Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Widower Question


This is a response to an anonymous comment I found on Dating a Widower. I'm responding here because I don't like the idea of anybody being frightened ever, let alone on New Year's Eve:

Now I'm really frightened. My "friend" lost his wife of 25 years after a long illness. She died 4 months ago also. Stan and I knew each other for years before she died, and I actually went to school with her and liked her very much. Russ and I have been dating for only a month, but it seems like the relationship is moving along in a nice way. We talk about his wife often, and I am very comfortable with it and his feelings. I have asked him several times if he thought he were emotionally ready to date since it's only been such a short time.

His reply was that when his wife was diagnosed with cancer 2.5 years ago his marriage changed, that he became her partner, care giver, support system. That he has been grieving the loss of his marriage for all that time. Russ and his wife had a good marriage and I have no doubt would have been married forever had she not have died. Maybe I am fooling myself, but when we talk about her it seems very natural, healthy, Russ talks about everything, not like she was just a saint, but the not so great things about their marriage too. We laugh and we get sad.

Russ says that some people don't understand that he isn't openly grieving, but that they don't understand about the greiving he has done for so long. When she was sick and I would run in to Russ, he would talk to me about her and the things they were going through at home, trust me he was grieving. I guess what I'm asking is, can he really be ready to be in an exclusive relationship, or am I to look forward to the backing in, backing out times, do I quit seeing him and give him the public grieving time he really doesn't want? Be his friend? Geezzz I'm so confused now after reading the other blogs. Please help me.



You know what, Anonymous? He says he's ready. He's acting like he's ready. Maybe he really is ready.

The tricky thing about relationships (whether you're dating a widower or not) is that there are never any guarantees. Not for me, not for you, not for Brad Pitt. Some relationships work out and some of them don't.

There's some comfort in that.

So far this man has given you no reason to doubt him, so enjoy yourself. Take things day by day. See what happens.

Best wishes for a fabulous new year filled joy, health, and prosperity.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

He Says He's Been Hurt and Won't Commit


Hi Terry,

I met this man four months ago and we hit it off right away. He was married for 20 years, and then got into a four year relationship four months after the divorce. His wife left him for another man, and the four year relationship broke his heart also.

Anyway, he would not ever make the commitment to me. He kept saying, I'm not sure I have the feelings I should have for you, it should just be there. The next minute he says, he's been hurt so bad he doesn't know if he can ever fall in love again. When he says he wants to stop seeing me, a few days or a week later, he emails to tell me he misses me and he thinks about me all the time.

This last time he emailed me he said that he was in a committed relationship but wasn't happy and thought about me all the time, this is after we hadn't seen each other for a month, so we got together again and he was in love with me and going to let the other relationship go to pursue a relationship with me.

That lasted a week and now he says he's not sure he has the feelings he should have for me and he doesn't for the other lady either, and he's confused. He has not left the other lady yet he says because of the holidays, and they had plans, but he was going to right after the holidays. After talking for awhile, he says that I'm right, he's just confused and he wants to give us a chance now and he's going to commit to do that.

Is this the behaviour of a man that has been hurt so badly that he can't commit and may never be able to love again, as he says?

In the last two and a half years, he has gone from one relationship to another. I think he loves me and that scares him, and that if he would just give us a chance, he would overcome the fear and be happy. What do you think? Is there any advice you can give me to help him move forward in his life?

Thank you.

K.-


Dear K.-

You sound like a nice person. You sound like a nice person who does not deserve to be treated like a ping-pong ball days before Christmas.

You are allowing this man to call all the shots in your relationship. He is taking very good care of himself, thank you, while you're left wondering how you can help him.

He says he's going to dump the other woman he's dating after the holidays. Wow. What a guy. He doesn't want to break plans with her, so he'll continue to let her think things are progressing happily between them, and then BAM! Happy 2009!

Put yourself in her place.

But he's confused, poor boy, and so we're all supposed to rally around him and help him figure things out. And the one who manages to convince him that she truly understands him--will never hurt him-- will be the winner. She'll get the prize!

HIM!

Except if you stand back and look closely, he may not be much of a prize. You said it yourself: In the past couple of years, he's gone from one relationship to the other. His wife left him for another man. Okay, maybe she was a heartless witch, or maybe-- just maybe--she wasn't. (There are two sides to every story.) Then he dated another woman for four years, and she broke his heart.

Why is everybody breaking this guy's heart? Seems to me he's out breaking everybody else's.

In the end, you can't convince anybody you're the one for him. You can't help him move on with his life. He has to do it for himself.

WHAT YOU CAN DO is come to terms with the fact that you deserve better than this. You shouldn't have to spend the holidays wondering if and when this guy is going to lower the boom on the other woman and come back to you.

(Because even if he did, do you really want to be looking over your shoulder, wondering when he's going to do it to you?)

The next time he calls you and tells you he's thinking about you all the time, tell him to keep thinking. Because you've moved on.

Let this be your mantra:

I DESERVE BETTER. I DESERVE BETTER. I DESERVE BETTER.

I CAN DO BETTER!

Because you can.

Banish this individual from your mind. Spend your time with people who support you and make you feel good about yourself. By all means, steer clear of small-minded creeps who make you feel defective because you're not in a committed relationship.

Treat yourself as you would a beloved child.

Merry Christmas. I'm saying a big prayer for you and wishing you all the very best. Here's to a happy, prosperous, and blessed 2009 filled to the brim with a love that never, ever makes you wonder.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dating a Widower at Christmas


Hi Terry,

I am one of your readers who's come across a tough dating issue.

I am single. I met a man 18 years older than me. His wife just passed away less than one year ago. We seemed to be getting along well, dating, taking dance lessons twice a week, and occasionally having sex.

Recently, his attitude suddenly changed. He wrote me an email, which I'd like you to help me understand. Is there any hidden meaning here? Should we stop dating? Or is it just a song?

Here are the contents of the email:

"(As the song goes....Que Sera Sera.....Whatever Will Be Will Be......who are we to choose ?...... that is something for GOD to decide and I don't think anyone can interfere.......)."

Thank you very much in advance.

-C.


Hello, C.-

Usually, it takes more than a couple of months to get over the death of a spouse, so I'm going to guess that your dance partner hit the ballroom before he was emotionally ready to do so.

Sometimes after a person's spouse dies, well-meaning friends advise them to "get out there" and "keep busy" before they've had a chance to process the loss. I'm not a bereavement counselor, but I do know that after my mother died, my father and the rest of us had a rough time facing that first year of birthdays and holidays without her.

So, here we are a couple of days before Christmas, and your friend's attitude has suddenly changed. He and his wife used to spend Christmas together, and he will wake up this year without her. The emotions he'd been suppressing by "getting out there" are coming to a head.

That's not to say I like the "Que Sera" email. Whatever will be will be, and while the future is not ours to see, you certainly have the right to choose whether or not you will continue to be this man's dance partner.

I don't know whether he wants to stop dating. I don't know if he even knows. I do know that it usually takes more than a few months to get over the death of a spouse (I'm repeating myself, but this is important).

If I were you, I'd treat this man kindly, but I wouldn't let him call the shots. You might meet him for fewer dance lessons (or none at all). You might keep your options open and date other people.

I would definitely cut out the sex.

It appears he's asking for space, so by all means give it to him. But give yourself the love, care, and consideration you deserve. Treat yourself as a treasure that's yet to be discovered.

He's taking care of himself. Please take care of yourself.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who Would Marry This Person?



Drew Peterson, the four-times-married 54-year-old whose third wife turned up dead in a bathtub, and whose fourth wife disappeared and never turned up at all, claims he is newly engaged to a 23-year-old.

Why any woman would find this individual remotely attractive is beyond me, but experts have been weighing in with theories (some women have an unusual need for excitement, others just suffer from cripplingly low self-esteem).

Peterson himself has claimed that women frequently hand him their phone numbers.

In better news, a good friend told me yesterday that her brother, a nice and normal divorced man in his early 50s, is enjoying a serious relationship.

"Is the woman around his age?" I asked (I really didn't have to ask; I instinctively knew the answer).

"Yes," my friend answered. "They like to do a lot of the same things. He's happy. For the first time in a long time, he feels really good about the future."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mama's Boy

I just got word that my book club meeting tonight is cancelled due to bad weather. Damn! I was looking forward to that hummus and wine.

So....

I'm not proud to admit this, but I'll probably tune into NBC's new sub-reality show, Momma's Boys, in which three overbearing mothers oversee their sons' choices of potential mates.

