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Week of March 4, 2001


Dear Mrs. Web,

I am currently involved with a woman and love her very much. Recently I have started having feelings for her best friend. What do I do?

Well…. Love is more than a feeling, it is a commitment that ignores the unruly feelings we have at times. Feelings come and go. If you love someone, you will keep yourself out of situations that might compromise that love.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I've been divorced from my ex-wife for almost 15 years. Over the last five years I've grown fond of, and enjoy the relationship I've formed with her cousin.

We are in love. She feels uncomfortable because we are cousins by my previous marriage and she is still to my children. Do you have any advice for us?

I don’t think you have a legal problem in most states. You are not related. I would consult a lawyer, just to make sure. States sometimes have unusual interpretations of family law.

Your bigger hurdle may be the rest of your ex-wife’s family, although after fifteen years, that may be moot. As for your children, they are now grown, assuming there are none under the age of fifteen. I have heard of situations such as this working and well. I would certainly sit down and explain your relationship with all pertinent family members.


Dear Mrs. Web,

I have two girls who like me. One is so-so but she goes far. The other one is really pretty but won’t go far at all. Which one should I start a relationship with? Please write back as soon as possible.

It sounds like you have been a busy guy. You have some moral choices here. You could use the less attractive girl as a sexual release or convenience. On the other hand, you could develop a deeper caring and committed relationship with the girl who obviously attracts you.

The only thing that hangs in balance here is whether you want to be a man of integrity and character - or just a moral zero. The fact that you bothered to write tells me that you really want to make the best choice, for yourself and others. Remember, life is not a free-for-all. When we use someone, we hurt ourselves.



Dear Mrs Web,

I am divorced. An old friend has come into my life. He has been plaguing me with dirty phone calls. Last night he invited me out to dinner. I thought it would be nice to have a meal with an old friend. I offered to pick him up. When I arrived, he said he had ordered take out. We ate and I had some wine. He extracted me from my clothes.

Rather reluctantly, I agreed to sex {I had condoms in my bag as I do have a partner with whom I have a wonderful, trusting relationship). We then proceeded to do it three times and I hated every minute of it. He was not an impressive partner (Dear Mrs Web will spare everyone the details). I was so upset with him that I left a used package of condoms in his girlfriend’s underwear drawer. I wanted her to know what a rat he is. Should I end my friendship with him?

You chose to have a tacky night with an annoying person who has been plaguing you with "dirty phone calls?" You didn’t enjoy it. You say you didn’t want it. Then you complain about his performance! It doesn’t add up.

You breached that "wonderful, trusting relationship" with your own beloved, and you leave a packet of condoms in this creep’s girlfriend’s drawers to stir things up. Now you wonder whether you should end your friendship with this man.

Dear, you don’t have friendship with him. You were his depository. You took the bait and were used - behind the backs of both love-interests. Sounds tawdry to me.

The amazing thing about this whole letter is how little responsibility you take for what happened. He did this. He did that. On top of it he wasn’t very good…where on earth is your brain, woman?

To answer your original question, yes, I would end the relationship, such as it was.



Dear Mrs. Web,

Do you think that 25 is too old for braces?

No. Training wheels yes, braces, no.



Dear Mrs Web,

I met this guy through one of my friends. We started seeing each other. One day I went out of town, on a visit, and when I got home I called him. He told me that he had called one of my friends while I was gone. He said he was confused because he liked me and he liked her at the same time.

I was mad. Later I found out that she likes him too. I think it is all her fault. What should I do?

Talking and dating are when people are shopping around. Your male friend and your girlfriend have been shopping together. I wouldn’t get too bent out of shape about it. There is no commitment going on here. You didn’t have much if he couldn’t manage a day without you and had to talk to some one different.

I think you have a friend who likes someone you like. Moreover, he likes her too. Gracefully bowing out is always an option. There are a lot of fish in the sea.



Week of February 18, 2001


At the end of this page I have included my Daily Personal Advice Column's Special Valentine's Day Column.


Dear Mrs. Web, 

Are you a real person? Or are you just a computer-generated response? Either way, I guess it will help me to write everything down.

I am dating a man who is generous with his money, time, and emotional support. He is not affectionate, (kissing, hugging, handholding). I have told him I like affection but he says if he is affectionate with me, he wants to have sex. Therefore, I sometimes get a peck kiss. 

This bothers me a great deal, because I come from a family of enormously affectionate people. I feel the lack in our relationship. I told him recently that I needed to have him show his love. He responded by taking me to the room we are together building onto my house and said this was a big kiss from him.

