Yes, I'm Married. Why Aren't You Pursuing Me?

QUESTION: Hi - I have just found out about your blog and I think it's so cool that women can get a man's view honestly and insightfully, so kudos to you both.

My question is this - I am in my mid thirties, married but we have problems and though we still share a home - primarily because of the kids - we talk very little - no drama at all, more like a quiet death. I feel both of us are unsure and maybe scared to actually DO anything about it hence we continue to drift along. Serperate bedrooms, no sex, no affection. It may sound crazy to some but for now we are stuck in it. Also our culture (we are not American) tends to frown on divorce so..
Anyway, I started a new job recently and there is a guy there who I got friendly with - incidentally we are from similar cultures. So we would chat occasionally and he was always willing to listen and give advice as he has been working in the organisation for a while, once or twice he helped smooth over a minor issue I had with another senior colleague. But - he generally always acts professionally. I mean I do not expect him to proposition me in the office but I have been pretty used to guys making it clear they were interested (before I married) so it's been a bit of a letdown. Then one day after a staff meeting he asks me to accompany him to pick up files in another department, from there we got talking for maybe 40 minutes at the carpark (we had dropped off the files and he kept saying "wait up for me" so I did. We had a great time just laughing and talking and I was friendly enough. Then nothing. Back to Mr Professional and cool thereafter.

So weeks go by and I'm kinda cool as well. Then another day we got talking and at some point I jokingly said "gosh you're kinda hard to read, I've been working here for months and I thought especially as we are from the same place that we would be great pals by now, but we're not!" Now I said this in a laughing way. He then came back with "No I'm really nice and more fun out of the office, I tell you what lets go catch a movie next week". So I said ok. And he was like "you really mean it" I said sure. Well he texted a couple of times to confirm the movie and eventually we did meet up to watch it. Boring movie. Anyway after the movie I had thought we could go get dinner/drinks and actually get to know each other better but he said he had a headache so we cut it short and went our serperate ways. No follow up calls or anything. At work he is basically the same though I told him I was moving to a new department. I had a small crisis during my last week and texted him to ask advice. He replied with "so ask". I rang talked about it he was supportive then we started chatting about other stuff. He then said we should go out again for dinner or dancing soon and I should tell him when I was ready. I said cool. In summary, I never heard from him again. I have left that department.

Now a couple of extra stuff - at some stage early on he did ask if I was married - I said yes but there were issues but I did not feel I could share them with people I did not know well. We did not talk about it again. I had hoped it would come up the night we went out so I could clarify things a bit but he had a headache. Another thing is - I firmly subscribe to the teaching that a man has to pursue the woman - it's part cultural, part my upbringing..I feel I made it pretty clear through subtle signals - and going to see a movie! that I was interested. So I guess if he did not follow through he was not into me. Maybe the marriage thing scared him off - but at least he could have found out a bit more...Oh well, what do you both think? My marriage situation sounds odd to some but there are people in similar situations - they lead more or less serperate lives, it suits them, they may see other people discreetly but for various reasons do not actually formally separate. Of course - if either partner falls for another person it may change things. I never lied to this guy but did indicate that things were not as they seemed.


GARLAND: Thanks for your question!

I can respect folks for trying to live up to their cultural expectations, but I can't help but feel that any man and woman who are legally married yet only pose as married for the sake of the kids are somehow doing more harm than good. Kids are extremely smart and they know mom and dad don't really love each other, and they'll probably develop a skewed interpretation of what a happy marriage should be. Would you want one of your kids to be stuck in your unhappy situation in 15 or 20 years? Or would you tell them to be happy and worry not about who in your community will be offended?

I bring that point up, not to be the judgemental jerk that I can be but to offer a slightly different view on your choice to have a roommate that looks like your husband. Again, I can respect culture and tradition, but you only get one life to live, and you spending the rest of your life unhappy and lonely so some folks that know your mom and dad can be pleased might not be best for you.

But back to the guy at your job... he's probably not going to try to get much closer to you. Maybe HE wants a girlfriend that IS NOT MARRIED. Maybe he wants someone who's heart he can have without committing adultery. Maybe he wants to be able to date and go ANYWHERE he wants with a woman without having to worry about who sees them, and most of all he probably wants to date a woman without the fear of her angry husband murdering him to defend "his home". I could go on and on. Sadly, while you are probably a fine woman and a great companion for some lucky guy, as long as you are married you can never be another man's EVERYTHING.

And there is a worse side to this because if anyone that knows you are married and sees you talking, flirting or being close to another man - regardless of your culture - the word will spread like wildfire and it will be only a matter of time before your husband finds out. Then HE will be justified in pursuing the divorce from his "loose" wife, and then you will carry a tarnished reputation for yourself and your kids in the eyes of all of these people who's opinions you hold so dear.

My advice is to think carefully about what will make you happy in life and what you are willing to sacrifice for that happiness.

CHUCK: I concur. I admire you and your husband trying to maintain a veneer of domesticity for your children. However, my feeling about cultural traditions is this: They should not be adhered to past the point of common sense. I think your loveless marriage, that has you looking at the workplace for affection and companionship, has largely passed that point.

Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for. And I believe it's quite possible that your kids see that you and their father are going through the motions. Barely. So while you think you may be doing them a favor, for the reasons Garland stated and others, you may be depriving them of a view of what a truly loving relationship is like. To say nothing of what you're depriving yourself of.

While I think it is good you were able to connect with someone who was, on some level, able to show you what you're missing, you should not feel upset or wronged that he has not consistently pursued you. YOU ARE MARRIED. He may be attracted to you, but is not going after you. And it could be for any number of reasons. Moral reservations. Fear of a Pissed-off Hubby. Reluctance at becoming the subject of water cooler gossip at work. But you have no right to expect anything of him as long as your home situation is what it is.

I'm going to tell you to do what I always do: Talk to your husband. Maybe he's going through what you are, and is attracted to someone but cannot go further because of your marriage. But the primary difference between you could be simple. Men can live in limbo for years, staying in situations where there is no life advancement for fear of the unfamiliar, or having to shell out some money. Women are different in that respect. Most women feel the need to move on at some point. Maybe now is the time.


A Bad Man

Question: Hey there Chuck and Garland...Awesome blog and the posts are very insightful and full of good candid information. This is a long post, but please bear with me. I'm trying to give two sides not just mine.

My question is about my husband. I asked for a separation about three months ago after three years of dealing with his verbal abuse. We have 15yrs together and 3 children.

Every three months on the dot I dealt with criticism and his work stress that he took out on me. If he had a problem with his health or work, I was the "punching bag" he'd focus on something that irked him (the house not be clean, me not handling the children more firmly, not keeping my car clean (because he's paying the note mind you), and so on) He left out of the country for a year and I spent that whole year happily doing my thing. The kids and I did a great job functioning, although we missed him. He got back home and I kid you not, two months later, I endured a round of criticisms and attacks on my "flaws". I bawled like a baby. My self-esteem was shot.

Finally, he left on business for two months and on the phone he started telling me that I don't pay enough attention to him, don't do the things "his boys" do, and so on. So finally I asked him, "well with all of these problems I seem to be having, do I even make you happy?" His response? "Sometimes". I asked, well can I get a percentage (because I could not believe it and I deal with hurtful things by laughing it off). He gave me percentages (I asked for it right?) I hung up totally feeling like crap on the bottom of his shoe. Worthless and not much of anything.

When he got back home, I confronted him. I told him that what he had been doing to me was abusive and I should have recognized it sooner, but I guess I was denying that this was happening to me. He thought I was being sensitive. That pointing out things that I need to work on is not criticizing. It's reminding me to "straighten up my act" so to speak. Well, I asked for a separation, because I did not feel good about myself or our marriage. I asked for counseling for himself as individuals and us together. I wanted promises that this would not happen again. He said he could not promise me that and he was not cool on doing therapy on his own. So I told him I would leave the house and go home to my family for a while.

