Monday, June 14, 2010

I Love You, and I Don't Want to Lose You

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

She Wants Him...Sort Of

Dear Terry,

Firstly, thank you for the wonderful blog and for the time you're spending to make women take better choices in life. I read your blog religiously. (That doesn't mean on Christmas, Easter, etc; you know really religiously ! :-)

Just reading your blog, I got answers without asking anyone for many of my dating dilemmas, but this one's baffling the heck out of me.

I decided not to date anyone for a while until I reach a professional goal (the recession's hit me too). Over all, I'm giving myself a big break (for dating) after I ended a non-existent relationship (only in my head) with an unavailable man who told me all the great things, who even asked me to marry him but won't say he loves me. I told him I need some more time to take a decision, since I didn't feel confident marrying him. I wanted to know why he won't say he loves me. My patience paid off, turns out, he's involved with another woman too, and he only revealed this himself after a year when the girl broke up with him. I showed him the door.

I'm over him totally. But, I need to boost myself emotionally, so I wanted to prove myself I'll get the big break at work I want, and only then resume dating. Right now, my finances need to improve much more.

Suddenly I was sent to a different place for work, and I joined a yoga class recently where I meet this great guy who teaches yoga! He shares the same morals as me, he won't compromise values for money, sex or anything. He practices what he preaches in class. And he has a very flexible body. The way he does the yoga postures simply makes me feel wow-ed.

I feel great attraction for this guy. Initially it was just physical attraction, then it crept onto intellectual, and then emotional (he takes care of the kids and older people in the class very very well. Not that he neglects young guys). And then, we hold almost the same spiritual levels (except for finance; he's not half as good as I am 'coz he doesn't crave financial pleasures; he's more focused on the spiritual side). Did I mention he has a great sense of humour? He's very intelligent, and he learnt about 5 languages easily. If he wants to, I'm sure he can do well financially.

He's all that I can think of, in a man, except for one thing. He wants to dedicate his life to meditation and yoga and spiritual seeking, earning minimal money for his maintenance, instead of getting tied up with physical pleasures, and worldly life.

I don't have a relationship with him. I just happen to discuss stuff with him, and we bond very well. He has a very attractive personality which draws me to him like a moth. I'm afraid I'll get burnt. But since I can't date another man now (just don't want to till the career thing happens), how do I get over him ?

I can tell he likes me too. He looks a little more at me than others and smiles instantly when we're in class. And when I hold an after-class discussion with him, he seems excited talking to me.

Why am I attracting this great but unavailable guy?

I see him every day in the class, and my attraction grows only stronger. He's the best teacher ever in my life.

I don't know how I should discuss what I feel with him, or how to move on. Please help!

-How Do I Walk Away?


Dear Walk-

Thank you for the very kind words.

Here's the short answer: You move on by finding another yoga class.

Here's the long answer: Your goal is to improve your finances, and now you're wildly attracted to a man who has virtually no interest in money.

So it would appear that you and he are at odds, but you recently broke up with a creep who two-timed you. And now you meet a man who actually possesses and lives by a few moral standards.

Of course you're attracted.

It's a shame the new guy considers money unspiritual because there are a lot of lovely things you can do with money (it's like fire; you can use it for good or evil). You can build wells in Africa with it. You also can also use it to roll around town in a big hulking Hummer.

Two things you learned from your last relationship were a) you have good instincts about people, and b) you can't make anyone do anything he doesn't want to do. The last guy didn't want to say he loved you (although he did want to marry you while dating another person). And now this new guy doesn't see the value of money.

I have just one suggestion then. The next time you and the dreamy yogi get into a conversation about living spiritually, tell him you aim to make money because it will give you the power to help other people.

(Knock knock: "It's the American Diabetes Association. Can we count on you for a donation?" Spiritually "enlighted" money-rejector: "Oh, sorry. I can't help. I have only enough cash to buy my weekly supply of rice and peanut butter.")

You can plant this seed in his mind, but as you know, there are no guarantees it will take. If it doesn't, you will need to find another yoga class, preferably one taught by a compassionate teacher who is working on a line of DVDs she'll sell to buy her own children a house in a decent school district and perhaps also to fund nutritious meals for low-income children.

You deserve a man who shares your values, who's honest, funny, and kind, and never resists saying he loves you. You also deserve a guy who's willing to make a little cash. Hold out for that guy. In the meantime, keep your eye on your financial and professional goals.

I hope this helps. I wish you the best of everything.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

She's Given Her All, But She's Still Alone

Hi, Terry:

Almost all my friends have steady relationships, and some are married, but I don't even have anyone in mind.

