Nothin' But a Good Time?

QUESTION: I went on a date with my friends brother. I did ask her before what she felt about it and she said it would be a good idea. So her brother and i talked a couple times prior to the date. Even on our date we always had some interesting conversation. The next day she asked if we connected and i told her that i think we did but wasn't sure about him but he had invited me to their mothers surprise birthday party. She didnt seem phased by it and thought i should go. Later she made the comment "well if your looking for a fun time then he is your guy, but nothing serious. He is pretty good at not doing that." That night he calls me to make plans for that evening. So my question is.. is he interested in me or am i just another exciting thing? Should i listen to my friend on his reputation? And lastly, why would he be so comfortable with me meeting his whole family just after the first date?!

GARLAND: Thanks for your question.

I think you need to let his actions speak for themselves. Give a slight bit of consideration to what your friend said, but let the large part of your decision toward her brother rest on what your eyes and ears pickup from him. Meeting the family IS a fairly big deal with some guys, not ALL GUYS, but some. On top of all of that – your friend might be getting a little uncomfortable with you making in-roads into too many parts of her life. Your friendship may have been cool at the office, or at the weekly hot-yoga class, or at night school, but when you start popping up at Mom’s birthday, or GrandMa’s cookout, or cousin Cheryl’s wedding, you may be getting too deep into her life. Keep your eyes and ears open to both of them and I think you’ll find out all that you need to know.

Good luck-

CHUCK: You are getting some mixed signals that are a cause for concern. But they are coming from your friend, not his brother. First, she tells you that it would be a good idea if the two of you should go out on a date. Then, when you tell her that he has, with little dating history together, invited you to their mother's surprise birthday party, she basically tells you that he is only good for a "good time." That may be true , but, as you describe it, those are some pretty dismissive remarks. So does she think that her brother is worth seeing or not?

As for one of your questions, some guys consider the event that they are inviting a young lady to, some don't, and some try to get what they want out of it. I agree with Garland 100%.My brother used to bring all kinds girls to all kinds of family events, confusing them, and my mother as to how relevent they were to his life. I needed to know a young lady pretty well to attempt that. Some guys just think they'll get more play if they let a young lady think they're important enough to meet Mom.

How do you know which kind of man this guy is? Well, you've got a prime source of information right at your disposal: his sister. If you want to continue seeing him and find out what there is to find out on your own, feel free. Or you could engage her in a more serious conversation, and find out if her brother is a keeper, or just for a good time. Then make your own decision.

Where You Want to Be

QUESTION: Hello Men. I love your practical and realistic answers.

OK, I met this guy 10 months ago while on holiday in a city, we liked each other, hung out for about 5 weeks, and we started a relationship, before i left the holiday location,(in which he permanently resides.) making our relationship a long distance one. i had always planned, even before meeting him, that i would further my studies at that same holiday location, which i informed him about.

This plan, is what we both banked on as a convergence point for us and an end to the distance part of the relationship. Now, due to circumstances beyond my control, i cannot further my studies as previously planned.

Knowing this, i asked him what his intention was for me, when he asked me into a long distance relationship, in the sense that, what is his convergence plan for us, but he couldnt come up with an answer. I'm thinking in my mind, are we just going to keep dating to infinity?????

Do you think this guy takes me serious? I dont want to waste my time here, and also, i dont know if his case is that of confusion, poor planning or we simply didnt think of the flipside of my going to school? I'm 26, he is 27. I'm considering ending the relationship and moving on to something REAL. Please advise, perhaps i'm being dramatic???? The long distance relationship is 8 months old. Thanks.

GARLAND: Thanks for your question. Until I read that your long distance relationship was 8 months old. I would have been inclined to just assume that he hadn’t figured out what he really wanted. However, 8 months is a sort-of reasonable amount of time for him to have a clue about his plans for you [in his life] long term. But that is just my opinion, and I’m not a mind reader.I do want to point out though that asking a man what “his intentions are for you,” is a really strong request and you are basically pushing him deep into a corner.

He may like you a lot and he may want to see if marriage is something he’d consider somewhere down the road. But he certainly can’t tell you, “Honey. I might want to marry you one day,” because a lot of women would take that as a preamble to a marriage proposal, and he’d always feel that pressure whenever he spoke to you. In other words, it would ruin your relationship from his perspective.

On the flip side of the coin, he may only be mildly interested in you. He may think you are nice and cool, but he doesn’t know what the future holds. So when you put his feet to the fire, he may see that as his last chance to get ready to marry you or leave you, and I think there are still some things in between those two options that you two need to explore, and he may play it safe and use it as a chance to bolt.I see why you want an answer. It’s reasonable, but it isn’t as simple as you saying, “What are your plans for me?” Do you know what your plans are for him? Maybe you need to put your cards on the table face-up and let him play his hand around yours. If you trust him, you should be okay. But I think you need to go to him and let him know how you feel and you need to BOTH figure out where you are between marriage and breaking up.Best wishes to your happy conclusion!

CHUCK: "Convergence plans?" Wow, you make things sound so businesslike... and so serious. First, I suggest you put yourself in his place. He assumed, with your first announced plan, that you would be moving to his city, and all of this could be taken care of. But then, your plans fell apart. Now you are approaching him aggressively, asking him what his intentions are. And when he can't give you the answer you want, in the time frame that you want it, you seem ready to throw the whole relationship away.

You're within your rights, of course, but I don't think you're being entirely fair. First of all, you haven't really described what circumstances are behind his seeming reluctance to relocate. Is his school there? Is his job? Or is it just that he doesn't appear ready to move, for whatever reason? Is there a time factor (i.e., maybe he can relocate later?) If his reluctance relates to a job or school, these are outside factors that he may be able to correct, but not right away. However, if it's something like this city having the best Thai food, or whatever, I'm gonna assume it's something reasonable.

There is probably a solution to this, but I doubt it can be reached by ultimatums. But before you can determine how to get to your mutually-agreed-upon future, you two need to agree on what that is. Talk to him, and find out what he would like your relationship to be. And if his goals are the same as yours, how you can work towards it.

If you are not after the same thing, of course, you should go your separate ways. Since you seem disinclined to engage in a long-distance relationship, even in the short term, you may need to reassess what you want out of this relationship. Good luck.


So what do you want ME to do?

QUESTION: Chuck and Garland,

I am so happy I found this blog. While looking through your past posts, I am thankful for the wisdom and advice you are sharing with us confused women.

If you could take a minute and share your thoughts about my problem (a problem that I think many women face) it would be very very appreciated.

I'm 23 years old and I've been dating this guy (that I really like) unofficially for about a month now. He made the first move and we hit it off right away. Our chemistry (physical and intellectual) is amazing (we haven't slept together yet, but we've done everything but...) We have a very similar since of humor, have a lot in common, and when we are together we totally fit. I know he feels the same way because whenever we get done from a date, he will always text me (usually 15 minutes after the date. sometimes the next morning) how good of a time he had, how much he loves hanging out with me, etc. I've also met a lot of his friends at a party he hosted - I could tell he loved to show me off. He compliments me (but not too much) and is always remembering little details I've shared with me. When we are together, I genuinely feel like he is interested in me.

What i'm struggling with is the fact that i'm setting up all the dates. Sometime's he'll hint that we should go out by saying something like "Oh we have to watch this movie soon" or "I can't wait to take you to this" but it's always me saying "Awesome, when do you want to go?" And other times, when I just ask if he wants to hang out soon, he'll say something like "Absolutely! Let me cook you dinner. How's sunday work?" or whatever. But he's never the initiator.

i've tried not instigating the dates, but then we end up not hanging out for like 6 days. He still texted/called/fbed me during those 6 days, but he never asked me to hang out. I don't call/text/fb him too much because I don't want to come off desperate, and because i'm already the one instigating the dates, i don't feel like instigating the rest of the communication.

I guess how I feel is if he really liked me, wouldn't he actively persue me? I've always been told men should persue the woman, not the other way around. So should I ignore our awesome chemistry and all the other signs that he is into me and stop pursuing him? Or should I continue what i'm doing and stop overanalyzing? Or should I be straight up and ask him "Hey, I can't really tell how into me you are. When we're together, It seems like you totally are into me. But you never really instigate hanging out so it's kinda giving me mixed signals."

Anyways, I would love to hear your feedback on if you think he is really into me and what I should do about this behavior.

Thanks so much!

GARLAND: Thanks for your question. I see that this one has been unanswered for a while, so I apologize for that. It would seem like after six years, Chuck and I would have our system down better, but alas life and work have a way of pushing our blogging to the back burner sometimes.

