Bringing the War Home

QUESTION: Hello Chuck and Garland,

I am getting a divorce from a drunk who has narcissistic personality traits. Not pleasant…to be sure.

Yeah, I stayed too long. Yeah, I’m a dumb ass. Yeah, so let’s dispense with all the drama on that note.

I do not bad mouth him to my son who is now 19 yrs old, but I also have not been dishonest with him about the DV that transpired and his step-dad’s excessive drinking that he began to do after returning home from the Afghanistan War. He would drink whiskey and Coke every night until he passed out. One night I had enough when we were out and he left me across the street and went back inside the bar – he was drunk and I wasn’t. He sat at a table with other women and ended up staying out until 4:30am with two other women he worked with who he met up with at another bar after our argument. He came home at 4:30am inebriated – I left him and although he apologized he made light of it and didn’t think it was a big deal and I should get over it. I disagreed.

When I came back home from my mother’s to get some of my things – as I was leaving he grabbed me and a bad incident of DV occurred. He was arrested and I obtained a RO and kept it solid for 4 months with zero contact. I made it that way because I knew I could cave emotionally if I didn’t.

He never took any accountability whatsoever. He lied about it all. Spread nasty untrue rumors about me, so I moved out and went to live with family.

After those 4months I still did not drop the charges and I told the State Attorney that he needed Anger Management, Substance Abuse and PTSD help – she offered him pre-trial diversion of those things vice criminal charges and he accepted. He is still drinking – and tells me it is worse than it was before.

He filed for divorce and it is in the process now.

He calls me and cries telling me that he still loves me and that he wants “me” to fight for us….and that he wants counseling and blah, blah, blah….

Then he turns it around like he never said any of it and has done that repeatedly. So, I have once again and for the last time Stopped any and all Contact by blocking his email, phone #’s etc., and have advised him and my attorney that any contact is to be referred through my attorney not directly through me.

Now that I’ve blocked him from my life and refused to allow him any contact with me and have stopped any chances he has of toying with my emotions, manipulating the situation, reeling me in only to throw me back out….blah, blah, blah….

My question to y’all is this:

Concerning my son and his step-dad what say you? His step-dad has been in his life for about 6 years – through the middle and high school years. While his step-dad’s behaviors have been very bad - he wasn’t all bad – I truly don’t believe any one is 100% all black and toxic.

For the most part their relationship has been good. He has been supportive of him and a fairly good role-model as far as a father type role, as for the drunken narcissist abusive bad to mommy man….NOT so good.

My son was in college for a year in Hawaii but just recently has returned to live with me and we have a good non-dysfunctional relationship. I do not bad mouth his step-father, but I also have not been dishonest with him about the DV that transpired and the excessive drinking, lack of accountability, responsibility, boundaries, etc.

Any suggestions or insights regarding this situation from a male-perspective would be greatly appreciated. I want to do right by my boy and think y’alls input would be useful and open my eyes to perhaps some things I am not seeing or thinking about.

Thanks for y’alls efforts.

GARLAND: Thank you for such a candid question.

While Chuck and I can bang out answers to stupid cheating boyfriends and ex's that still want a little nookie on the side. We want to take questions like yours and stress to you that we are not trained professionals, so take what we say at face value and keep in mind that a professional's touch might be helpful too.

I just want to jump on a few things that leap out at me - you say, twice actually that you "don't bad mouth his stepfather but you don't hide the DV either." This is a little red flag for me, because you don't have to bad-mouth someone to make them look bad. You can speak the truth in a calm clear voice and relay candid details about someones poor behavior and be 100 honest and still come out with you looking one way and the other person looking another way. So, while you are not bad mouthing him in the old fashioned sense of the word, if you are telling your son about DV you are being subjected to, you probably are creating a bias in your son. If my mom came to me today and said, "your father has been beating me every week for the last ten years," she's not throwing him under the bus, she's being honest about the DV. And I would still want to kick my father's ass. See my point. The bias has been created.

Now, before you think I'm picking sides here - let me say that I'm sorry to hear that you are going through DV. That is a terrible thing and I hope you seek some counseling and talk to some professionals. On first blush, I wonder if your ex has some post war issues from the middle east causing him to be a fool towards you. He may very well have some PTSD going on. Before you think about returning to him or buying in to his on-again, off-again love, he must truly seek professional help to get rid of [or at least get control of] his demons. He sounds like a mentally erratic alcoholic. And, he may be dangerous to you, or himself.

Now, as far as your question goes - I think you are very fortunate that your son is a 19 year-old, young man. He's not a little boy. He is old enough to have had some "Man-Lessons" and he still needs more, but he's older and wiser and he should be allowed to have a 50/50 vote in whether he spends time with your ex, his step-dad. From your question, I'm not 100% sure if your ex wants to be around your son, maybe he does, but it's not clear. I have to say though - if I were 19, I would be fairly uncomfortable being around a man that was NOT my biological father AND was abusive to my mother. I would have a hard time with that until your ex made some serious improvements. Personally, if I were you - I'm not certain that I'd want an abusive man to be a role model to my 19 year old son. A role model, should be a solid, compassionate, non-abusing individual. Frankly, I'm concerned that he would be a bigger negative than a positive!

And then, you don't know what he is saying about you! He might not be throwing you under the bus either and he might be just as honest about the DV as you are - only from his own perspective. He could be telling your son, "Your mom has a big mouth... your mom cheated on me... your mom hit me first.... your mom wasn't giving me enough..." or any number of things. Do you really want your son in this position?
I say, give your son a 50% vote, with you having the other 50% and give him the tie-break vote on whether or not he spends time with your ex. The two of you are the biological family, your ex is just there by marriage.

Good luck to you and your son. And, good luck to your ex if he seeks help. Please remember that if he gets help - he's not getting it so the two of you can get back together, he is getting it to save his life and sober his mind. If a reunion is in the cards down the road - then great. But don't make his sobriety about you and your son.

CHUCK: Here's a possibly pertinent anecdote: I once worked as a clerk for a man who had cerebral palsy (IIRC). He walked with braces and had a slight speech impediment. We got along fairly well, until something went wrong with one of his projects, and he tried to lay the blame on me (incorrectly). After that, I started to see this guy's true side: He was a liar, he was selfish, he was not that competent, and worst of all to me, he had no qualms about cynically exploiting his handicap to get out of trouble.
How this guy conducted himself was very instructive to me, as it proved to me that whatever problems or challenges a person may be going through that could make you sympathetic to them, a prick is still a prick. Maybe PTSD has turned your ex into a violent, manipulative drunk. Or maybe he was hiding those facets of himself all along.
Either way, thanks for displaying the common sense and courage to leave this man when he started this downward spiral. A lot of women would have hung around to see the end, out of love. But you have put the psychological and physical well-being of yourself and your son first. Good for you.
As for your son's future relationship with his stepfather, I agree with Garland. It doesn't seem that you are really adamant about refusing your son access to him. But the feeling is, maybe you should, because you can't control what your ex might say about you, to curry your son's favor. And really, what kind of role model is he for your son?
There are ways that you can impose some control over the situation. If you ex is honest about healing himself, encourage your son to speak with your ex's therapist, in terms of evaluating his progress. Maybe he or she would recommend a session with the two of them. But I would suggest you limit their contact until you have assured yourself that your ex-husband is on the right path. Good luck to you.