Sometimes it frustrates me so much that I'd give a chance to any man who shows interest in me. This is all because I fear being alone, and age is progressing. Sometimes I convince myself that maybe I was never meant to be with someone for the rest of my life.

In all my relationships I have given all I could, but in the end they all tell me I'm a nice woman, but they are just not meant for me. Now I'm just alone wondering if I will ever meet the man that adores me and loves me back.

It's getting tiring always being the wedding planner for others, knowing that I don't even have anyone in mind for the future.

What is the way forward?

-Give Me a Map


Dear Map:

Right now, you're alone. The friends are happily coupled. You wonder what you're doing wrong, if love is in the stars for you, if you're somewhat defective, and so on.

Take heart.

A lot of people (yes, men, too) have been in your place. They want something -- someone!--- so much they'll do anything to get it. Some of these things include doing too much, being too available, spending too much money on the object of interest, putting up with bad behavior, making way too many meals, doing the other person's housework, running over at the drop of a hat to make a repair, and so on.

Yes, of course, you're supposed to give in a relationship, but you're supposed to take, too. You say you've given all you had in your previous relationships, and I suspect that's the reason man after man tells you, "You're a nice woman, but you're not for me."

It's important to give prudently, not to always be available. This doesn't mean playing games. Understand that it's human nature to value what one works for. People don't value things that come too easily, and they definitely don't value people who don't value themselves.

So, don't try to prove to some guy that you'd make an excellent wife. Don't try to make yourself indispensable. Don't start doing his laundry, for Pete's sake. This is how you get branded "too nice." It's also how you get creepier men to take advantage of you.

You're worried about getting older, but listen, a lot of people who get married at 21or 31 don't remain married. Some of them divorce. Some of them become widowed. Others remain happily married but face the challenges of job losses or sick children. Nobody's life is perfect, so stop buying the hype.

Sit down, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, "What do I have going for me? What do I love about my life?" Write it down. Look at what you've written.

Ask yourself, "Do I really need a relationship to make me happy?" And then, "What kind of relationship would make me happy?"

Would it involve giving everything you have, or would it involve giving the other person the pleasure of giving to you, too? What kinds of things would you like to take from another person (I'm thinking about attention, affection, the ability to laugh together, and that kind of thing. I'm not thinking about a 2010 Porsche.)

Your friends have boyfriends and husbands, but does any one of those boyfriends or husbands represent your perfect man? Would any of them make you happy? A lot of the times we envy our friends' relationships, but we wouldn't want to be stuck with their significant others.

So, think about it: What kind of man would make you happy? Is it possible that on that he exists on this planet of 682,590,0000 people?

I recommend that you go about your life happily and peacefully (happiness and peace are extremely attractive). I recommend that you spread happiness and peace wherever you go. I recommend that you remind yourself of all the wonderful things you have going for you.

I recommend that you keep in mind that every single human on this planet --even your coupled-up friends -- will ultimately die alone, but there's a distinct possibility that a man who possesses the qualities you desire is out there and hoping to spend life with a happy, peaceful woman like you.

It's highly possible he'll find you. But what if he doesn't? Could you be happy by yourself? What's stopping you from being happy by yourself?

Don't let anything stop you from being happy.

In the meantime, it's important to be kind, but it's also important to know what you want. This means that you give a good man a chance, but you do not fall into the lap of every male who shows you a little attention. You do not put up with bad behavior. You do not try to make yourself indispensible. You do not start doing the guy's laundry and cooking for him every night.

Let a man reach for you. The best ones always will.

I'm going to repeat myself, but I can't say it enough: Enjoy life. Make a decision to be happy. Laugh every single chance you get.

See what comes of it.

Friday, June 04, 2010

He Says She's Not Serious Relationship Material

Hi Terry,

Great blog and some great advice. I'd love to hear your take on my present man dilemma.

Almost a year ago I met a man online. The attraction was instant and the chemistry great; we also had a lot of fun together and some great conversations. After a couple of weeks though he became uncomfortable with the difference in our ages. I am 13 years older than him (though I don't look it) and so we broke it off. He called a few times after, but I was not interested.

However, a month or so later I found myself thinking of him fondly and called him. Once again we instantly hit it off and began hanging out together, initially as friends. Gradually we moved further and further away from the friend zone. I asked him if he was now comfortable with the age difference and no, he didn't come right out and say "hey no problem," but he sure came close. And so we got intimate physically.

