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Dear Mrs. Web,
Dear Mrs. Web,
I have been living with my girlfriend for 4 years and have we have a one-year- old boy. I am not sure I want to stay with my girlfriend anymore. I love my son but I am tired of his mother. I am more than willing to handle the child support and want joint custody of the child. She is a good mom and a good friend to me and I donít want to lose her friendship. What should I do?
I think it is time for you to grow up, become the man and the committed husband your girlfriend and son need. Any thing less is a childish shirking your responsibilities, and morally reprehensible. Joint custody and child support are often ways for men not to take full responsibility for the babies that they make. $150.00 a month and every other weekend does not a father make. This woman is not your buddy, nor is she a tissue to be used and discarded. She is the mother of your child. If you want the best for your child you will marry her instead of believing all the pap you hear in the media that marriage is not important to men, women and children. What you decide will affect your son for the rest of his life.
I was married to an abusive, drinking and gambling man. We had two children. During that time I had an affair with a married man. Although he initiated the relationship, in our town I was blamed for the relationship and I became the talk of the town. He stayed with his wife and I divorced my husband.
I am now remarried. I have a wonderful husband who is supportive and knows about the whole situation. We also have a new baby together. We stay away from the party crowd. Occasionally we have an activity where I come face to face with my former lover. His wife enjoys making me miserable.
I feel terrible. I still feel I am unworthy of anything, I feel I don't deserve to have God's forgiveness, I feel I don't deserve to have any friends. I feel that every time we go somewhere people are whispering. Am I too worried about what others think? My friends tell me that I am yesterday's news ( this sort of thing happens all the time in our town).
When I see the man I was involved with I become very angry. He can walk around town and not feel any remorse about what happened, while I hang my head in shame and feel like I have been branded with the scarlet letter.
I am a very good mother, the one thing I have going for me. But other then that, I feel as if I am headed for hell, because I am such a rotten person. Please give advice on how to live my life with pleasure again, Or is this my punishment?
This is not your punishment. However, this is the fall-out from your unthinking and brokenhearted behaviors. You live in a small town and in small towns you are forgiven (However, wronged wives rarely forgive!) but your deeds will never be forgotten.
You are yesterdayís news and all you can do is hold your head high and detach from other people's reactions. You have no idea what your former lover is feeling inside. The only person you have to worry about is you and your reactions.
You are a good mother with a loving husband and a good life. You are not a rotten person, but you did something wrong. So, has Dear Mrs Web (as hard as it may be for you to believe!!!) and billions of others on this planet.
I am not trying to minimize your pain but since your are Christian you must realize that all sins are covered by Godís grace. You need to learn more about grace and how it works. For with grace, you can look at your wrongs and realize that you are forgiven. Is there a church or a minister in your community, or even a wise older woman who can help you find the grace you need that will give your heart peace?
Dear Mrs. Web,
I am a woman, 27 years old with a 2-year-old. My childís father and I have been together for 5 years; the last three years have been difficult with separations. We married this past December, separated once, and are now beginning divorce proceedings. We both have been cruel to each other, but he has done a couple of truly outrageous things.
When we separate, Dear Mrs. Web, I begin by hating him. After a few months I begin missing him and want our family back together. I realize things havenít changed but I still get lonely.
I am involved with another guy who has always been supportive to me throughout this. As wonderful as my boyfriend is, I really miss my husband. I just canít shake him. What should I do? Should I stay in the marriage and make it work?
You sound confused and needy. I donít know whether you should be with your husband or not, but I think it is important for children to be raised with both their parents if possible. I think that the two of you should get in some intensive marriage counseling Ė at least 18 months worth. Twice a week initially, if possible. I am assuming, of course, he is not hurting you or your baby.
You both have been dancing around for five years now and your dance has produced a little one who needs two loving, committed parents. It is time for you both to stop playing games and hurting each other and begin acting like grownups. That is what you both want out of your lives together, isnít it?
By the way, there is nothing like a boyfriend in the wings to make it difficult to fully commit and give everything to a relationship. It is an effective armor against full commitment.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I am recently separated from my husband. We are still very good friends- just not compatible. During the marriage and after the separation, I had an online relationship with an former colleague of mine who I have known for about 3 years. We flirted quite a bit and it escalated to an affair (we got together only after I separated from my husband).
