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.