So – let’s see. I want to start by saying that I’m glad you seem to be in a good, though not great, situation. I know that you say “The Man is supposed to pursue The Woman,” but sometimes such general rules are either subject to interpretation or simply non-applicable. Now, granted, I do believe that a man has to make his interest in a woman clear, but all guys aren’t “shooters” some are “spotters”.

Let me explain. I think you may have a “spotter.” When it comes to military operations, “shooters” and “spotters” form a lethal and highly effective sniper team. The “shooter” aims the rifle, he/she looks through the sights and factors in elevation, wind, distance and a number of other factors and PULLS THE TRIGGER, The “shooter” makes the action happen. The “spotter” on the other hand, compiles the factors like elevation, wind speed and direction, distance, temperature and all sorts of other things and they give them to the shooter. But they do not PULL THE TRIGGER, they simply help the trigger pull result in a successful action.

I think your guy might be a “spotter.” He may like doing things and he may enjoy being with you, but he just isn’t good at pulling the trigger and making something happen. Maybe over time he will, but right now he doesn’t. He also may call himself seeing how interested in him YOU ARE. Yeah – SURPRISE! Sometimes us guys get a little insecure and we want to make sure you ladies aren’t playing us either. And yet again, he may consider himself to be a gentleman and he doesn’t want to crowd you by laying out times for you all to be together. In his mind, it may be enough to say, “Yeah, we need to see that movie…” but he wants to get together when it’s most convenient to you – so he lives the date and vacant pending your availability. Sure, that’s a bit extreme. But it’s possible.

I think you should assume that he likes you and he’s on the up-and-up, and just tell him that you’d like for him to be a little more aggressive when it comes to planning the things you both do. Tell him that it’s okay and you don’t feel boxed in when he suggests a time and place. Best of luck to you and drop us a line and let us know how things are going!


If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does anybody hear you lying?

Dear Chuck and Garland,

Though I've dated - and even had a couple of relationships - in the 3 1/2 years since my beloved husband died, I haven't liked anyone nearly as much as I do this new guy I met online. He's brilliant, funny, brash - very different than anyone I've ever dated, though he comes with some baggage (and kids, which I can deal with). We met online, are both 40-something, and have been seeing each other for a little over a month.

Why I'm confused: he came on super strong in the first two weeks - lots of texts and phone calls, two dozen roses - and there was even a night (3rd date?) where I got a little freaked because he was saying he thought he more than liked me, wished he'd met me years ago, etc., etc. Though flattered, I felt this was too much too soon so I told him he didn't know me well enough to feel that way yet. (Let me mention that this has also happened with the last two guys I've dated - they became overly infatuated very early on, professed love way too soon, and then bailed, one after a year, the other after three months.) This led to a good discussion with the new guy, though, on our views on romantic relationships. He's said since the beginning that he only dates one woman at a time and he took down his online profile immediately (though I did not agree to do the same for a couple of weeks). As far as the physical side of things, we've been fooling around since the second date, and have had sex several times (off the charts!) since the third date.

Then two things happened: he told me about something not-so-great in his past, and he had a sudden illness in the family. At first, I was totally cool with his admission and told him the past was the past. But then he canceled three dates in a row due to the family crisis, and given his admission, and the fact that I'd never even seen his house yet, I felt suspicious of the sudden caginess and like he was blowing me off. In the end, I probably didn't handle this well, as a lot of the back and forth was done through texting, and I confessed to doing a little Google research on him. I could also have been more patient while he sorted out his family stuff, but it went from lots of communication to almost none at all for a week and a half, and I had no idea what was going on.

When we did finally meet again, things were different. Although we did get together 2 x last week - he even made me an amazing dinner - and we've had great sex/sleepovers, he's backed off emotionally in a big way. Our daily contact is greatly reduced, there's no sense of urgency to see me, and the sweet-talk and nicknames and "xo" texts from him have completely ceased. When he does say nice stuff now, it's do with my sexiness ('best sex ever" "you're so gd sexy" "good morning sexy" instead of the "beautifuls," "I-like-you's," and "kisses" of before). But then I get mixed signals, like him leaving his shirt at my house intentionally, or his making me breakfast. Weirdest of all was his saying "Are you sure?" when I told him I really liked him, before saying he liked me too. (Which to me felt more like a deflection than a genuine need for reassurance.) I guess my questions are these: have I been downgraded to an I'll-see-her-when-I-want-sex relationship - somewhere above a booty call but well below the full-blown relationship I want? Should I ask him what's changed or let it ride a bit longer? Am I overanalyzing it? Though I really like him a lot - could even fall hard for this one, I think - and it's been so wonderful to feel hopeful about (potential) love again, I don't want a relationship of convenience. I can get sex anywhere and it worries me that this keeps happening - I'm starting to wonder why these men find me fascinating and sexy, but not loveable?

Thanks in advance.

GARLAND: Thank you very, very much for this question. I want to say first that I’m sorry about your husband’s passing. With regards to my answer, it’s going to be the answer that I have wanted many women to hear since we’ve had this blog!

I’m going to answer your questions one by one and then I’m gonna’ vamp a little at the end.

ONE: “Have I been downgraded to an I'll-see-her-when-I-want-sex relationship - somewhere above a booty call but well below the full-blown relationship I want?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, I have to say “Yes, I think so.”

QUESTION: “Should I ask him what's changed or let it ride a bit longer?”

ANSWER: I’m big on talking things out, but I’m not feeling it for this guy. I suspect that you’ll get a steaming load of crap from him. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

QUESTION: “Am I overanalyzing it?”

ANSWER: Hell no! If you were counting the number of times he says your name in his texts, or if you were counting the number of times he smiles at you when you talk, or if you were trying to figure out which days he scrambles eggs best – then I’d say, yeah, you’re over analyzing, but taking a serious look at the progression of your relationship and his actions is quite reasonable. I think you are doing okay.

QUESTION: “ Though I really like him a lot - could even fall hard for this one, I think - and it's been so wonderful to feel hopeful about (potential) love again, I don't want a relationship of convenience. I can get sex anywhere and it worries me that this keeps happening - I'm starting to wonder why these men find me fascinating and sexy, but not loveable?”

ANSWER: Now keep in mind that what I’m giving you is my opinion. I’m only hearing your perspective, and I certainly don’t know you or this guy that you are talking about, but what I’ll say is this: I think a lot of guys grow more juvenile and insecure as they grow older. I think a lot of guys feel like they’ve missed something in their younger days and they become less and less capable of being in what most people would call "a committed relationship." I think some guys drift around women not wanting to be too serious, not wanting to feel too tied down and not being in a position where they might miss out on the next attractive woman that might be willing to take off her clothes for them.

That’s what worried me when you said that on the third date he started talking about these "deep feelings" he has for you. I wish more women perked their ears up when guys did this and said to themselves, “BS ALERT! BS ALERT! BS ALERT!” Now, I’m not saying that some guys don’t catch legitimate feelings early on, but I think most of these guys have to go through a period of denial and attempts to rationalize what they are feeling. The number of guys that are truly serious about catching feelings by the third of fourth date and actually tell the women is probably very low. [That’s just my opinion!] I think when a lot of guys start telling women that they ‘care about them’ and ‘love them’ and say things like, ‘the Lord sent me here to find you,” very early in a relationship, they are trying to blind you with bull***t. Sorry, I think that is just the truth more often than not.

A lot, a WHOLE LOT of guys think [and know] that a fair number of single women, looking for dates online, or in clubs, or in certain social circles will fall for that kind of over-the-top comment. Check this out: “Honey, let me tell you. I love being single. All of my boys are married and doing the family thing and I’m just chillin’ doing my thing. But then I meet you and I’m like WOW, where did she come from? She’s beautiful, she’s smart, she’s crazy, sexy, cool – you know. I just don’t know what I’m gonna’ do. I can’t stop thinking about you. I’ve never felt this way before. I… I… I think I’m falling in love with you.” Now, I just came up with that off the top of my head, and I bet that if I polished it up, and delivered it across a dinner table in just the right light on the third date to 20 women that are legitimately trying to meet a nice guy, I bet that more than a couple would buy it. My point is – some guys will do their best to bull***t their way into your bedroom or your bank account! They aren't worried about your heart. I’ve seen it many times in women that I’ve known over the years. I’d love to give you some examples, but I’m afraid that some folks I know would have their feelings hurt if they saw it on this blog and I’m just not going to do that.

