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November 30, 2000

Stealing a Girl, 

Sabotaging Co-Worker, 

Body Image Issues


Dear Mrs Web,

I like a woman who is dating another guy. I want to know how to steal her away from her boyfriend. Can you tell me?

You can win a womanís hand by showing her your good heart, your warm, caring personality, your steadfastness, loyalty and reliability; but most of all, by your honorable character.

Dear Mrs. Web:

I work and share office responsibilities with a woman for the past two years. We sometimes disagree about different things. I will speak up about it but she won't talk with me. She is discourteous, and will not even communicate with me so there is phone coverage, or front desk coverage. I am often scrambling to cover when she has left without telling me. When I give her office memos, etc., she ignores me, and almost knocks me over when walking by..

She is not this disrespectful to anyone else in the office. I asked for a meeting, with my boss to resolve these issues, but the boss says that we should work it out by ourselves.  Sometimes her behavior makes my job performance look bad. What am I going to do?

You are in a nasty situation. Your co-worker is sabotaging you. She is also sabotaging the company in the process. It is more important for her to "get you" than for her to do her job well. Moreover, she is being sneaky about it. How unpleasant!

You need to cover for yourself and point out the damage her sabotaging behavior has on the company. Does your company have a Human Resources Department? They often handle issues of this nature.

If not, I would go to the your supervisor, and if needed with his/her supervisor. Do not ask them to sort out your relationship with her.  No one likes to be in the middle of a personality clash. Instead, go prepared to discuss how you are unable to provide full coverage because of her behaviors.  Explain how it hurts your performance and the company image.

Ask for direction in how to cope with the times her behaviors put the company at a disadvantage. Put her lack of teamwork problem directly in their laps. Make this a management issue, not a personality issue.

Dear Mrs Web,

I have been married less than 6 months. We only knew each other a short period before the wedding. She is the love of my life and the best wife a man ever had.

Before our relationship, she was involved with a man who insulted and verbally degraded her body. She is a beautiful, well-endowed woman. She is embarrassed about her body. She makes comments about her weight and her hips. She is also a little shy about her body.

I work out and suggested she work out with me so she can maintain the physical beauty she has. Any ideas of how to help her?

She has a double hit against her, years of verbal abuse about parts of her body combined with a culture, which wants women to look like thin men with breasts. You are not married to a Barbie, you are married to an honest to goodness shapely woman.

Continue to praise and love her body. It is going to take more than a few months to drive those negative statements about her body out of her mind. A man who loves a womanís body and soul, her emotions as well as her physical attributes, with eternal commitment, can, over time, help her achieve confidence and comfort with herself. She may never be a total show-off, but she can become comfortable

I think that working out together as a way to become comfortable with her body and stay fit is a terrific idea.


November 29, 2000


Guest for the Family, 

Lonely Woman, Is Attraction Important??



Dear Mrs. Web:

My mother-in-law has no family except her son and me. She has been included in several of my extended family celebrations. When I mentioned I would like to include her again this year, one sister balked. She said she had not received a written thank-you from my mother-in-law for past invitations, and added that she wanted to spend some holidays with "just the family."

We ended up in a big argument. It has filtered though the family and has upset almost everyone. My husband and I are spending holidays alone with my mother-in-law and I feel left out of my family.

Some families are able to open and add others effortlessly. This isnít the case in your family. Expecting and demanding it to happen is a dead end.

Your sister seems to have needed an excuse to eliminate your mother in law from the guest list. (If Dear Mrs Web had a nickel for every thank you note she was owed, she would be basting in the sun of a remote Caribbean Island instead of working her poor little fingers to the bone on this keyboard!) Commenting on someoneís manners is just a shade ruder than forgetting them.

Therefore, I would say both you and your older sister are about even, you expected too much, and she tried to get out of it gracelessly. Shame on the folks who took sides. There are times to button up lips. This was one of them. It is time to apologize to each other and make amends in the family.

Family is a place for compromise, integrity, and caring. Things sometimes get out of hand in families because we care so much. Your sister was trying to protect the integrity of your family. You were trying to show generosity towards a woman without family by sharing yours. Both are worthy issues. However, this is not done in a vacuum. You need to consider each otherís needs.

Dear Mrs. Web;

I am a 24 years old single mother of a five year old boy. I want to marry and have more family. But I do not meet ANY men! I work with women as a nurse, and all my friends are married. I very rarely have any free time. I am extremely lonely. 

