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A Sleepy Boyfriend, and
He Doesn't Want to Be a Father
Dear Mrs. Web,
How do I know you will not know who I am?
I don't read minds. Donít send me your name. Use a blind mailbox if you need it.
I respond to letters to the mailbox that they come from unless the letter writer tells me otherwise.
Dear Mrs Web,
I hope that you can give me some advice because I really need it. I have a boyfriend (we have been together for 14 months and now live together). Recently our relationship has changed. We seem to be drifting apart. We hardly ever talk but just sit there in silence - I sometimes feel that if I did not make an extra effort to speak to him, we would never talk at all.
I am 23 and he is 8 years older. When I want to go out, he is "tired" and all he seems to want to do these days is to go to bed to sleep. He has even taken to going to bed to sleep for a few hours in the afternoons when we are at home at the weekends. He is also taking me for granted. I am expected to do all the washing, and cleaning. He wants me to get up early to do it, while he is, yes, you've guessed it, in bed asleep.
He continually tells me that he loves me, but I am not sure I believe him. When we do go out, he spends the entire evening staring at all the other pretty girls.
When we first started seeing each other, I felt that I really wanted to be with him. I fell in love with him and I felt happier when I was with him than when I was on my own, now I am not sure. What advice can you give me?
Thirty-one year old men do not need to spend that much time sleeping. He is either lazy, sick or depressed. My guess from your description is that he is lazy, as well as rude, selfish and self-centered. So, what are you doing giving your physical and emotional self to someone with such glaring shortcomings.
I think you should cut your losses while you can. In the future, stop relying on your feelings to determine a loving life partner. Go slow, take your time, and read all of Dear Mrs Webís Dating Archives. Read the courtship books on Dear Mrs Webís bookshelf.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I am pregnant with my ex-boyfriendís baby. I really love my ex and would like to restart our relationship. He wants nothing to do with the baby, his parents are divorced, and his father was never there for him. I would really like him to be there for our baby and me. We are friends, but it hurts me to see him with other women. I need advice.
It is time for you to make a plan for this baby. You have made a baby with a man who doesnít want to be a father. It does not matter how much you love him, he will never be there for you or the baby in the way a mother, and child need and deserve to be loved and cherished.
Do the right thing and give the baby two loving parents and a chance for a good future. Place it for adoption. Many agencies will care for you and the baby and make sure it has a good home. The agencies will house you during your pregnancy, find your baby a good home, and give you counseling. Keep in touch. You are facing these important issues.
Felony Opportunities, and
Dear Mrs. Web,
I am twenty years old. I have the opportunity to work as a silent partner in fake ID production shop for the local college students. In exchange for a small capital investment and access to some of my contacts, I can own 40% of what could be a very lucrative business. I would want to be to be a silent partner with absolutely no paper trail linking me to the business. I think this fake ID business could be a gold mine. What do you think of the problems it could present?
When I was young, fake ids were the purview of the local mobsters. To me the definition of a mobster is a dumb lunk who shakes down people, moves drugs, runs prostitutes, and is involved in counterfeiting. This is counterfeiting. It is illegal and a felony.
Frankly, if I were a young man, I wouldnít want to spend five minutes in jail. The last person I knew who was booked on misdemeanor possession and felony drug sales had a very rough time of it from the other inmates while being held for bail.
This little fiasco could take your whole life off track. Exactly what kind of woman would marry a man with a record? Moreover, what would you say to your family? Your future children?
Choosing to do something like this stains you. Even if you get away with it, you are stained. You are operating at a lower level.
You probably can tell Dear Mrs. Web does not think this is a particularly good idea.
Invest instead. I recommend you read Rich Dad Poor Dad, for ideas about legal ways to invest and become financially comfortable.
