Archive for June, 2008

June 11, 2008

When is it more than just friends?

by Rod Smith

We are “just friends” is often the defense used by men and woman who are on the verge of an affair, or at least a liaison that will be hurtful to a spouse. We “just work together,” says the woman to her husband about a co-worker who gets all of her attention even on weekends. “She’s just work-friend,” says the man to his wife regarding the woman who sends him text messages every day.

You are not “just friends” if:

1. You spend more time and energy with this person than you do with other friends.
2. You share conversations at a more intimate level with this person than you do with your spouse.
3. You spend more time and energy thinking of this person and his or her problems than you do the issues you face with your own family,
4. You exclude other friends, or cannot invite your spouse to join you to also be “just friends” with this person.
5. Any part of being “just friends” requires secrecy or deception (like hiding sms messages, having secret cell phones or cell phone numbers, hiding letters, the need to delete emails, or needing to leave the room to talk).

June 10, 2008

Count your blessings if:

by Rod Smith

1. Your family and friends sit around the dinner table and tell stories you’ve been telling each other for decades.
2. You still talk with your spouse after having raised at least one child together.
3. You are friends with your parents despite their peculiar ways.
4. Your teenage son talks with you, and he wants you to meet his girlfriend.
5. Your teenage daughter brags about you to her friends.
6. You have had the joy of knowing your grandparents and your grandchildren.
7. You are able to have civil conversations with a former spouse.
8. You have learned that deciding to love someone who has hurt you offers you a greater challenge than harboring resentment.
9. You have benefited from the adage “Least said soonest mended.”
10. You know how to speak up for yourself.

June 9, 2008

A dad writes… about custody and visitation….

by Rod Smith

A dad writes…

“I am fortunate enough to have shared care of my two children (5 and 7). They are with me half of each week and half of all holidays. As the children are with both parents a good deal of the time, they feel at home in both houses and have friends at both locations. My ex-wife and I live 5 minutes drive from each other. We do not get along.

“I don’t like the arrangements of 'visits' to the dad every second weekend. In every case I have seen the child ends up seeing the fortnightly visit as a boring inconvenience. The visits are nothing more than a visit. The “visit” parent does not get to share and bond with the child as does the “main” caregiver. All the child’s friends are at the other parent’s place. These arrangements also become a trial for the parent who has the child every second weekend and do not promote a healthy loving relationship with both parents and the child often views the other parent as an inconvenience.

“I live 12,000 miles from the rest of my family so my children can have a dad. I am making the most of what I have to work with in regards to location and work opportunities.” (Edited for space)

Neil / Australia

June 7, 2008

Neighbor’s wife makes advances to me….

by Rod Smith

“People often feel it’s acceptable for men and women to develop platonic, non-romantic, non-sexual relationships with people they are attracted to as a friend. I’m not saying that having a friend of the opposite sex is wrong, but it can be dangerous. We are creatures of nature and run toward those who bring us comfort, joy, love and satisfaction. I’ve seen all to often where a wife will slip out on her husband and he would never know. My neighbor’s wife, a beautiful woman had everything going for her, but she would always make these advances toward me, and was serious about them. Had I not been married and if I did not have spiritual values I would have given in because ultimately that is human nature. I would see her with him, she would be a different person rarely speaking to me, When he’s away she’s a flirt without letup.”

You have not “given in” to the advances of your neighbor because you have a clear understanding of who you. Your neighbor’s confusion doesn’t rub off on you. Your strong boundaries have saved you from unnecessary, and inevitably painful, conflict.

June 5, 2008

How to tell all is not well with a close friend…

by Rod Smith

When a friendship is not going well, and a good discussion and reconciliation is necessary, passive-aggressive behavior can seep into a relationship. It is not always easy to identify. Here are some indicators. Find the behavior in yourself before you go looking for it in others…

1. You are spending less time with someone who is important to you without admitting that there is something wrong, or while openly suggesting that everything is all right.

2. You are using double-edged comments to or about this person. On the surface you appear to be giving a compliment while you are really delivering a jab or an insult.

3. You speak ill of this friend to a third party, or you speak only in glowing terms about him or her, in order to give others the impression that nothing has changed.

4. You find yourself over-committing to work or social events to make less time available to see this friend.

5. You are deliberately doing what you know this friend does not like (smoking in his or her company, arriving late, becoming uncharacteristically elusive).

6. You just happen to leave him or her off your invitation list.

7. Your head is full of what you think he or she has done, or not done, to you, and resentment and bitterness creeps into your thinking.

June 4, 2008

Jealousy does not go away with age or commitment…

by Rod Smith

“I want to tell people that I married a very jealous person. Jealousy does not get better with age. I thought when I dated him he would get better once we were married because then he’ll know I’m truly committed. It didn’t. I thought it would get better when I had his children because surely he would then understand my commitment to him and the children. It didn’t. I thought if we could see a therapist it would get better. It didn’t. I divorced him 12 years into the marriage. Until a jealous person sees the problem and wants to change, your life will not get better with him in it.”

Thanks for your powerful testimony. Jealousy is NEVER an indication of love. Because feelings of love can be so overwhelming, a victim of another’s jealousy can feel inordinately empowered to live with or to accommodate jealousy within a relationship.

Jealousy is an individual matter, and, until he or she who has the problem is willing to face it (and it is usually a matter of control), neither person in the relationship will be free to give or receive all the potential a loving relationship can offer.

June 3, 2008

Sleeping dogs? Do I talk to my son about his father?

by Rod Smith

“My son’s father and I broke up before I found out that I was pregnant. There were minimal monetary contributions for 3 months after my son, now 13, was born. He wanted me to abort but I refused. My son has never asked me about his father and so I have never told him anything. I wonder if I should bring up the subject or let sleeping dogs lie. I’m

Email me, I am listening.

Email me, I am listening.

afraid that if I bring it up, then he might want to find him and his father might say he doesn’t want to meet him, which might make things worse. He is married and has other children. My phone number has not changed so he has no excuse for not getting in touch. I wonder if my son ever wonders about him but as far as I know, he never says a word even to his friends. Do I bring it up or wait until he is ready to ask questions?”

Sleeping dogs usually wake up hungry! What you avoid will be more powerful than what you face. Talk to your son. Tell him everything you have told me – but for the suggestion of abortion. He doesn’t need to know this.

June 1, 2008

Forgive before it is asked? Are you not encouraging poor boundaries….?

by Rod Smith

“You often mention ‘forgiving’ or ‘forgiveness.’ Is this blanket advice even to follow when the person who has perpetrated the wrong has not apologized or asked for forgiveness. If you forgive someone who has not asked for forgiveness, are you then not letting that person get away with their bad behaviour and thus not putting a boundary in place? Surely the person will repeat the behaviour if they have not requested forgiveness?”

I do encourage people to forgive and sometimes include “even before it is asked of you” and “forgive, but don’t forget.” The act of forgiving is essentially for the person offering the forgiveness, and not one receiving it. When I forgive you for a real or perceived wrong against me, I am doing something good for my inner being. I am acting in a manner that extinguishes the emotional toxicity from within me. That you too are made free is a mere byproduct of mutual benefit.

Wanting another to ask (or beg, or plead) for forgiveness is to be somewhat punitive, which lacks the essence of authentic forgiveness. That I am able to forgive you and not allow myself to be similarly hurt by you in the future is where “forgive but don’t forget” comes into play.