I could not be intimate with him, because he associates intimacy with everything being okay with us. But also, because I was still to hurt by his words to connect to him on that level. We continued to live in the same house and talk, but he kept pushing me to make a decision about us. Although I was trying to get through this hurt that he'd caused me, he was doing nothing but wanting to know if we were going to make up soon or was I going to ask for a divorce. I told him I just wanted a separation, I didn't want to make a decision like that.

Well, over the holiday, actually before then, I found out he had been seeing another woman. He began staying out late on the weekend, coming home the next morning, and having intimate conversations. I found his cell phone bill and called the woman. She said he told her that we were getting a divorce. When I confronted him, he denied they were seeing each other and that they were just friends. Well, he didn't' know I talked to her already and I knew he'd been sleeping with her for over a month. It hurt me very deeply that he had done this to me. I told him that it was over and I was leaving for good.

Well, not less than 24hrs later, while I'm packing up the house, he's now asking me to not leave or divorce him. That he doesn't want to lose me, that he can't see his life without me. He was sorry for the hurt he caused. I can see he is sorry and regretful, but is he serious Chuck and Garland? That he was trying to fill a void because I wasn't touching him or being intimate with him. This is over the space of a month and a half before he actually slept with another woman. Another month and a half that he'd continued sleeping with her until I found out.

I had to ask him, if he was me what would he do? He said, he would try to work things out because we have time and had been through allot together. I'm scared! I am seriously hurt and frightened being in this relationship. How am I supposed to be in this relationship feeling like this? What is wrong with him?

Bewildered on the West Coast

GARLAND: Thanks for your question!

Please keep in mind that Chuck and I are not trained professionals when it comes to this kind of stuff. So, please think about what we say, but don't base a life changing decision TOO HEAVILY on our advice.

You said you were going to try and give both sides of your situation, yours and your husbands, but that is rather impossible since you really don't know the REAL cause of his actions. I doubt if what he tells you his causes are anything close to whats truly going on inside his head and heart.

Personally, I'm a firm believer in the fact that just because two people get married that doesn't mean they were meant to get married nor that they have to stay married! If your husband is killing your self esteem and treating you like a child [because he sounds like an angry father scolding his child about cleaning the car, and the house, and the kids] then maybe you and he aren't meant to be together. Frankly, you are putting up with a hell of a lot of nonsense, and this cheating mess really raises my eyebrows. With HIV and AIDS quietly running rampant across the country, cheating is more than an emotional or fidelity issue, it is major health and life risk! Whatever you do, you should make any long term decision on your marriage contingent upon him taking an HIV test and allowing you to read his unopened results FIRST! He may be killing you in more than just an emotional way.

Can he change? Can he really want to turn things around? Yeah, sure. Maybe. Technically anything can be possible. He could turn around and become a stellar husband, then again he could flip the script and show you a darker side of him that you never even dreamed of.

Through all of this, no matter what your choice is, you have to make sure you don't become "A Mission Woman." A Mission Woman is the woman that latches herself to an unworthy man and finds it her Mission in life to take his abuse and take his cheating and take his beatings and take his shortcomings and take his insecurities all in an effort to make him a better man; all in an effort to let her suffering be the price to pay for chance that some loser could become a winner. If your man is ain't worthy, then your choices are fairly clear.

CHUCK: Wow. Just wow. I got a mental picture just now. It's like this man's mission in life was to destroy your self-esteeem, and I just pictured him on the deck of some aircraft carrier, with a big banner flying behind him saying: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Some questions are hard to answer. For this question, the hardest thing for me will be containing my outrage about this man.

Garland is on point with his answer, except in one respect. If you were a "Mission Woman," hopefully by now you would have seen that there is no redemption for this creep, he has taken no opportunity to improve himself, and would have aborted that mission by now.

Where do I begin? Let me try here: The phone conversation you had with him, when he decided to open up about his unhappiness with YOU, should have been your cue to vent your unhappiness with him. Rather than hanging up feeling beat-down and drained, you should have told him how you felt then. You couldn't have asked for a better time.

But I guess it doesn't matter when you wake up. The important thing is that you did. Ultimately, The best statement of his feelings for your marriage was not his obligatory pleas that you give him another chance. It was that he sought out another woman for sex after A MONTH AND A HALF of separation. That's what's called adding insult to injury.

Is he serious about wanting to get back together with you? Sure. But don't think it's for selfless reasons. Your husband has not demonstrated himself to be very altruistic person. He seems concerned with his own needs above all else. So he may have realized that it won't be as easy to find someone as willing to take his crap as you have been over the years. He may know that having been caught cheating is not the best way to go into a divorce. Either way, Bewildered, life is too damn short to spend any more time with this bad person than the 15 or so years that you already have. Cut him loose. Don't give it a second thought.


You're Not My Daddy!

Dear Chuck and Garland

Great work! Frank advice! I don’t know if my beau was hinting when he showed me your blog! Whatever I am keen on getting your advice on this troubling situation.

I am studying in the UK and my son, my spouse and the housekeeper are back home. Problem is, my boyfriend and my son just seem not to be able to get along. Reason I think is that my son and I lived together for a long time after the death of my husband and he saw this new man as an intruder here to rob him of his mother. I think I have managed to get him to accept that the love I have for him is different from the love I have for my spouse. After all he is 15 years old at the height of puberty.

What distresses me most is that whenever there is a problem between the both of them (remember I am overseas) my spouse keeps saying he is leaving (twice in 3 months)! He hasn’t left though! The truth is I am deeply in love with this man, love him dearly and he knows. I think it is safe to say he loves me too. I keep pointing out to him it is most wrong to let a child determine the future of the relationship of two adults. His position is that he has tried to reach out to the child with minimal success. He has really tried though on an adhoc basis – not sustained; one off events of going out then period of little or no interaction – just the bare minimum communication. At the same time my son has been rude and disrespectful. I have done my bit, given the distance, of trying to get my son to understand his responsibility in ensuring a positive relationship.

His position is that he loves me but he cannot deal with my son. What is your take on the matter?


CHUCK: That's a rough one now. But I think the problems that your son and your "spouse," are having are mainly premised on the fact that they are forced to live together while the one person that they have in common (YOU), is not around. It's sort of like an experiment you're running.

Your son is frank and feisty. That's good. But fifteen-year-old boys can also be self-centered and prone to moodswings. And when he's miserable, and you're not there, who can he take it out on? Your boyfriend. I promise you, if you were there, you'd be getting some of this choice attitude, too. And it appears as though he is only prepared to extend himself a little to your son. He seems to think that trying to bond every now and then ought to work, and your son should be won over to him by now. Only on TV are things that easy.

While I agree that you have a man who must love you for dealing with what he's dealing with, he can't keep threatening to leave you over this. Especially if he doesn't mean it. What does he expect you to do, after all? Throw your son in the street? At the very least, he needs to find a different way to express his frustration.

When you get back home, I would make it a point to get the three of you in a room, as quickly as you can. I would emphasize to them that they are making what is already a complicated situation difficult. Son needs to know that Boyfriend is not trying to make you forget his father. Boyfriend (who I'm assuming has no kids of his own) needs to know that you can't just bond with a child when it's convenient for you. Let them know how much this means to you, and that you are hoping to have a life that includes them both. Encourage them both to speak honestly, maintain realistic expectations, and hopefully you can at least work towards clearing the air with the men in your life.

GARLAND: Thanks for this interesting question!

I agree with Chuck when he says that YOU, the only thing your son and your boyfriend [spouse?] have in common is out of the picture and leaving those two to fend for themselves. This has got to be very hard on everyone, especially your son.