Dear Mrs. Web,
My boyfriend has historically dated tall women. He used to make positive comments about tall women in front of me- to the effect that "tall women are best." We had a discussion and he stopped talking about them
Recently we were watching a movie "Dirty Dancing." We both enjoyed the movie, but then he made a comment, "that it would be better, if they had a taller woman play opposite the leading man. I sarcastically said, "Yeah, tall women are best." Our own personal World War III broke out. I am short and feel so insecure whenever he talks about this. What should have I done?
He stopped saying, "tall women are best" because he realize it offended you. He made an aesthetic comment about the couple in the movie and you parroted his old remark back as a zinger.
Moreover, you got into an argument.
In your shoes, I probably would have asked him why he would have cast a taller woman Ė and listened with out attacking him. This was his opinion. We are all entitled to our opinions. You donít have to agree with it but you are expected to listen, politely.
Self worth is the internal ballast that grounds us when we are unsure of where we stand. Self worth tells us we are valuable, worthwhile, and lovable. Even when we feel threatened by someoneís words. Self worth helps us to stop measuring ourselves on other peopleís yardsticks and lets us stand firmly in our own skins. Self worth allows us to want to become better people because we wish to improve, not because we want to meet someone elseís expectations.
He may have dated tall women in the past, but youíre the one who has him. You must have a lot more going for you than being tall.
Broken Grandma, and
Mean, Interfering In-Laws
Dear Mrs. Web,
My grandfather died 6 years ago. When he was alive, he was the most cherished and valued member of our family. His daughters (my mom and 2 aunts) doted on him. He almost raised them single handedly, for grandma was somewhat of a neglectful and emotionally troubled parent.
While my grandpa was a delight, my grandmother has always been a "high maintenance" parent for her children. This has become worse for them since his death. She often calls crying to say she is all alone. Her house is quite a ways from the rest of us. Our families have suggested that she sell the house and move closer into town. She can easily afford this, but refuses to give up the house.
As the grandson, I pick her up for and deliver her back from family gatherings. She wonít stay with us and once she is home she calls, upset because the party continued without her. She seems to want us around until we are near her then she wants us to leave. My mother says she has always been two-minded like this. She seems so lonely. I can't understand this. What do you think?
She was always an emotionally troubled person and continues to be one. We tend sing the same notes through our entire life unless we have found a deep commitment and ability to change the song. There are troubled ones in the world who cannot figure out some of the most basic of ways to get their needs met. She is doing her best with what she has to work with. She is fortunate to have a family that accepts her limited abilities.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I have been married to a wonderful man for 5 years and we have three children. My in-laws does not approve of me and our relationship has always been somewhat strained. There seems to be a constant tug of war between us with my husband in the middle.
We have often had weekend plans and find out that our in-laws have already scheduled and included us in their own plans. My husband has struggled over the decision of whether to honor their plans or our own.
They have gotten right in the middle of our lives and have consistently asked my husband to put me second to their demands. They have even asked me to take a cab to the hospital for the birth of our second child so he could cover for them in their business. He did tell them to find someone else.
They have required my husband to jump through hoops. They have insulted my appearance, slighted the children in favor of other grandchildren, criticized my choices for my children as well as my care and feeding of them, and insulted my nationality.
When my in-laws insult me, my husband listens to my complaints and says nothing. He has never defended me with them. However, recently he stopped changing our plans to suit theirs and he did leave the second job he had with his father.
I am concerned that my marriage may soon be over. I have told him I'm tired of dealing with them and the tug of war. It makes me want to leave our marriage. He said he feels the same way. I love my husband and we are okay until the in-law factor comes into play. I don't want to come between him and his parents but I don't want them to come in between us either. Any suggestions?
This must be nasty in-law month! My mailbox is filled with emails from frustrated daughters and sons in laws.
Letís look at the facts:
Your in-laws donít give you what you want
Your husband is in the middle.
Your marriage is sliding to a divorce because of the above.
