It's Not You, It's Me

QUESTION: Hi Guys,I came across your website and I think it is great. In Sept 2008 I met I began talking to this guy that I have had a crush on for 8 years but for some reason we never talked and circumstances led to our talking in Sept 2008. What I liked about him is that he was not any of these pushy guys, he was just cool. He would call me everyday even if it was just to say hi. Other times we would have nice lengthy conversations. We would do our morning calls just to chat and wish each other a good day. He would always bake me stuff especially Strawberry...he knows I like strawberryand other nice things we would do for each other. Anyway after about 3 weeks I began having very strong feelings for him - the typical butterflies, thinking about him all the time etc. I am 30 , He is 46.

After about 5 weeks we when to dinner one night and we ended up having sex , like a typical woman I began to think that this was the beginning of something. Don't get me wrong his calls did not stop and he did not ignore me in any way I would even say that he was drawn to me a little more but things did not progress to way I thought they would have after we made love. Anyways I then told him that I liked him and he did not respond the way I thought he would have either and I had an outburst and told him off. He became distant after that. He told me he didn't like how I behaved and after we talked we decided to put it to a misunderstanding. Again things were going cool and went back to normal.

I will admit that I had a part to play in how things ended up. I was often insecure and was always thinking this is too good to be true and was waiting for the other shoe to drop.One time I accused him of driving a woman's car when all it was ....he had taken his vehicle to get serviced and the company have him a car. I would question why he took so long to answer the phone or why he didn't answer it the first time. The straw they broke the camel' back I guess was when I called his office and I accused him of having a woman there because he sounded "funny."

I remember a time I passed his office and his vehicle was not there and I was convinced that a woman had it.........his secretary told me afterwards that it had gone to get cleaned. I never told him this but I always thought along those lines.

After the office incident I asked him about our "relationship" and he said he thought it was best if we remained friends right now. I was devastated because I really liked him. This happened in Dec 2008. Since then his calls decreased significantly and things aren't the way they were. Recently he started calling back a little more often, the morning calls have returned and he brought me some Strawberry cookies on Sunday. Still things aren't like before I know I made a lot of mistakes and I have issues to deal with but I am truly sorry and I want another chance. Do you guys think its possible?

GARLAND: Sure, anything is "possible."

One thing I like about how you present this question is that almost everything you say is relevant. Okay, maybe the cookies were in a gray area, but you put down all we probably needed here.

Frankly, I think you need to leave this guy alone and give yourself some time to get ready for a relationship. Honestly, right now... and it doesn't matter how much you are feelin' this guy, how good the sex was, or how good the cookies are... you don't sound like someone who is ready for a serious relationship.

Let me just explain, or let me just REALLY point out what you told us. You've admired this guy from afar for 8 years - or, since THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION! In that kind of time, its only human to create this 'fantasy' kind of image about someone you want to be with. Chances are, he'll NEVER be able to live up to this image, no matter how 'real' you think it is. I think that is part of your "too good to be true" insecurity with this fellow.

Then, you hit him with the "I'm really feeling you, baby" after you have sex [note, I didn't say make love, technically its not making love unless both people love each other - TAKE NOTE READERS!] and when he doesn't proclaim equal, if not deeper feelings for you, you get mad. You are just WANTING too much at this point and you are WANTING it on YOUR terms. I think a lot of guys would have backed away from you too. Not because your not desirable or whatever, and not because a lot of guys are bums, but simply because men move at a slightly slower emotional speed than you ladies. Maybe he needed a few days to really put his feelings into perspective before saying something deep to you. To steal my homeboy Chuck's world famous line - "You got off light." He could have told you he loved you and wanted to spend the rest of his life with you and cleaned out your bank account the following week and never spoke to you again. Be glad that he just wanted to scale things back a little.