All was going swimmingly. He referred to me as the girl he was dating. He asked me to come on a business trip with him to New York (at the time I couldn't get away) and we began spending more time together. And then whammo! He pulled back. When I asked him what was up, he said he still wasn't comfortable with the age difference, so therefore wasn't sure this could be a SERIOUS relationship, that he needed some time to get used to the idea, that he was more comfortable with the age thing than he was previously, but not completely. I was completely taken by surprise and pretty rattled. But I tried to stay cool. However, to be honest, I failed completely. In truth I felt rejected.

A friend told me not to take it so personally that if things worked out between us this would eventually seem like no big deal.I tried. I really did. But it stung that he wasn't sure I was serious relationship material because of my age. I started second guessing all his actions and words. For me, the ease and good will that had always existed between us just crumpled under my own stress and scrutiny.

Eventually I broke up with him because I couldn't stand how insecure I was becoming.

I should add here that a few years back I went through a brutal and nasty divorce, and I have been very reticent about getting involved with anyone for some time. Part of me wonders if much of the failure of this relationship lies with my own demons. I have to wonder if I had been the "cool chick" would he have come to see us as a potential serious relationship. Or do you believe if a guy is unsure, that means, "not really all that into you," and he never will be?

Thanks.

Older But Obviously None The Wiser


Dear Quite Wise:

You write:

"Eventually I broke up with him because I couldn't stand how insecure I was becoming."

Seriously, do you have any idea how wise that is? If only more people would back away from a diminishing relationship instead of trying to hunt it down and tie it to a post, the world would be a happier place.

Another person in your situation would have lain awake at night devising plans to make this guy realize that YOU ARE THE ONE FOR HIM, AND HE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT YOU!

Seriously, another person would have spent months and years on it. But you, no fool, realized that the situation was diminishing you. Despite the fact that you have feelings for the guy, you made the right choice and backed away.

I applaud you, and I respect you.

As for this man's reticence to get fully involved with a woman 13 years his senior, that's his thing. Ashton Kutcher and Katie Holmes notwithstanding, some people prefer to date people their own age. Let's give the guy credit for knowing what he wants (even if he seemed to change his mind for a bit).

I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned your reluctance to get involved with another man after a "nasty" and "brutal" divorce. Even the easiest and most amicable divorces are difficult, and having endured a rough one cannot make the prospect of being contractually bound to another human (and regularly trusting him with your body, emotions, and finances) a wholly attractive prospect.

I do think a lot of your attraction for this guy stemmed from his reluctance to get seriously involved with an older woman. After what you've been through, you're likely to be attracted to fun men who excite you but cannot commit for whatever reason. On the surface this results in pain, but it also protects you from ever having to go through a "nasty" and "brutal" divorce again.

I guess my best advice (and I'm only licensed to drive, remember) is to ask yourself if it's possible for you to enjoy a relationship with a man who's completely into you, and then if it's possible to be happily married to a man who's utterly and completely into being married to you.

On some level, you may not believe such a relationship or marriage is possible for you. So go out of your way to prove yourself wrong.

It may help to look around for examples of happily married people. It may help to watch how they treat each other. It will definitely help if you can put yourself in such a marriage on a mental plane. For example, feel yourself in such a relationship. Visualize it. (If you need help with this, check out my ebook.)

Mentally putting yourself in that relationship could be tough at first; such a relationship hasn't been your experience, but if you keep it up (daily; preferably twice, once in the morning and again before you fall off to sleep), it'll start to feel real. At that point, you will probably notice a shift in your feelings about relationships, a certain ease.

If anxiety persists, I recommend you look into Emotional Freedom Technique, which helped me relieve an anxiety problem that persisted after the death of my mother. Otherwise, you might seek an excellent therapist who can help you overcome your understandable fears about getting involved with another person ever again.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

How to Forget Him

A reader writes:

"... I don’t know HOW to forget him. I push thoughts of him out of my mind. But I dream about him at night, I wake up in a terrible mood. I tell myself that he was no good for me and that it wasn’t meant to be. I have been going out with other men, I have been expanding my social circle. I think its pathetic that I miss him BUT I DO. ICK."

Please stop being so hard on yourself. Getting over someone you cared for or loved is no lap across the pool. I've been there, so I know.

Have you given yourself time to truly grieve the loss? After a particularly bad (and surprising) breakup, I found myself taking to bed straight after work for about an hour to let it truly sink in: It's over. We're done. We've hit a wall, and there's no way around it.

It does help to let the pain sink in. Accept it. You know how it feels when you cut your finger? It stings horribly for a bit, and then it slowly starts to feel better. So, let this loss sting. (You may have to do this several times. I did.)

