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Page 21 Prev-Next Page

 

 

April 3, 2001

 

Cats or Dogs, 

The Other Woman Speaks, and The Irritable Man

 

Dear Mrs Web,

Which are better, cats or dogs?

Dogs dig up yards. Cats leave hairballs. Both have fleas.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

Why doesnít any one ever have any sympathy for the mistress?  I never chased him; I never looked for a married man.  I did not want to take anyone's husband away.  He chased me. He told me that his wife didn't love him.  He told me that he loved me and only me.

Only now does he tell me - after two years - that his wife owns half his business, and he can't leave or he would have nothing left.  So what do I do?  I really love him.  I would do anything for him Ė I wait for his calls and wonder what he is doing every minute of the day.  I am so lonely.

Letís first take some responsibility here. He chased you. You, my dear, could have ended it before it started. Just because you are chased doesnít ever mean you have to give in. Being chased by a married man is a predictable occurrence in the lives of most single women.

Heís a bounder and a cad.  Men who step out on their wives are liars. Why would you ever think he would not lie to you?? One chooses oneís future forever love based on good character. He flunks.  

Discrimination is needed to discern a man who would be good for your life. Any woman who bases her life plans on a married man needs to have a strong dose of reality: He isnít going anywhere. Thatís why heís still married.  

Women who have affairs with married men seem to not understand that marriage is much more than a sexual relationship. People are not necessarily happy in their committed relationships. The connections of marriage run deeper then love, and for many people, are more important.

That all said, my heart goes out to you. You must be lonely and sad. I am sorry. It is time you to stop worshiping this man (Dear Mrs Web defines any inappropriate centering of oneís life around something or someone as worship.) and begin building yourself a new life, one with a future.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I live with my fiancť and his three young boys and my two young daughters. My house is rented out and we have all lived together since last summer. Our plan is to get married and buy a bigger house together. We have overcome our family problems and the families are blending nicely.

My fiancť is very irritable and when we argue which is whenever we are together and away from the children. He becomes angry and says hurtful things. Later he asks me to forget it. He claims he was just mad, and didn't mean anything. I have a hard time forgiving him and getting over our battles. I think he has many of the symptoms of depression. He has finally gone to our doctor for some anti-depressants. I am hoping this stops his anger. Do you think I am wishing on a star or could the medication help his anger?

Well, if his irritability is caused by depression, it may help him. If his irritability and lashing out is caused by lack of character and an unwillingness to learn how to change, you have a long, miserable life ahead. Anger management, and communications skills education as a centerpiece of coupleís counseling may be a good first step to address this issue.

 

April 2 2001

 

The Good-bye Letter, and

Family Acceptance

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I wrote a letter to my boyfriend, which was essentially a long good bye. I understand he has talked to a friend about the letter. He brought it up by saying "Say hi to her for me." and said we were through. However, my friend said he did keep talking about it. He also asked that my friend not mention the conversation to me. What does he want from me? Why does he keep holding on? Should I call him?

You wrote a goodbye letter to your boyfriend. He mentions it to a mutual friend by starting the subject by saying "Say hi to her." This is an opening to the subject that you are no longer together. Sounds like he is letting people know you both have ended. I donít see it as "holding on."

What is more disturbing is that your friend would forward the conversation to you, especially after you ex asked that it not be mentioned.

 




Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been married 9 years. My husband and I are educated and successful in our careers. We have a daughter, now 15, from my previous marriage as well as two children of our own. My husband loves my daughter and treats her like his own child. My in-laws, however, have never accepted my daughter as a grandchild.

They enjoy our two younger children and play grandparents to them every chance they can. They want to have the little ones sleep-over soon and they always call to ask about them. They never mention my daughter. They never send my daughter cards or gifts but do send them to the two little ones.

On occasion, my mother-in-law  has rudely corrected my daughter for poor table manners. Once she became upset that my daughter had mentioned her biological father during a bridge group. My husband has told them how their rejection of her hurts me. The have been defensive about it, and have not changed.

I've had to bite my tongue for years.  We are moving closer to them this summer.  I want this cleared up before we move back. When we called to discuss this with them, my mother in law started crying on the phone saying that she hasn't done anything wrong. I donít want them in our lives if they canít treat all the children the same.  Help!

As a mother, I can understand your pain at your in-lawís indifference to your oldest child.

Some people can open their hearts to anyone, and some cannot. Your in-laws are people who cannot give you what you want for your daughter. They have made it abundantly clear that they do not consider your daughter their grandchild. Moreover, she isnít. No amount of encouragement or threats is going to change this.

