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Page 33 Prev - Next Page



June 25 through July 9, 2001



Courtship and 

the "Retro" Dear Mrs. Web


Dear Mrs. Web's

Occasional Opinion


Today when browsing through the different links to Dear Mrs Web, I came across a link that described the Dear Mrs. Web site as a "retro" perspective in matters of dating and courtship. Retro! Dear Mrs. Web! 

Can you imagine?

Itís odd how perspectives differ. When Dear Mrs. Web thinks of retro, the hollow sixties, and seventies immediately her mind: Flower power. Free love, free sex, no commitments. Remember that old chestnut: "donít hold onto your love, if he leaves, you never really had him?" Yuck!

Back then sex cured everything. Inhibitions were passť. Consenting adults were meeting their "needs." Women scoured discos and bars looking for Mr. Goodbar. Divorce was considered good for the children. Music was all beat, no lyrics. Spouse swaps. "As long as I am happy, the children will be happy." Free school. Filled divorce aftermath workshops. Moreover, who can forget the terrible clothes?

Dear Mrs. Web cannot think of anything more retro or tiresome than that era of freedom without responsibility. Juvenile impulses were unleashed across the nation. We are still mopping up the mess today, 30 years later. Our country has young adults who have never seen a solid marriage, and has a population that craves that their every whim satisfied. 

Marriage is now seen an option, not a lifelong commitment. Couples now consider children add-on features, to be accepted or rejected, not precious gifts to be loved unconditionally. So-called adults are involved in strings of consecutive marriages or uncommitted relationships as a way to meet their lifelong needs, avoiding any of the needed compromise and character-building that comes with life-long love and commitment

We live in a world where the art of choosing a true life-mate has been lost. Those retro years have wiped out this fund of knowledge from our consciousness. We enter uncommitted emotional and sexual bonds with likely, or in many cases, unlikely, members of the opposite sex. We dance on the edge of knives in these relationships fearful of hurt, wary of commitment. 

Meanwhile we wait for stars to line up pointing to the best life-long mate. For we want love desperately. We want commitment, happiness, and a future with a forever beloved.

We end up with morning-after doldrums. Wreckage of past relationships and heartbreaks wash up on the shores of our battered hearts. We are pained and puzzled. We have been obedient and followed our cultural directions carefully. We have gone out, dated, hooked up, played house, and married. It has not worked. We have given away so many pieces of our heart that what we have left is bruised, cautious, fearful and unable to passionately and permanently connect. 

It shrinks when it should swell. 

These retrograde, tired old ways do not work. Let us admit it and change the tunes of our lives.

Dear Mrs. Webís mail is full of letters from people who do not know why their love lives do not work. Why this tearing heart and soul apart from body and mind leaves them fragmented, shaking and alone. My heart pours out to them. There is a better way.

Yes, I do promote and support courtship. Dear Mrs. Web has taken it apart and scrutinized it and she can find little to fault with it. Asking the heart, soul, and body to wait for love doesnít seem nearly as difficult to her as having them both shatter from being continually handed over to people who do not value them.

Encouraging people to get to get to know each other with depth and grace is a commonsense approach to choosing one's life-mate. Having oneís family and friends embrace and get to know a potential mate seems to be an intelligent move. After all, when you marry, you do not just marry one person; you do marry the family. The pages and pages of my In-law Archives prove it.

Listening to trusted opinions and comments about the beloved is equally important. When in love we are blind, and we need as much information as possible. Watching how this future potential mate treats his family, as well as yours just plain makes sense. It is a peek into your possible future. 

Judging character traits, evaluating flaws (donít we all have them!) and making informed choices about a mate seems far more preferable to the blind love driven by physical desire and overwhelming neediness that drives most engagement and marriage decisions today.

Courtship and betrothal offer men and women today a better and different option. We no longer have to abide by the outdated, ineffective, and tiresome. We no longer have to compromise our values and our hearts.  We can learn to cherish and be cherished.

So, is Dear Mrs. Web retro? 

No way! 


Could be. 






June 22, 2001



Birthday Manners, 

He Doesn't Want to Be With Me, and 

She is Out-of-Control




Dear Mrs. Web,


My son is involved in a summer play care group. Most of the members are classmates from his second grade school class. His birthday is in 3 weeks. He is refusing to invite one boy to his party. They donít get along well. My son does not like him.


