Monday, December 28, 2009

Holidays With His Ex

Dear Terry:

My boyfriend of 10 months is 55, and I am 32. We have a lot in common and really enjoy each other's company. We are happy and our relationship is progressing normally; we are able to talk about everything and work through issues with respect and compassion for each other. We both feel that we are heading towards being married in the future.

My question is about the relationship he has with his ex-wife and their daughter. The daughter is 19 and goes to college on the other side of the country. He was married to her mother for over 20 years and they had an amicable divorce. In fact, they are still friends. I trust that.

But, what do you feel is an appropriate relationship for all of us to have? I don't want to spend holidays with his ex, but his daughter wants to see both her parents on holidays. My boyfriend feels torn.

Is it too much to ask that she will have to visit each parent separately? I don't have any real animosity toward the ex, I just don't want her around for every holiday. I realize that in a few years from now, once my relationship with my bf is not "new", I might feel differently about his ex being around...but right now, I'd prefer a little distance. I also have an 8-year-old son (whose father is not involved). I want to have a "family" and, honestly, I don't want that to include his ex-wife.

His daughter is certainly included (if she wants to be), but do I have a right to insist that holidays are not spent with the ex? I am very willing to spend time with the ex for functions dealing with their daughter (graduation, parties in her honor, etc.) but I think that's where the line should be drawn.
I would love your advice/suggestions! Thank you.

-Maybe Later I'll Feel Differently


Dear Maybe Later-

First off, let me apologize for responding to your question on December 28th, but since Christmas lasts until January 6th, you may still be waiting for my answer.

I completely understand that you want your first Christmas with your boyfriend to be special. Who wouldn't? You've been with the man 10 months, and you're talking about marriage.

That said, I wouldn't insist on anything with regard to his ex-wife or his daughter. They've worked out a routine that so far has worked for them, and heaven forbid the daughter interpret your understandable desire for family time as an attempt to wedge her mother out of the picture.

Instead, I would tell him, "I really admire the way you and ____________ have handled your divorce and the way you've raised _______________. I would like a little time alone with you during the holidays. Is there a way we can work that out?"

Then wait for his answer. He may need time to think it through. After all, he's had a routine that used to make everyone happy, and now he needs another plan. Would you be amenable to spending Christmas Eve but not Christmas Day with the ex? Or New Year's Day but not New Year's Eve?

The daughter goes to college far away, so she doesn't get a lot of Mom and Dad time. As she gets older and gets involved in career, relationships, and perhaps marriage and children, she may require even less (if she gets married, she'll probably be expected to spend some of the holidays with her husband's family).

Let me repeat: I do think you're being reasonable (because, really, what guy would want to hang out with your ex every holiday?), but I would take a long view here.

After all, you're the one he plans to marry.

Monday, December 21, 2009

He Wants to Commit...Just Not Now

Terry,

I've dated this this man for 3 years, but before hand we were best friends and he waited on me while I explored, and that damaged him pretty badly. We broke up because of me, yet again and (let's just say I learned the hard way) I want to commit to him. He says that he has aspirations and goals to marry me, have children with me, and settle down with me, but right now he needs space.

One second he invites me over, and we're together for weeks, and then one day he flips out and decides to run away for space. I don't know what's going here, and I don't know what could be going on inside of his head, because he can only tell me "I want to be with you, but I'm not ready for this relationship yet. When I'm ready, I'll ask. And yes baby I want to start a clean slate with you."

What is going on? What am I supposed to do and think?

Help please!

-Want to Commit



Dear Commit-

It sounds to me like you nailed it when you say that you hurt him. He gets together with you for a while, and then he gets scared and retreats. He's afraid of getting hurt again.

I don't know what you can say or do to make him trust the relationship. I do know that actions always speak louder than words, so it's probably best to give him what he asks for: Space. And tell him how you feel, something along the lines of, "I'll miss you, but I know you need this."

(Question: When he takes his space, is he free to date other people? Are you? If you don't know, please ask him. If he's dating, he can't expect you not to date. If he's not dating, don't date. The goal is to build trust.)

He says he'll come around when he's ready, but there's no guarantee he'll ever be ready, so you have to face that possibility. (I really wish I had more to offer you here.)

Ask yourself if you're truly willing to take a chance on this guy by being patient, or if you'll get itchy and start looking around again.

I'm thinking good thoughts for you. Good luck.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

He Loves His Wife, But She's Always Annoyed at Him

Hi, Terry-

I'm kind of confused as to what to do.

I've been with my wife for over 10 years. We met in 1998 (started dating August of 1998), got engage in 2003 and finally married in 2005. We've been together the whole time. For both of us it has been a commitment since the first date.

Slowly and slowly more things I do annoy her. I made a sandwich the other day, and she was upset that there were some crumbs left on the counter top. And I really do try to do a good job of not being sloppy. I haven't always been good with that, but it certainly wasn't because I was trying to be evil or rude.... it just wasn't something I was that aware of. But I'm making an effort to be more considerate.

She gets annoyed that I leave my closet door open. I didn't see the issue with it, so instead of making it an issue I just complied. Now it's some crumbs I left on the counter top.

It's hard dealing with at times because it's a really crappy feeling to view yourself as this big clod of a nuisance that just annoys the person you care about so much.

I don't really have a lot of friends anymore. So many moved away after graduating from high school and then college.

It's hard at times not to be overwhelmed with a feeling of being alone.

Anyway....
Thanks for any insight.

God bless.

-Becoming Depressed


Dear Becoming-

From your email, I can tell you're a loving and caring guy, the type of man who makes his wife's happiness a priority. Take comfort in the fact that a lot of women would love to find someone like you.

When one spouse starts getting annoyed with the other over little things, it may mean the relationship needs a little air. It's possible your wife is getting too much of you right now (please don't be offended by this; it's human nature to take just about everything for granted. We all do it, unfortunately).

You say that you've lost touch with friends, so the best thing you could do is make some new ones. You can do this pretty easily by pursuing an old or new interest; you're bound to meet new people at a class at the Home Depot or on a local sports team for men your age.

If you haven't already, join Facebook to reconnect with old friends. (Since I joined, I've been invited to several reunions. In late January, I'm scheduled to meet up with a bunch of friends from my childhood neighborhood. Haven't seen some of the them in decades.)

Caveat about Facebook: Avoid becoming too friendly with former girlfriends. The goal here is to reinvigorate your relationship with your wife, not destroy it.

If you make more of a social life for yourself, you'll give your wife time to herself, which will give her time to think about you. Small absences do make the heart grow fonder. And when you come home from seeing a friend, you'll have something fresh to talk about with her.

If you have a cell phone and are in the habit of calling your wife repeatedly during the day, limit your calls. Call if you're going to be late, but save the "How was your day?" conversation until you're looking her in the eye. If you call your wife too often, what will you talk about when you see each other? Cell phones can be deadly to romance.

When you're regularly giving the relationship air, it's very possible your wife will stop taking you for granted. At this point, it'll be fun to go out (alone) together for dinner or for something else you both enjoy. Dates really help bring back the spark, especially when you actually have things to talk about!

(Finding a decent babysitter can be stressful, so please help.)

As for the bit about the closet door being open and the crumbs on the countertop, they do seem like small things. But if you have children, your wife is likely cleaning up after them. It's no fun to clean up after other people.

However, if she doesn't do it, and someone shows up unexpectedly at your house, they will most likely judge her (not your or your children) a slob and a rotten housekeeper. She's under some pressure to keep the place looking just so.

I want to reiterate that you do sound like a wonderful guy. I hope this helps, and I wish you every happiness in the world.

-Terry

Friday, December 11, 2009

Things to Know Before You Agree to Marry Him

Dear Terry,

I always feel happy reading your blog and your newsletters as well! I read these two points in your newsletter:

1) "Which brings us to YOU. How do you feel about infidelity? If it's a deal breaker for you, don't marry a man and assume it's a deal breaker for him."

2)"If you want a faithful guy, marry a faithful guy. If you want (or don't want) children, marry a man who's on the same page."

---------
Now, you could ask a man if he wants kids after marriage or not? When do you ask this? Is it when you decide he's the one? Is it when he proposes ?

Now, the tougher part - How do you find out if a man's faithful? Please don't tell me we can ask the man to find out if he's faithful or not! If he's interested in the girl, his answer would always be yes!

And how do you ask this question? I know many faithful great married men, but then there are also some who cheat after 10 yrs of marriage, etc. How can you find out for sure the man would never ever cheat ?

Eagerly waiting for your reply ....

Keep me Anonymous



Hi, Anonymous-

About having kids: When you've been dating a man for a while, you're probably going to be invited to his family's house. He'll be invited to yours. Chances are, one or both of your families will have a few kids running around, and you'll see how the guy behaves around them.

You'll see if he likes them, and if they like him. Shortly after I started dating my husband, we went to a barbecue at my friend's house. She had a couple of kids and commented how good he was with them.

I passed along the compliment, but at that point, I didn't ask him if he had any plans for fatherhood.

Later on in the relationship, his sister visited from Canada to go to a wedding and asked him to babysit. I spent the day with him and his nephews. The children clearly loved him, but the subject of his having his own children had never come up between us. So, at that point, having spent many months together, I said (casually), "You really are great with kids. Do you want your own some day?"