And, after you get out of bed, practice keeping him out of your mind, but be gentle with yourself. Whenever you find yourself struggling, gently remind yourself, "I can and will get over him." Say, "I refuse to let someone have this much power over me."

Whatever you do, don't talk about him. If others bring him up, change the subject. Keep telling yourself that you're moving on.

Other things that help: Getting rid of items that remind you of him. If there's a specific food or smell that you can't banish from your life but threatens to show up unbidden, you might surround yourself with that smell or eat that food until it loses its association.

Also, this may sound crazy, but you may want to rearrange the furniture in your house or apartment, so you can avoid thoughts like, "We were sitting right there when he...," and "We were having dinner in that corner, and he made laugh so hard I...."

Even if the guy never once appeared in your home, moving the furniture can make a space seem new and help you progress emotionally (I'm not a psychologist, but this kind of thing tends to work for me).

If you're ambitious, you might want to change the color of some rooms, and if you've been meaning to buy a new rug, this would be an excellent time to do it.

The goal is to put him in the past. Taking action will help you do it.

Again, be patient with yourself. Be kind. Falling in love is not for cowards. Give yourself credit for taking a chance. Know that in the end this experience will indeed make you stronger.

I hope this helps.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

All the Single Ladies: Have You Heard This One Lately?

Has this ever happened to you?

You're out having fun (at a family party, a barbecue, a reunion, whatever), and somebody (an aunt, a cousin, an individual you put up with in college but didn't really like) will slide up and inquire:

Are you seeing anybody?

or

Any prospects?

or

Do you think you'll ever get married?

And suddenly you're on the defensive, thinking of ways to convince this person that you're not defective, that you are actually a happy, successful, fully-functioning adult. (Shouldn't it be a crime in 2010 for people to demand from you why you're single and what you plan to do about it?)

The real problem here is that the question can often make the happiest, most successful, confident person feel somewhat...none of those things. But if it's asked of you, please know that many of your interrogators are unhappy in their own relationships. They may very well you resent you for the freedom being single gives you. So...

ALWAYS CONSIDER THE SOURCE.

In the case of people who truly care about you and "just want you to to be happy," smile and say, "Oh, I'm much too young to get married" when they start making inquiries.

SAY THIS EVEN IF YOU'RE SEVENTY.

I dislike the pressure people put on singles to "hook up" mainly because it can push those singles to date whatever comes along or -- worse -- put up with substandard behavior from a guy because they're "not getting younger" and they "need to stop being so picky."

(Definition of picky: Rejecting a loyal, loving, reliable, successful, fun man because he doesn't meet a height requirement. Or because he's bald. Or because you don't like his car. Face it, you gotta give a guy a chance.

Definitely not the definition of picky: Rejecting a guy who treats you poorly, demonstrates undesirable behavior, or is just wrong for you. Face it, you have to be attracted to a guy for a relationship to flourish.)


My advice to you is to love yourself. Take excellent care of yourself. Practice self-love, and you'll become irresistible to those who are capable of loving you and caring for you. You'll also drive people who want you to feel "less" because you don't have a man out of their tiny minds.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What to Do When He Says He Doesn't Want a Relationship

Thanks to the women who've brought the following subject to my attention, and thanks to Jeff Mac and Adam for inspiring this article.

At least three men have told me exactly what you must do when a guy
tells you he doesn't want (or isn't ready) for a relationship:

Believe him.

Here's the thing: A certain type of guy will tell a woman he doesn't
want a relationship. Then, instead of doing the honorable thing and
making himself scarce, he'll continue to hang around and take
what he can get.

The woman, in the meantime, tells herself a) he must care for her
more than he's willing to admit because he's hanging around, and
b) he'll change his mind and commit to her.

The thing is, he wasn't kidding. He doesn't want a relationship,
and when he finally decides he does, it's usually with someone
else.

The men I talked to said they all had friends who've pulled this stunt
and didn't feel guilty about it. They felt they'd been honest when
they announced they didn't want a relationship. The fact that
the woman continued to go along with things was her choice.

If you're in this situation, please get out. Please. Please. Get
out before you get hurt.

Make yourself busy. Make yourself scarce. Go out with old friends.
Make new friends. Start writing the novel, knitting the sweater,
planting the garden you've been putting off.

Also, it's much easier to forget a guy when you have others to
choose from (it's really hard to move on when you think the guy
you were with was THE only one for you. Get out and meet new
men.

Seriously, hold out for a better man. He's out there, and you deserve him.