 I donít particularly care for his parents either. I think since we are inviting the whole group, that we should include this child. My husband thinks that our son should be able to choose who he wants at his party. What do you think?


Some people think that brides and birthday children must get there own way no matter how silly or unreasonable. Dear Mrs. Web disagrees, with vigor!

To not invite the little guy is a deliberate and hurtful snub. We do not permit our second graders to snub a classmate. Let us model generosity here. What is it going to cost you, a little cake, a little ice-cream, and another goodie bag?


You should help your son understand that just because we donít like someone, it doesnít mean we forget our manners. Manners are the grease that helps us all through awkward situations. Work with him and help him learn ways to be kind and gracious to all his guests. And no, 8 years old is not too young.





Dear Mrs. Web,


My boyfriend and I broke up about a month ago. We had been together for two and a half years. I love him more than I have ever loved anyone and still do.


He was the perfect boyfriend. He always called, came to see me every other day (he lives about and hour away), and always treated me well. We were more than just a couple....we were best friends. We did everything together.

Just before we broke up, he started spending time with new friends. There was less time for me. He stopped coming over and I could no longer count on him. Sometimes he lied. It hurt and we broke up.


We talk occasionally but he has been very cold to me. He says he still loves me, but he doesn't seem to want to talk to me.  He has changed. I donít know whether he has found someone new or whether he has been using drugs. He used to be so happy and always he just seems depressed and cranky. What can I do to help him and if he doesnít want to get back together how can I save our friendship?


I donít know what is going on with him Ė he has changed and it could be girls, drugs, or something else altogether. How can your make him realize that you love him and want to work things out? The only way I know of doing this is to tell him. 

However, do you really want someone who might be seeing other women or on drugs?? A man who doesnít want to even talk to you now? Both options are poor choices in my opinion.

You canít save your friendship. Breakups donít save friendships; there are no real friends in former lovers - just one wounded person and one guilty one.


You might consider taking care of yourself and learn from a relationship better ways of providing the commitment you want. I advise courtship as a way of stepping towards commitment. I think it offers a better alternative to the consecutive emotional and physical commitments that some people almost take for granted today. Visit my website and look on the bookshelf for books about Courtship. I recommend I Kissed Dating Goodbye for people who are do not want to go through this sort of emotional see-sawing.




Dear Mrs. Web,


My wife suffers from depression and is on prescription drugs for both depression and anxiety. She also is an alcoholic. She has been required to seek treatment by child welfare for her anxiety and depression.


She now has a job outside our home and has begun drinking and not coming home. When drunk she tells me, in the crudest terms, that she is having sex with other men and is very obnoxious.


She comes home from work and upsets the house by blaring music as high as she can and she has ridiculous rules that are driving everyone crazy. I think it is time she leaves the house. 


We have 4 children ages 17,16,14,and 12. They support me and are fed up with her constant drinking and difficulties. Please give me advice. I am at my wit's end.


Alcoholics need to be boxed in from their first relapse drink.  They drink Ė they lose. Immediately. Donít let her get away with any drinking in your life. It is one of those "give them an inchÖtake a mile" situations.


She is out of control. I would contact her physician(s) and tell them what you are going to do. Then I would ask her to leave, kindly and firmly. Immediately, if possible. If she has been in treatment you may be able to discuss how best to do this with a social worker from the treatment center. No reconciliation until sober and trustworthy. No one should be permitted to blow up the family with their acting-out behaviors. You need to protect the children and yourself.


I am sorry; this is tough. However, you need to teach the children not to allow this sort of behavior in their lives. It will also teach them how to take a stand when confronted with boundary-breaking family difficulties. My thoughts are with you.



June 21, 2001



He Dumped Me! and We've Separated




Dear Mrs. Web,

My husband and I have a son who recently turned 18. We have always had a good relationship with him, and have had very few problems with him. However, for the last six months, he has been spending an excessive amount of time with a female friend that he has known for a year.

When I questioned this relationship, he insisted that she is just a good friend. This girl is over our house every day after classes for 4 to 6 hours. She spends time at our house because our son claims that this girl does not get along well with her own family.

We have asked him to cut back on the amount of time he spends with her in our home, and he has not. Every time I try to approach him about this subject, we argue. He has always been extremely popular, and now spends little to no time with any of his other friends. The only person he sees is she. We do like this girl, and I have tried to explain to my son that it is nothing personal against her but we are concerned about balance in his life. We are at a loss as to how to handle this situation.