I didn't ask him if he wanted them with me. I just let him answer.

When we started talking about getting married, I made it clear that I was open to having children, but I wasn't positive I could have them (I had no reason to think I suffered from fertility problems, but many people do. For all I knew, he did). I asked him if we were to find out we couldn't have children, would he be okay with it? I asked him if we could have children, would he be happy with two of them?

As for being faithful, there's a lot you can tell about a person by the way he looks at, behaves around, and talks about other women. If he's got a friend who's cheating on a girlfriend, what's his attitude about it? What's his attitude towards women in general?

What about his character? Does he keep his word? Show up when he says he's going to show up (and I don't mean just for you, I mean for friends, employers, etc.)? Is he prone to twisting the truth, taking the bigger half, that sort of thing? These may not be definite indicators of a potential cheater, but they are red flags. It does indicate that the guy puts his own interests before people's.

It helps to watch how his parents treat each other, or if they're remarried, how they treat their spouses.

Again, when we started talking about the possibility of marriage, I asked my then-boyfriend how he felt about cheating, if he'd ever cheated before, if his parents had a good marriage, that sort of thing. We had a discussion. He wanted to know the same things about me.

I said I don't respect cheaters, and I wouldn't stick around if he ever cheated on me. He said, "That's fair because if you ever cheated on me, I'd divorce you."

There are never any guarantees in life, so this discussion didn't guarantee we'd never cheat on one another. But having it did let him know where I stood. I knew where he stood. And knowing where we stood decreased the chances of nasty surprises.

I want to reiterate that this conversation came after we'd been together a while and had become serious. I spent much of our early relationship watching my husband to see if his actions matched his words. If they hadn't I would have let him go. The conversation would not have been necessary.

As for your question about men who cheat ten years later, I do believe that character is a good indicator about whether your guy will turn out to be one of these. Occasionally, people do change and others just make mistakes, so again you can never say never, but a man with character isn't going to go on a business trip with the intention of scoring a little side action.

I really hope this helps.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Review: Don't Ever Call Me, Ma'am!

I never get it when people, particularly women, worry about their age.

I don’t understand why they consider themselves less attractive or less valuable or less anything as they get older. It’s been my experience that people with a few years under their belts are funny, smart, and interesting (well, usually).

So when a book comes along to assure me that life begins at 40, I’m like, “No kidding.” You’re preaching to the choir.

But then I read my mail. I get email from women who tell me they might as well have dropped dead at 40. Men don’t want them. Employers don’t want them. The only person who does want them is the plastic surgeon.

(Again, personal experience shows me something else. A good friend, who’s 44 with two children, attracts a ridiculous number of men ranging in age from 20 to 60. Two years ago, she set her sights on a certain position in a certain location - and got it. Still has it, too.)

But if you’re a woman who fears 40, I do recommend Linda Franklin’s Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am! The Real Cougar Handbook. The first Canadian woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, the woman’s got a winning attitude whether she’s writing about success or relationships.

Here’s Franklin’s take on men:

"While it may be true that more women over 40 are enjoying relationships with younger men, they aren’t putting themselves on the auction block to do it. Don’t believe for a minute that a Real Cougar is a lonely predator skulking in dark bars preying on younger men. She is definitely not the cartoon character that too many make her out to be. Undoubtedly, this negative image was concocted by the overly testosteroned fantasy world of our male population. Let’s face it: Women are still the prime target for the good old boy’s double standard. And the only way we’re going to change that is to continue to excel doing it our way.”


The book includes a how-to chapter on dating and relationships, guest-written by dating coach and author Ronnie Ann Ryan (full disclosure: Ronnie’s a competitor of mine who’s now a friend). The book also features Franklin’s easy-to-follow advice on managing one’s finances and her success plan for achieving goals (with a very inspiring story about how one woman set out to become a best-selling author and became one). There’s also a chapter on sex, amusingly titled, “Sex Is Not a Job.”

Fore more information on Linda Franklin and Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am!, check out The Real Cougar Woman.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Not True Love, It's Low Self-Esteem

Terry,

I had a one-year relationship with a man that I instantly hit it off with from our first date. We dated for four months and then circumstances in his life, sleeping on his brother's couch led to me asking him to live with me. For our whole year together our relationship was as close to perfect .

But something changed out of the blue, where I felt he was not trusting me, just things he would say before I left for work, little jabs here and there when I was talking to my friends on computer. I am to this day still deeply in love with this man, but....

He started acting pulling away and at first I noticed and let it go, but played out at the end of our relationship that he was seeing someone else, and in an instant left me for her. Now the woman he left me for has nothing, no car, she works at McDonald's. At 40 years old she has not ever strived to work anywhere else to better herself. But he tells me that everything is perfect. I see him out at the same club that I go to, and they look like they are on a blind date that is not going well at all.

Meanwhile, I'm independent and have an excellent job. I even helped him get into the same place that I work and helped him get promoted. I have to see him every day at work since we broke up. I have spoken to him and let the way our relationship ended go, the lies he told, the act he played when he left, saying I broke his heart that I was showing "signs of cheating", but what floors me is that I have no one and did not cheat, and here he did and still to this day blames me for our breakup.

When I speak to him, he limits talking to me just here at work, changed his phone number after us being broken up 7 months, or he will talk thru email and that is it. We have been thru all the emotions and not speaking and speaking and then fighting with each other.

I know that I have to let go and have tried to date other people, but
the only person that is constantly on my mind is him. What is that? True love? I have thought about him every day, made sure that he knows that I will always be there for him, but his body language is like he still has feelings for me, but his words do not.

What else can I do to get this man out of my head and heart, I feel so
stuck and have been so unhappy since he left. I thought by now that I would have met someone else and been in love again. But, my heart still belongs to him.

Tell me what I should do.

-Stuck on Mr. Moochie



Dear Stuck-

I'm sorry you're in pain. I have been there, so I definitely feel for you.

That said, would you please read over your letter with fresh eyes? Certain things will hit you between the eyes:

-You invited this man into your home to get him off his brother's couch.

-He became insulting and distrusting of you, the woman who got him off his brother's couch (not to mention helped him get a job and a promotion).

-He cheated on you and left you for the other woman "in an instant."

-He is still involved with this woman, a 40-year-old hamburger slinger with a boatload of baggage.

The thing that baffles me most is that you still want him. Sure, you may have had a couple of cozy times together, but rub the sand out of your eyes, Girl. The guy is clearly not worthy of you.

You say he changed his number. Were you calling him? Why would you ever call him?

You say he will communicate via email. Why would you glance in this person's direction, let alone email him?

He is not worthy to shine your shoes, yet you persist in thinking of him, reminiscing about the old times.

How can you get over him? Well, for starters, stop thinking of him. If that doesn't work, think of him with his arm around his little burger slinger, she in her cap and oily uniform. This is the life he has chosen.

Think about what you would do if he ever came back to you. Could you trust him? Respect him? What does he have to offer you besides the clothes on his back?

From where I sit, you may have a good job, but you clearly don't value yourself enough or you never would have given this toad the time of day.

Your best bet is to work on your self-esteem. When you love yourself, you will stop being attracted to individuals who are clearly incapable of adding any value to your life whatsoever. You will make room for people who will love you, encourage you, and make your happiness a priority

Start by reading a book called "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay. You may be able to find it in your library or your local bookstore. You can definitely get it at Amazon.

I hate to repeat myself, but please understand this guy has no business being in your head and heart. Evict him.

Terry

Monday, November 23, 2009

Are Men More Likely to Be Jerks?

If you believe what you hear from the media, you might think so.

The December issue of First cited studies claiming that if a married woman becomes ill, her husband is 80% more likely to cheat on her or leave her. It made me wonder: Has anyone thought to do a study on the percent age of wives who leave or cheat on sick husbands?

We’ve been told over and over that the planet is loaded with substandard men, but there are some lovely, loyal, loving ones out there, too, and I fear they’re overlooked. And when someone finally notices them, they’re dismissed as weird or too nice. They just don’t fit the stereotype.

Substandard men do exist, of course. I once knew a girl who cut off her father after learning he’d had an affair while her mother died. I don’t blame her. But women can be jerks, too. I knew a wife who indulged in a series of romances after her husband went blind. A good friend of mine (a guy) had a friend who cared for his wife while she battled cancer; she dumped him for another man shortly after she recovered.

The media (TV shows, tabloids like Star and Us) pump us with stories about women done wrong, but in my experience, females are just as likely to cheat or to mistreat a spouse. Men don’t have a monopoly on bad behavior.

It’s dangerous to think otherwise. When we go about life believing that men are inherently less moral than we are, we lower our expectations. Some of us put up with the cheater because — what do you expect –men are hardwired to spread their seed wherever they can. We give the guy who walks out on his sick wife a pass because, well, he’s a guy. He’s not programmed to be a caregiver.

And then, others who want a relationship with a man avoid getting involved because they just can’t trust anyone with a Y chromosome (these are not the same women who are happily single and want to remain that way). Still others will get into a relationship with a guy and sabotage it to sideswipe disappointment.

