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Week of May 13, 2001


Dear Mrs. Web,

What is your opinion on a married couple who have young children taking a shower alone together?

What is your opinion of a couple who is engaged and has young children from previous marriages taking a shower alone together? 

I think married couples who have young children should be able to enjoy a shower together if they are discreet.

If you have spent any time visiting Dear Mrs Web, you will realize that she does not approve of premarital co-ed showering. After the wedding howeverÖ 



Dear Mrs. Web, 

I am a 21-year-old college student who will be graduating in one year. I am white and I have a terrific boyfriend who would do anything for me. He is black.

The problem is that my parents would disown me if they found out about him. We will be graduating college together this month and plan on moving west together. My parents have no idea I even have a boyfriend and my friends think I should tell them. I know that telling them it will completely destroy my relationship with my father and that my mother will be forced to side with him.

Do you think I should continue living a lie and just move west supposedly by myself and keep my family relationship intact. My relationship to my family isnít the best anyway. However, I will be living with them this summer. Instead should I be truthful and face the consequences. Help.

The "Dear Webs" is a mixed-race family. For us, crossing color lines has not been a big step. However, one of the things we have learned about crossing lines is that not everyone can do it.

I donít think the main issue here is whether you should keep your relationship a secret from your parents. I do believe you should be honest about your relationships. 

Nevertheless, I also think that you need to evaluate how much you are willing to lose over this relationship. Is the alienation of your parents worth the relationship? Is it worth putting your family through this difficulty? For some people it is worth it, for others it is not. Your beloved will also need to evaluate and make these same choices. Many black families and communities are less than thrilled when their children marry outside their race

Family is important. You will want grandparents for your babies as well as the sense of place and belonging your own family provides. You are at an age where you are feeling distant from your family. This is normal for young adults, but over time, you will want to reconnect.

No parent is thrilled when he or she hears that a beloved child is planning to play house with a member of the opposite sex. Black, white, yellow or purple, no parent wants his or her child to be in an uncommitted relationship. I would never make this step in a family relationship without having a firm marriage commitment from your beloved. Ring and date kind of commitment. One does not blow up oneís family over "playing house."  I think you need to be honest with your family, but I think you also need to truthfully and honestly look at the world you are jumping into and the world you are leaving behind. 

Mixed race relationships require their own kind of work and have their own kind of baggage. Biracial children have a foot in both worlds and that can be both a positive and a negative. Those of us who live on the color line learn that life offers some additional options and closes other doors. There are places you will not be able to live; as well as people who won't associate with you. In some areas of the country mixed families are facts of life and in others they are a novelty, at best.

I am not trying to dissuade you from continuing your relationship with this young man. I am just trying to open this subject further. I am not a "love conquers all" kind of Dear Mrs. Web. Love is a good beginning, but commitment, values, family connections and friendships are what makes marriages work over the long haul.

All said, the world is changing very rapidly and interracial marriages are becoming much more common. As a culture we have come a long way in the past 30 years. On a more personal note, my family and marriage is the best and most precious thing that has ever happened to me Ė the whole mix of us Ė and I thank God every day for it.



Dear Mrs. Web, 

I am 14 years old, and I don't know if there is something wrong with my body. I have a lot of hair on my body. I mean, I have almost as much chest hair as my dad, and I noticed that I am even starting to get some hair on my back

I'm actually grateful that I broke my arm so I donít have to change in gym until it's healed. Kids have been making fun of me, so, do you think I should shave my chest and back?

I am going on a class trip to Washington D.C., and a girl that I like will be there too. There is a pool in the hotel, and I don't want her to see my hairy body. I am very embarrassed about this. Please write back quickly!!!

I know it is probably of little comfort to you but according to Dear Mr. Web, all the other less hairy guys are jealous of you. Donít shave, it will make matters much worse. If you are self-conscious, find a shirt you can wear around the pool and slip off quickly before going into the water. Donít wear a necklace that would call attention to your chest.

Moreover, realize that many, many women are very, very attracted to men with a lot of body hair. To some women it is a sign of virility.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I have found your site very interesting. I have a problem. I have been dating this wonderful guy for 2 years. It is an on and off relationship, we have broken up four times so far.

Although he is a great guy, he has very bad mood swings and almost a split personality. He always blames me when we have a disagreement and he flips or makes up stories just to make himself look better. 

He is not very open and keeps things to himself. I have opened my heart and soul to him but he just tosses me away. These things bother me but I can accept them because I love him so much and will do anything to be with him. 

