TAKE A PEEK

A sampling of recent questions and our answers

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From Gloria, Memphis, TN

I've been trying to lose weight forever and have tried every diet plan in the world. Nothing works. Help!

Nathan's response: Gloria, losing weight is simple, and based on science. Regardless of what "fad diet" you try, you have to burn up more calories than you consume. End of story.

Scarlett's answer: Gloria, you didn't share your physical condition, age, or weight, but my advice would be to start walking daily if you are unable to do a sport such as tennis. I do recommend you wear a Fitbit or similar device as it will monitor calories burned. Work yourself up to 15,000 steps a day, and as Nathan said, you have to burn up more calories than you ingest. I would suggest that you monitor every calorie you eat a day for twenty-one days. This will make you more aware of the calories you take in. Also, if you give it twenty-one days, it will become a habit. To be successful you will want to visualize how you want to look and feel. It takes determination and a regimented approach. I know you can do this, Gloria.

From Caesar, Las Vegas, NV

How DO you fell that mighty oak? lol

Nathan's response: Since there are no oaks in Vegas, I wouldn't worry about it, but if you manage to find one, e-mail me again and I'll tell you how to do it.

Scarlett's answer: What Nathan said. Oh, wait. While you're searching for that oak in Vegas, better take some sun block and water. Lol.

From Bob, Black River Falls, WI

I've been married for 8 years and my wife doesn't want to have sex anymore. I'd appreciate your input.

Nathan's response: Unfortunately, Bob, there are lots of people (of both sexes) that experience the same issue. And the answer is not the same for everyone. Nor is it ever simple. Generally speaking, the sexual bloom fades when kids, job pressures, and a host of other issues intrude into your sexual relationship. That's perfectly normal. Without knowing particulars, it's difficult to give you a reasonable answer. Instead, I'll tell you things that I've either experienced or know of others who have. The most obvious reason might be that you're no longer attentive to your wife's needs. By that I mean, are you still romantic? Do you show her that you care? That you love her? Do you sometimes surprise her with something simple, such as a rose, or a card? Most guys, myself included tend to be less romantic than our women. Do you help her with the kids and housework? Cooking? Laundry? If she works, also, maybe she's legitimately tired. An entire host of issues unrelated to sex may be the problem. And, Bob, the only one that can answer those questions is you. And of course, you have to be bluntly honest with yourself in doing so. This brings us to physical reasons why your wife might not want to have sex. And once again, the reasons could be legion. Are her health and energy levels good? Is she stressed out about something that you don't know about? Do you talk to her like you did when you were courting her or do you talk at her? Once more, Bob, there could be a host of mental issues involved. Drugs? Booze? How's your personal grooming? Are you in reasonable shape? Does your breath smell like the south end of a northbound skunk? Believe iit or not, Bob, women like men who smell good. Go figure. And unfortunately, most guys honestly think their penis is all a woman needs. Maybe you're boring in bed? Obviously, there are a lot more possibilities, such as outside influences. As I said, the reasons why are almost endless. If I were you, I'd start with the mirror and have an honest self-evaluation. Then talk to her. 

Scarlett's answer: Hi Bob, I think Nathan's response was spot-on. I would like to emphasize the romance aspect. This is a subject I know a little bit about since I write romance novels. You need to define what romance means to your wife because it may mean something quite different for you. There's a lot more to romance than saying, "Hey, Baby, are you ready?" Women generally talk more than men and they want men to slow down and take time to listen. Perhaps you should schedule a date night. If you do, don't be one of those guys who sits with his wife at dinner and doesn't say a word. And don't look at her. See her!  When you are talking to her, if she looks nice, tell her. Like most women, your wife wants to be wooed. It goes a long way if you would give her sincere compliments. Make sure you tell her how special she is to you, and how you appreciate all of the things she does for you.

 

One last point. We always talk about a doctor’s bedside manner. Bob, use your imagination and have your own bedside manner. Make it memorable.

From Gary, Salem, IN

Hi, Nathan and Scarlett, I'm having a problem getting my 13-year-old son to do chores. All he wants to do is to play games on X-box. What can I do? 

 

Scarlett's answer: Gary, what I think is a big problem with parenting today is the parents' refusal to set ground rules for their children. Parents seem to want to be friends instead of adults. I'm not saying you're not also your child's friend, but you are responsible for setting the rules. Children like rules as long as they are consistent. First, your son needs to have responsibilities and it should start with making his bed first thing in the morning . . . you set the example here. Set a specific time to do chores and if he doesn't do what is required . . . no X-box. It's as simple as that. But you have to have follow through. Sometimes it's easier for parents to give in rather than stick to the rules, but don't. They will respect you more if you are not the, "do as I say" kind of parent. Show them. That is the best way of teaching responsibility.  And make sure you compliment them on a job well-done. It's extremely important for your children to understand how fulfilling it can be to see tasks accomplished. 