I think it’s better to see men and women as people, to understand that some of us are capable and willing of treating others as we’d treat them, and to proceed accordingly.

Will the guy you’re dating run out on you if you become sick? It’s an excellent question and bears thinking about (because how many women rush into marriage without even discussing whether they and the bridegroom are even on the same page when it comes to having kids?).

Before you put your life in a man’s hands, get to know him.

See how he treats people, particularly elderly people.

Is he patient with them? Is he kind to them? If he’s got a grandfather in a nursing home, does he make time to visit him, or is he “too busy?” At family gatherings, does he help the old aunt to the table, or does he trip over her like a piece of furniture? Does he visit sick friends in the hospital, or does he shake his head and say, “That’s too bad,” and log on to Facebook.

Don’t get caught up in studies and statistics. Men tell you if they’re worth your time. They tell you exactly who they are.

Are you listening?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Younger Men Like Older Women

Ever feel that getting older makes you less attractive?

Well, who could blame you? That myth is foisted upon us by the media every day. (It keeps advertisers happy because it sells tons of product to make us feel better about ourselves.)

Yesterday's New York Times dispelled it in an article about younger men who pursue older women.

According to the article by Marcelle S. Fischler, many young men are eager to date more mature women for a variety of reasons. Some are into it for probably the wrong reason (older women are more sexually experienced; one lummox described them as "grateful"), but others, including one 27-year-old who is dating a 41-year-old mother of three teens, say they like older women simply because they're more mature.

The article also mentions a 28-year-old real estate project manager who says he'd be willing to date 8 out of 11 women (nearly old enough to be his mother) who attended an event for younger men who wanted to meet older women.

Fischler also cited a British study which found that 20% of men in their 20s and 22% of men in their 30s would date an older woman. That's about one in five, Ladies.

Monday, November 09, 2009

When a Woman Earns More, Her Man Aims to Please

Brian Alexander, the author of America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction, details his findings about sex and economics. He writes:
"As more and more women in the U.S. out earn the men in their lives, or become the sole breadwinners, men are trying to figure out how they fit into the relationship, including in the bedroom."

Alexander offers the example of a corrections officer who is married to an oncology nurse:

"...since she brings home much of the bacon, he wants to make sure he’s offering her some perks too. He leaves affectionate notes around the house for her and tries to keep the house tidy. And he wants to make sure he shines in one special area.

Since she is 'handling certain areas of the relationship' like making most of the money, he said, “you’ve got to handle your business.” By “business,” Hayes means sex. 'You’ve got to be creative. You’ve got to be good!'"

Clearly, we females must stop being afraid of success.

For the rest of the story, click here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Stop Attracting Dysfunctional Men

If you keep attracting men who don't make you happy, check out Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan's response to the writer who emailed to tell me she's tried everything (including vision boarding and employing the Law of Attraction -- which usually do the trick) but still winds up with guys who seem great, and then turn out to be dysfunctional or commitment-shy.

By the way, Ronnie is the author of Manifesting Mr. Right, and she manifested her very own Mr. Right after the age of forty. Now she helps other people (men, too) find the loves of their lives.

Check out Manifesting Mr. Right here.

(And if you think you have to be over 40 to benefit from Ronnie's guidance, you absolutely do not. Also, if you purchase Ronnie's book, I will get a cut, which will enable me to keep writing this blog.)


*****
Here's Ronnie's response:


Dear Disillusioned,

Dating can be frustrating but just because you haven't
ended up in a committed relationship, doesn't mean
all the other men were a waste of time. There is
much to be learned from every relationship, even
if it doesn't last.

One thing you have learned is that you have a
habit of attracting men with similar flaws. That
can have several root causes.

1. You may be replaying family issues and patterns.
This is something therapists often point to and not
something a dating coach like myself can address.
But it might be worth looking at, just in case.

2. You may believe, for whatever reason, that true
love is not possible for you. Sometimes people have
a core belief buried deep within and this is what
manifests rather than your conscious desire. I
recommend asking yourself if you believe you can
find love and deserve to find love. Of course I
believe everyone deserves love, but I don't count
here. It's what's in your subconscious mind that
matters most.

3. If you are attracted to a certain type of man,
the bad news is they come with the same type of flaws.
You haven't told me about the kind of men you are
interested in so it's hard to say. But given my
experience as an over 40 dating coach, I can tell
you that men who are "interesting", exciting, and
have fast chemistry are most often not the long-term
type. Usually, they are "bad boys" who are famous for
a lack of commitment, or a variety of issues no matter
how much they make your heart flutter.

Based on this scenario, my advice is to think
back over all the men you have dated to notice
patterns. What did the men have in common regarding
attraction and their issues? Then make a list of the
personality characteristics (i.e. red flags) you
never want to see again. When you go back out there
to meet new men, check the list after getting home.
If you start to see any of your red flag list, move
on to save yourself the heart ache.

Almost all men will show their true colors right
from the start. For some reason, women tend to
think those things won't happen or simply discount
what the guy says about himself. I advise paying
close attention and using the first few dates to
observe a man objectively. Make sure the men you
date are worthy of you and pay attention to those
red flags. When they start waving -run!

Good men are out there, and people get married
every day no matter what their romantic history
is or age. Once you have figured a few things out,
get back out there to find the love you deserve.
The right man for you is out there. I found love after 40,
and I know you can too.

Xoxoxo
Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Over 40 Dating Coach
Author, Manifesting Mr. Right

****

It's Terry again, and I want to repeat very strongly one of Ronnie's excellent points:

"People get married every day, NO MATTER WHAT THEIR ROMANTIC HISTORY IS or age."

It's critical that you get this. If you can't believe you can succeed at something because you've never done it before, you won't. If you can't believe you'll ever lose weight, you'll give up the diet after a day or two. If you don't believe you'll ever find a decent job, guess what? You won't. If you believe that a happy relationship isn't in the cards for you, it won't be.

Believe that you are capable of attracting and keeping a happy relationship. It's not hocus-pocus. Faith moves mountains.

Go for it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

He Wants a Good Woman

Sometimes I get mail from women who insist that men don't want to commit, so it was interesting to find this bit from a guy who says he can't find a woman to settle down with. He calls himself healthy, attractive, and he says he has a well-paying job.

Get the whole story here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

She's Not Comfortable With His Affection

Terry,

I met a warm, friendly guy a few months ago. His conversations are interesting, and he's handsome.

Problem (or is it?):

The few times we've been alone I've had to "fight him off"; he wants to kiss and caress me repeatly. I am uncomfortable with this because I'm just getting to know him. Am I overreacting? I don't want to chase him away by complaining, but my comfort is also an issue.

Please give me some feedback.

-Uncomfortable



Dear Uncomfortable-

When you say you've fought him off, have you told him what you told me: That you're uncomfortable with the affection because you're just getting to know him?

If not, speak up. See what he says. See what he does. It should tell you everything you need to know.

You did say you met him a few months ago, so maybe his kisses and caresses are true expressions of his feelings for you. Maybe you don't return those feelings yet. Maybe you never will. You may decide that you just like him as a friend.

But if you've already told him to back off, and he's ignored you, you definitely have a problem on your hands. You don't need a man who disregards your feelings. If this is the case, move on.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

He's Perfect (On Paper)

Question:

Been seeing Mr. Perfect On Paper: shared interests, activities, achievements, values.

But neither of us seems passionate about getting physically involved, and I don't feel -- and I guess he doesn't either -- that it's just awful to part at the end of an evening or a day together. We're both 60ish, were in 25-year marriages that ended (obviously): are we just gun-shy and holding back, or is this just not the relationship we need?

-Anonymous, please


-Dear Anonymous-

It sounds to me like you've met the perfect man to be your friend.

You seem to have a lot in common, so I don't see the harm of spending time together, but it seems that you're just not attracted to each other. Attraction is vital to a romantic relationship.

Is it possible attraction will develop?

Sure. Definitely. But it's also possible it won't. As long as you and your friend are having fun together, why not hang around with each other long enough to find out?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

He Broke Up With Her to Please His Family

Hello,

I'm so confused about something. My ex-boyfriend, and I "broke up" about a month ago. We had a great relationship - very healthy. I know his family had a lot to do with his decision (our culture is very complicated when it comes to dating/marriage).

Anyhow, it doesn't feel like we've even broken up. Everything has stayed the same. I know he has very strong feelings for me - and I for him. We talk everyday, we hang out a few times a week, we take trips and everything. He still tells me he loves me. Even when he goes out without me he's constantly texting me.

This situation is making me crazy. I want to be with him, but I just don't know how to handle things this way. Why is he like that? And how should I handle it? HELP!

~Turning Nutty


Dear Turning-

You say your relationship ended because his family had "a lot to do with his decision." Clearly, he wants to continue your relationship, but he does not want to offend his family. At this point, he is trying to have it both ways.

So, he is getting what he wants. His family is getting what they want. The only person who isn't getting what she wants is you.

You need to protect yourself.

He broke it off, so break it off. Don't go out with him or take trips with him. When he tells you he loves you, tell him, "That's great, but you broke up with me. Remember? You have given up the right to tell me anything of the sort."

