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Personal Advice Column

Dating Archives

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I have been chatting with a gentleman both online and on the telephone for 2 months. We have spent hours discussing many important life issues: personal feelings, emotions, and general life topics.

We are both divorced and neither are looking for a relationship now. We do plan to meet each other but no date has been set yet. We sometimes have problems. He sometimes thinks I am falling in love with him. He has always made a point of letting me know he does not want a relationship. I have also explained that I am not looking for any type of relationship either.

I enjoy our conversations and hope to continue. He has become a very good friend. Could he be having feelings for me and is just afraid to actually let me know the true feelings he has developed? Could you please help me to decide why he is so open with me and why I am so open with him ? Do you think we are both be afraid of the feelings we are having for each other?

You are emotionally involved with a man you have never met face to face. You know nothing about him or his family except what he is willing to tell you. He keeps asking you whether you are having any feelings for him. You keep on saying no; we’re just friends. Then you spend the rest of the letter wondering whether there is a possibility of a future with this man who keeps telling you: "There is no future here."

Which makes me wonder why you are spending time and emotional energy on no future? You seem to be a fantasy world. When someone says essentially, "nobody’s home," it doesn’t matter whether the lights are on or the music is playing. They are not home to you.

You are feeling the normal feelings that happen when you open your heart to someone and become emotionally close. People do this because they want intimacy. One usually does this with people who are open to relationships. You sound lonely.  I think you want a deep and rewarding relationship.

When you become emotionally involved with someone who won’t be going anywhere with you, the two of you are participating in mutual emotional masturbation.

I can’t really answer the rest of your questions because it would be like fishing in a teacup.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web, 

I was introduced to friend by my cousin. On our first date I gave her a small bouquet of flowers and took her out to a nice restaurant. 

Our second date was on Valentine’s Day. I bought her a flower and a small bear and again took her to a nice restaurant. At the end of the night, she said she was disappointed with the gifts that I had given her. If she was not happy that day and we are only getting acquainted, will I ever be able to please her in the future? 

This gal sounds like she has an overblown sense of entitlement, self-centeredness, as well as extremely poor manners. The proper response to a gift of any size or cost is "Thank you."

Would you be able to please her in the future? I wouldn’t even bother to try.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I want a baby very much. I know this may not be the best time but a baby seems to fulfill every desire I have in life. I have experience with children. Every time I hear the word "baby," I get a warm feeling.

I wanted to have a baby with my boyfriend but he moved away. I met another guy who helps his sister raise her baby. He loves babies too. But he is a high school drop-out and doesn’t have a good job or a car. My first boyfriend is moving back and now he wants a baby. Dear Mrs. Web, I don’t know which guy to pick as father to my baby.

My dear, you want a baby to fill your needs.  Babies are fun and wonderful, but they need a lot more than you can provide single-handedly. The last thing any baby needs is an unwed mother. So stop thinking of yourself and think of the baby.  That is the true mark of a mature person.

Before you make a baby realize you need a committed husband, not a boyfriend. Your baby needs two parents married and committed to each other. It is unfair to the baby to use it to make you feel good. Do the hard work, and find, and marry a good, caring man who will support you while you stay home and care for your children. Do not expect any less.

So, have a baby with the man who will stand and proclaim in a marriage ceremony that you are his wife and that he commits to you and to raising your children together. Any other option is third-rate and not good enough for any baby.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

This past weekend, my boyfriend went to a bachelor's party. There were dancers there, of course. Drunk, he called me and asked me to pick him up. He had a couple of bills folded in his shirt pocket so I know he gave the dancers money.

I haven’t said anything about that evening, but I did not like the drinking or the dancers. Is there anything I should do or say now? He did apologize because his hangover prevented us from doing some planned activities the next day. Am I insecure or normal?

You are normal. Your boyfriend was at a party where a stripper performed. It sounds like he got seriously drunk. He even stuffed her G-string. In some circles, this is normal behavior for men. Not in mine.

You are disturbed by what occurred. This is a difference in values. Perhaps you need to look at this difference and decided whether this something you want to address. In my house if this sort of thing happened, I would have a long talk with my beloved about how I thought his behaviors affected our lives. I would hold him up to a higher moral standard.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

Many people tell me I am ugly. I feel like I will never have anyone love me because I am so ugly. There is guy I talk to often. We have never met in person and I afraid when I meet him he is going hate my looks. I am afraid I am going lose him as a friend and that he will never talk to me again. What can I do to be prettier?

When I hear someone tell me that the people in her life call her "ugly," I cringe. Because instead of looking at the reality, which is that these name-callers are cruel, mean people, the hurt person actually believes the cruel remarks. Moreover, they are lies.

Go to any church, play, or concert that has a mix of ages and look at the married couples, old and young. Are they all raving beauties? No, of course not, they are mostly, plain looking, every day people, just like Dear Mrs Web.  