I'm very concerned about your son in all of this because he is, after all, still a child EMOTIONALLY. I assume your husband was his father and this means he's already lost one parent and now with your boyfriend, I'm confident that he feels that he's losing another. I hope that you will be coming back home very soon, or calling for your son to come join you - otherwise, any advice that Chuck and I give is going to be useless in a matter of months. While he is 15 and while you do need companionship, you owe your son at least 3 more years of being your biggest priority! I think your boyfriend should know this and acknowledge this. While he is a reader of our blog, [and we greatly appreciate that!!!] I think he needs to turn off these threats to leave. They do no one any good. They upset you, they make your son feel guilty, and they probably do nothing to make your boyfriend feel good either.

I think you need to get them both together at Christmas time when you return. Before you all come together, you need to take your son off somewhere with just the two of you and you need to be all about him for a whole day. A WHOLE DAY!!! Even if it means staying in a hotel away from your home - you are his mother and he is your son, that is just not a bond that your boyfriend is a part of. Even if your son is a big, grown looking kid with broad shoulders, a mustache and a deep voice - he is still 15 years old inside - and he needs some serious MOM time! After you have been all about him for 12 or 15 hours, gently bring up your boyfriend and how you feel about him, ask your son's opinion of your friend, GENTLY defend him where you need too and in other places leave your son's opinions alone. But when you finish, let him know that your love as his mother with never change or never fade and let him know that you plan on bringing all three of you together for a discussion.

Then, take some time and be with your boyfriend - ALONE. Remind him of how important your son is to you. Remind him that you still owe your son at least 3 more years of caregiving. Let him know that there is a place for him in your heart but you are not going to give up, or kick out your son. Bt you need to be ready to make some tough decisions. He is your BOYFRIEND and your SON is your SON. At this point YOU and YOUR SON are a package deal, either he is in or he's not. If he is still in, then the three of you need to sit down someplace neutral - a park, a restaurant, a Starbucks, and talk this thing through. Lay down the rules, no yelling, no cursing, no crying, no fingerpointing, and respect all around. Try to get everyone on the same page and see where things go - but just be ready to make some tough decisions. Nothing in life is easy - especially having to live alone with your mother's boyfriend, or your girlfriends teen-aged son! THEY BOTH SHOULD BE GIVEN AWARDS!



Hi Chuck and Garland,

I love your blog and wish that you would do special issues of tips for various male-female relationship situations in addition to your direct responses to readers. For example, tips for a first date. Or, how to let a male friend know you're interested in being more than friends. How to make yourself more approachable? Etc. Even a list of things women should know about men but don't know.

Any and all of your wisdom would be much appreciated!!

Chuck and Garland: "Great idea! We will! Thanks!"


What Absence Makes

QUESTION: First things first, I adore your honesty and uncanny ability to tell it like it is! So please give me your raw and uncensored opinion.

I am a professional 27-year old woman with a ridiculous personal life. I recently left North America to go and work in a developing country to gain professional expertise in my field and as hokey as it sounds “find myself”; in terms of planning what path to take before I hit the big 3-0 (I am on a one-year assignment).

As apart of my departure, I also left a 7-year relationship behind; An on-again, off-again relationship with a very good man who had treated me very well for the first 6 years of the relationship. Quite logically things broke down after a one-time-only-indiscretion, okay lets not use euphemisms, things broke down after I cheated on him. I was unfaithful for no good reason, with no logical explanation—but was fully remorseful and apologetic. And not sure if this matters, but I did fess up to the crime almost immediately although I could have easily swept my infidelity under the rug and he would have never been the wiser.

After the fact, we talked and cried and yelled it out and decided we would at least try and continue our relationship and try and repair what was broken. I tried very hard for the next 6 months. He tried very little. He was doing everything in his power to make me leave (seeing other women, being disrespectful, not spending time with me) without actually telling me to leave. Because I was carrying the scarlet letter ‘A’ on my chest, I put up with his mess, because I felt like I deserved it….that didn’t last for long maybe 8 months, then I decided since he could not move past….I needed to move on. (Hence, packing up my life to live and work in another country for a year. I thought the distance would force us into the ever-elusive closure those of us of the female species crave.)

Here comes the question, now I have been away for about 2 months, and he has done a complete 360 degree turn. He is the attentive, caring, considerate man I fell in love with again. He calls and emails me more than my entire family combined, he helped me out in a more than a couple of desperate situations I’ve encountered since arrival and is planning a visit around Christmas. He has even starting talking about children and marriage, talks I have not heard for at least 3 to 4 years. My question to you is should I believe that he has gotten over this and wants to move forward? Or does this seem like case of him being lonely and if I come home with him (as I predict he will ask me to at Christmas) will he go back to his post-affair ways??? Help please, I need all the advice I can get.

GARLAND: First – Thank you for your question and thank you for wanting to hear our two cents!

Before I get to my thoughts on your situation, I want to say I’m impressed right-off-the-bat with a couple of things you said. Personally, I think it’s far from “hokey” to want to travel and find yourself. I think that is GREAT! So many people allow the neighborhood or town they grew up in to define who they are. They tend to stay there and hide there and never travel more than 25 miles from where they were born, so kudos to you for trying to find your place as a citizen of the world.

Then you mentioned that leaving might avoid all of the closure that women tend to want so desperately – all I can say is AMEN! Plenty of folks will tell you this is running away, but as a man, I’ll tell you that you did a good thing by just saying, “This ain’t working. It’s not going to work. I HAVE to move on with my life, BYE!” I think so many women bring more emotional drama on themselves hoping and begging and pleading for their men to cry and whine and talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk about the break-up they are going through. 99% of men just DON’T DO THIS – so you get a big gold star from me for just saying, “Okay. Goodbye, I’m gone.”

As far as him singing a new tune now that you’ve been gone for 2 months, it could very well be legit. You all both did some rough stuff to each other for the last year of your relationship, but now that you are gone he may realize what a childish jerk he was towards you and maybe he has come around to his senses. Maybe he realizes that the best thing to do as a MAN when he found out you cheated was to either A – leave you, or B – forgive you and move on, but certainly not C – stay and act like a horny, angry, fool.

Maybe your leaving home was that smack in the face he needed to get himself straightened out!

But, assuming that he is legit and assuming he wants you to leave at Christmas time, and assuming that you still feel like being bothered with him - PLEASE CONSIDER THIS ADVICE: (and this is advice I would give my sister!)

1. Stay your full 12 months! This year is about YOU, not HIM! Find yourself, better yourself, do for YOURSELF! Don’t ease HIS heart by making HIM feel better and blowing a once in a lifetime opportunity for YOU!

2. If he pops the question and drops a ring on you at Christmas. Don’t let that lure you back home UNLESS UNLESS UNLESS that is 100% what you want!!! Not, 98% not 99% ONLY 100% what YOU want. Personally speaking, he had 7 years back home to pop the question and proposing now that YOU are doing something to make YOU a well rounded person [who happens to be far away from home] seems kinda’ cheap and selfish. [just my opinion!]

3. And lastly, I suggest you both get HIV tests. I don’t care who used condoms and who looked “okay” – if the two of you plan on getting back together when you get back home, you BOTH go together to take HIV tests and you both open them together and confirm your status’. You both had sex with other people in the last few years and you are both at risk, you both need to find out what is what.

Best wishes. I think there’s a good chance he may be legit. Make yourself your first priority and all will end as it should.

CHUCK: I am in 100% agreement with Garland. I think that you and him have an opportunity that not everyone gets: the chance to pull back together after circumstances that would tear most people apart.

Because, let's face it: If you stayed in the States, you two wouldn't have made it. You strayed first, and rightly or wrongly, he felt like he had a license to claim his revenge. What he could have done, if he felt strongly that you had abused his trust, was to leave you. But instead he decided to passive/agressively mess around himself, and see if you'd take it. You did, out of guilt, so he had no reason to stop. And things would have more or less continued, until someone pulled the plug.

