Thursday, July 31, 2008

Divorced With a Kid: Can She Really Find Love?

Hello Terry,

I met a guy online two weeks ago.

We went out on our first meeting and hit off really well. We had a lot to drink, and we were hammered. We ended up lying in bed; we didn't have sex the first night.

He has been messaging every morning, lunch, dinner time and before he goes to bed. We've met each other for dinner about three times since our first meeting two weeks ago, and we communicate via IMs throughout the day.

He has even suggested coinciding his work travel schedule with mine, so that we can be in the same city for a few days.

He is an incredibly eligible single bachelor with a great job, while I have high flying career and by most standards a very attractive woman. I am recently divorced with a 4 year old daughter.

I am skeptical that a guy like him could possibly fall for someone like me, with a scarred life and baggage.

The chemistry feels right, and I have not felt so terribly happy since my separation with my ex-husband and the many unstable relationships over the years.

Somehow I feel this is too good to be happening to a girl like me. I question if he is genuinely interested in me or could I be an easy target since I am divorced and perhaps lonely.

I want to know what he thinks, but I feel that it is too soon to ask or even talk about a relationship. It might really scare him off.

How can I really know? Are there subtle ways to find out?

-Wondering


Dear Wondering,

While I happen to enjoy a good beer (or several), getting hammered on a first date raises a yellow flag. Do you have to drink to have a good time? Does he? Do all your dates involve alcohol?

If so, it could signal a problem.

This comment of yours also concerns me:

"Somehow I feel this is too good to be happening to a girl like me. I question if he is genuinely interested in me or could I be an easy target since I am divorced and perhaps lonely."

Now, why is inconceivable that a good thing could happen to a girl like you? So, you're divorced with a kid. So are a lot of people. You're attractive and have a great job. A lot of people aren't and don't, and they still manage to attract men who will stand on their heads to be with them.

The guy seems to want to spend time with you. That's great! Okay, there's no shortage of jerks who will use women for their own purposes, but there's also no shortage of great guys who want to fall in love and spend their life with one special woman.

How do you figure out which category this new man falls into?

You take your time. You continue to focus on your job and your child and your friends and the books you like to read. You do not allow this new relationship to drag you out to sea. You make yourself available to get to know this man better, but you don't break plans with other people or let go of other responsibilities to do so.

You maintain a wait-and-see attitude. You tell yourself, "Maybe this is the right guy for me, and maybe he isn't." You let him show you. You listen to him when he speaks. You watch his eyes. You make sure that his words match up with his actions.

You're always kind, considerate, and charming, but at no point do you ask yourself, "What do I do to prove to this guy that I'm the right woman for him?"

Above all, always keep in mind that you are an attractive woman with plenty to offer. Make a list of your very best qualities and remind yourself that a man would be lucky to have you.

If you happen to possess any qualities that cause you to devalue yourself, today is the day to decide to replace them with better ones. Again, use a pen and paper and put your lesser qualities on paper. How can you turn them around?

In the meantime, if you find all the IMing distracting, limit it to once or twice a day. It's flattering to be contacted constantly by an attractive man, but it's not going to help you keep things in perspective.

This guy may turn out to be the man of your dreams, or he may not. Either way, know that you're an attractive, sought-after woman. The fact that you're divorced and have a child doesn't change that. Be open to the possibility that a man can and will love you just as you are.

You deserve that much.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Biggest Mistake of Her Life

Doesn't it kill you when you see someone flouncing into a bad situation with a smile on her face, and nobody can stop her?

A young, smart, ambitious, attractive undergrad we know has gotten engaged to a guy her age. In the plus column, he's good-looking and has a trust fund. In the minus column, he's prone to violence (and loves to brag that if "another guy even looks at my girlfriend, I'll rearrange his face!"). He doesn't go to school, doesn't have a job, and he usually sleeps until 2PM.

Did I mention he's good-looking and has a trust fund?

And while the young woman's mother is desperately trying to jam the breaks on this wedding locomotive, the guy's mother is hitting the gas. We suspect she figures that a goal-oriented wife (who's working toward a doctorate) will derail her son from the track he's riding to loserdom.

She has offered to buy the couple a house. She wants to pay for the wedding. She has taken the poor lamb she intends to sacrifice to her son to look for not one but two wedding dresses (the trend, she insists, is to buy one dress for the wedding and another to wear to the reception).

Red flags are flying all over the place.

