Monday, June 14, 2010

I Love You, and I Don't Want to Lose You

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

She Wants Him...Sort Of

Dear Terry,

Firstly, thank you for the wonderful blog and for the time you're spending to make women take better choices in life. I read your blog religiously. (That doesn't mean on Christmas, Easter, etc; you know really religiously ! :-)

Just reading your blog, I got answers without asking anyone for many of my dating dilemmas, but this one's baffling the heck out of me.

I decided not to date anyone for a while until I reach a professional goal (the recession's hit me too). Over all, I'm giving myself a big break (for dating) after I ended a non-existent relationship (only in my head) with an unavailable man who told me all the great things, who even asked me to marry him but won't say he loves me. I told him I need some more time to take a decision, since I didn't feel confident marrying him. I wanted to know why he won't say he loves me. My patience paid off, turns out, he's involved with another woman too, and he only revealed this himself after a year when the girl broke up with him. I showed him the door.

I'm over him totally. But, I need to boost myself emotionally, so I wanted to prove myself I'll get the big break at work I want, and only then resume dating. Right now, my finances need to improve much more.

Suddenly I was sent to a different place for work, and I joined a yoga class recently where I meet this great guy who teaches yoga! He shares the same morals as me, he won't compromise values for money, sex or anything. He practices what he preaches in class. And he has a very flexible body. The way he does the yoga postures simply makes me feel wow-ed.

I feel great attraction for this guy. Initially it was just physical attraction, then it crept onto intellectual, and then emotional (he takes care of the kids and older people in the class very very well. Not that he neglects young guys). And then, we hold almost the same spiritual levels (except for finance; he's not half as good as I am 'coz he doesn't crave financial pleasures; he's more focused on the spiritual side). Did I mention he has a great sense of humour? He's very intelligent, and he learnt about 5 languages easily. If he wants to, I'm sure he can do well financially.

He's all that I can think of, in a man, except for one thing. He wants to dedicate his life to meditation and yoga and spiritual seeking, earning minimal money for his maintenance, instead of getting tied up with physical pleasures, and worldly life.

I don't have a relationship with him. I just happen to discuss stuff with him, and we bond very well. He has a very attractive personality which draws me to him like a moth. I'm afraid I'll get burnt. But since I can't date another man now (just don't want to till the career thing happens), how do I get over him ?

I can tell he likes me too. He looks a little more at me than others and smiles instantly when we're in class. And when I hold an after-class discussion with him, he seems excited talking to me.

Why am I attracting this great but unavailable guy?

I see him every day in the class, and my attraction grows only stronger. He's the best teacher ever in my life.

I don't know how I should discuss what I feel with him, or how to move on. Please help!

-How Do I Walk Away?


Dear Walk-

Thank you for the very kind words.

Here's the short answer: You move on by finding another yoga class.

Here's the long answer: Your goal is to improve your finances, and now you're wildly attracted to a man who has virtually no interest in money.

So it would appear that you and he are at odds, but you recently broke up with a creep who two-timed you. And now you meet a man who actually possesses and lives by a few moral standards.

Of course you're attracted.

It's a shame the new guy considers money unspiritual because there are a lot of lovely things you can do with money (it's like fire; you can use it for good or evil). You can build wells in Africa with it. You also can also use it to roll around town in a big hulking Hummer.

Two things you learned from your last relationship were a) you have good instincts about people, and b) you can't make anyone do anything he doesn't want to do. The last guy didn't want to say he loved you (although he did want to marry you while dating another person). And now this new guy doesn't see the value of money.

I have just one suggestion then. The next time you and the dreamy yogi get into a conversation about living spiritually, tell him you aim to make money because it will give you the power to help other people.

(Knock knock: "It's the American Diabetes Association. Can we count on you for a donation?" Spiritually "enlighted" money-rejector: "Oh, sorry. I can't help. I have only enough cash to buy my weekly supply of rice and peanut butter.")

You can plant this seed in his mind, but as you know, there are no guarantees it will take. If it doesn't, you will need to find another yoga class, preferably one taught by a compassionate teacher who is working on a line of DVDs she'll sell to buy her own children a house in a decent school district and perhaps also to fund nutritious meals for low-income children.

You deserve a man who shares your values, who's honest, funny, and kind, and never resists saying he loves you. You also deserve a guy who's willing to make a little cash. Hold out for that guy. In the meantime, keep your eye on your financial and professional goals.

I hope this helps. I wish you the best of everything.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

She's Given Her All, But She's Still Alone

Hi, Terry:

Almost all my friends have steady relationships, and some are married, but I don't even have anyone in mind.

Sometimes it frustrates me so much that I'd give a chance to any man who shows interest in me. This is all because I fear being alone, and age is progressing. Sometimes I convince myself that maybe I was never meant to be with someone for the rest of my life.

In all my relationships I have given all I could, but in the end they all tell me I'm a nice woman, but they are just not meant for me. Now I'm just alone wondering if I will ever meet the man that adores me and loves me back.

It's getting tiring always being the wedding planner for others, knowing that I don't even have anyone in mind for the future.

What is the way forward?

-Give Me a Map


Dear Map:

Right now, you're alone. The friends are happily coupled. You wonder what you're doing wrong, if love is in the stars for you, if you're somewhat defective, and so on.

Take heart.

A lot of people (yes, men, too) have been in your place. They want something -- someone!--- so much they'll do anything to get it. Some of these things include doing too much, being too available, spending too much money on the object of interest, putting up with bad behavior, making way too many meals, doing the other person's housework, running over at the drop of a hat to make a repair, and so on.

Yes, of course, you're supposed to give in a relationship, but you're supposed to take, too. You say you've given all you had in your previous relationships, and I suspect that's the reason man after man tells you, "You're a nice woman, but you're not for me."

It's important to give prudently, not to always be available. This doesn't mean playing games. Understand that it's human nature to value what one works for. People don't value things that come too easily, and they definitely don't value people who don't value themselves.

So, don't try to prove to some guy that you'd make an excellent wife. Don't try to make yourself indispensable. Don't start doing his laundry, for Pete's sake. This is how you get branded "too nice." It's also how you get creepier men to take advantage of you.

You're worried about getting older, but listen, a lot of people who get married at 21or 31 don't remain married. Some of them divorce. Some of them become widowed. Others remain happily married but face the challenges of job losses or sick children. Nobody's life is perfect, so stop buying the hype.

Sit down, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, "What do I have going for me? What do I love about my life?" Write it down. Look at what you've written.

Ask yourself, "Do I really need a relationship to make me happy?" And then, "What kind of relationship would make me happy?"

Would it involve giving everything you have, or would it involve giving the other person the pleasure of giving to you, too? What kinds of things would you like to take from another person (I'm thinking about attention, affection, the ability to laugh together, and that kind of thing. I'm not thinking about a 2010 Porsche.)

Your friends have boyfriends and husbands, but does any one of those boyfriends or husbands represent your perfect man? Would any of them make you happy? A lot of the times we envy our friends' relationships, but we wouldn't want to be stuck with their significant others.

So, think about it: What kind of man would make you happy? Is it possible that on that he exists on this planet of 682,590,0000 people?

I recommend that you go about your life happily and peacefully (happiness and peace are extremely attractive). I recommend that you spread happiness and peace wherever you go. I recommend that you remind yourself of all the wonderful things you have going for you.

I recommend that you keep in mind that every single human on this planet --even your coupled-up friends -- will ultimately die alone, but there's a distinct possibility that a man who possesses the qualities you desire is out there and hoping to spend life with a happy, peaceful woman like you.

It's highly possible he'll find you. But what if he doesn't? Could you be happy by yourself? What's stopping you from being happy by yourself?

Don't let anything stop you from being happy.

In the meantime, it's important to be kind, but it's also important to know what you want. This means that you give a good man a chance, but you do not fall into the lap of every male who shows you a little attention. You do not put up with bad behavior. You do not try to make yourself indispensible. You do not start doing the guy's laundry and cooking for him every night.

Let a man reach for you. The best ones always will.

I'm going to repeat myself, but I can't say it enough: Enjoy life. Make a decision to be happy. Laugh every single chance you get.

See what comes of it.

Friday, June 04, 2010

He Says She's Not Serious Relationship Material

Hi Terry,

Great blog and some great advice. I'd love to hear your take on my present man dilemma.

Almost a year ago I met a man online. The attraction was instant and the chemistry great; we also had a lot of fun together and some great conversations. After a couple of weeks though he became uncomfortable with the difference in our ages. I am 13 years older than him (though I don't look it) and so we broke it off. He called a few times after, but I was not interested.

However, a month or so later I found myself thinking of him fondly and called him. Once again we instantly hit it off and began hanging out together, initially as friends. Gradually we moved further and further away from the friend zone. I asked him if he was now comfortable with the age difference and no, he didn't come right out and say "hey no problem," but he sure came close. And so we got intimate physically.

All was going swimmingly. He referred to me as the girl he was dating. He asked me to come on a business trip with him to New York (at the time I couldn't get away) and we began spending more time together. And then whammo! He pulled back. When I asked him what was up, he said he still wasn't comfortable with the age difference, so therefore wasn't sure this could be a SERIOUS relationship, that he needed some time to get used to the idea, that he was more comfortable with the age thing than he was previously, but not completely. I was completely taken by surprise and pretty rattled. But I tried to stay cool. However, to be honest, I failed completely. In truth I felt rejected.