In-laws can bless or curse a marriage. First, you both need to re-commit to each other and the marriage. This is a top priority in any marriage. Then, (with the help if needed) put together a plan of how much and how often and to what degree you will both permit these in-laws into your marriage. Work on it together. Write it out. List the holidays you will spend with them. List out what kind of behavior your marriage will accept and what behavior your marriage will not tolerate from your in-laws.
I think your marriage needs boundaries. You both need to work together to find them. Your marriage comes first, always.
Next, it would be time for your husband to deal with his folks. They are his parents and his responsibility. Support him about his good choices and successes and accept his failures or difficulties. Rome wasnít built in a day! Finding a voice to cope with demanding and controlling parents takes time. I recommend the book How to Hug a Porcupine for families in your situation.
Your husband should be clear with his parents that he will not tolerate any insults or slurs about his wife. He must make them understand that if it is between wife and parents, he will always choose his wife. That is the first and best way a man polices his familyís borders.
It is time for you to detach and stop comparing the way they treat you or your family to others. Your arenít a favorite. You know that. Why continue to drive the nails into your head. You donít need to torture yourself by reacting and fussing about their poor treatment of you. It is a given. Let it go. Then any positive behavior from them with be an unexpected gift.
Instead, develop polite detachment. The kind of politeness that doesnít react to the slurs and jabs but points out its inappropriateness ("My, that was a painful and cruel thing to say!") and changes the subject.
The kind of politeness that leaves if people get difficult. The kind of politeness that uses strengths and planning to leave when situations are too uncomfortable and has several ready-made excuses. The detachment that always protects and defends the couple, and their children. A detachment that can be respectful, polite and kind, and when needed - distant. A detachment that will eventually help you laugh, however ruefully at their predictable, silly, controlling antics.
Wants to Move in With Mom, We're Too Close
Dear Mrs. Web,
I was wondering if you could help me. I am almost 17. I grew up with my Mom after my parentís divorce when I was 8. About a year and a half ago my mom started talking to some guy on the Internet. They had a good relationship on the Internet, so they decided to meet.
The second time the Internet guy came down, they went off and got married. When I got home from school my mom told me that they had gotten married and that I have to decide whether I wanted to stay with her, and move four states away (where the internet guy lived) or move in with my Dad.
I decided to move in with my Dad because it is closer to my friends and family, although it was still in a different city. Now I live with my Dad, but I donít like it very much. I'm not doing well in school, and I haven't made any friends. My mom moved back into the area about two months ago, and she said that she will let me move back in with her, but I will have to arrange and do it myself. She doesnít want to cross my Dad. One of the main reasons that I want to move back in with my mom is because I miss our closeness. I don't even feel that I can talk to my Dad about anything.
My Dad doesnít want me moving back with her. Am I old enough to pick where and whom I want to live with? How would I go about to get a legal action or something started? I really have no idea to start, but I am hoping to be with my mom by the next school year, which is my senior year.
Your mother seems to be a tad on the impulsive side.
I am under the impression that children older than age 14 or so are able to choose their custodial parent or at least have considerable input. Sometimes a parent isnít appropriate for a child, no matter what the child wants, but most often, the courts weigh the childís wishes in with the decision.
Now if your parents have joint custody, did your dad petition the courts for physical custody when you moved in? I would try to find out who has legal physical custody. You may want to talk to a legal aid office in your town or to one of the school guidance counselors. Perhaps they would be able to direct you to a resource in your community.
You sound like you are lonely and not doing well. Now you are looking at three schools in three years, that is a lot of change. Is there another way you can have your motherís attention and company without so much uprooting? Could you be with her most of the weekends and all vacations? Do you talk on the telephone a lot together? Would she move closer so you can still stay in the same school? It sounds like you actually need both your parents. Is there a way you can get them together for a breakfast and talk to them about creative ways you could all come up with so you can have your motherís comfort and your fatherís grounded security?