But the impressionable young woman doesn't see them. I asked her worried mother why she's so eager to get married before she's had a chance to achieve her dreams. "She wants to be a grown-up. She's also caught up the fairy tale of being a princess for a day."

Unfortunately, the fairy tale doesn't even last a whole day. It really lasts about six hours. After that, this poor kid will be legally bound to an anger-prone sluggard whose mother has bought and sold her.

If she tries to keep things interesting by introducing a child into the equation, things will just get worse. If she can't get the guy out of bed to find a job, she's not going to get him to change diapers. The responsibilities of parenthood may squash her plans to earn a doctorate.

I wish women would stop buying into wedding industry propaganda and keep their eyes on bigger prizes:

1) Careers that pay handsomely and make use of their talents

2) Men who love them and take pride in their successes.

Women need to remember that realizing their ambitions is crucial to their physical, emotional, and mental health. Marrying the wrong man for the wrong reasons is the surest route to a lifetime of being depressed and powerless.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Does Father Trouble Always Lead to Man Trouble?

Dear Terry,

While reading the post about the Catholic priest who offered dating advice, I thought of my ex husband, my father, and my now boyfriend, and then I thought about myself. Then I wished that someone would have had this talk with me when I was in high school. It has very good points.

1.My ex-husband was a fibber, secretive and a control freak.

2.My father is an abusive man. This may be the very reason why I live in California and my family stays in Michigan. He has fits of rage, is a control freak, envious, hurtful male chauvinist. I am a computer analyst, and he still thinks I am unable of understand the mechanics of society.

3.My boyfriend is a kind, patient, sometimes forgetful, but always sweet man.

I am a survivor of my father abuse, and even though I would have to say that I will be respectful of him as my father.

Does this limit my chances of having a normal married life?

I failed once before, but in my defense I was in the military and we were very young and wanted to stay together. His father warned me about his bad ways and I choose to ignore them. Just a horrible situation.

I know my parents were very questionable as parents. Luckily for them, I was a hearty and headstrong child or otherwise because of poor parenting I might've ended up dead. Like left to survive in the aisles of Kmart. I also know that even that my dad was never dad of the year he had tried the best he was capable of and his opinion about my success has no effect of who I really I am.

So what if you had shite parents? But you ended up a good person and pretty normal? And if you had made a mistake in the past, but now have figured out what went wrong and you are trying to make your life better? Does this mean that you will be capable of having a loving and meaningful marriage or are you instantly ex'ed out because of abuse?

Love your blog.

~M.


Hi, M.-

Thanks for writing and for the kind comments.

I truly believe that you can enjoy a healthy marriage, even if you did have "shite parents," as you say. (Love that!) The fact that you seem happy with your current boyfriend indicates you're definitely making progress toward better circumstances.

As you know, I'm no psychologist, but it stands to reason that if the people who brought you into the world, the people God entrusted to love, guide, and encourage you failed on some front, you could go through life attracting similarly disappointing relationships.

Until you make a conscious effort to do otherwise.

You realize your father's limitations, and you still respect him because he's your father, and that says a lot about you. You're willing to move on and forgive. Another person would be grousing about how life sucks, and then you die, and how all men are the same. But not you.

The fact that you know exactly what you don't like about your father and some of the other men in your life means you can figure out what you do like in men and attract it. It helps to write a list and mentally put yourself in that relationship. If you visualize and conjure the feeling of being beloved and keep it with you, you will be amazed how it will eventually take shape in your real life.

It also helps to list what you disliked about your parents' relationship and about the marriages of other people you know. Then "put yourself" in a relationship with the opposite qualities. The trick here is to feel yourself in that relationship. Bring it to life with your emotions.

It's key to love yourself, as well, and you can do this through the consistent use of affirmations:

"I, M., deeply and completely love and accept myself."

Louise Hay, who has helped thousands of people turn their lives around through the power of self-love, recommends you use a similar affirmation about 25 times a day.

Saying it out loud while looking at yourself in a mirror is especially powerful. It will feel weird, silly, and embarrassing at first, but how many times do you look in the mirror and tell yourself you hate your hair or some feature of your face? Why do we consider that perfectly normal behavior?

Some people will scoff and dismiss visualization and affirmation as hocus-pocus, but they tend to be the same people who've never tried it (or who've tried it once or twice and then forgotten about it).