As far as the sweet sweet way you mentioned "a time when I passed by his office" and his car wasn't there... come on... say it... say it... THE TIME I WAS CHECKING UP ON HIM... he wasn't there and you went nuclear assuming that a woman had his car. Why automatically a WOMAN? Why not one of his guy friends, why not a male co-worker, why not a friend that needed to just borrow his car? Why a woman? And let me tell you - you went and talked to his secretary about it?!?!?!? WTH? You really shot yourself in the foot with that one. You probably came off like a straight up stalker to her, despite the sweet nonchalant way she probably answered your question. Just because you two are women, that doesn't assure you her loyalty and understanding, she probably told him, "Your little girl friend is stalking you, you better watch your back."

In my humble opinion, you need to move past this guy and all that you THINK you might have with him down the road. You have some insecurity issues and some serious trust issues when it comes to this guy and all of these other 'women' that you think are lurking in the shadows ready to take him from you. I just doubt if that will ever work out.

One other component to all of this is the 16 year age difference. For a typical guy in his 40's to date someone who is technically young enough to be his daughter, he is going to need and expect a certain level of 'dating maturity'. He is not going to put up with a lot of sneaking around and spying on him, he is not going to deal with too many questions about who's car he's in and why does he sound "funny" on the phone and why did he wave to 'some woman' in the mall and all this foolishness. At this point, we guys expect our woman to be savvy, cool and confident, the days of jealous phone calls and Secret Squirrel missions should be behind us.

Now, keep in my that I'm not an expert, I'm just 1 of 2 guys TRYING to do the right thing on an advice blog. You are NOT the only person in the world with insecurity issues, you are NOT the only person in the world to do a little secret check up on a dating interest, and you are NOT the only person who suspects that maybe someone else is after the person they want. ANd most of all you are NOT a BAD PERSON... I just don't get a good vibe from you and this guy you are dealing with - as a couple

The final decision has got to be yours.

Good Luck.

CHUCK: Writing this blog over the past few years Garland and I have heard from women about men who were deadbeats, dogs, and emotional basket cases. We've advised on relationships that could benefit from an intimate conversation, a harsh word, or a temporary restraining order. So I hope that you will not be insulted when I say that I don't know that this relationship is salvageable. And most of that is because of you.

Let's start at the beginning. You carried the torch for this man for eight years before you became intimate. Wow. On one hand, I want to congratulate you. A lot of the girls I had crushes on, I never got close to. But I think you had unrealistic expectations when you did have sex with this man. I believe that you thought that the sky would open up for him, and he would fall deeply in love with you. And when that didn't happen, you let your insecurity take control of you.

Now this man didn't run away from you. He didn't even back away immediately. He was merely taking some time to process his feelings. I know, that sounds like bullshit, but it's probably true. Some men don't come quickly to a realization that they are in love with a woman. They have to mull it over and deny it to themselves for a while before they can come to a realization. Not the most mature behavior, but what can you do? That may have been what was going on here.

At least until your outbursts, accusations, and overly suspicious behavior worked to drive him away. I agree with Garland that you just didn't "pass his office" that day. You were checking up on him. Own your stalkerish behavior. And I think it's safe to assume that he found out about it, too. After all, he's paying that secretary to look out for him, and that includes, unfortunately for her, acting as a buffer between him and suspicious girlfriends while he's at work.

Can you get this relationship back together again? Yeah, anything's possible. But frankly, why he'd want to, I don't know. He may really have feelings for you, after all. But my advice, if you two do try again would be for you to grow up and calm down a little, not try to force things, and let them grow naturally on their own. Thanks for the question.


LDR or Not?

QUESTION: Hi Chuck and Garland!

Happy New Year to you both! I love your blog and would be interested in your advice. I am a married minded young professional woman who only pursues relationships with men who possess qualities that I desire in a life partner. Now, this does not mean that I try to turn every first date into a Far from it!! Simply, I just believe in pursuing quality relationships that have the potential to develop into a long-term relationship.