You cannot force your in-laws to love or treat equally someone they do not consider "their own." They are a dry well. To sit there and expect or insist that water flow from this well is futile. You are banging your head against a wall; it hurts you and disturbs everyone involved. You are not going to get your way. It is also unfair to your in-laws and your daughter.

It is time to let go of this issue. It is tearing you apart, causing a wedge in your marriage, and distancing you from your in-laws. Your daughter is not her granddaughter. This is one of the small tragedies of the blended families.  People who "look like family" are not family.  (On another note, I receive a number of letters from parents whose in-laws treat their biological grandchildren similarly.) Instead, you can foster different, positive relationships here. They may never function as grandparents, but they can become friends. 

In your shoes, I would pull back my ultimatums, and ask your husband to negotiate a position so his mother will not criticize your daughter.  That is a boundary-breaker. She is not the childís grandmother. Your daughter also should be able to discuss her birthfather. He is not dirty secret; he is a fact of life.

I would not tell your daughter about your mother in lawís inability. Your daughter will realize it on her own (if not already!). It is your job to make sure she understands that different people have different abilities to love and accept. They are to be appreciated and respected. 

We run into doors that wonít open throughout life, no matter how hard or nicely that we knock.  Acceptance is a hard but worthwhile character trait to cultivate for these times.

As an aside, sometimes, I have found in my life, that the door I am currently pounding is a lot like other doors I tried to open in my past.

 

March 30, 2001

 

Early Marriage and Responsibility, Supportive and Positive, and Yelling Baby

 

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

You once said you believed that some people should marry early. I am an 18 year old male. I have been involved in an intimate relationship, which broke up a while back. We even had a pregnancy false-alarm. Do you mean that I should think in terms of a bride now? Before I even start college? Even if I had someone right now, how could it work out? 

I am saying that if you are old enough to have pregnancy scares, you are old enough to shoulder the responsibilities of your behavior. Each time you have sex you have a certain probability of fathering a child, even with all the protection money and technology can buy. 

You need to realize the profound responsibility of that act. Dear Mrs Web believes that every child born needs to have a father who deeply loves and commits to its mother - and marriage is the only place in this world that kind of commitment happens. Therefore, I would recommend you look at your behavior and realize that you may need to be married to live your life with integrity. 

How does a young marriage work out? Well, it is hard. It requires discipline, and giving up a lot of hopes and plans and education, or fulfilling them piecemeal. 

Married housing, in my opinion, should be brought back to campuses. One must realize though, that early marriage often closes off many career options.  Further education can be back-burnered, indefinitely. Life is a series of tradeoffs. Men and women do this all the time, to fulfill their desires, obligations, and commitments.  This is why people who postpone emotional and sexual entanglements are usually have a better footing in their professions.

I recommend the courtship books on my website, especially Josh Harris's book: I Kissed Dating Goodbye. He was nineteen or twenty when he wrote it. He writes about marriage, commitment, and the future as a man today. One does not have to agree with every thing that he says to get something out of the book.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web: 

I know that women are supposed to be supportive and positive always around their men. However, I would like sometimes to express how am I am feeling. There are days when I have to put on a happy face even when I am feeling sad. 

How appropriate is it for me to say how I am feeling to my boyfriend? Today I found myself wondering what on earth I am doing with my life?

I think being open, vulnerable, and transparent are all-necessary for deep intimacy. Admitting honestly oneís fears and concerns as well as asking your beloved about his feelings in these areas move relationships to deeper levels. We are not all surface, but have many levels of self. There are times to set aside the pretty masks we have constructed for public view and show our hearts and tender places to each other.

There is a profound difference between whining and being open. Whining is complaining, being open is putting your issues on the table and admitting they scare or frustrate or whatever they do to you. In these cases, you would be looking for empathy and understanding, not sympathy or pity.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My 10-month-old son has recently discovered that he has a voice. He sometimes screams when he wants attention or for other reasons. What can I do to stop him from screaming?

It depends on the reason. It is interesting you use the word scream. Is he bellowing to be picked up or played with? Is he becoming worked up before you respond to him?

If he is crying because he is teething, you will want to give him some infant pain reliever and rock him. Make sure he has the prescribed dose of pain reliever at bedtime when he is actively teething, if you want to sleep through the night. If he is yelling because he is lonely during the day, move him near you while you do your chores.

I always kept my babies within sight all day except while they were napping. Talk to him.  Take him out for airings in the stroller.  Make sure he has plenty of attention, lots of toys, and soothing music. All my babies enjoyed classical music. This is a demanding time on a mother. It will eventually get a bit easier.

