Tuesday, September 30, 2008

He Broke Up With Her, and Now He Might Be Sorry

Hi Terry:

I don't even know if you will get this e-mail, but I really need some advice.

My ex( I was with him for almost 3 years) has contacted me again. He broke up with me in June, saying he "might be getting back with ANOTHER EX". Needless to say I was devastated but tried to keep my composure and dignity. No tears, pleading or meltdown.

I wished him luck and told him I would not be contacting him after this. Two weeks later he called to see how I was doing. I texted him and asked him to please leave me alone.

Fast forward to yesterday two months later from the last call. He called again last night and left a message. I think of you multiple many times etc, etc. Should I return his call? One of my GFs saw a woman pulling into his driveway last night as well. WHAT TO DO?

Thanks,
M.

P.S. I do miss him but he hurt me terribly.
P.P.S. I am 50 years old, and he is 45, if that makes a difference.


Dear M.-

I seriously doubt your ages have anything to do with this. Some people start pulling this I-want-my-cake-and-to-eat-it-too nonsense around their 13th birthdays and never grow out of it.

I'm sure your ex had many attractive qualities (or you wouldn't be writing about him), but let's face it, his behavior seems a bit childish.

He's certainly very ME-oriented, isn't he? He broke up with you because another deal crossed (or, in this case, recrossed) his path. Now he's with her, and he's not sure if he let a better deal (that would be you) slip away.

You've asked him to get lost, and so far, he hasn't respected your wishes. Again, it's all about him and his feelings. Who cares if he hurt you? He's not sure he made the right decision, so it's very important that he keep you on the hook if he ever decides to go back to you.

Let me say here that I really respect the dignity you've shown in not crying or carrying on and letting him do what he felt he needed to do. Now, if only he would show you the same consideration.

I would not call him if I were you. I understand that you miss him, and he hurt you terribly. You must have shared some happy times together. But what if you call him back, and he decides he wants you back, and you let your guard down and go back to him, and then, well, he runs into some other woman he knew from high school, and he decides he might want to try things with her?

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Ultimately, whether you go back to this guy is up to you, but I certainly wouldn't make it easy for him. The next time you're tempted to pick up the phone (or to listen to some message he's left for you for the eighth time), get a pen and write down every last thing you dislike about him. Recall all those annoying little habits of his that drove you crazy when you were together.

Then read that list slowly and carefully. Stick it on your fridge. Let its contents turn over in your mind for a few days. With any luck, you'll come to the conclusion that you're way out of Mr. Wishy Washy's league, which will allow you to make room in your life for more considerate people and happier relationships.

I wish you the very best of everything. Thanks for writing.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Law of Attraction in Action

It's been my experience that what I focus on tends to appear in my life.

I focused on attracting a certain type of man and married him. I focused on living in a particular type of neighborhood (that I wasn't even sure even existed at the time) and moved there (Peter's brother's family liked it enough to join us a couple of years later). I focused on my husband finding a certain type of vehicle in a particular price range, and we found it.

Well, here's the latest story:

For the past few years, I've had to pass a beautiful old house after picking up my daughters from an after-school program. The house was probably built in the mid-1800s, with weathered gray panels of narrow wood and thin-paned windows the owners illuminate at twilight with single candles. It's surrounded by an old rock wall.

Every time I passed it, I told the girls, "I wonder what it's like on the inside. I wonder what the people who own it are like."

Two weeks ago, Peter and the girls went out for a ride. I started my workout, and the phone rang. It was my brother-in-law calling to tell me that some woman called him to ask if he were the father of Margaret MacDonald. For some reason, this girl's mail keeps arriving at her house.

My brother-in-law told her he wasn't Margaret's father, but his brother was. He called me to tell us to pick up Maggie's mail at this woman's house. By the way, her name is completely different from ours, and there is absolutely no explanation for the mix-up in the addresses. We have different house numbers, for one thing, and our streets don't even start with the same letter.

I thanked my brother-in-law and called Peter on his cell. He said he'd pick up the mail (yay!), and I went back to my workout.

Peter came home.

"You know that old house you're always talking about?" he said.

"Yeah."

"We were in it. The lady who had Maggie's mail owns it. She just gave us a tour. It has a birthing room."

"Get out of here."

"I'm serious, and when I told her how much you like the place, she said she'll give you a tour, too."