Also, let me just hit two other points on why you feel “fascinating and sexy, but not loveable,” TEXTING and HIS PLACE. Don’t be so quick to accept luv from your cellphone just because it’s there. Texting is so cold and impersonal and yet millions of people value it so much. They think they are loved because someone took 28 seconds to send them a three sentence text message. MAKE A MAN call you! Make him take a few minutes away from his day to step aside and share his voice with you and listen to your voice. Demand MORE! Don’t accept LESS! And, if a man has honest intentions with you, then he will let you see his home within the first few dates. To me, as a MAN who was single at a prior point in his life, this was a gesture of honesty and trust. A man that opens his home and lets you in is showing you, (1.) He’s single and doesn’t have a wife. [Look around carefully though, she might be out of town!] (2.) He’s not a bum that still lives with his Mama. [Look around carefully though, she too might be out of town!] (3.) He lives a certain way, neat, sloppy, artful, dirty, whatever. (4.) He can sustain himself - He can furnish a place, he has food in his refridgerator, his toilet is clean, he has soap in his bathroom, there isn't a big hole in his living room floor! He is a reasonable person! But don’t allow him in and out of your home and your bed if you’ve never darkened his doorstep. You are setting yourself up to get caught in bed with a married man!

Lastly, don’t believe for a second that you are “fascinating and sexy, but NOT loveable,” Don’t allow a handful of unworthy men that are not in your league to make you devalue the woman in the mirror. She is fascinating, and sexy AND LOVEABLE. Scrutinize the men you meet, don’t fear over analyzing, keep your eyes and ears open for BS, and don’t settle for less than you deserve and you’ll find the guy and the relationship that you’re looking for. Take care!


I want that shaken and not stirred... LMAO.

QUESTION: This is my story:

I met this guy about a year and half ago, he happens to be my best friend's husband's best friend, I was instantly attracted to him but kept my interest to myself because he lives about an hour and half away from me and we have many mutual friends. However, (thanks to the internet) we started to talk on a regular basis on google-chat about 6 months ago - we chatted about everything 4 or 5 days a week for hours on end. Both of us are very shy people, and awkward when it comes to flirting and relationships - so talking online makes everything easier. When I would see him at friends' events I noticed he would look at me a lot, and when I looked at him he would immediately look a way. At the onset of these events and parties, the two of us would ignore each other at the beginning, but by the end of the night we would be chatting alone together.

After about 2 months of chatting online, the two of us were at the same party. We both got fairly tipsy and flirted the entire night, and ended up making out after everyone had gone to bed. But, we never spoke about that instance until several months later. After this drunken make-out session he got a little distant, and we stopped chatting online for about a week, then out of the blue he tells me that he'll be in my city for work, and we should grab lunch! In his line of work he is required to travel a fair amount of the time, and after this first lunch non-date, we would always have lunch (sometimes he would pay, other times we went dutch) whenever he was in town. During these outings we would sometimes talk about past relationships and what we were looking for in a partner. We both have had horrible experiences in long term dating situations. I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship with someone who eventually became an alcoholic - fortunately for me I got out of that relationship before anything too terrible happened. My love interest was in a relationship with a woman who got pregnant with another man's child the first month they lived together, he had also purchased a wedding ring shortly before he discovered her infidelity. Needless to say, both of us are a little more than scarred.

As time passed, our relationship would slowly (emphasis on the word 'slowly') blossom, and we've started to become closer and closer over the past several months. A month later he and I were at another party, and we both got a little tipsy again and we ended up fooling around (no sex) in my friend's spare bedroom - we were at it for a good 3 hours, I remember the sun coming up and we were still fooling around. It was awesome. Again, we don't talk about this occurrence and he stops chatting with me online for another week. After this event he continued to let me know when he was in town, and we would have lunch.

Our many mutual friends started to catch on that we were starting to be more than friends, and would tease us. Every time I would flirt with him he wouldn't respond or he would get really nervous, so it was hard to tell his level of interest in me. At about month 5 of all of this happening I was still really confused about how he truly felt about me. I couldn't take it any more and let him know all of my feelings, and I had to push him to get any information out of him. Keep in mind I let him know this via text message (I'm shy, talking directly to someone about feelings scares me. Texting/online = safety) - I found out through our conversation that he was 1) concerned about the long distant thing, but we're only an hour and half apart and I let him know that it didn't bother me, 2) he had already been thinking about how things would work if we did start to date, 3) he was concerned about dating someone who was his best friend's wife's friend, 4) he wanted more physical relations with me.

A week later after this discussion, we went on what many people may define as a double date to a movie. It was just our two mutual married friends mentioned above, and us. I paid for the tickets, and he paid for the popcorn/drinks and dinner after the movie. During this non-double date he was flirting with me more than any other time that we had been in public together. Teasing, touching, hugging, texting each other at the table, etc.

Flash-forward another week and we go on our very first official date, I drive to his house and we planned that I would be staying for the entire weekend. Obviously, we end up having sex that night. It was probably the most romantic sex I've ever had. He gently kissed me, gazed into my eyes, pushed the hair out of my face, held my hand, held my face when he kissed me. The foreplay lasted for a good 3+ hours. However, when the actual sex part came around...he didn't last very long, and I could tell he was kinda surprised by this and felt bad. Saturday night came and he was hosting a party, as usual he doesn't pay much attention to me at the beginning, but towards the end of the night he had his hand on my ass in front of 15 of our closest friends - a big step. We didn't end up having sex that night b/c we were both wasted (too drunk to have sex, I know!). The next day before I left we cuddled on the couch watching netflix for a good 5-6 hours. Not to mention that two of his closest friends, who spent the night in the spare room, saw us cuddling in the same bed that very morning.

Since that night he's been a little distant, the texts and google chats have been very sparse. If I do send him a message he will respond almost immediately but the conversation doesn't go anywhere. It's been almost 2 weeks and we've barely talked to each other. So I'm just confused. I want to pursue a real relationship with him, I just don't know what I need to do.

Please help.

GARLAND: WOW? Uh, thanks for your question. In the six years that we’ve done this blog, I have never been a fan of long questions. I try to pick up specific points and sometimes it is hard to pick out the key details when I’m told about all sorts of different things, so I hope I can get to the crux of your concern.

Before I get to my answer let me just hit a few points.

ONE: Please tell me I read this wrong and you were NOT sitting at the same table with your friends and the two of you were TEXTING each other? This is not good. If you two can sit at the same table and chose to tap on your little qwerty keyboards instead of speaking to each other – then unfortunately, rough times may lie ahead.

TWO: Your friends ‘tease’ you because you two are attracted to each other? You may need some more mature friends. I fear they may tease you because you are wearing white on your wedding day.

To me, it seems that the two of you may be too timid and passive aggressive for your own good. I don’t mean to sound rude, and I’m not trying to be callous, but the two of you, according to what you’ve said, basically have to intoxicated in order to loosen-up enough to show each other any affection. That is NEVER a solid foundation for a relationship, though oddly I have heard of quite a few couples that disagreed with me.

And let me just hit this texting thing again. Chuck and I both agree that texting is going to prove to be the doom of most relationships. People rely too heavily on the safety and non-personal nature of texting and they lose the face to face passion that a relationship should bring. You [usually] can’t look someone in the eye when you text them. You can’t hear the changes in their voice to see if they are happy or sad or angry or lying. You can’t gauge whether someone is joking when they text, “SORRY I CAN’T COME OVER TONIGHT. I’M SCREWING MY BOSS. LOL” Now if someone said that to you, you could probably tell it was a joke. In a text message, it could be completely true and when they dump you, they can say, “Well, I told you I was screwing my boss!”

My suggestion is this. Make arrangements for a weekend together. Go someplace right between the two of you – forty-five minutes from both of you. Split the room 50/50 to eliminate that drama, leave your cell phones in the cars! And have NO alcoholic drinks for the whole weekend! If, and I’m dead serious here – if you can’t spend a whole weekend, Friday night to Sunday afternoon without your cell phones, without texting and without booze, then don’t waste your time trying to build a relationship together. Cut bait.

However, if you can pull this off. Take the weekend to talk about your feelings, your ideas, your plans for the future and see if the two of you can forge a relationship together. Really be candid and enjoy the time you have without your friends, and without having to be drunk and without your little electronic chaperones!

Best of luck. “GDBY”

Meet me in the copier room... we need to talk.

Hi Chuck & Garland,

This is my question- does he genuinely like me or is it just sex or friendship he's after?