He has also given up his right to text you and expect you to talk to him every day.

I'm afraid that if you continue to let things go the way they're going, you're going to get hurt. And he'll be able to wriggle out of it by saying, "But I never led you on. We were broken up."

Please take very good care of yourself. Bury yourself in something you've wanted to do but have put off since you starting seeing Family Man. Treat yourself as a treasure he's lost and a better man will be lucky to discover.

That's what you are: A treasure yet to be discovered. Stop letting this guy waste your time.

Please don't refer to yourself as 'Turning Nutty.' From now on, say you're 'Turning Toward Something Better.'

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hey, Terry-

I've got some issues here. I'm in a long distance relationship. Actually, this guy was my childhood friend and we connected together recently. He studies abroad. He fell in love with me, everything was going too fast, he kinda "made me love him," took off my icicle.

He became all I was asking for in a man. We met during summer vacations, it was awesome, and then he went back to the country where he studies. Since then, he's backing off. I don't know what happened. He calls once in a blue moon (he used to call me everyday!).

No more I love yous, no more I miss yous, NOTHING. He barely responds to my mails. We used to spend hours on Skype! I mean, he was so passionate and excited about us and the future together, he asked me to promise I'd wait for him. And I did.

And now he's backing off?! I mean... What am I supposed to do?! When I tell him about how I feel, he says that he's just busy, that he needs to concentrate and that he'll try to call me on weekends. He was busy before, too, but he used to call! I'm only asking for two minutes a day here, just to say hi and know he still cares. And he still finds time to talk to his friends and family and go on Facebook. The result is that I'm backing off too, returning to my shell. And I don't get it. One month before, he was madly in love, and now he can't even say a kind word to me?

-What is the Deal?


Dear Deal-

It's not fair that this guy warmed you up, and then left you cold, but please take comfort in the fact that you are not the first person who's suffered this crap.

Here's my advice: Stop calling him, texting him, visiting his Facebook page. Don't initiate contact whatsoever. Stop telling him how you feel (he doesn't deserve to hear it). Yes, breaking contact will hurt at first, but it will get easier. It's also worth it. Know that just as you cannot fathom why this guy came on so strong only to leave you high and dry, prolonging the agony is only going to prolong the agony.

(There are men and women who get off on 'the chase.' They determine to make someone fall in love with them, woo them until they do, and then move on because the fun is over. I don't know if this guy falls into this category, but it's possible.)

Fill your time taking care of yourself, doing things that make you happy and keep your mind off this person. If he should contact you, guard your heart and resist making yourself overly available. Think very hard if it's worth letting him into your life again.

Is he worth it? Does he deserve you?

I hope you won't let this unfortunate experience prevent you from finding happiness with a man who does deserve you and doesn't ever take you for granted.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

You Can Change Your Life

Dear Terry:

At 18 I had a love at first sight relationship, and we were great friends, but after two years on-and-off, we ended it. I had a few fun relationships in my early 20s, but then some disastrous abusive relationships. I chose to return to university for fulfillment and achievement. However a number of factors led to a nervous breakdown, and I moved back in with my parents.

My father was repressive and domineering, and my self-esteem and sense of independence were shattered. In my mid-30s I returned again to university to earn a Masters Degree. However, my efforts have been impeded by homelessness, financial bankruptcy, and abusive and repressive attitudes when I should have been able to celebrate my achievements. As a result, my 30s were ruined because I was trying to survive. I was not free to enjoy supportive relationships or to have children.

Most of my male friends disappeared, and I miss those friendships. Not to mention the fact that I want a real relationship.

While working on my MA , I had an awesome encounter with a man I used to work closely with. We have met since, but he is married and lives on another continent. My emotions are in turmoil.

I have just turned 40, and only three friends wished me a happy birthday, although they are all aware I require some support. I don't actually meet men I like, as the situation has been too stressful, and I've had to put all my energy into finding accommodation and living expenses.

Any advice?

-Want a Fresh Start


Dear Fresh Start-

I edited your letter for clarity and hope I've done a decent job of it.

I have to get this out of the way: I am not a licensed health professional. I do suggest you get the name of a good, supportive, caring therapist whose goal is to help you move on with your life as soon as possible.

Since you know you struggle with self-esteem issues (which lead to all sorts of other issues, including the loss of friends, getting involved in bad relationships, and other self-destructive behavior), I suggest you take out of the library You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. It's an effective, easy-to-digest book that's helped many people (you might also be able to borrow the DVD by the same name; it's good, too).

As far as your friends go, I do not know how you've treated them, or even if they were really friends or just acquaintances, but one of the most powerful things we can do when we feel lonely and abandoned is to be a friend to someone else. There is a human being out there who needs a friend even more than you do.

Can you find the time to be a friend to someone else? If you can, it will do wonders for your self-esteem. It may also lead to wonderful opportunities.

As for the man with the wife on another continent, the encounter may have been awesome, but how much time would you really want to spend with an individual who cheats on his wife? I mean, if you were married, would you want your husband to cheat on you?

I don't care how bad things look right now. You can do better than a man who cheats on his wife.

Once again, please do get hold of an excellent therapist who can help you build the self-esteem you deserve. I wish you every happiness.

-Terry

Monday, October 05, 2009

He Wants Her to Do Things He's Not Willing to Do For Her

Dear Terry-

I am dating a nice guy, but I AM feeling a big BUT here.

I don't know why. Something just doesn't feel right about all this for me. I can't put my finger on it. You would think after dating him exclusively for for five months, my opinion would change. The sex life is so-so, not fantastic. There are things he wants me to do that he won't do for me! (I've discussed this with my doctor and he suggests that I don't do these things, either!)

I am entrepreneurial, motivated, driven and focused. He is not. He is semi-retired and has a great (according to him) pension.

-Uncertain


Dear Uncertain-

I have a big problem with any man or woman who expects a partner to perform any act (even if it only involves hanging curtains) that they are unwilling to do in return.

No. No. No!

Both parties in a relationship should be treating the other person as they'd like to be treated themselves.

If something doesn't feel right, guess what? It probably isn't right. You're entrepreneurial, and your comment about this guy's "great (according to him) pension" indicates that you're not thrilled with his lifestyle. So why twist your own arm into continuing the relationship?

You say he's a nice guy, but how nice is he really when he expects you to do things for him that wouldn't even consider doing for you?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

An Omen That They're Not Meant to Be?

Terry-

My boyfriend popped the question that we should live together. Right afterward, I fell and broke my wrist. His come-on line was. "You like my house and my dog, right?" We have only been dating four months and I only see him once or twice a month. By the looks of things I probably won't see him until mid-October.

I never answered him when he asked me to move in. I just got really scared, and then I had the accident. I shattered two bones. He wanted me to have surgery in New York so he could take care of me. I wanted it at home where I could take care of myself. I felt like a prisoner in his home until he heard surgery was gonna cost me $2,500 US, and then he couldn't get me home fast enough.

He hasn't returned to see me since. He was supposed to come this weekend, but he had a prior engagement that was rescheduled for the same time, so now I probably won't be seeing him until mid-October.

He calls nightly. When I was recuperating, I didn't always take the call if I was resting. Honestly. The pain meds knocked me out. I was looking for a sign when we walked in the woods prior to my fall.

Was my fall a sign? If so, what did it mean?

-Clueless and Over the Border


Dear Over the Border-

I don't know if your accident was a sign from the universe, but clearly you have serious reservations about this individual. Listen to your intuition.

Why would you leave the country to move in with some guy you've met only a handful of times?

The line about you liking his house and dog was very romantic, by the way.

Terry

Monday, September 28, 2009

Are You Working Too Hard for Love?

How hard to you have work for love?

If you listen to pop radio, you have to work really, really hard for it. Right now, there's a hit single describing love as a battlefield (not to be confused with Pat Benetar's "Love is a Battlefield," which was a huge hit way back when in the Eighties).

I'm always hearing songs sung by well-lit young women describing their pain in love, and these songs usually become giant hits. And it's no wonder. They can be pretty catchy.

The problem is, a lot of women listen to them and come to the conclusion that love equals pain. If we're not feeling sad, if we're not feeling the drama, then we can't be in love.

Furthermore, a lot of us who are in bad relationships tell ourselves, "Hey, this is the way it's supposed to be. Love is work." This causes some women to put up with a lot of substandard behavior from the men they spend time with.

Please open yourself to the possibility that if you're feeling bad or sad in your relationship more than 20% of the time, you may be in the wrong relationship. You could be with the wrong guy.

Love is not a battlefield. It's supposed to be joyful, exciting, uplifting, full of mutual attraction, affection, consideration, and fun. (Does this mean you'll never have a doubt or a disagreement? No, of course not, but if you're crying more than you're laughing, something is seriously wrong.)

Love is supposed to be you making a special man's happiness your priority. He should be making your happiness his priority (that's where the work comes in; sometimes somebody has to make a sacrifice, and and it shouldn't always be the same somebody).

If your boyfriend often disappoints you, makes you feel less than special, and forces you to work for his affection and attention, you can do better.

Step back. Give yourself time to reconsider whether this person is someone who can make you happy in the long run.

