2. Do our long-held, individual, long-term, personal goals and personal dreams somewhat fit with each other?
3. What do we each imagine is possible for us to achieve (service to the poor, overseas travel, learning foreign languages, learning new skills) within this relationship and potential marriage?
4. How do we each perceive our individual and mutual responsibilities to our parents and extended families if we marry?
5. Which of us is better with money? If we marry, how will we organize our money? Will we keep everything separate or will we pool all our resources? How will we decide what we buy, how we buy, and when we buy expensive, but necessary items needed by a new family? Which professional will we choose to help us with the wise use of our resources? [Do not enter a relationship with someone who is in excessive debt.]
6. What does each of us think about religious observance? How will we decide on where and how we will worship?
7. What help do you need from me in order that you may achieve all you have ever wanted to achieve with your life?
I am a person with a history to be respected, a present to enjoy and a future to build. I am fully capable of living my life to the full. I do not need a man or a woman to make me complete although a respectful, equal and mutual relationship will enlarge my life. I will not be sidetracked by unhealthy relationships again. I will not build friendships, go out with, or become intimate with anyone who does not regard me with utmost respect. I want equality, honesty and trust in my relationships. I am better off single, alone and lonely than I am “sharing” my life with a man or woman who lies to me, cheats on me and disrespects me. I will start to move my life in a healthy direction despite the difficult hurdles that are in my path.
I am married to a very jealous man and, although I am completely faithful, I am accused of all kinds of things all the time. What can I do to help him?
Nothing. Jealousy is an individual pursuit. The one who is caught in its relentless grip is the only person who can address it. If you are a faithful person you must leave him to deal with his own feelings of jealousy and take no responsibility for his feelings at all.
If you try to convince him of your faithfulness, a jealous person will ultimately interpret your convincing as confessions. If you try to placate him, to reassure him, you will only have to repeat all your reassurances the next time he feels jealous (and to a greater extent every time).
Nothing you have done causes your husband to be jealous, and no amount of dancing (submitting) to his pathology (think of jealousy as a virus!) will result in its disappearance. A most unloving response on your part would be to behave as if somehow it is you who makes him jealous. Do not curb your natural, innocent behavior in the fear that it might stimulate his jealousy. Jealousy has already got him; don’t let it get you.
“My sister-in-law is very judgmental when it comes to how I treat my children (8 and 6). She rolls her eyes behind my back, she makes subtle comments, she sighs; she tells other relatives that she wonders what “some of the children in the family” will become. My husband just laughs it off and says she’s been this way since she was five years old. Do I say something or do I just let it go? (Shortened)
Reasonably sane people usually possess an innate knowledge about the rearing of their own children. I’d suggest you trust yourself, and trust your unique children-rearing approach enough to find the mirth within the intrusive “dialogue” you have with your hyper-vigilant sister-in-law.
So, yes, say something, and say whatever you have to say often. Just make sure whatever you say is usually funny. Use your voice to playfully expose her passive aggressive style of communication. A warm, gentle, and playful approach to your apparently stressed sister-in-law is unlikely to foster and change within her, but it is likely to let you off her caustic hook.
A man or woman who has an open, friendly, respectful, and playful relationship with his or her own parents will seldom have problems with his or her in-laws.
Extra-marital affairs are symptoms of a troubled marriage and not the cause of trouble in a marriage.
The teenager who is open and friendly and kind to his or her parents is laying the foundation for a happy and open and friendly relationship with his or her future spouse and children.
When children “take over” a family, and become the center or the glue of a marriage, relational carnage (with the marriage and even possibly with the children) waits in the wings.
The couple that engages in sex, but never discusses it, will finally end up discussing (or arguing about) why one or the other partner has lost all interest in sex.
People who can stand up to each other (resist poor treatment; declare what he or she will or will not do; speak up about what he or she really feels) are more likely to have a lasting relationship than people who relent or give in to each other’s wishes in the name of love.
“You’re good looking. How come nobody ever married YOU?’
I was 20. The question was asked by Mickey – I’ll never forget his name – at a wedding. I was maid of honor for the fifth time that year for friends who had achieved the honor of someone marrying them!
I felt so shamed. So unworthy. Embarrassed.
Indeed. Why hadn’t anyone married ME? The simple answer, although I had dated a lot in high school and college, was nobody asked.
The age at which you get that question has been raised. You don’t get the interrogation until you are about 25. That is when if you are not “hooked up” in some way – in an exclusive relationship, living with someone or engaged.
Your mother is saying, “Give him some time. He’s a nice young man. Maybe you will learn to love him. Maybe he has friends he can introduce you to.”
My feeling is after the first or by the second date, you know if the person is right for you. And, please. Men never introduce you to a buddy. It is not done. If one of their friends takes an interest in you, they are dust.
Special note here: Do you know who will introduce you? Mothers. No, not your mother. Other mothers. Get involved in your church or temple – not just the singles group – with the committees. They are full of mothers who are desperate because their handsome 30 year old sons are not settled down. They are dying for a sweet, educated, adorable young thing like you. Mothers are still the matchmakers today they were in centuries past.
Your friends say, “Well, at least you’re dating.” So? You are just spending time with “Mr. Right Now.” You are wasting time and energy. Go to the gym. Read a book. Write one. Get involved in charitable organizations. (Get to know more mothers!)
I have had several young women in my life coach practice. They have a plan.