Check out the clip from this morning's Today Show. Am I a glutton for punishment, or what? (This review by Los Angeles Times critic Robert Lloyd says I definitely am.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Attracting Men When You're Over 40


Hi Terry!

I am in my late 40s, never been married, and most of my friends are now married or in serious relationships, so my whole social group have almost instantly disappeared), and I am very social and used to having things to do every night). I work from home, so don't meet a lot of new people these days and most of my activities are not conducive to meeting men e.g. going to the gym to exercise classes which are all women etc.

I would love to be in a relationship, but my challenge is how to meet new/eligible/straight/unmarried men! I toyed a bit with on-line (although I may not have given it a fair try), but the guys on-line my age are looking for 20 year olds and even though I am a beautiful woman - I don't think that beauty comes across in my photos, so I don't think the on-line medium does me justice. I have a high level of education and I speak several languages and am looking for someone with an international perspective - sometimes I think it's where I live that limits me, but I talk to people in New York/ Washington, all over the country and world and it seems these men are few and far between.

So my question to you is -- if the on-line dating scene creeps me out (which it does) - what other avenues are there for being proactive in meeting decent men! As I said, I am far from shy and once in front of people can easily break the ice. It's just that I am not meeting them!! I never used to think age was an issue - but I guess in this situation maybe it is?

Looking forward to your perspective on this.

-M


Dear M.-

Yeah, a lot of guys in their 40s do look for younger women (just as more women in their 40s look for younger men), but, believe me, men who want to date a women their own age exist.

Some men really do prefer to date someone who was about their age in 1980; it gives makes them feel they have something in common, it makes it fun to reminisce, and it helps the woman fit in more easily with their friends.

Speaking of friends, when ours marry or become involved in serious relationships, a lot of them definitely disappear (very annoying, I know). The challenge is to always be meeting new people.

You're in the gym, and that's great. Are you making friends there? Who cares that they're all women? Make a friend and see where it leads. She may have a brother or a cousin or a co-worker who wants to meet a woman just like you. (Just don't drop her when you do meet someone special. We all need friends.)

You work from home. Is there a coffee place in your neighborhood where you could spread out with a newspaper and take a 45-minute break several times a week? The coffee places in my neighborhood tend to attract men with laptops. Become a regular. See who you meet.

Pick a night and go to a bookstore with a cafe. Choose some books, buy yourself a coffee, and hang out. The great thing about bookstores is that nobody will think you're weird if you're in there by yourself, and you're approachable if you're alone. Become a regular. If they have an open-mic night, be sure to go.

Find a friend and go to a high-end restaurant for drinks. In other words, go where educated men go, like a good steakhouse. (I know of one celebrated steakhouse that actually offers free drinks to women during certain hours; in other words, they get a lot of men hanging around, and they want more women.)

It's key that you go in there focused on enjoying your friend's company (avoid looking like you're on the make). Once in a while, splurge for dinner there. Become a regular. Treat the bartender well (once they get to know you, bartenders can be an excellent source of introductions).

Volunteering is a beautiful way to meet people, too. Try Volunteer Match or Habitat for Humanity.

Be a beacon of light wherever you go, whether it's to the supermarket or the dry cleaner or to the library (did I tell you the story about the ex-nun who met her very well-to-do husband when she worked as a clerk in a company library?). You never know who'll you'll meet, who'll see you, who'll know someone you'd like to know.

But, before you ever leave the house, it's important to know what you're looking for in a man, and I'm talking about more than just his looks and income. Look for honesty, a sense of humor, and generosity, for a start. Pull out a pen and write it down! Build that man in your imagination. Believe that he exists and is on his way to you.

While your beauty and education certainly have value, in the end you don't want to be loved for them. Embody the qualities you want in the man you attract (in other words, be the person you want to date).

You can't miss.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dating vs. Hooking Up


Today's New York Times published a provocative piece by Charles M. Blow about the under-30 population's attitude toward dating. According to my teenage friend, what the article says is true: It's all about the hookup.

"There are girls in my school who find a new guy every week, and then come to school and brag about it."

"Really? I said. "Because I sure hope they're using protection. People can get really sick, you know." (Couldn't resist this opportunity to mention the disease-preventative properties of condoms.)

Back to Blow's article: He finishes it by calling the whole phenomenon "sad." I'm inclined to agree, but most of the people who commented on the piece clearly do not.

Read Blow's article here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Does He Like You (Or Does He Just Need an Ego Boost)?


Just yesterday I sent a piece to my mailing list about men who flirt madly with you, capture your interest, and then...nothing.

Coincidentally, today Manslator Jeff Mac advised a woman who's wondering whether one of these types is truly interested in her, or if he's merely making eyes to give himself a major ego boost. It's great to get a male perspective on these matters, so check out Jeff's take here.

Perceptive Jeff is also the author of the hot new and humorous book, Manslations: Decoding the Secret Language of Men.

Date Safely


My favorite Irish correspondent wrote today to advise me of the term "sexual kleptomaniac," which describes a clown who'll say and do whatever it takes to get a woman into bed.

At the same time, New York investigators were trying to find out what happened to a 25-year-old woman who disappeared after leaving a club with a sexual predator named Michael Mele. Allegedly, this creep has a long track record of aggression and deviance, and the long arm of the law is finally catching up with him.

It's my fervent belief that most men are not sexual kleptomaniacs or deviants like Michael Mele (not by a long shot), but how do you protect yourself from the ones who are, especially if you're meeting guys online? Dating Coach and Manifesting Mr. Right author Ronnie Ann Ryan offers some good tips.

To read them, click here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

He Loves Her, But She's Abusive


Terry-

I don't really want to talk to my friends about this problem because it's kind of embarrassing.

The girl that I'm dating I love very much. We get along really good. But when we fool around she can get really physical. I'm in pretty good shape. I'm about 5'7, I box, and I also help teach boxing courses at the gym.

Well, the girl I'm dating is a bit taller (5'11) and a little bit bigger than me. Not fat, just thicker. I'm only about 145 and she's about 160. Maybe I'm saying all of this to justify my question so it doesn't look so dumb.

When we fool around, I can tell she's a bit stronger than I am. That alone kind of bothers me. But it is what it is. I have a pretty small waist and lean muscle while she has pretty big hips and bigger leg muscles.

This wouldn't be that big of a deal if she didn't get too physical. It's like she enjoys trying to hurt me.

Like if I'm on top she'll wrap her legs around really tight at times. I tell her to stop. But sometimes she'll actually get mad and want to stop. But I don't know what else to do. I can't even catch a deep breath and it feels like my ribs are going to crack in. I'm really not trying to exaggerate this. But it's not any fun for me. And it's nothing I can talk to my friends about. They would think I was a ......... a really weak guy.

She gets mad if I ask her to please me "down there". But I do that like 10 times to her 1 time she ever does it for me. Many times she'll make us stop fooling around completely.

Again, I'm not exaggerating about this. And, to make matters worse she has me lay on my back with her straddling over my face. Opposed to her laying on her back. But then she grinds so hard. Sometimes pushing down so hard that I can't catch a breath. THEN she'll get upset at me for "squirming" too much!!

When we are not fooling around it's GREAT. That's so odd to say. You'd think that I would like to fool around with her. I do and I would more. But it seems that the longer we've been together the more this element has been coming up.

Then there's the embarrassing factor. I want to be a boxer. I don't need to think I'm the toughest guy in the world. I'm clearly not. I can live with her being physically stronger. But when she's in the mood, and in that particular mood I get intimidated.

I would never hit her. Never ever ever. But, she's squeezed my ribs so hard at times that I have had to miss sparring. I'll even tell her before fooling around that I have sparring over the next couple of weeks (I can make okay $$ being a sparring partner). There have already been 2 times when I couldn't do that because of her acting like Kathleen Turner in War of the Roses

Is there any chance she'll lose interest in doing this/acting this way? Is she trying to show me that she's in charge when we fool around? Should I end the relationship? But if I do that, I could see her telling people about her hurting me and me being weak, not able to 'handle' her. That would be embarrassing.

-Frustrated


Dear Frustrated:

Before I give you my opinion (you don't sound like a weak guy, for one thing), here's what the website of the National Domestic Violence Hotline has to say:

"Abuse is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Battering is a behavior that physically harms, arouses fear, prevents a partner from doing what they wish or forces them to behave in ways they do not want.

