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November 15, 2000

 

Home and Children, Honest Relationships, Bi-Coastal

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I left my career three months ago to stay home with my five-year-old, two-year-old and 11 month old sons. My husband has thoroughly supported me in this decision. I am finding it really hard going at home. There is so much to do between housework and childrenís projects, classes and needs. Meal preparation is a joke. My husband canít understand how busy my days are with the children and their commitments.

In my opinion, all committed fathers need to spend one four-day weekend alone with all their offspring. No meals prepared in advance by Mom, no extra plans made. Just basic directions. It wonít really hurt them to eat fast food for four straight days, and the children will love it. As with childbirth, he will once more gain a tremendous amount of respect for your endurance.

Life with a young family is about just managing. Basic meals, clean clothes (mostly), and lots of neat things to do. One caveat: Dear Mrs Webís rule 27: Two children or less over seven, no more than two activities per week; More than two children, one activity per week. Leave room for family life.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I once dated a girl and later found out she really didnít want to go out with me. She was just bored. Now that I am seeing someone new how can I prevent this from happening again.

Nothing is totally preventable. However, I do think that it is important that you discuss honesty with your new friend. Tell her you plan to be honest in your relationship with her and you expect honesty from her.


Dear Mrs. Web,

This is my question: I know a wonderful and kind man. I think I could spend the rest of my life with him. The problem is this: He lives on the East Coast and I am on the West Coast.

I have no idea what the guidelines are for long distance relationship. If we decide to marry, who should move to whom's state? I know I am very willing to move East, though I have all my immediate family and friends where I am. But I need advice to make sure I am making the right moves and choices.

Your are at the beginning of discovering the heart of this man. You are both going to have to communicate, communicate, and communicate! Have you looked at and printed out my Questions for the Beloved? This list will help you know and understand each other.

If your relationship progresses, you will both need to make the decision of where to live. This decision should be made for the benefit of both of you and your future children. You will both weigh career plans, family hopes, family support systems, etc. and try to project and imagine the kind of lives you want to live. 

If you have high-powered career plans and he would like to stay home, paint pictures, and raise the children, it will be one choice. If you want to be the baby-tender and he wants to hunt down the paycheck, of course, you will make different plans. If you find it imperative to live and raise your children near your extended family, other issues arise.

Developing a relationship is designing a future, together. Successful marriage is negotiation, communication, and passion.

 

 

November 14, 2000

 

Addressing Adults,  

Mother's Plans, and 

Internet Romance

 

 

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Dear Mrs. Web,

How should a child address an adult? What does one do with all those adults who tell children to address them by their first name?

Children are to address adults older than 18 by their title and their last name: Miss Smith, Mr. Jones, and Mrs Web. In some parts of the country a title and first name is acceptable: Miss Mary or Dr. Steve, but only when invited. In other areas, close family friends are addressed with the honorary title "Aunt" or "Uncle".

Nothing is more pathetic than the simpering adult who says to a child, "Oh, donít call me Mr. Jones, thatís my fatherís name. Iím Albert!" Makes me just want to slap him hard. But that is very poor role modeling for the little ones. So, with your coolest, most directive, Mother-voice (or Father-voice) you say, "I am afraid I only permit the children to address adults by their last names, Mr. Jones."


Dear Mrs Web,

My twelve-year-old daughter has just begun her menstrual cycle. My women friends and I want to take her out to a celebration dinner and give her gifts and stories about the power of womanhood. I thought she would be really excited. Instead, she was upset I told my friends without her permission. She wonít go out with us. We were all looking forward to it.

It sounds like you are meeting your needs about the rituals and celebrations you want to perform without thinking about the needs of the guest of honor. Your daughterís personal and private information has been shared without her permission. You owe her a big, fat apology. Find out how she would like to honor this life change.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been corresponding with a man via the Internet for the last 2 months. Daily exchanges, slowly getting to know each other. We are both in the process of being divorced. After 6 months alone, I find myself wondering if this could develop into something real and lasting. I am not able to judge. What is your advice?

