fix it if you want to have any kind of long-term happiness in your future relationships.

Right now, it doesn't seem that you're even close to being ready to get married. You don't seem to grasp the concept of what it means to say your vows (and truly mean them), to commit yourself to someone for the rest of your life, etc. You are far more interested in trying to figure out the best way to keep a relationship with someone you're cheating with. I think the best course of action is to completely forget about this guy. Since you claim to do love your husband, then you'd better realize that commitment requires focus and Selflessness, neither of which you seem to exhibit very strongly. For his sake, leave him too.

In your defense, you've been with your current man since you were 18, so you probably feel you haven't enjoyed the playtime your other friends have. It seems to me you don't have those "party" years out of your system yet. You have to make a choice - Either you grow up and mature real fast before the wedding and realize that this is a true commitment and a promise to Love someone more than yourself, or call off the wedding and live your life the way you want to. You've cheated on your fianc?before with others, you're cheating on him now, and there will be no beam of cleansing light that will shine on you on your wedding day that will stop your cheating in the future. You are the only one that can effect that kind of change. Personally, I think you should call off the wedding and get your selfish desires out of your system (That never really happens, but people tend to mature over time and their priorities change) before you settle down with someone and start raising a family. That way, the least amount of people gets hurt. You're young, so I can't blame you for being more concerned about yourself right now...But if you are going to be doing grown-up things like getting married, then you have to be mature enough to realize you can't hurt others for your own selfish needs. Call off the wedding if you even care a little about your fianc? He deserves to have a fianc? who is focused on the relationship they share and their potential future. You deserve to have fun, but not at anyone else's expense. Part ways...Maybe you can still be together later on, you never know. but right now, the two of you are on different levels of thought and action. Also, forget about this other guy...If you are really going to break things off to enjoy yourself, enjoy it, but don't help him hurt others either. Stick with the single people. Hope this helps, and best of luck to you.

Name: Kristi
City: Boise
Question: well here goes I am 16 years old and I want to drop out of school, Its really hard for me to wake up that early and I get teased all the time! What should I do?

Hi Kristi,

I know it's tough right now, but believe me - As you get older, getting up early is going to be the least of your worries if you want to be even remotely self-sufficient. No Matter What - Stay In School. If you are having problems in school, talk to your counselor...Try to get help with that and your focus. If you are getting teased all the time and it's for good reason, then take it as constructive criticism and change your ways (like if it's about your trouble getting up early - there's really no argument). Try going to bed earlier if it's so very difficult for you in the mornings. If you think it might be a physiological or medical problem, consult your doctor about it...Now if the teasing is mean-spirited, then those people are certainly not worth your time. If it's overboard, then definitely get the school faculty involved. Every kid/child/teenager in this country should DEMAND the best of their educational opportunities. This is YOUR FUTURE - You're going to let Sleep (or teasing about it) keep you from realizing your dreams? You're going to just drop out of school because you want more sleep and then you'll do.......what? And your future aspirations are.....??? America is THE land of opportunity...But its opportunity are most available for those who challenge themselves and work for it. No one is going to walk up to you and hand you a career/mansion/wealthy lifestyle. However, if you Work at it and Focus on it, there's also no one who can keep you from realizing your dreams. Wake up (Pun definitely intended) and start living your life. Hope this helps, and best of luck to you.

Q & A: "Every day seems to last forever and nothing I do brings me happiness"

Name: Dustin
City: Princeton
Question: Nearly one year ago, on my birthday, my fiance left me. It's been nearly a year and yet it feels like only weeks have passed. I say I am over her, and many people believe that I am. Sometimes I can even convince myself that I am moving on with my life, but I always come back to the feeling of absolute depression. Every day seems to last forever and nothing I do brings me happiness. Short of psychological help, is there anything I can do that might help me get over this?