Battering includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

If you think you might be in an abusive relationship please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or your local domestic violence center to talk with someone about it."

Note the bit in the third paragraph about gender. It's a myth to think that only men are capable of abuse in relationships. Women are more than capable of it, too, whether it's physical or emotional (but it's underreported because a lot of men fear being perceived as weak). If a woman had written to me about a man rendering her unable to work, I would tell her to run for her life.

As I said before, you don't sound like a weak guy. At all. You're hanging out with boxers, but a cursory glance around a mall near you will prove you're stronger and fitter than 96% of the US population.

You sound like a decent guy who's in love with a woman who treats you well when you're not in the sack. But once you hit the sack, she transforms into a creature who gets upset at you for wanting to keep your airway unobstructed. She stops the action because it's all about her, and you're not doing things according to her demands.

You say this behavior is escalating. The woman has injured you to the point where you were unable to work. This is absolutely not okay.

Just because you're a man, it doesn't mean you should let her behavior slide. You already know it's not okay, or you wouldn't have written to me.

Here's the tricky thing: You say you love her. Things may be great between you most of the time, but does it really make up for the other nonsense? If you stay with her, what will your life look like 10 years from now? Will you have been able to achieve your goals as a boxer? Can you imagine being married to her?

You say that if you break if off, you could see her telling people about hurting you and that you're weak. What kind of person would say such things? And if she does say them, would they reflect on her or you?

I'm guessing it would not be you.

I don't know this woman, and I don't know what else she's capable of. If you decide to get out of the relationship, and she makes things dangerous for you, please make a call to the good people at the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

You wouldn't be the first man to do it.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Have Her Chances for Love Passed Her By?



Terry-

You are so fortunate to have found your life partner and have a nice life. I am almost sixty years old and have waited patiently all of my life for my life partner.

A college graduate from a private women's college, I returned home to find my classmates married. I live in a small town and have worked in a variety of fields and eventually worked my way up from teller to vice president in a local bank. I currently am a caregiver to my 93 year old father. Have always been the caregiver to my parents and siblings. Also take care of an animal shelter by myself.

Do not get asked out because most of the men are married (they flirt a lot). The single men are divorced and too scared to get into another relationship (they can barely talk).

I really expected to have a husband and family, but no one ever chose me. I am approachable and speak to people. People whom I don't know even speak to me for advice when I am out shopping. I have worked with women who got divorced and the next day there was a line of guys wanting to date them. Meanwhile I was totally ignored by men.

About three years ago, a guy who I have known for twenty years made his move. He is a very intelligent doctor who has a practice nearby but lives an hour away. He seems to care about me but never asked me out or gave me any flowers or gifts. He has been divorced three times but that was before I knew him. He told me about his parents and siblings (he has no children) but didn't show me his house or introduce me to his family.

Two years ago I broke my collarbone and he was the first doctor to treat me. Then he never checked on my progress - no calls, did not come by, no soup, nothing. I was shocked that he wasn't concerned. He also treats my family and wants to make sure I can reach him and have all of his phone numbers.

Well, this relationship is hopeless and in the past two years I have aged a lot. It is the holidays and once again I must go through them alone.

I have prayed to God for years and sat in church with all of the married men and jealous wives. Just think that God forgot me. I don't get anything for Valentine's Day and I usually buy my own birthday gifts. Don't get to celebrate anniversaries and go on nice trips. Mainly just work all the time. This past Spring I did make an effort to go to several concerts by myself for a change of pace. Just have a lot less energy now. It amazes me how so many people found their life partners.

-D.


Dear D.-

You didn't ask for any advice, so I won't give you any.

I will say this, though: I don't believe God forgot you (I don't believe he forgets anybody). I do believe that age is irrelevant. If you're in good health, age doesn't matter. (My husband's aunt is vital and healthy at 104; my husband's brother, an athlete, died of an aneurysm at 20.)

As far as finding my life partner, it was less about finding someone to choose me and more about determining what I wanted in a man, and then deciding that I "had" him.

This took concentrated effort. It meant acting as if, thinking as if, believing as if the guy truly existed on a daily basis in my life, house, and car. For example, I stopped sleeping in the middle of the bed to make room for him.

This may sound like hocus-pocus, but I conditioned my subconscious mind to believe this man and our relationship existed. What the subconscious mind accepts as reality, it brings to pass. There are lots of good books on this subject, including Positive Imaging: The Powerful Way to Change Your Life
by Norman Vincent Peale.

Just so you know: Prior to meeting my husband of 16 years, my longest relationship lasted nine months. And it was a disaster.

I don't believe for one minute that love is out of the question for you.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

When Your Love's Dishonest


This email came from a guy, but I'm pretty sure we can all relate:

Hello, Terry-

If your girlfriend does something dishonest, what's the best way to handle it?

Your friend,
F.


Dear F.-

It depends on what they did. If the person in question snatched a shot glass from a bar, I'd be turned off. But if I really liked him (or, in your case, her) I'd probably say something like, "That's stealing, isn't it?" and listen carefully to his response.

Eh, who am I kidding? I probably wouldn't date him again.

As for people who lie, I don't have much patience for them, either. If a guy told me I looked great even if I knew I didn't, I might chalk up his lack of honesty to kindness, but I'd think twice about asking his opinion again.

Since none of us is perfect, it's possible that a stupid fib will pop out of someone's mouth during a moment of insecurity, and that's probably okay as long as the person takes pains to be honest in the future. We're all capable of little lapses in honesty -- in our words and in our actions -- every now and then. It's how we handle ourselves afterwards that matters. We must strive to do better the next time.

But if I were with a guy who lied to me (or to anyone else) as a means of getting through the day, I'd definitely kiss him goodbye.

Life is complicated enough without having to figure out what's real and what isn't. When you're in a long-term relationship, it contributes greatly to your piece of mind to be able to trust your partner. You can't build happiness on a shaky foundation.

In case you're wondering if I ever lied to my husband, I did. Once. I made up some silly story to get him to a surprise party. While he really enjoyed the party (and the gesture), he did express concern about how well I lied to him about it. It did make him wonder what else I was capable of lying about.

I made it a policy never to lie to him again, and I hold him to the same standard. Years ago, I fell in love with a liar, and it cost me many months of sleep, not to mention my self-esteem.

If you're an honest man, you deserve to date an honest woman. She's out there. Accept nothing less.

-Terry

Monday, December 01, 2008

She's In No Rush to Get Married--Is She Weird, or What?


Hi Terry,

I guess that first I would like to commend you on the advice you give others with their pressing life's questions. You seem to analyze things the same way that I do, and I guess that's why I wanted to come foreward and ask you a question of my own.

First off I am only 21 years old (still very young I know), but I've recently found out that my views on marriage are so much more different than everyone else's that I have come across. I have been with my boyfriend, the love of my life and my best friend, for two and a half years, and unlike most people I am not expecting an engagement ring any time soon. I don't feel that we have been together long enough to receive such a gift.

I read about people wanting rings after only a year or sometimes even less and getting them, and it makes me nervous in my stomach. Forever is a very long time and to base so much on such a short time would make me uneasy.

But on another note there is no doubt that my boyfriend and I will be together forever as we tell each other often. We share dreams of having a home, children, dogs, and maybe even some day a cottage by a river. We sometimes lay awake a night and collectively daydream about what dreams we have the future (now if we can ever agree on a son's name lol). He's the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I cannot imagine my life without him. I feel like as long as I have him, and we continue working towards our future I'm happy and don't need anything else, and I know he feels the same.

But then there is the topic of marriage. Currently both of our parents are going through nasty separations. My parents are separating from a 22 year marriage and his mother is divorcing from her second marriage, this one of 16 years. Both of our mothers are already dating and have not had communication with us in almost a year. We're both going through the same thing, and so have been able to offer each other a lot of support. But I think that these ordeals have made us both afraid of marriage.

Through the past 2 and a half years with him I've realized that I don't need a ring to prove that he loves me or that I love him. That we don't need a piece of paper to stay together forever and to make each other happy. We both put equal parts into the relationship and keeping a happy home with our two cats. I realized that the only reason I would want to get married would be to have his last name and to wear that beautiful dress, and I really don't need either. As long as I have him to make me laugh, to share my dreams with, to hug me when I cry, and encourage me when I'm down I don't see why I need a ring and a rock. Am I completely crazy and off the radar that I'm not crying for a ring?

