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.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

What Do His Mixed Signals Mean?

Dear Terry:

I met this guy online some months back. And since the day we've met, there hasn't been a day he hasn't messaged me. It could be about nothing, but his intention I believe is to have me remember that he is there or to keep me on a string.

We had a rather physical relationship early in our relationship. It was then we had to confront issues we were not ready to confront. I wanted to know where we were heading (mistake!!) and the obvious response was that he was not ready for a relationship and he mumbled about how work takes priorty.

A few weeks after that, he talked about his ex-girlfriend wanting to get back together, and he says he still has feelings for her.

After all this has been said to me, I tried to keep my distance. I like the guy ..yes.. but I will never initiate a phone message, call or a date. He still consistently calls, messages and ask me out regularly.

What I found odd, was that many times when I am out with him, he would have his colleagues, old buddies showing up joining us for activities. I really enjoy the company, but what puzzles me is his overt displays of affection with me in their presence.

While we are in the presence of his friends and colleagues, it seems that he wants the others to know that we are an "item" - but yes, he has no interest to talk to me about a commitment, especially with his ex-girlfrend in the background of all this!

His colleagues and friends sees me so often that they might think we are an "item' and are starting to get comfortable with me...

I am confused that I am getting a lot of mixed signals.

My Questions are:

- If he doesn't like me, would he take me out to meet his friends and colleagues (with the physical affections)?

- If he doesn't like me, would he message everyday and see me at least twice a week (strangely never on weekends - perhaps its our traveling schedule)

-If he "likes" me and "respects" me, would he make me drop him and his friends off at some girlie bar to celebrate one of the boy's departure to another city?

(Do you think making me drive them there was disrepectful, or was it just honesty on his part knowing that it only a boy's night out, and I should not think too much about it...)

-What do you think?


Dear Think:

I have a question for you: When Prince Charming made you drop him and his friends off at the girlie bar, did he offer to pay for gas?

And now I'll tell you what I think: I think this man thinks about himself. I think he likes his friends to see him with you because it makes him look good. I think he messages you constantly because he does indeed want to keep you on the string.

You mention that he invites his friends along whenever you're supposed to be on a date, and then he lavishes you with affection. This is strange behavior. He should be lavishing you with affection while he's staring into your eyes over dinner for two, not over a game of pool with his buddies.

One thing that stood out about your letter (and I've changed it because it drove me crazy) is that you do not capitalize the "I" pronoun. You are an "I," not an "i," and I wonder if you in your heart of hearts believe you are an "i," and you let other treat you as such.

You are an "I!"

Forget about whether Mr. Frenetic Text Messager respects you or likes you. Ask yourself whether someone much more important respects you and likes you, and I mean YOU!

If you loved yourself the way you should love yourself, believe me, you wouldn't give a guy like this the time of day, let alone drive him and his pals to a strip club.

YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS!

And don't get me started on the specter of the alluring ex-girlfriend. Let the guy do you a favor and go back to her (if she even exists). This person is not worth your time. You would be better off gorging yourself every weekend on silly People magazines than wasting another minute with him.

You say that you refuse to initiate contact with him. Good for you. But why are you agreeing to go out with him at all?

Please, please, please put a higher value on yourself. Women who value themselves do not date men like the one you describe. You must raise your standards.

This man's behavior is nothing short of appalling, and you deserve better. Ultimately, you won't find a man who's capable of it until you believe that.