But your move apparently changed all that. He found himself having to live without you, and he must not have liked it. So he made an, um, 180 degree turn. But, as Garland says, don't don't DO NOT abandon your job for him and come back unless YOU really want it. It's unlikely, but this could be an extreme case of a guy trying to flex his persuasive powers and control over his woman. You'll know pretty soon if that is the case. But you seem like a pretty level-headed woman (apart from the cheating). So if he is sincere about forming a lasting committment with you, he should be willing to wait for you. However, if you feel that now is the time, best of luck to you both.

Step Out of the Shower

QUESTION: When my man and I met we had an instant sexual attraction, we had [sex] everyday for 5 months! I LOVED IT! We went down to having sex 4-5 times a week and stayed there for 4 months.

Now we have sex once a week usual on the weekends. I have tried EVERY TRICK in my bag to spice up our sex routine but he turns me down. I love sex, I know he enjoys having sex with me yet I am sexually/emotionally frustrated.

Yesterday he washed my hair in the shower I was thinking the whole time, “ I’m going to get lucky,” when he finished he asked me to leave so he could shower! I don’t get it! I am 200% positive that he is not cheating, we live together and I drop by his job enough times unexpected to know that doesn’t happen. I JUST WANT OUR SEX LIVE TO NORMAL!

CHUCK: My initial reaction, when I hear a story like yours, is to ask, "Are you kiding me?" Then, I think about it for a while, and I say, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" He washes your hair in the shower, major foreplay in almost all circumstances, and then ASKS YOU TO LEAVE? He doesn't even offer to let you shower first? REALLY?! Wow.

Seriously, there are few clearer signs that your guy is off kilter sexually. You say that you're sure that he's not cheating. Okay, I'll accept that. But something isn't right. I'd refer you to our previous blog entry, titled "REALLY Personal Problem ," for our advice on a similar situation. I think that pretty much lays out our feelings on this issue.

But, on a personal note, this is all a little distressing to me. Couples get adjusted to each other and your sex life diminishes, but this basically going from 60 to 0 with your sex lives is not good. What is it, people? Kids? Stress? Trying to stay ahead on your sub-prime mortgage loans? What's going on?

Has He offered any kind of explanation for his lack of ardor? Even a feeble one? Please, talk to him, determine whether his problem is something you can work out together. After all, you can wash your own hair.

GARLAND: Hello and Thanks for your question.

I've gotta' start with the shower! I was forming some opinions right up until you hit us with that one. You're in the shower, hot and wet... and... uh, HOT and WET. He hooks you with the soap and the rubbing and the impossible to fight body contact and then says, "Alright Baby, get to steppin'." I wish I could give you some warm and thoughtful explanation, but Chuck and I try not to lie on this blog.

I think your man has had enough.

Typically, I'd say it was maybe something medical. Maybe some blood pressure or medication problems, or maybe he's stressed out from his job, or just needs to exercise, but to bring you into the shower, run his fingers through your hair and lean up against your naked and wet body and then kick you out so he can be alone with his Lever 2000. Something here doesn't pass the sniff test.

You SAY he's not cheating, so like Chuck - I'll just take your word for that. But to go from everyday, to quite a bit a week, to once in a while to ZERO? I think he may have just come out of the honeymoon phase and he doesn't know how to tell you, so he's SHOWING you. Teasing you with the shower and then kicking you out sounds like some serious passive aggressive bullcrap. Maybe he's trying to force YOUR hand and make you be the one to call things off. I don't know, but something here stinks real bad.

Now, the "Sniff Test" aside, you mentioned that you live together. That is always something that raises an eyebrow with me. I sometimes think that living together is the death blow for relationships. Hardly anybody wants to get married anymore, but marriage is a lot harder to get out of than 'living together' so most people that are married tend to think [just a little] before they cut-and-run. LIVING TOGETHER on the other hand, when it doesn't work can often be done away with by something as simple as turning the sex valve to the OFF position, so THAT might be another issue here.

And then, on the flip side, MAYBE he doesn't want to split up, MAYBE living together is just TOO MUCH time together!!! Some guys think living together means unlimited sexin' - and at first IT DOES MEAN THIS. But, after awhile it just becomes too much together time, and if he's not ready for that, don't take it personal, but he's JUST NOT READY FOR THAT. Then you can add in the fact that you "drop by his JOB unexpectedly..." Honestly he may have overdosed on you and needs to detox and doesn't know how to TELL you, so he's SHOWING you. You MAY have to consider giving him some space. I'm telling you this, because sometimes its hard for a boyfriend to tell this to his girlfriend.

Everything be considered, I think that you should really sit him down and talk to him about the sex AND the relationship. Don't yell, don't fuss, don't accuse, and for heaven's sake don't cry... you will get NOTHING out of him if you do any of these! I think he WANTS to tell you something but he's not up for putting it into words. Yes, it is childish - but the bottom line is that you need an answer and you need the truth - HE has it!!!! Good luck!


the Semi-Married Man

QUESTION: I am so glad to have found your blog!!! I have been wanting to ask this question of a neutral party . . .

I have been divorced (after 8 years of a tumultuous marriage) for the past 7 years. I am now 38 years old and have been dating a 49 year old man for the past 5 years.

I knew that this man was married at the inception of the relationship. He is also separated (living in a different state) from his wife. As a matter of fact, they have been separated by a 10-hour drive 3 years before I started dating him. Initially, it didn't matter much because I was not interested in a serious relationship - I did enjoy the companionship.

He did explain that he was staying married for the children. His youngest daughter just graduated from high school this past May. He told me (in July) that he would be divorced in 3 months.

I have not asked any more questions about this since the statement was made, and he has not volunteered any statements.

Just give me your overall impression of this relationship. . .
* Am I silly for holding on? I started REALLY liking him about three years into the relationship.
* Do I wait until the 3 month period is up??
* Should I believe that I am being strung along??
* Have I wasted my time??
* What (most likely) does this man think about our relationship? about me?
* Do I bail out, now??


CHUCK: Bewildered, Thanks for the question.

I'm going to tell you something you may already know. Some people, despite the fact that their marriage is over, like to maintain their separated status, largely because it keeps potential suitors at arm's length. "I'd love to commit to you, sweetheart," they say, "But I'm still married. Someday... I'm gonna straighten this out." Suuure.

I gather you are looking for a more stable, committed relationship with your boyfriend, but you seem wary of being played. And I also gather that he has made promises to you that you two will be having that relationship when his divorce is final. Do you believe him? That's a key question here. Just because something sounds like an excuse doesn't mean that it is.

He wants you to wait three more months after being with him for five years. I don't know. I think you should call his bluff. It's just three months. Unless you already suspect that he's a liar, and you want to spare yourself the pain and embarrassment you suspect is coming.

What I find a little hard to believe is his assertion that he's stayed married all these years "for the children." If he's stayed in a different state from his wife for an appreciable amount of years, I'd hardly call that staying together. But people define things different ways, I suppose.

If it's any consolation, him being with you for five years means , at least, he doesn't consider you a jump-off. But as to whether he wants to make any further commitments to you remains to be seen. If you give him the three months, get back to us and let us know what's happened.

GARLAND: Hello Bewildered!

Are you silly for holding on? No, not at all - as long you are realistic in what you want and are [or are not] getting out of this relationship. If all you wanted was companionship, someone to spend time with, someone to hang out with - then no, holding on met your needs.

Should you wait for the 3 months to be up? I assume, since you've been with him for five years, three more months shouldn't be a big issue. But what do you REALLY expect to happen after the three months is up? Are you expecting a ring? Honestly, that has about a 1 in 1000 chance of happening. From what you gave us in your question, your friend doesn't sound like someone who truly places a high value on the institution of marriage, at least not the same way most people think of it. I think, with this fellow, you've signed on to be the girlfriend indefinitely.