Sure some days I often think that the party would be fun and that our relationship wouldn't change with marriage (just because we're both so aware of what happens) but is it wrong or odd of me to not feel pressured to be married by society and family? For me to not become crushed if there's not a promise ring for me in a box under the tree (We always agreed promise ring before engagement ring and puppies before babies)? I almost feel like a black sheep.

When we talk about how we feel about marriage I feel fine but then when we're around all of our friends who are engaged and having children, they laugh at our idea and are taken back by the fact we're not in a rush to get married. Why does it make me feel like I'm weird? I read these questions about people ready to end a six-month relationship because they don't have a ring yet, and I can't help but wonder why I have no desire to get one. If he ever asks my answer is yes because I know we'll get through any problems together, but will we ever get over our fear of marriage?

I know its a long email but you seemed like the one person I could explain my problem to without any ridicule. There's multiple problems in this I know. The fear of marriage and the pressure of society. Its a small problem compared to some but I just need to know that I'm not weird (Which I use the word weird for lack of another more fitting word). I hope I didn't confuse you too much, and I hope I hear from you soon.

-T


Hello, T-

Thanks for the kind words.

Now, do I think you're weird? On the contrary, I think you're smart, self-aware, and show incredible wisdom for a person of any age, let alone 21 years.

Let's talk about your age. You're 21, and society chides you because you're in a relationship but not pining for a ring. You're barely out of school, finding your way in the world, deciding what's right and what's not right for you, and somehow this makes you weird.

But you're not. You haven't allowed other people to make decisions for you. You know your own mind. You are to be respected, not chided.

Now about the fear of marriage. Again, you're 21. Your parents and your boyfriend's mother are in the middle of what you term "nasty" divorces. Well, really, who in your position--and in her right mind-- wouldn't think twice before she legally bound herself to another person?

The truth is, many people don't get married because they're in love. They get married because "it's time" or "everybody else is doing it" or because they promised themselves they'd beat their sister, roommate, or cousin to the altar (seriously, some people do this).

It's insane.

You and your boyfriend, on the other hand, seem to be working out very carefully what you want out of life together. Believe me when I tell you that so many engaged and married people don't have the conversations you're having. They buy a ring, buy a dress, and wing the rest. They wake up a year or two years or five years later wondering if one or the other is ever going to want children, or if they're ever going to agree on when to swap the one-bedroom in the city for a house in the suburbs.

Eventually, a lot of them give up trying to convince the other and divorce.

Will you ever get over your fear of marriage? I don't know. You and your boyfriend might consider counseling to work through your very natural and intelligent concerns. Or you may just keep going at the pace that feels comfortable and see how things unfold.

All the very best to you,

Terry

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. It's fun and free of the pressure of having to run around and get just the right gift for everybody from Grandma to the doorman.

Today we're headed to my brother and his fiancee's house to celebrate with all the Hernons (first time our schedules have allowed us to be in the same room together in a long time).

Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, have a brilliant weekend. If you're so inclined, check out my article, Still Single for the Holidays? Lucky You.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Loving a Younger Man



Conventional wisdom used to say that only men like Jack Nicholson and Mick Jagger got away with dating much-younger members of the opposite sex, but everyday women are dating--and marrying--guys young enough to be their own sons in increasingly greater numbers.

The December issue of More magazine features a fascinating essay by E.D. Cohen, a woman who, at the age of 37, married a 21-year-old man.

Women like Cohen have become so prevalent that BBC America produced a documentary about relationships between younger men and older women called Sugar Mummies, to which the Today show devoted a segment last week. Meredith Vieira interviewed Linda Franklin of The Real Cougar Woman and Valerie Gibson, author of Cougar-A Guide For Older Women Dating Older Men.

The AARP reports that 30% of women over 40 are dating younger men.

Got you thinking? Dating coach Ronnie Ann Ryan helps you figure out which type of younger man is right for you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

He's Cute, He Has a Great Job, But...


Hi Terry,

I met this guy three months ago who says he really likes me. He's 30 years old, handsome, and has a very nice well-paying job. When I met him, he was living in another town, but he said he has had no girlfriend since June last year. One day I told him that I would like to visit him, and he told me that I couldn't visit him there unless when he moves to a new town - which is where I live.

This guy is now in the same area where I live. His house should be about 10 minutes drive from my house, and yet he has never invited me or given me directions to his house. He calls me every few days just to say he likes me and is thinking about me. He passes through my house once in two weeks for about 30 minutes just to say hi. I have asked him whether he has a girlfriend, and he has said no. He says I am the one he would like to be his girlfriend. Since I am just coming out of an abusive relationship, I don't want to make the same mistake twice. I find his behavior very suspicious and would like to cut him out of my life before things progress.

His looks are very tempting, but I would rather consider his character and personality first since I was deceived by looks before. I ask myself why he hides his house-what else is he keeping me from knowing?

His behavior is suspicious, isn't it? I haven't called or returned his calls for over a week because of my suspicions.

Thanks.

M.


Dear M.-

Your instincts are excellent. This man's words do not match his actions, and I wouldn't waste another minute thinking about him until they do.

Since you've suffered an abusive relationship, you're right to be careful. I'm sending you an article about how one person got past a similar experience. I hope you'll find it useful.

Thank you for writing.

All the very best,

Terry

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is This It? She Wants to Feel More of an Attraction


Dear Terry,

You are so incredibly sweet and sound so genuine. I truly appreciate how much care and dedication you put in your writing. I wish you all the succcess in the world!

I have a question which I'm sure you have an answer for. You see, I'm currently in a relationship with a wonderful man! I love him dearly. He has so many wonderful qualities, not to mention being an excellent cook and musician. I know you always tell us "not to settle," which is excellent advice, and I don't think I'm necessarily settling in this instance (although I could be wrong), but one question pops up in my mind which I've been concerned about.

I have used the law of attraction to attract my honey; however, in that process I didn't always feel a surge of romantic passion emerge. Since God has blessed me with this wonderful person, my attraction towards him has grown considerably; however, it's weak in comparison to the attraction I've felt towards men who haven't treated me nicely in the past.

Do I have this relative feeling of low romance towards him because of my own insecurities? I think that I'm going through a transition phase at the moment, hence why I was able to attract this great guy into my life, but what I need to work on is loving myself more. In that case, do you think my attraction towards who I think is Mr. Right will continue to grow? I feel so silly for asking this since it seems like I've already figured it out but I just want a confirmation from someone who seems to have her act together in this area.

Also, do you have any suggestions, or is wanting to feel greater attraction for your significant other an act of settling? Though I don't think it is, any help on this matter is greatly appreciated. Also, I really do want to make this relationship work because I believe it's the right thing to do-we both share the same aspirations, attitude towards life, and like I said I do love him dearly. It's just that I want to feel a greater depth of attraction!

-Confused


Dear Confused:

Thanks for the extremely kind words.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned your attraction to men who didn't-- or don't-- treat you well. In a lot of cases, women do find themselves drawn to substandard men because they suffer from low self-esteem. Other women suffer from plain old fear of commitment. They dig bad boys because on a subconscious level, they know they'll never have to look at him every day for the rest of their lives.

So, now you have a happy relationship with a man with whom you have a lot in common. He treats you well. You love him. But still you have this nagging feeling: Is this all there is? And why am I still thinking about So-and-So?

Let me be clear about settling. I wouldn't settle for a man who doesn't love me. I wouldn't settle for a man I don't love. I wouldn't settle for a man to whom I'm attracted but mistreats me.

If you love this guy, and he loves you, and your attraction is growing, keep going. See where you're headed. It's not settling.

But ask yourself if you'd like him better if he treated you worse. Really think about this. You certainly wouldn't be the first person saddled with the I-Refuse-to-Join-Any-Club-That-Would-Have-Me-as-a-Member Syndrome.

If you decide you suffer from it, do this: Imagine yourself married to one of the yo-yos you mistreated you. Bring to mind all the things you did not like about him (you know, the ones we conveniently forget when we're in the throes of a pleasant memory). Perhaps he used to go around with hair coming out of his ears, or he liked to make up his own words. Or something. You get the idea.

How would you like waking up to that for the rest of your life? Or going to bed wondering if he and his hairy ears are ever coming home?

If you decide you don't suffer from the I-Refuse Syndrome, ask yourself if you harbor reservations about long-term relationships or marriage. A lot of us do and don't even realize it. We just walk around wondering why we keep being attracted to unsuitable guys.