He gave me the woman's phone number. I gave her a call. Turns out she's a documentarian who's looking for venues to show a recent project. Turns out I might be able to help her through a networking group I run.

I invited her to one of our meetings. She showed up (she's absolutely lovely). And now I'm going to take her up on that invitation to see her beautiful house.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Story to Make a Heart Sing

Today I deliberately tuned in to Oprah to watch her interview with Jenny McCarthy, the actress and autism research activist. I'm very interested in children with autism, so I read Jenny's book, Louder Than Words, over the summer. It poignantly (and inspiringly) describes her experiences as a mother of a child afflicted with the condition.

Midway through Oprah, Ms. Winfrey brought Jenny's boyfriend, Jim Carrey, on for what would be Jenny and Jim's first interview together. Oprah asked Jenny how she thought it would be possible to meet a man who'd be up for a relationship with a woman with her considerable responsibilities.

Jenny said something to the effect of, "I prayed for someone like Jim. I prayed for a very loving man."

Oprah asked Jim his take. He advised women to think in terms of what they want in a relationship, not in terms of what they don't want. He maintained that if the universe can provide galaxies and stars and a whole lot of other things, it can provide you with the right partner. Read the full quote here. It's a good one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What About Love? Psychics Say Their Clients Have Bigger Fish to Fry

Happened upon an interesting story in yesterday's New York Times, in which psychics say their clients, most of whom used to fixate on their love lives, are now not so interested in their love lives.

According to the article by Lily Koppel:

“It used to be always love, love, love. Now it’s money, money, money,” said Mary T. Browne, who was once described by Forbes magazine as “Wall Street’s psychic adviser,” because she counts people with financial sector jobs, as well as celebrities, among her clients. “You can’t think about love when you can’t pay the rent. Love is great until you’re focused on survival, but no one seems to have a safe haven anymore.”

You can read the whole piece by clicking here.

More About Dating a Widower

I received this comment recently to my post about Dating a Widower:

Help me somebody ! I have been searching for advice on dating a widower for days now and this is the only one that truly hit the mark! EXCELLENT ADVICE.

Terry, how far do we step back to give him time to properly grieve? Realize that it all depends on the individual and our circumstance are slightly different.

After being the sole caregiver for over 10 years to my mom and he having cared for his wife while working from home for 8 years, we met through a mutual friend who saw that both of us needed to get out of the house.

We met 4 month after his wife passed and 3 weeks after Mom. We quickly became intimate within the first week of dating. Although our dates have mostly consist of going shopping at Lowes while redecorating his home. Sticky for both of us which is why I have stepped back to allow space for him to dismantle visible touches of his wife throughout the house.

He does not appear to be the least bit apprehensive about moving on. It's been 2 months since we met and we're planning a weekend trip this coming weekend, which happens to be his wife's birthday.

We both realize that we entered into this relationship from different places and that I desire more then he's prepared to give, yet my stepping back seems to threaten him. Hoping not to step back too far and give another the opportunity for this caring, loving man.

Justified


Dear Justified:

Thanks very much for the kind words. Just to be clear, I'm not a psychologist or a bereavement counselor, but as usual I have an opinion on everything.

After serving as the sole caregiver to your mother for over 10 years, I imagine her death brought with it a ton of feelings, including sadness and perhaps anger and relief. It also had to leave a giant hole in your life.

Three weeks after your mother's death, a seemingly great man walks into your life and fills that hole. And makes you happy. And makes you feel electrifyingly alive.

But you say you want more than he does from the relationship. You say that he seems threatened when you step back in an effort to protect yourself.

I don't know this man, so I don't know if he's really motivated to move on, or if he's wacking his way through grief with a machete. I am less concerned about him because you're the one who's been asked (whether verbally or not) not to move forward but not to move back, either.

I wish I could cast a spell that would give me the solution to your problem (seriously, I do). Instead, I'm going to ask you to take extremely good care of yourself. You've spent much of your life in service to another person (and good for you; the world needs more people like you). But it's time to look after yourself.

This is critical. You've spent 10 years of your life taking care of someone else. That means you are used to taking care of someone else. It comes naturally to you. Taking care of yourself? Well, that may not come naturally to you at all.

See this man, sure, but don't fall into the trap of spending all your time with him. Give him a chance to be that loving and caring man you describe, but be open to the possibility that there's another man out there for you.

