Control Issues

QUESTION: I'm a strong, married, black woman who is used to being in control and taking control. Sometimes, I think my husband forgets that I like to be treated as a woman and need romance and feminine things done for me, like holding doors open, letting me order first at restaurants, surprising me with flowers. I sometimes feel that I got better treatment when I was the girlfriend than when I became the wife. I know that my "take charge" personality probably contributes to this problem, but I was used to being on my own and handling things by myself for several years before we got together. What can I do to compromise and maintain my independence while learning to let my husband take control of things sometimes?

GARLAND: I'm glad to see that you recognize that some of your husbands shortcomings in the area of gentlemanly romance may be the result of your "take charge" personality. That's not to totally excuse him from his duties though, but it plays a part.

He's probably gotten so used to you opening your own doors and doing the little things that you'd wish he would do, that things are just the way they are between you. Normal. Once something gets set in motion, it tends to stay in motion. That is until it meets an irresistable force. In this case, the old "Honey we need to talk..." No five words will stop a man in his tracks faster!!!

I think for this question, the answer should be - just talk to him. If he's your husband, he's probably already proven to be a decent guy - just talk to him one night over dinner, be straight forward and cool about it and I'm pretty certain, he'll come right around for you. Good Luck!

Chuck: This sounds like you want to have things both ways. Clearly, you relish your role as a strong, take-charge kind of woman. But you also want to reserve the right to be feminine and vulnerable and be romanced. Don't get me wrong. You're not wrong for wanting to have things both ways. But don't expect your husband to automatically know when those times are when you want to relinquish your control.

Roles tend to be set early in relationships. Who takes out the trash, who sleeps on which side of the bed, whether the toilet seat is going to be up or down. And like so many other things in life, once you're labeled a certain way, it's hard to change the way people think of you. Trust me, I know. You may be a victim of your husband accepting you a certain way, and failing to see you any other way.

Since you haven't stated differently, I'm going to presume that your husband loves and respects you otherwise. If you haven't already, make your concerns known to him. And if he should neglect to come around, or fail to hold doors, etc., call it to his attention. But not in a nagging way. God knows men don't want to be nagged. He might surprise you.


When "Just OK" Isn't OK

QUESTION: I've been dating my boyfriend for over a year now. He's a wonderful guy who treats me with a lot of respect and really seems to love me. There's just one problem - he's just "ok" in the bedroom.

The last boyfriend I had was a dog, but the sex was outta this world. My boyfriend has a big penis, but doesn't seem to know what to do with it. Plus he rushes foreplay. It's like as soon as he's ready he thinks I'm ready. I really don't know if I have the patience to teach him or not, but I'm tired of faking orgasms and pretending I'm enjoying sex when I'm really hoping he'll climax and get it over with.

Should I talk to him and try to work this out, or just go ahead and nicely dump him for greener sexual pastures?

GARLAND: Well, it all depends on what you really want for yourself. If you just want some hot and heavy, ripping the sheets off the bed, stinky - sweaty, athletic, jungle sex - right-this-very-minute. Then dump the new guy, and call up the ex. He's a dog, so regardless of who he's screwing this week, I'm sure he can fit you into his schedule.

But, if you like what the current guy is giving you; the respect, the decency, the love - then let him know you need some changes in the Sex Department.

Don't look at it as "teaching him" because that makes it seem like he's a child. He's a man - treat him as such and he'll be more receptive to what you have to say. I'm willing to bet that the reason he's falling short in the bedroom is because he's thinking the way a lot of guys do when it comes to sex. "A-B-C-1-2-3 used to blow Monica's mind, so I know it's gonna' blow every woman's mind!" Then he brings ABC123 to you and you find yourself so bored that you're mentally writing your grocery list for the week during the lovin'.

This is what I think you should do. Wait until a few minutes before you know you're going to have sex. Don't do it hours before, or over the phone, or over E-Mail - it has to be just as things are about to happen. Otherwise he'll forget! Just as sex is on the horizon, tell him, "I want to try something different... I want you to do this... And then I want to turn like this... Then I want you to move like this..." Present your desires to him, and take charge in certain areas. See, this will open his eyes and let him know that just because Monica liked ABC123, you are different and you may need some XYZ789! Don't think of it as teaching, just work with him and let him see and feel what turns you on. If he loves you like you say - you should get good results. If this doesn't work though, and he still wants to be rough-and-tumble with the lovin' - just wait 'till he wants some more sex, then hand him the lotion and tell him you have a headache!