Ask yourself, "What would marriage look like on a day-to-day basis?" This'll help you figure out if you fear ending up horribly bored, abused, or a miserable chain-smoker in track pants like Aunt Louise. Do some digging to root out any nagging concerns that could be distracting you from your current relationship.

Examine the horrifying scenarios you come up with, and then ask yourself, "Is something like this guaranteed to happen? Can something better happen? What would it be?" And focus on that. Some people are happily married all their lives. Is it possible that you and this fellow could be two of those people?

Finally, you say that your attraction is growing for him. So give it time. What's the rush? Maybe your attraction for him will keep growing. Or maybe you'll decide that he'd make a great friend, and your relationship will turn out to be a dress rehearsal for something else.

Again, give it time. By all means, work on loving yourself more. (And if we all work on being more loving in general, the world will be a better place.)

Take your relationship day by day. Enjoy it. Let it become what it will be. Above all, stop worrying so much about it.

Have fun.

-Terry

Monday, November 17, 2008

Should She Remain Friendly With an Ex?


I have a quick question, Terry....

Do you think women should stay friends with an ex..whether that be a guy they've only dated a few times or for a longer period? I mean when the guy has been the one to either not initiate a romance, or he's just moved on?

-Sian


Hi, Sian-

It all depends on how the woman feels about him.

If she's harboring feelings for the guy, it makes it really hard to stay friends. It might be best for her to merely smile and wave when she runs into him--and then keep moving. She shouldn't be unfriendly to the guy (unless he's been a real jerk), but if being around him makes her feel uncomfortable, sad, or woefully unattractive, there's no point in trying to be his buddy (especially if it distracts her from meeting someone else who would make her happy).

But if it doesn't bother her that the guy moved on after a couple of dates, or that she doesn't light him up, why shouldn't she befriend him? They could have great times together. He just might introduce her to other interesting people and invite her to excellent parties, as well.

-Terry

Friday, November 14, 2008

She Wants a Commitment


Dear Terry:

I'm a 50 year old single woman (who looks and acts 35!) and have been "seeing" a man 13 years younger than myself. He lives in another part of the state. We have been seeing each other for 5 1/2 years now, and he shows no signs of wanting a committed relationship.

He says he is not ready to be in a committed relationship, but that he loves my company, and that it would break his heart if I stopped seeing him. When we first started seeing each other, he used to tell me he loved me all the time, but he doesn't say it anymore. As you can tell, I have been 5 and 1/2 years patient. He is a kind and gentle man and very intelligent, which is a big turn on to me, not to mention the passion we have in the intimate department.

We call each other every two weeks or so, and visit each other once a month, more or less. Sometimes I want to tell him "I can't see you any more because I deserve to be loved by someone who loves me just as much or more than I love them....", but I feel like there is no one else out there for me. I go out dancing almost every week end with friends (love to country western dance!) but have not met any one worth giving time to. Any advice?

-Dancer


Dear Dancer:

You do deserve to be with someone who loves you as much as you love him, but there's no point in telling it to the guy you're seeing now.

If you've been with me for a while, you know I believe (from my own experience) that the best way to get what what you want is to know what you want. So far, the guy you've been with seems to have most of the qualities you want, minus one: The ability or the inclination to make a commitment.

If you decide to stop seeing him, I don't know that you have to make a big announcement about it. You might just taper off your calls and visits. If you decide to keep seeing him, ask yourself if your passion for him will hinder you from moving on to someone else who's hoping to meet a woman he can love and marry.

So, let's work on meeting that guy.

First, get over the belief that there's not another man out there for you. There is.

Then write an affirmation which includes the qualities you want in that man:

"I, _________________, am happily married to a faithful, fun, passionate, intelligent, (fill in the blanks) who loves me and never lets me forget it."

And feel it that "reality" with all your senses.

Then act "as if:" What would your day look like if you were with such a person? More important, what would it feel like? What would it be like to wake up beside this person in the morning? What would you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Touch?

You'll find that, with practice, your imagination will fill in the details. As time goes on, you'll convince your subconscious that this new man and this relationship is real in your life--and then watch out!

You've been wise to keep yourself busy by dancing with your friends, doing something you love, but why not shake things up a bit and add something new to your routine, as well. Why not check out an open mic night at a coffee shop or become a regular in a bookstore cafe? The great thing about bookstores: You will look perfectly normal hanging around there on your own.

By all means, keep dancing. But remember that wonderful men can show up anywhere: in the supermarket, at the bank, at the cleaners. Wonderful men can also turn out to be the friends, cousins, and brothers of the people you meet in those places.

So, be sure to spread love, kindness, and good humor as you go about your day. It will come back to you in kind.

Above all, don't worry about being 50. If you keep yourself in good shape and radiate a youthful attitude (and apparently you do), nobody really cares. If you're young at 50, chances are you're going to be young at 60, 70, and 80. (This will remain to be seen of a 30-year-old, who may think herself into old age by 40.)

Keep loving yourself, loving others, and getting out of the house, and you'll do just fine.

P.S. This just in: Check out Jeannette Maw's Good Vibe Blog to find out what Oprah had on her vision board. What a great Story!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jerks Who Sometimes Show Up in Bars


Today's "Dear Abby" featured a letter from a psychologist who has lately been getting calls from men looking to talk to one particular woman.

Apparently, the woman meets these guys in bars. Either she's too timid to reject them outright or she's a sadist, and so she hands them a trusty phony phone number which, it turns out, belongs to the psychologist. Now the psychologist is rattled about having to field numerous texts and messages from Miss Chickenheart's ardent admirers.

I've known women who do this sort of thing, and I've heard there's even a phone service they can use to do their dirty work. They use some guy for free drinks all night and give him the service's number instead of their own. Then, when he calls, he gets some horrific canned message announcing that the object of his affection never wants hear from him again.

Not funny.

But guys pull this crap, too. A good friend of mine once seriously dated a guy who bragged about going to bars to see how many women's phone numbers he could collect. At the end of the night, he'd count them up and rip them into pieces. What a rush!

Seemed a bit psycho to me at the time, but the fact that he'd kept my friend's number made her feel like she'd bagged a shimmering prize. She continued dating him until she found out he was seeing someone else: His stepsister.

Which made me wonder if the stepsister was the type who imparted fake digits to unwitting admirers. Because a girl like that has something in common with the guy who collects phone numbers with the sole aim of destroying them.

They're jerks, and they deserve each other.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There is No Such Thing As Mr. Perfect

I found the following comment on the post Law of Attraction in Action and will address it here:

I am also quite fussy in choosing the right clothes, right college and now right person to date....ok I have lot of years still to meet Mr.
Perfect!...I have finished college and am now working in the corporate world and earning cool money but I am lonely at the end of the day! ...
And Boy! What all I have done to meet that Mr. Perfect...tried Facebook, MySpace, Match.com, but somehow in the end its always that I end up thinking that he is not good enough for me...Of late I have started using another site - as I heard that it's much better to help meet Mr. Perfect...so let's see what it does...

I sometimes hate myself to be so damn choosy...but I am like that since birth...I seek perfection ...what should I do?

-Choosy


Dear Choosy-

First off, stop hating yourself. Hating yourself always leads to making bad choices, which in your case may mean isolating yourself from people and experiences that might make you happy.

Or, it may not. It's entirely possible you're not ready for a relationship. As you said, you're young. Guess what? Today people marry later. A lot of us want to finish our educations and establish ourselves in careers before we bind ourselves to another human for life. This can be a good thing. Educated and financially sound people enjoy a lower divorce rate than their less educated and wealthy counterparts (please see the video below for more on this).

Now, you say you seek perfection, and you've scoured almost every available Internet source in search of it. But guess what? No man is perfect. I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. It's not fair to expect perfection from another human being.

Sure, it's wise to know what you want in a man. Presumably, you want someone honest, kind, who values education as you do, and so on. Perhaps you also want someone who's funny because life, as I don't have to tell you, has its ups and downs, and we all need a laugh to get us through the bad times.

So, know what you want and don't settle for anything less. For example, if you want a kind man, don't settle for a guy who gets in the elevator and bangs the CLOSE button 10 times so he doesn't have to wait for the old lady humping along with a walker. Don't settle for a guy who lies or makes you wait in restaurants for him or doesn't call when he says he will.

But don't expect that the right man will never have a bad day, that he'll say or do the right thing in every situation, or that he'll look sharp when he's come down with a bad cold. Seek a man who you can love who'll love you and make your happiness a priority. Seek a best friend to whom you can be a best friend.