This does show love but I want to hold hands, hug at the movies, and more. Dear Mrs Web, he sent me a computer card for Valentine’s Day! My daughter got roses and candy from her 14 year old boyfriend. I also feel like I am guarding myself around him because I am always the one to reach out to him. When ever he is the least bit affectionate I do encourage him and he does continue…but

I am not a computer generated response machine. I am real, live human being with a husband, children, pets, a mortgage, and all the other joys and worries computers just don’t face.

You have a man who doesn’t provide affection outside of the bedroom. One who is uncomfortable with any signs of public affection. Some men are much more private than others are. He has been forthcoming and points out that he shows his love through the things he makes and provides for you. Aside from not being affectionate, he is not romantic either.

I do not think you are being too demanding. I do think you are involved with someone who will not meet your needs for affection and romance. I think you need to make some decisions about this. You can continue to encourage him. You could both be involved in some behavioral training, if he wants to change, to see if he can learn to be more affectionate. Have you tried a week’s getaway to a tremendously romantic destination?



Dear Mrs Web,

I just told my mother I was sexually active. I am 13. She hit the ceiling. She took me to the doctor for disease and pregnancy tests. I need help but it is hard to deal with this problem when my mother is so flipped out.

Some of the kids at school have found out about what I did and my reputation is gone. Since the guy I had sex with is the boyfriend of a really tough girl, I am being threatened all the time and I am afraid. I don’t know what to do. I tried telling an adult at school but I just got a lecture.

Your mother is upset because she is seeing her daughter make poor choices that can and will affect the rest of you life. I think it is time to sit down with her, take a deep breath and tell her how sorry you are and how badly you need her to help you. You need to pull your relationship together with your mom.

Tell her how difficult it is for you at school and that you fear for your safety. Perhaps she would be able to arrange for a transfer to another school. If you are religious, get to a church with a good youth program

There is a terrific book called  Life on the Edge. It talks about the choices we make as teenagers and how they affect our entire lives. It is a great book for both Moms and teens to read, perhaps together?



Dear Mrs Web,

I have been dating a man for two years. He is 54 & I am 42. Neither of us has ever married. I just have never met the right guy and he has had 3 different 6-year courtships, which were mutually ended. I am falling in love with him and although he says, "I love you," he also says "but don’t run with it. I don’t want to hurt you."

My mother thinks he's just another guy who doesn't want to marry, but likes company, (we don't have sex). I have been very clear and have told him I plan to marry someday. He says he hopes to marry too. I don’t want to waste 6 years. Should I just tell him I am not waiting or continue on saying nothing. Is my Mother right when she says I am wasting my time?

If a man told me not to "run with it" and that he didn’t want to hurt me, I would take it as evidence that he is not interested or able to commit to marriage. The "I love you"s are just expressing his current feelings, but have nothing to do with the future.

When confronted with prime evidence that the man involves himself in long-tem dating relationships without culminating in marriage, why would you want to continue? People tend to behave they same way they always have behaved.

I think your mother is right.



Dear Mrs. Web, 

My boyfriend and I have a long-distance relationship while I am away at college. We don't get to see each other often because of money, and work/school commitments. When we do fly in to see each other, we stay in the same apartment in order to avoid paying for a hotel room. We sleep in different rooms. We both believe that sex should be reserved for marriage.

However, I've noticed that whenever he comes and people at my church discover he is staying at my apartment, they look at me as if I am doing something wrong. I do not know any men here well enough to ask them to take in my boyfriend. Is it wrong for us to stay in the same apartment?

What you are doing is not "wrong." However, it is not "right" either. There are several issues here. Many churchgoing people are uncomfortable with giving the appearance of evil. Since  most of the men and women who share private quarters are sexually involved, there is a definite taint to the practice.

Also, your church members are all warm-blooded sexual beings and are most likely concerned that the two of you are placing yourself in a difficult position. The sex drive is powerful and has been known to override the best of intentions. The tradition of separating men and women before marriage acknowledges this humanness.

In your shoes, I would find another place for him when he visits you (and vice versa). Let people know you need someplace to put your boyfriend. Church members would probably be delighted to open their homes too. Talk to your pastor. Ask for help.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I have read many of your advice columns. You discourage emotional or physical intimacy without life-long commitment. I am a 31-year-old male who has never been married. If I followed your advice I would still be a virgin and never have had an emotionally significant relationship with a woman. More and more people today are postponing marriage. Does this mean they should not have significant relationships or sex? I have sex occasionally, it boosts my self-esteem, and I feel good about myself. Is that bad?