Hi Dustin,

Contrary to your belief, counseling might be the salve for your wound you're seeking...You have some issues to work out, and since you were left with no recourse (she ended it, not you - and rather callously on your Birthday I might add) to resolve anything, a third party is really the best option for you. This can be through a counselor, clergyman, or other mediating professional. You can talk this over with your friends, and I'm sure they will be there to help you...However, if you've already convinced everyone you've moved on and you don't feel like rehashing everything and having to worry about perceptions of you in your social life, then go to a counselor and just talk about the relationship and get advice on how to really move on. It's confidential, personal, direct, and your friends won't know unless you tell them. Go to counseling (whatever form you choose) and get it over with...You've dealt with it for a year now...It's time for you to release it and start living your life again. Get your focus back and be yourself. You deserve it. It might be a lot easier to get control of your life back than you imagine. I hope this helps, and best of luck to you...

Name: Velda
City: Chicago
Question: Hi, I need your advice on this one. I have this friend since I've known from high school and she got pregnant by her boyfriend. She is twenty-one years old and he is forty years old and he physically abuses her. He be calling her some vulgar names which I can't say on here because it is racist and it also pertains to a woman. Anyway nobody knows her situation but me and another friend of hers. So I tried to talk to her about leaving him but she keeps on going right back to him and pretend nothing has happened. She been through this before with him and nothing has changed. Now she is pregnant and she wants to have an abortion. Like I've said no one knows about this but me and a friend of hers. So again I tried to talk her out of having an abortion but her mind is set on doing it. She said that she is not fit to be a mother and she is also afraid of her parents and her boyfriend for what they might do to her. To make matters worse this she had four abortions in the past and now this will be her fifth one! I am tried of going through this with her again. I have a life of my own and I want her to stop pulling me in her mess. If she have an abortion, I am seriously thinking about not talking to her anymore. What can I do?

Hi Vela,

Thanks for writing. As far as I can tell, your options are pretty limited. Try to see if you can take your friend to a counselor...Since it's only you and one other person that she tells things to, there's a good chance that by now she just tunes out anything you tell her. She feels better that she shares with you and gets things off her chest, but then she also is using you because she knows how to tune you out and she knows she can just continue on as she has been. It's a pretty vicious cycle...I think you should get with this other person and arrange some kind of intervention with a professional for her. She really, really needs it. She speaks her mind, using you to assuage her guilty/sad feelings, but she knows she won't listen to you...She's basically scared to share with anyone else because she doesn't want to face the truth and actually take the steps to improve her life...It sounds like she's in a bad rut she can't see her way out of (abuse can do that to people), but she's not allowing you to show her the way. If you really want to help her, then take the wheel and drive her to where she needs to be.

I agree with her in that she's not fit to be a mother right now...Can you imagine the quality of life her child would have? Thank goodness she has that much clarity about her, even though she doesn't see how dire her own situation is. However, I really don't agree with her using abortions as a birth control. She needs to be taken out of her situation or she'll never progress...Get with her friend and help her out...Or break her trust and tell her family. It's way over your head now and you are not allowed by her to really sway her opinion or actively assist in changing...So now you pretty much have to take some drastic measures if you want to help her. I know you want to give up on the situation as a whole as you are always hitting a brick wall, but go ahead and give it this one last shot. You are a good friend and I know you want to keep her trust and help her...But now you truly need the help of others to do that. She needs to get as far away from this guy as she can (For too many reasons to mention) and see that she can actually enjoy herself and her life. She deserves to be happy, but she can't see that she's truly stuck...She also can't see that she has options. She will one day have to realize that she can actually have an equal, respectful relationship with another person...That Love is never to be confused with fear, secrets and cover-ups. But she needs to be completely out of this guy's life (and vice versa) and to start living her own life. If you can help her do that, then there's hope...Best of luck to you and kudos for being such a good friend...

