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Personal Advice Column

Dating Archives

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Dear Mrs. Web,

I am dating a man who wants my 7 year old daughter and me to move into his home. He has 2 kids, 11, and 13. He has a horrible relationship with his ex-wife. They fight instead of talk. They share the custody and parenting of their children. The schedule is very erratic, depending on her work schedule. No one knows where the children will be staying from week to week.

He is happy with this situation because he gets to see his kids. The children, however, have no stability or responsibilities. Their grades are in the basement, D’s, and F’s. My daughter has weekly commitments with her father and our lives are scheduled and stable. I think living there would be very chaotic for us. He says he cannot change the situation, and really wants me to live with him, but I don’t think I could manage… Please help!

There is no issue here. You would be nuts to move your daughter into a chaotic, unscheduled environment, and double nuts to move your daughter into someone’s life without the benefit of marriage. So, don’t do it.

This man has a chaotic life, failing children, a nasty relationship with his ex, all swirling about him and he wants another family to move in? He has too much on his plate as is. 

You are having an excellent preview of your future with this man: chaotic. This living arrangement does not sound like a good fit for you or your daughter. It is not fair to your daughter to be placed in such chaos.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web, 

I love your columns! I am planning to marry the man of my dreams this August. Although his parents are wonderful, I'm a little concerned about the role that they still play in his life...particularly his mother. She still does my fiancé's laundry, cooks his lunches daily, and cleans his house. What do you think?

Thank you for your kind words about my site. Please spread the word, the more visitors to Dear Mrs. Web, the more I can offer.

I would be concerned too. Have you talked to your fiancé about what he expects from you when you are both married? A man who has his mother perform these mundane daily tasks often will expect his wife to step in, or even worse, continue to have his mother do them. Have you visited my Topics to Explore Before Marriage?  Find out what your future might look like now.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

You occasionally mention the courtship model of romance. What exactly do you mean by that?

Courtship is a method of finding and choosing your forever life-mate. It has become popular in the conservative religious communities and is slowly spreading as teens and adults find they need a better way to develop and evaluate relationships.  

Courtship requires people to get to know each other as friends within each other’s family settings. Courtship requires both participants to rely on and work with other trusted adults to discern whether this particular person would be the best person for a future marriage and family.  Courtship helps people plan their futures together.  

There are many forms of courtship models currently available. Some require large amount of direction and intervention by a parent or other trusted adult and others have the parents involved but not directing everything.

I like courtship because it takes the sexual pressure off people. It asks you to bring potential life-mate into your home and into your life so you can assess them in the everyday, not on dates. It asks you to spend time with the person in only group settings thus keeping the sexual pressure to a minimum. Additionally, it has you talking directly to another adult or group of adults you respect and who care about you about the relationship.  So, lifetime decisions are not made in a alone and in a romantic thrall.

I hope you like this introduction. There is a lot more about it out on the Internet, check my links page.  My popular Topics to Explore Before Marriage is excerpted from the popular courtship introduction, Of Knights and Fair Maidens.

Courtship is becoming popular and I expect it will make a bigger impact in the coming years. I think people are tired of bouncing from relationship to relationship and marriage to marriage.  Nationally, people are looking for ways to better ensure a lifetime commitment.  We all know the old dating and serial relationship methods don't work.  It is time for courtship.   As usual, Dear Mrs. Web is again on the cutting edge of social change.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

Do men and women handle certain situations differently? An acquaintance of ours committed suicide. When I told my husband he said, "How stupid. He had everything going for him."  I quickly said that it wasn’t stupid, it was sad. My husband became very quiet. Did I come on too strong?

When I state my opinion and have it overridden and corrected by someone else, I tend to become quiet too.

On some levels, both of you are right. Some men tend to look at the surface of the story and see a situation that doesn’t make sense and therefore earns the label: "stupid."

Some women see the pain in the story and name it "sad." Both are opinions. We each have the right to our own opinion. You don’t have to agree with an opinion, but you do have to respect it. Not the content of the opinion, but that he has it and it belongs to him.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

There is a girl I like who has a boyfriend.  He plays on a team with me. He and I get along real well. She asked me if would I go out with her and I said that I would.  I asked her about her relationship with her boyfriend.  She said it was on again off again and she didn't know where it was going. 

