Archive for September, 2007

September 12, 2007

You will know it is a healthy beginning to a long-term relationship if…

by Rod Smith
  1. The friendship has a slow beginning (“too much, too soon” is seldom a positive sign)
  2. He/she has a full and interesting life BEFORE he/she met you (“you gave my life meaning” is hardly a compliment)
  3. He/she is capable of healthy dialogue with his/her parents (unresolved parental conflict is very likely to surface in subsequent intimate relationships)
  4. He/she doesn’t lie for the sake of convenience (even “tell him I am not here” is unacceptable to a healthy person)
  5. He/she maintains some of his/her childhood friendships
  6. He/she gives time, talents and treasure to a cause in which he/she believes and to
    the voluntary service of others
  7. He/she enjoys a passion for something unusual or unique
  8. He/she is quick to offer and request forgiveness when misunderstandings occur
  9. He/she is self-aware (not self-absorbed) and pays careful attention to the manner in which his/her life impacts others


With a little modification I’d suggest those who employ others might use the list as a guide to assess the emotional stability of prospective employees.

September 10, 2007

Ex interferes in our relationship…

by Rod Smith

I have being dating a man for two years. I love him and I would love to marry him. His ex-girlfriend keeps interfering in our relationship. I found her business card in his car three months into our relationship but I know his friend gave it to him. I got over this and believed him. Recently I found her identity document in his car and he says he has no idea how it got there. He did admit he saw her that day but they had no physical contact and she didn’t jump into the car, yet he has no explanation as to how her identity document got under his seat in the car. I really want to stay in this relationship and make it work. What should I do? I’m clueless as to how to try to make it work or will I ever be able to get this girl out of our lives.

Rod’s Reply: And this is love? Scurrying around under car seats for evidence of a visit with a former girlfriend! You are not ready for each other, for marriage, or even for monogamous dating. There are good men out there – I’d suggest you move on in the hope of finding one.

September 10, 2007

Should I write a letter to my in-laws about how they treat me……?

by Rod Smith

Would it be fair to my husband to write a letter to his family in order to distance myself from them? I have had hostility and rejection from them for 25 years. The sting of rejection has now become unbearable and I feel uncomfortable in their presence. They never ask how we are or make conversation with me or enquire after my loved ones. I feel their resentment and have never understood why. Would this break down my marriage, as my husband is passive, peacemaker and will not confront them on this issue, so I feel isolated, misunderstood? I am a good, caring, kind person, but they way they treat me is conflicting with my values and feel I need to put a voice to my feelings. (Minimally edited)

Rod’s reply: Writing a letter will not be understood (or appreciated) and it will only serve to offer fuel to the rejection you already experience. Share your painful feelings with a trusted friend.

Remain polite to those who treat you so poorly without going out of your way to engage, or to disengage them.

You are concerned about what is fair to your husband while he is passive (unfair) regarding your pain. Perhaps will come the day your husband will see that passivity can be as abusive and damaging as violence.

September 6, 2007

Quick course in improving all your relationships…

by Rod Smith

Pass it on if you find it helpful

Pass it on if you find it helpful

Get out of the middle of relationships (issues, concerns) that do not directly involve you. Your spouse’s relationship with your parents (your husband’s relationship with your son) does not involve you. It is close to you, and it has an impact on you but you are not part of it!

Resist speaking for others, explaining people to each other or being “communication central” within your family. Allow people to speak for themselves and to speak to each other without your help. Your spouse will not learn to speak to the children if you keep on doing it for your spouse.

Extricate yourself from unnecessary binds (inappropriate loyalties) by refusing to harbor secrets and gossip even with your best of friends.

Get beyond blame. Take full responsibility for your life and every aspect of your life. While you may have had a lousy childhood (or a drunken parent, or a verbally abusive grandmother) you are now an adult who has, despite the failings of your nurturers, to embrace life to the full.

Forgive everyone for everything – it’s a whole lot easier than accumulating grudges.

September 5, 2007

He sets rules about visiting my parents…

by Rod Smith

“I have been married for two years and we have had a constant battle about how often we visit my parents. My husband put in place his rules of ‘creating appropriate distance’ with fortnightly visits, which are often pushed to visits every fourth week. I thought we’d visit both sets of parents weekly but that idea was quickly terminated. It is really hard. My husband is a bit of a control freak because he used to tell me that I should behave like someone’s wife instead of someone’s daughter! I am just sick of this childishness. If he loved me, he would make the effort that is required every couple of weeks for my sake and stop creating ‘rules’ that just apply to my family.” (Edited)

I’d suggest you visit your family at will, and, having extended to your husband an opportunity to join you, if he refuses, proceed alone. Do not be his press secretary = direct questions regarding his absence to him. Persist in this manner and you will be behaving as a wife and daughter! While your husband will probably not “get it” (“adolescent men” seldom do) your determination to avoid his control will do your husband and marriage a wonderful service.

September 4, 2007

Biological mother wants to undo adoption….

by Rod Smith

Four years ago I met a woman who had a son (9) I then adopted. She is suing for divorce after one heated argument. My wife indicated in divorce papers that my adopted son doesn’t wish to continue our relationship or see me yet she also stated visitation be allowed. She reneged on visits and left me with no alternative but to seek relief through the courts. My adopted son has not said anything to me but I believe his mother is influencing him. He is a teenager and we enjoyed a wonderful relationship until the separation. His school progress has suffered. I fear the biological parent is using the child as a tool. Now the biological mother is using the adoption to say that I shouldn’t have the same rights. Do you have any advice? I feel I may not only lose my relationship with my adopted son, but that the biological mother may seek to undo the adoption. (Edited)

What is in the child’s best interests is difficult to discern! Undoing legal relationships is generally not a good idea – but it seems to come easy to the mother. The more you push, the greater resistance you will face. A wise lawyer will be able to offer you better guidance than I can offer.

September 1, 2007

He is moody and jealous but my family love him…..

by Rod Smith

“My boyfriend annoys me. He is jealous and petty and he is moody. But my family loves him and so I stay with him. I did not realize this until I took a long hard look at what was keeping me with him. Now he is talking marriage and I am thinking things will get better. It didn’t start this way. He was more outdoor-ish, more adventurous and not at all jealous when we first started going out. Then things started to run down hill when the relationship got serious. I suppose he couldn’t pretend forever and now I am seeing the real person he is. Please help.”

Considering your family so loves him, perhaps there is another member of the family who’d like to pick up the relationship I hope you will soon terminate.

I’d suggest you do not continue to date someone because your family loves him or in the hopes things will improve once you marry.

Announce the end of the relationship directly to your moody man and then inform your family about what you have done.

Be sure you know what you want before you implement your plan. Families have an odd way of getting what families want, and I hope in your family’s case, it is not at your expense.