Name: Debbie
City: Chicago
Question: I have had a really long and complicated relationship with my I-don't-know-what-to-call-him, Darren. He was the first man I had ever dated who felt like a real match for me. We started out as friends, and then became very close, best friends. I began to have strong feelings for him, and sometimes it seemed like he felt them too. We even had some romantic encounters, but they seemed to confuse him and then he would back off for a while, even date other people. I still had those strong feelings about him, but we were able to remain very close friends. However, when the next summer came, we fell together in the most satisfying relationship I have ever experienced. We loved each other, and I felt totally beautiful, sexy, smart, and secure with him. He was the first man I ever made love to. Then at the end of the summer, he was graduating, and going on to a different school (as he was a few years older than I was). We agreed to see other people, as we both didn't see a long-distance relationship working out. At first it seemed like it was really working. I was dating someone else, and so was he. We continued to tell each other everything and be the best of friends through the Internet and a few phone calls. When he came back to visit the first time, I had just ended the short relationship I had had that fall, but he was still very involved with his girlfriend. However we were at a party together and we both felt very tempted to do the things we had so enjoyed that summer. However, we resisted these temptations, and he went back to his school, and we continued to be confidants via Internet and telephone. Then as his relationship was uncomfortably ending with this other girl, he came home for holidays. He was at my place just hanging out and talking and we ended up fooling around. We didn't have sex, but we both realized that we loved each other and the connection and attraction between us was very strong. He had to leave a few days later, but we kept up long daily conversations, and somehow I still felt very fulfilled. I loved him, and still love him very much. He said (and still says!) he loves me. He is my very best friend, and I think about him constantly.
However, in the past few days he had seems a little distant when I spoke with him, and when I asked him what was wrong he would just say he was tired. Finally yesterday, I asked what was really going on, and that I loved him very much, and he knew he could tell me anything. He told me that he thinks he is gay. Now normally, I would be a little upset by this, but he says this almost every time he breaks up with a girl. But this time, just something about him, it seems more serious. I ended the conversation telling him that he should find out for sure, and no matter what I would be behind him. The best friend part of me will be of course. But the part of me that loves him, is falling apart. It was bad enough when he was dating another girl. At least then I had the possibility to be with him again. But now it will be impossible. I don't even know if he is serious this time. And if he is, how can I be a best friend when I need to be getting over him? I would need space, right? Well, how can I have space when I have to be there for him, need to be there for him, in this time of change for him. I was a friend before I was a lover, and still am first and foremost a friend. But it is tearing me up inside. I love him so much, my life will be so different without him. I don't know how to cope and help him cope at the same time. I don't even know if he is really gay, I mean, HE doesn't even know. I have no reason to be angry with him, but I don't know what to feel. I am so lost, and I feel like a fool for staying with him this whole time. For once I can't talk to him about my problem. What can I do that is best for him and me?

Hi Debbie,

Thanks for writing and always happy to help someone from my neighborhood...My heart goes out to you on this one. There's no easy answer here, and it's a little worse for you Because you're a good person inside. Darren is certainly extremely lucky to have you by his side...This can be a difficult journey, and you have a good enough head on your shoulders to realize that you have a rough road ahead if you follow what you think is right.

One of the largest hurdles you'll have to get over is the fact that this comfortable love relationship you have found for yourself and that you always thought would be there is changing. It's little more difficult to take because he still will be around...If the relationship just ended and you moved apart, then you could take steps to forget about it. You don't have that option here.

There's a lot of issues that he needs to tackle alone, and also those that he can use your comfort for. He doesn't know if he's Gay, Bi, or whatever...He'll have to figure that out for himself. You need to start distancing your romantic feelings from him because you need to realize that at this time, he will never just have his eyes on you. He's way too busy exploring his own feeling and who he should be with...You'll be waiting in futility and wasting your time that could be spent bettering yourself or finding another person who could give you just as much love in return without distraction. You can be his friend, but forget the relationship part...Even if you agree to wait for him while he figures this out (Unfair to both of you - It puts you in limbo and keep him from having a clear mind in really discovering himself), you will be running the risk of exposing yourself to more hurt in the future. His exploration can certainly change/jade him, and not to mention his greater chance of exposure to STD's if he took things that far with a number of partners. He might very well be someone completely different from what you know now...