Not the Man You Think He Is

QUESTION: First and foremost i wanna say you guys do an awesome job and i am totally impressed with this site. i dont know who you two are but i wanna hang out lol. so here is my dilemma kinda stupid but still wasting energy on it :(

Two years ago I met my a man 11 yrs older than me while he was working in my country. He was single and handsome, so loving and so kind towards what id been thru in my broken marriage. it seemed like i really had a chance to be happy with someone again.

We saw each other everyday for 10 months and my little girl adored him. When his contract ended and he had to leave he asked me to go with him back to his country but i couldn't because of my job and i wasn't ready to give up everything, but he came back to see me and two months later i went to see him.i stayed with him for two weeks and it was magical.

Although there were red flags, he was seen around with other girls while i was away and he was terribly controlling, i was so blinded by the love i felt for him. When i left he begged me to come back. In December last year he asked me to move to him again, and when i finally accepted, quit my job and gave up my apartment, he wrote to me a month later (after becoming distant) to tell me that i cannot come because he is not the man i think he is, that he is not ready for the commitment. This is after promising me the earth moon and sun for 10 months. Saying that he was ready to be like a father to my child and to love and care for us. I was so heartbroken and left with nothing, i cut off all contact with him from that day.

Even if i wanted to try and move on, 10 weeks later he started calling saying how sorry he was and how he wants to make things work. I stupidly forgave him That was in Feb and we talked everyday since then and he made plans to come seeme in august. two months ago he got cold and distant again calling less and less and when i asked him he said he was busy and we haven't seen each other for so long maybe that's why. So i told him then while chatting not to come if he's losing interest in me again because he had changed towards me, i said this hoping that he would try to be nicer, but he never even replied and i never heard from him again. So i deleted him again from all my contacts and tried to move on again.

Now two weeks ago he texted me saying he misses me, and i stupidly kept contact again for two weeks, yesterday i asked him why are we talking again and why did he stop talking to me for two months he didnt even reply and signed out. So once again i deleted his ass and sent him an email basically saying do not text me out of boredom, or cos its been two months, or if you're just checking to see if your fanclub of exes is still intact. i told him i am not interested in being his friend and i made it clear to only call me should he wake up one day and magically realise how great we were together and that he loves me enough to work things out. I even recently found he had been sleeping with a lot of other women while he was in my country we’re a very small community, all the while seeing me and asking me to never leave him and telling me how i’m the one.

Why do men do these things and im praying i will be strong to tell him where to go should i ever hear from him again. It hurts but i know i need to move on. My question is why does he keep coming back if hes not interested inhaving a relationship? why was he texting? its not like i'm a phone call away for a shag why play these games then. Do you guys think he'll respond to my email or will i hear from him again this time?

GARLAND: Thanks for the question. You'll hear from him again.

This guy sounds like a game playing nut and not much more. And sadly, it takes at least two to really play games. Any idea who the second person is?

Sorry, I don't mean to be harsh, but I need to be real with you. If you think enough of us to ask our opinions, then we should think enough of you to be honest. By your own words, you knew this guy was shady but you let him push and pull you around and you said that Love blinded you. Let's not go around giving love a bad name.

But, I'm not answering your question - Why do some men do these things? Some guys do this because they are stupid and weak and they like to keep willing women dangling on the hook. Some guys just like a fail-safe for when times get tough and the lovin' is lean. I'm beating around the bush here, so let me stop... Look, some guys are just assholes. There, I said it.

This guy is a game playing asshole and sadly you are helping him play the game. He does his thing, he gets his booty from the other women, he's eating his cake and then when the phone stops ringing, he knows you'll be entertaining for a few weeks and he still gets to have more cake - then you get the, "Baby you know I love you... Baby I'm sorry I've been a ignoring you... Baby I'm gonna do better... Baby, baby, baby...," E-Mail. To which you reply... TO WHICH YOU REPLY!

TO - WHICH - YOU - REPLY! Your reply plays right into his hands. He loves it. He loves the fact that you will help perpertuate his foolishness.

HE will play with your emotions as long as you allow him to. As long as you keep telling him, "When you decide to do this..." "When you decide to do that..." "When you're ready for this..." "When you're ready for that..." he'll continue to treat you like he is. You keep giving him the power, and like anyone that is power hungry and wanting to play games, he will. You've got to come to the point when you accept and believe that you are not a toy and you are not to be toyed with. That means no returning of his calls and texts, blocking his E-Mails, moving on AND NOT LOOKING BACK and more importantly, being blinded by the love of yourself, not the misplaced love of an unworthy scrub.

CHUCK: Let me give you the benefit of a conversation I heard on the radio this morning. It concerned relationships between men and women, and the shady behavior that sometimes takes place. This woman said that, men will always be honest with you. And before I could even fully voice the word, "WHAT?" she amended her comment, "if not in their words, then in their actions." And I said, "Damn." Because, whether you realize it or not, that's what's taking place here.

He tells you that he loves you, asks you to forgive him for the last time he came around and ruined your life, and then shortly thereafter, he's growing distant again, and breaking off contact. Despite his flowery words, his actions display what he truly means. Which is more like. "I'm lonely now, and I need some attention, but I realize the only way that I can get it from you, is if I act like I'm sorry for the last time I hurt you. So, accept these lies first, then hang with me for a while, until I start feeling better about myself, and I can cut you loose."

In response to your question, though, Garland is pretty much right. The reason that men do stuff like this is mainly for the ego massage. They like the idea that no matter how bad they've treated a woman, she will still accept his weak lines and insincere apologies. He has no intention of doing right by you. EVER.

That being the case, and considering that what you need in you life is good, loving people, and not emotional parasites, feel free to ignore any future contact from this man. He's probably decided long ago that he does not want to be in your life in a significant way. It's time you made the same decision about him.


Once, Twice... Three times?

QUESTION: Dear Chuck and Garland:

For about a month now, I have been dating a guy in his early thirties, who has been divorced twice. There is not one thing I don't like about him. He is attentive, loving and focused on doing things that make me happy. The only thing I am cautious about is his relationship history. What are your thoughts on this? Is this a red flag? Am I dealing with a case of "he was so charming in the beginning, but turned out to be a psycho?" I feel myself falling deeper and deeper in like everyday, but at the same time I don't want to get into something I may regret later on down the line? Or there any signs I should pay attention to that may tell me if this is all a front?

GARLAND: Thanks for your question! I happen to think that when guys have been married more than once and then divorced more than once, the problem may lie with them, not the women they chose.