Are you being strung along? If you expect this guy to propose, marry and stay with you, then I think you MAY be being strung along. Please note that I said "MAY" and "MARRY" and "STAY" in that first sentence. Now, I could certainly be wrong but then, when it comes to him, it would be nothing for him to propose to you and then drag out the wedding for years and years. My gut feeling is that this guy isn't pressed about the role of husband and once he's done with it, he's done with it for good.

The whole "staying together for the kids" has me scratching my head - most people do that for very young children and they tend to stay under the same roof - not 500 miles away and not for high school aged kids. He hasn't divorced his wife for OTHER reasons - whether they involve you or her I don't know, but if he WANTED to marry you - I think he would have settled the divorce years ago, especially considering the ages of his kids. No teenaged kid is saying, "Yeah, my Dad who lives four states away is happily married to my Mom! Things are great!" These kids KNOW Mom and Dad are NOT happily married - this excuse fails the sniff test with me.

Have you wasted your time? If you're looking for a second husband - probably. If you are just looking for someone to spend your time with - absolutely not!

What does he think about you and your relationship? He's dating a woman over ten years younger than he is - he's probably happier than a bag of smiley faces! Aside from that, I don't know. You were willing to spend time with him even though he told you he was married - so I'm sure that puts you on his good side. And, after five years you haven't pressured him to divorce his wife, so HE is probably not unhappy about that either.

Should you bail out now? I'll leave that one to you. You know that one.

Thank you for your question and thanks for asking for our two cents. Chuck and I certainly hope that hearing a second [and third] opinion will give you the insight you need.


Culture Clash

First I wanted to say that I LOVE your blog....

So now I have a question...

I went on a first date with a guy...very nice, respectful, gainfully employed, intelligent, attentive but there is an issue. Ok I am lying...a few. Now normally I would just walk aware of relegate him to the friend file but I don't know if I am being too picky.

1. I am a Black American and he is African...and I KNOW people may think all black people are the same but they are not. I have had to correct him a few times on assumptions he has on black Americans...and he has always listened to me and most times he actually saw my point...but I don't know if I can always control my temper if this "thing" continues. Like he had an ignorant take on locks (which I have) that I have NEVER heard anyone of any ethnicity say...but most of his views are based on what he has seen on TV (dang BET) or just because he never knew but I mean dang...do I have the time for this?

2. Well...his shoes...the way he...musical tastes...nevermind...all of that is shallow...what's really important is

3. I laughed while we were out but it was usually because of something I said. He didn't make me laugh the entire 5 hours (ill...long date) and that is so NOT in line with my personality. I am a sarcastic New Yorker...and I work hard from 9-5...so I don't want to have someone that I can't laugh and relax with. I knew something wasn't right because when he called the next day I hesitated about whether I should pick up the phone or not...when normally I would be ecstatic that I got a phone call the day after.

So with that being said...is this something I should give a second chance because I am being too critical/picky? Or...is it good to take inventory, see something isn't what you need and just cut your losses? Because to be quite honest I could care less about a free meal...boring dates are draining. lol.

Sarcastic in Harlem

GARLAND: Hey 'Sarcastic' - thanks for your complement and please accept my apology for the delay in getting this reply posted.

Do I think you're being too picky? Hell no!

I applaud you for actually stopping to ask yourself, "Am I feelin' this guy?" or "Am I having a good time with him?" So many women, in my opinion, of all races and ages, don't dwell on this long enough. I'm glad to see you taking the time to evaluate YOUR needs when it comes to dating and a relationship.

I've encountered Sisters before that have had problems clicking with African guys. I'm not saying that anything is wrong with African men per se, but I have seen an oddly high number of women that have just ended up unhappy dating some of these guys. So maybe the chemistry really isn't there. Then again, his nationality might not have played any role in the big picture.

Either way you slice it, you are putting your well being and your feelings first, and that's NEVER EVER a bad thing. You keep your magnifying glass out!

CHUCK: Sarcastic in Harlem, speaking as Really Sarcastic in DC, I know where you're coming from. Do I think you're being too picky? I don't think so. You didn't really provide as many details as I would have liked (What was his presumably insulting comment on your locks? Did he at least smile while you were joking? Was he wearing sandals with no lotion on his ashy feet?), I gather you didn't feel very compatible with him. And if that's the case, no harm, no foul.

I tease African men sometimes, but I think it's kind of bad that there seems to be this gulf of misunderstanding between American Blacks and Africans. They have their misconceptions about us, we have ours about them. Some of the differences you bring up with your friend seem to be cultural, like musical tastes and opinions about women's hairstyles. But fundamentally, it doesn't seem as though you enjoyed this guy's company all that much.

Respectful, intelligent, attentive, all good things. But it sounds as though this guy isn't giving you a spark. I don't think it's asking too much to want a spark. It's always good to take stock of someone you're seeing and decide if they've got what you're looking for. What else is dating, after all? Otherwise, you find yourself married to and pregnant by someone who was boring way back at date #3. Put this guy in the friend bin and keep on movin'.


"Let's Stay Friends" and Other Lies

QUESTION: Hey Chuck and Garland,

I really appreciate this blog and your honest advice. Here's my situation. I'd developed a close friendship with this guy following college for about 2.5 years. We were really close and he wanted to escalate the relationship. I declined. At the time I was dealing with an ex and didn't feel ready to jump into a long distance and interracial relationship with this friend. Seemed like too much stress. We remained friends but scaled back some of our communication (letters and such) at his request. However my feelings continued to grow. I finally got the nerve to confront him with my feelings at the same time that he abruptly started ignoring me. He wouldn't return any calls, emails, etc.

After some months he finally sent an email informing me that he had a girlfriend, apologizing for how he'd acted, and stating that he wanted to rebuild our friendship. I expressed a willingness to rebuild our friendship too and did not disclose my feelings. So as far as he was concerned, my feelings for him were platonic and I was not a direct threat to his current relationship. After claiming to want to rebuild our friendship, this guy ostracizes me again for months. Then I hear that he'd gotten engaged. I sent a congratulatory email (strictly platonic) and surprise...he actually responds to it. Prior to this, he hadn't communicated with me for 7 months. In his email he apologized for how he'd treated me, stated that he dropped off the face of the earth b/c he still had feelings for me at that time. I replied, accepted his apology and requested a brief conversation--I felt that I owed him an apology as well but not over email...You just don't apologize to people over email. Anyway, he didn't respond to my request for a week or so and I (assuming that I'd been ostracized again) decided that I would apologize via email to just clear the air on my end, make the necessary amends, and call it a day. When he received my email, he replied and explained that he'd been out of town and didn't have any problems with our talking over the phone about this as opposed to email. So, if I was still willing to talk to him after he's acted I could give him a call. Taking him at his word, I gave him a call, left a message, and haven't heard from him since...It's been nearly a month. I'm annoyed by his inability to man up and be truthful. My goodness, would he just say what he means and mean what he says! If he didn't want to talk via phone then he should have said so, if you didn't want to remain friends then he should have said so. The truth will set you free!! We're both adults and should be able to keep it somewhat real, if not completely real with each other.

Chuck and Garland, please know that I'm not trying to break up this guy's engagement and am consequently not a threat to his relationship. I'd just like to understand why on earth he would express a desire to maintain a friendly coexistence with me on multiple occasions and then proceed to treat me like I don't exist. It's rude and immature. I've never dealt with a guy like this before.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. And if in your answers you suggest that he still has feelings for me then I'll need you to explain to me how a man can propose to another woman while he still has strong feelings for someone else?

An ex of mine (the one mentioned early in the above post) called me, told me about his engagement and proceeded to indirectly ask if there was still a chance for us! To me, that's something you do BEFORE you put a ring on someone else's hand and not after. But I welcome and look forward to your insight.


Chuck: When a woman's inability to realize what she wants (in a timely manner) meets a man's inability to directly express his feelings (in a timely manner), you get what you've got here. Which is not too much.