I don’t really know what she wants from me. We are from different races but it doesn’t seem to matter to her. I don’t know whether she is serious. What should I do?

Well, she asked you whether you would go out with her. No one can read anyone’s mind about how she really feels. However, one can take a good guess by listening to her words and watching her actions.

I get a sense you don’t want to be toyed with. So, I would be frank with her: If you want to go out with me, you go out with no one else. Tell her to make up her mind.

I am a proponent of a more courtship-based philosophy of dating. Look at my bookshelf for good books by Josh Harris and others.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I have known a guy for years. We have been friends for a long time. He recently asked me out four times in a row. He always used to say he would never date the same girl twice unless she was "the one." I don’t think anyone has ever felt the way I feel about him!! Do you think he thinks I am "the one?"

I don’t know. I think you are going to need to ask him. People sometimes say things that may have been true in the moment, but are no longer true. I would hold off saying anything to him though, until I had more indication of his interest and commitment rather than four dates. I do want to assure you, just about everybody feels the way you do occasionally.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web. 

What do you think of a person who flirts while in a relationship and the psychological profile of that person?"

I don’t provide psychological profiles. However, I do have an opinion about it. People who flirt, generally like or need attention from the opposite sex. Flirting can also be a way a woman gains power in a given situation. Flirting can signal availability or lack of self-control. 

In some areas of the country, particularly the South, flirting can be part of the way women of certain classes relate to all men; it is understood there to be all in innocent good fun.

I will be frank with you, I consider any man or woman in a relationship that isn’t firmly engaged (ring and date) or marriage, to be somewhat available. Therefore, I would not consider flirting totally out of line.

However, I feel that a betrothed couple and of course, married couples, have a commitment that precludes opposite-sex attention-getting maneuvers. A betrothed who flirts would be a poor marriage bet, because it would show lack of control and judgment. Moreover, a flirting husband or wife with a roving eye would cause great pain to a family. However, there is no reason for people who are in "relationships" or steadily seeing each other to close down their options completely.

That said, I would find a woman who flirts with others when dating someone to be rude. The old "dance with the one what brung you" rule says it is best to pay attention to the one you are with now.

 


 

Dear Mrs Web,

My girlfriend’s birthday is coming up and I don’t know what to give her. I want her to never forget the evening. Do you have any ideas?

Young women love flowers and jewelry. An attractive ring and a bouquet of roses are old and respected ways of telling a young woman you want to be forever remembered in her heart.  Dear Mrs. Web still swoons when she remembers the special piece of jewelry Dear Mr. Web bestowed upon her prior to their marriage.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

How should singles with children manage dating?

I think unwed and divorced parents need to separate their children completely from their dating life. Children think differently than adults and cannot understand spending time with someone then having them disappear. 

Remember how young ones react when their best friends play with others?? It is much harder for children to understand change than adults.  

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web, 

My boyfriend of 4 years told me he was invited by his cousin to go to Florida in two weeks. I think the cousin was going to be doing a lot of girl watching, partying, and going to the beaches. His cousin is recently divorced and very bitter towards women. He is 48 and I wish he would act his age. He has a real chip on his shoulders and a mouth to match.

My boyfriend said he is not going because he is too busy at work. I am hurt because he didn’t discuss this with me; I was never included in their plans. Am I insecure?

I would guess you didn't enter the discussion because your boyfriend’s cousin invited him, not you. You were not invited because the cousin wanted to hang around with a guy and do guy things like burp and …well… whatever.

Going to Florida and girl-watch and party is how some 48-year old men act when divorced. I assure you it would not have been fun to go to Florida with a bitter divorcee. 

I think the important part of this whole thing is that your boyfriend chose not to go. Perhaps the two of you should plan a trip together, a honeymoon, perhaps?

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web, 

How appropriate is it to call my boyfriend of four years? I have been taught not to call men. However, occasionally, not often, he does not give me a good morning call. I wait until lunchtime to give him a call. Is it appropriate to call him?

Yes, I do think it would be appropriate for you to call him occasionally. It sounds like your relationship has flourished (4 years) by you allowing him to take the lead. Therefore, I wouldn’t change things too much, but I would do the unexpected occasionally.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My boyfriend was called as an expert witness in a lawsuit. The night before he was to appear the attorney representing the case called and said there was a major error in the report my boyfriend submitted. The lawyer was upset and said he hoped this would not cripple or kill the case.