This is my reasoning: Most guys that I've ever spoken to about multiple marriages all seem to have the same attitude - once is enough. There is too much to being married to try and go through that two or three times. Now, this is just a lot of the guys I know, 35 to 45, professional, various levels of education, most of us married, no bums living at home with mama! So that is just one part of my rationale.

The other part though, is this: When this guy got married once and it didn't work out, he turned around and did it again UNSUCCESFULLY! So that means that he either picks bad women or he is a bad husband. For example, if he got married the first time and she was crazy, then maybe that lead to the divorce. So if he was smart, he didn't pick the same kind of woman twice, if he did then he is a fool. But, if he picked a different kind of woman, then maybe he was the problem. Either way - I think this guy probably makes bad decisions or he doesn't have his act together.

There could be any number of reasons that he has been married and divorced twice, I'm only hitting on few. Two isn't necessarily a "killer" number, it seems high to me for him to be in his thirties, but I think it is clearly something you should keep on your mind. He may be the kind of guy that is scared to be by himself, so he married women to assure companionship; He could need to have a "mama figure" around so he gets married; he could be the kind of guy that thinks he's in love with love and every woman he sleeps with he proposes to. I honestly don't know, and I'm a bit biased because of a guy I know, who's NOT a friend of mine, but he's been through two wives and he is a very controlling and dark fellow who is quite terrible in relationships.

Tread carefully with this guy, and if you think things are getting serious, you are 100% within your rights to ask him about his marriages and his divorces. You owe YOURSELF loyalty, not him. If he doesn't want to talk about these subjects to your satisfaction, then you may need to prepare for a long and bumpy right with this fellow. Good luck!


Why can't weeeeee be friends?

Dear Chuck and Garland,

I am a young woman, 24 years old. I was involved with a guy of the same age for three years during university. He was my first boyfriend and only, as I am still to re-enter the dating world. We were both foreign students from the same country who met at university and had (what I thought) was a great relationship which most people, including me thought would end in a marriage. We had lived together for a year and became really close to each other's family etc. I will give him credit where it's due, he treated me well, in that he supported me emotionally and financially through some rough patches in my life. I never had to ask twice for something from him and I do believed that he cared for me, even if he may not have loved me as I loved him.

We broke up because I graduated one semester before him and returned to our home country. We spoke about what would happen when I moved and we decided that we would be in a long distance relationship until he returned as well. About a month after I left, I found out that he was cheating on me with a mutual friend. Of course, I went crazy and confronted him. He could not deny it and told me he was unsure about us and he was in love with this other woman. Upon my questioning his intentions all along, as he was the one who always brought up marriage etc when we were dating, he said he was in love with me, cared for me and knew that I was a good woman who would make a good wife and he thought he wanted me. Emphasis on thought-- until he starting seeing the other woman. So the relationship ended-- with much agony for me as I was shocked and very hurt.

I should also mention that he cheated on me earlier, very early in the relationship... something which was a very early warning sign that he had a fidelity problem. But he indicated that I refused (which is true) to be intimate with him and he had his needs met eslewhere. The relationship was also long distance when this happened. By the time I had found about about that early problem, the cheating had stopped ( by his choice) and he was really trying to make it work for us. That is why I forgave him and took him back.

The second time though, I just walked away.

When he graduated, not so long ago, he moved back to our home country and started up a business and decided to settle here as well. We talk sometimes as friends, and have met on a few ocassions and had lunch and dinner etc. He indicates to me that he wants to be friends with me because we do get along well, once we avoid the issues of the past relationship. I don't mind friendship as I think I can handle that we 'were' . But he hints to me that he wants more, he keeps saying, I was the best thing to happen to him, he made mistakes etc. I don't know if pursuing a friendship with him will lead him to think that he has a chance to get close to me again. I see it for what it is, friendship but I am aware that he may using friendship to squeeze his way back in. What do you guys think? Can people be friends after dating? What do you think his intentions are?

GARLAND: Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay in getting this answer posted.

Let's see... yes, men and woman can sometimes be friends after dating and after breaking up. But in my opinion, those times are far and few in between. If your ex has cheated on you twice, then you have a very reasonable barometer to his trends and habits. Frankly, I think this guy will continue to keep you in his pockets just like so many loose nickels. He doesn't really want you, but he wants to keep you close enough to keep an eye on or maybe to keep someone else from taking your attention.

I think a better man would say, "I've hurt this woman twice and she's forgiven me. I'm going to leave her alone and let her heal." A decent guy would not be trying to satisfy his own... guilty conscience... or underhanded plan.

And then we come to the whole "being friends" thing. Calling this chap a 'friend' is an insult to the REAL friends you've had for years. The REAL 'friends' that were there for you when this guy dogged you. The REAL 'friends' that care about you and your feelings and not just their own. This guy may be nice, but don't try to paint him with the 'friend' brush. You two will probably never be TRUE friends. If your 'radar' is active and you have some doubts and/or concerns about him and his objective, then please trust yourself. I think you're going to open yourself up to some serious vulnerability.

Good luck and best wishes.

CHUCK: I'll be succinct: People who have dated can remain friends after dating, depending on the behavior that you are willing to tolerate from your friends. If you place a value on friends that you can trust, and that are loyal to you, this man has already shown that he is unworthy to be your friend by cheating on you (twice) while you were dating.
Now, people can change, and, in certain circumstances, should be given second chances. But that should not mean that we should allow the past to be forgoten completely. Those who forget the past are doomed to blahblahblah and all that.
Is he trying to use friendship to squeeze his way back in? Absolutely. He's not even trying to hide it. He realizes that he fouled up, but you will not take him back straight off, so he believes if he plays the friend role for a while, he might be able to soften you up to get back together. Now you can be his friend if you want, but be mindful of what he's setting up. And most importantly, DON'T DO IT.
This guy has shown that the minute that there is any appreciable distance between you, that he will cuddle up with the next nearest female. He's done it twice. That you know about. If he's bad friend material, he's even worse boyfriend material. I say, let it all pass. You can do better.


the Clock-Puncher

QUESTION: My guy has a routine. We have been going out for close to a year now, and I am confused by some issues. Right so he is older by twelve years, and I have four kids, three of whom live with me.

He comes over daily, by about 6pm, hangs around, sometimes helping the kids with homework, sometimes just watching TV. Then leaves promptly at 9:30 after I have put the kids to bed. (No attempts at intimacy here at all) He refuses to stay the night. He will send a text to say that he is home.

On weekends when the kids are there, he also comes over, spends lots of time with them talking, playing with the younger ones etc. But again he leaves at 9:30 - 10 pm...maybe sometimes 11:00pm if we are watching a movie, and is back at our place around lunch time the following day. Yes , we do go out all together on occasion.

The weekends that the kids are with their dad, he spends the night at my place, and then we may spend the Saturday night at his.