Your friend had romantic feelings for you and expressed them before you were ready, so you shut him down. And by the time you realize you have romantic feelings for him, he has someone else. Happens all the time, especially here @ this blog. But when he doesn't hold up his end of the promise to remain platonic friends despite his girlfriend, you get angry. That's because your feelings for him aren't entirely platonic anymore. Let's face it: if his fiancee were to get hit by a crosstown bus today, you may not be dancing in the streets, but you won't be shedding any tears, either.

As for the reason this guy does not contact you for long periods of time, there are three likely explanations. You can figure out for yourself which applies. First, he may just be a creep. Secondly, He may not trust himself to stay in contact with you. The feelings that he once, and still may, have for you may preclude any contact remaining strictly platonic. And thirdly, he may not want any emails, phone messages, or letters around that his fiancee might discover. Some women are very sensitive about the platonic female friends that their man has.

I may be reading things wrong here, I think you're looking for some closure for your feelings for this guy. If you are doing that, you shouldn't be. I've said it before here: Closure isn't something you get in real life. On your favorite soaps, couples that are breaking up have knock-down-drag-out arguments, followed by slaps in the face and crazy angry-sex with one another. I can hear "Touch Me in the Morning" playing in the background. But real life is more like this: The last long-term girlfriend I had before I started dating the woman I married I talked to every day on the phone and saw nearly every day. Then the visits became less frequent. Then the phone calls. Then we were barely speaking at all. Then nothing. No big blow-up. No closure. You learn to live without it.

Get over this guy. If he can learn to live long periods of time without you, you can at least show him you can do the same. You seem to have a lot of affection to give (once you decide what you want). Find a guy that's closer who has no such baggage.

GARLAND: Thanks for your question!
Let's see - I don't think he still has feelings for you. Even if he did - it would be possible for him to propose to another woman, simply because some guys are stupid and shallow. But based on what you are saying, I think its time to let this one go.

So much of what you said shows the big differences between men and women - you ladies love the whole 'talking things through'. The idea of 'still being friends'. The 'why can't he talk about his feelings with me' aspect of things. Men are just not wired this way. When you were going days, weeks and months without hearing from him, I think he was trying to close the door on you, but then part of him [stupidly] wanted to check in on you. I think he just didn't want you to feel totally dissed. I think he wanted to say, "Hi." make sure you were doing okay and then NOT talk to you for another 3 months. But each time he and you got drawn in to deeper conversation.

This whole 'apologizing' thing between the two of you is nothing short of harmful self-torture. Neither of you owe the other any apology, you both need to just move on. This whole 'feeling like you've done something wrong' is really not doing either of you any good. He needs to stop calling you and get on with being emotionally faithful to his future wife, and you need to write him off as the cab you just missed - another will be by shortly.

Personally - I've always had this ability to walk away from a woman once I discovered that the relationship wasn't going to work or wasn't going to manifest. And oddly, it was THAT time that most of these women came after me the hardest. I'm not going to get into why I think that was so - but I think you have a guy that just won't completely walk away. Maybe he likes to keep you dangling on his emotional hook. I don't know. But since you asked for our advice - my loyalty is going to you.

Walk away from him-

Don't open his E-Mails, don't take his calls, return the letters he mails to you - he needs to focus on his wife and YOU need to focus on YOU, so you have to be the grown-up here.
And please, please, please don't convince yourself that you are The Legendary, often heard of but NEVER seen "PLATONIC FRIEND!" Have you ever noticed that only women use this term? No man has ever said that he is the PLATONIC friend of a woman. Men may call themselves "friends" to certain women, but only women throw the word "PLATONIC" out like it means something special, like it is some incredible shield against evil, or sex. Don't waste your time proclaiming to be all PLATONIC with this guy - in the grand scheme of things you are one step below an ex-girlfriend and to an engaged man, you are persona-non-grata when he has a future wife on deck. There's really no future with this guy. So write this one off - there is nothing good that can come out of this situation - remember, YOU have to be the grown up for this one.


Desperate Times Do NOT Call for Desperate Measures

QUESTION: I am 23, recently dumped (over some B.S. if you ask me), independent, caring young woman. I graduate in December and I read something one of you said that you shouldn't share your twenties. I agree with you but that's if I think and rationalize using my mind, but my heart tells me different b/c while I want to enjoy the single life, I HATE dating! There are so many politics to dating and even in dating, I have realized that a good one is hard to come by and I still have to go home alone afterwards.

I have been told that I am still young and have a lot of time to find someone, but at this point I'm don't see it happening (I have one foot in the artificial insemination clinic). I feel like I have a lot going for myself so I shouldn't have an issue finding a man, I guess its keeping one (who's in my zip and area code) that I haven't mastered. I'm not perfect and don't profess to be, however, I fear that when Mr.'Right' does come along, I won't notice because I'm so used to shielding myself from the clowns.

Recently I met a guy who in my opinion was touchy feely a bit early (after only knowing me for a few days), which led me to believe his intentions were only physical ones. In addition, I get a 'player' vibe from him; kinda of like I know he's popular with the ladies, all he does is text me (which is annoying), and right now his car is inoperable so I can only see him if I go to his house or pick him up. I spoke to him about it and he tried to assure me that it wasn't the case about him just wanting me physically. He also told me other women have also thought him to b popular w/ the ladies, and he doesn't know why. I understand that it is natural for a man to b attracted to a woman, but I need a man to b able to control himself and I want more than attraction. As I said I recently got out of a 'relationship' (that was anything but that) and didn't expect to be diggin anyone so soon, but I'm worried that this dude is just another clown. I've decided to give him a few more weeks to let his true colors show. He has a lot of potential and I'd hate for him to be a waste of time...so how do I find out? I just want someone who has a genuine interest in me...is that too much to ask? I know all the good ones can't be gone, so where are they? (I've lost hope that he may be in [my town], so I'm cool, but when is he gonna find me?)

GARLAND: Thank you for your question. And, that was ME who said you shouldn't share your twenties - I think my comment was more like "you should get to know yourself in your twenties, enjoy your freedom, see the world, date [not neccessarily sleep with] a lot of people, and NOT tie yourself to one specific person, boyfriend, husband."

All I can say is - what the heck is the rush? Everybody is all about instant gratification, everybody wants everything now, now, now! The best meals aren't made in a microwave! You don't need a wireless headset sticking out of your head, your friends can wait one more ring while you get your phone out of your purse! You don't need a baby with gas, screaming and crying and refusing to go to sleep at 3:15 in the morning, at least not right now... you don't need to give your precious time to a needy, text messaging, playboy... You are at the best time in YOUR life - the dawn of true adulthood - and you're stressing to get married or rushing to get artifically insemenated.

Trust me here - just slow down a notch and stop being in a rush! If this dude you are dating is giving you vibes like he's a needy bum - dump him and roll out! You are special and deserve nothing less than a dude that blows your mind and makes your heart sing - and no I'm not [just] talking about sex! That RIGHT guy you speak of, is going to come when HE IS SUPPOSED TO! And honestly I have no idea when that is going to happen. But until then, you need to listen to YOUR BRAIN and not neccessarily to your heart. Wait until your heart MATURES later in your 20's, I promise you that your heart will lead itself to get broken more times than it ought to. Follow your brain!

And that whole artifical insemenation thing - I'm no expert, but in my personal opinion I have two thoughts - FIRST, I think it's unfair to that baby for YOU to create him or her and start out their life with just a mom because YOU want someone to call your own. EVERY child needs and deserves TWO parents, and people should do all they can do to assure this to unborn children... just MY opinion.

SECOND - Speaking as a parent... ARE YOU CRAZY!?!?!?! You are 23 and a few months away from a college degree!!! The WORLD is about to become your oyster, girl! Find yourself a great job, do some traveling, make and save some money, play the stock market, hang out, stay up too late, date that cute guy you see at the gym, start your Roth IRA account, sample some good wines, perfect your grilling technique, write a book, drive across the country... JUST LIVE YOUR LIFE AND STOP TRYING SO HARD TO GIVE YOURSELF TO ANYONE ELSE!