He is 6 years younger than me, and has a live-in girlfriend. I don't know anything about their relationship other than she has wanted to marry him. He is uncertain about his commitment to her..
We were involved for 2 months. After much anguish, I ended the relationship. The sneaking around, combined with the guilt, and his reluctance to end his other relationship caused me a lot of pain. I told him that if he were free, we could restart our relationship. Am I doing the right thing, I thought he cared for me?
Yes, I think you did the right thing by ending your affair with this man. I am sure you are hurt, but time will heal you pain. Dear Mrs Web has huge reservations about men or women who cheat on their beloved. It shows poor character, and a profound disrespect for the beloved.
No wonder you ended your marriage with your good friend and husband, you did not keep your heart safely in the marriage, but instead it was flirting with this bounder!!
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,
My husband had an affair last year and I am finding it very hard to forget what happened. I love him very much but each time something upsetting is said or done the hurt comes right back. We have moved to a new home in another state and I am sure things will work out OK for us but the feelings of distrust are still there.
I think he is being extra nice because I found out about the affair. I need your advice.
He should be extra-nice.
Did you both run away from your problems or did you face them squarely? Did you tell him about your hurt and pain? Did he beg forgiveness and did you both get to the point of vulnerability and renewal? Or, are you still scrunched up in pain? When renewal happens in a marriage, it is a kind of a honeymoon, but with new level of wisdom, self-knowledge, knowledge of the beloved, and acceptance of each other.
Trust is earned. When trust is broken the trust-breaker has to work twice as hard to establish it again. And the one who was hurt has to work to establish benchmarks of trust: First I trust to here, then to here, then to here, finally, completely.
You both may want spiritual or marriage counseling to learn ways to learn to re-establish trust. This is not a one-year project. This kind of healing and change takes time.
I wish you well; you are in my thoughts.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I work with a woman I find amazing. I am 32 and I have never met anyone like her before. We flirt but I am not really sure how she feels about me. I think about her all the time and look forward to seeing her everyday.
She will literally take my breath away at times, with a glance from across the room or a smile as she walks by. She is 21, smart, very funny, and extremely beautiful.
Unfortunately, I am married. I do love my wife, and we arenít having any problems. We have been together since graduation, over 14 years. We have no children.
This other woman is always on my mind. I think she know how I feel, but again not sure. She does know that I do have a thing for her, but I donít believe she knows how far it goes. Should I tell this woman how I feel and see what happens? Maybe it will work and maybe she feels the same as I do. Please help
Sir, I cannot give you the go- ahead to ignore your wedding vows and pursue young, flirting women! Many men and women become infatuated with someone while married. They all feel just the way you do. You are having a physical response to the excitement you feel around this woman.
Frankly, she is playing you. Young women like to exercise and flaunt their power over susceptible men. Dear Mrs Web was once young and beautiful Ė she remembers.
How you handle it is a matter of character and morals. In your shoes, I would avoid this woman, even to the point of transferring to another division. You can detonate and ruin your entire life by moving towards this woman. Think clearly.
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.
Dear Mrs. Web:
I have been separated from my husband for over two years. I have been married for fourteen years. We have one child born seriously disabled
From the moment the baby was born, husband stopped being a husband or father in our family. He blamed me for the child's disabilities. I continued in the marriage hoping he would change. I even tried marriage counseling but my husband refused to join me.
I essentially have raised our son single-handedly in our home. My husband had no participation in our lives. I finally left him. I signed a prenuptial agreement stating that the house was his. At that time, I believed we would be married together until we died.
After our child was born, My husband became angry and materialistic. He began hiding money. He saved his money and I supported the family. He stocked his retirement fund for fourteen years. When the marriage ended, he emptied out the bank accounts and took all the paperwork. I have no idea how much money we have in savings. We have no place to live and no money. I am exhausted and hurt by him.
My dear, you have been not just hurt, but severely burned by your relationship with your husband. He is a bounder and a cad.
You husband broke the solemn promise of marriage to care for you and his child, to be your protectors and to love you both with all the depth of his soul. He was not a man, a husband, or a father. Things didn't go the way he wanted or expected and he behaved like a selfish child.
Have you talked to a lawyer about your prenuptial agreement? As all good lawyers will tell you, contracts are made to be broken. Ask around for a lawyer known for winning large divorce judgments in your area. Work out a percentage of monies recovered.