A few things bother me:
1) He puts new rules in place for the kids without consulting me.
2) He walks around putting things away and tidying up the place
3)He expects fair and equal share to things in our fridge (like he lives here)
4) He sometimes expects dinner...whether I am cooking or not..but will not help himself. Yet when the kids are not there, he has no problem making breakfast.
5) In discussion about issues sometimes, he literally tells me the "proper" way to do something; and I can really feel the mental block when I attempt to make my suggestions.
6) He discusses a "future together" when we are alone, but the minute the kids ask questions like "when are you guys getting married?" he responds in the negative all the time.
7) He never wants to face that he may have shortcomings.

I sometimes feel like a "kept" woman, yet he doesn't pay any of my bills. Basically, sometimes I feel like I am being played. Like he's only along for a ride as long as it would last. He discusses committment, and calls me future wife, but I get the feeling sometimes that its all a game to him. What am I missing?

GARLAND: So, you've actually been to his place? Well, that's great, because your 'friend' was sounding more and more married by the moment.

I hate to be a downer here, but it sounds like he is just going through the motions with you. He's in by 6 and out by 9:30... that gives him most of his evening to himself. This is of course assuming that he's not the kind of guy that has to be in bed by 10. If that is the case then, well... he's just an old dude that needs his rest.

But, I want to address the points you raised so specifically:

1) He puts new rules in place for the kids without consulting me.

THIS is absolutely unacceptable. Those are your kids and he's not your husband and he's not raising them. His behind-your-back influence is dangerous, especially if it is unwanted by you. I always have a gripe with people (men & women) that incorporate their kids so deeply into their dating. Sure, I know you're gonna' say he has to accept YOU and YOUR KIDS, and that is true. But YOU have to control [and sometimes limit] how much influence your 'friend' has over your children. If you let them get very close to this guy and he flakes out on you, then they have an emotional loss too! And, in worse situations, he gains their trust, and if he has a few screws loose, then he can become a physical threat to your kids as well!!! But, if he's making rules and you aren't involved, you need to lay down the law to him with the quickness - if you don't then you are doing them a grave injustice.

2) He walks around putting things away and tidying up the place

This could be his effort to be helpful OR it could be a little passive aggressive move to let you know your place is a mess. I really don't know. But if you don't like it - tell him to keep his hands out of your drawers... and closets and cabinets.

3)He expects fair and equal share to things in our fridge (like he lives here)

The next time he makes a sandwich, you could just ask him what he picked up from the grocery store, or you could just remind him that you are a single mom with a bunch of kids and you didn't factor a grown man into your grocery budget. He'll snicker I'm sure, then you tell him that you weren't joking, and "if he wants to eat at your place, a few bags of groceries once in a while would be appreciated."

4) He sometimes expects dinner...whether I am cooking or not..but will not help himself. Yet when the kids are not there, he has no problem making breakfast.

See my comment above. You have a real gem with this dude!

5) In discussion about issues sometimes, he literally tells me the "proper" way to do something; and I can really feel the mental block when I attempt to make my suggestions.

Hmm, this sounds like he's got some Daddy issues going on. And he thinks he's the Dad... The Bad Dad. The more I read here, the more he sounds like a crotchety old father. You say that he's 12 years older than you, maybe he feels older than that. That would explain why he leaves at 9:30; why he tries to tell your kids - his fake grandkids, what to do; why he doesn't make sex a big deal; why he cleans up after you; why he eats what he wants; and why he feels the need to correct you and tell you why the things you do could be better. He MIGHT think that he's your Dad.

6) He discusses a "future together" when we are alone, but the minute the kids ask questions like "when are you guys getting married?" he responds in the negative all the time.

He does this because he thinks you like to hear it. He keeps you on the hook with this bullcrap. Please tell me that he doesn't call you 'wifey.'

7) He never wants to face that he may have shortcomings.

He's an arrogant ass. (That one was easy)

I think that this guy just doesn't want to be alone. He probably thinks that you and your kids are okay to hang out with, maybe you all are better than his being all alone. But from what you are saying, he sounds like he is just going through the motions and giving you just enough attention to get you to open the front door each night. If all you want is a warm body to sit next to on the sofa - then he's your man, then again, you could just buy a German Sheppard. Sorry-

CHUCK: Garland and I were emailing each other, discussing your question (not something we always do), and I suggested jokingly that the reason for your male friend's 9:30 departures might be that he wants to play house, but needs to be back home in time to see CSI: Miami. We laughed about that, but, thinking about it, there may be something to that theory. Does he have a high-def television? Do you? Don't laugh, things like this can intrude upon a relationship.

You sound frustrated and confused by this man, and you have a right to be. Because he is treating your relationship like a cafeteria meal. Allow me to explain: Rather than just accepting your entire relationship as it is, he flits around, like someone getting lunch in a cafeteria, selecting the things he's prepared to accept, a la carte.

This is him: "Yes, I'll have the boss-the-kids-around-like-I'm-their-father, and the raid-the-refigerator-like-I-filled-it-up. What do I want the respect-her-opinion and the plan-for-the-future? No, thanks. And I'll that to go. Fox News is on at 10:00."

He is content to do just so much, and only extend himself so far (I will give him credit for helping clean around your house, though. There aren't too many men wiling to do that.). He's content to act like the head of your household, as long as he doesn't have to pay any money, or make a real commitment.

And why does he think he can get away with that? Because you have let him think that what he's doing is okay, by allowing him to get away with it. You need to let him know that ordering your children around comes with some dues that he hasn't paid yet. You need to let him know that your place is more than a rec center and a supper club. You need to tell him that he is fallible, and the sun has yet to shine out of his behind.

It's been said before, but a person will only get away with what you let them get away with. And as long you you allow him to set the terms of your relationship, you will have to continue dealing with this nonsense. Address your issues with him honestly, and see how he responds.


There's No Sex Like Drunk Sex - Literally

QUESTION: okay, here goes..... i am in a relationship with a man and we don't have sex....ever. its been seven months and we've had sex maybe three times. we've been together for a year and 4 months. our relationship started out as more of a friendship with lots of sex,always while we were drunk b/c thats what we did every night. he hadnt been in a relationship for 12 years (he's 34) before him and i got together. about four months in we officially became boyfriend and girlfriend and both agreed that we should take a break from the sex thing for a few months and kind of "start over" as if it had never happened and also both agreed we should try it out sober, which we hadnt done yet. so we waited 4 months then tried at it again, and it was great. he had some issues with staying hard though. that lasted for a few months. also you should know that i am never the one to initiate sex because i need to be turned on and also have a sence of being wanted. so then i realized one day that we hadnt had sex in a long time and deccided to talk to him about it. he said that there were a few issues with sex he was having and trying to deal with. one of them being he now realizes that he loves me and it is hard for him to do the dirty things that he used to do to me, but those are the things that really turn him on. another issue is that he feels like he doesnt please me..... hes always been really good in bed and had "one night" stands that last a few weeks. its been 12 years since hes had to keep someone happy sexually for more than a few weeks, and he says it makes him feel insecure. we talk about this every so often because it just makes me feel so insecure about myself. you should also know that he loves checking women out. that didnt used to bother me, but i guess because were not having sex, it does now. i just picture him picturing himself having sex with these women, and i can undress in front of him and he has no urge to fuck me. i guess what im asking, is there anything i can do in this situation?? do you think this is somethign he can overcome. I love him to death but i cant go the rest of my life wondering if the guy who loves me so much is ever going to want to fuck me ever again?? and he says he does, but i just wonder how someone can know if theyve overcome anything w/o at least trying it out to see if they still feel the same. the three times we have had sex in the last seven months, ive initiated..... which ive recently said im not doing anymore, b/c i need to feel wanted by him and i havnt in so long..........please help, any advise would be great.