My mother started her adult life as an unwed mother, friendless, and a nurse. She is now 56 and still unmarried. The last man she dated was my father. I am terrified of being like her

Sometimes, we copy the lives with which we are most familiar. It takes a real effort to get out of these tracks already before us. You have a double difficulty because you have a little guy who has claim on your time and heart.

One thing that worries me is that your fears about not ending up old and alone will push you into poor relationships. I am going to recommend that you think of some sort of individual/group therapy combo that will help you break your old patterns of relationships in healthy ways.

You sound like you are very alone in your life and this solution will bring a voice into your life that can help you change, find, and have a healthy, married relationship. I am not so worried about finding men at this time as I am about what you are going to do if you do find one.

Dear Mrs Web,

How important is attraction in a relationship?

Attraction to another, either physically or emotionally is the force that initiates emotional intimacy. One would not want to be involved with someone who repels him.

Some people prefer living in neutral territory in their relationships. Even the ones they consider most intimate. I am not sure that deep emotional intimacy is attainable when one is in a gray fog of neutrality. Passion is an important part of any relationship and peopleís souls dry up and slowly die without it.


November 22, 2001


Shower Money, Mr. Front Page,  and Starting Over



Dear Mrs. Web,

My sister and her fiancť of 2 years are getting married next year. They live together and have everything they need, so the traditional bridal shower isn't appropriate to give to them. 

We are planning a big party next spring for friends and family. We really would like to help them out with the cost of the wedding by letting the guests know that this is a greenback type of shower. How do I do this? Is this acceptable? Anguished Relative.

Raising money for the wedding? Well, you could sell tickets. Sell advertising on each table. Charge for parking. Rent T-shirt space on the bride.

One does not officially ask for a specific gift or any gift when inviting someone to an event. If a guest calls and asks for ideas, you could suggest, "Penelope and Albert have no household needs so I am going to write a check". Anything beyond this is not acceptable. Your guests are not Santas.

The last thing in the world you should be concerned about is how the wedding is paid. That is the concern of the people who are throwing the event. People have the weddings they can afford. If they are spending beyond their means, it is their choice. Stop anguishing immediately!!

Dear Mrs. Web,

My husband is a busy, successful, professional with many interests. He brings home handsome earnings. He is also involved in several organizations as well as a political party. He is passionate and driven. Whatever he does, he does well.

My problem is that the one thing he does not do well is having a home life with me and our two children (11 and 13). Our daughter calls him Mr. Front-Page because of his good works. Our son doesnít even acknowledge his presence anymore. Our family is dying and he wonít even acknowledge a problem.

Family life is foundational. One can win awards, save whales, and lead seminars on rocket science, but if the family back home is in turmoil one is failing the most basic task of life.

Your husband needs to come home and take care of the true business of his life, raising his children. It is time for you to get everyone into family therapy. If needed begin with just you and the children. It is time to burst Mr. Front-Pageís bubble.

Dear Mrs. Web,

I have just recently come out of a stormy 5-year relationship. I am starting over. I have almost no friends, because we socialized mostly with his friends.

I am considered attractive but I am very uncomfortable and insecure with people I donít know. I would like to make new friends and have a social life but I donít know where to begin. What do you recommend?

It seems you would want to begin by establishing a support system of friends and acquaintances, through work, church, hobbies, volunteer commitments, and organizations. 

Even the most insecure can stuff envelopes, answer phones and help in some volunteer capacity. As you become more familiar with your fellow volunteers you can begin to warm up, invite them out to coffee and get to know them.

Friends will produce a social life. Begin slowly. If you were in a stormy five year relationship I hope you now have some inkling of why you were in it and why for so long? As well as some idea of how you will do it differently next time.


November 21, 2000


Teen Business, Another Way to Say I Love You, and 

Family Habits



Dear Mrs. Web:

I am a teenaged small business owner. I have a can and scrap metal business. My father and I were partners but he moved out and gave me his share. My mother wants me to split my profits with my brother 50/50. He is young and doesnít contribute to the business at all.

So, I had a friend who is in the same business sell my inventory for me and paid him a 20% cut. At least I kept 30% of what my brother was getting. It was a simple business decision. Then my mother found out.

She said my values were poor and I was greedy. She also said I put profits ahead of family. Mom said if I didnít share, I would have to shut down. I would rather do that instead of sharing my profits. I think that his allowance is her problem and not mine. Who is in the right here?