This is your time to rediscover the interests that fell away when you took full responsibility for your mother, so please rediscover them. If that means playing tennis, play tennis. If it means writing fiction, join a writers' group. If it means antique cars, join a club that caters to people who are into classic automobiles. Your friend had it right: Keep getting out of the house.

I really hope this helps, and if you'd like, please give me an update on the weekend away.

Readers, any advice you'd like to share with Justified? Please leave a comment.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More About Law of Attraction and Love

Dear Terry:

I've been reading your book, in which you suggest setting a wedding date in your mind before you do the exercises.

I do not want to set a wedding date because I will have my hopes crushed, and I will accuse myself of self-sabotage. Any thoughts on this?

-Skittish


Dear Skittish-

I have a few thoughts on this.

First off, I wish you would not accuse yourself of anything, let alone self-sabotage. Just go about the exercises satisfied that you're doing you're best. I suspect you tend to be hard on yourself. Don't be so hard on yourself.

If you don't want to "set" a wedding date, don't do it. When you do the rest of the exercises, be present, use all your senses, etc. See the scene from the outside (as if you're watching a movie), and then feel it from the inside (put yourself in the movie).

As far as self-sabotage is concerned, self-awareness is helpful (as opposed to accusation and condemnation). If you put a wedding date on paper, and you find yourself getting scared, make sure the fear you're experiencing is fear of failure and not fear of success.

A lot of women who say they want to be married are indeed very, very fearful of being married (I was, that's for sure). Marriage for a woman implies a possible loss of identity, freedom, or that they'll end up in something that resembles their parents' relationship, so definitely explore the possibility that you may be afraid of commitment.

And if you discover this is true, it's a good thing because you can face your fears (do you have to lose your identity, for instance? Are all married couples really bored out of their minds?)If you identify your fears, you can face them and ultimately eliminate a lot of them. Use your fears to help you discover what you want in a marriage or a relationship. If you know what you want, you exponentially increase your chances of getting it.

Let me emphasize that you don't have to set a wedding date. I set one because it helped ground the exercises for me and gave them a heightened sense of reality. Please know that I did not get married on the date I set on paper (it functioned merely as a ballpark figure).

But do ask yourself: What do I want in a man? In a relationship? Write out a scene of an ordinary day together. Visualize it. Feel it. Smell it. Hear it. Taste it.

And feel yourself thanking God for it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More About Calling Men

A reader asked for clarification on a previous post:

Does the "calling ritual" change if the man has a full plate (deaths, family illness, and depressed friends)?

-Anonymous


Keep this in mind, Anonymous:

When in doubt, treat a man as you would have him treat you, and if he's not treating you as you would treat him, it's time to reconsider the relationship.

At the end of the day, everybody needs a friend. If a guy you've been seeing is going through a tough time, absolutely check in on him.

Ask him how he's doing. Tell him you're available if he wants to talk. After you hang up, wait and see if he takes you up on it.

The calling ritual, as far as I'm concerned, is give and take. For example, if he says he'll call, let him call. If you say you'll call, call. Then let him call next time.

(Some women call and call and call, never giving a guy a chance to call them. They confuse a series of text messages with a relationship. This is a mistake.)

Be willing to care, but you have to be willing to let the guy show you he cares, too.

The writer of the letter to which I responded wants to pursue a commitment on the fourth date. I wouldn't want anybody asking me for a commitment on the fourth date.

Whether a guy or a girl does the asking on a fourth date, it's usually too early. I mean, how well do you know a person on a fourth date? For all you know, the person may harbor repellent political views (or worse).

I'd definitely progress with a "this is fun, but let's wait and see how it goes" attitude.

If I led you to believe that the man should always be in the driver's seat, I'm sorry.

That's definitely not my philosophy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Must You Kiss a Man Whose Teeth Float in a Bowl?

I work from home, which affords me the opportunity to indulge in a guilty pleasure, namely watching The View. It doesn't matter who you're backing in the current presidential election; the ladies' (as ABC calls them) interview with John McCain on Friday offered probably the most revealing picture of a candidate I've seen since this never-ending campaign began.

At the end of today's show, Barbara Walters mentioned she'd been to a wedding over the weekend, where she met a 48-year-old woman and her date, a 73-year-old man. Barbara made a comment to the effect of, "Is this what it's come to?" and added that she's been told that 50-year-old men insist on dating 35-year-olds, and it's just harder for women to find men their own ages after they get out of their 20s.

I wonder about this.