I even offered to help him, whatever his diagnosis. Recently, I have a real urge to marry him so we can be together forever. Since our breakup I just can't sleep or even eat. Should I forget about him and move on or should I wait until he is better? I am so lonely, please help!! 

There is an old saying: "Never marry anyone crazier than you." 

You are considering a lifelong commitment to a secretive, mentally ill man? One who you describe as having severe mood swings, perhaps manic-depression, and has a "split personality?"

What are you thinking of woman? What kind of life do you think this man will provide for you and your future children? I had a mentally ill family member. Mental illness is a severe disability and to become involved with a mentally ill person and hope that he will "get better" is like expecting an amputee to re-grow legs.

It isnít going to happen, and in my experience, severe mental illness often grows worse over time.  I understand you are lonely. Do not use loneliness to drive you to make poor choices that will effect the rest of your life. It is not fair to you, your family, or your future children.



Dear Mrs. Web,

Six weeks ago I found the address of a woman I last saw in 10th grade. We are now in our 50ís. We grew up in the same neighborhood, and spent 10 years in school together. She is single now and we have reestablished our friendship by email. We have been exchanging information and chatting by email for a couple of months.

Recently we were able to do some heavy schedule-bending and meet. We both were visiting relatives that were close by each other. We had a fun casual restaurant dinner with her son and my brotherís children.  It was as if we picked up our conversation from 40 years ago! We have much in common.

She told me in one of her first letters that she had faced some problems with her former husband, and was involved in raising her teenaged son. She has since told me she is not ready for a relationship with another man. She also suggested I meet a friend of hers instead.

I have told her I am interested in a relationship with her when she is ready. I have sent a digital camera and asked for pictures of her and her family, and friends. I would really like to trade recent photos as we continue to exchange email. 

Now the camera has become an issue. She refuses to keep it. Therefore, I suggested that I "loan" it to here or that she can pay me back in 80 years if she wants to buy it. She still says no.

Do you think she should keep the camera, without obligation? Or do you think that my hope of a deeper relationship clouds the picture? This issue is making her very uncomfortable 

Slow down a bit, guy. Women do not like expensive gifts, no matter how the terms are couched, when they are not or donít want to be in relationship. Women perceive it as a form of pressure. Listen to her. Continue to grow your friendship. Check my website for Issues to Discuss with the Beloved so you can deepen your friendship and emotional intimacy.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I just wanted you to know that your answer to my email was a big help and I will never forget you. Your advice helped me so much! I have realized quite a bit about my old relationship. I will keep in touch.

Thanks for everything.

Dear Mrs Web is happy she could help. Take care of yourself and your little one.

Dear Mrs Web needs many more visits and hits at her site as well as more newspapers to publish her column. Please let people in your area know about Dear Mrs Web .com



Dear Mrs. Web,

My girlfriend and I have been together for three years. She has just told me she wants to date someone else and that she has been unhappy about our relationship some time.

We do have our problems and things werenít going that well but I am in shock. I thought things would work out. I want to be happy with her again. How can I get her to come back to me? I am shipping out soon. Help!

I understand your concern and pain. Three years is a long time. I donít know whether you can restart your relationship with your girlfriend. I would ask her whether she would meet with you for dinner and talk it over. Tell her that three years is a long time to toss aside.

I will be frank, it sounds like her heart is in another place and usually when a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship breaks up like this it is rare for them to re-establish. There is no true commitment in a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship, no matter what privately agreement for fidelity or commitment that your both may have developed.

This is the major difference between marriage and non-marital relationships. Marriage commitment is held together with the commitment of the two people and the commitment of the community, law, children, family, and friends. It is more than I love you and want to be with you forever, because that part disappears in normal relationships and sometimes it is only the outside forces that continue to hold the marriage commitment in place during the tough patches that all relationships endure.

Therefore, my short answer is you can reach out to her, but donít be surprised if it doesnít work. Instead, 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, emotionally destructive heart and body relationships that some people almost take for granted today.



Week of May 6, 2001


Dear Mrs. Web,

My best friendís husband is cheating on her with a neighbor of mine. I see him with her often during the weekday. My friend has wonderful children and I hesitate to rock the boat. Should I tell my friend? Should I send her an anonymous letter?

I would hate to be the one to break my friendís heart. I think an anonymous letter would be much more painful than having loving friend break the news gently and with concern. Besides one shouldnít ever give credence to anonymous sources. They could be the work of spite or malice.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I need your clear perspective. I have lived with the same man for over 20 years. He was physically abusive during the first 10 years. During the second 10 years the physical abuse stopped but the emotional abuse increased. I have been foolish enough to put up with this but over the last few years, I have had enough. I now realize that there are things in him that I canít change. We both are here living difficult and painful lives together because it is the easiest thing to do.

