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November 7, 2000

 

Rigid, Mother and Child Abandoned for Football, and 

Dog Lover

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I am a person who likes predictability. I really donít like changing at all and find most change very stressful. I am 22 years old. My mother has pointed out that my dislike of change seems to affect my life. What should I do?

Some people flop in any direction, relying on the winds of style or popularity to give them direction. Others are so stiff and rigid and endure the breezes easily Ė but snap quickly in heavy storms. Strive to be like a reed, upright and flexible, ready for whatever the weather brings.

The first way to achieve flexibility is to truly understand that the only constant in life is change. It is inevitable.  Translated: Change Happens.


Dear Mrs Web,

My baby is eight weeks old. My husband seems to enjoy the baby but he doesnít seem as involved in it. I live, eat and breathe for the baby and just love being with her all the time. My husband plays with her, changes her, talks to her, but then he leaves to sit and watches a football game on television. I feel abandoned.

You are the mother of a new baby. Your job is to live, eat and breathe for this new life. Your husband canít feed the baby, and letís face it, after the first few diaper changes it gets repetitive.

 A fatherís role in a new oneís life is to bond and enjoy the baby for himself, but primarily to support and help his wife through the challenges of mothering an infant.

Your husband is there for you; he is just taking some R & R. His responsibilities have changed too. Now that you are home with the baby, he has much heavier responsibilities to provide for the family. You are not abandoned.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been married for 3 years, we dated for 8 years before that, It has been a very rocky relationship. We have been separated for the past year. My husband now wants to come back. Although I still love him, I am not sure I want to get back together. When we are together he lavishes attention on his dogs and doesnít pay any attention to me. How can I get his attention without being rude? What can I do for our marriage?

Your husband pays more attention to his dogs than to you? I donít know what this means or what itís significance is in your marriage. I do know that you need a lot more than a few suggestions on how to get his attention without being rude. Rude is the least of your problems. You have some sort of giant marital elephant that you are both ignoring, sitting right in the middle of your marriage. Examples would include: fear of intimacy, lack of commitmentÖ

I understand your reluctance to have your husband move back in. I donít see that anything is different. You both need to see a marriage and family therapist to find out why your husband is only talking to the dogs, how to repair twelve years worth of rocky relationship, and how to achieve deep commitment and true emotional intimacy.

 

November 6, 2000

 

Leaving His Son, 

Father's New Wife, and 

The "Total Package"

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I am thinking of being transferred to another state for a better position at work. My ex-wife and son, age 8, live here. I want fly back once a month for a four-day weekend and have him on holidays. I currently see him once a week. He is upset that I am moving. I think his mother is putting him up to this and getting him wound up. What should I do?

I donít think your wife has to "put him up to this". It is normal for a child to become very upset when losing a parentís care. He has already lost your 24/7 care. Now your are dropping your visits down to once every thirty days. He knows you are slipping out of his life.  He is feeling abandoned.

I think your son is telling you he needs you and wants you in his life. Face it and give him what he needs, an available and caring Daddy.


Dear Mrs. Web,

My father who is sixty two and twice divorced called to tell us he just married a thirty one year old ÖwellÖessentially a mail-order bride he found over the Internet. She arrives next week and the whole family is invited over to meet her. We arenít sure what to say.

It is customary in the United States to give the bride your best wishes and to congratulate the groom. A small gift is also nice.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I'm a 28-year-old professional man. I was married and divorced when I was very young. Since then, I have only dated two women steadily. They both had the total package of qualities I want in a woman. I messed up both relationships because of my own issues. I am in better shape now.

I am interested in a young woman I recently met. She has the total package I want: it is hard to define: but it is the way she looks, talks, walks, laughs, her eyes, lips, hips, and more. She seems to flirt with me, but I canít really tell if she is interested. How should I approach her, what should I do?

Two issues here: the first one is how do you approach a flirty young woman (or any woman for that matter). You approach her kindly, openly and honestly. 

The best way to get to know someone is not to do the high-pressure date. Instead, work with them on a project, rock-climbing classes, skiing lessons, feeding the homeless, building a canoe, cooking classes, folk dancingÖthe list is endless. 