 

 

March 29, 2001

 

Pheromone Cologne, 

An Ugly Situation, and 

He Hurts Her

 

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My common-law husband of 12 years wants to buy cologne with pheromones in it. He said itís more of an experiment to see if it really works. He also said it would be nice to have women look twice at him. It would make him feel attractive. I am not sure this is a good thing to do. Should I be concerned about this?

Any man who is interested in seeing if he can attract outside female attention is a concern in a marriage. He is not getting something he wants, to feel attractive, within your marriage. Perhaps it is time to chase him a bit?

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

Many people tell me I am ugly. I feel like I will never have anyone love me because I am so ugly. There is guy I talk to often. We have never met in person and I afraid when I meet him he is going hate my looks. I am afraid I am going lose him as a friend and that he will never talk to me again. What can I do to be prettier?

When I hear someone tell me that the people in her life call her "ugly," I cringe. Because instead of looking at the reality, which is that these name-callers are cruel, mean people, the hurt person actually believes the cruel remarks. Moreover, they are lies.

Go to any church, play, or concert that has a mix of ages and look at the married couples, old and young. Are they all raving beauties? No, of course not, they are mostly, plain looking, every day people, just like Dear Mrs Web.  

Having a loving, lifelong relationship has little to do with the symmetry of your face, but has instead is about the warmth and energy you project in your life. Being truly beautiful is about health, radiance, and the spark of life you show to the world. When you are interested in others and have hobbies and passions that you bring to relationships you show the true inner grace and beauty that actually changes the muscles beneath the skin of the face and beautifies all.

Begin by smiling. Be well groomed. Pick your best feature, eyes, lips, shiny hair, attractive ears, and highlight it. By finding grace and joy in your life, and an interest in others, you will find love. I donít know how old you are, but many women blossom after high school.

Donít ever let anybody determine how you feel about yourself. No one should have that kind of power over you. Stay away from people who tear you down.  You are a unique gift to this world. Never forget that.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I have a friend who is being abused by her ex-boyfriend. She told me she is scared and doesn't know what to do. I have told her to go to the police and report him but she refuses. I have run out of advice to give her and I need your help!

If you are young and live at home, tell your parents. Otherwise, I would contact her parents or other close family members immediately and tell them what you know. Voice your concern for her. If you are at college, go to the counseling department, guidance office, or student health center immediately and tell them what is going on with her.

You are right; she is in harmís way and she wonít move on her own. Donít worry about losing her friendship. Getting her outside help is the best thing any friend could ever do.

 

 

March 28, 2001

 

Fishing in the Office Pool, and You're in the Army Now!

 

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I am a 27-year-old man interested in a woman at work. We are almost the same age and have an excellent work relationship. Due to sexual harassment laws and other workplace laws, it is difficult to ask someone out at work. How can I do this without risking my job?

In the old days, it was considered bad form to fish in the office pool. Attitudes changed during the 80ís and 90ís and work was filled with "pillow talk." Things seem to be coming full circle again with the assistance of the faceless government bureaucracy. The office pool is again off-limits.

If you work at a company with a personnel office, I would ask them for relationship guidelines. A number of businesses protect themselves from harassment lawsuits by not allowing employees to fraternize, especially employees in dominant and subordinate jobs. 

There are both federal and state laws to consider here, so I would not begin to guess what applies. I think you would be wise to clarify your position and responsibilities. Remember, girlfriends either become former girlfriends or wives. An angry former girlfriend could be a walking lawsuit.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I am serving compulsory military duty for my country. I have a superior who has told several different people he dislikes me. This superior thinks I am lazy and perform sub-standard work. He says I am nowhere to be found when there is a job to do.

I once fainted during a routine morning run. This superior blamed me for fainting and said I have "weak will-power." I have tried to talk with him, help him, and build a better relationship, but it has not worked. I am wondering whether I should confront him or whether that would antagonize him. I still have 11 months to serve. I am concerned about my reputation. Why can't he be more sympathetic towards me?

The United States military, and I assume, other militaries overseas, are structured rigidly with a clear hierarchy. Relationships are elaborately defined and there are specific ways to cope with people above and below you on the ladder.

Confronting this man is probably not a good idea. However, you have 11 months left to serve and you are going to have to learn how to get along with him. There are few things more uncomfortable than being in the military with a superior who doesnít like your performance.

If you really think you need to discuss the problem with the superior in question, I would say something to the effect: "My work has not been up to standards. Would you please point out the areas you see that need improvement." Say "yes sir" and "thank you" when he is done. Donít argue.

