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Week of January 21, 2001

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

What do you think of nose piercing?

On a date?

Ouch!

Seriously, it is not my taste. But, you knew that.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been engaged for about 6 months to a woman I have known for about two years. At the beginning of our dating relationship She went out with a guy and French kissed him at the end of the date after trying to resist him earlier.

She said that she did it to get rid of him and so he would stop trying. She had lied about this for the whole time that I've known her and the only reason I know today is because I made her "promise to God" that the guy didn't kiss her. She lied at first but she couldnít live with it. I have known for a month now and her lying bothers me even though she has begged for forgiveness and swears he will change. What do you think of the situation

I think she was not able to be truthful with you because she was afraid of your extreme reaction, and she was right. It is inappropriate and out of bounds. 

Stop clubbing her with God and stop bullying her. People sometimes do things they would not normally do because they feel stuck in a no-win situation: Like kissing an insistent boor, or lying to a bully.


 

Dear Mrs. Web:


I would like your input (although I'm sure I will not like the response). I am having a difficult time. I have been divorced twice and am now engaged to a wonderful man. He is just like me in many ways and he offers me a wonderful and comfortable life. 

 

I recently met and fell absolutely in love with a man I met who lives quite a distance away. He makes my heart, and all the other important parts, zing. He leads an equally comfortable, but very different life.

 

I donít know him very well, just seven days on a vacation. If I were to leave my fiancť to explore a life with this new man, I would lose my fiancť and perhaps my Ďlove" wouldnít work. Momma said last night, if I just listen to my heart I will come to the right choice. I am confused.

 

You are having trouble making a choice. You have not decided the kind of life you want, or the kind of man you want to share it with. You seem to be running on emotions instead of head and heart knowledge. Listening to oneís heart is important, but the brain must be fully involved too.

 

You also seem to subscribe to the prevalent notion that being "in love" is important to long- term relationships. This is, of course, completely false. "In love" is an emotional state of being. On the other hand, loving someone is a decision you make, sometimes hourly when the going gets tough, to commit yourself forever to your beloved. When you make that decision, other possibilities close.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I am 14 years old, and I have a problem. I am pretty, and popular, but am very shy. I have plenty of guy friends, but no boyfriends. My first high school prom is coming up son and I donít want to go alone. How can I get a date to the prom?

There is a prom for freshman and sophomores? Dear Mrs. Web isnít getting out much these days. Definitely not the kind of pressure young teens should be facing.

If you want to go to the prom, ask one of your guy friends whether he would go with you? If you have good guy friends, I am sure that one of them would be delighted. It would take the pressure off both of you to try to link romantically with someone but keep you involved with your friendsí activities.


Dear Mrs. Web

I am a single 35-year-old man who works at a family business and lives in the suburbs. Most of my friends have gotten married and are settling down with their families. I am closing this month on a new house in my neighborhood. This is the second time I have bought a house in the suburbs here. The first one I bought and sold because I decided to live in the city. I never did move their and now with my familyís encouragement, I find myself again buying a house here.

The city is a long commute from here. I would love to rent a loft there, perhaps have a roommate, and live near the restaurants and entertainment the city offers. I have said I was going to do it for years, but never have made the leap. Frankly, where I live feels like home and I am reluctant to change. I just feel like I should leave my home area for a while and experience the broader world. I am confused and in a panic because I am supposed to close this month.

It sounds like you really want to move into the city for a while. It also sounds like you are tied to your work in the suburbs. Sometimes one needs a change. I think it would do you good to move to the city for a while. The suburbs will always be there, waiting for you.

Perhaps it is time to plan your life a bit more instead of just letting it happen. Sit down and list where and how you want your life to look in 5, 10, and 20 years. Then list what you need to do to achieve these goals. This will give you a framework and purpose for your decisions.


Dear Mrs Web,

There is this girl at school who comes over to my desk each day before class. I think she likes me but I really canít tell. She is white and I am black. I have already been turned down once by a white girl so I'm not going to try again.

She asks me my opinion about different girls who are black. We enjoy talking to each other. She has no boyfriend and has asked me whether I am seeing anyone, Iím not. She seems to be flirting with me. What should I do?

In my opinion, it seems to me the core problem here is prejudice. The thing you seem to be focusing on is everybodyís color. So, a white girl once turned you down for a date? Címon. Fact: all girls sometimes turn boys down for dates. For lots of different reasons. It happens.