This seems to be the approximate drill:
22-25 Out of college. Establishing a career. Looking for the “one”
25-26 Career in place. Serious dating with one person
26-27 Engaged and moving in together
27-28 Getting married
This is not a discourse on trashing goals. I believe in goals. They work.
But it is a suggestion to not let the schedule you have set govern your decisions. Don’t settle for someone because he suitable and is on your time line and seems “good enough.” Loving someone a little is not good enough. Wait.
We have all heard that the divorce rate is now just over 50%. But, this week, the Chicago Tribune reported an interesting statistic. The marriages, on average, lasted eight years total. Do you remember the old film, “The Seven Year Itch?” It’s not a comedy after all. You will have two children by then.
I married at 21. The basis for the marriage was that he was handsome and the captain of the football team and I was a cheerleader. Great reasons, right? But the real reason was because everyone else was getting married. Oddly enough, given this latest statistic, it lasted eight years.
Society’s insistence that we are coupled does not stop as you get older. The Noah’s Ark mentality never stops!
I had been a widow exactly two months when this conversation took place in my office. I kid you not. This is a scene from a script I am writing but it is absolutely true word for word. So, you adorable young women out here – you are not alone!
Corinne enters her office.
Two ELDERLY LADY clients are seated. They stand to greet her.
ELDERLY LADY – ONE
We came in personally to pick up our tickets to Florida. You look wonderful.
ELDERLY LADY – TWO
Sorry to hear about your terrible loss. How are you, dear?
Corinne starts to answer but the ladies continue to talk.
ELDERLY LADY – ONE
You’re a young, attractive woman. You’ll find someone. Don’t wait too long. A woman without a man is a terrible thing.
Corinne hands the ladies an envelope with their tickets.
ELDERLY LADY – TWO
Take my advice. Look for someone younger this time. They last longer.
As they leave, one of the ladies turns back to Corinne with a confidential whisper.
ELDERLY LADY – ONE
Are you seeing anyone yet?
I have neighbors in their 90’s. God is the only one who knows how long they have been married. I am sure that in all that time, they have had their ups and downs.
They are not in perfect health but they have no extra help. He helps her. She helps him.
Today was a beautiful day and as I glanced out of my window, I saw them sitting outside in the sunshine. They were seated side by side on the patio, both reading.
But they were also holding hands.
I want some of that. Don’t you?
“I hate to say it to women but I can guarantee your men are cheating on you. Look at the obvious: women tend to dismiss cheating due to the pain they feel. I am a man and my mistress can be right next to me as I speak with my wife on the phone and my wife never ever suspects an affair.” (Edited punctuation and a few words only)
And Sir, whoever you are, given time enough, and given that you do not change your dark behavior, your world will come tumbling down. Your brief letter, which asks no question, tells me a lot about you, and nothing at all about the men on whom you project your deceitful lifestyle.
I am in a “friendship” that is too much. A co-worker wants all of my time. She wants me to phone her to see if she is having a good day (she’s an office away!) and then when I do she says I am only doing it because I know she wants me to – and that the phone call is therefore not real! I have a husband and children and she wants me to be her best friend. Almost everyday there is an issue about my not being a really true friend. Is it acceptable to cut this relationship off?
Yes. Cut it off, or establish very firm, non-negotiable boundaries. Do it firmly, kindly, gently (“quick and clean”) and with the full knowledge that you are going to be considered the “bad guy” once the break is made or the boundaries declared.
This person wants (needs) from you what innocent and casual friendships are not of capable of offering, and the pressure for each of you is destructive. Be assured that it is very unlikely that yours is the first relationship with this person within which she has demonstrated similar symptoms.
A good mental health professional could assist your troubled “friend” – but allow her the space to discover that for herself.
1. My girlfriend’s flirting (with other men) landed me in jail.
2. He must have known I was hungry and yet he did not suggest we have lunch. Does this mean he doesn’t care?
3. She knows I don’t like how she eats and yet she does it anyway.
4. He thinks about other women although he knows it hurts me.
5. She says she loves me but I know she doesn’t mean it.
6. He never keeps strangers waiting but I have to wait for him all the time.
7. If I don’t pick up my clothes it puts her in a bad mood when she is right there and she can pick them up herself.
8. He knows I don’t like his mother but he visits her anyway.
9. She devotes all her time to the children and there is nothing left for me.
10. He is the kind of man who needs to keep close contact with all his old girlfriends.
A reader writes…
“Many wives complain that their husbands expect them to be servants. The cause is, in my opinion, quite clear. Many mothers, including those in marriages not destroyed by divorce, run around their children (more so in the case of boys) to meet every request at the drop of a hat: picking up dirty clothes, running errands and being at their beck and call. This extends to mothers putting their own living standards aside so as not to upset their kids. I know this from many of my relationships (I’ve been divorced twice) and from comments from divorced friends. I have seen how the mothers place their kids on pedestals and the kids take full advantage. When ‘little Johnny’ marries he expects his wife to do the same. The sad part is once kids move the mother’s life has a huge hole and she feels shortchanged. I am pleased my son (19) is in the USA and has to sort his own life out.” (Minimally edited)
I’d suggest this dad is on the ball with his insight! Everyone benefits when children assume helpful roles in their families and develop healthy work ethics. Making “Johnny” clean his room at 12 may help him better love his wife at 40!