There is not enough information here for any sort of judgment. It sounds like two lonely souls exchanging electrons in the night, not a real, grown up relationship.

What concerns me most regarding your letter is that I am not reading about any sort of responsibility or insight into your previous marriage. Instead, I read that you were separated four months and then found someone else to wrap up in. Someone who isnít even real flesh and blood. It seems surreal to me.

A real and lasting relationship has everything to do with the commitments and decisions of the participantsÖand the choices they make in partners. Choices like learning what they can and cannot live with as far as personal habits philosophies, values, and beliefs. These insights are hard work and take time and commitment to really know yourself first as well as the potential beloved.

My site has a section called To: Questions and Issues to Explore with Your Beloved located at the end of my Dating Column. It is for people to use individually to get to know the self better, and with a potential love interest, to help decide whether there are enough similarities to move a relationship to serious ground.  

 

November 13, 2000

 

Broken Friendship, 

Women Don't Like Me, and 

Selfish Daughter

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I have a neighbor, a divorced, professional woman, who has been a good friend for over ten years, the sister I never had. She broke off our relationship a little while ago because, in concern, I spoke about her teen-aged daughterís behaviors to a mutual friend and it got back to her. I then tried to confront her with her daughterís behaviors. She denied it and is now cool and distant.

According to my daughter and her friends, my neighborís daughter is acting inappropriately. She is sexually adventuring with multiple partners as well as using abusing alcohol and drugs. I am concerned about this girl and am not sure whether I should again confront my neighbor. What should I do?

If this were my story, I would try to heal the rift and influence and help the mom. I would also be very wary of third-hand gossip from high school girls.

If you cannot heal the rift, and influence Mom, you have some choices. If you truly believe this gossip is true, you can decide to give it another shot, sit down over a cup of coffee, and tell her your concerns again. You could, if appropriate, also contact the Dad. Alternatively, you can just watch from the sidelines and let the child know you are concerned about her and want to help her.


Dear Mrs Web,

Why is it whenever I hang out with the women from work, they act as if I don't exist? I try to flirt effectively, compliment them, and look them in their eyes. They treat me poorly or ignore me.

People say I'm good-looking but I seem to strike out with women. Why donít they like me? Am I doing something wrong? Do I have a bad attitude? How can I flirt more effectively?

The statement "I try to flirt effectively, and compliment them and look  them in their eyes Öbut they treat me poorly" tells me that you are not aware of what messages you are sending out. My guess is that you want to send out verbal and nonverbal messages saying: I like you, I am interested in you, and, do you like me?

I suspect your messages are saying something else, altogether. You may need help deciphering what you really are saying. Do you have a sister or cousin who can help you with this? If not, singles group therapy can work well on our messages to the opposite sex.


Dear Mrs. Web,

My wife and I are at wits end with our daughter, 25, who still lives at home. She was asked to contribute a small amount to the household recently. When asked she went into a rage! This girl pays for cruises and weekends with her boyfriend, has an extensive wardrobe and a good life.

She always has been reserved towards us. Money is not really the issue here; it is instead, responsibility and respect, which we feel she lacks. What do we do with this stubborn individual?

A twenty-five year old woman, who is employed, sleeping around and affording cruises, should be, in my opinion, in her own place. I donít know whether you can gain the respect and teach responsibility to a twenty-five year old. I do know you can refuse to be verbally abused by setting limits and not permitting this type of behavior in you presence.

You can also refuse to continue to support her by giving her a notice to move out. If her lack of respect and irresponsibility are large,, you might, to spare everyoneís nerves, consider have her move temporally into an inexpensive motel for a couple of weeks until she can find a place of her own. This girl sounds like she has an overblown sense of entitlement.

Years of habit will be hard for you and your wife to break. You want to move your relationship with her to a new, adult level. You may need help from a family therapist in defining your new relationship and to have outside support in setting and keeping limits.