Thank you for taking the time to read my column. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I do not think that my advice would require you to be a 31 year old virgin without an emotionally significant relationship. If you reserved emotional and physical intimacy for a life-long commitment, you most likely would make different choices in your life. Marriage might take a higher priority.

I agree that the average age of marriage has increased, I think that one significant reason for this increase is that instead of life-long committed marriage, young adults often have serial monogamous pseudo-marriages. I have seen many twenty and thirty year old people reeling from the breakups of these "marriages without strings." They are divorces in every way except legally. In my opinion, playing house is a path to guarded emotions, inability to trust or commit, and training grounds for divorce.

You find that sexual intercourse boosts your self-esteem and helps you feel good about yourself. This is sex, although with a partner, that is all about you. It sounds isolated and lonely. In a committed relationship there are other reasons to have sex: To make love, to feel totally accepted, safe and secure. To drop your pretenses and emotional boundaries to be with one who loves you endlessly, to make the one you love happy, to revel in your oneness, to explore the body of your beloved, to conceive children, to bond after a time apart, whether by argument or distance…the list is endless and the difference, profound.



Dear Mrs. Web,

Las year I met a guy and we slept together. I became pregnant. I was 14 and he was 15. Our parents found out and his parents told him never to see me again because it probable wasn’t his baby. He broke off with me. I lost the baby in my fourth month. I haven’t really seen the guy in over a year.

I recently ran into him at a school function. I still love him, Dear Mrs Web. I want to try to get back with him. My friends think I am crazy, they think I deserve better. But I love him. Please help me.

My dear, you are 15 years old. You have been pregnant, miscarried, and abandoned. Now you want to go back for more. It sounds like you want to be loved and cared for more than you care about your well being and safety. I don’t think what you are experiencing is love, love takes a long time to grow and is kind, caring, and protective. Love involves being cherished. These things are not in the relationship you had with this young man.

Have you tried to talk to your mom? If your mother is not available to you is there another woman in your life who would listen to you and give you guidance? It sounds like your heart wants to connect so badly, that you lack judgment about relationships. This sometimes happens. When emotions overrule better judgment. I recommend you listen to the counsel and judgments of people who care for you, a mother, aunt, older sister, or an adult good friend.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I am divorced and dating a man who I love dearly. I have 3 children ages 8,10, and 13. This man unmarried and childless. He is having a difficult time relating to my children. He teased them until they objected. Now he ignores them, even when they are in the same room with him. He wants them to be more forthcoming with him.

I think my boyfriend needs to be sensitive and try to fit into their lives. He said would listen to anyone but me about this issue because I'm emotionally involved and couldn't possibly be thinking clearly on this issue. I need advice.

You are supposed to be involved, they’re your children. I object to the idea that emotional involvement precludes clear thinking. I am passionately involved with my family and make choices and decision that are the best for my children because of my great love for them. Those who are not invested would not make the choices and sacrifices I do.

I am going to say something you are not going to like to hear. This man is not good for your family. He may be good for you, but you are not alone. Given the ages of your children, you will not be alone for a good long time. Part of making the choice to involve oneself with another is to see how he manages in your whole life, not just the couple’s part. I am sorry to say he flunks.

He does not have the empathy or compassion to be involved in a relationship with a woman with children. Children require lots of work, and, as you know, are inconvenient, upsetting, frustrating, unpleasant and at times, difficult. It takes a person with a heart commitment to weather this. Your children deserve better than to be ignored or casually treated in the intimacy of their home.

If your family and your boyfriend want to work on this issue, I would recommend couples and family counseling. However, not unless there was a commitment to marriage. Otherwise, It wouldn’t be fair for the children.


Dear Mrs. Web,

What advice would you have for a 25-year-old guy who graduated college and took a job, moving away from his girlfriend of a little less than a year?

We've maintained the relationship, visiting every few months, but recently things have been really tense. We fight on the telephone regularly. It seems email is the only way we can communicate calmly and effectively.

She's a couple years younger and still in school. Is it worthwhile or fair to continue a relationship, when we may never end up together, at least geographically?

If you don’t end up together geographically, you aren’t together. Relationships such as yours need a goal, a future. Or else, it is just two people who are emotionally tied up for no good reason. Does this make sense?





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