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.