Wouldnít you say it sounds like your son is obsessed? Sometimes young love loses all its boundaries. Another thing that comes to mind is drug use. Drastic personality changes are often linked to drug use. I would say it is time to have a sit down with the girlís family, since you seem to be raising her, part time, in your home. I would find out why there is a rift in their family and get to know them better.

I think that you are right to ask for balance. He is still under your roof and needs to abide by your rules and requests. I think it is reasonable to negotiate private family time without her. I have run into more than one teenaged boy who denied the true nature of the relationship he had with his girlfriend, almost up to the wedding, or in one memorable instance, the due date.

There is a book I recommend that is on my website called I Kissed Dating Goodbye. It is about male and female relationships and balance. He may find it helpful. In earlier times, parents sent their obsessed children on year-long continental tours. Perhaps you could help him arrange a summer as a camp counselor, traveling construction worker, overseas missions work, or some other type of travel.


Dear Mrs. Web,

My boyfriend told me he loved me.  Then he dumped me for another girl who lives in his town. He and I live over 1000 miles away from each other. How do I get him back?

Distance often breaks up relationships. I donít think there is a way to change the situation. The reality is if he really loved you, he would not have "dumped" you.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been married 15 years. We have separated, I moved out at her request. My wife has said she wants a divorce. She said she has wanted to split up for a long time and hasnít loved me for 2 years. I am devastated. She never talked or gave any signs that I recognized, that something was wrong.

When I visit my son, I talk with her.  I've asked us to see a marriage counselor and she won't. She simply states that it's over, she doesn't love me, she thinks of me as a friend, and that there is no chance of getting back together.

I am lost. I don't know what to do; I love this woman tremendously since we got married. I wonder if there is another man, she says no, but after living a lie for the past 2 years, I'm scared that she isn't being truthful.

I'm struggling to try to get on with my life. I tell her how much she means to me and how much I'm hurt and the love I have for her but she isnít interested.

Already the house has changed, she's wearing different clothes, moving the furniture, has new exercise equipment Öand more. It's like all the time we spent together means nothing. Thatís what hurts the most.

I am so sorry. What a sad situation. Your wife is behaving like a cad. I agree that you can not know whether she is being truthful. 

However, there is even more at stake.  Despite her selfishness you have a little boy to think about. Therefore, I would go talk to a lawyer about taking back possession of your home and negotiating marriage counseling and family counseling for the three of you.




June 20, 2001



Cutting Emotional Ties, and

A Way to a Man's Heart




Dear Mrs. Web,

Why do you have so many different kinds of questions? You have dating and marriage questions, in-law questions, and even children questions. Why donít you focus in one area?

I am a generalist. Why? Because life is not lived on one note.



Dear Mrs. Web,

My in-laws are cold-hearted people who seem to snub me. I am afraid they are going to snub and hurt my little girl.  I have tired everything I can think of to be a loving daughter to them but they just don't seem to like me.  

I am ready to cut my emotional ties to these people to protect my heart and feelings.  I feel so rejected.

I would never make my husband choose them or me.  He supports whatever decision that I make.  I would continue to have a limited relationship with them.  It is so sad.  I  believe that God put me in this family for a reason. I also believe that He would want us to enjoy one another.

You are saying that you have been so hurt and are thinking of closing your heart to your in-laws. That this would be something that your husband would be aware of and support. And that you are also worried about the relationship your in laws will have with your child(ren).

You cannot predict how your in-laws are going to respond to your little one as she gets older and more beguiling. You are correct in stating that one must protect a child from negative or painful influences. However, nothing negative has happened to your child. You are too much in the future. Stay in the now.

These people donít have a lot to offer you, and probably never have. You sound like a warm, loving woman who wants to be a beloved daughter to these people. It is probably not going to happen. That doesnít mean you have to close yourself or your heart. What it does mean is that you realize and accept their limitations and inability to connect. It is time to bury your expectations and mourn the loss of what you might have had with them.

You are probably right, that God put you in this family for a reason, but instead of changing this family, he might have put you there to help you learn new ways of being, and letting go.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I am 20 and I really like my boss who is 25. He said he has a girlfriend but  people say otherwise. He told me he liked my body and wanted to sleep with me and without thinking about it I did.