You sound like a wonderful girl and you deserve to be happy. Keep him as a friend and only that...Really take some time and realize that you have to do things for Debbie first - And that means getting your life on the right track, working on fulfilling your dreams, and doing what's right for your long-term goals and future. He's going through a confusing time, and although he might need your ear or emotional support from time to time, this is a journey that he's best left doing on his own. You have your own life to lead and things you have to accomplish. You also deserve to have the emotional freedom to accept and share love from another if the opportunity presents itself. Don't pass that up or stagnate it by immersing yourself too deeply in what Darren is doing. Be happy for what you shared with him, take it as a learning experience, keep the good memories, and move on. Be there for him as a friend, but think of yourself first...That's what he is ultimately doing, and it's only fair that you do the same thing. You have more things to become in life than a martyr...I hope this helps, and please don't be a stranger. Take care...

Q & A: "our relationship is hanging on by a thread"

Name: Jennifer
City: Burlington
PLEASE HELP ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Jennifer,

First things first - Forget about your Ex. He DUMPED you, so what give a rip about him? He obviously is not worth your time and is blind to the true gift that is You. He's got extremely bad judgment and is horrifically shortsighted at best. So don't waste your time thinking about this jerk. You have someone right in front of you that actually sees you for who you are and are happy with, so don't squander that by wasting your time worrying about a past issue (and a lost cause). You can't stop thinking about him because it didn't end on your terms...Swallow that and get over it. It's not worth it to jeopardize your current relationship. Learn from it and move on.

As for your best friend, if she really cares for you, then she wouldn't give this guy the time of day. If she's really thinking of going with him after seeing the damage he did to you, then she's as horrifically shortsighted as he is. Let's hope she's not and is just trying to play the peacemaker. I'm thinking you might be a little paranoid because you don't have closure yet on the situation and it irks you if she has any contact with him. Remember, he's not worth your time/anger/emotional energy, whether it for him or about him via others. Move on and forget about it. However, if your fears are substantiated, and if she really is lying to you all the time about things, then maybe it is time to look for better friends.

Lastly, if you really are thinking of hurting yourself and potentially ending your life about all of this, in the most base sense I can tell you that it (this situation) definitely isn't worth it. Your potential far outreaches, outshines, and outweighs this issue. But, to be sure about things, make sure to share your feelings/fears/thoughts with a certified professional. Go to speak to your counselor, talk with your parents, go to therapy...Work through it with the help of others...There's a lot more to life and your place in it...They can assist you in seeing that. I hope this helps, and best of luck to you!

Name: Kelly
Question: I am a senior in high school and I have liked this guy since I was a freshman. I will be 18 in Jan and he is turning 21 this month. we get a long great but this is the problem. my Mom started dating his father. they have been together about 10 months or so. now I don't know what to do. I really like his son and I cant stop thinking about him. what should I do. Please write back as soon as you can. thank you so much.

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for writing...Wow - This is a tough one. It's hard to tell if this guy likes you back the same way. The one thing that is certain is your Mom and his Dad working on a relationship...I'd say to hold back a bit, even though you've had your eye on this guy for so long. If there's even the remote chance that your Mom will marry his Dad, then it's best to be patient. Not that your happiness is not important, but you really
have to think of what relationship is stronger/has more potential (future) between your Mom and his Dad or between you and this boy...Also you have to think about whom has more ability/opportunity to find happiness - You Mom or you. Not to be close-minded, but you have time on your side. True, your Mom can find true love tomorrow, but then again so can you. I'm not saying this three-year crush you've had isn't important, but if your Mom has a true shot at happiness, let her have it. You are turning 18 soon and have your whole life ahead of you...You'll be going to College, going out on your own, making new friends, living your life. Your Mom's life is more likely to be much more sedentary and set. It's a little more 'fair" to let your Mom take the lead in this situation. Lastly, we know your Mom and hid Dad like each other - that's proven fact. You don't know if this boy feels the same way towards you...If you might have to share a future with him as a stepbrother, it's best not to stir the waters before you know. Leave it alone and let your Mom's relationship take its course...Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!