Chuck: See, this is what men with average-sized penises have been saying for years: If you don't know what to do with your 9 inches, you may as well have 3. Clearly the case here.

I don't know how old your current boyfriend is, but he sounds like a stereotypical young guy. Get on, get off, and only pay passing attention to your needs. Some guys grow out of that, some don't. It depends on what kind of partners he's had before you.

Before you dump him, give him a chance to get it right. Without letting him know that you've been doing some Meg Ryan/When Harry Met Sally stuff in the bedroom, tell him that you haven't been getting a lot out of your sex life as it stands now. If he cares about you, he's going to want to correct that. You tell him that you might need more than that one Will Downing song to get ready. You might need half the CD. Brothers need to stop treating foreplay as if it's doing their taxes, some unenjoyable chore. Done right, they should get something out of it, too.

And if he's not receptive, or plays you off and still does the same thing, reserve the right to exercise the "nuclear option." Just before he's about to jump in without giving you proper care, just stop the whole show, and let him know what you need before things go any further. That should get his attention.
Even if you do decide to pursue greener pastures though, I suggest you stay clear of the old dog/boyfriend. There are plenty enough fresh dogs out there without going to an old one.

Making things right.

QUESTION: I was dating this guy for about seven weeks not too long ago. We were having a good time, he treated me well and we hadn't slept together yet. I could tell he wanted to but he didn't force the issue. One afternoon he called me at work and told me that he had just run into an old friend, a woman, that he hadn't seen in a few years and he was going to have drinks with her that evening and he'd call me when he got home. We didn't have plans that night so I think the only reason he called was to put her in my face. I didn't answer the phone that night. I didn't take his calls for over a week and when I did, I lied to him. I told him that I had met a really great guy the night he went out with his friend. I implied that me and this guy had slept together a few nights later and would be spending more time together. I just told him that because I was mad. He didn't seem angry or hurt, but he did stop calling and coming around. That was two months ago. I want to call him and tell him the truth. I'm miserable without him. I just don't know what to do. Then I see this blog that you have, I can't believe it. What do I do?

GARLAND: I'm sure that as long as Chuck and I are writing this blog, the word we'll use the most is COMMUNICATION. You need to talk to this guy, right now.

However, let's back up a few steps. Games will get you no where! You thought your friend was throwing this other woman up in your face, and I'm willing to bet that he was just trying to be legit and respectful. He knew he was going to be out with another woman, and he just wanted you to know it was innocent and he had nothing to hide. Lying to him about another man was absolutely shameful. And, believe me - he was angry and he was hurt! He was probably a really decent man, because a lot of guys would still be leaving you nasty voice mails, two months later.

You need to really collect your thoughts and be ready for a harsh rejection, because you MAY be in for one. But, if you really miss this guy and you want him back - you need to strike now. Go to him, or call him and just be honest. You might get hung up on or you might get walked away from or you might even get cursed out. But you have to come clean and be honest - tell him how you felt, tell him you lied, tell him why, tell him you miss him and want him back. It's going to be hard for both you. You're gonna have to bare your soul and he's gonna have to wash away the images of you in another man's arms, and he's gonna have to wash away the image of him being made a fool of. He's going to feel like fool for making you his top priority for all those weeks only to have the thoughts of you giving yourself to another man after just a few days.

It is going to be rough though. Personally, I've been in a slightly similar position, where I thought things were going good and suddenly the carpet got pulled out from under me for reasons I didn't understand. Then weeks later I got a phone call from the carpet yanker. She just opened up to me and her candor started the healing we needed.

I strongly suggest you reach out to him today, NOT tomorrow if you really want him back. If he's as decent as I think he is, you are not the only woman with him on your radar. Okay - hurry and read Chuck's reply and go pick up that phone!!!!!

Chuck: There can be a lot of tit-for-tat in relationships. But it looks like you kind of tit-for-tatted your way out of one.