Having a loving, lifelong relationship has little to do with the symmetry of your face, but has instead is about the warmth and energy you project in your life. Being truly beautiful is about health, radiance, and the spark of life you show to the world. When you are interested in others and have hobbies and passions that you bring to relationships you show the true inner grace and beauty that actually changes the muscles beneath the skin of the face and beautifies all.

Begin by smiling. Be well groomed. Pick your best feature, eyes, lips, shiny hair, attractive ears, and highlight it. By finding grace and joy in your life, and an interest in others, you will find love. I don’t know how old you are, but many women blossom after high school.

Don’t ever let anybody determine how you feel about yourself. No one should have that kind of power over you. Stay away from people who tear you down.  You are a unique gift to this world. Never forget that.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web, 

I have been divorced for three years. My ex and I are on fine terms and both are raising our 6-year-old son together. We are both doing the best we can for him.

I have been in a caring and committed relationship for the past two years with a wonderful man. He was in an accident two months ago and has been staying with my son and me. Recently my beau and I have decided to make the living arrangement permanent. He is moving in. He is a wonderful communicator, listener and is a good friend to my son.

This man recently disappointed my son by not being able to join us at a certain family event. He did not tell my son he could not attend until the last moment, and the boy was crestfallen. I am angry because he could have avoided it if he had told us of the change in plans as soon as he was aware of them.

I do understand he has never had to consider these kinds of problems before; he does not have children. I'm just having a horribly difficult time forgiving him. If he had disappointed only me, I could let go. But watching the disappointment in my son’s eyes has made it next to impossible for me to let go. What should I do? 

I understand you anger and concern about how your son was treated. Your protective motherly instincts are rearing up, as they should. They are running smack into your womanly decision to permit this man into the center of your family.

Let me define our differences so you will understand what I am saying. You say you are in a "wonderful and committed relationship" with your beloved. Dear Mrs Web defines a committed relationship only one way: marriage. Everything else ends too easily and is too painful for children (and their moms and dads!).

As wonderful as this man is, he does not have the commitment or understanding that you and your ex-husband have for your son. You are right, he doesn’t understand.

I am going to tell you what I would do in your situation. I would either marry the man or move him out. If I married him, I would realize that he would have a qualitatively different relationship than my ex or I would have with my son. There will be times he will hurt and disappoint my son, and these will be opportunities to teach and learn for our family. We all, in family situations, occasionally disappoint each other. Learning from these bumps in the road gives us strength of character. Marriage provides the framework to make this an acceptable risk.

In my opinion, no child should go through this kind of emotional workout with the man who is playing house with Mom. It is not fair to the child. Children need foundations to stand on when doing this sort of work. "Boyfriend" is not enough. A child does not gain strength of character in uncertain circumstances. Instead, they are confused.

 


 

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 very 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 church-going people are uncomfortable with giving the appearance of evil. Since a large percentage of the men and women who share private quarters are or become sexually involved, there is a definite taint to the practice.

Also, your church members 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 up your boyfriend. Church members would probably be delighted to open their homes. Talk to your pastor.  Ask for help.

 


 

Dear Mrs Web

I'm 17 years old, and I've never dated. I've never really wanted to. I have lots of really close guy friends. I'm not against dating or romantic relationships at all; I can't wait until I fall head over heels in love with "my guy," but I don't think I need that in my life right now.

I have a really close guy friend who recently moved across the country. Before he left he really started liking me, and I think he still does. I hate to try to keep my distance or anything, but I don't want him to think that I'm interested in anything romantic. He's planning on coming back this summer to visit me and a few other friends in this area, and I just don't want him to have his hopes up. But I don't want to lose our close friendship either. We still email each other all of the time, and I miss him a lot. Am I doing the right thing in keeping such close contact with him... Any advice?

Since you have not told him you are not interested in a romantic relationship, I think it appropriate to tell him. I think this is important information for him to know. A letter or a telephone call might be in order. He should be told of the limits on the relationship.

I cannot guarantee you will not lose the close friendship. This young man needs to decide how much of himself he wants to immerse in this friendship.

 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I am a single 25 year old female. I am currently involved in a long distance relationship. The man I am seeing with travels extensively and has wanted me to travel with him and move in with him. I didn't because of my values about living together before marriage. Sometimes, I don't hear from him for weeks sometimes months at a time. He says that never has he cheated on me.

He told me he wants to marry me in 2 years, but he then he joined the Navy! I haven't heard from him in 2 months. His family said they have heard from him once but they don't have his address. I don't think I can deal with his disappearing acts anymore. Please help me.

It sounds like you are involved with a man who is not settling down. You have become a touchstone in his life, someone he drops in on and comes back to occasionally, but really doesn’t or isn’t able to maintain an ongoing relationship.