Let me repeat: I definitely believe that you're capable of enjoying a happy and healthy marriage. What's more, you deserve it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

He Won't Marry Her, and She's Embarrassed

Dear Terry:

Thanks for your recent [email] articles about ultimatums and commitment. I have a special situation. I'm almost 30 and have been with a guy I'm crazy about for 2 1/2 years. We spend most of our free time together, our families like each other, etc.

My problem is, he says he's not ready to get married. He's 32, has a good job, nice apartment, and so on. His refusal to move our relationship to the next level can be embarrassing. We went to his cousin's wedding last year, and one of his other cousins blurted out (while taking a photo), "And there's S (me), still trying to get a ring out of J (my boyfriend)"

I was humiliated beyond belief.

My boyfriend's mother loves me, has shown me jewelry she'll pass on to me one day. She says she knows her boy, and that I should be patient. She knows he'll come around.

But I'm tired of waiting. And next year, we'll be going to three weddings, my cousin's, his friendfrom college, and --worst of all--his younger sister's.

Everytime I think of going to his sister's wedding and being looked over by his relatives, I want to cry. She didn't ask me to be a bridesmaid, so I won't even be in the family photos even though I've been on vacation with the family, and I've spent every Christmas and Easter with them.

Believe it or not, I am intelligent and have a job I love.

Any advice?

-S.


Dear S.-

First off, I can tell that you're intelligent by the way you've described the situation. Second, thank goodness you have a job you love because it's actually going to help you here.

Right now, I imagine you're walking around with a pain in your chest and stomach, especially when you think about your boyfriend's sister's wedding. You might feel that your future-- YOUR LIFE--is in the hands of another person who is unwilling to give you what you want.

You feel bad, so I'm going to ask you: What would make you feel good?

-Feeling in control?
-Feeling at peace?
-Feeling loved by a man who is free and ready to love
you without excuses or limitations?

How would that feel? How would it feel in your chest and in your stomach? Warm? Light? Cheerful?

Please write down the emotions you'd feel if you were in this new situation. Imagine the arms of a man (a generic man, not your current man) you love around your waist. "Feel" yourself dancing with him.

I'm going to ask you to bring this scene to life in your imagination before you get out of bed in the morning and after you put your head on the pillow at night. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

You are employing the law of attraction here, and it's powerful. The goal is to attract a man who loves you, whom you love, and is clear about his desire for a lasting relationship. (Whether this man will turn out to be your current boyfriend remains to be seen.)

Now, as far as your boyfriend's family is concerned, if you've expressed any frustration over the fact that he's not ready to get married, this is the time to stop. If anybody else brings it up, casually change the subject.

It's great that his mother likes you so much, but she says you should "be patient." Here's the truth, though: She's afraid you'll move on and her her son will lose you.

But in the end, whether he gets married is his decision, not hers. And whether you stick around is your decision.

(There's no law that says that because you have developed a relationship with a guy's family that you have to hang around until he's good and ready to put a ring on your finger.)

You do have a job you love, so I strongly suggest that you direct your attention there, to the job itself and to the people you've met through it.

Make a promotion your goal. Work a couple of extra hours when you can. Go out with your work friends for dinner or drinks. Make yourself more available for your job and less available your boyfriend.

The key here is not to be spiteful about it. Just go about your business. Be open to new experiences and opportunities.

Your current boyfriend may indeed be the man for you, or he may not. But you do need to stop insisting that he is because it's making you terribly unhappy.

It is certainly not in your best interests.

If you go to the current guy's sister's wedding and somebody makes an ignorant comment about you "trying to get a ring out of" your boyfriend, smile nicely and say, "I'm happy for [the sister and her husband], but neither of us wants to get married yet."

Which would be true. (Because why would you want to marry some guy you have to talk into marrying you?)

Keep visualizing, "feeling" that loving situation with a man who can't help but love you. THAT MAN WILL EVENUTALLY SHOW UP. Again, whether he is the man you're dating now remains to be seen.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back on Break

Still busy getting things together, although I'm completely out of my depth. Hope to be back in action soon.

At the supermarket checkout today, I saw a couple cover blurbs that really peeved me on the current issue of a so-called women's magazine. No wonder a lot of females are insecure about themselves, their looks, their ability to be loved.

The media program us to be. Then they sell us loads of products to aid us in our desperate attempts to fix ourselves.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dating a Married Man (From a Woman Who Knows)

Here's a response to last week's post, Loving a Married Man, from a reader who's been there. I think a lot of women get involved with married men to avoid having to deal with a man's less attractive features on a full-time basis, as she mentions in the third paragraph.