I have put a lot into the things we have our house, the business, and generally being the caretaker and homemaker. I have done so much and he never has had to lift a fingerÖ He has had free household help and a "Mother" in me for years. We donít even sleep together any more.

Oddly enough I am afraid and just cannot leave. I have made plans, packed stuff away, squirreled away money, and have laid the groundwork for the day I leave. The final step has been too daunting.

I am sad to leave the house we have had together. I daydream about my leaving but it never happens. Life is passing me by and I am not striking up new relationships with men and living life as a free agent. I wish he would leave me then I wouldnít have to do it. At times, I also have the fantasy that someone would just knock on the door and rescue me!

Let Dear Mrs. Web assure you that there are no knights in shining armor on white chargers to save you from yourself.

You both sound like you are two sides of the same coin: uncommitted and afraid to change things. Sounds like you have both danced the same waltz for a long time. You have had no limits and no boundaries on this relationship, what you expect from it and what you will accept from it. Your "no boundaries" existence continues in your inability to leave it.

To tell you the truth your letter reads like a complaint session about him and truthfully I think you should be looking at your paralysis, your enabling, and your complaining and see what these behaviors have gotten you in your relationship. You talk about beginning new relationships with other men but frankly, I canít see whatever could possibly be different in other relationships because what you bring to a relationship is what needs to be changed for you to be successful in one.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I am a 19-year-old college student and I live with my boyfriend. We have been together for the past 3 years. I have decided to move home for the summer and live someplace else when school begins next autumn. I am breaking this off because we just are not getting along.

My problem is that he owes me about $1000.00 in back rent and loans. Now that we are separate and I am moving away, I am afraid he will never pay me back. I have stuck around because I knew that if I did leave he wouldn't repay me. I think I still love him but I know I shouldn't because he is no good for me. I want my money back but at the same time I need out of this relationship. Please help me!

I donít think you can get your money back. You can ask, but donít count on it being repaid. It is time to walk away and begin again. You wonít be the first person who lost money lent on an uncommitted relationship...and you wonít be the last either!

If you are living with someone, you consider not good for you just for the sake of some dollars; you need to think about your priorities. Your emotional and physical well-being is worth much more than a thousand dollars. You are young and have many thousands of dollars worth of earning power ahead of you, but you only have one heart.



Dear Mrs. Web,

Is staring at other women a "guy thing?" When we are out, my boyfriend just about snaps his neck to look at other women. He is usually checking out their features, and I am not talking about their winsome faces.

When I object he tells me it is a guy-thing and I need to get used to it. Is this normal?

Is it normal to be with one and check out the equipment and features of other models? Only if we are talking about cars Öand ÖokÖboats.

If your beloved is obviously evaluating the scenery for its topographical interest, and the scenery happens to be other women, he is being enormously rude. When you tell him you object and he single-mindedly continues, he is a boor. What are you doing spending your life on a boor?



Dear Mrs. Web,

I recently broke off a 6-year relationship with my boyfriend. We have a 2-year-old child. I ended our relationship because he would not take an active interest in our child. He stopped by to see us perhaps a few times a month. I should have expected this because this is how he has treated his other children from his previous relationship. He also is not interested in any custody rights

I realize now that I was wrong to have a child and not be married. I want my child to have two parents. He has been calling me non-stop since our break up, it seems that he has become more interested since I decided to move on. I feel guilty in rejecting my childís father but her hasnít really changed. What should I do?

He is the babyís father. He will be in your life for the rest of your days. But he does not have to be a off again Ėon again romantic fixture in your life. Since he hasnít changed, there is no reason to have this man back as a life-mate.

There is a kind of man who really donít want to be connected to a woman, but donít like the thought of anyone else connecting with her. They consider women something akin to property. They tend to show action when the woman strikes out on her own. However, they have no ability to maintain a relationship.

In your shoes, I would end the relationship. Be careful, some men who treat women like property become violent when crossed. You may need restraining orders and a safe place to stay if he starts acting out.



Dear Mrs. Web,

My boyfriend and I broke up about a month ago, because of a misunderstanding. He now knows the truth, but is involved with another woman. They have been dating about two weeks. How do I convince him to break up with her without hurting her?

You will hurt her. Emotions by definition and nature can hurt us. That is why we need to treat our own emotions and the emotions of others tenderly and with respect.