Seriously. I suppose if you're a vain, image-conscious man with perhaps a lot of money but not much interest in spending valuable time with a human being you might actually have something in common with, you might risk looking sad and silly with a woman young enough to be your daughter.

But I haven't seen much evidence of this in my own life. One widower I know (age 77) even resisted hanging around with an attractive, financially independent 63-year-old woman because he was afaid she might be too young for him. (Friends and family have since convinced him it's cool to date her; she could be his younger sister, for Pete's sake, not his daughter.)

This is the same guy whose grammar school buddy (yeah, he still hangs out with the fellows from grammar school) thinks the sight of a turkey-necked old man with a young woman is "disgusting."

So don't believe everything you see on TV. Not every guy wants to date a woman whose Pampers he could have changed (although Mick Jagger will not fall into this category).

About eight years ago, a good guy friend of ours, broke up with a longtime girlfriend at age 37. He gave himself time to mourn the loss of the relationship. When he decided he wanted to take another stab at romance, he joined the Adirondack Club because he likes the outdoors and hoped to meet a woman who also enjoyed them. Then he took a cooking class because he loves to cook and hoped to meet a woman he could have fun with in the kitchen.

Eventually, he met a series of women, all of whom were a couple of years younger or older than him. He dated an older woman until she accepted a promotion out of state. Then he met, fell in love with, and married a woman just a year younger than him. They'll celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary next Sunday.

In my experience, men who want to date women around their own ages are the rule, not the exception.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Marriage and Money

After Peter and I announced our engagement, his uncle warned us that finances would be a major factor in whether our marriage lasted. He urged us to set goals for saving and plan for spending, but we pretty much blew him off. What did he know? He wasn't a financial planner. He was a Catholic priest.

But it turns out the man was right (about this and a number of other things).

Peter's a spender, and I'm a saver, so we've had to learn to work together (we're still learning). An article in the New York Times seconds his uncle's advice, although the bit it includes about running your marriage like a business sounds tooth-grindingly dull. I can't imagine that would result in a lot of passion and laughter.

However, a financial planner I've become friendly with reported he has one client who makes a 400K annually but is 100K in debt. From the outside, Mr. Four-Hundred-Thousand-Dollar-Bar probably looks like the picture of success, but being married to him would probably mean a lifetime of lying awake waiting for the repo man to come screeching up for the Bentley. Which probably wouldn't result in a lot of passion and laughter, either.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meet 50 Men in 100 Days?

Yikes!

That's the challenge my friend and colleague, Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan, posed to her clients over the summer.

I'm on the shy side (seriously, I spent much of freshman year in high school practicing looking people in the eye), so the idea of meeting 50 new people in such a short time sounds daunting, but Ronnie reports that women experience remarkable shifts in their beliefs and behaviors when it comes to meeting and interacting with men.

Over coffee yesterday, she explained, "The challenge is to meet 50 men in 100 days. A simple conversation counts. The idea is to get women open to meeting men, approaching them, talking to them, flirting with them and taking a risk. Plus, when you talk to that many men, you just start to feel more alluring and better about yourself."

Because the first challenge was so successful, she's going to launch another one beginning September 28th. The cost of the program includes:

-Five one hour group coaching sessions (9/28, 10/19, 11/9, 11/30, and 12/14 from 8:00-9:00pm ET)

- Once weekly emails to answer participants' questions between phone sessions

- Ronnie's audio program I Believe, Affirmations to Attract Love Now

- Her how-to book MANifesting Mr. Right .

Register by September 14th for a considerable discount. For more information, click here.

For more about Ronnie's book, MANifesting Mr. Right, click here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How Often Should a Man Call?

Terry-

How often should a guy call in the begining...after 1 or 2 dates?
How would I know if it is getting to be serious? Should I ask him our 4th date?

-Just wondering


Dear Wondering-

I wouldn't start counting calls after one or two dates. If he calls, and you like him, make plans to go out. After one or two dates, you should be getting to know him, not pinning your hopes on marrying or "getting serious" with him.

I definitely would not ask a guy his intentions on the fourth date. It's possible he's still doing what you should be doing; i.e., getting to know an attractive new person.

You can pretty much tell that someone has decided to take things to the next level when he calls to get together as often as possible (as opposed to merely texting you or calling to vent about his day). The man will leave little doubt in your mind that he wants to be in your company.

He will communicate his affection for you clearly. If he starts thinking about commitment, believe me, he'll let you know. He won't risk letting you think he doesn't care and losing you!