I joined a company 6 months ago. I am 33 and married for 5 yrs and he is 31 and involved. From the day I joined I noticed him looking at me across the room and have caught his eyes couple of times. Since we are in 2 different divisions although he sits behind me in an open plan office our interactions have been very few over 6 months. When ever we interact he talks very softly and "caringly"(very politely in other words) and blushes. He tends to blush with everyone but a bit more so with me. All this attracted me towards him over 6 months and now I cant stop thinking about him. It doesn't help the fact that I decided to marry my best friend and compromise on passion. I feel I can have a passionate relationship with this guy if he ever decides to make a move.

This is why I think he likes me;

1. He smiles alot when I go over to talk to me as if he's very happy to see me
2. Every time he speaks to me - he is extremely polite with a soft voice- nicer to me than I 've hear him around others
3. He blushes around me
4. He has a very unusual name which I keep pronouncing wrong- he has never corrected me although I've seen him correcting others. When I apologised for it he said the way I pronounce his name sounds nice somehow.
5. He has given me 2 eye brow flashes when he sees me for the first time in the day, throughout the 6 months- first one about 2 months ago and the second couple of days ago.

This is why I think he is not interested romantically and interested in just being a friend or only attracted to me sexually:

1. When we do talk I try to linger the eye contact so he knows I like him(I have even looked at his chest while he was looking at me to show I like what I see!) but his smiling gaze goes from my eyes to elsewhere and back to my eyes and elsewhere again- he never maintains a lingering eye contact even if he;s red in the face and smiling silly.
2. He has a lot of friends- guys and girls a like- but have never seen him being loud and outgoing- he maybe well behaved around me or simply could be a flirt??
3. When transferring objects(only happened twice) he goes out of his way not to touch my fingers. He has never touched me or attempted to.
4. If we were in a small gathering with other collegues I would never catch him looking at me.- as if I am the last person on his mind to notice.

I would very much appreciate a guy's opinion on this.


GARLAND: Thanks for your question. Let me take a crack at giving you a guys perspective on it.

I can’t really sink my teeth into any of the examples you cited. I’m not trying to be difficult but you can actually flip any of your examples around and take them to mean the opposite of what you think they mean.

For example, you think he doesn’t like you because, “If we were in a small gathering with other collegues I would never catch him looking at me.- as if I am the last person on his mind to notice.” I could spin that and say he DOES like you because, he doesn’t look at you in the fear that everyone in the meeting would see the look in his eyes and know that he’s attracted to you and he doesn’t want his feelings known.

You think he likes you because, “He smiles a lot when I go over to talk as if he's very happy to see me.” And, I could rationalize that into him NOT liking you because he could be smiling to hide how much he can’t stand you. He could be saying, “Smile Jimmy. Smile. Don’t let her see how much she gets on your nerves.

Okay, look I’m just adding a neutral perspective on your situation.

Let me give you my real take on this. I honestly don’t know if he likes you or not. I’m a guy that’s big on letting people know how I feel about them, but you two can’t really do that at this point. This guy and you are both beating around the bush and for good reason, you are married and he has a girlfriend. The two of you can’t risk putting your feelings out in the closed in environment of work. What if he doesn’t like you like that? What if he does and the people in the office get wind of what the two of you two are doing? There is a lot at play in this situation and a lot at risk.

I think, I’m sorry – I KNOW the answer lies with the chap that you like. Despite my warnings above, the only way you will know for sure is to take some time and think about yourself, your husband, your marriage and your future and you have to decide one of two things – ONE, either you will approach this co-worker of yours in a private, away-from-work location and ask him straight-up how he feels about you, or TWO, decide that his feelings for you have no real benefit to your life or your future and you don’t push the issue any further. I’m not saying which one is right because I don’t know you personally, but YOU have to figure out what you want and what are willing to risk to get it and/or keep it.

This guy knows how he feels, YOU have to figure out if you REALLY AND TRULY want to know. You have to make a decision and you have to accept it and move forward. I wish you the best in your situation!

CHUCK: I can't make head or tail of your signs, either. "He smiles, he avoids my touch, etc." It may mean something. It may mean nothing. It may mean something one time, and nothing the next time. It may... You get the idea. What I'm saying is, I can't decipher this guy's behavior. I don't know him. You don't, either.

What you're doing with this question, really, is taking two issues, and combining them into one. And your dilemma cannot be addressed until you separate those issues, and address them as such. So...

Issue #1: You are married, but apparently unfulfilled. Why else would you care so much about what some dude in the office thinks about you? You say that you made a decision years ago to marry your best friend and "compromise on passion." That may have been enough at that point, but it doesn't look like it is anymore. You are taking what is a casual relationship, and putting a whole lot into it. Maybe it's time for you to reassess your marriage, and determine if you still want to stick with the compromise you made. But don't do that just because you're thinking about your co-worker.

Issue #2: You can't figure out what your co-worker's intentions are, based on his actions. As I said above, we really can't figure out what he feels about you. Which is the main reason you can't be making crucial life decisions based on what you believe he thinks. He may view you as attractive, he may have thought about pursuing you. But he is attached, and he knows that you're attached, and has decided not to pursue you. Plus, the workplace is a minefield for relationships, even when couples are unattached. Let's give this man some credit for his restraint.

In my view, what you need to dom first and foremost, is decide whether you want to remain married or not. You apparently want more passion in your life than you have now, and, if so, you should pursue it. Maybe your future lies with this man in your office. Maybe not. But you should be free of your attachments before you give it real consideration.


S*x or Time?

QUESTION: SHORT history----

Hooked up at a reunion, continued a LDR from 1500 miles away. Got together about every 3 months. I moved to area to his area and renting one of his houses (which was my home state- was moving there ANYWAY) and he then tells me "Don't move for me, I won't be there for you..not sure our relationship can last, blah, blah, blah..."
So I moved back home and he invites me to HIS home, while I wait for moving van.
SURPRISINGLY, he initiated s*x with me 3 times, during my 5 day stay there... Evidently "back rub" is code for S*X.

Van gets into town, so I leave his house......
He comes to the rental once a week and I get a "back-rub", akas S*X.

So, this "WON'T HAVE TIME FOR YOU" is confusing to me. Is it FWB, Booty call, or what. I am content with either, because s*x with this person is like none other I have expereinced. lol. I just need direction...... My birthday just past and I rec'd 2 presents and a nice card that said "YOU'RE NOT GETTING OLDER, YOU'RE GETTING SEXIER"----

NO NAME~~~~~

GARLAND: THKS for the question NN.

Based on what you’ve given us, he’s telling U that he is not going to give you anything more than sex.
“I won’t be there for you,” is his safety net. That way, he can sex… uh, S*X you up as much as he wants and still doesn’t have to commit to you. That way, he can sex… uh, S*X up as many other young ladies that he wants and he has no commitment, no loyalty, and no accountability to you. The second… the very SECOND you act like you want anything other than the ‘hot-n-sweaty’ from him, he is gonna throw that safety net back in your face. He’s gonna tell you, “I told you I wasn’t trying have a relationship!” So, if S*X is all you want and it’s off the charts, then enjoy it. This guy will never give you anything more.

CHUCK: I think it's important to define our terms before we go any further. So, s*..., oh, for God's sake, SEX, is A) What you will get when a back rub is offered, B) Pretty darn good, and

C) What you can expect of this man, rather than any of his "time." "Time" is, that other stuff that couples do in a relationship, when they're not doing sex.

I, personally, don't see why you're confused. I have to commend this man for being honest with you, at least. He's told you all that he has to offer you. He won't be there for you. He won't take you to the movies. He won't bring you soup when you get sick. He won't sit on the couch with you, and laugh at Basketball Wives. He's told you, don't expect this. And you've agreed to his terms.

My only concern is that you might be selling yourself a little short with your current arrangement. You're renting his house. He pays you a visit for a backrub once a week. But what if you want a backrub twice one week? What if you want to have it on a Tuesday, instead of a Thursday? What if you want to skip a week? Is that a dealbreaker? He has all the power between you two. And that's fine, as long as he doesn't abuse it.

So, by all means, enjoy all the great sex. You have a right to. But please, don't harbor any thoughts that he might change his mind about your arrangement one day. It's unlikely. And watch out for any signs that he might be seeking to take further advantage of you than you have agreed to allow him to. And, for now, good luck.

It's Your Move.