A friend told me not to take it so personally that if things worked out between us this would eventually seem like no big deal.I tried. I really did. But it stung that he wasn't sure I was serious relationship material because of my age. I started second guessing all his actions and words. For me, the ease and good will that had always existed between us just crumpled under my own stress and scrutiny.

Eventually I broke up with him because I couldn't stand how insecure I was becoming.

I should add here that a few years back I went through a brutal and nasty divorce, and I have been very reticent about getting involved with anyone for some time. Part of me wonders if much of the failure of this relationship lies with my own demons. I have to wonder if I had been the "cool chick" would he have come to see us as a potential serious relationship. Or do you believe if a guy is unsure, that means, "not really all that into you," and he never will be?

Thanks.

Older But Obviously None The Wiser


Dear Quite Wise:

You write:

"Eventually I broke up with him because I couldn't stand how insecure I was becoming."

Seriously, do you have any idea how wise that is? If only more people would back away from a diminishing relationship instead of trying to hunt it down and tie it to a post, the world would be a happier place.

Another person in your situation would have lain awake at night devising plans to make this guy realize that YOU ARE THE ONE FOR HIM, AND HE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT YOU!

Seriously, another person would have spent months and years on it. But you, no fool, realized that the situation was diminishing you. Despite the fact that you have feelings for the guy, you made the right choice and backed away.

I applaud you, and I respect you.

As for this man's reticence to get fully involved with a woman 13 years his senior, that's his thing. Ashton Kutcher and Katie Holmes notwithstanding, some people prefer to date people their own age. Let's give the guy credit for knowing what he wants (even if he seemed to change his mind for a bit).

I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned your reluctance to get involved with another man after a "nasty" and "brutal" divorce. Even the easiest and most amicable divorces are difficult, and having endured a rough one cannot make the prospect of being contractually bound to another human (and regularly trusting him with your body, emotions, and finances) a wholly attractive prospect.

I do think a lot of your attraction for this guy stemmed from his reluctance to get seriously involved with an older woman. After what you've been through, you're likely to be attracted to fun men who excite you but cannot commit for whatever reason. On the surface this results in pain, but it also protects you from ever having to go through a "nasty" and "brutal" divorce again.

I guess my best advice (and I'm only licensed to drive, remember) is to ask yourself if it's possible for you to enjoy a relationship with a man who's completely into you, and then if it's possible to be happily married to a man who's utterly and completely into being married to you.

On some level, you may not believe such a relationship or marriage is possible for you. So go out of your way to prove yourself wrong.

It may help to look around for examples of happily married people. It may help to watch how they treat each other. It will definitely help if you can put yourself in such a marriage on a mental plane. For example, feel yourself in such a relationship. Visualize it. (If you need help with this, check out my ebook.)

Mentally putting yourself in that relationship could be tough at first; such a relationship hasn't been your experience, but if you keep it up (daily; preferably twice, once in the morning and again before you fall off to sleep), it'll start to feel real. At that point, you will probably notice a shift in your feelings about relationships, a certain ease.

If anxiety persists, I recommend you look into Emotional Freedom Technique, which helped me relieve an anxiety problem that persisted after the death of my mother. Otherwise, you might seek an excellent therapist who can help you overcome your understandable fears about getting involved with another person ever again.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

How to Forget Him

A reader writes:

"... I don’t know HOW to forget him. I push thoughts of him out of my mind. But I dream about him at night, I wake up in a terrible mood. I tell myself that he was no good for me and that it wasn’t meant to be. I have been going out with other men, I have been expanding my social circle. I think its pathetic that I miss him BUT I DO. ICK."

Please stop being so hard on yourself. Getting over someone you cared for or loved is no lap across the pool. I've been there, so I know.

Have you given yourself time to truly grieve the loss? After a particularly bad (and surprising) breakup, I found myself taking to bed straight after work for about an hour to let it truly sink in: It's over. We're done. We've hit a wall, and there's no way around it.

It does help to let the pain sink in. Accept it. You know how it feels when you cut your finger? It stings horribly for a bit, and then it slowly starts to feel better. So, let this loss sting. (You may have to do this several times. I did.)

And, after you get out of bed, practice keeping him out of your mind, but be gentle with yourself. Whenever you find yourself struggling, gently remind yourself, "I can and will get over him." Say, "I refuse to let someone have this much power over me."

Whatever you do, don't talk about him. If others bring him up, change the subject. Keep telling yourself that you're moving on.

Other things that help: Getting rid of items that remind you of him. If there's a specific food or smell that you can't banish from your life but threatens to show up unbidden, you might surround yourself with that smell or eat that food until it loses its association.

Also, this may sound crazy, but you may want to rearrange the furniture in your house or apartment, so you can avoid thoughts like, "We were sitting right there when he...," and "We were having dinner in that corner, and he made laugh so hard I...."

Even if the guy never once appeared in your home, moving the furniture can make a space seem new and help you progress emotionally (I'm not a psychologist, but this kind of thing tends to work for me).

If you're ambitious, you might want to change the color of some rooms, and if you've been meaning to buy a new rug, this would be an excellent time to do it.

The goal is to put him in the past. Taking action will help you do it.

Again, be patient with yourself. Be kind. Falling in love is not for cowards. Give yourself credit for taking a chance. Know that in the end this experience will indeed make you stronger.

I hope this helps.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

All the Single Ladies: Have You Heard This One Lately?

Has this ever happened to you?

You're out having fun (at a family party, a barbecue, a reunion, whatever), and somebody (an aunt, a cousin, an individual you put up with in college but didn't really like) will slide up and inquire:

Are you seeing anybody?

or

Any prospects?

or

Do you think you'll ever get married?

And suddenly you're on the defensive, thinking of ways to convince this person that you're not defective, that you are actually a happy, successful, fully-functioning adult. (Shouldn't it be a crime in 2010 for people to demand from you why you're single and what you plan to do about it?)

The real problem here is that the question can often make the happiest, most successful, confident person feel somewhat...none of those things. But if it's asked of you, please know that many of your interrogators are unhappy in their own relationships. They may very well you resent you for the freedom being single gives you. So...

ALWAYS CONSIDER THE SOURCE.

In the case of people who truly care about you and "just want you to to be happy," smile and say, "Oh, I'm much too young to get married" when they start making inquiries.

SAY THIS EVEN IF YOU'RE SEVENTY.

I dislike the pressure people put on singles to "hook up" mainly because it can push those singles to date whatever comes along or -- worse -- put up with substandard behavior from a guy because they're "not getting younger" and they "need to stop being so picky."

(Definition of picky: Rejecting a loyal, loving, reliable, successful, fun man because he doesn't meet a height requirement. Or because he's bald. Or because you don't like his car. Face it, you gotta give a guy a chance.

Definitely not the definition of picky: Rejecting a guy who treats you poorly, demonstrates undesirable behavior, or is just wrong for you. Face it, you have to be attracted to a guy for a relationship to flourish.)


My advice to you is to love yourself. Take excellent care of yourself. Practice self-love, and you'll become irresistible to those who are capable of loving you and caring for you. You'll also drive people who want you to feel "less" because you don't have a man out of their tiny minds.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What to Do When He Says He Doesn't Want a Relationship

Thanks to the women who've brought the following subject to my attention, and thanks to Jeff Mac and Adam for inspiring this article.

At least three men have told me exactly what you must do when a guy
tells you he doesn't want (or isn't ready) for a relationship:

Believe him.

Here's the thing: A certain type of guy will tell a woman he doesn't
want a relationship. Then, instead of doing the honorable thing and
making himself scarce, he'll continue to hang around and take
what he can get.

The woman, in the meantime, tells herself a) he must care for her
more than he's willing to admit because he's hanging around, and
b) he'll change his mind and commit to her.

The thing is, he wasn't kidding. He doesn't want a relationship,
and when he finally decides he does, it's usually with someone
else.

The men I talked to said they all had friends who've pulled this stunt
and didn't feel guilty about it. They felt they'd been honest when
they announced they didn't want a relationship. The fact that
the woman continued to go along with things was her choice.

If you're in this situation, please get out. Please. Please. Get
out before you get hurt.

Make yourself busy. Make yourself scarce. Go out with old friends.
Make new friends. Start writing the novel, knitting the sweater,
planting the garden you've been putting off.

Also, it's much easier to forget a guy when you have others to
choose from (it's really hard to move on when you think the guy
you were with was THE only one for you. Get out and meet new
men.

Seriously, hold out for a better man. He's out there, and you deserve him.

Monday, May 24, 2010

He's Single, Celibate, and Loving It

Dear Terry,

I think I used the Law of Attraction to attract this man in my life, but I may not have been specific enough! Met a guy a year ago on a photo shoot, I was shooting his friend. He was friendly said he would contact me about pictures shortly.

Contacted me about 9 months later for pics. He said he was a personal trainer, and he could train me for free if I wanted because he enjoyed it.