Give yourself the gift of you. In other words, spend time with yourself. Care for yourself. Nurture yourself in the ways that are missing from your relationship. Allow yourself to be happy by yourself.

Decide whether it's time to move on and make room for a man who doesn't expect you to settle for crumbs.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

SWR Blog Crawl: If You Feel Good About Yourself, DO IT!


Today is Day 4 of the first-ever Single Women Rule blog crawl (which is kind of like a pub crawl with blogs instead of pubs), so if this is your first time at Dating Advice (Almost) Daily, I hope you like what you see. Do come back!

It's my good fortune to post this article by Maryanne Comaroto, who says "great relationships come from within." If you've been with me for a while, you know it's a philosophy I live and breathe.

After you finish reading, do yourself a favor and check out Maryanne Live for more resources for creating fulfilling relationships, starting with that all-important relationship yourself.


If You Feel Good About Yourself - DO IT!

By Maryanne Comaroto

Ever notice when you’re with some people, you feel contracted, self-conscious, worried that who you are is somehow flawed or not enough? And then there are other folks, in whose presence you feel just the opposite. You feel relaxed, expanded, closer to the best version of yourself; natural, free and enough! What is it about the first group of people that entices us to still spend time with them? Or – and here's perhaps a more relevant dating question – why in the WORLD would ever choose to get into a relationship with the former? As a matter of fact, this perplexing twist turns out to be as simple as it is complex—and I am inclined to move towards the simple understanding in this moment.

I'll illustrate it with a story from one of my students who recently started dating again. Her self-care practice is stronger than ever. She knows who she is, what she wants and has a relationship plan and tools in her relationship tool belt. She is gainfully employed, has other work filled with her mission and purpose that she is building on the side, lives where she wants, takes care of her body, puts good things in her mind and prays for guidance. But, like all of us, she struggles from time to time when trying to decide who she wants to be with. Like many of us she is still attracted to what looks good and feels good, but perplexed about why that almost always leads to: “Makes me feel bad about myself in the morning.” And even though she has made her list of non-negotiables and written extensively about the character and makeup of her potential partner, she turns into a deer in the headlights when a certain type of person enters the scene. And forgets all that, as though she’s got temporary amnesia.

My student was confronted with just such a perfect example recently when she told me about two men she was attracted to and interested in:

One she had known casually over some years, the other she met randomly (although at the time she believed their meeting was serendipitous.) The first person was handsome, courteous, grounded, and his words were consistent with his actions.
The second gentleman, while their initial meeting was considerably more electric, was not entirely who he made himself out to be. Turns out, while he was interested in getting to know her, he was not available for a relationship, nor did he call when he said he would.

She shared with me the truth about their meeting, and that she could feel how this guy was like the type of guy she was traditionally attracted to. And at the same time as she recognized this, she also saw that she felt bad about herself almost immediately after meeting him. Whereas bachelor number one has been consistent, even and honest. Fortunately, because today she loves herself and wants a great relationship, she snapped out of it.

♥Sometimes we just got give up the flames for the slow burn!!!

I said this was going to be simple and really, honestly, it is.

Is it true these folks that “bring out the worst in us” have something to teach us? Yes. Or that they are mirroring a part of ourselves that perhaps we do not like? Yes, that is also true. Or that you don’t always, every second of the day, love or like who you are, so therefore it would be unrealistic to think that you would feel in love with yourself in this person’s presence every moment you are with them. Also true.

However—and this is a big however—Why choose your primary love relationship to be a battlefield of personal development if you don’t have to? In other words, if you want to “work on your issues” why not deal with your childhood wounds or mom/dad material head-on? You don’t have to find a mate that rings your bells. Go to therapy. Delve deeply into your subconscious mind and free yourself from these imprints, low self-esteem or self-worth issues. You don’t have to spend your precious time with, have sex with, move in with, or marry them.

Changing certain self-defeating behavior is, like I always say, like pulling a jet plane out of a nose dive. But do not fret. With enough persistence and a daily practice of self-love you are sure to eventually prevail and, like so many of us converts, ultimately make better and better relationship choices, in all areas of your life! And I will keep you posted on our hopeful bachelorette!

For more information on my daily practice and the seven essential truths for waking up and staying awake, check out www.maryannelive.com

Monday, September 21, 2009

He Said He Might Marry Her. Then He Disappeared

Hi Terry,

I've been trying to figure out how to post a question on your blog, but being completely clueless when it comes to blogs, I have no choice but to leave my post as a comment on this one... I hope that's ok?

I am a 34 year old woman (girl?) living in Mumbai, India. After a brief but very painful marriage I found myself building life from ground zero. I've no complaints about my life; it's seriously super. I have a successful business built from scratch, great friends, 3 adorable dogs and as many books as I can read.

But, I've essentially been single since my marriage ended 6 years ago. I'm physically very attractive (credited to good genes), funny, intelligent and an all-round good catch, or so my friends tell me.

I've interacted with a few guys over the years, but nothing really amounted to much. This is mostly in part to my being too needy and clingy around hem, and they being just not worth it.

Now, I've met this perfect man a few days ago. By perfect I mean perfect for ME.

We met, and sat and chatted (and a bit more) till 6:30 am... the next day he called when he said he would, made plans to see my that evening because I was supposed to leave for a holiday the next day.

The holiday didn't happen. But what did is that he talked about how he had given up on meeting someone he wanted to be with, and he had finally met that person (me). He didn't need to look any further now, and really wanted to get to know me, to be with me. Whether that would mean marriage would only be discerned after spending more time together, but he wanted me to know that was committed to at least exploring that option.

Whew! This man has been what I've been looking for in many ways, older than me, well-settled, successful in his own right, sorted in his head, very committed to his sons, fun, well-travelled, well-read... etc etc.

We were to go out Wednesday night with his friends, but he cancelled claiming exhaustion, seeing as both of us had been up for two nights and had been working through the day. We signed off with him saying he'll call me the next day...

It's been two days since then, and there's been no call.

I'm completely thrown by this, as most of the good stuff being said came from him, with no prompting from me. I did talk to him about not being interested in a fling, or being his bit on the side, and he said he understood.

In fact, when I told him that I wasn't leaving for Thailand till next week, he even suggested trying to work things at his end so he could come with me on holiday!

And that's followed by this complete silence. I feel like it's almost a test of some sort, to see if I freak out and get manic and call him 10 times, or then he needs space to think things, maybe he feels he's said too much.

I dont know!

I don't want to call him or text him... I just feel like that wouldn't be a good move... Call it instinct.

What would you say? I'd love some impersonal advice, and yours seems to always be spot on :-)

Thanks a ton,
C.


Dear C.-

First off, thanks for the kind words, and it's fine to leave a question in comments. You can also email questions to terry(at)marrysmart.com.

Your instincts are correct. Do not text or call this guy. He made the unbidden proclamation about you being the woman he's been waiting for, so let him pick up the phone.

You sound extremely self-aware when you say that your former relationships broke up because you were too clingy. This is a great thing to know because next time around, you can easily alter this behavior with a bit of self-control.

But, back to this guy, whom you didn't cling to: He seemed great. He looked great. Smelled great. Said all the right things. And then promptly disappeared.

I understand you must be incredibly disappointed. I mean, what a letdown. On the other hand, if he hasn't re-emerged with an excellent reason for his disappearance by now, he may have done you a favor. I don't know what his intentions were, of course, or if he scared himself.

All I know is that he said he was open to considering the possibility of marriage with you, AND HE'D ONLY JUST MET YOU.

Listen, if some guy I met last Wednesday told me he was open to the possibility of marrying me, I'd tell him:

"I don't even know you."

You don't know this Prince Charming who only seems to be "sorted in his head." And he doesn't know you. His comments about discerning whether he'd marry you one day would be considered presumptuous in the United States. Are they usual for men in India?

Whether the answer is yes or no, I'm going to ask you to be more discerning. When a man you just met tells you you're the one he's been waiting for, take a big step back, raise your eyebrow and say, "Oh, yeah? Why do you think so?"

(Furthermore, why is he presuming that you're going to jump into his arms when he tells you this?)

This is your life we're talking about here.

And look, you say you have a full life. You have good friends, a business of your own, and lots of good books. I know you want a good man at your side, so please hold out for him.

You sound as if you have a great deal to offer, and some man will be very lucky to have you. Don't allow yourself to be distracted by presumptuous characters who are all talk and no action.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

She Doesn't Want to Seem Too Eager

Hi Terry,

I have to say, after reading your (amazing!) e-book I feel like I've opened Pandora's box haha!. Seriously though, all my wishes and desires are manifesting almost magically and I couldn't be happier. So as to stay on the right track, I have a question about pacing.

I know that Mimi Tanner advocates going slow and playing "hard to get". I completely understand the thinking/purpose behind that in the long run. Here's my question, what do you say when you are newly dating a guy (about 1 month), have yet to have the relationship/exclusivity talk, and he begins asking questions about your past and/or feelings about marriage/kids etc.

Specifically, he is asking about my past marriage. My thoughts are to place things in a positive light and cite it as a learning experience. Of course, I don't want to seem anti-marriage in ANY way as I certainly AM NOT but I also don't want to seem too eager with someone so new. Do you see where I'm coming from? Please tell me Terry, how do I navigate these waters successfully and with grace?

