Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Q & A: "I am now 20 years old, and have never had a date in my life"

Q: I have been with my boyfriend for about 4 years. We seem to have an extreme passion and physical attraction and commitment, but we are complete opposite in the things we like to do. Over the years he has been unfaithful more than several times but has been loyal for a few years now. Little things have been coming up and I am having doubts about him. Now I am having dreams, thoughts and feelings about other guys. I am not sure if this relationship is really going anywhere, but I don't want to give it up to only realize that it was a mistake. Plus I know he is madly in love with me and committed to me, but I don't want to hurt him. Help! What should I do? --— Hopelessly Confused about the Future

Dear Hopelessly Confused about the Future,
Have you always been complete opposites or is this a recent phenomenon and a great excuse to say adios amigo? What's really bothering you? Do you want out of the relationship or are you letting your fears run you? Since you didn't elaborate on the "little things" that are creating the doubts, I'm wondering if your "second thoughts" aren't based on the fear of getting too close for comfort and taking the relationship to the next level. Are you just a wee bit commitment phobic, so you think the grass might be greener with someone else?

The grass is usually greener on the other side when someone takes the time to water it. Healthy relationships have three components, passion, emotional intimacy and commitment. You've got two out of three going for you. Try creating some deeper emotional intimacy between you two and see if the grass doesn't get greener.

Q: I have been dating a wonderful woman for the past two months. Every time we go out we have an incredible time. There's chemistry, connection and definitely attraction. I have been taking the courting advice to heart, as she wants to take things slowly because she just came out of an intimate relationship. I can tell she is starting to have feelings for me and tells me how much she enjoys our time together. However, she makes very little time for us to get together. She is always busy on the weekends with friends (I believe she is above board). We have been on 10 dates and I would like to talk with her about exclusivity?

In those two months, although we have not been intimate, we have kissed passionately and been very affectionate with one another on the dates we've had. How do I approach the subject of exclusively when she is fearful of being hurt again? --Curt

Dear Curt,
You get my vote for being one great guy for courting her! You're sensitive to her vulnerabilities and her need to feel safe in this relationship. You're doing everything right, but before you have the "we have to talk" talk about exclusivity, start by becoming her Saturday night date. Plan special and memorable dates (it's called sweeping her off her feet and making her feel oh so "special"). When you ask her out for a weekend date, tell her that now she'll have two things to look forward to at the end of the week – the weekend and seeing you. Keep doing what you're doing; it's working. Now the goal is to become an integral part of her weekend and her life

Q: I've been fooling around with this guy and he's just what I want. He's very sweet to me. The only thing is he has a girlfriend who he has one kid by and who is pregnant again. I'm also friends with her. He says he doesn't want to tell her until he finds another place to live. What should I do? -- Andrea

Dear Andrea,
This is the kind of man you want? A man who cheats on his pregnant girlfriend and the mother of his children? You might want to rethink the qualities you are looking for in a partner. One thing I know for sure, if he cheated on his girlfriend with you, he'll probably cheat on you too.

Get a dictionary and look up the word friend. What planet are you from? In my world, friends don't sleep with their friend's boyfriend and father of their children

Q: My boyfriend broke up with me. He claims I don't want to work with him to build a life together, like he thought I did, all because I keep a friend that he is not fond of. He says she is "trailer-trash" and not a good influence on my life and our life together. He went out of town, and I told him that I was going to go out with her. He told me we were through.

I changed my hair for him, let him pick out every piece of clothing I am now wearing, and never watched my favorite shows (because he had the remote). While we were still living together, I printed out a conversation I found on his computer (for which I paid dearly by 1 month without sex and major lectures, and the promise never to go into his computer again without him next to me) where he talked to women online. He met and talked to women online more than once. He talks about my integrity, well what about his? Should I confront him?

He still wants to be friends and wants us to be cordial to each other. We belong to the same country club and so we will run into each other. What should I do? Confront him or keep my mouth closed? -- Blondie

Dear Blondie,
This guy is a real control freak. He doesn't want a girlfriend, he wants a Barbie doll. I'll tell you what to do. Be glad and grateful that you're not with him anymore. As much as you want to get even, get over yourself and move on. Keep your mouth closed, but smile and be an intriguing woman when you see him.

Q: I'm seeing a great guy. He is everything I have been looking for...sweet, caring, tender, funny...the list goes on.