I think suitors should build foundation stones in the relationship, one small block at a time, learning and evaluating their love interest. One can be tongue-tied or enchanted by a womanís physical attributes, but still one does not give oneís heart to an emotional or philosophical stranger.

This leads me to the second issue - the package. I was surprised at how one-dimensional your "package specifications" are. You essentially stated some physical qualifications.

Now, I realize men find the physical package a great attraction, but at your age, with one failed marriage under your belt, I would want to see more depth in your qualifications. I have a web page designed to help couples explore themselves: It wouldnít hurt you to run down the list to find what other things are important to you so you can add to your package qualifications. This way you can get what you want in life instead of chasing kite-tails.

 

 

November 3, 2000

 

Three Letters About Marriage

 

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My husband and I recently went through a rough patch in our marriage. I kept saying I wanted a divorceÖbut I didnít really mean it. After a while my husband was ready to end the relationship. He wanted me to leave his life forever. He was completely serious. We are back together but I cannot get over the fact he was truly ready to leave me.

You are playing with your husband by your lack of commitment, and of course, he will believe what you say, at face value. Donít expect him to play your games, read your mind or understand the heart you hide from him.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I have only been married for two months and my relationship with my mother in law is already strained. My husband and I dated for about 5 years before we were engaged and all that time things were fine.

She tells me how much she wants me to be a part of her life and that she loves me like her own daughter, yet she calls my husband to complain about me.

My husband wants to go home for Thanksgiving but I just don't feel comfortable going. I do want to resolve my problems with her. Should I talk it out with her and get out what I have pent up or should I just keep quiet, hold it in, and not cause a problem?

I donít think Thanksgiving Day is the appropriate time to bring up these difficulties. However, either over the weekend or on another day very soon, you will need to sit down with her and have a heart-to-heart talk.

If there is a sudden change in behavior, something has happened that needs to be talked about and put to rest. Do not vent your emotions at her. It is not productive and she is your mother-in-law. There is a big difference between confronting and addressing a concern. You need to calmly address the issues. You may want to open the conversation with your hopes and dreams for your relationship with her. Continue to your concern about some issues that have come up. Stay in lovingkindness and listen. Perhaps you will discover what changed.

Moreover, your husband needs to tell his mother to talk to you about her issues with you. 


Dear Mrs. Web,

I am in my early twenties, married and very unhappy. There has been a lot of mental stress and arguing in our marriage. I had brought up divorce frequently and recently our marriage collapsed. I did everything I could to save the relationship. Now we are back together and things are back almost as bad as before.

I find myself attracted to other men. I obsess over them. There is one man who has really captured my eye and I suspect the feeling is mutual. I have tried to contact him via emailÖI canít stop thinking about him. I wish I could just be with my husband and be happy.

It sounds like you are having a difficult time making the full commitment marriage requires. Each spouse in a marriage has to give 100%.  Also, you must realize that when one marries, one chooses a certain path. Other paths, other relationships are no longer an option.

Sometimes in marriage, one of the couple cannot let go of fantasizing other options. They feel stifled and limited by the marriage. The energy they put in their unhappiness is part of that 100% of their heart they need to be giving to their spouse and marriage.

When push came to shove and you were faced with the true demise of your marriage your hidden heartís desire emerged Ė to continue the relationship with your beloved. This push to the limits sometimes happen.. However, without full commitment and nurturing, your heart goes back into its shell of self-centeredness. 

The fears you have are not uncommon. Stepping off the cliff into the abyss of committed, forever love can be terrifying. Sometimes, "I love you and I am afraid", are the most honest and heart-connecting words one can say to oneís beloved.

Marriage therapy will help you both overcome the fears and damage in your marriage.

 

November 2, 2000

 

They Don't Like Me, Drinking Under Pressure,  and Is She Too Young?

 

 

 

Dear Mrs Web,

I am in love with a guy. We love each other. However, his family doesnít like me. What should I do?

It is very difficult to be married to someone whose family does not care for you. I think it is important to get your relationship with the family on better grounds before making any commitments. Otherwise, life will be hard for you and your future children. 

I have known many a daughter-in-law who has suffered greatly under the withering voices of a nasty family. Begin by finding out exactly why they donít like you. Your boyfriend will know.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I drink under pressure. Whenever there is a big project at work, I start drinking. I do the daily project planning and projections which means I talk to everyone, then close the door and write. I drink and write, sometimes until midnight. My work is flawless but the toll on my body and mind is enormous. What should I do?