Name: Lee
City: Toronto
Question: I have been living with a man for 4 years and we share two children, but our relationship is hanging on by a thread. We both want to stay together, but frankly I don't know what to do anymore. We don't spend any quality time together, or may I say ANY time together doing ANYTHING! I feel as if I am in this alone - even like I am just living with a roommate. He spends all his free time on his computer, playing online games. He is really into them, and takes them very seriously. We have discussed this issue repeatedly and tried everything - agreements, schedules, promises, etc., but nothing ever sticks for good. He loves his computer so much, I feel as though I am competing with it for his time and attention. What else can I do to get my relationship back?

Hi Lee,

Easy...Go to counseling together. It's either that or throw the computer out the window. He's got to make some drastic changes around or he's going to lose you. If he doesn't appreciate that or seem to care, then start packing your bags...He's got to see (from a third/objective perspective) that it's not just your whining about time not shared. It's about his responsibilities as a partner, a lover, and a father. I'm not saying he can't pursue his own passions, but since he's made the moves and decisions in life that now make his life not completely his own, he has to act accordingly. He can do whatever he wants, but he still has to juggle his obligations and responsibilities as well. If the online games were threatening his job, then I'd hope he'd see the seriousness of that and pull back on the games. If they are threatening his relationship and family life, then I hope he'd pull back from the games as well. He's taking his home life for granted and he needs a bit of a reality check. Everyone in the world would most likely like to have fun above everything else, but everything has its time and its place. That's the price of being an adult and having responsibilities. He needs to make sure everything else that he affects is set right before he pursues solely selfish pursuits. Get him to counseling...I think he just needs a wake up call and a good three-stooges-slap to the back of the head...I hope this helps and best of luck to you.

Q & A: "my first love cheated on me and broke up with me"

Name: Dave
Question: Hi. Thanks in advance for your advice. I recently was broken when my first love cheated on me and broke up with me. She is 18, I am 21, and in college, she was still in High School. We were together for 2.5 years. This was around 2 months ago. I love her still. I was happy with where my life was at. I have read many advice columns, that say exercise, hang with friends, keep busy, etc. But none of that works. I still feel like I am hiding a pain, and I feel like the pain is getting worse, not better. My friends have been trying to be good advice givers, but nothing they say dulls the pain. My ex and I were having problems, but I didn't expect her to cheat on me, leave me for someone else, and then tell me how great he is, while still asking to be my friend. I realize now, that as bad as it got, I still miss her, and want her back in my life. I know that nothing anyone says can make the pain disappear. But I guess what I'm asking is, why did I go through all of this effort and love and invested emotion to be hurt like this? Why after everything, all I am left with is a torturing memory of what was, and what could have been? I see all these wishy washy questions on your site of cheaters, liars, and people who don't consider their partners feelings. If this is all that will come of opening your heart to someone, why do we bother? How was it so easy for her to forget me and move on, even after we were together for so long? It doesn't make any sense. We had a long distance relationship, which required a lot of hardship on both people. It didn't need to end like this. It didn't need to end. She was supposed to come to my college, and we were supposed to be happy together. It just doesn't seem right. I hate this pain I feel. I don't even know if she cares that I am out of her life. Thank you for your time.

Hi Dave,

Thanks for writing...I'm sorry you've gone through so much recently. Sometimes, it's hard to see yourself as an individual outside of your relationship with another. Sounds like you were really hooked on her, so let's take a look at some reasons behind what has transpired...

First off, you're 21 and she's 18. Three years is no big thing, but now she's reaching a point (or a rite of passage) in her life that you've already been through...You're doing the same thing. You have a lot more experience than her in life, and will see things a little differently. You see a long-term future, she's seeing a future of midterms. She's probably stretching her wings and trying to be her own individual after being a part of your life for so long...Remember, she's been with you since she was 15 or 16 years old...She hasn't matured on her own. She's probably feeling the needs to check things out on her own, and she's still a bit more naive and immature on her outlooks. Most people her age tend to be a little more focused on themselves and the here-and-now instead of the long-term vision of the future. And if she is looking at the future, she's fighting to see it from her own standpoint instead of one that is a part of a couple. I'm not condoning her actions, nor am I boohooing them. This might be something she's going through right now, which is not out of the norm.