 

November 10, 2000

 

Important Qualities, 

A Very Broken Marriage, and 

A Lonely Widower

 

Dear Mrs. Web:

What are the most important qualities that a man and a woman find important when choosing a soul mate?


The list of qualities any one man or woman finds important is endlessly different and depends on each individual making the list. The lists reflect their values, philosophy, and experience. 

 

You want someone whose values and philosophies mesh with yours. That is why people who are dating should be spending the time getting to know each other with ongoing conversations about their beliefs, views and opinions about everything. My web page about couples, "Questions to Explore with Your Beloved" helps you discover this information. It is essential to understand your belovedís personal list so you can make good decisions about the relationship.


 

Dear Mrs. Web

My wife and I have been married for 9 years. We have been "living apart" for the past three months. We still share the same house but she doesn't want anything to do with me anymore.

 

I was verbally abusive for a long time. I am seeing a therapist and I am in a self-help group. I want to make things work. My wife wants a legal separation and has asked me to move out of our house.

 

We have three daughters. I want to save this family. Your advice would be appreciated.


You need to get your family into intensive marriage and family therapy. Have your therapist recommend two or three therapists who are good "marriage savers". Negotiate with your wife to get into therapy together. Cut a deal. If your wife wonít attend, go with just the children. I would not move out of the house or obtain a legal separation until you have all gone through a year of intensive marital therapy.

Realize though, she is incredibly angry with you and you are going to have to clearly show you have changed.  You will need to show her  true and deep remorse. This needs to be a life-changing time for you. Your wife is watching you very closely now, through the walls of pain she has rightfully built to protect herself.

 

The two books I recommend to men in this circumstance (my husband used them within our own marriage) are by Gary Smalley; one is called If He Only Knew and the other is Love is a Decision. They are both on my web site Bookshelf . Read my mini reviews and then click through to Amazon and read theirs. Order them both but start with If He Only Knew. Read it right NOW! 

 

You are going to have to work very hard to save your marriage. Most women do not want their marriage to end. They want safe, secure, loving places to live and raise their children. They want a husband to care for them and treasure their feelings and emotions.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

 

I live in a small town and just recently lost my wife of 30 years. I hate bars and nightlife trying to talk on-line is a joke. All I have found are "unusual people". I am way out of touch. Where can I meet members of the opposite sex from 45 to 55 years old?

 

Meeting eligible decent women and not barflies and good-time gals requires a different bit of thinking. You need to look at places where nice, single women go. Churches and volunteer organizations are gold mines for single women. So are adult education classes, senior centers, folk dancing classes, and dog training classes to name just a few things. No delightful woman is just going to land on your doorstep; you are going to have to do a bit of footwork.

 

My father tells me his dog is a woman magnet. It is cute and gives him a good conversation starter. In addition, dog training classes introduced him to many women. Family friends often have single women friends available. Let them know you are looking. 

 

November 9, 2000

 

Inappropriate Clothes, Recreational Dating. and 

Given Too Much

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My husbandís family is casual in dress. No, thatís too kind. They are slobs. My in-laws recently showed up at a family memberís funeral service in jeans, sweatpants, and Friday casual. These are educated people, Mrs Web. My son has yet to forgive me for making him wear a tie and blazer.

Some of the smartest people in the world have lousy manners. Most have not been taught. Some donít care. Your relatives can do what they wish with their children. You are to teach your son how to dress appropriately and respectfully for the more important and formal events that grace our lives.


Dear Mrs Web,

I have been dating two different women here on campus. Both nice but I am not particularly taken with either one of them. I have little family and have been asked home for the holidays by both of them. I canít choose which one. How do I make this choice?

I have never been a fan of "recreational dating". It causes couples who do not have commitments with each other to get into situations best left to couples who are emotionally intimateÖlike going home and meeting her parents. That said, this is a choice I canít make for you. Choose the better time. Thatís all you have in it.