Garland believes that your friend was just trying to be honest and respectful when he told you he was going out with another woman. I think it's just as likely that he was attempting to push your relationship along. Since romance and sex were not big factors in your friendship, he might have thought the appearance of a rival might make you face your feelings for him and realize that you really wanted him. But you took the bait too well, and came back with not just a rival, but a sex partner. Knowing he had no claim to you in that area, of course he decided to leave you alone.

Yeah, I say communicate, but stop playing games, too. Too often the prize you get at the end isn't the one you wanted.

Call this guy as soon as you can, if you miss him that much. It's not going to be easy for you, even if he hasn't moved on.But the very fact that you've come clean with him after all this time should weigh in your favor. Good luck. Let us know if things work out.


Ex Sex?

QUESTION: What do you think about having sex with your ex if neither of you are in a relationship?

GARLAND: Hey, we're all adults here. Right? What's the harm in a little sex with the ex? A little naked game with the old flame? A little night-time joy with the old boy?

Personally, I think it's cool. Dangerous - but cool.

Sex with the ex when both of you are unattached is cool as long as you both agree on the terms and conditions. If you can both do it, walk away from it and still be okay mentally and emotionally - I say - get candles, get honey, get handcuffs, get busy!

But come on, let's be real here. This is somebody you cared about, somebody that cared about you. You've got memories, you've got history, you know each other in and out. Is it really going to be just sex? Maybe 1 out of 5 times it is, but those other 4 times? Be honest - it's going to be hot, up close and personal lovin' with somebody that knows where all your buttons are. Most people can't just walk away from that. Could you?

And then you have the whole man / woman thing. You ladies are wired into your emotions and us guys are wired into our bodies. There's a good chance you both will likely walk away from return sex feeling entirely different. If you're tight enough with your ex to consider sex with him, you're probably better off than most people that have broken up. Do you want to throw that away? Sex has a funny way of messing up stuff like that. So, if you think for a second that either of you can't handle it, walk, run, ski, roller blade, bike or wind surf your way to someplace he's not.

My opinion: There are worse things than sex with the ex. Just make absolutely sure your head is straight and his head is straight... uh, focused... make sure his head is focused. You have to really think long and hard before you commit to something like that. Yeah, yeah - I know 'long and hard' was a poor choice of words...

CHUCK: On the face of it, there's not a thing wrong with you getting together with an ex-boyfriend or husband if you're both unattached. Sex under those circumstances can be hot, fun, stress-relieving, good for the complexion, all that.

HOWEVER... Here's a couple things to consider before you start turning pages in your little black book. First of all, in terms of birth/STD control, treat this guy just like a stranger. You may think, "oh, it's cool, he used to be so clean I could eat off of him." Things may have changed. I know someone who decided to have a little harmless fling with an ex, and, well... they got burnt. Oops.Take nothing for granted in that area.

Secondly, make sure that you're both clear that things are what they are. Unless rekindling your relationship with this guy is something you want to do, get it straight with him that you two are just hitting it off for a night. Trust me, honesty like that from women most guys will appreciate.

Because if you don't get things straight, dude could end up catching feelings. If those feelings aren't reciprocated, and he's just that kind of crazy, stalking brother, prepare yourself for a voice mail full of hang-ups and cut-up doll parts on your front step. You've all seen the movies. Of course, you can establish your boundaries, and the guy may still get clingy. But look at the bright side: You're just that damn good.


Child Support (Mild Support)

QUESTION: Why does my ex-boyfriend, my baby's father, lie when I ask him why hasn't he paid child support. His response is "It is being taken out of my check." However, I am not receiving any child support and he doesn't seem concerned it if is being taken out and I'm not receiving it.

GARLAND: Thanks for being our first question! I guess above all, be glad that this guy is your "ex." Any man that doesn't seem to be concerned about his kid's welfare is most likely a SCRUB, so you're better off without him. Some guys get all caught up worrying that the child's mother is spending part his support money on herself. So, to be on the safe side, he just doesn't give her anything. But, if in fact money is coming out of his check and he doesn't care where it goes - that makes him STUPID and PATHETIC. This type of guy doesn't have a clue as to what it takes to be a parent, a man, or a decent human being for that much. Walk the other way when you see him!!! (Maybe even - RUN the other way!)