Dear Mrs Web,

I hope you can give me some advice. I have known this man for about four years. We met through mutual friends while at college. Last year we saw each other in a nightclub and we ended up kissing, I felt a little bad about this because he is a friend of my former boyfriend and I did not want to get involved with him because of this reason.

I didn't see him again until autumn. I saw him a bar and we hit it off. By the end of the night we where kissing again. This has happened nearly every week, we meet at the bar and go off and kiss. My friends tell me he likes me and I know that he looks for me every week at the club and waits for me to arrive.

Last weekend I ended up back at his house and we had a lovely time, we didnít have sex, neither of us wanted that, but we did spend the night together. The next morning he was very shy and tried his best to avoid me. When I booked a taxi to go home we kissed and that was it. We do have each otherís numbers and e-mails and I have rung him once before but he has never rung me but has mailed me a few times. I am confused, what is going on? Is this kissing on Saturday night when we are both half-drunk all he wants? I have no idea what to do.

Dear Mrs. Web says: "If you keep doing something and it doesnít get you what you want, it is time to stop."

It sounds like you go out every week, get drunk, and play no-strings kissy-face with a man who is happy to do the same. Kissy-face leads to sex. Everyone knows that. It works by increments. He already has you in bed; the sex is just a matter of time.

In your shoes, I would stop this silly situation and see whether the man is actually interested in the kissy-face or me. I would find some other place to go on Saturday night. 

I also would make some decisions about what kind of relationship I want to have with him and the commitments I would need to sleep with him Ė because that is the direction you are heading.



Dear Mrs. Web,

My name is Steve and I have a question regarding men's hairstyles. I am balding and decided four years ago to shave my head completely bald for a cleaner look. I received a lot of positive attention from women at the time.

However, over the last year or so I have noticed more men with longer hair and women paying less attention to bald-headed men. Are bald-headed men out and longhaired guys in?

Not as far as Dear Mrs. Web is concerned. I have noticed a number of bald men as well as a few balding ones receiving quite a bit of female attention. Bald men will never be out of style in my book. It is a classic look. There is something about high foreheadsÖ 



Dear Mrs. Web,

I am 21 years old and have had a four-year relationship with a man a year older than me. We have a 1-year-old daughter. He recently left me for another woman, not for the first time.

This is the longest he has been gone. I love him so much and I am heartbroken. All that I want is for him to come back so we can be a family. How do I get him back and be a part of his childís life?

You canít get him to come back or be a part of his daughterís life. These are choices he makes that reflect his character (or lack of it) and moral center. This is the man you chose to be the father of your little one.

There is a difference between love and worship. Love is place where as adults we give and get in relationship. There is a commitment to each other and the marriage which supersedes all other desires and commitments. Worship, on the other hand, is a place where we give our hearts over to someone unconditionally, no matter what they do or how they behave. Women often sacrifice their integrity, their children, and their self-respect when they worship a man.

I have no idea why you would want this man in your life. He will introduce emotional mayhem, pain, and possibly even disease into your lives. He is an uncommitted cat-about. Donít waste your time. Find your self-respect and look for a decent, committed kind of guy.



Dear Mrs. Web, 

My fiancť and I are in the military. We are both in our early twenties. We want to marry and have decided to do it sooner, rather than later because we both could have a chance of being posted together on our next tour of duty.

We understand the commitment and both are considered by others to be mature for our ages. We have known each other for 9 months. We have not been able to get home to meet each otherís family and we will be forgoing a celebration wedding but it is important to us to be together. My family has accepted our decision and understands our reasoning.

My fiancťís father, on the other hand, objects to the marriage. He thinks we are too young and that we are rushing things. He is being very rude to us about it and is insulting my fiancť during his telephone calls. How can we stop him from being so nasty?

You cannot stop someone from being nasty. However, you can set limits on the behavior. This is, however, a job for your beloved. If you read my marriage archives you will see that I advocate that each member of the couple deal with the difficulties of their families directly and shield their beloved from it.

Limit setting begins by acknowledging that your donít agree, then placing the issue off limits to discussion. This can be done kindly and all the while reaffirming the relationship, love and caring. How youíre future father-in-law responds is his issue and responsibility. He can behave himself and continue to talk to you or be nasty and hear a polite, "Sorry Dad, have to go!"

You are most likely pushing his emotional buttons on this subject. Give him some room to reevaluate his behavior and his relationship with you both. Donít become too worked up, most people get stuck in their silliness a while but eventually break free. Since you are getting married, you both should look at my page called Topics to discuss before Marriage.




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