Consider my approach to dating and the rise in geographically challenged relationships due to graduate/professional school commitments, career restrictions, and the rise in online dating (just to name a few), I am interested in how men think about long-distance relationships (LDRs). and would appreciate any insight you can shed on the topic. Currently, I am not involved in a LDR, but am increasing finding that the vast majority of potential partners that I meet are LD rather than located in my city. Consequently, I am seriously considering LDRs more than I did in the past. However, I do have my reservations but would toss them aside to pursue a relationship with a quality guy.

What are signs that it's an LDR worth pursuing and what are (less obvious) signs that one should move on? What is your do's and don'ts list for women pursuing and/or engaged in long-distance relationships (LDRs)?

Thanks so much and I look forward to your response!!

GARLAND: Thanks for your question! LDR's eh? I haven't personally been in a LDR in over 15 years and even then it really wasn't THAT deep of a relationship.

Right now, I'd have to say LDR's don't rank very high in my PERSONAL opinion. I think people need a certain amount of REAL face time to make a strong relationship flourish. Certainly there are many people that live in the same city today that are in LDR's thanks to text messaging, facebook and generally excepting less and less from their 'partners'.

I just don't like the whole, "loving the voice on the phone" and "loving the words on the E-Mail" and "loving the person you'll see for 2 whole days next month" that comes with a long distance relationship. Then you will have to deal with the WHAT COMES NEXT in the relationship... you've been relating long distance for 2 years and the time has come to "poop or get off the pot." Someone wants a marriage or gesture of real commitment AKA time to move to the same city. Are YOU leaving your friends, family and job for him? Is he leaving the job and loved ones and history He has to move to your town? Maybe - Maybe Not.

Then the whole arguement over "If you really loved me, you'd move to be close to me will come into effect..."

For me, I think successful, positive, long term-relationships require a certain level of frequent, face-to-face contact that LDR's rarely provide.

I also think... and I'm NOT saying this is YOUR case... but I sometimes think that some people use LDR's as a type of social-crutch when they are either in a dating slump, or they seem to find themselves as the last one in their circle of friends without a significant other. It is fairly easy to find someone online four states over to call your 'boyfriend' or to call up someone you used to date years and years ago who lives in Georgia now and say, "Me and my ex are back together in a LDR for now."

My vote - Just say no to LDR's.

CHUCK: I don't necessarily agree with Garland here. There are any number of factors these days that will force a couple to be apart for a period of time, or lead people to engage in relationships with people that are not in the same geographic region. I believe that it depends on the individuals involved. In my twenties, I was in a long distance relationship for a couple of years with a young lady about 1,000 miles away from me. Things didn't end well between us, and I still kind of regret the experiences that I missed out on during the time I was involved with her, and was faithful to her. Anyway, if you foresee yourself in an LDR (don't cha just love aconyms?), there are a few things that you absolutely have to have.
MATURITY: If you are a person who, in a relationship, is constantly in need of affirmation, or declarations and demonstrations of the other person's love, LDRs are not for you. Because your ability to command the other person's time and attention will be severely limited. Phone tag, conflicting schedules, and missed connections may frequently make communication difficult. You can strive for a routine between you (calls every couple of nights, a physical rendezvous every couple of months), but flexibility and understanding is crucial. A needy person in New Jersey with a boyfriend in New Mexico probably won't make it in the long term.
TRUST: Probably the most important thing in any relationship, to my mind, but of immense importance here. You have to be able to trust your man, if he's not home a couple nights when you call him at home after 10 pm. Now he says he's be refereeing a youth league basketball tournament. Do you believe him? You need trust to be in an LDR, and trust comes from knowing a person, so...
FAMILIARITY: Is probably good to have. In an LDR, it's good to have a foundation together before a physical separation is attempted. There are hundreds of people who are surprised when the relationship that they initiated over the internet goes wrong and they can't understand why. They probably really didn't know the person to begin with. And people on the internet lie all the time, anyway. Except for people like me and Garland...
AN EXIT STRATEGY: Finally, you need this. For any relationship seeking any kind of future, gaining or regaining physical proximity is the ultimate goal. So, at some point, brinigng an end to the long distance stuff should be considered. And, of course, that's dependent on what is causing the separation. Things like military deployments and temporary duty assignments are finitite by definition. But other reasons, like job or academic commitments, could be less well-defined. Basically, you need to plan to be together for real at some point. That, as much as anything else probably doomed my relationship. We didn't have a plan. Discuss at what point one of you can try to get a job closer to the other, or a college more geographically desirable.
There's my say on the issue. But also pay heed to the lesson learned by the woman whose question we posted a few months ago, under the heading, "Get Out of Orlando." Sometimes couples aren't meant to close that gap.