Wow...you hit the nail on the head with this article.

I was the other woman for 2.5 yrs. Yes, he told me he loved me like no other, and he had many. I knew about the others as he was proud of the fact that he had cheated many times over the last 25 years to his wife. The convenience woman, and of course HER kids wouldn't love him if he wasn't married to their MOM. He raised them, put them both through college and they were the "perfect" family. He told me that she had cancer and was dying, and she couldn't tell her grown children. It was their secret. He couldn't toss her to the side of the road, just because she was sick. (This woman had a very high paying job and worked more than any 5 people I know. She was no more dying than I am.)

I couldn't tell you really why I stayed. Maybe it was the possibility that he would leave her, maybe it was because I didn't have to listen to the farts at night, wake up with the banshee hair and bad breath. I didn't have to tolerate his bad habits.

Yes, I stayed knowing everything about him. Or what I thought was everything.
I do believe he loved me .. the best he could. It had a pay off for me. I could
con't to believe all the BS my ex had told me for so long that I wasn't worth it.
I wasn't smart. I was nothing.

I am not sorry for being the other woman... every experience helps us to grow.
I told him finally that he had to choose for once and for all. I transferred out of
state and I told him he had to decide. He stayed in Chicago .. I stayed here in CA. He kept in contact with me daily for the first year. Yes, I answered.. I had hope that he would MISS me soooo much and did love me the most.... but at
the end... She won. He had his roots with her and her grown children. He also
loved her money more than me.

He was 12 yrs older than me, 60 and aging quickly. His final excuse was that she was dying of cancer. (despite the fact she worked everyday .. long hours away from him) .. and that I would be sorry if we were together as he aged more.

It took a long time to get over this... It has been over a year since our last ugly conversation. At times, I do think of him... I haven't been able to delete his notes or pictures off my desktop (which I don't use) .. but that will come in time.

He taught me more about myself .. I could love.. I was capable of giving and receiving love from a man. I finally figured out exactly the type of man that I desire in my life and won't settle. Yes, I learned my lesson on the married man. The Universe has tested me again.. and I passed. NOT going back there again.

Thanks for your emails and great suggestions. Keep them coming.

-Diane

P.S. Don't misunderstand me. It wasn't easy to get over him, or that I thought it was okay to be in the relationship. I fooled myself and found all kinds of ways to justify it.

Live and learn ... I learned big time.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Diane.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Choosing a Man to Marry

Good advice from a Catholic priest, of all people, on this morning's Today. To read the article by Maureen Dowd in Sunday's New York Times that spawned the piece, click here.

I certainly don't agree that this man's wisdom "eliminates everybody."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Loving a Married Man

I just dropped one kid off at camp, and the other one and my aunt are still sleeping. I received the following letter, and despite yesterday's post, I felt compelled to respond:

Dear Terry,

I am recently going through divorce and the divorce hearing is next
week.

Before I got separated from my ex husband, I was seeing a colleague in my office. It's been two years now. Yes, I have been seeing a married man for two years now.

He has indicated from day one when we met that he had no intention to leave his "wife;" he says his wife will not be able to handle the "blow" of the breakdown. He says between them there islittle physical connection. They don't have sex, and the relationship is one of convenience and companionship.

We share a lot about our work, lives and interest. We have so much in common.

He has been very attentive to me more so lately than the last year. He took me on a trip and bought me some really expensive gifts... I am beginning to feel he really loves me, and he says he does many times recently.

Both he and his wife are in their 40s, and they don't have children. They are recently turning to IVF to have a baby.. he says he just wants to keep her busy and occupied so she is less reliant on him.. he says that with or without a child my relationship with him doesn't change.

Obviously all my activities, holidays and time spent with him are under wraps, and he takes his wife to the formal parties and invitations where they are invited as a couple, and I often feel terrible. He is leaving on a 10 day vacation with his wife on a hiking holiday in Italy and he says that he has to play an obligatory duty to her since she does not work.

I hear his wife is beginning to suspect that "he" is having and affair, which he denies.

I have tried breaking up with him many times, but everytime he comes back, and I don't have the heart to let go, especially since i am just out of a marriage. looking for someone to fill the gaps..

I don't like being the other woman.

confused...

Dear Confused-

My head is percolating with so many points, I wonder if I'll be able to remember them all.

You don't like being the other woman, but you are the other woman. You have chosen to conduct a relationship with another woman's husband.