So he emailed me like every morning what I needed to get done for the day, we met up several weeks later to discuss everything. I tell him I need to get in shape for sister's wedding, and he says I'll be ready. Then later that night he emails me and asks me if he could escort me to the wedding. I say yes. He has also told me that he is so happy that I am in his life, and I am a joy in his life, and he has met a lot of women, and I have a special gift.

He continues to invite me places with his friends, and to group activities, but has never asked me out on a one-on-one. He is very spiritual and into church and God. He has said that he doesn't want me to hook him up with anybody because he enjoys just being single and hanging with his friends. He is currently celibate and waiting for marriage, but he has had sex before.

I invited him to group activity with my friends and he said, if I want him there he will be there, so he is willing to be on my turf.

I have heard his best friend say that I'm a keeper, but the guy has never actually professed to want to be with me.

I am totally falling for this man, and I am unsure if he is just making me a really good friend, or if he has an interest in dating me and may be just moving really slow because he doesn't date frivolously. I am afraid to ask if this is going anywhere because if I don't know I can still dream, and also, if he is just going to be a friend then that's great because he's a wonderful person. Also, the wedding has been pushed back two seasons, and he still says he will take me, which means he expects to be around then. Mixed signals?

Please Help!

-What's the Deal With This Guy?


Dear What's the Deal:

You write:

"I am unsure if he is just making me a really good friend, or if he has an interest in dating me and may be just moving really slow because he doesn't date frivolously."

You're unsure, but it's not your job to sit around doing mental gymnastics to figure out what this guy wants to do. It's his job to open his mouth and be absolutely clear about it. "You have a special gift" and "You are a joy in my life" are lovely statements, but they pale in comparison to, "I'm crazy about you, and I can't imagine life without you" or even "How about you and I try that new restaurant on Saturday?"

Right now, he's having fun being single and hanging with his friends. He's in no rush to do anything else. He likes you, obviously, but he's going to live according to his timetable and nobody else's. That's his prerogative, but are you going to put your life on hold so he can escort you to a wedding? Think of all the other (possibly more suitable) men you might miss out on by fixating on this one individual.

You say you're falling for him, but I recommend you take very good care of yourself and slowly back away. Seriously, what are you supposed to do? Wait around to find out if he's ever going to date you properly?

I don't suggest you back away out of spite or a desire to "make him miss me." Your goal is to protect yourself and perhaps make yourself available to meet someone even better. Right now, you are so caught up in this guy's "greatness" that you couldn't recognize a better man if he bit you on the leg.

Back away. Be less available to accept this fellow's invitations (you don't have to cut him off completely, but say yes less often). If you have other friends, go out with them. If you don't, make new friends. By all means, widen your social circle and take advantage of all the fun opportunities that come your way.

In the meantime, look at this as a chance to clarify what you want: To fall in love with a man who loves you and is clear about it. If it's not this guy, it will surely be someone else.

Which means, when the time comes, you may not be around to take Mr. Single and Hanging With His Friends to your sister's wedding, after all.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Didn't Her Boyfriend Invite Her to His Party?

Hi Terry,

I've been an avid reader of yours. I've never come across this situation and wanted to contact you before ruining anything!

What do you do when your boyfriend ignores you? I've never had this issue before!

Some background information: We've only been dating a month but have known each other for about 10 years (we went to high school together). Well, usually I get a text midday saying "hi beautiful" from him. Yesterday, no text. I figured I'd say hi to him since he was always pursuer he probably wanted to see that I could do the same for him. I had just finished getting my hair done and texted, "Wait til you see my hair!" And he wrote back "Oh really," and I wrote back "Really!" keeping it short and sweet.

Well, I got home an hour later and saw that on Facebook he had a status post that said "Bags, beer, and bbq, come one come all byob - call if you need directions," so I texted him, "Having a party and didn't invite me? thanks..." His best friend chatted me up at this time, and I mentioned to his friend how I was disappointed he didn't invite his own girlfriend to his party. Best friend was very casual about it and goes, "He didn't invite me personally either, you're his gf just assume you're invited and show up."

During this time I got a text back from my boyfriend who said, "Everyones invited thats why I put it on fb" I'm like "What if i didnt check fb," and he's like "I was gonna call when we finished setting shit up." I respond "Weak," to which he didn't respond.

This was last night around 6 or so. He still never said anything about asking me to come, so I figured it didn't mean that much to him that I wasn't there and didn't go. I made plans with coworkers instead. Well it's 7pm now and no word from him.... I know hes ok based on facebook status updates and such, but I'm kind of weirded out. Is he doing this to test me? Is he angry I didn't show last night? I was going to just brush it off and see what happened. I figured I'd eventually get a text asking me how my day's going. And if he asked why I didn't show I'd just say, "Well it didn't mean much to you for me to be there so I made other plans."

Would you say to let him have his tantrum (so to speak) and just wait for a text? And how long would you say to wait before taking action? I know it's best to let the man be pursuer, and I really don't want to become pursuer by sending out the first text. What would you do in my situation? I'm so confused!

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

-Waiting


Hello, Waiting-

It is a bit unusual that a guy who you consider a boyfriend wouldn't personally (I mean eye-to-eye) invite you to a party. Which brings me to vital question: In the month you've been a couple, how much face time have you two actually had? Too many of us confuse a series of texts with a relationship. Let's face it, it takes virtually no effort to text.

Consider this scenario: You are somewhat interested in three different guys. You need somebody to come over and caulk your windows. You send a text (unbenownst to the others) to all three guys that goes like this, "Hey, Handsome. In a pickle and could use your big, strong arms to get me out of it. ;-) "

Then you sit back and see who replies. If you get a taker, great. If you get more than one taker, you find a project for each of them -- on different days.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

It's possible this guy likes you and is just utterly and completely stupid about keeping a woman in his life, but I fear this is more a case of "He's not that into you." (Seriously, you are thinking way too much about this person. And you are thinking too much about his motivations. Do you really think God put you on the planet to read men's minds? Hint: No, he did not. He gave men their very own mouths to express thoughts and feelings.)

I would not waste my time talking to his friends to extract their genius insights. I would certainly not text this guy or try to engage him in conversations about why he didn't personally ask you to his party. You're way too good for that, are you not?

Also, this business of checking his status updates on Facebook is death. Stop checking, wondering, planning. Forget it!

Bottom line: If I were having a party and wanted to be damn sure a special someone showed up, I wouldn't rely on them catching a blanket invitation on Facebook. Would you?

Stop settling for so very little.

Get busy and stay busy. Go out and have some serious fun. If he texts you again, I wouldn't respond. If he can't figure out how to step up his game, he's strictly minor league.

And you're ready for a major leaguer, right? (A guy who loves you, makes your happiness a priority, and never lets you forget it?)

Well, come on then. Hold out for a major leaguer.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Once She Returned His Interest, He Lost It

Hi, Terry:

This guy chased me for seven months, and then he lost interest after I started showing him that I was interested in him. We work together, and he is my boss. What should I do?

We only went to the gun range together and nothing happened. Should I give up on him or wait to see what happens next?

-Bullseye


Hello, Bullseye-

Your boss sounds like one of those guys who gets off on the chase, who wants what he can't have. Once you returned his interest, he got bored and moved on.

This is his problem and definitely not yours. Forget about him. At work, do your job and treat him only as you would a colleague. Hold out for a genuine adult male who wants a relationship instead of a hunting expedition.

You're a woman, not an elk.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Is It Time to Drop the Rock?

Has this ever happened to you?

You fell for a guy. You thought he fell for you. You never felt so strongly about any man before. You were meant to be with him. The signs were all over the place.

And then he broke up with you.

Maybe it happened two months ago. Maybe it happened two years ago. It doesn't matter. You were -- you're still -- devastated.

To this day, you carry this man and your former relationship around with you. You ask yourself where you went wrong, how you could have done things better. You fantasize about running into him, showing him that you are the woman he just can't live without.

You're in pain. He's still the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning. You tell yourself you'll never get over him.

And, guess what? You're right.

Because as long as you keep telling yourself you can't get over him, you can't get over him. And, for as long as you carry him around with you, the pain of losing him will weigh on you.

Think about it: You're carrying around a burden. You might as well be walking around with a heavy rock in your breast pocket. There are days you can barely stand up straight.

Isn't it time to drop the rock?

Put the man out of your mind. Banish the memories. Stop mentally staring into his eyes.

Tell yourself that if this relationship were meant to be, it would be. Be open to the very real possibility that you'll run into the man who hurt you five years from now, and you won't be able to fathom what you ever saw in him.

(This happens all the time.)

So, please do drop the rock. Set yourself free.

Ask yourself, how am I ever going to meet the right man when I'm hung up on the wrong man, a person who hurt me, shows no interest, and has moved on with his life? Ask yourself, why am I putting myself through this?

When you're free -- and only when you're free -- can you open yourself to attracting a man who'll love you and never let you forget it.

Go for it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bear With Me, People (Please)

I'm in the process of moving Dating Advice (Almost) Daily to Wordpress. I've yet to transfer my blog roll, upload a photo and so on.

If you'd like a peek at the work in progress, go to Dating Advice (Almost) Daily.

I hope to get back to answering your questions soon.

In the meantime, I found this informative video featuring Tara Parker-Pope, author of For Better: The Science of a Happy Marriage. It runs about five minutes, and it's worth it. Also, check out Parker-Pope's article for the New York Times here.