This comment made my boyfriend a total wreck. He called and asked me to visit with him. I tried to encourage him but he seemed quiet and distant. I just waited for him to talk and then I responded. Did he just need quiet support? Could I have done more for him?

I think that you could do no more than to be there when he asked, listen to him, and respond when he spoke. A person’s thoughts can be far away when a problem besets them. Being present and supportive is the role we play in those circumstances.

You showed you cared during what must have been a difficult time for him.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My friend started dating a woman, Susie. Her best friend, Jean, and I are old friends. We began dating too, more for a lack of anything better to do. I think I am attracted to Susie. She seems to really like me too. I think we are falling in love!! 

If I make a move, I could lose the friendships of Jean and my good buddy. What do I do?

You said you thought you and Louise are falling in love. But you really haven’t talked to her about it yet, have you? Let us not assume. Check it out.

When individuals become emotionally attached and detached such as this, problems happen. Dating and going out are, frankly, a way of shopping around. People get hurt. That is why I prefer courtship. You are going to need to decide what relationships are valuable to you and choose accordingly.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My future in-laws are buying us a home in time for our wedding this May. His parents have made one condition: that the house would be in my fiancé’s name only. This makes me feel like they don’t trust our relationship.

This is essentially a pre-nuptial agreement. My concern for you is future planning and asset building. Since a house is the one biggest asset most families accumulate, you should not be shut out of it.  I have a number of letters in my mailbox every week about  married 40 year old men who fall for younger women.  

You and your fiancé should come to a mutually beneficial agreement and your fiancé alone should deal with his parents.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I've concluded that in order to have a social life via the net and other singles functions, I need to spend about 20 or so hours a week to plan, organize, search etc. With the 60 plus hours I devote to my business, already this is not possible or will I have any energy left to actually attend functions.

Therefore, with my business to run it would be better off if I were to hire a professional matchmaker to accomplish this. Do you know where I might find someone to hire who would enjoy conducting a campaign on my behalf?

When I think of matchmakers, I think of people who will search in their ethnic or religious databases for a mate within the ethnic or religious enclaves. Orthodox Jews, high caste Indians, and some Arabs use traditional matchmakers. I am not aware of any more broadly based matchmaking services. Please let me know if there are any.

In the meantime, there are dating services. For the more traditional there is a new, well-recommended service called Singles With Scruples. I think that says it all.

Cutting back a bit at work to find the right woman may be the best thing you ever do. Because you cannot have a family and such a hectic schedule, so this would be a good time to lean how to gain some balance in your life.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My fiancée called yesterday and we discussed getting together that evening. We agreed to meet at his apartment so I went home, rushed through my evening tasks, and went to his apartment. He was not there so I let myself in, fed the dog and settled in. Two hours later – no fiancé so I left a voice mail on his cell phone and went home. I have not heard from him and I am boiling mad. This is the second time this has happened.

If he had been saving small children from a blazing building, or in a severe car accident, well, I guess I would understand – this time. However, if he was having a great time with the buddies and losing track of time, or involved with a project and didn’t even call, well, I think it is time for THE TALK.

The TALK consists of discussing how you feel when you are forgotten: "When you forget me I feel unloved…and it hurts…I need to know…I get so worried you are hurt…." 

Make it clear that this episode is a major event for you and causes all kinds of pain. Make him aware of the costs of his behaviors. Do this calmly and clearly. Then drop the subject. If he continues to be forgetful, you have to decide what you will and won’t tolerate.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I am in a relationship and I don't trust my partner. We have been together almost 9 months and I am 8 months pregnant by him. I know that I really didn't take the time to know him. That was my fault I have fallen in love with him, but I don't know how to let him know that I don't trust him without being rude or mean about it. Can you help?

You have opened your heart and your body to this man and are now carrying his child. You have trusted your innermost being to him, as well as the creation of one of the most important people in your life – your child. 

It seems that you have become irrevocably involved with someone who you really don’t know very well and you have some fears and concerns. You have a baby on the way and a lot to decide about its future, your future, and your relationship with its father.