GARLAND: Okay... WOW. Uh, that was a lot of information. I think when people give all of this extra information they're mainly venting, and the real question is lost. So, sadly, I just don't have it in me to read this a third time. After reading it twice, I finished with the same impression. This guy has to be drunk to sleep with you.

Now THAT has been a running joke with guys for the last 400 years, but in your case - IT'S TRUE! If you have sex like horny, Red Bull fueled, teenagers when you are blitzed out of your mind and yet when he sobers up, he's so blown away by this heavenly love he has for you that he wouldn't dare defile your virtue by touching you with an erection... I can only say, "Give me a break, please."

I don't know what his deal is, I don't know what he's thinking, but I can tell you that your future, at least your sexual future with this chap is going to be pretty bleak unless you BOTH change. He's got to stop being a frilly prude when you want to get your swerve on, and sometimes you are going to have to stop waiting to be hunted and become the predator!

And by the way - to quote our beloved reader "Clarice" - Please stop "borrowing drama!" The whole - 'picturing him, picturing himself having sex with these women,' sounds really... uh... dangerous. Please don't let your fears lead you down the road to serious paranoia. 99.9% of all straight men, even those in relationships, look at women! We are visual creatures, we see a fine looking woman, we are going to look at her - hopefully in a subtle and respectful manner to everyone involved, but we are going to look. Don't make a man's natural urge into something overly dramatic when it doesn't need to be - please don't 'borrow drama' and insert it where it doesn't really exist.

The two of you need to have a serious and heart-felt talk about your relationship, but until that happens, I say, get your guy a six pack of Dos Equis, a couple of condoms, a tub of cool-whip, a pair of handcuffs and a squeeze bottle of Smuckers grape jam and GET BUSY!!!

CHUCK: I'm going to get Psych 101 here for a minute, and talk about something called the Madonna/Whore Complex. Basically, it's a psychological principle that states that men either view women as a Madonna (no, not her): pure, virginal, and untouchable; or as a Whore: approachable, sexual, nasty.
Of course, most real women are human beings who can't be defined so easily. So men who adhere to this complex usually find themselves facing problems in the real world. Such seems to be the case with your man.
He feels as though he needs to be drunk to have sex with you, since he feels unclean doing "dirty" things with/to you sober. He feels as though he cannot approach you in this way without being altered. That's really unusual.
What's mainly happened, though, is that he isused to having sex a certain way, and doesn't feel as though he can change. During the 12 years he was not in a relationship, he evidently got used to drunken, short-term flings. He's evidently turned on by that kind of thing, and doesn't think he can change. So he doesn't even want to try.
He can change, though. You can, too. Given some time and patience and understanding, you can learn to be together and appreciate each other sexually. Sober. One problem men have, and I've written about this before, I think, is if we have an episode of impotence, or are unable to perform once, we dwell on that occasion, and let the anxiety build up until, DAMN, we're not functioning again. And for some men, the fear of facing that kind of situation again will lead them to not initiate sex at all.
You two need to approach this topic again, and agree to help each other with the issues that you both have. Because you have some issues to address. too. You are insecure about him looking at other women because right now, your sex life together is not good. But let me assure you, even if you two were going at it two or three times every night, he'd still look at other women. That's just how most men operate. We are visually oriented beings. The main problem I see would HOW he looks at other women in your presence, and is he respectful to you. Remind me to write about this at length sometime.
The other thing is, you need to get over your reluctance to initiate sex. I know it makes you feel desirable to be pursued, and all that, but to have you kick things off might be just what he needs. You can see that waiting for him hasn't been very productive. So as I say, talk to each other, make a decision to try to change things between you, without using liquor as a crutch. What have your livers ever done to you to deserve such punishment? And please, keep in touch and let us know how things are going.


You're all by yourself, but you're not alone

QUESTION: I'll get right to the point. I have been in a commited relationship with a man who has been married twice and according to all his banterings and extreme number of other relationships and encounters.

The latest bomb dropped was the statement that he was sued for patenity about 19 years ago. DNA showed he was most likely not the father but lost in court. (This was the result of a three night roll in the hay) His second wife moved in on thier second date and since she would not leave they got married. The marriage was going south so they had two kids, go figure? He says if he had it to do over the first date would never have happened.

Now I really do not consider myself as the jealous type. I am VERY easy going. But everything we do including travel he always brings up someone else with whom he has been there before or fished with or camped with or dined with. I am NEVER alone with him! He constantly drags them along. I can't imagine how many are and have been in my bed! One story after another.

We have been together for 9 years and living together(in his house not mine) for the last 5. I love him. But, does he have any idea what he is doing to me? Is it malicious? Am I being too sensitive?

I have told him that I do not walk around talking about every person I have ever F**@%ed. Nor do I ever brag about experiences with my ex or past boyfriends. I also told him it makes me feel "disposable".

I am feeling totally disrespected. Is it just that he does not think? It just seems to be a pattern of not thinking anything through including what he says.

I need insight on how to deal with him and my feelings.



GARLAND: Thanks for your question. Hmmm, living together for five years - have you been tired of his crap for the whole time, or have you just grown weary of his foolishness. That's what you have here, a man with a lot of foolishness and drama.

I think most guys that have gone through two wives have some serious issues with themselves. Let me tell you why - I know a lot of guys, some married, some divorced, some never married at all, but the general consensus among all of us is that once is enough for marriage. For guys that have gone down the aisle twice and both times come up with zeroes, they either have poor taste in women or they are poor men in a relationship. I think your guy is poor in relationships.

If he is so dim-witted as to think that he can bring up all of his ex lovers and ex girlfriends and ex booty calls and basically REMIND you that nothing you do is special to just the two of you - then your man is screwed up. I'm just going to put it out there to you. Your guy has some real issues and guess what - he's not going to get any better!!! If he's been married twice and is still so immature and ignorant that he will not look into the mirror to see what is wrong with him - then he is a fool.

You are dating an inconsiderate and thoughtless fool. Prepare for continued heartbreak and disappointment, because you have a lot more headed your way.

Chuck, can you find a silver lining here? I can't. This guy is a bum.