Abuse and Attitudes...

FROM GARLAND: This is the first time that Chuck or myself have decided to use our Q&A blog for a sole personal opinion. Chuck may add a comment of his own, or he may not - but I really want to take a moment and get something off my chest.

I'm sure that many people have heard about the Chris Brown and Rihanna situation. Obviously, very few people TRULY know what happened. I, like you, have my own opinions.

But, this post isn't completely about Chris and Rihanna. It's about something I heard last night on the radio and what I see as a dangerous shift in attitudes.

One of the local radio stations had a "call-in-line" where people called in to talk about the C&R situation and I'm going to paraphrase a bit here, but the majority of calls went like this:

  • "I don't think Chris hit Rihanna, he doesn't look like the kind of guy that would do that,"

  • "She must have really made him angry to punch her like that,"

  • "Everybody has their limits and she must've made him real mad to hit her like that,"

  • "Females have to understand that if you hit a man, he's gonna' hit you back,"

  • "She had to have hit him first to make him hit her like that,"

  • "Chris Brown is too nice to hit a woman,"

  • "Rihanna, obviously provoked Chris to beat her up,"

  • "Let's not be mad at Chris until we find out what Rihanna did to him first,"

The vast majority of callers were African-American women and most of them sounded youngish, in their teens and 20's from my guess. Sadly, they all leaned towards defending or sympathizing with Chris Brown and virtually blaming Rihanna for what may have happened to her.

I was simply stunned. I assumed that man on woman violence would rally women behind the alleged victim, but quite the opposite. They solidly stood behind the man. Maybe it's because Chris has a squeaky clean image, maybe it's because he's cute, maybe it's because he can sing and dance pretty good - but don't all those qualities apply to Miss Rihanna too?

So, why have attitudes shifted, and when did these attitudes shift? Honestly I don't know and I guess I'm floating my thoughts out to the universe to see what floats back.

I always assumed and believed, and still do, that a man NEVER lays his hands on a woman. A man, even when provoked with the gravest of circumstances, NEVER hits a woman. He can yell, he can scream, he can walk away, he can file for divorce, he can go get drunk, hell, he can pack bag and go stay at a hotel for a few days, but he NEVER hits a woman. I thought that was the way MEN did business when things got bad.

Now, I'm not just sitting here passing judgement from on-high in cyber space, I've been there and done that. I've been THAT MAN. Years ago, this woman I was dating brought some nonsense to me and started this intense argument, it went on for 5 or 10 minutes and she decided that she wanted to make her point by punching me in the face. I didn't touch her, I stepped back, furious. When she saw that I wasn't going to strike her back she became emboldened and grabbed a pair of scissors and tried to stab me, I caught her arm and knocked the scissors from her hand, she then bit down on my hand and fell on the floor trying to kick me off my feet. It was intense for a few minutes. But I never hit her, I never smacked her, I never did anything physical to harm her. If this was a man doing this, I would have beaten him bloody, but I have always believed that a man NEVER hits a woman.

I guess that attitude is gone now in most folks. Sadly, I think it's gone in most women.

But, I want to say, right here, right now to anyone reading this blog... THAT NEW ATTITUDE OF ACCEPTANCE needs to change. The standing policy should still be, "A Man Never Lays His Hands on a Woman." Women of all ages and colors should make that a Universal and Un-Breakable policy. It is completely unacceptable that a man should beat up a woman and then have people... and not just men... but have OTHER WOMEN rally around him and help justify what he did! And, I don't give a damn about how much money he has, how cute he is, how nice you think he is... a man that hits a woman is a straight-up punk! A sorry, sucker-ass, jive-time, low-down, no-good, punk!