Just because one girl rejected you, even if it was because of color, it doesnít mean every white girl will reject you. If you took color out of the picture here, what would you do? Pretend for a moment everyone is green. What would be your normal response to a really nice, green girl acting this way towards a green you?


Dear Mrs. Web,

My closest friend for twelve years is getting married. During her first
marriage, our friendship was stronger than ever. With her coming marriage however, I get the feeling our friendship is on the skids.

Soon I will be the guy that visits every other Thanksgiving. Her children will vaguely remember me. It seems like she has found the perfect man and doesnít need me anymore. We used to have so many inside jokes, now I listen to her tell me about their inside jokes. When other close friends got married, I didn't lose a close friend; I gained more good friends. But this one feels different.

  It is hard when relationships change. As intimacy increases in relationships a couple binds closer together, leaving others behind. In the best of worlds, they make each other the best friend. Others become a bit more peripheral. This is not unusual.

However, it is a big leap from the center of everything to a turkey dinner every other year. Make sure you are not contributing to the situation. Every relationship is slightly different. The reality is that her husband-to be may be threatened by your emotional intimacy with her.

Sometimes friendships change. Friendships are not as durable as family ties. Where we donít shed mothers or brothers, we do shed friends. For friends are bound by affection, respect and admiration, and common interests and usefulness. Do you still pal around with the people you did in grammar school? No, because your needs and interests have changed, and so have theirs.


Dear Mrs. Web, 

I am 15 years old and I really like a guy who is 20. I know that is old, but he is different from other guys. Heís religious, kind, compassionate, and considerate. I think he likes me too, but I'm only 15. What should I do?

Ah, the older man! I remember being 15 and being attracted to a 20-year-old. Twenty is way too old for fifteen. However, twenty-five isnít too old for twenty, in my opinion. 

Do you have a mother or father that you can talk to about this attraction? If not perhaps a woman from your church could partner with you and give you the accountability and guidance you need to maintain your grace and integrity, as well as understand your emotions about this young man.

A mature twenty year old man with his head screwed on straight and his heart in the right place will back away immediately from a relationship with a fifteen year old girl. He will put her best interest first, which would be to allow her to mature without the heavy burdens a relationship with him. This is inappropriate and in some states could lead to time in prison for him. You should back away too.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been involved with a man who has been divorced three years after 11 years of marriage. His ex wife left him for another woman. We had interwoven our lives, friends, and family, including our children. We had become intimate. I don't want to marry him and he doesn't want to get married although we both said we would live with someone.

Six months into the relationship he said he needed space. He wanted to see other friends and "get himself together, but wanted to remain my friend." I pulled back. I said I understood although I was crushed.

This autumn he called and we had a few dates. He said he was not interested in a relationship at this time because he was buying a boat, but when he was ready, he wanted to have one with me. I have been trying to be sensitive to his needs. I think he was hurt and is afraid of these feelings. I donít know what to do.

You have a man who has been unable to be close to you without pulling back from the relationship. In the meantime, you stand with arms open letting him come and go in your life, not asking for much, taking the crumbs and hoping for love and some undefined futureÖ He wants love and is afraid of any commitment. You want love with no commitment. In my opinion, neither one of you is a safe bet.

Relationships require many things but the foundation is commitment. You donít deposit your money in a bank that wonít guarantee it will be there next week, month, or year. You donít place your hearts in the care of someone who canít promise he/she will be there in the future.

I understand he has been hurt. We have all been hurt. There comes a time we stop nursing our wounds and risk everything again. I think you both need to make a decision.


Dear Mrs. Web,

My daughter has been seeing this young man. She is 15 and he is 18. He has just asked her to his senior prom. I am told there will be an after prom party and it is the tradition in this town not to expect the attendees back until noon the next day. 

Evidently adults rent hotel rooms and they serve as hospitality suites for the students. The adults who have spoken to me about it all wink and nudge or shrug their shoulders. The more I hear about it the less I like it. What do you think?

I wouldnít permit my children to attend a series of events where the expected behavior goes against my moral beliefs, safety, or better judgment. I would say no, give my reasons, and negotiate a safer alternative.

 

Week of January 14, 2001 

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I met a gentleman on line a couple of months ago. We found out we lived near each other and after chatting for a few weeks we met.

We got on well and we continued to chat via the Internet and talk on the telephone. He has been to my house for a visit and continues to suggest coming over. The problem is that I do all of the calling, and emailing.

He says he will call or come over, but he never does. When asked he says he was busy working. I have come right out and asked him if he would rather not talk/email and he has told me to relax and continues to suggest getting together.