CHUCK: (Answer will follow)

Friends, But Not With, You Know, "Benefits"

QUESTION: Hi Chuck and Garland,

I love your site and appreciate your dedication to speaking truth to women and providing insight in the minds and behaviors of men! Okay, so here's my situation. I met this guy last summer and we were feeling each other out for a potential romantic relationship. And by "feeling each other out" I mean getting know each other through conversation and doing activities together...the old fashioned way :-) A couple of months into it, his ex-girlfriend came back into the picture and started messing with his head (i.e., "she still loves him but is in love with her current guy too" type of stuff (or so I was told)). She's been dating someone else since a few weeks after their breakup a couple of years ago. Needless to say, her resurfacing brought up some old feelings for him and we backed off. We remain friends, his ex is still in the other relationship, and he says that he has let the situation go and moved on. I provided the background info about his ex in the event that it's useful in helping you figure out what's going on in his mind.

My question concerns his behavior towards me throughout our friendship (pre, during, and post his situation with his ex). He cooks/bakes for me, bought me gifts (just because), flowers and dinner, introduced me to his friends/family (local and long-distance), brings me lunch at work (offering himself), and calls me regularly (I do not have to call him). He calls to see how my day is going and calls me when he goes to work and when he gets off from work. He recently just called to let me know that some of his family members are coming in town to see if I can come over for a cookout with them. He also makes plans for us to do things with his friends and their wives/girlfriends. Did I mention that we ARE NOT dating...and more importantly, we have discussed dating on multiple occasions (most recently around New Year's) and decided not to. During those discussions, I was open to dating simply for the fact that we obviously enjoy each others' company and our behavior in time invested in one another resembles that of a romantic couple. It is also important to note that we have never been sexually active and have only kissed a couple of times (the last of which was around New Year's). He's even shown some jealousy when I've dated other guys and even tried to make me jealous by mentioning that a mutual acquaintance who had expressed interest in him...however, I was not jealous and encouraged him to pursue it if he was interested. Why? Because we are not dating and therefore, we are free to do as we please.

I have platonic guy friends who are in no way shape or form this attentive/generous to me and do not demonstrate jealousy behavior so I don't understand what's motivating his behaviors towards me. You and I both know that a guy doesn't have to do all the things that he does in order to maintain a friendship a woman. Also, since we are not physically intimate I don't feel like I'm being maliciously taken advantage of. While I do appreciate and enjoy his friendship (he's a great guy), I don't understand why a guy would want to spend so much time with a woman, engage in boyfriend-like behavior, but not want to date? Simply, it's like having a gnat hovering around your plate that's never willing to land on it! What's the deal fellas?


GARLAND: WOW! What a great question! I've got about four answers!

#1 - "Congratulations, you have a boyfriend that's waiting until you get married!"

All of the behavior you just described equals "dating without sex." Flowers, friends, phone calls, cookouts, gifts, lunches, dinners... it's all dating. You are spending quality time together and maybe YOU don't know it - but to the rest of us, you guys are dating. At least that what it seems to be, using the traditional parameters of courtship. Just off the top of my head, he seems to pay you more attention that a lot of the 'official' boyfriend's some of our questioners! Maybe he wants to get married before he brings sex to the table, or you consider my next answer...

#2 - "Congratulations, you've got a buddy to hang out with!"

"Hanging out" is a term that a lot of people use. To me, I've had female friends that I've 'hung out' with before and never formally dated or had sex with. Looking back - maybe dating or sex could have happened with some of these women if either of us had wanted it more - but what we had going on was cool enough for us at the time. Maybe in your guy's eyes - the two of you are "hanging out!' You spend a little more time together than normal platonic friends, and you're very close, but the dating chemistry, the sex and emotional intimacy and monogamous nature of a 'boyfriend / girlfriend' relationship just isn't there. So, maybe in his eyes you are just his 'special friend' his 'homegirl' his 'hanging out buddy," or you could consider my next answer...

#3 - "Congratulations, your good friend is confused as hell!"

Okay, this really isn't worthy of a 'congratulations' but I was on a roll - sorry. Maybe this fella' is just confused. He wants you close so he won't lose you; He doesn't want you too close because the verdict is still out on his feeling for his ex; He wants you close because you are probably great to hang out with; He doesn't want you too close because if the ex comes running with arms wide open he doesn't want to hurt your feelings by pushing you aside for her, or you could consider my next answer...

#4 - "You're his beautiful window dressing."

Maybe, just maybe this guy hasn't gotten over his ex, but he wants everyone, including himself to think that he has. Bear with me for a moment here.... there was an episode of 'Seinfeld' where this fellow kept making casual 'get together' plans with Elaine, but he never made a formal date request with her. She would reluctantly go out with him and then she'd ask, "Are we on a date?" He'd say, "No. Can't two friends have dinner without it being a date?" She'd accept it. Then on about the third 'un-date', he invited his parents to dinner with them and they were so impressed to meet 'his girlfriend.' The guy didn't tell them otherwise. This may be where you are. Maybe he needs you to give his life the appearance of normalcy. To him, he has a woman to show affection to, he has a woman to take out and spend time with, he has a woman that makes him feel like a normal guy and not some guy that can't get past a woman that has left him and moved on. To the family and friends around him, you are Johnny's new girlfriend; to them, Johnny has moved on so well; to them, Johnny is doing real good with his cute new girlfriend! So, there's a chance that you are an emotional crutch to him. That sounds pretty bad, but it might not be. He probably does care about you.

My gut tells me that he cares about you. While his actions seem thoughtful and warm, he just won't commit to dating on the terms you use to define that. If you are having a hard time with his halfway behavior or you are feeling that he's getting a certain level of emotional fulfillment greater than what YOU are getting out of your relationship, then I suggest YOU be the grown-up and back up off the situation. You control what he wants the most - YOUR TIME. Just start backing away and being less available to him and move on, either he'll accept that you are a ship that has sailed on and he'll do the same, or he'll realize that he's been foolish and step up to you with terms and conditions that only you'll accept.

Best wishes and best of luck to whatever decision you make!

CHUCK: You know, if you didn't already say that this man had an ex-girlfriend, I'd wonder if he wasn't gay and using you as a beard. But just from what you've said, it seems as though your relationship is a little more sincere than that.
What is this relationship? I've gotta say, damned if I know. Years ago, I was in a similar friendship relationship with a young lady. We hung out for a little while, and I hoped, that by being a friend to her, she'd eventually see that I wanted something different. Anyway, that didn't work out. She just wanted a friend, albeit a friend to go out on dates with, to be at her disposal, to call at 1 am NOT to have sex, etc. No, no, it's all right. I'm not bitter. Not at all.
Seriously, though, you are correct in your understanding that this friendship is NOT conventional. You are getting consideration from this man that women in long-term romantic and/or sexual relationships are not getting. Please scroll down the page. There are at least a half dozen women down there that would be envious of you, for the fact that he calls you regularly, alone. So make no mistake, you've got it good.
How good, however, is dependent on what you are looking for. Judging from your question, it doesn't seem as though you are pining away for this man, or are desperate to start a relationship with him. You seem more curious than anything else. But I'm curious, as well. Would you like to be in a relationship with this great, attentive guy?
I don't know how well you got to know his ex, or whether you did at all, but I'm tempted to suggest that you feel her out on him. If just to find out how he was in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Because it could be that she chewed him, spit him out, and turned him into the gunshy basket case he is today. Or if she didn't do it, she might know who did.
That's what I believe has got him in the state he's in today. He may want to be involved with you, but it seems like he can't make that move. And because you're not placing any demands on him, one way or another, you are comfortable to be around. But as I have said before, men can live in a state of limbo for years, until they're forced out of it. But women need to feel that sesnse of progression. At some point, you're probably going to want that. And then you'll have to decide if you can get it with him.