I am super attracted to a male coworker, and I was hoping you could give me some help with deciphering his behavior. I feel like I am getting mixed signals from him and I can't tell if he's just being nice or if he may be interested in me romantically. For background, I am 28 and he is 34. We are both single and have never been married. We have worked together for about a year now in a very professional setting. We also both live in the same neighborhood. He is a very introverted and private individual, but our job affords us some time alone together and we have had many conversations during these times. I find we have many similar interests and values, and our personalities are very compatible. Deep down, I get the distinct feeling he is attracted to me, yet he has never asked me to do anything outside of work with him, which leaves me feeling conflicted and doubtful that he's interested. Some things he does that make me feel like he is interested:
1. He sometimes holds eye contact slightly longer than necessary.
2. He sometimes lowers his voice a bit when speaking with me.
3. He has helped me with computer/work issues numerous times.
4. He occasionally will glance down briefly at my chest during conversation if I'm wearing a low-cut top.
5. He never mentions other women/dates around me.
6. Sometimes he seems fidgety when we are alone together as if he wants to start talking to me but doesn't know what to say.
7. He is attentive during conversations and remembers things that I say for the future and he seems to genuinely enjoy talking to me.

And some things that make me doubt he is interested:
1. He avoids touching me. (He is not a touchy feely person at all, but he seems to go out of his way to avoid even the slightest touch of my hand during transfer of objects, etc.)
2. He has not asked me on a date or to do anything outside of work, though we share many similar interests and he has had plenty of excellent opportunities to ask me to join him.

Just recently we were discussing home repairs and I mentioned I needed something fixed and he offered to help. I declined and said I could probably get it working on my own. Well about a week later he brought up the topic again and asked if I had gotten it fixed yet, and offered a second time to help me. I assumed since he brought it up himself that maybe he thought of it as an excuse to get together outside of work. So I accepted his offer and he came over to my house and helped me. Well as soon as it was fixed he left. The whole scenario left me feeling perplexed, as I was hoping it could be a prelude to a date or movie or something. I have given this man tons of signals that I am interested in him, yet he isn't making any moves. I feel like he is attracted, yet his lack of action logically tells me otherwise. I am very old fashioned in that I am not comfortable making the first move. What do you think is going on with him? Do you think he's just being nice or do you think there is any hope that he is interested in me romantically? Thanks for your help!

GARLAND: Thank you for your interesting question!

As my favorite TV court judge, Joe Brown, would say, “You’ve laid out a good prima facie case.” I too seem to think that your co-worker may be interested in you. Not everything you listed is solid as far as we guys go, but enough of it sounds legit to me. So, now what?

Well, I guess one of two things will [or should] happen now. One – Old Boy stays a timid little turtle and the two of you keep an uncomfortable working association, or Two – You break out and make the first move.

Him being so timid worries me, because I think being ‘shy’ is one thing and it shouldn’t be that big a deal, but he seems to be so shy that he doesn’t seem to be able to function or interact on even a modest level of romantic interest with you. I thought having him over to fix the issue at your house might get him to loosen up, but that didn’t work. I’m afraid that dating him would simply be more and more frustration on your part – you’d have to push him to kiss you, to hug you, to touch you, and so much more. I’m worried that getting together with him may not be worth the effort. But that is just my opinion, don’t let my thoughts freak you out.

Now, on the other hand, I could be wrong, and maybe you need to drop the Old Fashioned demeanor and just step out of your box ONE TIME. What could it hurt? I’m not telling you to go ask him to marry you, and you’re not asking him to move in with you and you’re not going to ask him out 10 times in a row – I just think you should ask him out one time. Nothing fancy, just maybe a dinner or a Saturday morning breakfast at the local Waffle House. Do something that offers him a final chance to step out of his shell and man-up just a little bit. He might surprise us both! If he loosens up, then you win – maybe the two of you hit it off. But if he still clams up, then you know what time it is and all you’ve lost is the cost of a meal. I think you should take a shot and ask him out, just be sure to pick out a restaurant that serves food that YOU LIKE! Best of luck! Let us know how it works out.

CHUCK: I'm in total agreement with Garland here. You have apparently gotten as far as subtlety will take you. And that's not too far. The direct approah is going to have to be used here. As Garland and I have said here before: This is the 21st century. The same way you would avail yourself of modern advances in technology like i-phones, tablets, and e-readers, you should also avail yourself of modern advances in social mores, as well. So, women are allowed (as they always should have been) to make the first move. These traditions that you're trying to uphold, who do they serve? If they don't serve you, then you should discard them, plain and simple.

Let's take a minute to consider this man's reluctance to step to you. The workplace is exciting, filled with all this unresolved sexual tension from these people that you know, but you don't necessarily KNOW. And because of that, it can be a little risky, too. If you make a romantic move, and it's not the right time, or the right person, you can get embarrassed, or worse. Maybe that's what happened to your co-worker. Perhaps he got burned once, and now he's overly cautious about initiating contact with co-workers. And maybe that day at your place, he just lost his nerve.

Either way, without coming on too strong, you should let him know that you are interested in a way that should allow for no confusion. Like Garland says, you should invite him out for brunch, or coffee, or happy hour, or another one of those socially neutral types of events. You can tell him about your interest in him, and ask if he shares a similar interest in you. If he doesn't, the two of you should be mature enough to put this past you. If he does, and given your "clues," it seems highly likely, great. Good luck.


Never Settle

Dear Chuck and Garland,

I’m so glad I’ve found your blog. I’ve read some of your posts and I’m impressed by the wisdom you provide to your readers.

I am 31 year old and live in Europe. Few months after I broke up with my first love back in 2003, he went abroad and started his own life in the USA. After this relationship was over, I’ve never found a long lasting and satisfying relationship with a man. I started some relationships and after less than 5-6 months I gave up pursuing them. I’m very confused and don’t know if there is love as I imagine it or love just doesn’t exist.

In the past 7 years we had many communication issues with my first love. Recently he contacted me and invited me to marry him and join him in the United States. Last winter we spend amazing time in Italy and we both started to organize the documentation for a fiancée visa. After some skype conversations I remembered the reasons why I left him 7 years ago. He has changed a lot, however some traits remain.

[I’ll give you a short example what makes me mad: he often says “I like you because you are independent and you can handle any situation. I like you because you are able to overcome any difficulties by your own.” That’s good for me, yeah? Unfortunately we both had some tough situations and his reactions were either nervously striking the floor with his foot or lighting a cigarette. Beside this he often jokes in a very inappropriate way so I’m offended and hurt]

I’m in doubt if I should commit with this man. If I decide to leave Europe and start a new life in the USA, there will be some big changes in my life and I would be ready to face challenges only for love. As I haven’t found a big love in the past years, I ask myself – am I doing [something] wrong? What do I want from a man? Maybe I should take him as he is… As I’m in doubt, I don’t know what to do – pretending I’m in love and marry him or staying where I am and waiting for the “BIG” love. Not to mention that I’m over 30 and many friends often say “It’s time to build a family and have children” !?! I don’t want to have false expectations towards love and to wait for Mr. Right for ages. But if I suspect I would be unhappy in this relationship, why should I start it again?

Thanks in advance for taking your time and answering me

GARLAND: Thank you for your great question and I apologize for the delay in getting it answered. That was my fault, and I’m sorry.

Now, as far as your situation goes, I truly see your dilemma. Let me give you my feelings on what you’ve said. First, I DO see how you could feel that ‘true love’ doesn’t exist. Actually, I’ve been there myself at one point. I was wrong. And I’m optimistic that you are wrong too. Let me share what got me through that time in my life. I don’t know if you are a person of faith, but I am, and what I did was ask God to let me know when that special person came into my life. I didn’t ask him to send me someone per se, I just asked that when he was ready and decided that I was too, that he just tap me on the shoulder, and say, “Hey G, she’s the one. This one right here.” And then I went on enjoying my life, enjoying my friends, enjoying the world around me and enjoying whatever came my way. It worked for me and I hope it will work for you.

As far as this guy here in the states goes. You sound like you gut instinct has labeled life with him as “settling” and let me tell you. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER – SETTLE. Life is far too short for bitter lemonade! Dump a scoop of sugar in it and enjoy the sweetness! Don’t settle for this rude, thoughtless, needy, petty little man. Don’t you dare come over here and marry some clown that tells you, “I like you because you are stronger than I am.” That is some foolish horse-pucky if I’ve ever heard it!

Let me tell you something that I told a good friend of mine one time – You give yourself to a good man that WANTS you, not a weak man that NEEDS you! When someone NEEDS you, they are addressing something they lack in themselves that you have. When that NEED is filled, they will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS find a way to let you go and drift away from you. When someone strong WANTS you, they WANT to share with you, they want their strengths to be with your strengths and together the two of you can take on the World!