So...what do I do now? I really like this man but I am beginning to feel like I am chasing him. Any suggestions?


Dear Mrs Web believes that relationships are a bit like tennis. When one lobs the ball over the net one expects it to be returned. If one lobs all the balls without any returns; well, one is running around the court, but it ainít tennis. Even if there is someone standing on the other side of the net saying it is tennis.

The best way to find out if your are in a relationship or not is to lob it into his court and stop. If nothing comes back, there wasnít anything there. In relationships, it is important to watch what people do as well as listen to what they say. If there is a divergence between what they do and what they say, I always bet the truth rests in what they do. Talk is cheap.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been dating a woman with 4 children for a little over a year. We have been invited to her sister's wedding. I thought we would go in together on a gift.

However, she informed me that she and two of her kids already bought a gift. She says I have to get her sister a present by myself which at least equals the cost of my meal at the wedding reception. I feel excluded and wish she had consulted me first. What should I do?


Since you assumed something and no one yet has been able to read your mind, Iíd say you are on your own. No one is required to buy a wedding gift, but it is the custom to bring one. Your beloved has made her expectations clear. Bud, is this the hill you want to die on? Buy the gift.


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

 

I am in love with a man who my mother hates. I have been intermittently involved with him for 5 years. We broke up about 5 months ago and I moved back in with my mother.

 

We have started reconnecting as a couple (by the way I am the mother to his four year old son and one year old daughter) My mother vehemently objects to him so I have to sneak around to see him.

 

I really would like to be back with him. We have been talking about getting married. I donít know what to do. My mom wonít help me with anything if she finds out that I am returning to him. She is also my daycare provider. I just don't think it is right that she is making it so hard for me.

 

I think it about time you took full responsibility for your own life. In addition, I think you and your boyfriend should take full responsibility for the two little children you have made. I am sure part of his paycheck would cover the daycare costs. I have no idea why your mother is so dead set against your boyfriend. However, sneaking around is dishonest and juvenile behavior.

Your mother is not making it hard for you. Your family is saying they will not help you if you do certain things. You have an adult choice here. If you really want to be with your fiancť and he wants to be with you and you both want to support your children and be responsible for them, then grow up, get married and be responsible. 

If you donít want to do this, and want to continue to live with your mom, and receive those benefits, then follow her rules. The world is made this way. It is called choices.

Now make me proud and make a decision that is the best and safest for your children and you. Notice I listed the children first. You should too.

 


Dear Mrs. Web,

I met my girlfriend in Feb. 2000. A month later we found out that we were going to have a baby. During the pregnancy, we grew even closer. Now the baby is 1 month old, my girlfriend has been out of work since November. I think that staying at home is bad for her.

I work both day and night shift, and when I get home, my girlfriend is sleeping. To me it seems that the closer she gets to the baby the further she gets from me. She complains that she is tired all the time and is always giving me the baby when he is unhappy and crying. How can we better our relationship, without taking away from the baby or my work schedule?

Babies are not cats with diapers Ė they take a lot of work. Your girlfriend is exhausted, normal for a new mother. She has a full time job at home with the baby, right now.

Your girlfriend is busy bonding with the baby. There is no bigger gift you can give to your child at this time, than a secure relationship with its mother. You will be more in the picture in a few months, but this is "momma time." 

Your role is to support your girlfriend, both financially and emotionally. Back rubs, bath salts, taking over for an evening so she can have a breakÖyou name it. Bringing home takeout (Dear Mrs Web and her family live on the menu of the local takeout pizza shop when we bring a new baby home) getting someone in to help her clean up all are things you can to help right now. Recognizing and admiring the big job she is doing is important.

You are probably wondering when your romantic life will resume. Most likely when the baby is sleeping more, and the issues addressed above are resolved. Being particularly wonderful during this time helps. The more help she has the faster she will recover her desire. In the meantime, be cuddly, reassuring, and loving without pressure.

I know you didnít ask this but I am going to say it anyhow, because I am Dear Mrs. Web. The most precious gift you can give your child is to be fully and forever committed to his or her mother. Marry her. Life and family are series of wonderful times, interspersed with trying times and difficulties. A firm commitment helps keep the unit intact. Sometimes you both will not like each other very much. All you will have to hang onto is the promise, and it is enough.

 

 

Week of January 7, 2001

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I am dating a woman I love and wish to marry. She is mean to others and me. Everyone I know says I should leave her and find another. I love her and believe she will become kinder (as she can be at times) in the future. I think my love will help her. What do you think?