Who is in the right? With just the facts, sir, you win, of course.

Unfortunately for you, there is more at stake here than just being right. In that sense, your mother is overwhelmingly correct. Family is the most important thing at stake here. What is going on in your family to cause your Mom to make such a demand on you?

Until you are on your own, your Motherís word stands. Going around her wishes is morally wrong. You may get your short-term needs met, but it will make you less of a person in the end. Donít do it. You can always make money, but character is precious.

You have business gifts and skills. You and your mother need to need to sit down and talk. Take her to breakfast. You need to reach agreements on how you all can work together well. Perhaps you can pay your brother to do your share of your household chores, thus leaving you free to concentrate on your business ventures.

Dear Mrs. Web,

My young middle son is going through some difficult times and I am trying to discover some ways to build him up. He is my "lost in the crowd" child, and is always worried that I love the other children better. Any ideas?

One way I have found to heart connect with a child is to use their age. I would say: If every eight year old in the world lined up in a long, forever line, I would walk that line looking just for you. 

No one else would do, only you. I would search each face and I would never stop, day and night, until I found you. You are the only one I want, the only one who would fill the spot in my heart. When I have found you I would kiss you, hug you, and hold you close to me. I would never let you go. I would be so happy. I love you very much. -- Hope this helps.

Dear Mrs. Web:

When I go to visit my boyfriendís family, they live in another state, I notice that the men order the women around and expect them to wait on them. It is not the kind of life I want. It worries me. What should I do?

In some cultures and different socioeconomic groups, men are dominant in the family. If I were you, I would have some real frank talks with your beloved about his expectations and beliefs about a wifeís role in marriage. I would talk directly about the roles the two sexes have in his family. Then, listen to him carefully. 


November 20, 2000



Liar, At Her Expense, and 

Thank You, Mrs. Web



Dear Mrs. Web,

My husband and I lost our home in Hurricane Andrew. My husband rebuilt the house himself, His father and brothers never offered to help. Recently his fatherís house was destroyed and he is expecting my husband's help.

His father received full insurance coverage but is a gambling addict and doesnít want to spend all of the money to hire workers. My husband works 70 hours a week and I stay home to care for our four children.

We have never received much support or help from his family. How should we handle this request?

Question: does your husband want to work on his fatherís house? If that answer is no, he certainly is not obligated. His father has the means to rebuild. You both have other obligations.

You both are in the middle of busy, lives. You can always beg off because of overtime work and family responsibilities. You can commiserate with him, though, about how difficult it is to rebuild after a disaster.

Dear Mrs Web,

I've recently found out that my wife has been lying to me about her professional certification since we started dating. In addition to the deceit, this means that we have filed fraudulent legal documents.

It also means that the goals we discussed before we got married can't happen because of this. How should I deal with this? I've gently confronted her, and she persists with the lie. Am I over reacting?

No, you are not overreacting at all. This is a serious issue.

You will need to do two things: first, talk to a lawyer about the legal issues at stake. If she has been practicing her specialty without a license, she has left you open for lawsuits. With marriage, you are legally entwined.

Second, get into marital therapy with her if possible, without her if need be. Your wife has a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. You are going to need turning around this marriage. Trust is a foundations stone. Without it the relationship fail.

Dear Mrs. Web:

I need a little advice. Sometimes my boyfriend needs to get the best of me. For example, when I point out something he did wrong, he immediately turns it around in a way that puts me in a negative light.

All my friends tell me how much he loves me and raves about me. I do know he cares. What should I do?

You have a man who always needs to best you in arguments even at your expense. This will be a life-long factor in your future marriage. Can you button up and live with it? Or can you see yourself fighting these mini-battles throughout your marriage? How will this affect your future children? You are the only person who can weigh the benefits for yourself.

Can this change? Perhaps if you both are willing to do communications work in premarital counseling. You both can learn how to communicate in non-threatening, and respectful ways with each other.

I am sure he thinks the world of you. Having a high regard and caring for someone is a beginning step to finding the fit for the lifetime commitment of marriage.

Dear Mrs. Web,

Thanks a lot for your advice. I contacted my college counseling office and they helped me find the right track for my plans. I am now contacting people who work and excel in the fields I am interested in pursuing.

I am delighted to hear back from you. Keep me posted about how you are doing. I look forward to hearing your future unfold.