Nathan's response: Hey, Gary. For the most part, I agree with Scarlett's response. I'd allow your son to go to the bathroom first before making his bed, but that's just me. You are the parent. You are in charge. Not your kid. He's a child and trust me on this, when he gets older, he'll be greatful you stuck to your guns and was a parent first and a friend second. Talk to him in a calm manner and tell him exactly what you expect from him. Make sure he knows that X-box isn't a right, but a reward for being responsible. I would also tell him that he's worthy of more than being a couch potato. Enroll him in an activity or two that will move him away from the electronic world, such as a martial arts class, or an on-line coding class. Get him involved in school and/or church activities. And at least initially, when he does those chores you've assigned him, let him know you appreciate it. In a short period, the chores will become normal to him and he'll do them automatically. Kids really are adaptable, and as Scarlett said, they want and need direction. Above all . . . especially in this day and age . . . kids need their parents to be parents. Not friends.

From Betsy, Eugene, OR

Hi, guys. I'm having a problem with my 8-week-old puppy going to the bathroom everywhere. I've read every book on house breaking a puppy I could find and nothing works.  

Scarlett's answer: Hi, Betsy, I've had several puppies and I'll tell you of my foolproof way of training a puppy, which I've shared with many friends. On the exterior door that you use to take the puppy outside to do his business, hang a little bell (or something that jingles) that he can reach with his nose. Try to take him out every couple of hours the first couple of days. Every time you take him out, play a little game where you touch his nose with the bell so he can hear it and stay outside with him until he goes either number one or number two. Once he does his business, praise him and then give him a treat. That's it. Works every time. Usually within two days your puppy should be ringing the bell with his nose when he has to go out.     

Nathan's response: Hi, Betsy. There is NO WAY that I can compete with Scarlett's answer. But if all else fails, you could always trade in the puppy for a cat. 

At first, I thought this relationship might be convenient for him, but he is the one who does the housework, laundry, takes the child to school, prepares his lunches, cooks his breakfasts and dinners, etc. He said the woman doesn’t contribute much financially since she has never had a good-paying job, so he also pays for most expenses.

After a few months into the relationship, he visited me and we had a great time together. He told me that I was the woman he’d always dreamed about and I was the love of his life. The only thing we disagreed about was his living arrangement, and when I would get upset or angry, he wouldn’t talk to me for days. I would feel guilty, thinking I was in the wrong and I should be more trusting and not get angry. When he would speak to me again he would refuse to discuss anything “heavy.” Anytime I broached the subject, he would say I was too “intense.” He said the woman’s boyfriends didn’t understand their living arrangement either. What he didn’t tell me at first were the many things they did as a couple. They traveled to different states to visit friends, attended parties together, etc. When I told him that he lived like a married man, he would always get upset.

He later told me that both of his ex’s and all of the women he’d been involved with through the years had cheated on him. His second wife was 17 and he was 37 when they married. He has four grown children that he rarely sees. When his second marriage ended, he continued to date women twenty or thirty years younger. He said he’d matured since those days and he wanted a more mature woman.

Quite by accident a few days ago, I heard him talking to his live-in about me, and he was lying to her about some of the things I said when we had an argument. He’d promised me he didn’t discuss anything about our relationship with her, and I realized he was dishonest with me. Of course, I thought he was probably dishonest about everything he had told me from the start. He says it’s jealousy that upsets me and I just don’t like his “friend.” When I tell him that is not the issue, that the problem is how he handles situations is the real issue, he igno

Septuagenarian Lothario

Dear VQ:

I met a man from Florida, 77 years old, single and he’s a writer. We live a few hundred miles apart, so we communicated by texts, emails, and phone calls. We hit it off as friends from the start and found that we have much in common. He said he was looking for a serious relationship and wanted to change his life. He told me a woman almost thirty years younger was living with him, but she was only a friend. According to him, this woman had worked for him when she was younger, and then she became addicted to drugs and got involved in a bad relationship. She got pregnant when she was almost forty, and after she had the child she apparently couldn’t stay away from drugs. She contacted him and he told her she could live with him until she got off of drugs. He cared for the child during this time and came to love him. He told me the woman hated the father of her child, so she asked him if he would say he was the father and he agreed. The woman and her child have continued to live with him and the boy is now fourteen years old. They have never told him the truth about his father. He said he has never had an intimate relationship with this woman or any kind of relationship in fifteen years. I guess I’m too trusting because I believed him, though I admit that little voice in my head said something was not quite right.