You know what the problems are, and you need to take a good hard look at your performance. Your best bet is to perform your tasks so willingly and well, before you are asked, that you become invisible. In the military, the under-performer or over-performer (a person who would want to make the military a career) both stand out.

Watch the people around you who have been successful at discharging their duties and mimic them. You need to keep your record clean for the next 11 months and not rebel. Your superior has a real ability to make your future miserable. There are things in life we just have to get through, and this, sir, is one of them.

 

 

March 27, 2001

 

Personal Problems and Work, and When Can We Marry?

 

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I started a new job about four months ago. About three weeks ago I was attacked and sexually assaulted. No one at work knows what happened. I am in counseling and trying to work my life out. My boss and a few co-workers have asked me what is wrong.

I am terrified about telling anyone about the problem. I have thought of telling my boss but he is male and I don't know him very well. My performance is really deteriorating at work partly because I am always pretending to be okay, when really I am not "okay". There is another woman in the office that has worked there for a very long time, seems trustworthy, and knows my boss very well. I have considered talking to her, asking her advice on how to approach my boss. Would it be correct to approach her for advice on how to explain things to my boss???

I think it would be a good idea to talk to her. You donít have to go into details, but you can have lunch together and ask her advice. I would be frank, along the lines of: "Marlene, right after I started working here I was seriously assaulted and hurt. I have been trying to pull my life together and I know it has affected my work. I really like this company and want a future here. Do you think I should tell Mr. Smith? You seem to know him well, how would you approach him, if you were in my shoes?"

If she thinks it is a good idea, you can then sit down and talk to him. You donít have to spill everything to Mr. Smith either, but you can be straightforward and tell him that you were assaulted and seriously hurt and you know it has affected your performance at work.   Tell him what you said to me, that you like the company, want a future here, and that your are doing your best to pull it together. People are usually understanding when they can make sense of the changes they see.

I am sorry you were hurt. You are in a sad spot now. You will eventually emerge a stronger more compassionate woman. You are in my thoughts.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

How long should a couple date before marriage?

I think it depends upon several factors including your ages, the length and depth of your acquaintance;  what your parents and siblings say about an impending marriage;  and how well both your families are incorporating both of you into their family structures.

You need to know each other as a friend, as well as a beloved. I do not believe in long engagements, but I do believe it is important for both members of the couple to take responsibility and do their homework about each other. Marriage is a life-long commitment so it is important to have agreement about the major issues in life. Use Dear Mrs. Webís Questions to Explore with Your Beloved to help you learn more about each other.

I believe couple should talk at length with all the people who know them well and listen to the information that they receive. The love-struck are often blind.

 

 

March 26, 2001

 

Business Lunch, and

Sleepwalking

 

 

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My boyfriend is a professional who is working with a group of men on a lucrative, long-term project. The men held their first meeting at a local, well-known chain which features waitresses not burdened with an excess of clothes. I donít like the idea of him working in such surroundings and have asked him whether he could change the location of subsequent meetings. It seems disrespectful to our relationship for him to be in those surroundings. We had an argument about it. What more should I say about this issue?  Am I insecure?

I donít think you are insecure. There arenít too many women who would be eager to have their beloved snacking in the shadows of nearly naked women.  I think you are having a normal reaction.

I would say kindly: " I love you. When you go to restaurants featuring undressed women, it feels disrespectful to our relationship. Our sex life, in all its aspects, is sacred to me. This creates a wedge in our lives."

You cannot forbid him, you can only tell him what is on your heart. Your boyfriend will make his own choices. If he makes a choice you do not like, you will need to take a hard look at the differences you both have in the values you hold. The you will need to decide whether you can live with them.

 


 

Dear Mrs Web,

My daughter just turned 6. She is not a bedwetter. The other night she got up and urinated in her closet. She then stripped and went back to bed. Her little sister has had two episodes of talking/screaming in her sleep (her eyes were wide open but she was still asleep!). Her dad and uncle both sleepwalked when they were small. Is this something I should be concerned about?

In my opinion, I donít think this is something to be unduly concerned about. It is a one-time event, so far. My focus would be on making sure she is safe. I have always mentioned things like this to my doctor when I see him.

The one question that I would have about this episode, since this is new behavior, is whether she under any new stress in her family or at school? Has anything appreciably changed for her? Sleep changes can be a response to stress.

When a child talks or screams with eyes open but is still not awake it is called "night terrors." My son had them occasionally. Not fun.

 

 

 

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