In the meantime, keep your options open. Keep dating. Meet new people. Who knows? You might meet someone you like even better than this guy.

Yes!

So, instead of focusing on the frequency of his phone calls and how soon you can get him to commit to you, sit back and decide whether or not he's truly the kind of person you want to spend your time with. Worry less about what he thinks about you and more about what you think about him.

Besides, if he picks up the vibe that you're focused on landing some man, rather than getting to know and perhaps developing a real and lasting affection for him, you very well may send him screeching in the other direction.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Easy Does it When it Comes to Affirmation and Visualization

Hello Terry,

Reading your ebook, I had some questions about setting a wedding date. I think for now, I have to start from the ground up and focus on internalizing the belief that I am okay just the way I am (don't need to be skinnier, more successful, etc., to attract a good guy). Perhaps when I am sure about this, it will become easier for me to believe that I'll actually find someone for me. One step at a time?

-Curious



Hello, Curious-

The most important step is to picture the end result you desire. Setting a wedding date helps because it helps you stay focused on your goal, but you can supplement it by picturing other goals, too (moving into your first house together, dancing at your 15th wedding anniversary), and let things fall into place from there.

Keep visualizing and feeling yourself with this person you are putting together in your imagination (based on the qualities you've listed, a man who loves you just as you are. Be open to the possibility that a man exists who will love you just as you are. If you're not open to this possibility, ask yourself why).

In the meantime, use an affirmation ("I, ____________, deeply and completely love and accept myself"). Take care of your appearance, absolutely, but please know that being a size 0, making a million dollars a year, and being the best-looking woman in the room have very little to do with attracting and keeping the right guy.

If you're going to read women's magazines, please do so only to get ideas about clothing you might like to buy, not about what you should look or be like to make yourself worthy of marriage or a steady boyfriend. If you find yourself feeling inadequate after reading women's magazines (and who doesn't?), you may be better off taking fashion clues from mail order catalogs.

If the idea of setting a wedding date scares you, ask yourself why. Write all your fears down. Face them head on. Are they rational or irrational? If they're rational, can they be avoided? If they can't be avoided, what's the worst that could happen?

Remember, easy does it. Whatever you do, don't put undue pressure on yourself about doing things "right." List the qualities you'd like in a man, write your affirmations and visualize, identify and face your fears, and remind yourself that you're okay the exactly the way you are.

Terry

Monday, September 08, 2008

Satisfying Relationships Require Compromise, Not Ultimatums

Hi Terry,

I have just discovered your blog and I love it! It is great how you empower women and share their struggles and show that yes, in fact, we can find the right one.

I am one of the many who are still searching for Mr. Right. I thought I had the right guy, but, things ended in a fury of disappointment, sadness, and mislead expectations. What is your opinion on ultimatums? You have mentioned the woman giving the ultimatum about marriage, but this is the man giving an ultimatum.

The man I was dating was what I thought of as "the one." We met in graduate school, and he is from one part of the US, and I am from another(near where we went to school). We had dated about one year, and it was pretty serious. We contemplated marriage and had looked at engagement rings, etc. We both are very close with our families, and I knew that after school, he wanted to move back to his hometown to eventually take over the family business and help out his aging parents (he is the only one).

I understood his reasons, and know that they are very important to him. We had all sorts of fun together over the past year, but, as time went on, it was clear he was moving back to his town, and wanted me to move there, as well. I considered the idea, had some reservations about when I would see my family, what compromises he would make for me, etc. I chose to look into the move, researched apartments, jobs, etc.

The problem was, I never felt supported and did not feel that he really understood what a HUGE undertaking it would be for me to move my entire life, start a new career, and have to make all new friends down in a new town and culture, when he was going back to his old friends and life. He wasn't putting himself in my shoes. We started fighting a lot, and everytime I tried to discuss things, it would be the same argument over and over again.

I tried to make him see that I was willing to move there, but I needed to feel that he was supportive of me, and that he would commit to me, not just the zip code we were moving to. He told me he never could even consider moving to another place even if I didn't like the area (I didn't think I wouldn't like it, but, I had to see both sides of it). Basically, I needed to know that he would be there for me, and that if the tables were to turn, he would do the same for me. I never quite felt that from our discussions and arguments.