Dear Mrs. Web,
I need a womenís perspective. My girlfriend and I are 17. We have been dating for 11 months and we have grown close. Sometimes I worry if it is too close. What I mean is that sometimes if I don't call her when I wake up in the morning she gets mad at me. Then I get upset
I really love her, I know that she loves me and I still want to date her but I want to tell her that if we don't cool off our relationship a bit we will make some stupid mistakes. We need to give each other some breathing room. I'm not sure if she will understand what I'm trying to say.
How can I possibly say this to her? Do you think I am too young to be in a relationship like this?
Yes, I do understand what you mean by too close. When I think of people who are too close, it is like they are joined at the hip. They are so enmeshed emotionally that they need to be in each otherís lives all the time and to connect constantly.
Part of growing well in a relationship is the ability to develop all parts of you with the relationship. When you are secure in love you can move away from each other and develop interests, goals, talents, and skills. You help each other reach goals. You plan for the "us."
You might be able to move into a courtship model of being together. I have books about courtship at my website. This would ask you to be together more in a group and with family. It takes the relationship out of "away from everybody and just us" and puts it in the everydayness of life. Perhaps you should look into it a bit further. It also might be a good way to open the topic with your girlfriend. Give her a copy to read and talk about it together. You will find them on my bookshelf under the Dating and Courtship section.
Dear Mrs. Web,
My husband and I have been married for 20 years. It has been a very rocky marriage much arguing. We do manage to make up but always end up in another fight.
Every time we make up, I discuss the problem with him and explain how his behavior makes things worse for me. He always agrees and says that he understands. Then he repeats the behavior that he knows will only make the situation worse. For example, when he sees I am mad, he ignores me. It's as if he becomes angry at me because I am mad with him. He hates talking the problem out and would rather ignore it. For 20 years, this has never been successful for him. For 20 years, this has always made things much worse. Yet, he continues to do it!
Our fights generally last over 2 weeks, and usually end with him finally apologizing when he thinks enough time has gone by or when he is fed up with sleeping on the couch. I really love my husband, he is a great guy, but I am tired of this. I have explained how his behavior makes me feel and that I can not take it anymore. I am sure that I sound like a broken record.
We have tried counseling before with no luck. Should I leave him and move on while I am still young enough? How can I tell if our marriage is really over?
I cannot tell you when your marriage is over. I have some interesting letters in my Marriage Archives and in my Daily Archives (begin at December 1 and work backwards, many of these letters have not been archived by subject yet) that you might find helpful.
One thought that occurred to me when I read your letter is that for 20 years you have made certain demands on this guy and for 20 years you havenít gotten anywhere.
Hysterical or cold- shoulder two-week fights are no way to have a marriage. You are emotionally and physically holding out until he apologizes. Yuck! Is this any way to treat each other? You both sound too stiff-necked and proud to beg each otherís forgiveness. You need to realize that in most marital arguments your spouseís well being and needs come before your wants. Moreover, that most marriage arguments are about power and control.
Mrs Web wonders why you donít do it differently? For example when you are disturbed about something instead of confronting him with your anger and demanding a response, why donít you do something else that he can do?? Instead of being "mad" why donít you look at other more pro-active ways to change things in your home besides anger? He is refusing to be controlled by your anger. I donít blame him. I would too. In your shoes, I would go into counseling to discover a different way to be within the marriage. Good marriage counseling is not a matter of luck, but hard work. It requires a commitment to change.
It is not a wrestling match when you stop wrestling. I think before you ditch this great guy, that you owe up to your responsibility for the problems in your marriage (I would say the same thing to him if he were writing me.), and work on changing yourself. It sounds like you both are 100% responsible for the marital disharmony.
Marriage counseling only works when at least one member of the couple takes responsibility for his or her behavior. If you donít change your reactions and behaviors, it would be just as futile to end your marriage and look for another relationship because you will just repeat these battles in a different way.
Check my bookshelf for very effective marriage and relationship books.
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