Treat others as you would have them treat you, and only hold them to the standards you can hold yourself. Again, not one of us is perfect. To pretend otherwise will only prevent you from enjoying life and the people who make it interesting.

Check out the video I mentioned:

Friday, November 07, 2008

How Can Emotional Freedom Technique Help You?



Here's what health authorities are saying about the easy-to-learn, easy-to-use technique that cured my insomnia:

"EFT offers great healing benefits."
-Deepak Chopra, MD

"EFT is at the forefront of the new healing movement."
Candace Pert, PhD
Author of Molecules of Emotion.

"By removing emotional trauma, EFT helps heal physical symptoms too."
Norm Shealy, MD
Author of Soul Medicine.

Click here for my Single Women Rule interview with EFT practitioner Alison Held. She'll explain how EFT can help you, too.

If you're suffering the loss of a loved one (or from a broken heart), trying to lose weight, or dealing with chronic physical or emotional pain, check out my interview with EFT practitioner and nutritional consultant, Alison Held.

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. According to its founder Gary Craig, it's "an emotional, needle-free version of acupuncture that is based on new discoveries regarding the connection between your body's subtle energies, your emotions, and your health ...."

Alison helped me beat a bad case of insomnia and anxiety after the death of my mother. And, believe it or not, she did it in one session. The great thing about EFT is that you can do it yourself by yourself after using the free resources Alison suggests. Or, if you prefer to have someone walk you through it, Alison will offer listeners 20% off an initial consulation.

Click here to listen to my Single Women Rule interview with Alison.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Break Up Advice From a Reader

Terry-

Your newsletters on breaking up came at the perfect time.

The man I adore has gone quiet. This is not the first time he's "run away." But this time, I decided to simply let him go. Of course, my mind sees him everywhere, hear his voice in songs, etc.

When that happens, I simply hold him in my heart and silently say to myself, "I love you with all my heart, and I let you go." Sometimes there are a few tears, but always there is peace.

What is love, anyway, but being able to give the other person freedom without our "wanting" them to conform to our wishes and ideals?

-It works


Dear Works-

What is love, indeed?

You're an incredibly smart woman, and a lot of us will learn from your experience. Thank you so much for writing.

Terry

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Office Romance: Should She Ask Her Boss Out?


Good afternoon, Ms. MacDonald-

Hope all is well. I love reading your articles, they definitely give me insights on how to move forward with relationships. Today, I need your advice. I am a single mom in my mid 40's and have had no luck in the love arena. I am very skeptical of starting relationships in today's corrupt society.

About a month ago, I went to a job interview and was sparked by the hiring manager; it was like an instant connection. Did not think anything of it afterwords because 99% of those individuals are married. However, within a few days of starting at my new job, I learned that my hiring manager was a single parent.

I feel very attracted to him but do not know if he even looks at me that way. I am one to believe that men are the ones that will make the move, but I am not sure if that will happen. What would be the protocol? What advice can I get from you on how to go about this? I have thought of dropping a line as a secret admirer but do not know if that is appropriate. Perhaps, I should just tell him how I feel but then, what is he going to think of me?

My other concern is how this could impact my job since he was my hiring manager, and I now work under him. Look forward to your words of wisdom and advice. Thank you for your time.

-New Hire


Dear New Hire:

Thanks for the kind words. Call me Terry, please, and congratulations on your new job.

My best advice is this: Don't make a move on him. The rules of romance are quite different when you're at work, especially when the man in question is your boss. It's possible the man is as attracted to you as you are to him; however, it's not in his best interests (or yours) to start something when you're brand new to a company. People are watching you to see how you shake out as an employee, and they're watching him to see if he's made a good hiring decision.

It's possible that months from now, when you're secure in your position, when the two of you have developed a rhythm in your work together, that things may change. But, right now, concentrate only on establishing yourself at the company. It won't be easy, but keep your mind on your work and not on your attraction to this man. It's possible that after working with him for a while, you'll realize you're not attracted much, anyway.

The first thing that popped out at me in your letter was this:
"I am very skeptical of starting relationships in today's corrupt society."

Let's examine this. I've been reading a bit of history lately, and one thing that hits me over and over is the fact that all societies have been corrupt. Read a couple of paragraphs in the Old Testament, and you'll see what I mean.

Evil people have existed since the beginning of time, as do others who operate only with their own best interests at heart. Clearly, you should not start a relationship with anybody like this.

But know that good people also exist. They always have, and they always will.

It really helps to know (put it in writing, please) some of the qualities you'd like in a person with whom you would enjoy a relationship. Often, women will say, "Well, he's got to be no shorter than 5'10, make a decent living, and have a great smile." (Seriously, they say this stuff.)

But a man who's 5'11, makes 150K+ per annum, smiles beautifully, yet can look another person in the eye and lie, who cheats, or is congenitally unable to pick his underwear off the floor probably won't cut it for you.

So, know what you want. What qualities exactly attract you to your new manager? Write them down. Do you want someone who's kind, has a sense of humor, is generous, faithful? Write that down, too.

It's amazing. When you know what you want, it's so much easier to recognize it when it shows up.

Also, since you're skeptical of starting new relationships, please be open to the possibility that so far you have chosen men who will confirm your suspicions by disappointing you. Ask yourself what scares you about waking up to the same person for the rest of your life. Boredom? Losing your identity? Infidelity? Fear of abandonment? Fear of being smothered?

These are all pretty normal fears, but if you can face them head on, you can get around them. If you're afraid of being bored to death, for example, ask yourself, "Is it possible I wouldn't be bored to death?" Think of examples of married or committed couples who still enjoy each others' company for inspiration.

If you can't think of any couples who fit the bill, write a scene between you and your perfect man and set it 10 or 20 years from now. What would you be doing? Would you be laughing? Would you be alone or surrounded by other people who love you?

Read this scene twice a day and bring it to life in your imagination. Use all your senses: What would you see? Hear? Taste? Feel? Smell?

Truly, what the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A New Day in America

Well, I did it.

I voted, and I've got a warm feeling all over. Just hoping we'll know the results of the election tonight instead of sometime in December (can't go through that again. Noooooo....).

Election Day means the kiddies are home, and my aunt will stay for dinner. Instead of writing a proper post, I'll refer you to Single Women Rule, where today we discuss, "He stood you up? Here's how to handle it."

Friday, October 31, 2008

Should She Break Up with Him?

Hi, Terry-

How do I know if it is time to break up or make it work? I have feelings for S., but we have different beliefs and values in life. Sometimes he doesn't listen real well to me, and other times he just can't handle what I am sharing because he will not evaluate the evidence I bring. He doesn't want to know or believe the truth.

Despite all that he has good traits too. He is generous, faithful, makes good jokes, and a great hugger. We have bonded sexually and been faithful. I always thought that I would wait until marriage, but I didn't and now Steven and I feel bonded to each other. I am thinking that if had chosen to fall for someone with similar values and beliefs my life would be more fulfilling and productive. I don't know what to do.

I feel love for him, and he tells me he misses me when I am not there. He feels some love, too. Is it enough? Should I just focus on the good and ignore the bad, or should I move on?

-M.


Hi, M.-

You say you feel love for S., but you have different values and beliefs. You've had sex, so you feel "bonded" to him.

Okay, it's true that no relationship is perfect. Nobody is perfect. Now, S. seems to have some very desirable qualities, but you still this feeling nags you that he may not be the one. I think you need to listen to your instincts.

Picture yourself married to Steven ten years from now; maybe you're running one kid to soccer while he's running another to piano lessons, and you're trying to get his attention on your way out. Is he giving it to you? How does that make you feel? Do you think you'll be able to get through the day-to-day routine of married life happily, or will you resent having compromised your needs, beliefs, and values?

Ask yourself what's motivating you to stay with S., a man you're pretty unsure about. Is it that you have a faithful, generous man in your life, and you somehow feel ungrateful for questioning whether he's really the one? Do you worry that he's the best you can do, so you'd better hold onto him?

I can't answer these questions, but you can. They're worth exploring.

Would you consider putting a little space between you and S.? You don't have to break up with him, but maybe you would make more time for friends, family, and coworkers. Or you could go on a little weekend by yourself to sort your feelings out. It's possible you'll miss him enough that the things you thought you valued seem less important. Or, you'll realize that you're better off having S. for just a friend, instead of a boyfriend or potential husband.