He even went as far as buying a house to "surprise" me with, saying it was "for us," etc. In our fights, he didn't fight fair...he was always trying to make me feel bad for not moving, making sarcastic comments about my family and how I "would never leave them," etc. He said that he was going to be in his home city, and if I wasn't going to be there, he needed to "move on."

I was so shocked by all of this, because for the first 9 months of our relationship, it was great. He never treated me like that. Anyway, this fighting went on for a couple of months, and I could tell he was distancing himself, he wasn't telling me the normal everyday things in our life, etc. I finally brought it up again, and he eventually gave me an ultimatum in the middle of yet another fight, saying if I didn't move there, we were over.

I mulled over it for 2 weeks....because, I was willing to move, the city was wonderful, I loved the area, I knew we were considering marriage, and I knew that you have to give of yourself in a marriage. All of the other things added up in the relationship...he was funny, nice (when we weren't fighting), had money, got along well with my family and friends. I ended up breaking it off with him, because I felt like it was all about his life, and his plan, and then he wanted me to be the "girl" to fit in the picture. We went back and forth in "discussions" for the next month and a half while broken up...and I was miserable. He had moved 2 months before we broke up, and was going on with his life.

I was so upset that I went down there after a month of being single (because he asked me to), to see if we could work things out. He said he had thought a lot about things, and was wanting to work it out. Well, I went down there, and nothing had changed, he still had the same thoughts about everything. I came back, and sent him a letter explaining my feelings and how I love him, but, I cannot be with someone who said he won't compromise for my happiness, if I should need it, down the road. I never heard back from him in and it's been over a month and I'm upset all the time. I wonder if I made a mistake...I wonder that if I had just moved there, would things have been fixed and we would be just like we had been before? I am on my own now, starting a new job in a new town (still in the area where we attended school) and I am so lonely, I am upset a lot.

I miss him, but I wonder, why didn't he fight for me? Why did he have to give me the ultimatum? If I was really the one he wanted to marry and live with for the rest of his life, why would he just let me go? I was willing to move there, but, I couldn't get him to understand that I needed his support and love for moving there, instead of fighting with me and ultimatums. If you could offer any advice, I would be greatly appreciative.

Thanks,
-A


Dear A-

Thanks for the very kind words.

I don't like ultimatums, no matter who's delivering them. They tend to be used by controlling people, and I'd say your ex-boyfriend definitely qualifies as controlling (Exhibit A: that scary little detail you included about him surprising you with a house).

I'm very sorry about your situation. You obviously loved this guy a great deal, and it hurts when things don't work out the way they could have (if only the guy had his head on straight). I'm sending good thoughts your way.

But I have to congratulate you for your excellent instincts and also for having the sense to follow them. Another person in your situation would have told herself she was being selfish or silly, and besides, the guy makes great money so she might as well be grateful and go for it.

You did the wise thing.

If you'd ignored that clanging bell in your head and followed him down to his great life in his great town and his great friends, sooner or later you'd be kicking yourself. His sarcastic comments about your family (you know, those people you love and would no longer be able to see) would come back to haunt you. They would eat you from the inside out.

And if you didn't find a job you loved, or if you didn't make friends as easily as you'd hoped, you'd be sorry about that, too. You would rightfully start to resent this man for snatching you away from everything you held dear, and you would probably begin to hate him.

Sure, it's possible you could temporarily distract yourself by fixing up a house and raising a couple of kids, but soon enough it would burn you that your old friends wouldn't be able to visit your house. And you'd hate it that your family would have to watch your children grow up through emailed photographs.

I don't know why this guy didn't fight for you, but be glad he showed his limitations now instead of later. Can you imagine being married to him and having life be all about him, him, him? His career, the restaurants where he wants to eat, the friends he wants to see?

What a drag.

You're lonely now and perhaps feeling a bit off your game while starting a new job. Please know that eventually the job will get easier. You will feel more comfortable among your new colleagues. You still have your family, and you will make new friends.

You are beginning a new adventure in life, which blessedly does not involve entanglement with a person who consistently puts his wants and needs and happiness above your own. You know that you can do better than him. In time, your strength and confidence will return. You will likely attract men who make your happiness a priority because you will give off a vibe that will let them know that you're not one to waste time with people who don't.

You deserve a pat on the back. I wish you the best in everything life has to offer.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Visualizing for Lasting Love and Romance

Hello, Terry!

I am reading your book and making my "list" right now. I am trying to express "no baggage," "no children," and "no alimony" in a positive way, as you recommended. How would you express this on a list of qualities I'm looking for?