You are having problems letting go because you have no closure. It's like the stories you hear of people who unfortunately lose a limb and they wake up for years trying to scratch an itch on a leg/arm that's no longer there. I'm taking for granted that this completely blindsided you, so everything's been thrown out of whack...I don't know all of the details, so I'll go on the notion that it's all pretty innocent and you really didn't have it coming. So what to do now?

Take comfort in the fact that you know that Love is out there for you...If not with her, then at least you know it's possible with someone else who's right for you. It's hard not to be skeptical, but don't give up on the whole idea of love - just give up on her. I know that you still feel that there's so much unanswered because of the way it ended - one day everything's fine and then the next, she's gone - but let's get to the reality here...You shouldn't be together. Be thankful you know about it now and that you are free to move on...She Cheated on you...I don't care if she's spreading her wings, checking out the grass, whatever - If she cared about you and your feelings, then at least she could have given you the courtesy of ending your relationship before stabbing you in the back. Pretty cowardly, and again, immature. You have the right to be hurt, but only for so long. It's time to get to the anger stage so you can blow through it quickly and forget about her. Right now, you might think she's the sun, moon, and everything in-between, but she's not. She's an Ex-Girlfriend. Wish her well and move on to someone even more special and better...

And you will find better, trust me. Sometimes people are really not made for each other, and this is one of those cases. Stop feeling so down-in-the-dumps and get on with YOUR life. I can guarantee you she's not feeling sorry for herself or giving much thought as to what you are going through...So you don't do it either. You have a lot to do and accomplish, and having the right partner by your side is an important part of that, but it's not the end-all of everything. Stop torturing yourself over "what if"...Start concentrating on "what will be" as that is something you can control and build on. You had a great time with her, and you should be thankful to have had the relationship...You know you can love and be loved, that you can be with a partner, share your life, etc...All great things. But now move on and use your newfound wisdom and collective knowledge to your advantage and make your next relationship even better...I hope this helps, and please spread the word about the site.

Name: Eve
Question: Hello! My problem goes like this: I have an ex-boyfriend whom I have not seen or spoken to for about 4-5 years. I have already forgotten about him since I already have a new boyfriend to which I plan to marry soon...but I just woke up one morning missing him and since then, I cant stop thinking about him already. it's as if he's talking to me in my head and telling me to wait for him. Or am I just plain crazy? We had a very difficult relationship before you see...our families tried so hard to tear us apart. I accidentally got pregnant and we already made plans of getting married but my dad found it out and forced me to get an abortion...practically dragged me into the clinic to do it. so I lost the baby and his family sent him to Hong Kong. the last we saw each other he told our friends that he still loves me and misses me so badly. Am I just imagining things or can it be fate that I woke up one morning remembering him and what we've been through? Can you pls. advice me on what to do...I'm so sad and confused.
Thanks and more power!

Hi Eve,

Thanks for writing...Sounds like you have some unresolved issues that are coming back to the surface. You're standing on the brink of a major rite of passage (getting married), and now the feelings of unfinished business of your previous passionate relationship are coming back from your subconscious. I'm not a professional, but I'm thinking you should talk to one. These are issues that you need to work out, and I think you can't do it alone (or with the old boyfriend/current boyfriend)...You need to work it out within you so you can finally accept the end of your past relationship, let it go completely, and be happy with your new one. This old, painful, and emotionally charged relationship needs to be put to rest, but I don't believe by establishing reconnection with your old flame and trying to work it through will create any positive outcomes...I think that the only working through it needs is with a therapist. You've come a long way to getting your life back in order - Always think of moving forward, not backwards. 5 years is a long time...Don't give up the ground you've made during this time. You have a whole future with your new love, and one that is without the issues that your old one does. If you went back to the old relationship, you'd have to first wade through all your old history before you can even think of looking at the future...Do yourself a favor and settle your inner doubts with a professional. Once that's done, enjoy and appreciate your current love...I wish you the best of luck!