In your mind, what's the best thing that come out of this situation for you? That he leave his wife? If he does leave her for you, you do realize that you'll have "won" a man who lies and cheats.

This is not a recipe for anybody's happily ever after.

Yes, I understand that you are going through a divorce right now, and my heart goes out to you. Divorce is stressful, painful, and gut-wrenching (one of my closest friends is going to divorce court this very morning. The process is hard enough to watch; can only imagine what it feels like).

I sympathize with your desire to "fill the gap." We all need love and attention, especially when we're going through an extremely stressful ordeal.

But I beseech you to forget this man. "Fill the gap" by developing self-love, self-regard, and self-esteem. Don't laugh. The way you're feeling right now, you may think I'm blowing smoke, but your whole life (the men you attract, the jobs, the houses, the clothes, the friends) will change once you devote yourself to the care and feeding of the most important person in your life: You.

(I couldn't help but notice that, in your letter, you didn't capitalize the pronoun, "I," which I changed, and you did not capitalize "Confused" in your signature, which I did not change. This, to my mind, indicates a self-esteem issue.)

I heartily suggest you get hold of You Can Heal Your Life, the groundbreaking book by Louise Hay. It will help you more than I can say. I also recommend her audio CD, Self-Esteem Affirmations, which you can listen to as you fall asleep at night.

You're going through a tough time now, and things are not going to get better until you take care of yourself. A relationship with a married man will only make things much, much worse.

Please be open to the possibility that you can be happy without a man (because, really, have the men you've been with lately made you happy?). Please be open to the possibility that you can make yourself capable of a having a relationship with a man who does not make you work for his affection or ever cause you to question it.

It must be difficult running into the married man at work every day. Would you consider looking for another job to stay away from him?

In the meantime, picture yourself five years from now:

-Still hung up on this married man, who now has a four-year-old kid, is still married and taking trips with the family and parceling attention your way only when it suits him.

-Married to the married man, who has left his wife but sees her every now and then out of "obligation." He also has another girlfriend somewhere. He tells her the girlfriend he's only married to you for convenience and companionship, and he feels obligated to you and needs to keep you occupied (this guy's a real prince, by the way).

-Happily making strides in your career, feeling good about yourself, in a relationship with an honest, loyal, loving, reliable, fun man who loves you and never lets you forget it.

Life is a series of choices. What choices will you make?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Taking a Wee Break

My aunt is failing and has come to stay with me for a few days. She's not sure if she wants to go into assisted living here or near her house in another state (actually, she wants to stay in her own home and be left alone, even though she doesn't like to be left alone).

Things are chaotic around here and will probably remain so for the time being. Wish us luck.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Treat Him Like a Loaded Pistol

Hi, Terry-

Your advice is needed once again...

I wrote to you earlier when I was in a messy relationship with an older guy (whom I described then as a player). I have kept to myself, not called him, and am feeling terrible. I know it will take time to heal.

My problem is that he is very good at mind games. He knows where I live, so he somehow just manages to park his car on one of the roads that is on my route home...too often. I "bump" into him at least three times a week. He knows the coffee shops that I enjoy sitting at, so he just happens to be there when I am there. I moved to another hospital and for whatever reason he seems to just be there too, even though he works somewhere else. I went on a date the other day and we bumped into him. He tried to kiss me on the mouth and it took some maneuvering for the kiss to land somewhere on my cheek. It was either that or a scene.

When we do talk he makes it seem as if we are the best of friends. I am having a hard time behaving naturally around him. What I really want to do is scream at him.

I do not quite get this. He pulled the rug from under me, I did not dump him. It is almost as if he wants to keep me thinking of him and yet he does not really want to be with me.

He is playing me. How do I play him back?

Thanks again for the newsletters, extremely helpful and insightful.

-G.


Dear G.-

His behavior definitely scares me. He has interpreted the fact that you're moving on as a rejection (even though he pulled the rug out from under you), and I don't think it's overreacting to say he's stalking you. You mentioned he tried to kiss you on the mouth, and you had to work to avoid it without causing a scene. This raises a serious red flag.

I don't know this man, so I don't know if he has a history of violence, but it concerns me that he keeps throwing himself in your path (this business of him showing up at your job is particularly worrisome). I sympathize with your desire to scream at him, but I don't think it would be the best course of action. You've already rocked his world by withdrawing your attention (as best you can, given the circumstances). If you were to scream at him, especially publicly, you might shatter his warped ego, and who knows what he'd do.