Your drinking says you need to get out from under the pressure. Different job, even different field. I have never met anyone in project management who wasnít under pressure. Find something that you enjoy and can do with less pressure.


Dear Mrs Web

I am a 27 year old professional. I am extremely shy and a bit socially awkward and have not dated much. Recently I met my sisterís friend, Alicia. She is only 19 but mature and we share many interests. We have gone out with groups occasionally. She is sweet, kind, intelligent, and a good listener.

I recently met Aliciaís sister who is 24. She is not as bright, and a bit demanding. She is also the most gorgeous woman I have ever met. I was concerned about what people would think if I dated a 19-year-old, so I decided to ask her older sister out. She rejected me immediately, but suggested I ask her Alicia out so I left her a message. She called back to say although her mother was fine with it her father felt it I was to old.

I realize that I really wanted to date Alicia all along. She is wittier, warmer, and smarter, if less obviously pretty. Do you think I have lost my chance to date Alicia? Is she too young?

Well, now you know how superficial you can be. Since Alicia called you back in decent spirits, I think you might have a chance.

You are a bit old for her; the best way for you to develop a relationship with her is to get to know her parents. Parents tend to unbend for well-situated, mature young men with a purpose.  

Get yourself invited over for supper, help with chores around the house. Treat the family to a pizza dinner delivered (to reciprocate for the supper) and generally make yourself a fixture. Flatter her mother with flowers and talk to Dad about the things he enjoys.

Downside?? You are going to have to get used to ignoring Sister-Gorgeous, whether she comes on to you or not. Are you mature enough to handle it?

 

 

November 1, 2000

 

Insulted Relative, Retiring Young, "Love?", and 

Going to the Mall

 

 

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My late husbandís brother always showed up here unannounced for a visit every few months. He stayed away for more than four years. We discovered recently he has been angry about my husbandís eulogy, that was given by one of my sons. It mentioned how my husband overcame his dysfunctional family and succeeded. It is the truth. How should I handle this?

Yes, I know it is true, but sometimes, in some places, the truth is best left unsaid.  No one likes their laundry washed in public. Family histories should not be hung out to dry in front of an audience. It is humiliating. If you want to patch this up an apology is in order from everyone in your family who was involved.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been working hard for the past fifteen years and it has been fun. Between options and career planning, I am doing well. The next step for me is to find some people and strike out on my own. But I donít want to. I am almost forty and I want to stop working.

We have enough money to retire very comfortably, but not lavishly. My son is eight and my daughter is five. I want to spend time with them. My wife thinks I am burned out and should just take a long, exotic vacation. My family thinks I am walking away from the gold ring. Am I selfish to want to walk away from it all?

I am certainly not ruling out an exotic vacation but no, I donít think you are selfish for wanting to stop. Most people dream of being your shoes. 

Spend time thinking and dreaming of your plans with your wife. Plan what you would like to see happen in your lives in the next year, two years, five years, 10 and retirement. Find a terrific financial planner.

You discovered early what some people find out too late, or not at all: spending time with family and friends trumps just about any kind of work.


Dear Mrs. Web,

My boyfriend that said that Bob is in love with his girlfriend Tracy. My boyfriend says he loves me. What is the difference if any, between saying "in love" and "love" someone?

Some people have no difference in mind when they use the two phrases and use them interchangeably. Other people use the phrase "in love" to denote a possibly temporary state of infatuation. The word "love" is used to describe deep, committed, relationships such as marriage, child-parent...

The most time-consuming, least productive thing a woman can do is to obsess on what a man means when he says something. Instead, she should ask.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I am fifteen years old. My father is not letting me out with my friends. There is nothing to do in this town. We all like to go to the big Mall with our friends and hang out. My father will not let me go with them. I am the only one stuck here in this town. How can I convince him that I have to go?

Your father doesnít want you to hang out with the mall kids. It sounds like a good idea. However, you both need to come up with something to replace the mall. 

You need something interesting to do. Do you like horses, animals, babies, science, geography, hospitals, crafts, or whatever? Öthe list is endless. Your family needs to find ways for you to enjoy the courses, volunteer work or job you choose. 