One more thing: Just because you had sex with someone doesn't mean he's the right person for you.

Terry

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do All Men Want Threesomes?

Well, in television land they sure do.

But I stumbled upon a real guy's perspective here. Interestingly, it pretty much sums up what a guy friend of mine told me years ago.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dumping a Bad Boy

The writer of the following email didn't ask for advice and probably doesn't need any. She's figured things out very well on her own:

Dear Terry:

I am coming out of a relationship which did nothing but take away from me. It's been six months since I left him. We got married two years ago, and he wasn't working then. He still isn't. Every job he finds, he loses. The longest he stays at a job is three months.

I took up responsibilities in terms of paying for all bills because I believed then that was the right thing to do. What did he do in return? He relaxed and stopped looking for a job. What he started looking for and finding were girls. He could change girls like shirts. When I was six months pregnant, he lied to me that he was visiting an aunt in another town for a week. That week turned to a month, and it just so happened that he wasn't even visiting his aunt. He was living with another girl.

When I found out I was so hurt, I almost had a miscarriage. However, I pulled though and delivered safely (thank God). Since the baby was born, he has had five other different girlfriends. I called it quits because I didn't want to have anything to do with him. It's been six months and I don't even miss him. I don't call him, and I consider him a closed chapter in my life, never to be reopened again. Now, he has no money, he can't keep a job, and he has no place to call home.

I've learnt lessons through that experience:

1. I will never enter into any relationship because I feel sorry for a guy. The guy has to show his worth.
2. Once a guy is a loser, chances are he will probably never change. He will forever remain a loser. No need to stick with him. All he will ever do is take from you and deplete you.
3. The power to decide the kind of relationship I want depends entirely on me. I decide what kinds of men should or should not come in my life.
4. Never enter a relationship where from Day One, the woman pays the bills. Some men will take that for granted and expect the woman to do that her entire life.
5. A man has to show his worth (worth repeating).
6. A man who cannot remember your birthdays or special days should be dumped immediately. No need to keep hoping he will change because he won't.
7. Better to be uncommitted to anyone and happy than to be committed to someone and be miserable.
8. Forgive yourself for past mistakes and move on.
9. Don't call the guy you've broken up with. Consider him a closed chapter never to be reopened. He belongs to the past.
10. Live each day with renewed hope that the best is yet to come.
11. When you feel alone, pray and find confidence in God
12. Keep hoping, keep loving, and keep believing.

-Redeemed


Dear Redeemed-

Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and experience. It's a sad commentary that a man like this can attract women he changes like shirts. Here's hoping they see the light.

All the very best to you and your little one.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Law of Attraction Newbie Shares Success Story

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I believe in and use the Law of Attraction.

So, I just loved reading about how Jeannette Maw's ex-husband used LoA to attract a beautiful dinner date (no problem here; he and Jeannette remain good friends). Click here to read the story.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Almost Halloween: What Would Audrey Hepburn Wear?

Halloween's a week away, and the pressure's on to find the perfect costume.

If you Google "women's Halloween costumes," you'll come up with myriad "sexy" (depending on your definition of sexy) items that manufacturers claim will make you the most desirable babe at the keg. According to the TV show Extra, short skirts, high heels, and cropped tops (be sure to show that navel) are de riguer.

Wear 'em or be square.

Funny thing is, since this hoochie Halloween trend heated up a few years ago, comedians have taken notice. "Halloween is an excuse for women to dress up like sluts," I've heard more than one male comic say.

Well, we all want to be noticed. We all want to be considered attractive. But it's becoming clear that showing up in the "Gangster Garter Dress with the Rhinestone Money Sign Clip Tie" is probably not the way to a man's heart. (On the other hand, it's definitely the way to some guy's nether region.)

A young friend of mine turned up last Halloween in an-up-to-there skirt and sky-high heels. I can't remember what she was supposed to be (a sexy pirate, a sexy candy striper, a sexy cop -- who the hell remembers?), but I do remember the effect she had on people. The night started badly. She stopped at a gas station, where a bystander requested sexual favors. For the rest of the evening, she continued to get the wrong kind of attention.

If you want love, look lovely. When all else fails, ask yourself: What kind of costume would Audrey Hepburn wear? But if you just want sex, by all means squeeze that hot bod of yours into a sexy cop costume.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Does Society Reward Promiscuous Men?

Every now and then a reader writes an email I can really sink my teeth into. I received one yesterday. It compelled me to respond because I used to have the very same feelings:

I have a question that might work for your dating blog.

As a woman, I feel like I am living in culture where men are rewarded for infidelity, and a man's greatest accomplishment is shagging as many women as he can.

It seems like every famous actor, musician, public figure, or wealthy or well-known man is a cheater or a playboy (Charlie Sheen, Mick Jagger, Hugh Hefner, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Colin Farrell, Warren Beatty, Dennis Quaid, Tommy Lee, etc.). There are so many cases where a woman divorced her famous husband because of cheating, usually with a much younger woman (like Christie Brinkley, etc.).

Popular culture seems to glorify and gratify promiscuity in men. Men with a lot of sex partners are the envy of other men.

Popular culture [promotes the idea] that every man who is remotely successful seems to be a cheater, and that only homely, unsuccessful, and unappealing guys are faithful. Coupled with the decline in marriage, the rising percentage of single people, and the general popularity of bachelorhood in big cities, it seems like the playing field is terrible for women.


Oh, Baby, are you singing my song.

Yes, pop culture definitely romanticizes bad boys, rogues, and playboys. If you believe what you see on Access Hollywood or even in the mainstream press, men are simply incapable of remaining faithful to one woman for very long (that's the successful ones; as you mentioned, the losers don't seem to have any choice).

I've given lots of thought to one of the men you mentioned: Mick Jagger. As recently as a couple of months ago, I read an article about him slyly sliding his hand (which probably looks like a boiled chicken at this point) along some woman's bottom while his current girlfriend's head was turned. All I could think of was, Ewwww.

I mean, look at Mick Jagger. Look at him in 1964, for Pete's sake. Can you imagine shagging this guy? He's about as appealing as a coat hanger.

But as long as he has money, certain women will massage his ego and whatever else (check out a reality show on VH-1 to find out how far women of low self-esteem will go for money or to bask in somebody else's fame). They're not into him because he's loving, or kind, or generous, or funny. He has money. He's famous. He used to be really famous.

Big deal.

Like everybody else, he's going to die one day. What's his legacy? Shagging a bunch of women who didn't love him? Being in a band where the real talent was Keith Richards (for evidence, I submit Richards' solo CD Talk Is Cheap) and Charlie Watts?

Okay, I'm getting off the subject here. Pop culture does indeed glorify the promiscuous man, and I made the leap you're making: The playing field is bad for women. I went around pretty much expecting men to cheat on me. Guess what? They pretty much did.

And then I decided to have a good look around. Maybe if I could change my beliefs about men, I could change the type of man I attracted.

I did have one friend with the scary type of father who liked to ogle teenage girls, but just one. My own father (and his father) considered such behavior embarrassing and "disgusting." A man my father goes to Giant games maintains that a guy his age dating a much-younger woman is also "disgusting." (For the record, my father once caught a still-swinging single, age 50+ Warren Beatty in an interview. "I'm not listening to this schmuck," he said and changed the channel.)

So, not all men are buying this promiscuity-makes-the-man nonsense (oh, and in case you're wondering, my father and his friend absolutely don't qualify as homely or unsuccessful).

Before I became engaged to my husband, I asked him about his parents' marriage. Wanted to know how his father behaved while his mother wasn't around. Peter told me an anecdote that convinced him (and me) that his father not only didn't mess around, he didn't find it honorable or attractive, either.

Over the years, I've known men who feel its their God-given right to inhabit strip clubs and do as they please, but they always seem a bit desperate and unsatisfied. I had a good guy friend who used to sleep around to beat the band. He couldn't go home unless he'd found a woman to share his bed for the night. He had quite a reputation.

One night, I asked him about it. He said something to the effect that he did it to achieve some warped kind of acceptance, and that the sex was never very good. He also reported that he woke up feeling "empty."

Since I've been married, some of our friends have divorced. In only one case, male infidelity caused the rift in the marriage. We have one good male friend who broke up with his longtime live-in girlfriend after she cheated on (and devastated) him. A mutual male friend had this to say on the subject: "These idiots (meaning the guy's girlfriend) watch TV and see all these people having affairs, and they think it's real. They think it's normal."