I don't want to worry you (and, as you know, I'm not a psychologist or a psychiatrist), but I do want you to be safe. When he makes an appearance, it'll be tricky, but look happy to see him. Be pleasant. If he pretends to be your best friend, pretend to be his. And then safely move on.

If he pulls his garbage while you're on a date, manage to tell the date, "I'm sorry. I'll explain later." Tell him later on that you once went out with this guy, and at one point you actually cared for him, but things have gotten very strange. Don't blow your whole evening discussing your former relationship, but do let the new guy know that you've moved on.

If the player persists in popping up, contact the police and tell them what you've told me. In the meantime, avoid being alone with him at all costs. Take populated streets.

I'm not really equipped to tell you what to do when he forces a kiss on you (which qualifies as assault) in public, especially since you fear some sort of outburst if you protest. From what you said about avoiding a scene, I don't know that a straightforward approach would work (as in, "You know, I really cared about you, but it's over now. Don't kiss me.")

If any readers have experience with this kind of situation, I would really like to hear from them. Please leave a comment. I've asked my husband's opinion, and he doesn't like the sound of any of this.

Nobody should have to deal with this nonsense, G. I hope I've been able to offer some help.

-Terry

Friday, July 04, 2008

John Adams, It's the Fourth of July!

I heard such good things about the John Adams miniseries starring Paul Giammati and Laura Linney that I put it on my Netflix queue a couple of weeks ago. The series was based on the biography of Adams by David McCullough. I've had a copy in my bookcase since around 2002, but I never read it.

I decided to push the series to the bottom of my queue until I read the book, which is what I've been doing all week. So far I can tell you one thing: John Adams was no Peter Cook.

Later today, Peter (not Cook) and I and the girls are headed to my brother's fiancee's house for a barbecue. The weather isn't great, but that's never stopped us from having a good time before.

If you're in the US, enjoy Independence Day (and if you're not, enjoy the Fourth of July. It only comes once a year)!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Every Woman's Worst Nightmare

The Christie Brinkley/Peter Cook divorce trial is in full swing, blowing minds from coast to coast. I've read tons of criticism about Christie being married four times, but nobody deserves to find out her husband has been living a double life.

The poor woman is living a Lifetime movie.

The scary thing is, many other women will follow this story and conclude that the revelations about Peter (which I have no desire to detail) represent typical male behavior: Men are born to stray.

Some women will tell themselves, "Well, it's okay that my boyfriend said I'm stupid. At least he's not Peter Cook,' or "Well, it's normal that he cheats. If Christie Brinkley can't keep a man faithful, I certainly can't."

It's important to keep in mind those men who didn't and don't cheat, men who love and remain devoted to their wives and girlfriends. I'm thinking about my father, my brother, and my good friend, M, who drove from New York to Pennsylvania to be with his wife on weekends while she studied for her doctorate. I'm thinking of our friend, B, who was devastated to find out his girlfriend of some years was cheating on him. For him, cheating represented the ultimate betrayal. He broke up with the cheater and eventually married a woman who (we believe) shares his values.

So, please don't let this very sad Brinkley/Cook drama convince you to lower your expectations. Men are not all the same.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

You Meet All Kinds

If you've been with me for a while, you know I spend a fair amount of time in coffee houses.

There's a whole subculture of people (usually men) who inhabit them, tapping away at laptops. I've met some interesting people, including artists, writers, computer geeks, and students. The man I met today took the cake.

He's a marriage counselor and astrologer who wanted to get married. He'd been divorced and was determined to meet his perfect match. After a while, he went online and met a woman who lived in the area. During their conversation, he ran her astrology chart, and deduced that she was the woman for him.

"I'm going to marry you," he said during their first phone conversation, before he'd ever met her.

She agreed to meet him at a restaurant.

On his way in, he told the hostess, "I'm going to meet my future wife here, so please let her know where I'm sitting."

The woman showed up, they talked, and he proposed to her after an hour.

She actually said yes. He reports that they've been married for over a year, and they're very happy. I'd love to meet her and get her take on it.

I'm on the fence about astrology, so I'll save the lame joke about this being a marriage made in heaven. It's a great story, that's for sure. You may wonder how I-- a person who writes regularly about dating and marriage-- managed to extract it from a perfect stranger.

I didn't. I was setting up my laptop, and we made small talk. Then he told me how he met his wife.

The Law of Attraction strikes again.