Name: Lisa
City: Edison
Question: My ex boyfriend and I are still friends but he likes me and I told him we can hook up and stuff and so I was hanging out with him and his 2 friends one of them "lets call him D.W." I am also friends with, but I had just met the other one "lets call him Colon." I was flirting with Colon a lot & we clicked & I gave him my s/n so that night we started talking on line and I told him I liked him & he said he liked me to but now I don't know what to do because My Ex will be mad if I go out with his friend

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for writing...I'm somewhat torn here...On one hand, I'd ask you to decide what you think is more important to you - Your friendship with your ex, or you future happiness with this new boy. On the other hand, I'm never been one to think very highly of guys who go after their friend's ex girlfriends - It's a whole "loyalty-to-your-friends" thing. That being said, I'm thinking that you have to think of yourself and your long-term goals. To be brutally honest, you can date whomever you want, whether or not your Ex is comfortable with it. He's your "Ex" for a reason, and if he has issues with your dating other people, then he should have given your relationship more credence and effort to begin with (I'm basing this on the assumption that you broke up with him or it was mutually ended - If he dumped you, I'd believe he wouldn't want to stick around that much). If his friend is actually placing you over his friendship with your Ex, then I'd think he's probably not excellent friends with this guy. Be happy - If you think there's an actual long-term chance with this new guy, then go for it. If not, then you'll have to weigh your relationship with your Ex against it. One other thing - If your Ex is still interested in you, then he's probably not going to like the thought of your dating ANY guy, so you'll always run into the chance of upsetting him. Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!

Q & A: "she's not the girl of my dreams"

Name: Alex
Question: My head is in a right mess so I'd be very grateful for any advice you can give me at all.

To set the scene... I'm a 20 year old, male, university student. My 'love life' has been unconventional to say the least. I'm learning by my mistakes at least (I hope). I became infatuated, virtually obsessed, with a cute girl when I was between the ages of 12 and 16. But my overly strong feelings kept me from acting as I was too scared of rejection. Then, when I was 17, I became infatuated with another girl who had, and still has, a long term boyfriend. I sometimes catch myself thinking about her still. For a year I became obsessed with her, I became very depressed, and in the end I left college early because I couldn't bear to be around her. Luckily I still managed to get the grades to get into my first choice university. I had three months of counseling after this period which really helped, and still does.

Anyway, so I left college and began a gap year before I went to Uni. Half way through I met a girl through the Internet who lived nearby. We got on ok and saw each other at weekends (as I was working) for about 3 months. I broke up with her. Then a month later I met a lovely girl through a mutual friend. And we were together for 4 months before we went to different universities. We stayed together though for another 2 months before, again, I decided to end the relationship. I'm not a dim person by any means, but it took me a while to figure out what was going wrong with the relationships.

I didn't feel the same way about them as I had done with the second girl I got obsessive about. And they liked me more than I liked them. I felt uncomfortable during the relationships, and this feeling just kept on building up until I had to end it.

So... I decide at this point that relationships just aren't for me... and this is where I begin to confuse myself. I still have fantasies about meeting the girl of my dreams and living happily ever after but then I remember what caused the last 2 relationships to end. A real girl couldn't compare with the girl I had previously been obsessed with because I had built her up to be perfect. This is one matter I would like some feedback on, and since then here's another...

So, as I decided no more relationships, I was on the prowl, a good looking single guy at university, I thought I would be able to have a great time. Just before the end of term I became friendly with a 3rd year. We have kissed and not much more, but I'm really worried about going back to university now (in a week) because I don't want to suddenly find myself in another relationship again. We've text messaged each other a few times over the Christmas holiday, nothing heavy just a bit of flirting. I worried that if I have sex with her I'll get sucked into a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship which I don't want because she's not the girl of my dreams, but she's attractive.

I hope you get a chance to read this, and I hope you can offer me some advice.


Hi Alex,

Thanks for writing...I could be very wrong about all of this (your counselor would be able to tell you), but it's looking to me like you merely have issues with perception. You mention the fact that the two girls you became obsessed with (I'm guessing the only ones you obsessed about) were both unattainable - The first through your own restrictions and the second because of a boyfriend. All the other women can't compare to these two... And I'm thinking it's because all the other women are attainable and that kind of turns you off in a way.