Thank you SO much....I look forward to hearing your advice!

All the best,

Graceful


Dear Graceful-

Thanks for the kind and encouraging words. They mean a great deal to me.

I think your instincts are right. Do place your former marriage in a positive light and say that you learned from it. There's nothing eager about being clear about the fact that you're open to the possibility of getting married again, but you could say, "The next time I do it, I want it to be right. I learned a lot the last time around." And if you hope to have children one day, say so.

You're not telling the guy, "I WANT TO MARRY YOU. I WANT TO BE THE MOTHER OF YOUR CHILDREN!" You're merely saying you're open to the idea of getting married to the right person in the future.

I hope this helps.

Terry

Monday, September 14, 2009

He Asked Her to Be 'Exclusive,' and Now He's Backing Off

Hi Terry!

I have scored the most perfect Prince Charming ever! The first couple months went great (it was all like you said - HE did everything! Decided for us to become exclusive, even started talking about marriage within the first month of dating) but as with all my relationships - a couple months later (about the 10 month point for this one) and the infatuation phase runs out. I know you say that backing off and giving him space will make him come back on his own and return as someone that wants you to be exclusive with him. But in my situation we're already exclusive! And he's still pulled back! Is there any advice for this? Is this normal?

PLEASE HELP!

-Exclusive


Dear Exclusive-

My heart goes out to you now because obviously you're hurt and confused.

Even though he asked to be exclusive, is it possible that he's come to take you for granted?

In other words, have you given him a reason to take you for granted? Have you ever broken plans with your friends to be with him? Do you call him or text him often? (I don't care if you're a man or a woman; too-frequent contact is a romance killer.) Are you doing too much for him? Making his dinner all the time, picking up his dry cleaning, returning his library books?

If so, you're not making yourself indispensible. You're smothering him.

If this is the case, please do yourself a favor and take a step back. Start filling your time with friends. Go out for drinks for colleagues. Let him be the adult he is and take care of his own laundry, meals, etc. Let him do some things for you. Men like to do things for women. They enjoy giving things to women. If you've taken those particular life's pleasures from him, please stop.

If you back off for a while, and he steps forward again, remember this: Being an exclusive couple is great, but your boyfriend was attracted to you because of YOU-- who you are, what you do, how you think, what makes you laugh, and so on. If you allow yourself to be half of a couple instead of a full person in a dynamic, loving relationship, you lose yourself.

And he loses you,

Without a complete picture of your relationship, my best suggestion is to return to being the full woman the man fell in love with; if you have any preconceived notions about how a full-time girlfriend is to behave (aside from kindly, honestly, and faithfully), please drop them.

Be the girl you used to be.

Good luck.

Terry

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

She Worries About American Women

Dear Terry:

It disturbs me how much American women just LIVE for the big wedding day .. and being MARRIED. There is more to life than bouquets, champagne toasts, and a white dress and a wedding night.

After that -- comes LIFE. Kids, or infertility problems, or babies' deaths, or unemployment, or hurricanes and houses lost...

I LOVE your messages so don't get me wrong. You mean well. But there IS more in this life then THE BIG WEDDING day and getting a ring on your finger. This is not life.

Life is a committed, sane partner and even if there's no officially expensive big fiesta, it is good all the same. Why are American women so flipping OBSESSED with snaring a man "for life"?

The statistics recently show than 50% of marriages (first time) don't last ... And over 60% of 2nd marriages don't either.

We could maybe focus more on building a GREAT relationship, maybe a recomposed family etc without putting so much accentuation on THE RING...

Just food for thought :) Be good and enjoy your weekend !!

-Concerned Reader


Dear Concerned,

Thanks for writing.

I've been married for 17 years, so I do know that marriage is not all about champagne and engagement rings. Those things will never make anyone happy for very long. (I don't usually mention weddings or rings in my emails, and I didn't in the one to which you refer.)

My message is for women who want to be happy, and to be happy they've got to decide to enjoy life with or without a man. They have to be whole people, not half a person searching for that elusive other half. Let's face it; we're all responsible for our own happiness. That's why I hope to help some women to stop settling for less than they deserve in a relationship.

I've found that it's not just American women who obsess about getting married (and they obsess about getting married because society still mantains that a woman needs a man to be considered successful, which is a load of bunk in my opinion). I get mail from plenty of women in the UK and other places, too.

I also write for a website called SingleWomenRule.com, which is devoted to helping women enjoy everything life has to offer whether or not the 'knight in shining armor' ever shows up.

Thanks again for sharing your perspective. I do appreciate it.

-Terry

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

She Thinks She Has a Problem With Men

Hi, Terry-

Thanks for your emails. I’d really appreciate some advice from you.

I think I have a problem with guys – they always seem to be intimidated by me, no matter how hard I try to show them I’m an ordinary person. One problem I have, if you can call it a problem, is that I’m very intelligent. I was educated in the best universities and I’ve been a lecturer at a good university for the last three years.

When guys first meet me, they seem interested and ask me out. After we go out a few times, either they get scared off and slowly disappear or they stick around but become very careful with me and give me mixed signals. Too scared to kiss me, waiting for me to make the first move – which I never do because I think that’s the man’s job. I’m very traditional. This is sometimes prolonged. They flirt with me, take me out, call me a lot but when it’s time to show romantic interest, they play the ‘we are just friends’ card. This happened to me many times. Or I’m told ‘you are too nice, I don’t want to hurt you’ or that ‘if I go out with you, you’d be demanding and want serious commitment’. Or I’m told ‘I was never sure you were interested’, even though I may tell them and/or spend time going out with them a lot…

I know some of the guys I dated (if you can describe this behaviour as dating), felt very inferior and tried to put me down to show who is the man. They went on to find girlfriends they were more comfortable with (usually, less educated than them).

Another problem I have is that men never think I’m single. I’ve been told ‘you don’t act as if you are looking for someone’ or that ‘you are too good looking to be single/go out with me/date normal men’. Again, all this is rubbish.

Yes, I’m a clever, serious and hardworking person but I’m also very sociable and make friends very easily. I've always had many good male friends. So I don’t understand why this is happening to me all the time and men can't see me as a girlfriend. If anything, I think I’m actually too nice to men I like and I tolerate a lot, apart from jumping into bed with them. I want to wait to be in a serious relationship before I do that.

I’m not sure if that’s the problem at the end of the day – them feeling I’m not about to sleep with them without them putting in some effort. But I think I deserve the extra effort (extra being what every girl would want – not talking about spending money on me).

Sorry to go on like this. I’d be interested to hear what you have to say. I don’t know if this is of relevance, but I was brought up in a country different from the one I live and work. So that makes me a foreigner I guess.

-Too Smart For My Own Good?


Dear Smart-

Right off the bat, I'll tell you I am not as smart as you, haven't been to the best universities (although I did go to a decent one) and haven't taught at any, either.

Yet, on more than one occasion I came across a guy who'd tell me, "You're too smart." On one particular occasion, a dude told me, "You're very bright and attractive, but I'm looking for someone I can mold."

Seriously. He said that.

It goes without saying that I'd prefer not to date (or marry) any person who needs to mold me or who finds my intelligence intimidating. Life is too short to hang out with morons.

That said, I'd been told by some people that I could be perceived as "hard to get to know," "snobbish," and having a "superior attitude." The fact of the matter is that I was none of these things. I was shy, and it took me a while to learn not to stiffen up around people. I've always found it easier to be the person asking questions of other people, rather than have them ask them about me. And while it's true nobody wants to hang around some bore who goes on and on about herself, we do have to reveal some details about ourselves if people are ever going to feel close to us.

You say you come from a different culture than the one you're currently living in, and it's possible something is indeed getting lost in translation. But you make friends easily, and a lot of those friends are men. Would you feel comfortable saying to one of them, "You know, I'd really like to meet someone special, but I seem to have trouble getting things off the ground. Is there some advice you could give me?"

You may be embarrassed to ask for help, but people are usually glad to give it to you (and flattered that you asked).

When a man tells you you're too good looking to date, or that you don't appear to be looking for someone, put the ball back in his court. Look him in the eye, smile, and say, "Why do you say that?"

Let him tell you. His answer should tell you everything you need to know (whether he's got serious insecurity issues, for example, or if you seem unapproachable).

You say that you're too nice to guys sometimes and put up with too much. What are you putting up with, exactly? When you let a person treat you less than well, they come away with the impression that you're not much of a catch, no matter how smart or good-looking you are.

This may be why some men tell you "you're too nice," or that they expect you'll demand a commitment if they keep seeing you.

So...

I'm wondering if you're not smiling enough, being playful enough when you first meet a guy. And then, when you start dating him and things start to progress, you put up with too much nonsense, which lowers your value (think about it: when a guy accepts bad treatment, do you value him?).

I haven't seen you in action, so I'm just throwing things out here. You're attractive, smart, and make friends easily, so you definitely have what it takes to attract a great guy and enjoy a lasting relationship.