Bottom line: You get what you ask for.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, May 07, 2010

To Attract Men, Try This...

The other day, I wrote to my newsletter subscribers about a woman who refused to believe she's too old for love. Sure enough, she found it.

Whatever your age, you can benefit from her winning philosophy:

"Put a smile on your face. Make someone else smile.Do what you love to do. Have fun."

This prompted a response from a reader who has a similar mindset. I've edited her wonderful letter for length, but here's the gist of it:

"You mentioned smiling, and I can't agree with you more. I have just
gotten out into the fishbowl so to speak after 33 years of marriage.
What I noticed in most of the bars/pubs/dance halls right away is
that many of the women had cat faces of jealousy or envy or
something on their expressions. It was as if they were on a mission,
and I had just entered their turf. Wow. I was not quite prepared for
that. They looked evil or almost vengeful, and I noticed that about
several women in several places.

Well, I just thought - I am going to enjoy myself for sure. I have been shocked by the wonderful compliments too as the men noticed. One said to me 'You put the icing on the cake in here tonight.'

A 25-year-old female told me, 'You are so hot,' not as a come-on but a statement of real honesty. Another gentleman called me a 'stellar woman' compared to the others in hereand thanked me for being there.

I was not at all flirtatious or dressed provocatively but just smiled, laughed and was very relaxed. They notice! Many women have come through some very hurtful situations, but if you let that keep you down, the situation is still controlling you.

Be a victor and rise above the ashes and love will find you. So get smiling and be happy, Women. It works!"

--A Reader


Thanks a million, Reader, for the illuminating letter.

It may sound too good to be true, but just by looking happy and being relaxed, this woman set herself apart from so many others who hope to meet the right man.

She hit the nail on the head when she mentioned the creepy looks she got from other females when she "invaded their turf."

The sad thing, for those women, is that it's not just the "invader" who notices the evil looks -- every man in three-mile radius notices, too.

And guess what? Jealousy and sour looks are not attractive. Insecurity is not attractive.

What's attractive?

Confidence. Feeling good about yourself. Knowing what you have to offer. A sense of humor. The ability to laugh and smile easily.

Happiness is attractive. Decide to be happy.

The prettiest girl in the world has nothing on the woman who feels good about herself and can make others feel good about themselves.

It's Friday! What are you going to do with your weekend?

Here's an idea:

Put a smile on your face. Make someone else smile. Do what you love to do. Have fun!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Dating Advice For the Smart Lady

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Cathy J. Ellis, who runs Dating Advice For the Smart Lady.

If you'd like, you can read the interview here.

In addition to dating tips, visitors to the site can download a free ebook with instructions on how to find true love.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

She's Dating the Prince From Podunk

Terry:

I have recently started dating a caring, creative and interesting man. While he's not my ideal (or usual) type, physically we connect in a lot of important ways and our sex is great.

The problem is that he has an extreme country accent complete with podunk phrases such as "country as a rutabaga," and "I'm so hungry I could eat the South end of a North bound mule." To top it all off his grammar is atrocious. Every sentence has a double negative ("I aint got no milk," "ain't hardly seen her"). I don't think I've ever heard him say the word 'have.'

We grew up in the same area, both small towns. We are in our mid-thirties, and for lack of a better description, he sounds like a country bumpkin. At first it was kind of charming, but it's getting to a point where it is irritating and distracting.

I have mentioned the grammar thing, and he said that's the way he is and he cain't change. He has it in his mind that it's charming because when he lived in the Northwest, and in another country, his accent was a novelty. Now he's back in a small Southern town and to me he sounds like he's visiting the city from the farm.

He has so much to offer. He's intelligent, kind-hearted, and talented. I don't understand why he wouldn't want to better himself and speak correctly. I don't know how much longer I can listen to him talk.

Am I being shallow?

-How Deep Is My Love?



Hello, Deep-

You are not shallow.

It's a shame that he's kind-hearted, intelligent, and talented but refuses to better himself. If you don't know how much longer you can listen to him talk now, how will you feel five years from now?

Only you can decide whether you want to to continue this relationship.

Right now, the sex is great. He's caring and creative. Can you imagine being married to him? Having children with him? Mingling with his family regularly and often? Introducing him to your coworkers?

It might help to write a list of pros and cons. Sometimes it's easier to see things clearly when they're in black and white.

Good luck.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

He Likes Her, But He's Not Willing to Move Forward

Hello!

I am 29-year-old female. I have been seeing a guy for about six months. He is 29, as well. He is a great guy, and although we have not said that we are boyfriend and girlfriend, we have talked about dating exclusively. We have the same circle of friends, and we attend our friends' parties together.

We see each other at least twice a week. I know he is going through a lot because he lost his job last year and barely got a new one about a month ago.

Here is my problem. I asked him how come he never texts me or calls me all the time and he says, just cause I don't text you or call you does not mean I am not thinking about you. I have so many things going on in my life right now, and I feel like I have nothing to offer you. I am interested in you, and I am not dating or talking to anybody else. I respect you, and if I didn't like you I would not want to hang out with you at all.

His best friend is married to my friend, and he tells me that he feels bad because he got that new job, but he is not making what he use to make before. I make way more than him, and he knows that.

I don't know what to do anymore. Should I wait for him or let him go?

Please help me.

-Should I Stay Or Should I Go?


Dear Should-

The first thing you should do is take a step backward.

This guy sounds pretty great. He's spoken openly to you. He likes you, but he fears he has little to offer. He's reeling from a job loss, and the fact that he's making quite a bit less than he once did.

I admire his honesty.

At this point, I would give him a little time. I'd also give him space. I'd let him make the next move. I wouldn't ask him when he thinks he'll be ready to make that move. After a while, if it becomes apparent that he's not going to make it, I would let him go.

But, right now, enjoy his company. See how it goes.

He Broke Up With Her Because His Children Don't Like Her

Terry-

What do you do with a guy who lets his daughter lie, and then he breaks up with you because he believes her lies -- screaming at me like a maniac --meanwhile, I have clothes shoes coats and more stuff at his house, and I don't want to go there to get them.

I have been with him for 7 years, and his children have been trying to break us up for all that time --his daughter is a jealous sick girl, but he idolizes her and stand at attention on her every word -- please answer this for me --what is my next move?

-Free at Last


Hi, Free-

Since he broke up with you, I'd ask him (calmly and rationally) to drop off your belongings. If you don't want to see him at all, you could suggest he send them to you via UPS.

If you don't trust him to return everything you left with him, your best bet is to call him and tell him you're coming around to gather your things. If possible, make an appointment to go when his children will be nowhere in sight.

Whatever you do, don't raise your voice or be pulled into an argument. It's not worth it.

From the situation you describe, it sounds like this guy did you a huge favor. I'm thinking good thoughts for you.

Wishing you all the very best,

Terry

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Please Pray For Bret Michaels

I've never been nice to Bret Michaels, the Poison frontman and Celebrity Apprentice contestant on this blog, but I'm sorry to hear he's in in critical condition. On Thursday, he suffered a life-threatening brain hemorrhage.

Please join me in praying for his full and speedy recovery.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's He Trying to Say?

Hi, Terry-

It had been a while since I had heard from or seen an ex-boyfriend. We saw each other at a party. He welcomed me and almost immediately said to me that he had broken up with his ex-girlfriend. He had known that I disliked the ex-girlfriend anyway.

He has also known (I think) for the past two years that I still love him (and always will) so, a few weeks went by, and we started texting one night over a simple question I had about mutual interest. It ended up being a 4-hour texting session in which out of the blue he writes, "I am lonely, I need someone new in my life."

First I thought, WHY WOULD HE BE TELLING ME THIS?

Then kept wondering if there was a hidden message, so I played it cool and said he would find someone, he has a lot going for him, it would just be a matter of time. Then he said, "I have no luck in finding the right person to spend the rest of my life with."

Excuse me? What was I? We had been together for almost two years. I hoped I was the one then! Again, why tell me this? I am unsure of how he feels about me, and I do believe he has a good idea that I still care for him. Can you help me? What is he saying to me and why? I need to keep my head on straight to figure out what he is really saying or implying or... is he just being friends with me? I, myself, would never say these things to anyone unless it was my best friend, never mind on ex-boyfriend or man for that matter.

Thank you.

-S.


Hi, S.-

The first thing the guy does when he runs into you is tell you he's single. Then you embark on a texting marathon (you don't say who started it), in which he tells you he's lonely. You assume he knows you still love him. You wonder why he texts that he has no luck in relationships, especially after you had one together.

You might conclude that the guy is still interested in you based on this. You might also conclude he isn't. But I wouldn't draw any conclusions at all.

Way too much is being hinted at, assumed, and left unsaid. I really dislike text conversations, for one thing. What stopped either of you from saying at some point, "Let's continue this conversation on the phone. Call me." Or, better yet, "Let's continue this discussion over a cup of coffee?"

You wonder why he chose to bemoan his failure to meet the right person to you, especially when you suspect (but don't know for sure) that he's aware that you still love him.

You know, you could have asked. You could have said (again, preferably eye-to-eye), "Why are you telling me this?"