With good health, you should live to be at least 80 years old - don't you think the first 30 or so years should be all about YOU? I do! I think they should be all about you! Validate yourself by being yourself - not by being the girlfriend of a needy dude or by becoming yet another single mother, getting too little sleep, getting too little rest, earning too little money, and having too hard a life.

Please remember this is my opinion. I'm hardly an expert on this stuff - I just tend to see the bottom line in a lot of things and just try to speak from the heart. Kids and family are major undertakings, and I think you owe it to yourself to be as free and uncommited as possible during one of the most unique times in your life. Best wishes to you.

CHUCK: I don't adopt as narrow a view as Garland. Every child may deserve two parents, but these days, with so many growing up in group homes and foster care, they're lucky if they have even one. I don't think your twenties are necessarily "for" certain activities. Everybody's different. But I do believe that your reasoning for trying to settle down at 23 is faulty.

To me, society sets up unfair and unrealistic standards for women. You need to be married before you're thirty. You need to have a kid soon after that. Keep to the program. While men can do what they want, when they want. I think you're feeling this pressure because of things you're SUPPOSED to want, rather than things you genuinely do want.

Otherwise, why would you be giving this guy another couple of weeks to disappoint you? If he doesn't let you down, I'd be very surprised. I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but a grabby guy who's "popular with the ladies," that will only text you and you have to ride around in your car is a prize worth waiting for only on Bizarro World. But go on, wait him out, he might surprise me. COUGHCOUGH!

I agree with Garland completely when he says that we live in an age of instant gratification. And it's not just 20-somethings, either. If some women could buy a package that contained a husband, that all you needed to do was to add water to, that cost, say, $800, it would sell off of the stands in hours. Even if the instant husband looked like Flavor Flav.

Slow your roll. I'm fully confident that you will get the things you desire out of life. Just maybe not in the next fifteen minutes.


Flesh for Fantasy

QUESTION: Do you guys ever compare the women in your life to images you see in the media or perhaps to other women that you might see or meet in public?
This is something I'd like to know.

Sure, I can recognize handsome men when I see them, but I don't compare them to my boyfriend like, "oh I wish he had biceps like that" or anything.

Do you men compare women?



CHUCK: So, anyway, the other Saturday, I was watching that Live Earth concert, and Alicia Keys was onstage. And for such a hot day, she had chosen to glam it up. She had a form-fitting burgundy mini-dress on, with some high-heeled pumps. And after observing how thick she was in the legs and thighs, I thought how cool it was that she hasn't taken to heart all that body-image crap that famous women fall prey to. And then I thought, she's doing a pretty nice version of Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Me." Then I thought, "She's sweating a little now. Interesting how it's collecting a little between her breasts." And so on...

Anyway, the point of that recollection is, mentally, I'm all over the place. I don't know about Garland, but that's me. My mind wanders a whole lot. And when it wanders onto women other than my wife, I tend to keep her out of it. That woman is my partner, my lover, the mother of my children. I have too much respect for her to involve her in any errant daydreams that I might have featuring Rosario Dawson, Vida Guerra, or the random Hip Hop Honey.

Basically, although I may might wish my wife was in the shape she was in five years ago (she'd probably say the same thing about me), I don't find myself making any Frankenstein combinations featuring her and any girls from Show magazine. I mean, fantasy's cool and all, but I've gotta live in the real world.

GARLAND: I'm a people watcher... and I love women. So, to me - I think I would have never been able to keep a girlfriend or get [and keep] a wife if I constantly wished they had Janet's abs, Alicia's eyes, Beyonce's smile, or Serena's ANYTHING. I would have never been happy and would have eventually gone crazy.

But that's me.

Some guys probably do look at famous women or women they see on the street and wish their ladies had this or that. Frankly, I think that's a little juvenile and stupid. Like Chuck, I live in the real world.

To me, I love the sexy legs and beautiful bodies of many of these celebrity women in the media today. I do! But, I'm a realist, and that is as far as the attractions go. I need far more in a woman than just a pretty face or a hot body, I need brains, integrity, a sense of humor, a sense of purpose, ambition and everything else that makes a woman special. It would be an insult to the women in my past and the Woman in present to wish them to be anyone or anything other than who they are. Shame on any guy that would.


Homeland Security Issues...


Recently, I've run into a problem with my girlfriend; maybe the problem lies in me, or maybe it's in her, I don't know. We are going on to our 18th month in this relationship.

Hmmm.. recently, we went to this big event (a camp) as councilors which lasted for a week in school (but that's not the issue here).

Her guy friend (a freshman) turned up for the camp too, but he's in a different group as us.

Now, the story goes: MY girlfriend, is going overseas with THIS particular guy friend, B, together with another female friend, C to another country at the end of this month (3 of them together). It's not that I don't want to let her go, but the thing is that, I don't know anything about the guy, and I don't feel safe at all.

My girlfriend had 5 days to at least introduce him to me during the camp, or vice versa. But she didn't feel the need to. Maybe I'm just someone who needs lots of assurance. After all, they are going overseas together (though it's 3 of them). By the way, B is much closer to C than he is to my girlfriend.

Though my girlfriend told me that I can actually know this guy friend through this camp, she didn't make any efforts to make it happen. Call me petty, but I simply can't bring myself to walk up to this guy whom my girlfriend is going overseas with, and say "Hi my name is _________. You are...?".

Until this day, I know who that guy is (his name ONLY); I think he knows me too.. (name ONLY?), but we are definitely NOT friends. Jealousy is kicking in. Maybe the combination of Jealousy and the lack of sleep contributed to my grumpiness during the camp. But I can't simply hide how I feel inside.

Am I worrying too much? Maybe I do not have enough confidence in my girlfriend, or maybe I don't trust the guy. But the feeling really sucks when my girlfriend does not introduce her guy friends to me (especially when she's going OVERSEAS with one of them). What can I do now? :(

Thanks, and looking forward to your reply.


GARLAND: Great question! A lot of guys don't have the heart to be this open, so I'm going to be extra candid in MY answer.

The issue isn't the fact that you may not have enough confidence in your girlfriend, the TRUE issue is that you don't have enough confidence in yourself. Hey - trust me, I UNDERSTAND that having your girlfriend on the other side of the globe with Mr. X, might not sit too well with you. A lot of guys might not be happy with that, you're human like all of us, and humans, while impressive, are flawed sometimes. We get jealous, we worry, we get insecure, and yes sometimes we cheat.

But listen to me - you mentioned "school" and "camp" and "freshmen" so I'm assuming that you don't mean high school and you're probably around 22 or so, that's REALLY not the issue, I'm just letting you know MY assumption.
As a man WHO HAS BEEN THERE, I want you to know that this is largely a matter of SELF-CONFIDENCE! When I was 22, I had this girlfriend who I could have sworn the sun rose and set around and I had ZERO self confidence when it came to myself and my relationship with her. After 12 or 18 months, I was so insecure and so worried about losing her that I drove her AWAY! I was so afraid of her leaving me and so afraid of not having her that I pushed her right out of my life. I did that... not her. My insecurities pushed her right out of my life. This is where I see you headed. And I want to help.

As a Man - I want you to spend some time in the mirror... YES, REALLY - IN THE MIRROR! Tell yourself all of the Good things about you and be honest and BELIEVE THEM AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! If this is your girlfriend and you all have been together for 18 months, then OBVIOUSLY she saw something special in you. Believe in YOURSELF! Don't BELIEVE that she is just dying to be with whats-his-face. BELIEVE that you are worthy of her faithfulness. And BELIEVE that if she does do something with ANYONE on this trip, then it will be HER LOSS, and the sun will rise on YOU the next day just as it did this morning!