As far as your friends and family go with all of the “When are you getting married foolishness,” few things in life piss me off more, than stupid people trying to set someone else’s “Life Achievement Clock.” Trust me when I tell you, I’m positive that trying to satisfy someone’s expectations in life, love and families leads to more sadness and pain than anything else a person could do to themselves. When thoughtless morons question your lifestyle or the things you have or haven’t done yet in life – ask them when they are gonna’ lose weight, or stop smoking, or get a job, or get a degree, or stop cheating on their spouse, or get rid of that piece of crap car they drive, or get their teeth whitened? I’m sure they won’t bring up your marital status again!

Best wishes!

CHUCK: Garland has got it right. We view our first loves through rose-colored glasses, and frequently with a sense of nostalgia that causes us to overlook that person's shortcomings. So the fact that you're considering this man's marriage offer, despite the fact that he's throwing up more flags that a July Fourth parade, is vaguely ridiculous.

Because, if you take him up on his proposal, I can see your future: You two have broken up. You're frustrated and rootless because you have left your home for him. You may have a child or two, so you are tied to him for years to come because of that. All because you ignored the signs when you saw them.

Forget about settling for this man. Forget about listening to the harrassment of your friends. Because it never ends. First, it's, "When are you going to get a man?" Then, when you get one, it's "When are you going to settle down?" Then, "When are you two going to have kids?" Then, "You've got a boy. Don't you want a little girl?" And on and on. But you have to live your life by your timetable, not someone else's.

So, hold your ground and be strong. It's my experience that, when you stop focusing on finding someone, that when you're most likely to meet somebody. Keep an open mind, don't sweat the clock, and just make a decision to enjoy your life. The right person will come to you soon enough.

Interest-free Relationships

QUESTION: I’m sure this is a question you get often, but I would love an honest answer. My boyfriend of 9 months has lost interest. He lost interest about 2 months ago. Before that we texted all day, he was very affectionate with me, everything couldn’t have been more perfect. Now he never texts me, only answers my texts back and when he does it takes hours to get back to me & the messages are just cold. He hasn’t given me a compliment in 2 months, no longer calls me baby. he hardly even looks at me and all affection is gone, any affection I get, is because I am giving it to him, I feel like hes forcing himself to wrap his arms around me.

When I ask him whats wrong he says nothing, but I know he’s lying.

When I suggested to him that maybe we needed some time apart, he got angry, then was affectionate for about a week, but is back to being cold again. I don’t know what to do, this is really taking a toll on me. I really think this guy might be the one, and he has told me before that I am the one for him, he’s even spoken to me about wanting to possibly start a family, which came as a complete surprise to me because I know that’s something he hasn’t discussed with previous girlfriends (the last 2 gave him the commitment ultimatum, and have all lost, the relationships ended) I don’t want it to end, I want to fix it. (just FYI we are in our 30’s).

I know we have gone through some tough things recently but my feelings for him haven’t changed, but his have seemed to have changed drastically. I have heard that the best thing to do when a guy has lost interest is to break up and drop all contact with them so they have some space & he can take some time to realize that life sucks without me, but I know that back fired to the last girl that did that to him, it sent him running straight into my arms and we have been together since lol. I def don’t want to send him into the arms of a new girl. Please help!!

GARLAND: Thank you for your question! I sincerely apologize for the delay in getting you this answer!

Let me start by hitting two points right off the bat:

#1 Please don’t fool yourself into thinking you know anything about his previous relationships! You know ONLY what he has told you. You know ONLY one side of a story, and that is ONLY if he is not lying! So, please please please - drop the whole perspective of thinking that you know about ultimatums that prior girlfriends gave him, or statements that he did or did not make to them. Once you start taking his word as gospel, you’ll start forming opinions that might be way off the mark, so let’s ONLY work in the realm of what you can see and touch. That will save you a ton of drama later in this relationship. If you listen to nothing else I say, LISTEN TO WHAT I JUST SAID.

#2 The Best Advice is NOT to cut ties with him until he changes his mind. Cutting ties may be the best thing to do, but don’t do it under the assumption that he’ll ‘come to his senses’ and come running to you begging that you’ll take him back. That leads to all kinds of emotional foolishness and was probably started by someone who was not a man. But again, I don’t rule out cutting ties, as you’ll see in a minute.

Now, onto the issue – your man is drifting away. That could be any number of things. He could be experiencing some medical issues and maybe he doesn’t want to talk about them. That would make someone seem distant. He could have some problems going on at work, or he could simply be over-worked. Or, he could be losing interest in you, or any of five dozen other things.

If you’ve called him out on being distant, and he threw a hissy fit, followed by Mad-Love, and then distance again… he’s got some issues. I’m gonna’ be honest with you and I’m gonna’ quote one of my favorite WMAT readers, “Clarice”, and I’m gonna’ tell you “don’t borrow drama.” If this guy is shutting you down and shutting you out, just walk away now. Just walk away. If he can’t stay focused on you and your feelings after seven brief months, how do you honestly… HON-EST-LY… expect him to stay focused on you for a year, or two years, or three or five? If he has something going on and he’s not equipped as a mature person to discuss them with you intelligently, then chances are, he’s NOT ready for a grown up relationship and all the WANTING in the world from you is NOT going to prepare him for it. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but I talk to questioners just like I would talk to my sister. I wouldn’t soft pedal her, and I’m not gonna’ soft-pedal you. He’s probably a nice guy and a fine human being, but if he is shutting you out, and won’t talk about it – move on and don’t look back.

CHUCK: There is another possibility with this guy you may need to consider: He may not know how to follow through on a relationship. He's courted you, won you, and nine months later, he doesn't know how to be around you. Some guys like the chase, the pursuit of a woman into a relationship, but don't know how to be in a relationship. It's an emotional maturity thing.

Garland's right about taking what he says about his past girlfriends with a grain of salt. As a matter of fact, here, take this salt shaker. He may be giving his past relationships a spin to make himself look good. And to discourage you from doing something he wouldn't like.

Anyway, you cannot trouble yourself with whether you expressing your dissatisfaction with his behavior is going to drive him away. He sounds as though he has essentially left you already. Responding to you only out of a sense of obligation alone is far from desirable, for you or him. So, it is worth it for you to address the issue with him one more time. Put the onus on him this time: "It seems as though you've been unhappy lately. Is there something going on that I can help you with." Give him the opportunity to be honest with you.

But be prepared. If he blows you off, and is attentive for only a couple of weeks to shut you up, then goes back to being an uncaring lump, get out. You and your self-esteem deserve more. Good luck.

What Happens in a Vegas Strip Club, Comes Home 3 Years Later, Or There Ain't No Sex in the Champagne Room

QUESTION: Hey, I just found your blog and thought what the hey I will ask you the questions i have. I have been married almost 8 yrs and have 3 beautiful children and my husband has been keeping something from me for awhile and I just got it out of him, maybe. He just told me that he went to a strip club 3 yrs ago and that's all he said. I want to know what happens at strip clubs in Vegas and what can I expect that he did while he was there. I think the most upsetting part to me about it is he went with some business colleagues who all know that he is married, and i think it is pretty embarrassing for me that he did that. i have seen these men and they all makes me feel like i'm not good enough and i wonder if thats what all the other guys were thinking. should i drop the whole subject since it happened 3 yrs ago or should i demand to know what all went on that night at the club?

GARLAND: Wow, great question. First – let me apologize for the delay in answering your question, I’m very sorry about that!

I’ve always heard about the mystique of Vegas strip clubs, but I’ve never been in one out there. I have however, been in a few strip clubs in my time. So, I have to tell you, there are a LOT of things that can happen at a strip club.

-Men [and women] can see a lot of beautiful women in various stages of undress,
-People can have a lot of laughs and enjoy a few good drinks with their friends,
-People can get some serious business done in the relaxed atmosphere,
-People can get lap dances, some with clothed women, some with naked women,
-People can also have sexual encounters under the right circumstances.

I don’t mean to freak you by that last one, but I don’t want to keep anything from you.

Why he brought this up after three years is very odd to me, and then to say it and walk away without further comment is kinda’ strange in my book. Strange, but NOT The strangest thing in the world. So, I’m not sure what’s up with that. As his wife, I’d rather you go ahead and just tell him, “Look Babe, you mentioned the Vegas strip club and my mind has been racing since then. I want to know what happened, not the grizzly details, but I want to know if you messed around or where unfaithful to me?” Say it that way! Don’t go in guns-a-blazing, and accusing him of cheating, and demanding to know every single detail, that makes you look a little crazy and very insecure. Nobody wants that. And I don’t want you worried that your husband was unfaithful when he probably wasn’t. There is a good chance that nothing serious happened and that is why he mentioned it and didn’t say anything else I because simply put, there was nothing else to tell.