We all want what we can't have - It's an old cliche but one that holds true for many people. I know very few people who are truly content with their lives and want nothing else... But since that cliche works, let me toss another one at you - You don't know what you've got until it's gone...Now that one only works if you actually notice you had it in the first place. What I'm trying to say is this: Yes, you became enthralled in the "Lotto" mentality that you are obsessed with a particular woman and that since she can't be had by you, she must have qualities much greater than someone you do have access to. Actually being with her and winning her in the end would be akin to striking the biggest Lotto in history - Against all odds. But here's the catch - You might have put her as perfect in your mind, but you really don't know what she could actually be like in a relationship...She might actually be completely opposite of your style and likes. You might very well find characteristics about her that are really unpleasant/embarrassing/annoying to you...You might not think so, but it's always a possibility, right?

Now if you agree that it's possible for her to really Not be the all-in-all woman of your dreams, then it's also possible that these people who are coming and going through your life might actually BE the all-in-all woman of your dreams, if only given half a chance. You've already limited their future with you because you think that there has to be doves dropping ribbons of glitter over you while the London Philharmonic plays romantic music every time you look into each other's eyes (Obviously I'm using a bit of creative license here, but you get the picture)...Take it easy for a minute. Just because one girl might actually like you more or is available for you to grow a relationship with does not mean she's not worthy. Imagine if you did meet a nice girl who you finally thought might be the one and she
had the same kind of idealism you do and didn't give you the chance because she had some perfect notion of her mate that she felt you didn't fulfill? She'd really be missing out, right? Well, you might be missing out now as well.

Please don't think I'm being hard on you...You're actually being much harder on yourself. Open your eyes and your heart and just let things flow...Sometimes we all need to take a step back and relax to be able to see things (like the Big Picture) more clearly. The broader your perception, the more full life can be for you...Don't walk by happiness and contentment because you're too fixed on what's over the horizon (or what you believe is over the horizon). You deserve to be happy - Now allow yourself the opportunity and it's wonderful discovery...You'll be so very glad you did.

Q & A: "Sports or Girlfriend? "

Name: Amy/Truxton
Question: I did a stupid thing a month ago I went into my husband sign on and searched his email to see if he was having an affair with someone I was jealous off. Well he found out and we are separated now. We did sit down and talk and we decided the communication in our marriage wasn't there anymore. So we have put our marriage on the back burner and we are working on the friendship we haven't had in years. We think if we still have our friendship and we know we still have our love then we can make it. Is this the right thing to be doing?

Dear Amy,

Thanks for writing! There's nothing wrong that you're working on your friendship to make sure it's sound...But I'm not sure I understand the point of putting your marriage on the "backburner". Kinda seems like you're going about things back-a**ward. I'm glad you realize that communication is the key, but I'm also sort of shocked that you two separated because of your little foray into his sign-on...There must be more to this than what is apparent here. Good for you two that you're willing to work things out...Communication is one of the absolute foundations of any successful marriage... Trust is the other foundation. Work out your issues together, seek counseling if you need to. I think you'll make it through this just fine. Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!

Name: Sports or Girlfriend?
Question: I have recently broken up with my girlfriend. I need to know if I made a good or bad decision. I play basketball and it is really important to me. she is very important too though, and this is where the problem began. our starting center man (Ty) fractured his ankle at our last game. this means that I have to start in his place. I am really nervous because I don't want to let the team down, and I know that I am not as good as Ty. our next game is against an undefeated team and it is going to be a hard game. I feel that I need to concentrate only on basketball right now. I feel really bad that I am doing this to my girlfriend, but I had to break up with her so that I wasn't thinking about her. but now all I can think about is her. what should I do?

Dear Sports,

Hi there...Easy one...You simply need to figure out what will be more important to you in the long run...Her, or Basketball. I would think Her, as when the season is over, the season is over. Instead of breaking up with her, explain to her that for this next week, you really need to concentrate on the team, but that after this game, you'll have a little more time for her. Tell her you want her to come to the game, blah blah blah...There's no reason that you can't have your cake and eat it too in this situation. You should be able to maintain your sports as well as your girlfriend...Good luck.