In my experience, peopleís personalities are well established by adulthood. I want you to understand something. How she is behaving with you now is the best behavior you can expect from her. People donít become nicer after they are married. They often get worse.

Love does not fix personality problems. Love is a two-way commitment between a man a woman. You are trying to use it as a bandage on her personality. Her personality belongs to her and you cannot fix it. Now if you want to live a miserable life with a difficult, selfish woman, well, I canít talk you out of it. I recommend you marry for happiness, kindness, joy, peace, and reciprocated love.


Dear Mrs Web,

I am a 30-year-old man. I met a couple 10 years ago and have become a good family friend. Over the last three years, his wife and I have become closer. Recently, I have been receiving hints of her attraction to me. They have a young child. He is a good father but not a good husband. Their marriage has many problems and appears to be deteriorating. 

I am not interested in splitting them up or having an affair but if the marriage fails, I am thinking of stepping in. I am attracted to her as a person, a lover, and a wife. I make a good living and have no children of my own. Should I consider a commitment to her if they do divorce, and what can I expect from a situation like this?

You are looking at her and the child and think you would like to step in and be husband/daddy to a ready-made family and all.

First observation: get completely out of the picture. The emotional energy this lady is putting into you is needed in the marriage. Your presence is "splitting them up." That little one should grow up with its parents. Studies show that a rocky marriage with parents is better than a divorce, on childrenís life outcomes and development. It is also the morally right thing to do.

Second observation: I am always leery of people who are not respectful of their marriage commitments when they are married. A married woman who is moving out of the marriage both emotionally and now physically is not a terrific bet for a future marriage. How people act now is a good indicator of their future behaviors.

Now your questions: If you marry her after they divorce, you will have her, her child and her former husband always in your life. He is that childís father and will be there for visitations, custody battles, holiday celebrations and whatever life throws at you. In your shoes, I would walk away.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I've known this woman for 10 years. We are best of friends. I've always been there through all her relationships to help with her problems. We have the most fun together and I've grown to love her.

We went on an extended vacation together and we became intimate. After the vacation, it was back to our regular friendship. She wants to remain friends because she only wants me as a friend.

Recently she became involved in a relationship with a roughneck. She is totally in love with this guy. I tried to end our friendship when she told me about him. She started crying and said she couldn't live without me being there for her and she needs me as a friend. So, I've tried to be strong and be there for her because I love her.

She tells me the intimate details of their lives. This kills me, but I put up with it, because I donít want to lose her. We talk every day, we have great conversations, and she visits me at least once a week. I am confused.

Your friend is doing an interesting piece of work here. She is emotionally involved with you. You are her "best friend," which prevents her from having a deep and lasting relationship with others. In addition, of course her involvement with others keeps you just where she wants you, meeting her needs but not getting ultimately close.

The "I love you as a friend" is an old adolescent romance game. Grownups make choices, commit to relationships, and marry. They open their bodies and emotions to ultimate intimacy with the one they love.

There is something very disturbing about the fact she violates the intimacy and privacy of her relationship with the man she is purportedly in love to give you an inside view. I find this lack of boundaries unusual and inappropriate.

The only way to change this sad situation is for you to take matters in hand and realize this is an either/or situation. In your shoes, I would sit her down and tell her what you want from her. It sounds like you want commitment, and forever. If she begins her, "you are my friend speech", tell her you will be her lover, fiancť, husband, and forever person, but you will bow out of being her "friend."

This will put the ball in her court. Bottom line, the only way she can be with you is to commit. There is nothing more you can do. No calls, no neediness, no pussyfooting around. She needs a best friend? Find a girlfriend. She will either come running or disappear. If she does not commit, you will not have ultimately lost anything, for there wasnít much there. You were being used.

Moreover, you will end the years of emotional draining into this relationship and find yourself someone you can really love who wonít play around, but love back. There are many wonderful women out there looking for a man who will be friend, lover, and life-mate. Make sure you donít make a habit of choosing unavailable women.


Dear Mrs. Web,

How long should you wait to have sex when in a relationship? I am ready to but it has only been a week. Help!

I think that one does not have sex until there is love and commitment in the relationship. I believe that we have a responsibility to ourselves and to our future children to be married before having sex.

I am going to repeat this answer to a recent letter:

"Sex is an easy way to not really get to know another person. Instead, you are pretending to be intimate with someone who you donít really know. Look at my Topics to Explore Before Marriage to find out what I mean by real intimacy.