As far as his co-workers go, please don’t make something out of nothing. Going to the strip club was not a personal assault on YOU as a wife and a woman. It was simply some guys, having “guy time”. They were away from home, away from the wives and kids and just having some harmless fun probably. They didn’t say, “Hey Sam! Let’s go and be spiteful towards your wife! We’ve been waiting all day to do something that would make her angry!” They were just guys hanging out. We men are visual creatures, and even though we get married, we still are testosterone driven heterosexuals. Most guys enjoy seeing attractive women, and if we can do it while having a few cold beers and some laughs with our friends, then no harm done. And, please stop making his trip to the strip club an attack on you. That is stressful and will eat away at you. And also, trust me, his buddies weren’t sitting up in the club spending any time thinking about you and what kind of wife you are or aren’t, they just wanted to have a good time with their friend, your husband. It had nothing to do with you personally.

Now keep in mind that I’m speaking from what I consider average morals among average guys. I don’t know anything about you and your husband and what your family morals and codes are, but chances are, I’m right on point with my assessment. Just take a minute and ask him if he did anything that you all need to talk about. Chances are that he had a few drinks, slipped a few dollars in a garter here or there and went on to lose money on the Blackjack tables.

CHUCK: I'm with Garland here. This need not be a big deal. If you have questions about the specific events of that night, definitely ask them. This thing should not be something that comes between you, or eats away at your marriage. He felt comfortable enough to tell you about this (albeit, three years late), so the assumption is that he behaved himself. Like Garland says, don't approach with an accusatory tone, just tell him you're curious and would like to know what happened that night.

Just speaking for myself, his visit to the strip club may have come from nothing more than curiousity, or simple tourism. I'll put it like this: If you go to DC, you may want to visit the Washington Monument. If you're in NYC, you might want to see Times Square or the Empire State Building. And if you're a man in Las Vegas without his wife or girlfriend, you might want go to a strip club.

When I was single, I went to Vegas on a business trip. I gambled until I got bored. I had yet to meet up with any of my co-workers. So I decided, first time in Vegas and by myself, I'll go to a strip club. I paid at the door, bought a drink, and had a seat. There were some attractive women there, not to my particular taste (I prefer more natural women). The club seemed on the up-and-up (i.e., there seemed to be no threat of gunfire breaking out at anytime). There also seemed to be no threat of an orgy breaking out either. If that's what someone is looking for, they can just stay in there room and consult the phone book there. After a while, I caught a cab and rode back to my hotel. I had to get up early the next morning. Are these the lurid, seamy details you were expecting?

Another thing Garland got right: Men are visual creatures, and we do not cease to be attracted to other women just because we're married to one. Yoiu can't tell me you've never watched a movie on cable for no other reason than, say, Idris Elba was in it. However, you have to be smart enough and committed enough not to act on that attraction. And if you need to ask some follow-up questions to assure yourself about your husband, by all means, do.


What time is it?

QUESTION: Dear, Chuck and Garland:
I am 24-year old graduate student from Chicago. Recently my boyfriend of 10 and a half months broke up with [me] without giving me much reason. We met exactly one week before he moved across the country to Seattle to begin his first year of residency. We made an amazing connection from the first date and instantly I knew he was someone I'd be interested in pursuing something long-term with. He felt the same way (or so I thought). Approximately 3 weeks after he moved he flew me to Seattle and we made our relationship official. He asked me if I was prepared for a relationship and we talked about the hardships we faced with him being so busy his first year of residency, and the distance combined with not having much of a rapport. Things started off great, I would visit him about every month or so and when he could he came to Chicago. He's a very laid back guy and he never had a problem with anything I did or ever got upset if we didn't talk. Me on the other hand, the distance really started to take a toll. I had also just started grad school and working full time at a high stress job and I think I got a little needy with wanting his attention. It started with his days off, I looked forward to talking to him because I knew it was his day off but then his days off didn't really seem to differ from his working days in terms of us talking. I didn't want him to feel like his days off should consist of only talking to me, however, I did want to have more communication. I think he was always willing to make time, it's just that I didn't want to be the one to initiate it, I wanted him to want to make the time. At the same time, I knew he worked so hard that I wanted him to enoy his days off. Anyway, after 6 months he broke up with me right after spending Thanksgiving together and by this point I had already met his parents and close friends. He said his feelings had changed and that he didn't love me. A week later we got back together. Things were good for a while but then what I guess was neediness on my end began to show again and I would tell him what I wanted from him. He would say he would work on it and that things would get better after the first year of residency. We ended up planning a vacation to Mexico, I met him in Seattle for a couple days before going to Mexico and while in Seattle I had a dream that he was going to break up with me. We went to Mexico, at times he did seem a bit distant, when we were leaving Mexico things really felt awkward. I admit that I had an uneasy feeling when I left. Then sure enough 2 days after getting back from vacation I asked if he wanted to be in the relationship and eventually he said no.

I tried to ask why and I got several different answers: he doesn't love me, he's not mature enough for a relationship, maybe he can't handle something long term, that he wanted to feel more...

Keep in mind he has not been in a relationship for more than a year since his highschool sweetheart who broke his heart. He also mentioned to me at the beginning of our relationship that he didn't like girls who cried, that he's very picky, and he gets bored with woman.

I truly feel like we are meant to be together. I love him and at some point I believe love was growing for him aswell. I believe the circumstances caused a wedge. We haven't really spoken since the break up a month and a half ago. I have hope that he and I will work things out again, I feel like he just needs to see me again.

Is this a loss cause? I need advice!


GARLAND: Thank you for sharing a question that's so personal and close to your heart.

From what you've offered, I'm afraid this might be a lost cause. Let me tell you why. You have the distance factor, and while distance isn't always a relationship killer, I think in your case, the two of you didn't have any real time to build a foundation that the distance could stand on. One week, for two strangers, is little more than a blink of an eye. The two of you were possibly drawn into each other by the physical attraction and excitement of something new. That 's NOT a bad thing but I think it just wasn't a strong enough start to stand up to the thousands of miles between you and the busy schedules you both shared.

He probably wanted things to work as much as you did, but when two people meet and then get separated and all they can do is talk or write letters and E-Mails, human nature tends to start embellishing. Your mind and your heart tend to conspire to make this new person more than they really are. You subconsciously make them more attractive, more witty, more intelligent, more sexy, more enamored with you, more of the things we look for in the one we love and want to be loved by. This MAY be part of the problem.

I think him telling you at the six month mark that he doesn't love you was his first real shot at trying to be honest with himself and with you. His position couldn't hold up to the scrutiny you gave him so I guess he tried to play along. Eventually, he couldn't play the game anymore.

As a man, I'm glad he was decent enough to end the relationship. He not only set himself free, but he SET YOU FREE TOO! I know that may not sound good, but a lot of worse guys would have strung you along while doing whatever they wanted with whomever they wanted! They would have toyed with your mind, your time and your heart, but this guy knew that your relationship wasn't going to work and he called it quits.

On top of that, it sounds a little like this guy has some 'issues' that he needs to get over. If he's still pining away over a high-school ex, and he says he doesn't like crying women, he has some issues. Well - honestly, no guy LIKES "crying" women, but that is typically NOT a characteristic a guy uses when describing what he does and doesn't like in a woman. You started you question by saying that he didn't give you much of a reason - it sounds to me like he did. Trust me!

This guy has given you a new opportunity to find happiness elsewhere. Please don't blow this opportunity by going back to him, chasing him down and trying to make things work. Don't wait until next month and figure that he's changed his mind and give him a call! Don't peek in on his Facebook and tell him "you just want to be friends, like we used to be! Please don't do any of those detrimental things! You have been set free! Sure it hurts a bit, but the sun will rise tomorrow and I promise that it will hurt a bit less with each passing day. You sound like a young woman with a ton of potential and a million opportunities ahead of you take advantage of all of them, but don't look back! Best of luck to you!!!

CHUCK: A distance like the one you have between you is no way to start start a relationship. Because, as much we like to believe that absence can make the heart grow fonder, it can make a pretty big wedge between people, too.

He was in a new place, working on a difficult job. You have admitted to being needy, and sometimes asking for time that he didn't always have. He has baggage he still has effectively dealt with. You were obviously going through things, too. But he eventually found the distance untenable and wanted out.

Now, there are excuses that can be used to let someone down easy when a relationship is over. But he isn't really using them on you. "I don't love you," is really one of the most final things that can be said in a relationship. And there is a possibility to come back from virtually anything besides that. As Garland says, he could try to keep you around even though he's done with you, and he knows you have no future. But either for you, or (most likely) himself, he is trying to be as straight with you as he can. Be thankful for that.