Don't bother chasing after him on the phone or at his job or at his place - it will only bring out the worst in this dead-beat. If he doesn't care about money out of his check, and he doesn't care about his kid - then you mean less than nothing to him as well. Seeing you face-to-face, trying to explain how wrong he is for not caring and not doing anything will most likely convince him that YOU truly need his money for that big shoe sale next week. Looking into the eyes of the mother of the child he neglects, it's very unlikely that he'll see you buying diapers, and cereal, and Batman pajama's - instead he'll see that he's a bum and loser. He'll get mad, fuss, cuss and run away.

But, there could be one more thing going on here. This guy could have another kid out there. Your child support might be leaving his check, but it might be ending up in another woman's bank account. Either way, he'd probably still care less. You might want to look into this though.

Basically - Just get LEGAL - You need to stop by your local courthouse with your child support order in hand and let them know that you're not receiving the money your child is due! That would be your best move. That - and not stressing over a dead-beat.

CHUCK: Thanks from me too for providing us our first question. I don't possess any personal experience in this area (child support), but I'll take a run at it. First of all, I think I should acquaint you with a principle that arises frequently when couples separate: NOT MY PROBLEM. As in, "I'm moving out of our apartment with three months left on the lease and your name's the only one on it? NOT MY PROBLEM." "Some of your DVDs went missing when you moved out, including your copies of Scarface and Friday? NOT MY PROBLEM." "You didn't get your child support this month? NOT MY PROBLEM."

Parties in former couples take opportunities to score points against their exes by acting aloof and callous all the time. We all tell ourselves when we break up that we're going to act maturely towards the other person. Some of us even mean it. Some, like your ex apparently, don't even try.

I find it amazing that he is so nonchalant about his money not reaching you and his child. I mean, for all he knows, it could be going in the pocket of some corrupt court clerk. If just for selfish reasons, he should want to make sure that his hard-earned money is going where it's supposed to. Assuming he doesn't already know what's up.

Garland's right on in suggesting that you don't want to approach him directly about the child support, at least for now. You've seen the response you've gotten. Your best bet is pursuing your money through the court system, where you'll at least get a fair hearing. He may give you some crap about "going to da White Man on him," but you know what? Don't even dignify it.

But neither one of us has really answered your actual question here, why your ex-boyfriend lies about his non-payment of child support. My answer's simple: He's a dick. Sorry.


What are Men Thinking?

QUESTION: "Why did the two of you start this blog? And, why should women listen to you?"

Garland: From my perspective, we started this blog because far too many good women are allowing themselves to be held back and held down by undeserving men. Now, don't think this is going to be a man bashing blog, because it's not! Chuck and I are positive guys, we're family guys, and we're good guys. We know that there are MANY good men out there - strong, decent men that will show ladies the respect they deserve. What we intend to do with this blog, is help women separate the good men from the bad ones. Many times, many frustrating times - we've seen women miss the most obvious signs of trouble in dating and relationships and we've gotten tired of it. So, we want to help. We want to share men's insights into dating, relationships, sex, love, lust and everything in between.

Why should anyone listen? Because the opinions and advice we'll give - will be candid, proven and most of all reliable. Come back from time to time and check us out. You'll see that Oprah, Dr. Laura and Dr. Phil have nothing on Chuck and Garland.

Chuck: Ditto. No, really, too often have Garland and myself seen women (and men) acting in ways counter to their best interests and crossing their fingers and hoping that things work out for the best. I've always thought that everybody could do better than that.

I look forward to this being a positive experience for us. And I hope to maintain an open mind as we exchange ideas. At this point, I feel that the lack of three things can bring about the failure of most relationships: communication, trust, and common sense. As time goes on, I may change my mind.

What are my credentials? Um... What are YOUR credentials? Leave me alone. Seriously, I'm no psychologist or anything, but I am happy in my relationship with a strong Black woman, and I want to do what I can to help other people to that same happiness, however they define it. At any rate, if we can't offer any enlightenment , maybe we can offer some entertainment. Please send us any questions or feedback you have.