Stop using him to meet your emotional and sexual needs. Treat with kindheartedness, and learn all you can about his character and emotional being. Slowly over time, teach him who you are. Therefore, when you fully commit to one another you will each love whole people, not physical shells."

I know that in some circles these days it is fashionable to be sexually active, both early and often. I have not seen positive results from this trend. Instead, I see broken hearts, divorces, fatherless children, and people who cannot commit to long-term relationships.

So to answer your question about when you should have sex in a relationship; Dear Mrs Web recommends any time after the wedding, although most people hold off until after the reception.

 

Week of December 24, 2000

 

Dear Mrs. Web:

My boyfriend recently attended my familyís Christmas party. All my relatives were there. He wore old boots, jeans, old red sweatshirt, and an old green vest. He did not even comb his hair. I was a little embarrassed because he is such a handsome guy. What should I do?

Well, You have to give him credit for wearing Christmas colors!

This is something to sit down and discuss. I would be kind but straightforward. I think you need to tell him your familyís traditions and expectations about how people should dress at family gatherings.

Some people have not been taught (or are blazing their own trailÖsigh!) that dressing up can be a sign of respect to others, respect for the occasion, and required for harmony in families. 

If he is just not used to dressing appropriately, help him pick out a couple of acceptable outfits (The navy blazer and gray pants combination goes everywhere.) and buy him beautiful ties. 

Tell him how handsome he is, men like hearing they are attractive, too! Also, tell him when he needs to dress and suggest an outfit. "This would be a great time to wear your brown tweed jacketÖ). You can do a lot to help him out if he wants to change.


Dear Mrs. Web:


I have met a great guy at work. He's sweet, good- looking and nice to talk to. If I am not completely in love with him, I am pretty close to it. I wish we were "closer". We had one date recently.


A past love interest of his is now a free agent again. I am worried about the future of our relationship. I want to jump in with both feet. But I am afraid of being the odd woman out in a love triangle. We have never committed to each other. Perhaps he really is through with her. However, I cannot be sure. What do you advise?

 

Let me get this straight. You are having your second or third date with some guy you work with. You fancy yourself in "love" with him. You are planning to become sexually and emotionally intimate with someone because of your "feelings?" No commitment, no ring, no date, nothing?

 

You donít know this man. You just know what you "think" he is and what you "want" him to be, which has little basis in reality. Whether his old girlfriend is in the picture or not, is not the biggest issue here. One way or another, you still donít have much. Instead, why donít you get to know this man? Find out who he is. 

 

Sex is an easy way to not really get to know another person. Instead, you are pretending to be intimate with someone who you donít really know. Look at my Topics to Explore Before Marriage to find out what I mean by real intimacy.

Stop using him to meet your emotional and sexual needs. Treat with kindheartedness, and learn all you can about his character and emotional being. Slowly over time, teach him who you are. Therefore, when you fully commit to one another you will each love whole people, not physical shells.


Dear Mrs Web,

I am in high school.  I met a girl who seems to like me. However, when I asked her out she said she is somewhat involved but didnít want to talk about it. Recently I heard from her friends that she might be available now. I called. She gave me the same non-answer. Except now she has been really nice to me and calls me quite a bit. Am I just a back up option or is she interested?

This is my opinion, but I would have second thoughts about a girl who cannot give a straight answer to the simple question: are you seeing someone?

You might be a backup option, she might not know what she wants, and she might just enjoy the power of stringing someone along. Young girls like to feel their power. Dear Mrs Web in her younger days used to keep four, five, even six young men anxiousÖ

If I were in your shoes, I would back off. If she is interested, she will follow, and be straightforward, too. Expect nothing less.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I am home on Christmas break. I am a junior at a large, well-known eastern university. My girlfriend, who I have been seeing for the past two years also attends and is a sophomore. She just called me (Our families live several states apart.). She is pregnant. We donít know what to do. I was planning on law school, she has want to get her masterís in computer science. What do you think?

I think you are a father. Your girlfriend is now a mother. The best way to make that combination work is by becoming husband and wife. Since both families are footing your education, I suggest that you tell your parents the news and plan for both families to get together right after the holidays. A small wedding, right after the first of the year, would insure you both enough time to get back to campus and find married housing.

You wonít be the first man to go to law school with a wife and family. Your wife wonít be the first woman to put her career on hold until after the children grow up. Getting pregnant is easy. Undertaking this new responsibility with courage, gallantry, and grace, is the definition of good character. Best wishes and keep in touch.

A related book on this topic written by one of my favorite authors, Maggie Gallagher is The Case for Marriage.

 

 

 

Contact her today


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