Then you'd wait for his answer. And if he told you, "I miss you, and I want us to be together again," you'd know where you stand with him. And if he told you, "Hey, listen, you've always been such a good friend," you'd know where you stand.

Knowing where you stand equals freedom. And when you don't understand what a man is driving at, you have every right to ask him to make it clear: "Why do you say that? I'm not sure I know what you mean."

You say you'll always love him, but I suspect that if he closed the door on you, you'd experience the relief of finally knowing. You could move on.

And if he does still have feelings for you, gently encourage him to express them. Life is too short for beating around the bush.

Monday, April 12, 2010

She's Doing All the Right Things But Still Not Meeting Anybody

Hi Terry,

You always seem to lift my spirits when facing the ups and downs of the dating world, so here it goes.

I've spent a lot of time visualizing, learning about deliberate intent, and have even gotten into creating a vision board to help my dreams and desires manifest. While it has been a fun and enlightening adventure, nothing seems to be advancing in the right direction. The guys I'm meeting are far from pursuant, let alone resemble any of my written list of what I really desire in a husband. I know the pursuit shouldn't be one-sided, and when a truly worthwhile guy comes along, it will be perfectly evident.

I just find myself losing hope that there really is someone for me. My question of "when" is starting to become "if." Of course, a mom who relentlessly pushes for grandchildren and a son-in-law isn't helping, I guess. Would love to hear your advice.....thanks Terry

K.-

P.S. Is it weird that along with all this I'm also having a recurring dream (or maybe nightmare!) that my ex-husband wants to get back together...I divorced him due to his being abusive. I'd say this could be a subconscious signal trying to get through to me, no?


Hi, K.-

Visualizing, writing lists, etc. are very effective methods, but only if you're doing them in a relaxed manner. I suspect you're working way too hard.

Two things jump out at me from your letter: Your mother wants you to get married and have children. You've already been married, and to a man who abused you.

So, you can push all you want (via visualization, etc.), but if you're ambivalent about getting married (and, seriously after your experience, what woman in her right mind wouldn't be?), you're probably not going to get married.

I'm no psychiatrist, but clearly you've been burned. It really, really, really doesn't help when your mother (or aunt or best friend) pushes you to get married because she wants something out of the deal, in this case a son-in-law and grandchildren.

With all due respect, it's a mistake to make one's happiness contingent on another person's actions, and that's what your mother is doing here. Make me happy: Get married. Give me grandchildren. You owe me.

But since we're responsible for our own happiness (and, no, this is not selfish; you make the world a better place when you're happy. You light up the air when you're happy. You attract better friends, jobs, men, etc.), let's concentrate on you:

What if I told you right now, "Listen, K., a husband and children just aren't in the cards for you," could you be happy?

Would you make the decision right here and now to live a joyful life despite the change in plans? And if you were to make that decision, how would you feed it? In other words, what things would you do to ensure your happiness every day of your life?

-Would you travel?
-Take up a hobby or language you've been putting off, which would surely lead to other opportunities?
-Would you take up a cause and become an active volunteer or advocate for it?

I encourage you to write another list. This one would include everything you hope to achieve,do, and enjoy during your time on earth.

And then start doing them, one by one. Let this be your life.

At the same time acknowledge the fact that you (rightly) harbor fears about men and relationships. It might help to look at those fears head on. Ask yourself if you have to attract men like your ex-husband. Is it possible that a man exists with much better qualities? Is it possible he could love you, and you, in turn, him? Look for examples of people in happy relationships (because the media are full of examples of people in unhappy relationships).

In a very gentle manner, feel yourself in such a relationship. What does it feel like to be loved, for example? Don't push here. Allow yourself to feel loved, despite evidence to the contrary. What does it feel like when a man you love slides up from behind you and puts his arms around your waist?

Carry that feeling around with you.

Please take the pressure off yourself about achieving someone else's goal. There are absolutely no guarantees in life for any of us. You could push yourself into another bad marriage, only to end up having a sick child and a husband who's not up to the challenge of caring for him or her. This stuff happens.

Here's the bottom line: Enjoy your life. I never met anyone worth dating until I made a decision to stop dating until I met someone worth dating. I went on trips by myself. I went to the movies by myself.

I had some really, really good times by myself. I learned that what Abraham Lincoln once said is exactly right:

"Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Be happy. And carry the feeling of being loved around with you.

If you're a reader who wants to succeed at love and relationships, Ronnie Ann Ryan and I want to help you. Click here for more information.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Does He Have True Feelings For Her?

Dear Terry,

I have benefited much from reading your insights and advice on your blog, and now I have a question to ask you.

Would a man who has true feelings for a woman put his feelings before hers? I mean, would he take steps to try to protect his feelings from being hurt regardless of the emotional consequences that it may have on the woman?

You see, I ask this because I am trying to make sense of the feelings this man had towards me. I need to be able to classify them so that I can be able to get over it, and I don't think I will be fully able to unless I do. It's a bit complicated, but we were never in a relationship because I knew from the get go that our ideological/religious/cultural differences would never make this work. However, we've developed strong feelings towards each other (or so I think).

Anyhow, I ask this particular question because I've noticed that even though I would make particular requests (or tell him that certain things may bother me), he would not do them because if he would his feelings would be put on the line. He wouldn't sacrifice being hurt just to see me happy even for a moment.

That being said, I truly believe that his feelings were genuine to a certain extent because I've felt that they were. I just don't know if that is the extent a man's feelings go, or am I getting the short end of the stick? I just want to be able to find closure and to know if his feelings towards me were genuine or not.

Your input is much appreciated.

-Aching soul


Dear Soul:

Thanks for the kind words. Now bear with me while I paint you a picture:

You and this man somehow manage to overcome your ideological/religious/cultural differences. You marry him.

At first, you're estatic. Your suspicions that his feelings are genuine are confirmed.

But days into the marriage, his selfish side re-emerges. At first, you tell yourself he's struggling under the weight of a lifelong commitment. He's vulnerable. He's scared. And he's acting out.

You're walking around hurt more often than happy, but you tell yourself it's okay. You need to help him with his feelings. It becomes your mission. Meanwhile, he becomes increasingly inconsiderate. Sometimes he's downright obnoxious.

After a while, you decide to have a baby. Maybe having a child will set him right, encourage him to be more loving and generous toward other humans. It could make him a better person.

So, you have the baby, but you quickly find out that caring for him or her is your responsibility. You're running around, taking care of your husband's needs and this baby's needs.

And who's taking care of your needs? Nobody.

You're sad all the time. Maybe you turn to food for comfort. Maybe you turn to alcohol. Substance abuse makes you feel better for a couple of hours, but then you hate yourself.

You catch sight of yourself in the mirror (because you don't actually have time to really look in the mirror). You look ten years older than you are. You look like one of those women who has just given up.

And you start to resent your husband. You go through the motions, but you're sad all the time. You're sorry you sold yourself short.

You long for the days when you had choices. You long for the days when you were captain of your own ship.

In other words, you long for this very day when you had the ability to walk away free and clear from a man who consistently puts his needs in front of yours, who wouldn't risk "being hurt to see [you] happy even for a moment."

Seize this day.

Raise your standards. Stop wondering what this man's feelings are toward you. I mean, who really cares? He doesn't make you happy. You don't have a relationship. He's not worth another second of your time.

Hold out for a man who will make your happiness a priority, a real man whose actions match his words and who never lets you wonder for a minute whether he loves you.

You deserve a good deal more than what you're putting up with now, and you'd be better off on your own.

You can get over this man. You will get over him. Tell yourself, "I refuse to let a person of such low quality ever have power over me ever again."

Friday, April 02, 2010

He Broke Up With Her, and She's Broken-Hearted

Dear Terry,

My boyfriend just broke up with me because he said that we were getting too serious. He's in the Air Force, and he's deploying in June for six months. I love him, and I want him back.

I don't know what to do. He was so sad when we talked and said that he didn't want to "hold me back" while he was gone. I told him that he wouldn't, that he was what I wanted, but it didn't sway him. It was a very calm conversation, neither of us were yelling and we both really listened to the other, but it still ended with it being over. I feel like he will realize what he's lost in me...or maybe that is just naive hope.

My heart is so broken that I can't even cry about it - I just feel so numb. I know that I should focus on taking care of myself and going after my goals in life. My friends say that he'll either miss me and get in touch or he won't. That makes sense to my head, but my heart... my heart is just shattered.

If there is anything that you think I should do or any advice that you have for me please let me know. This man is kind, smart, funny, honest, respectful and loving. Not that he doesn't have any faults, but although he isn't perfect I feel like he's perfect for me.

Please help.

G in VA


Dear G-

My heart goes out to you. There's nothing worse than being broken up with by someone you love, especially when things were going well, and you thought you had a future together.

Of course you're shattered.You have every right to be. At this point, since you haven't even been able to fully process the breakup, it's really too soon to think about pursuing goals or even going out and trying to have a good time with your friends.

This guy seems to have made up his mind, for better or worse, and I suggest you let him live with his decision. Don't try to change his mind. It puts you in the position of a beggar, and you're better than that.

Instead, spend time trying to accept this breakup. Let it hurt. Accept the hurt. If you can do that, you will make your way to a happier place. I know you don't believe me right now, but you will.