I'm 33 and looking for someone around 3 to 5 years older or younger than me. Is it too hopeful to find a guy in this age bracket without baggage, alimony, or children?

Also, my list has 24 items - is that too much for a list of what I want in a man? My friends tell me that I should not try to find everything I want in one man.

Thank you very much for your help!

-S.


Hello, S.-

I definitely don't think it hurts to write 24 things down on your list. There's no guarantee you'll get everything on it, but it is extremely helpful in getting the important qualitities in a man that will make you happy. It helps you recognize the right man when he shows up. It also helps you eliminate men who will never make you happy.

Be very relaxed when you write your list, and be relaxed as you go about your day. You don't have to look for a man who has the qualities you want; just having those qualities rambling around the back of your mind will make it more likely that man who possesses them will appear in your orbit (and, again, that you'll even be aware of him).

Is it too hopeful to find a man in your desired age bracket? Absolutely not. My sister married a 31-year-old man when she was 35. A good, handsome, well-employed male friend of mine dated a 38-year-old when he was 34 (they broke up because she wasn't ready to get married). He's since moved on and is now happily engaged to someone else who is four years younger than he is. He says that age isn't an issue; compatibility, values, and the ability to have fun are.

As for the wording of your affirmation, you want to narrow it down to express the essence of the qualities you consider critical. You could write something like:

"I, S___________, am happily married to a successful, fun man my age who is utterly devoted to me and to our future together."

He can't be utterly devoted to you and your future if he's encumbered with children, ex-wives, and alimony, can he? This affirmation implies that he's free on all fronts.

It's really important that when you visualize you imagine yourself having fun together alone. Maybe you're in his arms, in front of a fire at a ski resort. Or maybe you're in a playground together, and he's pushing you on a swing in the rain. Bring your senses into the visualization. Smell the laundry soap in his shirt when you put your head on his shoulder. (Putting on your favorite music really helps during these exercises!)

What kinds of things do you like to do? Visualize yourself doing them with this man (and remember, physical details will be sketchy in the beginning. Keep it up; they'll start to fill themselves in.) Blanket yourself in this man's love. What happens next will amaze you.

Good luck and thanks for writing!

Terry

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Maybe You're a Late Bloomer

For the past couple of weeks, I've read all sorts of nastiness about Madonna turning 50, but I'll bet she looks a helluva lot better (and is a helluva lot healthier) than the younger people writing that nonsense. She'll probably outlive them, too.

Interestingly, my health-minded friend, Kristen Colello, just tipped me off to a blog by Prill Boyle, a late-bloomer who graduated from college at the age of 38, became an English teacher, and has since written a book detailing the achievements of other late-blooming women entitled Defying Gravity.

Whether you're 20 or 80, check out the blog. I think you'll enjoy it (especially if you're like a friend of mine, who thought she was old at 24). It's definitely more uplifting than getting a facelift.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Stop Dating Time-Wasters

Hi, Terry-

Thanks for the wonderful words aimed at empowering us women to stand up for ourselves and not let men walk over us.

Kindly advise! What is your opinion of men who make promises and never fulfills them? lI met a man who promises to do things for me and ends up not doing anything. He promised to buy me presents for my birthday, but when the day finally came, he didn't even call, let alone buy a single present or card.

He calls to say he is coming to see me, and then he goes quiet and doesn't even call to cancel or apologise. He will call after a few days to say hi and act like all is ok. I similarly met a man who refused to let me visit him at his house. After that, I concluded, he is not worth it.

Regards and thanks once again for all you do!

-Disappointed


Hello, Disappointed-

Here's my opinion of the guy who promises to go all-out for your birthday, and then never even calls: He's bad news. Lose him.

If the jerk calls again acting as if everything's okay (cute trick, by the way), let him know he's out of luck by firmly but gently telling him that you're no longer interested in hearing from him. Say goodbye and hang up. If he calls again, don't pick up the phone.

As for the guy who won't let you visit him at home, you rightly concluded that he's not worth it. Best case scenario: He's married. Worst case: He's got bodies buried in his basement.

Your best bet is to eliminate time-wasters as soon as you spot them. How do you spot them? Their words fail to match their actions. Or they make unreasonable demands like, "Don't call me at home."

Spot 'em. Eliminate 'em. Make room for someone better.

Let that be your motto.