In some states, you should be able to obtain the retirement funds as part of the settlement for yourself and your daughter. A good lawyer can trace the funds. Your husband deserves a whipping. A financial whipping can be extremely painful to a miser.
Dear Mrs. Web,
My husband and I have been married for 15 years. We've had some good times, and we've had some rough times; we have always persevered and kept our marriage together. We have no children.
He has, on rare occasion, hit me, usually by slapping me somewhere on my body. Some years ago we were in marriage counseling together, in part for the abuse, and I felt that it did a great deal of good. He wanted to stop going, so we did. He came from an abusive background and did have some individual counseling about it at that time.
Last week he hit me again, because my dog was barking. He grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, shoved me to the stairs, and slapped me repeatedly. He also wants me to get rid of the dog. I have always loved dogs. I don't feel that he should insist I give up my dog.
I need some advice; I would rather save our marriage than give it up, but I need to find some way to ensure that he never hits me again and that I can continue to enjoy having a dog. (I've already ordered a no-bark collar for the dog, which will be coming home - with my husband's agreement - after he learns not to bark in the house.). Help!
First, adults donít hit each other, ever. It is a non-negotiable. In your shoes, I would find a marriage counselor who can see you immediately. And I would leave. I would tell my husband that the hitting crossed a line. I would insist on coupleís counseling as a condition of continuing to live together as husband and wife. Moreover, he would have to continue the counseling until both of you have resolved all issues.
Second, the dog is not the issue, lack of communication and anger are the issues. Your husband is unable to communicate his feelings about whatever the situation may be in your marriage and instead, physically lashes out. You both may need to learn how to negotiate to get your needs met.
Third, what happened to him in the past with his family can give some insight into his behavior but, in my opinion, is not as important as the choices he makes right now. He can choose to learn how to communicate more effectively, He can choose to learn how to manage his anger. He can choose not to hit you. It sounds like you both have a long history together. Two willing and loving hearts can work together to change old patterns.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I cannot believe your response to the woman whoís husband left her and their child. You said she should sue and go after him financially to punish him for his poor behavior. His wife signed a prenuptial agreement and you said she should try to break the contracts. This is terrible. Sometimes people make mistakes in their marriage. You donít know his side of the story. This is sleazy and dishonest. I canít believe you would be so dishonest and vindictive.
You are right, I donít know both sides of the story. Her husband didnít write me, she did. This was her story. Moreover, it is a sad one of irresponsibility and dishonesty.
Not every contract is morally worth keeping. A man who keeps the house and spirits away the savings in order to avoid his responsibilities is the dishonest character here.
It is not vindictive for any parent to protect their childís interest. Fighting for the family assets to better raise a child, especially one who may be a heavier financial burden is not sleazy. It is necessary.
I think parents who willfully abandon their children for their own interests, should be horsewhipped. Lawyer attacks are the twenty-first century equivalent. Sic 'em Counsel!
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,
My wife and I were married 11 years in December. I am 38, she is 31. We have no children and for the last 2 years or so, we have been looking into what the reason(s) might be. After many tests and procedures (mostly on her), we are being told that in-vitro is probably going to be the only way we will be able to have a child.
She wants a baby so much...and now I find that I do not. Some of my reasons would probably be considered selfish, but I also have other, more realistic reasons. I love her very much, and have absolutely no idea of how to tell her this without breaking her heart and possibly ending our marriage.
This is not a unilateral decision. Because you have decided you donít want children anymore, does not mean the subject is in any way now closed. You and your wife will need to work together to arrive at the decision whether or not to continue in vitro, adopt or remain childless. Beginning and ending childbearing or adoption in a marriage is a coupleís decision not the overruling choice of one spouse.
The mechanics of the "fertility treatment" world are daunting. It is normal to pull back. Moreover, it may not be appropriate for your marriage. Adoption could be a possible way to grow your family. We have found it a blessing.
This is the time to lovingly sit with your wife and voice your reservations and concerns. Tell her how these issues would be and are emotionally costing you. Ask her to listen. Then listen to her. Her emotional costs here are high too. You both need to find a way to the same page on this decision. My advice to both of you is to put your needs first, and your wants second. If you need to, use your minister, priest, rabbi, or other counselor to help you work through this problem.
Throughout my life I have met many men who are initially reluctant and uncomfortable about becoming fathers. Particularly if it is something they have to plan or work towards. They often become loving and enthusiastic Dads, thanking their wives for opening this new world for them.
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