When he was in university, he had a crush on a friend of mine. I mentioned this to the friend a while ago and she has decided that she is now interested in him. She emailed him and he replied, asking her out...before he and I got together. She has told me that he doesn't really "do" anything for her, but he sounds wonderful from what I'd said about him. She hasn't yet replied to his email about a date (she is slow in replying by habit), but when I asked him about it, he said that he would go out with her "to be polite" since he already asked her. I don't think he should.

He and I haven't been dating that long and we are not exclusive (but we haven't been seeing anyone else), but I don't want him to go out with my friend. 1) it's too weird and 2) although he says the crush is long over, I think he still holds a torch for her.

Should I just drop it? Should I tell this friend point blank that he and I are an item? (She knows I like him a lot and that I see him, but she doesn't know that we are dating)

What should I do? I really like him and I'm getting more attached each day we spend together. We have good emotional intimacy, we have passion (although we have agreed to take it slow) and I guess we have some commitment to each other (he has already said he would like us to be together for a while).

I'm not sure if the problem is me. In the past, I had a really detrimental and negative relationship. I've worked hard to not let it affect me with this person, but sometimes ghosts come back to haunt me. What is the best thing for me to do at this point? -- Kattisha

Dear Kattisha,
First of all, congratulate yourself for facing your ghosts and demons of relationships past. I know you don't want him to go out with your friend, but you can't tell him what he can and cannot do. All you can do is decide what is in your own best interest and act accordingly. Your female intuition about the torch being alive is probably correct.

As for your girlfriend? Well, you know how girlfriends are! They talk all the time about their love lives. Tell her the truth, that you're dating him, you like him a lot, and for the sake of your friendship, ask her not to reply to his email. A friend doesn't trespass on someone else's territory.

I wouldn't make an issue out of this because you'll make him wrong, or at least he'll feel made wrong. However, should your girlfriend join the ex-friend list by saying yes to the date, in a lite ‘n lively way, state your preference (don't lecture) that he not go out with your friend as it's too close for comfort. Tell him it feels weird to you that he would date you and your friend at the same time. The good news about your relationship is that you have emotional intimacy and honesty going on between you. Continue to keep those lines of communication open. They will strength the bonds between you. Don't allow your fears to get in the way.

Q: Just recently my boyfriend and I broke up and I started liking his best friend. Would there be any chance of me being able to date him, or is that too much against friends and the dating guidelines? -- Breanna

Dear Breanna,
Let's put it this way, although I've done it…in the past, I don't recommend dating an ex's best friend. With so many men in the world, why did you have to pick your ex's best friend? If you're really interested and can't live without him, and you're on good terms with your ex, ask him how he feels about you going out with his friend. If he's cool with it, fine. Otherwise it could get real messy.

Q: I have this problem (don't we all have some type of problem?). Anyway, I am now 20 years old, and have never had a date in my life. It's not like I haven't tried to find a date, it's just that everyone I ask gives me some excuse for not going out (i.e. seeing someone else, can't date people I work with, etc,). And I honestly wonder, is there something wrong with me? Why can't I get a date? I mean, girls tell me that I am a sweet and caring person and sometimes they even tell me I am the nicest guy they have ever met. So why can't I get a date? -- Daniel

Dear Daniel,
Let me reassure you, there is nothing wrong with you. You just asked out the wrong women. Stop wondering. If you continue to think that there may something wrong with you, you'll start behaving as if there is actually something wrong, and you'll make sure you never get a date. And the downward spiral will keep turning. You don't want that, so give it up now.

You did the right thing. You wrote to me. I'm going to tell you what to do. Stop asking out women who aren't available. I'm giving you a dating exercise to do. Select a date on the calendar by which you will have your first date. Then start a goal notebook. On page 1 write the following sentence: I am having a date by _______. Then start asking available women out and keep asking them out until you get a yes. Dating is a numbers game and is a form of sales. You will find available women everywhere - in your local church or synagogue, in the self-help section of bookstores (great way to start a conversation is to ask a girl which self-help book she would recommend), at gyms working out, playing sports, at Laundromats, coffee shops like Starbucks, and the grocery store. Your goal is to have a date, not find your soul mate.

When you start talking to a girl, be attentive, complimentary, and make her feel special. Then tell her it seems like you two might have something in common. Ask her if she wants to continue this great conversation over coffee (in which case she becomes your first date) or ask for her number and tell her you will call her. Then call the next day and ask her out. Good luck. Let me know what happens.

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