You want to believe that you two are meant to be together. He, apparently, begs to differ. Please don't let what you wish, and want out of this relationship to lead you to waste any more time on this man. Long distance romances are never easy. But the least you need is the other person to be in the romance with. I'm sorry it didn't work out. But you need to move on. Take care.


Who's the Boss?

Dear Chuck and Garland: I am so happy I ran across your blog! I'm really do need some advice from a black man's perspective.

Two years ago I met a nice guy at work. He was my boss, although he worked in another location and we saw each other in person only once a week or so. During this time I was living with my then-boyfriend and was being harassed by another employee. My boss became a sounding board for my work problems and I developed a crush on him. I didn't say anything to him out of respect for my then-boyfriend and because I believe that type of office romance is a no-no.

About six months ago I broke up with my boyfriend and moved into my own place. My boss and I have moved on to other jobs. Should I tell this guy that I like him? And if so, how? We only talk and/or email about once a month, so I don't feel comfortable calling asking him out for drinks (a friend's suggestion) or boldly saying "Gat-dayum I want you!" (another friend's suggestion). I'm also embarrassed because I had a hard time dealing with the enormous amount of stress at our previous job. The past six months-year have made me grow tremendously, but I'm not sure that he knows that. I'm not looking for a relationship, even though it would be nice.

My main desire is to get to know him better and at least be his friend so I can see if my feelings for him are genuine or just the result of the situation we were both in when we met. He's only three years older than me, so there are no daddy/authority figure issues going on here. Part of me thinks he would've said something already if the attraction was mutual. He knows I'm single, so is it possible that he's just not into me? Should I say something?

Signed, 30 yet feeling like a shy (dumb?) teenager

CHUCK: 30 Yet, thanks for the question. There is only one way that you're going to find out whether this former supervisor shares your feelings, and that is to just approach him.

I have had a number of workplace relationships in the past. They have never been with a supervisor, but they have also never had the distance that you have now. I can say that if the parties are mature, it can be a worthwhile experience. The fact that you are no longer in the same workplace removes one major obstacle. I think that your main obstacle here is that you are apprehensive about him still knowing things about you from your shared past. Unfortunately, you can't count on him to forget, or un-know things that you already know. So the best way to deal with this situation is to approach it straight.

Before you do that, though the way to deal with him, is to let him know that that situations between you have changed. You say that you have grown more mature. The best method to convey that message is, as your friend says, to ask him out. That way, you can show him, and not tell him that the issues you may have had when you worked together, are now gone.

Rather than laying all your cards on the table right then, you should observe him and see whether any interest exists. Supervisors, those with common sense, at least, should try to restrain any personal attractions that they have for their employees, so as to stay out of court. Maybe he still looks at you that way. Maybe not.

Don't obsess over why he hasn't tried to make the first move. For a supervisor who counseled an employee through a harassment situation to, a couple years later, ask that employee for a date... Well, you see, it just doesn't sound right. He may feel that dealing you dealing with him could bring up memories and associations you might want to avoid. You, however, aren't constrained by such propriety. And if you feel like getting to know this guy better, you should.

GARLAND: Thanks for this question - its a very good one and very special to me personally. When my wife and I first met, it was her that made the initial contact, and had she not - we may not be happily married today. SO DEFINITELY REACH OUT TO HIM!

Like Chuck said, don't stress over the fact that he hasn't reached out to YOU yet. He may have some left over "boss" barriers up and doesn't want to put you in an uncomfortable position. OR - he may have the same question in a que on "What Are Women Thinking?"

For me, LUNCH has always been the safest way to gauge a person. Dinner or Evening Drinks involves meeting at someones house, or picking someone up, or getting a sitter, or dressing up, and maybe dancing and crowds and then there's the whole kiss-goodnight drama. Breakfast is cute, but not practical. LUNCH is what I suggest to you.

If you can find out where he works - try to find a reason to be up that way at a store or a meeting or something, then call him a few days prior and say something like, "Hey Kevin, how's it going. I'm going be near your office one day next week and wanted to know if you wanted to grab some lunch..." Make sure you don't say a specific day at first, because if he can't make it on the day you say, then you've over played your hand and it might not look so nonchalant. Let him say what day is good for him and thne go from there. Lay back and enjoy yourself. It sounds like you have a great attitude about the whole thing - just let whatever happen.

Best of luck to you! Let us know how things play out.


Here comes the Bride and the Gloom...

QUESTION: What's up guys? My girlfriend turned me onto your blog so I hope that you can answer my question because I hope I'm wrong. My boyfriend proposed to me four months ago and we are getting married this September. I am very excited! We're getting married in my parent's church, I've picked out my bridesmaid's dresses and shoes. I'm looking at the invitations and interviewing photographers. Next week we will be putting a deposit down for the reception hall and tasting cakes and dishes for our dinner.
My problem is this, my fiance isn't excited. He doesn't talk about the wedding, he doesn't talk about the honeymoon, he doesn't ask me any questions he just says, "Yes." and "Okay, that's fine."
Does he not want to get married? He says he does, but he never wants to get involved in the process and this is our wedding, not mine by myself. Should I give him an ultimatum and make him be a part of this wedding or what?
GARLAND: Congratulations on your engagement! But hold on a second before you start throwing around ultimatums, you might hurt somebody!
Let's look at this one of two ways:
On the one hand, your soon to be hubby could want out of the whole deal. That is possible, he would not be the first man to get cold feet.
However, I'm thinking about The Other Hand... He DOES want to marry you and he wants your wedding to be a special day that makes your dreams come true. Let me tell you what I think Your Man might be thinking - he might be thinking, The wedding is really for YOU. YOU and your family and maybe his Mom and Grandma. For him, as with many grooms, he's just showing up to go through the formalities of getting a wife. It's not personal, and it's not a lack of love, it's just that a lot of guys don't care what the bridesmaid's dresses look like. A lot of grooms don't care if the cake is yellow or chocolate, or if you have chicken or fish, or if the invitations are white or eggshell. Some guys just don't care.
It's not that he doesn't care about your feelings, maybe he just doesn't want to be fake, maybe he doesn't want to lie to you when you ask if the strapless shoes will look good on your cousin Sheila's fat ankles. No they won't look good, but he doesn't want to have to lie and say they will. He wants you to be happy, he wants you to be happy with the font on the invitations and he wants you to be happy with all of the pomp and circumstance around your wedding day. I say "your" in the sense of yours and his - but the details and the minutae of the day, are probably above his artistic perception and he, in his eyes, is staying out of the way.
You may want to look at his demeanor as his effort to not cause problems and not rock the boat. I'm sure he loves you and I'm sure he wants to marry you. But that is my opinion. Look at my answer and find a way to ask him if this is what he is feeling. If he says, 'yes,' then you are okay. Let him know that you'd like him to be a bit more involved but don't expect a 180 turn, maybe he'll do a little extra for you.
If he doesn't agree with what I've said, then you may have a problem, and you should send us a follow up question. Best of luck and CONGRATULATIONS again!
CHUCK: Let's just face it: There are many items associated with a wedding that NO man should be expected to care about.
When I was getting married, I was asked repeatedly for my input on invitations, decorations, centerpieces. No man should be asked about centerpieces. Most men never even notice a centerpiece, unless it's in our way when we're reaching for our drink. And then our thoughts go to, "Why is that damn centerpiece in my way?" Just trust me on that.
What I would find a little worrisome, is that, according to you, there seems to be no aspect of the wedding, great or small, that he has an interest in. Whereas I could not be expected to care in the same way about everything associated with our wedding, some things I did take an interest in. Like the reception menu. Like the deejay. Like whether we were going to have an open or cash bar. Like the honeymoon.
At the very least, to have no opinion about where you want to go for your honeymoon sounds pretty strange, to me. But, to be fair, let's examine your behavior, too. Is it possible that you may be a little dominant of your future husband in your relationship? Do you ask for his opinion when you really don't want it, and are determined to do things your way, regardless? Because, if he feels that he won't be heard, he may have just decided to go along to get along. If that isn't the case, I apologize, but I had to ask.
One thing that you can do, to test his resolve, is turn one aspect of the wedding entirely over to him. Tell him that you're too busy with other things, and you need him to work with the caterer on the menu, or notify the travel agent about the honeymoon. You can see how he does with his own project, and no constant oversight. But I don't think you should worry that he doesn't want to marry you. He wouldn't agree to subject himself to the wedding process, unless the goal was something he really wanted. Congratulations.