 

 

October 31, 2000

The Facelift, Acting Out Problems, and He Almost Snapped His Neck...

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

One of the women at our office just had her face lifted. She has been away on personal leave and just came back today. She looks like a boiled onion. What should we say about it?

Do not tell her she looks like a boiled onion. "You look great," and "Did you lose some weight?" are always welcome comments. And stop searching her hairline for the scars!


Dear Mrs. Web,

We have a neighbor's daughter who is a mother's helper here after school.  She is fourteen. She has changed in the past three months and has become...well...sexual.  Her clothing is now tight and revealing.  At supper last night she started to describe this off-color movie scene. We were shocked.  Fortunately both our children are under four and did not understand her.  What should we do?

A sexually acting-out fourteen year old can cause a lot of damage.  I would end your mother's helper relationship with her. 


Dear Mrs. Web

I have been seeing a man for almost a year. He is honest, caring, affectionate, communicative. The problem is that he looks at and comments about other women.

He makes comments about attractive women when we watch television or go to live performances. When we are out and an attractive woman walks by he almost snaps his neck looking.

He never says anything overtly crude but he will quietly whistle or say "Wow!" I hate it. He listens patiently when I tell him how much it hurts, but he still continues to do it. I don't want to be jealous, yet I can't help the way I feel. Should I change the way I feelÖwould you help me?

You are not doing anything wrong. His behavior is rude, crude, and inappropriate. Even the most committed of men are known to sneak a peek at an attractive woman. However, they do it surreptitiously, without insulting or hurting their beloved. Your friend's behavior although not verbally crude, implies that women are there to fulfill him. It is insulting and demeaning to all women and to you.

Perhaps he is unpolished and has not had the opportunity to learn how to behave like a gentleman. Perhaps he does not realize that men are to treat their beloved as if she were the only woman in the world, no matter what he is thinking.

This is behavior to nip in the bud. It is a bad habit, like spitting. It will not get better after the wedding. If it does not get better, you had better decide whether you are able to endure being insulted by your own spouse whenever an attractive woman walks by.

 

October 30, 2000

Disappearing Men, A Question for Him, and Deepening Faith

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

Why is it when a man is finished with a relationship, he just disappears instead of telling you it's over?

Because they donít have mouths?! No, thatís not it. Most likely because men do not process issues by talking. They "just do it." Moreover, breaking up is difficult and people tend to avoid the difficult: why put energy into something that is over? 

Men also tend to compartmentalize relationships. Things are put in a box and stored emotionally. None of these reasons dispel the hurt and infuriation that women feel when he has disappeared on her.  Go ahead, scream.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I have known a man for two years who is in the arts. I met him through my daughterís private school. Recently we have deepened our acquaintance. He has not asked me out but has been very supportive and has done several nice things for my daughter and me. Somehow, though I suspect he may be homosexual. He seems to have no personal life; he works all the time.

I know he is attracted to me, and I am becoming attracted to him. How do I ask him about his personal life?

There are wonderful, hardworking, creative men all over the world who are as straight as pins. However, if you have a question about his sexuality, because of your intuition or observations, you need an answer.

Getting to know someone is an information-gathering time. A time to ask questions about his family, his childhood, and his past relationships. One evaluates a friend or potential beloved based on this information.  Don't commit your emotions until you have a deep, working knowledge of the person at hand.

At this time, in the culture, homosexuality and bisexuality are not uncommon. You have an absolute right to ask, kindly, as a friend. He may be attracted to you and you may have some feelings for him, but you have a world of information yet to discover before turning those attraction vibrations into the actual caring for a beloved.


Dear Mrs Web,

I have been involved with a man for 2 years. Last spring I deepened my faith and have made my faith a central part of my life. My friend does not object to my beliefs but does not want to have anything to do with them. I am concerned about our future. I want someone who will share this new world with me.

If your faith is a central part of your life, you need to find someone who shares those same beliefs and values. Otherwise, you will feel lonely and empty in the middle of your relationship. Couples who share on a spiritual basis have a different, deeper level of intimacy. 

It is hard to let go of the familiar, but in the end; it will be better for you and your future children to have two parents on the same frequency regarding to beliefs and commitments.

 

 

 

 

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