And do take extremely good care of yourself. This means not devising scenes in your head of how you went wrong, and how you could have done things differently to show him that he's crazy to leave you. Leave it alone.

Eat food that nourishes you and makes you happy (in moderation). If there's a trip or an event you've been putting off, and you think you might feel up to it, please do. Speak to yourself as you would a beloved child. Treat yourself tenderly. Avoid people who want to rehash the breakup, who demand "What happened?"

It will also help to keep conversations about the guy to an absolute minimum. You may have trouble getting him out of your head for a while, but the less you speak or hear his name, the easier it will become.

Sure, it's possible he'll change his mind and realize that he made a mistake by letting you go. But it's possible he won't. You can't waste your life wondering. Consider the possibility that the relationship you had with him was just a dress rehearsal for something much, much better.

I wish you every good thing in the world.

Monday, March 22, 2010

When the Baby Daddy Has a Secret Life

Dear Terry,

What if you start realising a guy is a player after you've had a child with him? By being a player here I mean web-flirting addict (he swears it is just that, although he is subscribed to a number of online sites for sex encounters, and is contacting hundreds of girls, mainly from our area). Although I have no evidence for now that he is doing the same thing in real life when I m not there (i.e. at work etc.).

All my friends and family think he is a great partner, crazy about me, and a most devoted father of our newborn child. I thought so too until recently, however, it's been months since I have started finding evidence to his secret life.

After I've faced him with these facts a few months ago, he cried when he thought I'd leave him, and he said he felt ashamed, that nothing ever happened in the real life (he said he just liked to see if the girls were up to his proposals, and, that it was like a disease for him and that he wants to stop, but now I am on trace to some more similar stuff (although it seems it is less in quantity than before) and don't know what to do.

Also, I have suspicions about someone he'd met in real life and whom he wanted to go out with (I don't know if they actually did go out, but I have seen messages between him and this girl -- that he d never mentioned to me -- that he would like to see her. Apparently, she gave him her phone number one night in the restaurant where he works. I still didn't talk about this one with him, I am kind of ashamed to let him know I've read his messages again (I am not normally like this but I have had no choice since I have had some strong suspicions, and he wouldn't admit anything). Until now he sweared he did nothing similar in the real life like he did online, but I am pretty sure he had sex with this girl in the end, unless she was the one to say no. What else does one think with evidence like this?

What do you do in a situation like this, with a newborn in the middle? We have a one month old kid, so it is not so simple to run for the hills immediately, as I most probably would have, had I been alone with him.

I love your emails and I would be forever greatful if you'd find the time to answer to my question while it is still timely for my situation.

Many, many thanks to you....


-My Child's Father is Not What he Seems



Dear Seems:

Give yourself credit for following your instincts and calling this guy on his destructive behavior. He says he has a "disease" and wants to stop it, but has he sought treatment?

Since you have a newborn, you're right, you can't just hightail it out of there, but you can certainly start working on a plan to get out if he fails to get the help he so badly needs.

To do that, you'll need emotional support. That means -- if he doesn't get treatment -- you may have to burst the bubble of people who love you and believed that he was a great boyfriend and father. Tell the people you trust and who will help you and not gossip about you and the truth about your situation.

You would probably do well to get counseling yourself. A professional can help you get over the trust issues that result from finding yourself in a relationship with a less than faithful person. She (or he) can also help you and your little one get started on a more secure and joyful life.

You deserve it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

He's Divorced, Or So He Says

Dear Terry,

I love your letters! They help navigate us through a maze of confusion! I have been dating a man for almost a year. He has told me he loves me and wants to marry me. He is the man of my dreams.

Recently, I was devastated because I found out his divorce is not final. His wife has been living with another man for many (30+) years. They started the divorce proceedings several years ago but have not finalized the financial aspect of it.

Whenever I would ask him when he got divorced, he'd always be fuzzy about his answer. I asked him to see the divorce decree and he said all right. I finally pinned him down, and he had to admit that LEGALLY the divorce is not final. He says that, for all practical purposes, he considers himself divorced. I feel like he has been dishonest with me, but he says he does not feel that way because he'd always tell me the financial part was not final. Why couldn't he just tell me, "No. I am not legally divorced." Am I being too picky?

-Bewildered


Dear Bewildered:

For "all practical purposes" he considers himself divorced. He says he wants to marry you, but surely he is aware that he cannot marry you until the legal system views him that way.

Do I think you're being too picky?

I most certainly do not. I know you have deep feelings for this man, but I implore you to think seriously about furthering a relationship with a person who can't tell the truth about something as simple as his marital status.

Ask yourself, what had he to gain by lying to you about this little detail? Ask yourself, what else is he capable of lying about?

Please think about this. A healthy relationship depends on trust. You deserve the truth.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Should You Move In With Him?

Hi, Terry,

I was just wondering what your advice would be about under what circumstances it is okay to move in with someone?

-Thinking About It



Dear Thinking:

I have mixed feelings about living together, really.

Part of me gets the 'try before you buy' theory; live with a guy so you know exactly what you're getting before you bind yourself for life to him. The other part of me says you're better off keeping your own place and just doing your very best to get to know him before you tie the knot (if that's even your goal; we'll go into that in a minute). Let time do its job. Keep your eyes and ears open. Be truthful with yourself.

Know that the qualities a man displays before you marry him will only become increasingly apparent after you marry him. All of us -- men and women -- are on our best behavior when we're dating, so figure if a man's selfish now, he's only going to get worse later. Conversely, if he's kind and generous and funny now, he's probably going to be all those things later.

You don't have to live together to know that a guy who snaps at a waitress is probably one of these days going to snap at you. Or that a guy who flips out when he can't remember where he parked his car might harbor a few anger issues.

The danger of living together (in my view; others may disagree) before you're married is that it can take some of the fun out of actually getting married. In other words, you've already got a microwave and sex has become seriously routine. I've read about people who try to mitigate the problem of too much familiarity by establishing a no-sex rule weeks or months prior to the wedding, but that seems to me jarring and weird. And then there are those instances where the man or the woman no longer even sees the point of getting married: Things are fine the way they are, they figure, so why rock the boat?

Again, to some women (and men) it's important to see exactly what they're signing on for, so they opt to live together. But there are women who move in with the goal of convincing a man that she's going to be his perfect wife. She immediately takes on what she perceives as wifely duties (i.e., cooking, cleaning, ironing, changing the sheets, taking care of his dry cleaning, and so on). It drives me nuts.

It's a lot of unnecessary work.

So, if you're thinking about moving in with someone, know what your goal is. Do you want to get to know a man well enough to make sure he's the right one? If so, could you be better off doing that while maintaining your own turf?

If you're in it mainly for sex and reducing your expenses, make sure he's in it for the same thing, so that he doesn't get hurt. Be open to the possibility he's in it for sex and reducing expenses. If he is, and you're hoping for something more, be fair to yourself and stay in your own apartment.

If you see living together as a step toward marriage, know that it indeed could be a step toward it. Then again, it very well may not. If you want to get married, be open to the possibility that you still may still be living together without a formal commitment five years from now.

I have a good friend who lived with a woman for 15 years, and then learned she'd been seeing other guys all along. He moved on and, after dating a woman who shares his values for just nine months, exchanged rings with her. They've been married for seven years.

I hope I've been clear, and I certainly hope this helps.

Thanks for writing.

Terry

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

He Asked Her to Pay on the First Date

Hi Terry,

I went on a first date yesterday with a guy I met online. We met for brunch, and it was nice. A little awkward at first but after an hour or so we both relaxed. We decided to then head to another cafe for coffee where we sat on this comfy sofa and drank coffee and listened to French music. We stayed there chatting and relaxing with each other, and the next thing I knew, it was dark outside.

So we decided to go to a local wine shop. I bought a bottle of wine, and we took it back to his apartment. Dont worry, I didn't sleep with him. We simply drank the wine while listening to to his music collection and looking at photos from all his extensive travels over the world.

At this point, we'd been hanging out for about 8 hours! A new record for both of us. We clicked and felt really comfortable with each other. We talked about everything, family, NYC, friends, food, music, you name it. During the time at his apartment we shared our first kiss. It was nice, and I was enjoying myself. So we decided to go get dinner. We went to a little Mexican spot near his place, and we had a couple of margaritas and awesome food.

Now here is the problem. When the bill came, he asked me if we could split it. I've never paid for a first date and always believed the guy should pay for it. That's how its always been. I acted cool and just said, "Sure!" In the end, he did pay for the entire bill because the restaurant was cash only, and I only had a credit card. Now I'm confused about this guy and how I should proceed with him, if at all. Should I tell him that it bothered me that he asked me to pay? Should I let it go?

I liked him but I'm not sure how to feel about a guy who doesn't want to pay for the first date. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I spent a total of 12 hours with this guy on a first date, and everything was great except this one little part.

Thanks so much, Terry!

-Reluctant


Dear Reluctant-

I'm not sure why the guy asked you to pay for dinner, but you're right to be turned off. As you know, I'm all for equality of the sexes, but men tell me (the normal ones, anyway) that they expect to pay for a first date. They also say that when a woman offers to pay, it leads them to believe she's not interested.