Trust is a foundation of any relationship.  I think the best way of talking to someone about concerns and feelings in a relationship is to use "I statements." For example: I sometimes feel I cannot trust you because… or when you say that I feel… It is never rude to talk about relationship concerns when the conversation is respectful.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

I have a boyfriend who barely talks to me. We never see each other and he never e-mails me. It's like he’s ignoring me for some reason. I don't know what to do. A lot of my friends say that he doesn't like me but I don’t believe them. What do you think I should do? Do you think I should dump him?

Yes. Absolutely.

 


 

Dear Mrs Web, 

There is a man I just can’t stop thinking about. He flirts with me and we enjoy each other when we see each other  at the local bar. About a year ago, we went home together one night. Since then, we had two other nights together. We don’t date, or even talk on the phone. We just see each other at the bar or in the neighborhood.

I discovered recently that he is engaged. A friend of mine confronted him and he denied it, but I through others, I now know it is true. My problem is that he is soooo nice to me. He flirts and compliments me. I am so upset he is involved with someone else, but I can’t get him out of my head. I am desperate. What should I do?

You have seen this man at a local bar and over a year’s time you had three sexual encounters with him. No commitment, no connections – just sex. His emotional commitments are elsewhere and you feel betrayed.

My dear, you opened yourself emotionally to a bar pickup. No strings sex is just that – no commitment. Just because he is nice, doesn’t mean he has anything but sexual interest in you. Most men are nice with the women they want to use sexually; it gets them farther. What I can’t comprehend is why you are desperate over a person you were involved with in casual sexual encounters.

It seems you have mistaken sex for affection or even love. Just because someone has sex with you doesn’t mean that any affection exists.  

Sex can drive one's heart.  That is why sex is precious. Only have sex when you are in a relationship with someone who loves you, who cares for you, and who will appreciate the gift of your body and emotions.

I think you need to readjust your dating methods. First, become emotionally connected, and then have a sexual union - preferably in the bonds of marriage.

You need to stop obsessing about a man who gave you crumbs. You may want to list out what you want in a loving, committed relationship and hold out for it. There are plenty of wonderful, men out there who are looking for commitment and love. I know, they write me.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web, 

I am involved with a guy I used to date in high school. He is newly divorced and has three children and I have two kids. He loves to talk about his kids. He says he always has loved me and that I was his first love. He says he never loved his ex-wife. He is a good man and cares for the kids while I am at work. He treats me like a queen. Do you really could still love me after all these years?

I don’t know if he really loves you. I stopped doing long-distance mind reading.  Dear Mrs Web considers commitment to marriage prime evidence of love.  Dear Mrs Web also does not consider it healthy to have a boyfriend involved in your children’s lives!

I certainly hope he is working and you re not giving him a free financial ride.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

My boyfriend is a professional who is working with a group of men on a lucrative, long-term project. The men held their first meeting at a local, well-known chain which features waitresses not burdened with an excess of clothes. I don’t like the idea of him working in such surroundings and have asked him whether he could change the location of subsequent meetings. It seems disrespectful to our relationship for him to be in those surroundings. We had an argument about it. What more should I say about this issue?  Am I insecure?

I don’t think you are insecure. There aren’t too many women who would be eager to have their beloved snacking in the shadows of nearly naked women.  I think you are having a normal reaction.

I would say kindly: " I love you. When you go to restaurants featuring undressed women, it feels disrespectful to our relationship. Our sex life, in all its aspects, is sacred to me. This creates a wedge in our lives."

You cannot forbid him, you can only tell him what is on your heart. Your boyfriend will make his own choices. If he makes a choice you do not like, you will need to take a hard look at the differences you both have in the values you hold. The you will need to decide whether you can live with them.

 


 

Dear Mrs. Web,

How long should a couple date before marriage?

I think it depends upon several factors including your ages, the length and depth of your acquaintance;  what your parents and siblings say about an impending marriage;  and how well both your families are incorporating both of you into their family structures.

You need to know each other as a friend, as well as a beloved. I do not believe in long engagements, but I do believe it is important for both members of the couple to take responsibility and do their homework about each other. Marriage is a life-long commitment so it is important to have agreement about the major issues in life. Use Dear Mrs. Web’s Questions to Explore with Your Beloved to help you learn more about each other.

I believe couple should talk at length with all the people who know them well and listen to the information that they receive. The love-struck are often blind.

 

 

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