I can't say 100% that she WON'T cheat on you. Only she can say that. But, I want you to keep your sanity and I want you get good nights of sleep while she is gone. YOU can't control her SO DON'T TRY! BELIEVE that you are special - have CONFIDENCE in yourself! BELIEVE that you are a good boyfriend and ENCOURAGE her to have a great time when she's out of the country. Use this time apart to benefit yourself!!! Go to some new places and check them out; pick up a new hobby; shoot some pool; drop a few pounds [or hit the gym and build up the bod]; hang out more with your boyz; read a few good books - just DON'T SIT AROUND STARING AT THE CLOCK UNTIL SHE GETS BACK!!!

Don't make a big production out of her leaving. Be positive and supportive, and let her know that you'll be thinking of her - but don't be weak and wimpy - no crying and begging and no necklaces made of daisies! Don't promise her a daily poem or song on your freakin' MySpace page either! Be a Man. Be her Man! Maybe she'll wonder a little about what YOU'LL be doing when she's gone.

And as far as this Mr. "B" goes. STOP BEING A JEALOUS WORRY-WART!!! The next time you see him, whether your girl is around or not, walk right up to him (I don't care what is going on) extend your hand and give him a firm manly (RESPECTFUL) handshake [none of that BS macho knuckle cracking stuff - give a good handshake!] look him him the eyes and smile confidently and say something like, "Hey, you're Bob, right? I'm Frankie. You excited about going to Germany in a few weeks?" You don't have to introduce yourself as Susie's boyfriend, he already knows that. And besides... "Susie's boyfriend" is a mere title, YOUR NAME IS FRANKIE! Make polite conversation about the trip, the country, travel and anything else relevant... ANYTHING EXCEPT SUSIE. After a moment, wish him a safe trip and walk away without looking back. You just let him know that Susie's Man wasn't some weak, timid, punk. You also showed him that you are a self-confident SOB. Don't shy away from this guy! If you do, then he'll definitely make a move on your girl - BE CONFIDENT, act as if you can't wait for her to leave. Be affectionate, respectful and most of all be Manly and Confident. Trust me... ALL WILL END AS IT IS MEANT TO.

CHUCK: Garland's pretty much correct here. A lot of the worries you're experiencing seem to be coming from you, not from her. You've seen this guy, you apparently know his name, you've been told that it's actually Girl C he's into, not your girlfriend. But you are obsessed and filled with jealousy over this trip. There are things that you can do to ease your mind here. You can swallow your pride? ego? insecurity? and talk to this guy, feel him out, and get an impression on whether this is the kind of creep who's gonna try to take advantage of a situation.
But if you really want something to worry about, think about the guys that are already there. Whereas Dude B might show some restraint with your girl, if for no other reason than she has a American boyfriend who might whip his ass, a guy from say, Spain, or Italy, or Nigeria, is not going think twice about trying to seduce your girlfriend. Some of them have plans to do it. And unfortunately, as far as a one night stand with a foreign womanizer is concerned, her embarassment and your hurt feelings could be the least of her problems. I'm just saying.
I'm not going to rail against what could be perceived as your lack of self confidence. But I will tell you this: Jealous, needy guys don't appeal to women, at least for very long. Ask yourself, do you trust her, and move from there. Has she tried to put your feelings to rest? Have a good talk with her before she goes and tell her how you feel. Hopefully, she can put your feelings to rest.


Virgin Territory


First thank you for the site. It's been helpful and interesting hearing your advice. If you have time to answer my question I'd appreciate it. (sorry it's long!)

At what point should a girl let a guy know her wishes regarding sex?

Some background on me: I'm 29 and a virgin. I was raised in a fairly strict Christian and didn't really date until I got to college. I had a serious boyfriend for quite a while where the abstinence thing was okay, he was as religious as I was. Eventually we broke up and I was heartbroken for quite a while. I casually dated after that and focused on my career. Now at 29 I find myself wanting to seriously date and have a long term relationship, maybe even eventually get married. I'm now far more stable, emotionally and financially ready for a serious relationship than I was in my early 20's.

I'm not necessarily stuck on abstinence now, but I'm not going to have sex casually. Ideally I'd like to date someone and develop a relationship with them for several months before we take our physical intimacy to the next level. Reading a question/answer from another one of your posts, I agree with not explaining my preferences regarding sex on a first date, but I'd like to have a good idea of what point I should be letting a guy know? If things go well and he wants to see me again should I be telling him by date number 3 or date 5....?

I don't want to lead anyone on, but then again this is not something I want to compromise on. Considering how some of my friends who aren't necessarily sluts are giving up booty within a couple dates, I'm rather at a loss on how to when/how to express my wishes regarding sex without coming across as a prude, weirdo or some kind of 'challenge'. Nor do I want to scare a guy off because virgin at 29 screams commitment.

Any suggestions on how/when I should be having this talk? Thank you for your help! :)


GARLAND: Thanks for your question and thanks for checking out our blog! Hopefully we can give you some good insight and advice.

I think, as a woman, you've got all of the sexual intimacy cards stacked in your favor - so you REALLY call all of the shots! Any time and place you want can be met with a few simple words.

Now, for ME - when I was single, I never really pressed a woman for sex, and I don't think any guy should. It usually happened when it was meant to happen, sometimes after a few dates sometimes after A LOT of dates. I think for guys, if sex is all they want, by our nature we're only going to hang around for 3 or 4 dates. But, if a guy is still interested AND excited about spending time with you and he's still calling and taking you out after 7 or 8 dates, I think that's a good sign that he's about MORE that just 'gettin' some.'

Now, keep in mind that these are MY numbers. And they may not be the norm. But, considering that you have stuck to your guns and maintained something very unique and special for 29 years - move slowly towards giving it up. Make sure that the guy you choose doesn't make you feel rushed or pressured to sleep with him. Don't be afraid to talk to him about your being a virgin - HE SHOULD, ABOVE ALL - make you feel special and respected - and this is not exclusive to virgins! All men should make the women who share their intimacy with them, feel special. But TALK to him about it if you consider HIM to possibly be The One - listen to him and try to gauge his true thoughts about it. Sadly - a lot of guys find a dark thrill and challenge when an opportunity with a virgin comes along. If he focuses more on you The Woman and less on your body The Virgin, then the time may be right. Trust me, all you have to do is tell him [face to face, or over the phone, or in a letter, or in an E-Mail...] that you want to be with him and let him know when and where and he'll be there.

Be smart... BE SAFE!!!!!!!

Good luck on your decision and thanks again for such a special question!

CHUCK: C, my dear friend, I have news for you. Whenever virtually any woman, anywhere, is ready to have sex, she can have it. The quality of that sex may not be what she hoped it would be, but sex can be had. While womens' pay may lag behind mens', and they may be under-represented in Congress, that is one advantage that women retain: the Right to Say Yes.

Seriously, though, there is a standard that I stuck to when I was single, and I believe it still applies, even to virgins. It goes like this: After three dates, a man or woman knows whether or not they want to be intimate with the person they're dating. Some people call that the Three-Date Rule. I just call it common sense. It doesn't necessarily mean that on Date #4, clothes will be ripped off... but by that time, a person knows whether they want to pursue a deeper relationship. Whether things progress further after Date #3 is up to you.

Like I believe we've said before, there is nothing wrong with sticking to your guns, in terms of not rushing into ridding yourself of your virginity. You've kept it this long, so there's no reason to lose it to the first bum you encounter. But you know that already. By the same token, I think it puts men off when women present that kind of information as if it were a dare or a challenge: "I'm a virgin at 29. Bet you don't wanna go out with me now! Do ya?"

Once you start seeing someone, you should make your views known when the subject comes up. Let him know that intimacy isn't completely off of the table, even though you're not rushing into it. You seem to be very good at expressing yourself. I don't think you'll have a problem. Thanks for the question.