Lets get deep for a minute...

QUESTION: Hi Chuck and Garland - Just doing some thinking for the new year about where my life is heading. The background: I got married to my college sweetheart in 2000 when I was 31. Although he was a love of my life and I learned so much from him, I left after only a year of marriage for the main reason that he was a regular pot smoker, and I didn't want to have kids with someone who depended on drugs. He was highly functioning, had his own business and was smart as hell. But... I felt the pot was keeping us from having the marital relationship I believed we could be having. Addiction kept him from growing emotionally. I had believed his promises to quit throughout our many years of dating, and it took me a year of marriage to realize they were empty, and I would have to move on.

Fast forward ten years. I have had a wonderful life full of good things. I've traveled the world, enjoy my job and friends and took time out to work on me through therapy. But I had just assumed that once I got out of an unworkable romantic situation and worked on myself that I would find someone who wanted to put the effort in ie; a guy who gets it. I've had some love connections but mostly from guys who are too young as I look ten years younger than my age. Oh, and ironically, my wasband just got married two years ago, and judging from Facebook photos, appears to have the life I left him for.

I'm not particularly unhappy about my situation nor am I desperate to change it, but sometimes I wonder why am I not getting what my friends seem to have. I don't really have a question per se. I just want your input or impressions about how life is "supposed to go" as opposed to how life really ends up.

GARLAND: Hi there. Thanks for sharing.

Yeah, I feel you. Life tends to work itself out at the speed, time and manner that IT chooses.

I think we all see what we want out of life and if we're lucky we get SOME of it. I think that happens for two main reasons :

(1) random events happen every single second of every day and these events have a ripple effect that impact the world, the country, the state, the city and the neighborhood we live in, the areas where we work and play, the people we know, the people we are yet to know and subsequently - US. So, nothing on a philosophical or a 'higher' plain is fixed in place, variables are everywhere.


(2) Everyday we become just a little bit different - we learn a little bit more, forget a little bit more; we appreciate a few more things and appreciate a few less things; we love a few more things and we hate a few more things. Our priorities, desires, abilities and perspectives are always changing.

At one point in our lives we might money, or we might want a house in a good neighborhood, or we want that sexy guy or girl that works out at the gym we go to. Then again we might want a kid instead of the house. Or, we might want a solid 401K as opposed to that weekend in Puerto Rico. Maybe we'd just be happy dropping 30 pounds as opposed to having $3000 in new jewelery. I think everything ebbs and flows.

What I'm about to say is easy for me to say because you and I are strangers, but I say it sincerely and I hope you take it to heart in a positive way. You say that your wasband seems to be doing pretty good... Don't dwell on that too much. While the world and events are random, I still think that on a deeper level - everything happens for a reason. You might assume that your wasband could have turned himself around and been a decent guy for you, you'll probably never know. But, before you stress over this... and I'm not saying you are... keep in mind that he probably had to take his life in a different direction to end up where he is, and sometimes we have to take these roads alone. Either he's improved himself and or he's improved a way to hide his shortcomings. I hope you look at him as just - One Stop, on a long bus ride.

And lastly - don't sleep on those young fellas. If you are 40ish and you come across a guy that has his act together, his head is on straight, his game tight and he's livin' right - why not see what he's about? You didn't say you were looking for a man, but since we're all sharing here... I might as well point that out to you.

Best wishes, and enjoy the ride-

CHUCK: You want our Philosophies of Life, is that it? Boy, I love the easy questions!

I don't think that there's any set way that life should go. Things happen when and how they do, mostly due to situations that we don't control. But it's how we respond to those situations that dictates how our lives end up going.

And then there are the things that we want out of life. These things are gonna change, based on where you are in your life. When I was single, I wanted a better car, a smart, stable girlfriend, and more money. Now I want more time with my kids, more (and better) time alone with my wife, more rest, and... more money. Back when you were married, you wanted a stable married relationship. Your husband wanted more weed.
No way that could have worked out.
I wonder a lot about the inequities of life. How can good people live unhappy, unfulfilled lives while others can do wrong, abuse everything and everyone, and still reap life's rewards? I call that the Dick Cheney Conundrum. Do bad things happen to good people? All the time. Nothing is going to change that.
My personal philosophy is to live my life with as little mailce as I can have towards others, and trying to respect other people as I want to be respected. And I guess that's worked out pretty well for me. If things aren't quite going the way you want them to right now, hang in there, because you never know when things are going to change for the better.
Now, enough with this philosophisizing. Give me someone to scold, or find me someone to make fun of!


Run, Don't Walk!

QUESTON: Hey guys...

I haven't had sex with my husband in ten years! I met a guy and we became "friends with benefits". Then he suddenly says he's falling in love with me. Tells me not to fall for him he's a mess. The deal was since I'm married do what you want I just don't want to know about it. Since he started seeing me he hasn't slept with anyone else. (Or so he and his buddies swear to). One minute he wants to see me, gives me the "look". His friends tell me he's in love with me. He's never said it to me. We have the best time, great sex and I love his kids and they love me. We were friends for nine months before we did anything. He pulls me in and pushes me away. Tells me not to love him. He hates women we are users and take everything. Then he says except me. WTF???? What is going on? What do I do. Yes I am in the process of getting a divorce. He says he doesn't get jealous but if I mention a guy he starts talking about past conquests or says he's having some chick over later. I'm the only woman he lets stay the night even when he has his kids there. This I have scene since we were friends first. I'm 10 years older than he is but he's lived as hard and fast as I have. He got married at 19 and is 34. I say he needs to run and just let us "happen". Stop over thinking it and lets have fun am I wrong? Is he just not into me? Not ready for anything, lying to me to himself? WHAT DO I DO! Keep contact or hit the ground running?

Give it to me straight like I know you will!

GARLAND: Thanks for your question.

You want it straight, huh? Okay, that's how we'll do it.

You have some top shelf foolishness going on here. You are married and in a 10 year sex-less loop, but you can cheat as long as you don't do it under his nose. Fortunately you say that you're getting a divorce, so you've saved me about two minutes of typing - thanks!