I would have serious reservations about continuing to see a man who didn't offer to pay the first or even the second time around. As I got to know him better (and felt we were on surer ground), I'd be glad to offer to pay for dinner or drinks on occasion. In fact, I'd feel very good about it.

But back to you:

It sounds as if you packed three dates into one. It's great that you felt you hit it off, but the best course of action would have been to say "Thank you and nice meeting you" after brunch. (I hope he paid for brunch.)

Instead, you bought wine and went to his apartment, which was a bad idea. For one thing, you met the guy online. You broke a big safety rule here; you cannot go home with strangers. From now on, meet men you encounter online in public places. Stay in public places until you know them well enough to do otherwise. You don't get into their cars, let alone go to their apartments.

(You write, "Don't worry. I didn't sleep with him." No, but you did jeopardize your safety. Please give this serious thought.)

You don't mention if he made a move when you got back to his place (other than the kiss, that is), so I don't know what his intentions were. If he made the move, and you resisted, he may have decided not to invest any more money in the encounter.

This would show him to be cheap and pathetic.

If he makes contact, I wouldn't mention his request that you kick in for dinner, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't go out with him again, either. If you do decide to give him another chance, be prepared. He's probably going to ask you to pull out your wallet.

The next time you meet a man with potential, please remember a rule of human nature: People want what they can't have. So keep your dates short (in other words, keep a man wanting more). Keep your dates public. Don't call the guy afterwards. Let him call you.

I'm not an advocate of waiting by the phone or holding up your life in the hopes that some prince will rescue you from your perfectly fine life, so stay busy and happy. Let him decide whether he's going to step up and prove himself worthy of your attention.

In the meantime, don't be hard on yourself. We all make mistakes.

Monday, March 01, 2010

A Guy With a Girlfriend is Not Good Boyfriend Material

Hi Terry,

Thanks for all your emails. Recently I started dating this guy that I really love, but he told me he had a girlfriend at the beginning of the relationship. He tells me he loves so much, and from time to time he puts me through tests, and I end up always failing his test.

I have tried to explain to him that am human and he can't put me through an emotional test and expect me to pass. He tells me on different occasions that I should be patient with him when I ask for commitment. I really love this guy, but recently I told him to give me a break, and he replied, "Baby, you are toooooo impatient. Well, if you want to call it off. It's okay. I appreciate you." This happened last Sunday and since then, he has called me, b ut we didn't really talk towards the relationship. I don't want to lose this guy. I really love him.

What do I do?

-Tested


Dear Tested-

You can't lose this guy because you never really had him. Whenever a man tells you he has a girlfriend, the correct response is, "Why are you talking to me?" Then walk away and stay away. You are not the first woman to make the mistake of falling for an unavailable man, and you won't be the last.

This guy sounds like a complete player. Please do call it off with him. Stop seeing him immediately. Stop taking his calls. Fill your calendar with fun activities and people who love you and make you laugh.

Yeah, I know you're attracted to this guy, and you don't think you can do it, but you can. Anyway, what kind of a future can you expect with a man who runs around on his girlfriend? If he likes you as much as he claims, what's the hold up? Why hasn't he been honest and ended it with her?

He's not honest. That's the problem.

And about these 'tests' he puts you through: What's up with that? It's not healthy behavior.

Please open yourself to the very real possibility that there's someone out there who's eager to treat you like gold. How does that make you feel? Happy? Or does it scare the heck out of you? Are you willing to make yourself available to a man who truly appreciates you and never lets you forget it?

If not, why not?

Please give this serious thought.

Friday, February 26, 2010

He Says He Loves Her, But He Won't Marry Her

Hi, Terry-

I really, really like your blog and advice. I was little bit afraid to share my story, but I feel I need some advice from someone on the side. I have been with my bf for more than 2 yrs and we love each other so much; we live together we travel together a lot share same interest, but there is one little thing: I am not American.

I came on a visa. We fell in love, and it was amazing. But my visa expired and I couldn't get a new one I had to choose to stay illegally and be with him or go home.(He didn't want to do a fake marriage, so I can stay legally. Was a hard decision but I knew our love was worth to stay. And now year and a half later I am still here illegally, haven't seen my family for four years, and I can't leave the country because they won't let me come back. I live every day in fear I can get caught and deported and everything will be over. He knows all this, and he understands how much I suffer and that he can help us and change the things but he won't do it.)

I can't have a normal life, working under the table not feeling like a normal person. He says he wants to have future with me, travel the world together come visit my country, but when I bring up the subject of marriage he says he is not ready. I don't understand...I can't keep on going like this. I keep dreaming one day he will propose and having hopes in vain. I told him the other day that he needs to make some decision about what we gonna do that I am ready to make the next step, and all he says is I am not ready. I love you I can't imagine life without you, but I am not ready to get married. But having our relationship in my situation is stressful and risky. I made so many compromises to to be here like this. Please any advice? He is amazing and loving and caring, but I feel he doesn't want to grow up and commit and he will be 31 and I will be 30.

-A Woman Without a Country


Dear Woman Who Deserves Better Than This:

Your first step is to get a good immigration lawyer, someone who can explain in plain language what your options are. Use the savings you planned to spend on a wedding here; it's a vital investment. This boyfriend of yours is not looking out for you, so you have to look out for yourself.

Now, re-read this sentence you wrote:

"I made so many compromises to be here like this."

You have indeed made many compromises. You've compromised your relationship with your family, your peace of mind, your self-esteem, your youth, and perhaps your morals (it's clear you don't enjoy breaking the law) to pin your hopes on some guy who claims to love you.

He says he doesn't want to get married, and you're still waiting for him to "make a decision." He's made a decision.

Now you have to make a decision. Please get over the idea that this individual is the only man for you. Get over the idea that you're almost 30, and you'd better bag a husband fast. The most powerful (and attractive) thing you can do right now is work on your self-esteem. Understand that you deserve better than a man who'd so selfishly and cavalierly allow you to sacrifice so much in return for so very little.

After you get hold of the good lawyer, I wholeheartedly recommend you read a book by Louise Hay entitled, You Can Heal Your Life. Some people object to Hay because she's New Age, but the affirmations are extremely valuable. Ignore any New Age stuff if it doesn't appeal to you (it doesn't appeal to me), but do use the affirmations.

A good affirmation can do wonders to build your self-esteem, and once you build your self-esteem, you'll attract (and accept) much better circumstances.

If you repeat an affirmation out loud (privately, of course) at least 25 times a day, you'll definitely feel a shift within a couple of weeks. Here are two you can use right away:

"I love myself unconditionally."

"I deserve all the best life has to offer."

In the meantime, I wish you every good thing in the world.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Want to Help a Woman Out?

I received the following request from a reader:

Hey Terry,

I'm working on a graduate research project about nonverbal behaviors during first dates. I'm looking for participants who have online dating experience and I'm hoping you would be willing to attach the link to my anonymous survey. If you want to preview the study before you make your decision I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks, Angie.


If you'd like to help Angie out by anonymously answering a series of questions (none too personal, I assure you), please click the link she provided. Again, she's looking for people who actually have online dating experience.

Completing the survey should take you no more than 10 minutes and will help a fellow female achieve a goal and make her way in the world. To participate, click here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Law of Attraction to Get You Married

Hi, Terry-

I always enjoy your emails. I would like to know if you have anything on having trouble getting a man to marriage. I have no problem getting them to a relationship. They are even willing to live with me. But none so far want marriage. What is a good answer/comeback when they say, yes I want a relationship with you. Let's move in together. Let's buy a house together. Even have kids together. But NO to marriage.

Thanks
A.



Dear A.

You know what you want, and that's a good thing. You're not moving in with these people, pretending that you can change their minds about marriage after you've been living with them for a while.

Just because you're attracting men who are willing to do everything with you except make it legal doesn't mean all men reject the idea of marriage (not by a long shot). The next time someone refuses to marry you but suggests you bear his children, just say, "No, thank you. I want to get married, and I'm going to hold out for a man who wants to get married and spend the rest of his life with me."

Then walk away.

In the meantime, picture yourself being married, not to some clown who asked you to give birth to his children, but to a man who treasures you and makes your happiness a priority.

What would this marriage look like?

Feel like?

Taste like?

Sound like?

Smell like?

In other words, bring in all your senses and make it real in your imagination. 'See' a wedding ring on your finger. Feel yourself holding the hand of the man who wears the ring you gave him.

Keep saying 'no' to men who offer you less than what you want. Keep bringing a happy marriage to life in your imagination. Do it morning, noon, and night. Do it every day. Keep it up.

It's called using the Law of Attraction, and it's powerful. Use it and watch out! After a while, you'll find yourself attracting a man who wants the same things you do.

Friday, February 19, 2010

To the Reader Who Submitted a Question (which I Somehow Lost)

You're the reader who submitted a question about a man you once dated quite seriously, who later got involved with someone else. After that relationship ended, he started up with you again, only to tell you that the other woman was his 'soulmate.'

The bottom line was, he says he doesn't want to take things further with you. You love him, and you're confused and hurt.

(I hope I remember all the details correctly.)

First, let me apologize profusely for having somehow hit the wrong button, which sent your very important question (which was, essentially, how do you get him to change his mind?) into some never-ending rabbit hole.