Dear Mrs Web,

My husband and I have three children. My husbandís sister and his mother are marvelous with our family. They love the children dearly and indulge them greatly.

These children each have their own television, VCR, stereo, new furniture and anything else they request. Cars have been promised at 16 to all three of them. A request to Grandma or Auntie delivers, usually within a week. They are good kids but they are not learning about the cost of things and the difference between wants and needs.


My husband says that if his relatives want to give them things, I should let them. I donít agree. Am I wrong to think you can give your kids too much?

Yes, absolutely! Children can be given too much. There is a difference between living life with abundance and living life expecting every itch will be scratched. Abundant living is living in appreciation and gratefulness for whatever comes our way, materially and spiritually.

Learning to earn and save is important for children. You will be doing them a disservice if they do not learn money-managing skills. The only way you are going to make this work is to team up with your in-laws.

First, you will have to get your husband in your corner. Bring your concern about this issue to him, not complaining, but constructively. You both should sit down over a period of days and make a list of your hopes for what kind of people you want your children to be Ė and the kinds of guidance they will need from you to achieve them. You also might find Larry Burkettís books on money and children good guidelines for your family.

Your in-laws love and want the best for your children. They are showing their love by showering them with material possessions. The second step is for both you and your husband to sit down together, talk to them, lovingly, and seriously about your goals for the children and how everyone needs to support doing the best for them.

You need to suggest other ways to permit these people to show their showering love. Bankbooks for college funds, buying silver cutlery for their weddings, developing stock portfolios to give each child after graduation. Help them find different material outlets for their love.

Of course, you will need to work with the children. Explain how things will change and give them opportunities to earn. You may want to shut down the "want machine" the television, and teach them to be more self-reliant.

 

November 8, 2000

 

Daughter's Lies, Different Faiths, and 

Boundary-breaking Neighbor

 

 

Dear Mrs Web,

My 14-year-old daughter seems to have a crush on a twenty five-year-old man. It came to his attention that she had been lying and telling others she was dating him. I confirmed this with others. What should I do?

Confront her with this information. She has to understand lies about others harms their reputations.   Statutory rape is a criminal offense.  

Moreover, being known as a liar will hurt hers. She should apologize to everyone involved.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been married for several years to a man whose heritage includes a different faith than mine. I am a minister. I have held off having children because his family would be upset that our children would be raised in my faith. My husband agreed to this many years ago, doesnít practice his faith and doesnít care, but they do. What should I do?

You are either going to be childless because this is too large an obstacle to surmount, or you will have children. This is a sticky situation, for the children will experience the confusion of being raised in a family where their faith is not presented to them as the family glue, but rather as motherís enterprise.

Your in-laws will be unhappy but their son made a choice (and a statement by marrying a minister).


Dear Mrs. Web,

My husband and I just bought our first home. Our house was built and sold to us by our neighbors, an older couple. The wife is very intrusive and probably lonely. She walks our property every day and watches my progress as I clear brush for the fencing for horses.

She is critical of my work and is often on my nerves. Although my husband tells me to ignore her, she gets under my skin. I have talked to her about her criticism and she does try to watch what she says Ė for a while. Today again, she was mean-spirited, cruel, and disparaging.

What do I do? My husband would like to remain on neighborly terms. I don't want to hurt her or make an enemy, but I would like to be left in peace. I would love to quietly enjoy my home. Do you have any advice?

She is overstepping boundaries. You need to be neighborly and still draw personal your boundaries. It sounds like she is lonely and bored and you are the best entertainment available. The fact she can get a reaction from you is an added bonus. So your mission is remove the entertainment

Make a list of ten subjects you can safely chitchat about. Excuse yourself when the conversation strays either by going in the house or by putting on headphones. You can make lame excuses, as long as you remain kind. Make a habit of waving to her and walking off in a different direction. When she says something that overstepsÖsay, "Really, you think so?" Then excuse yourself.

You donít have to be her puppet. You can see her as the pitiful soul she is and keep your integrity intact.

 

 

 

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