But it's not.

During my lunch hour one day after I'd become engaged, I stood in a newspaper shop in the Empire State Building reading an article by Father Andrew Greeley, who addressed this subject. (I wish I had it to quote it now.) He wrote that media reports about infidelity are greatly exaggerated. Most married people don't cheat.

This gave me comfort then, and it gives me comfort now.

But here's the thing: If you truly desire a monogamous partner, believe that it's possible that a man exists who will be that monogamous partner. Look, all the attractive people in the world will not slide off the planet the day you get married. After you get married, you will be attracted to other people. Your husband will be attracted to other people. It's human nature.

But it's the nature of a good human to consider the feelings of one's husband or wife, and not to feed temptation. Believe that a human with this nature exists for you, will be faithful to you, and hopes you will remain faithful to him, too.

For more on this subject, click here. And here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Single Women Rule

Dear Terry:

I found a man who understands me, loves me a lot, and always wants to be by my side. That is what I thought I wanted all this while, but now it's boring and bothering me.

-Disappointed


Dear Disappointed-

I see two possibilities here:

1) This guy isn't the right guy for you, or 2) you've allowed herself to be sold on the fairy tale of the knight in shining armor when you never really wanted it in the first place.

If this guy isn't the right one for you, let him down gently and move on. See how you feel without him at your elbow for a while. If you think you're ready to meet somebody else, circulate, but instead you may find you're relieved and happier on your own.

Either way, it's a great thing to know what you want in life. So many of us wander the planet unable to decide what's for dinner, let alone if we want to date a particular guy or even if we want to date at all.

If you determine that long-term relationships leave you cold, it's time to find your real passion in life. We all have one, so embark on the heady adventure of finding yours.

In the past few months, Keysha Whitaker and I have gotten together to develop a new website, Single Women Rule, which is definitely a work-in-progress. While the site does contain relationship advice, our mission is to encourage single women to revel in life's magic and be truly fulfilled whether or not the knight in shining (or newly refurbished) armor ever arrives.

One goal is to build a global network of single women who can call upon each other for fun, travel, friendship, careers, and whatever else that interests them. We're also partnering with businesses to offer our subscribers discounts, and we plan to do features on single women who live their passions every single day.

I hope you'll join us.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some Men Really Know How to Commit

You hear so much in the media about men who don't want to commit, so let me share a story a financial planner in my networking group told me.

Two of her clients, a married couple, were about to retire when the husband's company offered him an opportunity to work in China. They readily agreed to take it and set up housekeeping on the other side of the planet. After a while, the couple's very American son came to visit and fell in love with a Chinese woman. The parents eventually returned to the US. The son, however, married the object of his affection and remained in China.

Some commitment, eh?

This story reminded me of something I heard years ago on Inis Mor, a beautiful and rugged island off the coast of Galway, Ireland. Our tour guide, Dan Flaherty, told us that among Inis Mor's 900 residents existed a California native, a man who came to the island and fell in love with a local woman, married her, and made his home there. According to Dan, Inis Mor acquired access to electricity in 1975, so this was a pretty big deal.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Date Rape

I found the following disturbing anonymous comment on a previous post, and I thought it deserved a post of its own:

"I just need to vent something. This guy I met online took me on a date and basically raped me. I don't know if anyone knows him but now I think I might be pregnant by him. He told me he had a girlfriend and he doesn't want to see me anymore. Can someone give me advice? I want to find this bastard. He ruined my life. He lives in California."

I am so sorry to hear of your ordeal. What you've described is beyond horrible. Please contact the national rape crisis hotline (1.800.656.HOPE) immediately or visit their website . The people there are trained to guide you through what must be an extremely difficult time.

Loving Means Allowing Yourself to Be Vulnerable

Hi, Terry-

Here's a quote from one of your emails:

"After a lot of soul-searching, I determined that I was afraid to fall in love, or to become dependent on the love of a wonderful man who might someday get sick or die or otherwise disappoint me."

How did you overcome this? I would be very interested in your response.

Cheers
S



Hello, S-

Thanks for writing.

Getting over my fear of losing a loved one definitely took sustained effort. In retrospect, I believe my quest for love was profoundly hindered by my terror of losing it.

At one point, I sat down and asked myself what was the worst thing that could happen if my husband suddenly died, for example. I wrote everything that came to mind down and thought about it. I mean, falling in love requires vulnerability, and there are never any guarantees in life for any of us.

Even after Peter and I were happily dating, and it became clear that we were headed for marriage, I'd stand on the train platform and suddenly be overcome with the terrifying fear that he'd die suddenly (his brother died suddenly of an aneurysm at age 20, my grandmother lost her husband to cancer in his mid-forties), and I'd have to remind myself: There are no guarantees in life.

For some reason, knowing that the playing field is level in that way for all of us (no matter what we do, where we live, or how much money we make) gave me comfort, and it encouraged me to keep picturing a happy future. I also reminded myself of my own strength, and that if I did suffer the loss of my husband, it would be painful but I did possess the emotional and mental resources to eventually move on.

Every now and then, I remind myself that none of us is going to live forever. It helps me not to take the good things in my life (my husband, children) for granted.

Does this help? I truly hope so!

-Terry

Friday, October 10, 2008

Getting Over a Breakup

The other night I watched Lipstick Jungle (I like the clothes, okay?).

One of the storylines involves the breakup of a lead character and her boyfriend, Joe Bennett, played by Andrew McCarthy (I like Andrew McCarthy, too). To get over him, she throws herself into another relationship. He starts stalking her a bit, and she tells him, "I'm over you."

Whether she really is or isn't remains to be seen. I can't imagine Andrew McCarthy being thrown to the wind so early in only the second season of the series, but if she is truly over him, she's a better woman than I am (although, in real life, his controlling tendencies would be a turn-off).

So how do you fall out of love or get over a person who's hurt you? It comes down to discipline, the refusal to wallow in past memories and to get on with life. People who succeed in moving on from a once-splendid love affair accept that it's over. They banish the formerly beloved's image from their minds whenever it tries to creep in.

It doesn't necessarily mean they bounce from the old relationship to a new one. A broken-hearted woman might use the opportunity to travel, focus on getting a promotion at work, or taking up a sport or hobby which will keep her mind off the lost love and introduce her to new people who, incidentally, will also keep her mind off the lost love.

I love reading success stories. I came upon one by a woman who tells how she is reveling in the freedom of finally getting over her first love. Scroll down a bit and read it here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Should She Give Him Another Chance?

Terry,

I'm on the internet dating circuit. I have started to become disillusioned with the men I have been meeting..until last night...I met a guy who was gorgeous..the coffee date turned into us talking for hours and ended with a pretty passionate kiss at my car, before I headed for home alone.

He asked to see me again tonight..he realised that it was short notice, and that he would phone to organise what we would do tonight. I agreed.

Awoke this morning to a text message that he sent at 8 am, informing me that he had enjoyed our chat, but he was no longer available for tonight.

I have not responded..and don't intend to. He's lost my interest.
What perplexes me is the opinion of my female friends, who say they would give him another chance..they feel I am being too hard on him.

What are your thoughts Terry and how would you respond if he were to contact me again ?

Sian


Hi, Sian-

I don't think you're being to hard on him. He asked you out. And then text-messaged you, what, eight or 10 hours later to say, "Sorry, not available." I do think that kind of message warrants a phone call. And some kind of explanation.

I guess the real question here is: Would you cancel a date via text message? If you would, it's possible I'm being unreasonable. But my credo when it comes to dating is, "Treat him as you would have him treat you, and if he doesn't treat you as you would treat him, it may be time to hit the exit."

I don't know the man, but sometimes men will ask you for a second date just to see if they "passed the audition." Once they're satisfied they did (and they've gotten the attendant ego boost), they're off and running to their next possibility. And then there are men who just don't know how to close a date without saying, "I'll call you." Or, in your case, "I know it's short notice, but let's get together tomorrow night."

The next time a guy asks you out for tomorrow night, do yourself a favor and make yourself busy. I'm not advocating playing games here, but all of us -- women and men-- like to think we're in the running for some slightly-out-of-reach prize. So make yourself slightly out of reach. Don't be available tomorrow, but do indicate interest by suggesting you could be available later in the week.

If you're so inclined, and this man does contact you again (and has a good explanation for the sudden blow-off), you might give him that second chance. But, again, only if you're so inclined.

And definitely not this week.