I am so sorry.

I am also sorry about the situation with this man, but the worst thing you can do is try to convince him that you're the woman for him. Trust me. The more you do this, the more he'll be convinced the other woman really is the soul mate who got away.

You're in a lot of pain, obviously, so the best thing you can do is take extremely good care of yourself. Treat yourself as a treasure yet to be discovered (in other words, if you actually were with this guy, how would you want him to treat you? Treat yourself that way.)

You'd do well to stay busy. I think it's way too early to try to be this guy's supportive friend, and if you do it in the hopes that he'll come to his senses that you're the woman for him, I fear you'll be disappointed.

Fill your time with good, supportive, fun people who make you laugh. Avoid any living person needles you by bringing his name up out of the blue, as in, "Have you heard from X?" Or, "So what's going on with you and X?" (Tell people who love you and make the mistake of bringing him up that you're moving on and have taken his name out of your vocabulary.)

Also, avoid people who try to justify his behavior as a reason for you to be patient, as in, "You know, he's afraid of getting hurt. Give him time."

Guess what? Everybody (including you, I imagine) is afraid of being hurt.

Stop worrying about him. Stop talking about him altogether. Do your best to stop thinking of him.

Please let this guy go. In your absense, it's possible he'll miss you. If he does, tread very carefully with him. Don't rush into his arms. Guard your heart.

If he doesn't miss you, well, you'll be that much farther along in enjoying your new life --and all its possibilities -- without him.

Never underestimate the power of letting go. You'll get stronger, for one thing. If you treat yourself well (instead of the rejected girl or the loser at love) and open yourself to the possibility that there's someone out there who you wouldn't have to arm-twist into seeing your greatness, you will become used to being treated well. You will have raised your standards.

And that also is a powerful thing. It's also attractive.

I wish you all the luck in the world, and if you have a chance, drop me a line and let me know how you're doing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Take the Pressure Off Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day. Whether you're a fan or not, the thing that matters most is the quality of your relationships, not some card or gift. And your most important relationship is with yourself.

If you're dating someone now, great; I'll get to you in a minute.

If you're not dating anyone right now, you certainly have at least one wonderful person in your life. And I mean you. Today, treat yourself as a treasure yet to be discovered. Imagine how the most desirable guy in the world would treat you and treat yourself that way.

This is important. When you make a habit of treating yourself like a treasure yet to be discovered, men pick up on it. You become a magnet for men who want a woman they can treasure.

It happened to me.

Buy yourself something special (just don't go into debt). Savor food you love to eat. Grab a fun friend (note that I said 'fun friend;' avoid complainers like the swine flu). Rent a good movie, pop some corn, and have a cocktail.

Have fun!

If you are in a relationship, don't get caught up in the hype. Some men are into Valentine's Day, and some don't get it at all (I don't really like it myself. My feeling is, if you love somebody, you should show them every day, not just on Valentine's Day). So,if the guy doesn't come bearing extravagant gifts, be open to the possibility that he thinks Valentine's Day is the over-hyped commercial holiday I do.

(Now, if he forgets your birthday, that's another story.)

More important than Valentine's Day, today begins MARDI GRAS week, so if you live near a Cajun restaurant, check out the party (Peter and I, never the Valentine's Day revelers, are headed to our favorite Cajun place with friends on Long Island tonight).

Life is short. Enjoy every minute of it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Show Me the Love Every Day, Not Just on a Hallmark Holiday

Last September, Keysha Whitaker, my partner at Single Women Rule, came up with the idea of a blog crawl. Readers liked it, and one of the participating bloggers decided to try one of her own, which she's calling (to be fair to Keysha!) a blog-a-thon, instead of a blog crawl.

That blogger is Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan, who teaches her male and female clients who want to get married to actually get married, as opposed to turning themselves into lifelong daters.

The blog-a-thon's subject is Valentine's Day, a 'holiday' that has always made me a bit queasy (have you seen those commmercials geared to men who want to stay out of trouble with their 'sweethearts?' Note to husband: I don't want flowers, chocolate, a pajama gram, or a freaking teddy bear. I get it that you love me; I don't need any of that crap to prove it).

Check out my post on Ronnie's blog-a-thon here. I addressed the subject of Valentine's Day, but not in a way (I hope) that makes you queasy.

What am I doing for Valentine's Day?

We're getting our taxes done (like working out, it feels better afterwards), and then we're meeting up with friends for dinner, drinks, and fun.

What are you doing? Do tell. Whatever it is, make it empowering and fun!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm Excited to Be Part of This

Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan asked me to take part in her blog-a-thon, which started Monday and will run through Valentine's Day, February 14th. My post will appear on Friday, February 12th at After 40 Dating Tips, but don't wait until Friday. Check out her other guest bloggers now!

Here's some more info:


Valentine's Day Blog-a-thon Starts Monday, February 8th

Dating Tips to Find Love

(February 6, 2010) Better than a telethon, the first ever Valentine's Day Blog-a-thon raises awareness (instead of money) for the positive aspects of celebrating Valentine's Day as a single adult. While this holiday often causes single women everywhere to cringe, the Blog-a-thon has been created to shift that reaction to a more upbeat outlook.

Beginning Monday, February 8th, guest bloggers from some of the Internet's most popular sites, will be sharing their insights to help single women enjoy a day that is traditionally reserved for couples, and offer advice for finding the love they want.

Unite with countless single readers to take in this virtual tour of the web's best dating experts. Featured guest bloggers include:

Monday, 2/8: The Dating Goddess (www.DatingGoddess.com) who has one of the top-ranked dating advice sites and has published more than a dozen books about dating in the Adventures of Delicious Dating after 40 book series.

Tuesday, 2/9: Alyssa Johnson, MSW, LCSW, of www.RemarriageSuccess.com helps divorced parents move into new relationships and successful step families, and is the author of over 250 published articles and 4 books, with an active counseling practice.

Wednesday, 2/10: Laurie Davis is the founder of www.eFlirtExpert.com and co-host of the weekly web show, www.LoveNation.com. She helps singles market themselves to become successful daters, is the current NY Tech Dating Examiner and a contributing writer for The Guyds.

Thursday, 2/11: SingleMomSeeking is one of the best dating bloggers (as reviewed by about.com Guide to Dating) specializes in being a parent while looking for love at www.singlemomseeking.com/blog and author of Single Mom Seeking: Play Dates, Blind Dates, and Other Dispatches from the Dating World.

Friday, 2/12: Terry Hernon MacDonald, expert dating blogger at www.HappyGirlMusing.com is the author of the hot selling ebook, How to Attract and Marry the Man of Your Dreams.

Saturday, 2/13: DeAnna Lorraine, innovative Dating and Relationship Coach and NLP Practitioner, helps clients transform their love life to succeed with the opposite sex at www.DeAnnaLorraine.com

Sunday, 2/14: Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, The Dating Coach has helped over 2,000 singles to successfully jump start or accelerate their search for love. She is also a speaker, workshop leader, author of MANifesting Mr. Right and founder of www.NeverTooLate.biz.

Guest bloggers have been selected for their specific expertise to inform, inspire, and motivate singles to enjoy what is normally the most dreaded retail holiday of the year. In addition, single women, whether divorced, widowed or never married can learn from the sage dating wisdom these experts share.

Ronnie Ann Ryan, creator of the Valentine's Day Blog-a-thon said, "This is a ground-breaking opportunity for single women to rethink their reaction to Valentine's Day and transform the holiday experience into something enjoyable and positive."

Check out Ronnie Ann Ryan's Valentine's Day Blog-a-thon at After 40 Dating Tips !

Monday, February 01, 2010

She Doesn't Want Him to Think She's a Slut

Hi, Terry-

I am a 33-year-old woman who was in a 13-year relationship that is not working out. I want to try to start dating again.

I met this guy who I liked and hung out with him and some other friends. We somehow got separated from the friends and ended up at his house. Of course, he wanted to have sex. I was not sure if it's ok to have sex being with someone the first time. Or should I wait? We were kissing and touching and things got heavy, but I put a stop to it. I don't want him to think I am a tease. My question is, is it ok to have sex on the first date or on the first time meeting? Would he think that I am a slut or too easy? If you can please answer my question, I would appreciate it. Thank you.

-Not a Slut


Dear Not-

You've been out of the dating scene since you just left your teens, so it's new and unfamiliar territory.

Here are some things you need to know:

-When you meet a new man, and his goal is to have sex (as opposed to spending time and getting to know you), he may be especially charming and "somehow separate" you from other people so that he can have sex with you.

-Whether it is okay to have sex with a person you just met is entirely up to you, but first you might want to find out if he takes regular showers, is free of disease, and possesses a soul.

-You should never worry about a man you had sex with thinking you're a slut. He had sex with you, too. Do you think he's a slut? A man who would have sex with you and call you a slut is a hypocrite. Discard him immediately.

You say you want to start dating again. What's your goal? Do you want to meet a man you can love and spend the rest of your life with? Or do you want to take time off from serious relationships and just play the field for a while?

While it's possible to find love after sex on a first meeting, it usually doesn't happen. People tend to get freaked out about what they should expect and how they should behave. So, if it's a relationship you want, hold off on the sex. Get to know the guy.

Make sure he's even worth your time.