Your letter reminds me of the old sixties ballads about the man who disappears and comes back and cannot be tied down and the women who accept these behaviors. You know the "Someday we’ll be together but I am a Travelin’ Man…." 

If you want to, you can wait around for two years, assuming you have a ring and a date. Do I think he will become more thoughtful and connected after marriage? I doubt it.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

How old should someone be before marriage? My girlfriend want to wait until we are done with college, I am not sure I want to wait that long.

I have met fifty-year-olds who are too young for marriage, as well as very mature teens. I generally go against the current received opinion and do advocate younger marriages, if the young couple have a marriage-supporting family in place. 

I do not support couples waiting two, four, or six years to complete advanced schooling, before marriage.   I also advocate the availability of married housing  on college campuses.  I think it is good for a couple to work together on future goals.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web;

I broke off with a guy over 10 years ago. I sent him a Christmas card this year. We ended up back in touch. We have twice cooked dinner at his apartment, and rented a movie. He is now calling and emailing daily. I am not sure where this is going. Is this a casual time with an old friend or will this turn into something more? Should I talk to him or will it scare him off??

I think you are right to want to protect yourself emotionally. You both should sit down and discuss your expectations. You initiated something here, and this man responded. I always think it is a good idea to try to explain what you want in a relationship, particularly with the person you hope to have the relationship! You both are in a unique situation; you have been down this path together before.

I would not worry about scaring him off. Frankly, if discussing "what are we doing and where are we going" sinks the relationship, you haven’t lost a thing. He was just marking time.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I am a 26 year-old man who has been dating a 25 year-old woman for about a year. We have talked about marriage. We have not been physically intimate. I think she is the "one", but I think that dating for several more months would make our relationship stronger and give us more experiences to fall back on in our marriage.

Recently, I have realizes my girlfriend does not feel the same way. She seems hurt that I have not yet popped the question. Many of our friends are in the midst of marriage preparations. Her family has a history of brief dating and short engagements before marriage. I love my girlfriend very much, but I don't want to rush into anything. Do you have any advice to offer?

I think it time for the two of you to have some frank talks about your future. Tell her your plans and hopes. Listen to her. Start with some specific planning together.

Since you are planning to marry her, would it make sense to begin an engagement? Your needs are to go slowly, and her needs are for commitment, perhaps a year’s engagement would be a good way to settle this to the advantage of both. Her expectations are normal. A young woman who has spent a year of her life with a young man should expect a ring and a date.

This is a good time to check out my web page: To: Questions and Issues to Explore with Your Beloved   Send me an invitation when you finally hammer everything out!

 


 

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, however, 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.

He is right, his work with me does show  his 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 16 year old boyfriend. 

I also feel like I am guarding myself around him because I am always the one to reach out to him. Whenever 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, a mortgage, pets 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 display. Some men are much more private than others are about affection. 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, as a honeymoon?

 


 

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. 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,

I have been engaged to a wonderful man for the last two years. When he met me he was sexually involved with a married woman. He broke it off right away.

The first year we were together she harassed us with visits, notes, and phone calls. Only by threatening her with telling her husband about the affair did she stop. I found some revealing pictures and a diary which my fiancé kept where he praised her abilities in bed. He immediately got rid of them and apologized for keeping them.

My fiancé and I bowl once a week and so does her husband. So she comes to the lanes half dressed, drunk and flirty. My fiancé ignores her and is wonderful to me. Whenever I see her it hurts. I feel inadequate around her. Should I ask him to quit bowling. He has been in the league for almost 20 years. Or do I try to forget all the pain associated with her. Please help.

I think it is time to find a different bowling league. You are talking about infidelity, harassment, and sex, all issues of the heart. This woman is sitting in the middle of your relationship every week. No bowling league is worth the strain this has on your relationship. By the way, when are you going to stop playing house and get married??

 


 

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?

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web, 

Sometimes I wish you lived in my pocket!

My boyfriend and I had a discussion where I outlined how he had disappointed me about a commitment he broke and his behavior at a party. I told him that I would not bring it up again. Since then, he apologized a couple of times, but seems to have kept his distance with me. Do you think he is upset with me?

I am afraid on your computer screen is about as close as it comes. Of course with the new hand-helds, all sorts of Dear Mrs. Web portability opens up…oh my!

I don’t know. Whenever a confrontation occurs in a relationship several things can happen. He could be ashamed or embarrassed about his behavior and needing to keep his distance. He could be angry that you called him on his behavior. He could also be evaluating the difference between both your value systems. 

Some men expect their girlfriends and wives to accept a certain level of acting out behavior as normal. Every time you set a boundary in a relationship, you risk. You can improve the relationship with the boundary or you can end it.

 

 

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