November 17, 2000


Boys and Toys, Get A Haircut,  Uncertain Future, and Thanksgiving Visit


Dear Mrs Web,

Should boys be allowed to play with toy weapons? Should they be allowed to play "war games?" My son is seven. He makes guns and swords out of sticks, helmets out of foil, and rockets out of blocks and mudballs. When his friends come over, they play a number of different war and spy games. We do not permit computer games or violent television or videos but he seems to know all about bows, arrows, and military planes. I worry about his fixation on these things.

Many boys really enjoy the paraphernalia of weaponry and the challenges of war games. Often boys have the need to test the extent of their power and courage. 

This "warrior spirit", so admired in many other cultures has been denied to contemporary American boys. Boys need to be encouraged to exercise their "protective" instincts. If you are providing a strong moral framework for his life, and a life-affirming value system, he should do fine. An interesting book to read that touches this subject in our present culture is The War Against Boys.

Dear Mrs Web,

Today my boss told me to get a haircut and shave every day if I wanted to keep my job. I do work with the public occasionally but I am sort of in the back room most of the time and I think itís unfair. What should I do?

I think if you want your job you are going to have to shell out for a shave and a haircut. Otherwise, look for another job.

Dear Mrs. Web,

I am the mother of a mentally handicapped adult. I am not well and have no close kin. I am worried about what will happen to my son after I am gone.

Do you have close friends or church members who would take custody of your child? Talk with your minister, your doctor, and your friends. See if they have any suggestions or recommendations. My heart goes out to you. Keep in touch.

Dear Mrs. Web,

We have plans to visit my in-laws for the Thanksgiving holiday. We have been married for five years and are in our early thirties. We fly out early next week.

My father-in-law and his new wife and baby live in one city and my mother-in-law and her boyfriend live nearby. I donít particularly care for either of them but my wife felt it was important that we visit this year. These people give my wife so little. She is always heartbroken after she visits with them. How can I help her this time?

Plan to book rooms nearby if you have not already done so. It will give you both a cooling off place nearby. Spend time with the families interspersed with sightseeing or shopping.

Most of all point out gently and lovingly that these people are dry wells. To expect or demand water is futile. Acknowledge the difference between expecting water and mourning over the dry well. 

Your wifeís relationship with her parents is incomplete and empty. This will always be an empty spot in her life. Time will never completely heal it, but someday she may be able to detach from it.


November 16, 2000


Dropped Like a Rock, Baby Vision, and Child Dating


Dear Mrs. Web,

I met a woman about three years ago. We have been best friends for the past two and one half years. I have a number of friends, but none as close as Jane. Jane didnít have any other close friends besides me, despite years of private school and college. 

Recently, Jane met a new woman who shares many of her interests. Suddenly I have been dropped like a rock. She wonít even talk to me. It really hurts and I donít understand what happened.

Some people can only have friendships one at a time. You may have been replaced. Experience tells me most adults should have several friends of varying degrees of closeness, some from their past, some current. 

Use caution with people who disparage or criticize their past friendships. When picking a friend, watch and listen to how they treat their current and past friends. Individual behavior is usually consistent over time. It will give you a glimpse of your future with them.

Dear Mrs. Web,

Can new babies see?

Yes, new babies can see. In fact if you hold an alert baby 7 to 12 inches from your face and stick your tongue out at him, he will look at your hairline, find your eyes, and become fascinated with your peek-a-boo tongue.  He will begin to wiggle, then begin sticking his tongue out at you. Often the baby will look absolutely delighted.

If you are truly bored you can quickly teach him to stick his tongue out whenever he sees you.

Dear Mrs. Web

My son, who is 11 years old, has asked to go on a supervised date with a classmate. He really has not been paying attention to girls. He is still a child and acts very 11.

Do you think he is mature enough to deal with dating or beginning a relationship with a girl? Is this too early?

11 years old is way too early for any child, boy or girl, to be playing adult. Just because some over-stimulated pubescent girl wants to prove some boy "likes" her so she can bring the "trophy" back to her girlfriends, it is no reason to subject your son to this pressure to grow up. 

Let your son be the child he is. Part of your job is to protect his childhood. Dating is what grown ups do. Childhood shouldnít have that sort of pressure.

By the way, the children I know who are most successful in college and in their careers postponed the boy/girl thing until they reached maturity.  Now they are older, I see them making good choices in their lives, with respect to careers, family commitments and marriage partners.




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