If a man hits you, get help, call the police and leave his behind in the dust.

Demand more, Ladies! Stand together, and don't accept anything less than you truly deserve!


CHUCK: See, and people like to laugh and say to me, "You've had some bad experiences with women."

I'm with Garland here in large part. I've had some pretty angrry confrontations with women I've been involved with, but it's never gotten to a physical level. Still, I've got some thoughts on this whole Chris Breezy/Rihanna business I want to share with you in the form of some bullet points, as follows:

A) WHY DOES CHRIS BROWN HAVE A GIRLFRIEND... if he's not going to be faithful to her? I call this Bow Wow's Conundrum. Chris is young, rich, and apparently attractive to females. He also, by most reports, is lacking the emotional maturity to be in a monogamous relationship right now, like his peer, the former Lil' Bow Wow reportedly was when he was dating Ciara. Fine. He's 19. What would I do if I was in his shoes?

However, instead of openly playing the field, he's in a public relationship with another pop star. Why? Publicity. Chris is gonna get a lot more press if he shows up for award shows and the like, with another star rather than a random jump-off. Magazine covers, videos, these kind of showmances can be beneficial to the principles' careers if people don't go off the deep end and start to think of the relationship as anything other than a business tranaction. Rihanna, Breezy, maybe you should have called Tom Cruise or Nicole Kidman before either of you did anything rash.

B) WHERE IS THE LOVE FOR RIHANNA? I know, she's not from America, she supposedly tried to "steal" Jay-Z from Beyonce, she's supposed to be really jealous in relationships, and all that gossip-blog stuff. And I didn't like that song with Ne-Yo, either. But any expressions of concern for the woman allegedly assaulted here have been few and far between. They're basically along the lines of, "Boy, Rihanna must have really done SOMETHING to get Chris to rough her up like that." Sigh.

Granted a lot of the opinions I heard about this last week were from numbskulls calling in to radio shows, but still. If the alleged assailant is innocent until proven guilty, shouldn't the reported victim be shown at least the same discretion? And the fact that a lot of Chris Brown's most fervent defenders were female only bolstered my belief in something I've said for years: No man can show as much disrespect and lack of concern for a woman as another woman.

C) THE BITES Garland and I were discussing these the other day with some friends. Striking a woman with a hand or a fist is dreadful, but it seems to be historically the way a man will try to display his power over a woman. But biting? Where the hell does that come from? One of our female friends said to me, "Oh, you'd bite some one," and I had to disagree. That would never occur to me. I told her, even in a fight to the death with someone, I would fight with my hands, or whatever I could grab. And if my only way out was to bite, I'd bite hard and take a chunk out of my opponent.

The fact that Chris allegedly laid a number of bites on Rihanna gives me a little pause. Maybe this dude wasn't as Doublemint clean-cut as we were led to believe.

D) PARIS HILTON: WTF? One of the more outlandish stories of the past week concerns the source of a number of suggestive texts to Chris Brown that supposedly kicked off the melee between Chris and Rihanna last week. One report is that the source of those texts was one Paris Hilton.

Let me say this: As mad as my wife would be if I was getting texts from any woman seeking to get with me, she would probably be infinitely more enraged if those messages were coming from a say, woman of loose virtue, like Paris Hilton.

That's all I have to say about that. I don't believe it.

E) THE WHOLE SORDID MESS. The election of Barack Obama as President led most of us to rersolve to do better, as individuals, and as Black people. But here, it's barely been a month, and the new Prez's economic plans for the Nation are fighting it out for headline space with this mess. Domestic violence is a very important issue that I feel is becoming trivialized by the he-said-she-said back-and-forth on this story. The rules were simple when I grew up: You do not lift your hand to strike a female. If Chris Brown did this, and is guilty as charged, he should go to jail for it, And good riddance.