One more thing: Guys who need to let you know who "the man" is should be dismissed immediately. Right: You're a woman, and he's a man. That's a given. None of us should be marching around having to prove our gender all damn day.

A guy who's threatened by you in any way for any reason is a bad bet. We are what we are. We want to be loved for who we are.

How's this for an affirmation?

"I, _________________, am happily married to a loyal, loving, fun man who loves me just as I am and is thrilled by my intelligence."

Tweak it, if you like. Then, using all your senses, bring that man and that relationship to life in your imagination. It'll be sketchy at first, but with perseverance, details will fill themselves in. Keep bringing that relationship to life in your imagination several times a day.

I've asked my colleague, Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan, to weigh in on this question, so please watch the comments for her take.

Readers, if you have any suggestions for our friend, I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Surviving a Break-Up

A reader wrote to recommend the following video, in which makeup artist Kandee Johnson gives advice on getting over an ex. Kandee's tips apply to both men and women, and it doesn't matter how old you are, either.

It's good stuff. Check it out:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Online Dating: When Should He Offer to Pick Her Up?

Hi Terry!

I read your book, began visualizing, listing, etc., and lo and behold a seemingly nice guy has materialized (wow!). Ok, so my question is, since we met online, how many times should we meet (drive to our meeting spot separately) before I can expect him to offer to pick me up? Also, how do I even approach this? Ideally, shouldn't he be offering this at some point? Please let me know your thoughts.....thanks Terry!

-The Going's Good


Hi, Going-

Congratulations on meeting a seemingly nice guy!

Okay, it's possible that this fellow will be the one for you, but it's also possible that he's a dress rehearsal for someone even better.

So...

Drive separately to meet him in some public place until you are convinced that he really and truly is a "nice guy" and worthy of your time. Play it by ear. If things go well, I imagine that he'd suggest that you travel together after a few good dates.

Please don't put any pressure on yourself or on the situation for him to be "the one." Keep affirming and visualizing. Enjoy yourself, be yourself, and don't limit yourself until you're sure that any man is the right man for you.

In other words, keep your options open.

Thinking very good thoughts for you,
Terry

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

She's Waiting For a Man to Get a Divorce and Marry Her

Hi, Terry-

I liked your book. It's simple and straightforward in the good sense.

I love it that you dispelled the American cultural myth of the men shortage. Before I came to America, I'd never heard of it either so I could very much relate to your Irish friend.

I have a question about my situation. I'm in my forties (yikes) and have been dating a great man for almost 2 years. I do want to get married and preferably to him because we've had a wonderful time and I love and like him a lot. He's separated, living in his own place, and says he wants to be with me for the rest of my life. He talks about future plans with me. But he still hasn't filed for divorce. He left her and the only contact they have is about the son. Even his mom who likes me asked him about the progress and wasn't very pleased that he had not taken any steps. Life threw a curveball, his son got very sick a month ago, and now he says that his plan had been to finalize his divorce this summer, and now it has to wait. And now he says it will be October until he gets to it. His son is still pretty ill and my bf is very stressed and occupied by this.

Now my part. I've let him know a year ago that I did want to get married. I get very down because I despair of his lack of actions. I'm too afraid to bring it up, probably because I think what he says are all excuses why he doesn't file for his divorce (you read that in all the books on dating, The Rules, it's always an excuse). I've been betrayed before and it does color how I see the situation and I might not be seeing it accurate. I also read too many scary advice emails, The Rules, and everything on the planet that makes it sound that getting married is more difficult than anything a woman could ever accomplish.

He brings up the status of his divorce progress repeatedly (I've asked him about it once) but it might just be out of guilt because he knows it's not right to put it off any longer. I never talk about the future or getting married. Should I? It's really not the same as the man doing it for me. I'm hopelessly confused. I want to get married because it's saying yes to being there for each other, to building a life together and I just can't give myself away to a man that doesn't give me this level of commitment. If he's as crazy about me as he says, then I don't get it that he doesn't move forward. My first husband married me within 3 weeks. In hindsight out of fear someone else would. Do I make it too easy on my bf by never saying anything? He's says all the right things and does the right things (calling me, planning dates), I'm his soulmate, etc. but without the action to get his divorce handled. what does it mean? Every time he says it now, I feel down and think "we'll see."

I'm confused and don't know what to do. I do have a life of my own, I seldom call him (I just can't, it feels better when he calls me), at my age I don't have men swarming around me but men do flirt with me occassionaly. According to the Rules it should progress but I don't feel it does. My fear of being betrayed which is a childhood thing doesn't help seeing what's going on. Let me know what you think. Have I given him the message he can be with me without marrying me? Thanks.

-Waiting


Dear Waiting-

Let me just say I don't think you've given him the "wrong message" about having you without being married to you. I don't think you're giving him a message at all.

A year ago, you told him you wanted to get married, but since then, you haven't brought it up. I don't care what The Rules says; this is your life we're talking about here, and you do have a right to communicate your feelings.

For all this man knows, you're not all that interested in getting married. You rarely call him, you don't make dates, and you've been trained by books like The Rules to say nothing and do nothing.

Yes, he could be making excuses. He may have no intentions of ever divorcing, and maybe all his proclamations about you being his soulmate are hot air. But how are you to know?

The next time he tells you how you light up his sky, why don't you say to him, "You know, I feel the same way about you. I'd like to build a life with you. How do you feel about it?"

Then listen. Watch his hands, his eyes, and open your ears. If he gives you another excuse, then it might be time to pull back a bit, not out of some manipulative The Rules way, but out of self-protection.

This means that you can be there for him some of the time, particularly now while he deals with the stress of his child's illness, but not all the time. Occasionally, when he calls to get together, you should be able to tell him you've already made plans. Fill your time with nourishing activities, whether it's going out with friends, going to a yoga class, catching a ballet by yourself, seeing a comedy. Whatever.

It's not necessary to break up with the guy, but it is a good idea to keep him at arm's length until he figures out what he wants to do with himself.The bonus? If he figures out he doesn't intend to get a divorce, you can settle further into an increasingly comfortable new reality that doesn't include him.

As for you being in your forties, big deal. If you're feeling less attractive about it, then by all means, find a new interest. Learn a new language or something. Learning is the fountain of youth, and developing new interests gives your life another fascinating facet, and it helps keep your mind off you-know-who.

Also: Your betrayal issues. If you find they're holding your back (I'm no psychiatrist, but is it possible that part of the attraction to this guy is the fact that he's not divorced, and therefore you don't really have to worry about a betrayal?), please seek the help of a good licensed therapist.

And, whatever you do, please stop reading The Rules (or any other book that make attracting a good husband sound impossible). The authors do have a point about not being overly available (everybody wants to work a little; women want to work a little for men, too), but the business about not returning calls is complete nonsense.

To me, it all comes down to treating the other person as you would have him treat you. Then ask yourself if he's treating you as you would treat him. If the answer is yes, great. If not, it's time to make an adjustment.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How Does She Get Over Him?

Dear Terry,

I've a huge crush on this friend of mine. We initially met online through a music community we both signed up for.

He recently got divorced few months back,and is shattered by it. He got serious in his pursuit for music only after his divorce, and he has a great career in singing now, apart from being a manager during the day.

He said he'd like to marry again in the next year or two, but it doesn't matter who the girl is going to be, 'coz his first love will always be music because music is his first priority in life (he sings very well with a very beautiful and mesmerizing voice).

I'm not fine with being that 'any girl', as I've lot of great traits which could be cherished by a noble man who has a balanced life, and to whom family life is also a top priority.

His haunting voice is taking its toll on me now, and I don't want to think about him anymore. I think I'm on the right track, but I'm not sure how to get over him. He's a famous celebrity now in my city and gives performances that I always made it a routine to see to make my week-ends joyful.

I sometimes hate music now when I talk to him, didn't have any closure as we're only 'friends.' But I can tell he likes spending a lot of time with me and is attracted to me.

Can you please give me some advice on getting over him? Do I have to break the friendship to get over him?

-Keep Me Anonymous


Dear Keep Me-

You've made a decision to get over him, which puts you ahead of the game. A lot of us want to get over a guy but are not remotely interested in making the effort it requires (forcing attractive thoughts of him out of our heads, for example, and staying away from places we might find him).

You say you want a noble man who will cherish your very good qualities, and here you are ahead again: You know what you want and what you have to offer. You know you deserve better than a man who thinks he might marry again in a year or two to some girl or another.

The thing is, you say he's been through a bad divorce. He's been traumatized, and either he's going to take steps to make himself strong enough to be vulnerable again, or he isn't. Right now, it sounds like he'd rather immerse himself in the safety of his music.

Unfortunately, his music seems to be where you find him most attractive. It pains me to say it, but you're going to have to stay away from his performances until you get over him. You're going to have to force the mesmerizing sound of his voice out of your mind.

For the sake of your own happiness, I don't think you can be his friend right now. You're attracted to this guy, and the fact that he's attracted to you isn't making life any easier.

The weekend will soon be upon us, and he'll be onstage once again. Where will you be? Please make a fun plan now, so that you don't find yourself tempted to watch him perform. (I imagine it will be tough to have fun your first few times out, but it will get easier.)