This foolish BS he's selling you about all women being hated, theiving, creatures... except for you is some childish nonsense. When he first came out of his mouth with that crap, you should have realized that you were selling yourself waaaaay short. You really should have rolled out and left his juvenile butt standing in your dust, but since you've sent us this question, I assume you don't see the error in your judgement.

Then there is the whole - "I'm lovin' you, Boo - But, don't catch feelings for me, I'm not good enough for that, I'm not ready for that..." Again, you are lowering your value by continuing to think of this guy as anything more than a sexual outlet.

I'm certainly not one to endorse cheating on your spouse, but if you all haven't slept together in 10 years and you two haven't taken the steps to fix that problem, then I have to say that you are only human. At some point you have to do what you have to do, as long as you don't get it twisted. Sadly, you HAVE gotten it twisted. You've gotten good sex confused with loving emotion. What should have been one thing has flipped into another, at least in your mind. I just don't think the reality is anything close to what you are hoping it is. Sorry, I think you're investing in a worthless stock with this guy.

And one last thing - the whole, "his buddies swear he's in love with me..." For him to be a man over 34 years old, and bringing his lover around his kids, and giggling about you to his boys - it just sounds weird. It just doesn't sound sincere. It sounds childish, like he's a teenager in a man's body. I say this because GROWN MEN don't talk to their buddies about the sex they are having with THE WOMEN THEY CARE ABOUT. They respect them too much. Men will, however, talk about the sex they have with women they don't think too much of. If he is letting his Boyz in on the nookie-nook that's going down between the two of you, he doesn't really care about you. Don't let all the gushing they are doing fool you, chances are, sadly, you are a Booty Call to your Lover Boy. That's what men are thinking.

CHUCK: If I was a less than tactful person, I might suggest that the ten-year sexual dry spell has addled your brain and effected your judgment. But I'm not tactless, so I won't suggest that. There.

This man, as Garland has stated, is, despite his age and circumstances, childish, and not someone to even consider a relationship with until he does some growing up. I don't think that you displayed the best judgment hooking up with this guy while you were still married, even given the state of your marriage. And when I read your account of this jackass' behavior, that just confirms my reservations.

There was a song in the 70's called, "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me." This singer (a man) was warning a woman off of him because "I'll just use you, then I'll set you free." That's the same kind of insincere narcissism you're dealing with here. And it's not even the 70's anymore. And he hates women, but he's okay with you.That's really some backward idea of flattery, if you ask me. How's if feel to be "one of the good ones?"

You're supposed to relax and just let your relationship "happen." Well, I think you know deep down what's going to happen. What's fun for him now will eventually get old, and he'll break up with you. So my advice is, take his advice. As you start your new life keep it moving and leave him behind.


Is you is, or is you ain't my baby?

QUESTION: Hi Chuck and Garland,

I need your advise because I am not sure what I should do. So were do I start huh! I have a friend that I have known since high school, we were very close. See the problem is that we have always have something for each other but I was with someone else and ended up pregnant during high school. He always hated how the guy treated me and he was even there for me while I was pregnant, came to hospital when my son was born. After high school we lost contact and I ended up marrying the guy I had my son with and we went on to have another child. We were married for 5 years before we got divorced. After my divorce I decided to look my friend up and give him a call because I always thought about him for all those years. We started talking again and kept in touch. After talking for awhile we planned a trip to Vegas together since I had never been. We both at this point didn't know if we were going as just friends or if it was something more. Well we had a great time in Vegas and ended up sleeping with each other and telling each other that we had always had a thing for one another. Now the thing is he lived in another state than me so a few weeks after Vegas he came to visit me and it was great. After that visit though he didn't really call but I would get an occasional text. So I took the not calling me that he didn't want to be with me. I started dating someone else and a month or so later I got a text from him saying he missed me...I was confused. I told him that I was dating someone else since I hadn't heard from him. So at that point we no longer talked.

Now lets jump forward to a year later. I was no longer dating and we started talking again here and there, not a whole lot though, mostly text messages. We occasionally see each other when either of us is in town but nothing happens. He is very touchy feely with me but it never goes farther than that. I have told him how I feel about him and that I want a relationship but I don't get anything back from him. I told him this in an email since we never seem to actually talk on the phone, just text. He just replied that we need to talk but we never did.

Now I just went to Vail this weekend and we met up and I stayed at his place but nothing happened. I am so confused though because we went out and if any other guy talks to me he gets very jealous. One guy even hit on me this weekend and he almost got in a fight with the guy. Why does he do this if we are not in a relationship? I don't know if I should talk to him about it but I feel since I sent that email he knows how I feel. But why is he jealous if he doesn't want to be in a relationship with me. It is just so hard to be around him because I really care about him. I am not sure if I should just end our friendship because it is so hard for me. See usually if I don't text him I wont hear from him but then on the other hand he is very flirty with me at times. Please give me some advise as I am so confused and not sure what to do.


GARLAND: Thanks for sending us your question. My answer - Cut your losses and move on.

Now, I know every story has two sides, but based on what you've said here - I think this guy is torn between the image of dating you; the reality of dating you; and the possibility of not dating you at all. What you're saying sounds like a guy that isn't sure what he wants.

I'm going to be real with you. I think that guys, for the most part, know what they do and don't want from a woman. If a guy is really feeling you, he's going to let you know - pure and simple. If he's on the fence or doesn't want to hurt your feelings, he'll drag things out - he'll keep you... as Chuck likes to say... dangling on the hook. This guy, with his ocassional texts and odd jealous behavior sounds like he doesn't want you, but he doesn't want to see anybody else with you. He sounds confused.

I think you should just stop responding to his texts. Sadly, you make yourself look bad by being so accepting [and happy] to get the bits and pieces of his attention by responding back and being so willing to accept whatever little petty crumbs of time he offers. If he was really about getting with you - you wouldn't have the time or inclination to send us your question.

Best wishes -
CHUCK: Ditto from me here. This guy doesn't want to be your lover, boyfriend, or anything e;se. He does not want to expend that much effort. What he does want is to keep up some sort of arms-length relationship, where he can keep seeing you, being around you, even getting jealous if you are talking to another man. Where does he get the nerve, anyway?
This man may be living in some idealized world of his own, where you do have a relationship. We do tend to romanticize our high school crushes, after all. But without anything further being done to nurture it, your relationship has even run out of fumes. It's sitting on the shoulder of the road with a red rag tied on the door handle.
And the texts. I should just write a separate post to address this whole relationship-by-text phenomenon. I don't hate technology, people, really, but the over-reliance on these technological crutches is making me nuts. Let me just say: If you need to be reminded what your boyfriend's voice sounds like, your relationship leaves a lot to be desired.
I think we can all agree that there is nothing going on here, right? Why not let the guy in on it? Talk to him, or just stop returning his texts. He should get the message. You two missed out on your time a few years ago. And wishful thinking alone won't get it back. It's going to take some effort, and someone needs to be willing to make it. Good luck.