I really want to be with him, but to him it was just sex. Now he wants to sleep with me again. One minute he acts nice, as if he likes me and the next minute he seems to just want my body.

I know it is crazy but I keep thinking that if I continue to sleep with him he will want more from me than just sex. Do you think what I did was wrong and do you think it would be wrong for me to sleep with him again?

I think that what you did was a mistake, because you set the relationship on a sexual footing. Why would he want more than sex from you? You are both treating each other like meat instead of human beings. 

I think it would be another mistake to sleep with him again. Contrary to what you might believe, a way to a manís heart is not through his genitals. I doubt you will be able to get the relationship onto another track. I know he treats you nicely at times; any man who has hopes for a repeat performance would.

You are opening your self to a man who has no emotional attachment to you. Dear Mrs Web does not recommend becoming sexually or emotionally involved with anyone who does not have a heart commitment with you. Go to my Dating and Relationship archives (not dating column) and read the six pages of letters. There are several situations like yours on file.


June 19, 2001



I Don't Like Them, 


My Husband's Other Child



Dear Mrs Web,

I am a single man aged 44. I have never married nor have I any children. I am dating a never married woman with 3 school-aged children. She has a crazy ex-boyfriend whom she has a protective restraining order against.

I am interested in the problems related with such a relationship. Should I marry a woman with children? I have no idea what I am in for. Your opinion?

Some men become wonderful and loving stepfathers to their belovedís children. However a ready-made family comes with its own history and habits and there will be places you will fit, and places you wonít.

When I hear about "crazy exís" and restraining orders, my first reaction is that this family has possibly had a very tumultuous life. Sometimes families that have lived in this sort of turmoil tend to continue to have constant turmoil in their lives. In your shoes, I would look for signs of that sort of ongoing turmoil.

The problems and solutions of step-parenting are many and diverse. I could not begin to list them here but would be happy to answer different questions. Scan through the Step-parenting section of my Bookshelf for recommended books.


Dear Mrs. Web:

I donít care for some of my boyfriendís friends. Should I tell him? Sometimes he asks me to spend the evening with certain obnoxious friends and their wives. Should I just pretend I enjoy the evening or should I speak up?

I imagine when a man hears his friends criticized he feels just like anyone would, annoyed and also criticized. There is a big difference between criticism and just telling someone that you have a different outlook than they do. There are people we should never spend time with, criminals, and cruel, abusive, or morally repugnant people. However, people with whom we just donít see eye to eye, or who are different than we are; we tolerate occasionally for the sake of our beloved.

You donít have to enjoy his friends, just be polite to them occasionally, two or three times a year. You can be busy other times.



Dear Mrs. Web,

How can I help my husband? He got me and another woman pregnant three years ago. He then chose to marry me. He is now also supporting the other child who lives with its mother.

He recently asked me whether the child could spend the weekends with us. I am not sure I am ready for this. I still resent my husband for cheating on me while we were dating. I donít trust him with the mother of his child and I think this constant contact keeps them close.

Please tell me how I can forgive and support him. He has on several occasions, asked for forgiveness and I believe his sincerity. But I still harbor resentment, anger, and hurt. Please help.

You made a baby with and married a man who has a history of dishonesty and cheating within your relationship. You state you still resent his behavior from over three years ago and do not trust his relationship with his other childís mother.

You say he has asked for forgiveness and you have granted it. Did you both run away from your problems or did you face them squarely? Did you tell him about your hurt and pain? Did he beg forgiveness and did you both get to the point of vulnerability and renewal? Or, are you still scrunched up in pain? When renewal happens in a marriage, it is a kind of a honeymoon, but with new level of wisdom, self-knowledge, knowledge of the beloved, and acceptance of each other.

This kind of work takes a fair amount of time. In the meantime, there is trust to be built. Therefore, your husband should not be alone with your former lover. You will need to accompany him when he picks up the child to come home with you for the weekend. You may even find yourself doing pick up and delivery yourself.

You married a man with not only a financial commitment to another child, but he also has an emotional and fatherly commitment to this child, who is your own little oneís half-brother or sister. This womanís child is part of your family, and in some ways she is too. So it is time to make peace and go forward, parenting your own child, being a wife to your husband, finding kindness in your heart for your step child and extending peace towards its mother.

This is the life you signed up for when you became pregnant by this man and married him.




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