Better yet, pull out a calendar and make plans for every weekend for the foreseeable future.

You know what you want. Please go for it.

Terry

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's Raining Men

Dear Terry,

I am findng that I am starting to attract kinder, more spiritual guys which is wonderful. The problem is I am still very cautious.

I am fearful that I will follow the practices in [your] book and choose the man of my dreams that may not be the "perfect guy for *me*", but the guy I *think* is right for me. Yet, how often in life am I surprised by how things turn out, things that did not go according to plan, only to find out I am very happy. How do we know that what we want for ourselves is best? Can we trust that?

Does it come from dating and seeing what we like and what we don't? There are a few men in my life that just sort of appeared. I had been waiting and waiting, and then all of the sudden 3 at once! Now what do I do? I am a one woman type of gal and am looking for a potential partner. I suppose I am jumping to conclusions. I don't even know what these guys are looking for. I am relying on my intution, but I don't know if I can trust it and well. I guess I am just confused!

Thanks, Terry. I hope that made sense.

Brightest blessings,

S.-


Hello, S.-

You're a one-man woman who's in a very good position: Three seemingly kind and spiritually-minded men have come out of the woodwork.

You wonder if you can trust your instincts. Well, sure. Sometimes. It's important to heed your intuition but not to rely on it exclusively. That's where experience comes in.

Which means you date these three guys and whoever else comes along. You spend time with them until you know who's the real deal and who isn't. The only thing you owe any man right now is honesty. You don't have to marry anybody.

You say you don't know what any of these men wants, anyway. Get to know them, and you're bound to find out.

Take the pressure off. Don't overthink this stuff.

The benefit of dating (and of socializing in general) is that, as you get to know people, you also get to know yourself. You become surer of what will make you happy in the long run.

I hope this helps.

Monday, August 10, 2009

When He Says He Needs Space

I apologize again for not posting as frequently as usual lately. I also apologized two months ago, and I'm still having trouble getting my act together. In addition to some other writing projects, I'm dealing with eye strain from sitting too much in front of a computer.

If anybody can give me some advice on how to deal with it, I'd really appreciate it. It's not good for productivity.

Somebody left the following comment on a previous post, How to Win Him Back:

This article is helpful, but I don't know how to be strong...

My boyfriend of 4 1/2 years, my first and ONLY anything, just broke up with me yesterday and I don't know how to deal. He said he needed "space" to find himself, which I know is true... but I can't seem to understand why he needs me to be out of the picture... this is so tragic...


And I say, yeah, it's definitely tragic when someone we love turns around after a number of happy dates, weeks, months, or years, and says, "I need space," but let me tell you: The best thing you can do is give him space.

(Just so you know, I've been there, and I really, really feel for you right now.)

If you call him, text him, IM him to implore him to remember the good times and plead with him to tell you exactly when things turn a wrong turn, it will only drive him further away.

(Once again, I've been there.)

Think about it. If you've ever been in the position where you're being pursued by someone you're not sure of at the moment, does it make him more or less attractive if he keeps pursuing you after you've politely asked him to back off?

It's entirely possible that the man in this scenario just needs time to figure out what he wants. It's possible he'll decide he wants this relationship to continue. It's possible that he'll decide he doesn't.

But the only way to know for sure is to give him what he's asked for: Space. In the meantime, ask yourself what's the worst thing that could happen here (he won't come back?). If he chooses not to come back, please be open to the possibility that better things lie ahead for you.

While you let him enjoy his space, make a point of enjoying yours. This means reaquainting yourself with the people, places, and things that made you happy that may have fallen by the wayside over the past four years. It means discovering new interests and making new friends. Most of all, it means taking excellent care of yourself.

I wish you every happiness.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Radiating 'Specialness' to Attract Men

Hi Terry,

I love reading your somewhat daily e-mails and respect your opinion and advice. However, I recently located to a new city and state and have no idea what and where the hot spots are. Therefore, I am tempted to explore on-line dating. Do you have an opinion or any advice on creating profiles that radiate specialness and good qualities? Thanks. -A.


Hi, A.-

Internet dating is a great way to meet new people, but before you do anything, it's imperative that you know what kind of man you hope to meet before you sign up for any service.

This means sitting down and asking yourself, "What qualities does a man need for me to be a) attracted to him (very important) and b) joyful and happy in a relationship?"

A recently divorced woman did just this, perused the Internet profiles for a while, and ended up being introduced to a guy who met the most important specifications she came up with before she even joined a service. They're dating very happily, and things are looking very good for this relationship!

Does this mean you'll write a list, and Prince Charming will pop out of thin air? No, but it does mean you'll be much more likely to recognize him when he does show up. (And, because you're conditioning your subconscious to believe this man exists and is part of your life, it means he's MUCH more likely to show up.)

Writing a list worked for this woman, and it worked for me and countless others.

After you've written the list of qualities HE should have, write a list of YOUR very best qualities. Are you attractive? Well, so is just about everybody else writing a profile (or so they claim). Are you kind? Honest? Funny?

Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Are you athletic or bookish (or both?) Be specific about what you're looking for, as well:

"Kind-hearted, attractive woman who loves laughing, white-water rafting, and good wine seeks honest, fun-loving man for adventure and possible LTR."

And, remember, just because you're in a new state doesn't mean you won't meet a great guy at the dry cleaner's, the supermarket, or the post office. If your new town has a popular coffee house, become a regular there (our local cafe features a free jazz night, and it's hugely popular with people of all ages).

But, before you leave the house, do write that list. It can make the difference between success and failure in meeting Mr. Right!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Great Cheap Date Ideas

Jim Wang of Bargaineering ran a list of ideas for cheap dates on his very excellent blog, which offers all kinds of tips for making the most of your money and your life.

His date suggestions are great for couples, but they should also work for singles who want to open themselves to the possibility of meeting new people.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is He Worth It?

Dear Terry,

Love your blog and your perception of the bleedingly obvious..so hope you can help me.

I will keep it brief..I visualised and met the most amazing man..so good so far..except that he had a breakdown..and chose to deal with this on his own. He distanced himself from me by basically disappearing without giving me much of an explanation.

This was a year ago..since then he has written to me via email to apologise an offer an explanation. He has now divorced, overcome his depression with medication/psychotherapy and seems to be in a good emotional space.

After no contact for nearly a year, we arranged to meet recently. It was so good to see him again, but I was surprised to hear he is now seeing someone else. He painted a picture that said he was not that happy with this new woman. I came away feeling hurt that he chose to move on with someone else when we had a great thing going before his breakdown.

He was very interested to know if I was seeing anyone. I told him the truth that I was dating a few men at the moment, but nothing serious.

I feel I have maintained my dignity and been gracious throughout our year of no contact. He apologised and says he feels ashamed of how he acted. He wants to be friends now.

I like to always keep the door open, and to just let life flow. But another part of me wonders why he not only let me go..but pretty quickly moved onto someone else.

Have I answered my own question?

-Keep Me Anonymous


Hi, Anonymous-

A couple of things strike me about this "amazing" man:

He disappeared, got psychological help, divorced, and then resurfaced to inform you that he's got a new woman in his life, and he's not really happy with her.

Huh?

I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was separated (and that his wife was aware of the arrangement) when he started dating you. If I'm wrong, I dislike him immensely.

I get it that you were really, really attracted to this guy (otherwise, you wouldn't describe him as amazing), but you have to know you deserve so much better than this. Yeah, I'm sorry the guy had a breakdown, but what about the rest of it?

And now he want to be friends, but is he capable of being a friend (I don't know the answer to this, but you probably have a hunch)? Before you let him into your airspace again, ask yourself if it's worth it.

Being a friend means having someone you can share a laugh with, but it also means taking care of that other person. It means occasionally having to listen to them cry about their problems when you might rather be doing something else.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that, but will you end up having to tell him? Is he truly worthy of your time? Is he worthy of the time of the new woman he claims to be less than excited about?

I do think you answered your own question.

Friday, July 17, 2009

She's Visualizing Love But Getting No Takers

Hi Terry,

I've been practicing your visualization techniques daily (quite enjoyably I might say) and have no problem with that part. Here's the question, why is it that I get so few responses from men through online dating? I've posted what seems to me to be an inviting profile, but it seems that whenever I approach men I'm interested in...poof...nothing! It's puzzling as well as frustrating to say the least. Any tips you could share with me Terry?

Many Thanks!

-Puzzled


Dear Puzzled-

My best guess is that the men you're approaching are not the men you want to attract. In other words, if you're visualizing (and feeling) a happy relationship with a man who embodies certain qualities, it's quite possible that the men you've encountered so far are not that man.

When you decide what you want (as you have) and visualize it (as you are doing regularly), you are sending out a signal. The men you mention are not picking up that signal because it's not meant for them.

It's meant for someone else, who is out there, and who may or may not be profiled on an Internet dating site. For all you know, you could meet him at the dry cleaner's.

So keep visualizing and keep the faith. Sometimes people decide what they want, and it shows up right away. For others, it will take more time. Go about your day happily, knowing that the one you want is on his way to you.

(A frequent commenter, Jokah McPherson, made a good observation about attraction. Click here to read it.)

I'm thinking very good thoughts for you.