When we first started talking, I asked him if he would leave this relationship if he found what he was looking for. He told me that was what he wanted and the only reason he hadn’t asked this woman to leave was because he was afraid she might not let him see the boy since he had no legal rights. He swore to me that the living arrangement was no different if he were living with a man.

At first, I thought this relationship might be convenient for him, but he is the one who does the housework, laundry, takes the child to school, prepares his lunches, cooks his breakfasts and dinners, etc. He said the woman doesn’t contribute much financially since she has never had a good-paying job, so he also pays for most expenses.

After a few months into the relationship, he visited me and we had a great time together. He told me that I was the woman he’d always dreamed about and I was the love of his life. The only thing we disagreed about was his living arrangement, and when I would get upset or angry, he wouldn’t talk to me for days. I would feel guilty, thinking I was in the wrong and I should be more trusting and not get angry. When he would speak to me again he would refuse to discuss anything “heavy.” Anytime I broached the subject, he would say I was too “intense.” He said the woman’s boyfriends didn’t understand their living arrangement either. What he didn’t tell me at first were the many things they did as a couple. They traveled to different states to visit friends, attended parties together, etc. When I told him that he lived like a married man, he would always get upset.

He later told me that both of his ex’s and all of the women he’d been involved with through the years had cheated on him. His second wife was 17 and he was 37 when they married. He has four grown children that he rarely sees. When his second marriage ended, he continued to date women twenty or thirty years younger. He said he’d matured since those days and he wanted a more mature woman.

Quite by accident a few days ago, I heard him talking to his live-in about me, and he was lying to her about some of the things I said when we had an argument. He’d promised me he didn’t discuss anything about our relationship with her, and I realized he was dishonest with me. Of course, I thought he was probably dishonest about everything he had told me from the start. He says it’s jealousy that upsets me and I just don’t like his “friend.” When I tell him that is not the issue, that the problem is how he handles situations is the real issue, he ignores what I say and tells me what I think.

Then, the other day we were on the video discussing business venture and his live-in walks into the room and sits down and interjected her opinions into our discussion. I wasn’t commenting as they discussed it between themselves and then he got an attitude saying I was being rude and started screaming at me. He then tells me I ran her off and that I had no friends, and basically I was a terrible person. He hung up on me, and then about thirty minutes later he calls to apologize, of course it was after he once again discussed everything with his “live-in.” I felt once again that he was very disloyal to me. He says his friends are more important than anything. But he only has one friend.

I told him if I had a live-in and that was my best friend, confident, and the one who I shared everything with, it would be my partner.

I really don’t know what to think about this relationship.

Puzzled.

 

Dear Puzzled,

Just when I think I’ve heard it all, I’m stunned once again. I don’t know what surprised me the most—this man’s belief that there were women in the universe who wouldn’t question his living arrangement or the fact that an intelligent man would agree to this woman’s request that he lie about being the father of her child without considering his future. I thought men might have it all figured out by the time they were seventy-seven years old. Guess not.

You were certainly not wrong to question his story. I would have found it odd if you hadn’t questioned this fiction. My first thought is this guy couldn’t possibly be real, or he’s a player or just nuts. When he agreed to this ridiculous arrangement with that woman, don’t you think he would have asked himself what would happen if the love of his life came along? I understand he cares for the child, but there are ways to help a friend and support them (for a short time) without forfeiting his own life, or without enabling their dependence.

This man would have been sixty-five when the woman and child came to live with him. Did he think he would never be involved in another relationship for the rest of his life? Was he that insecure as a man? If sounds like he’s afraid to go after what he wants for some reason. Sadly, odds are at his age he won’t have many more chances. He probably talks a good game, but that’s all it is—talk. He obviously doesn’t love this woman or he wouldn’t be on the prowl. But, I would like to know what he would have thought if you lived with a man under the same circumstances. I have a difficult time believing he would have liked that scenario.

If my math is correct, the woman living with him is well over fifty years old now. Why does she still need a sugar daddy? Why can’t she support herself? Why hasn’t she found a man? He said she had boyfriends, and if that’s true, why hasn’t one of them wanted to get serious with her? And what kind of woman would lie to her child for so many years?

Here’s the answer to those questions: He told you that he handled most of the household chores, paid for the majority of the financial obligations, in addition to doing everything for the child—so why would she change anything? She has no reason to leave her little comfy situation. No incentive there. If she does have boyfriends, they obviously haven’t wanted to take care of her. Unlike this guy, they know how to spot users and there’s no reason to buy the cow when they get the milk free. If she finds a man willing to support her, does this guy think she wouldn’t be gone in a NY minute?

I would bet he only calls you when she’s not around, or if she’s around, he certainly wouldn’t say anything in a “loving” way. And he wanted you to believe this living arrangement would be no different if he were living with a man? Hogwash! He wouldn’t be going on trips with a male live-in, etc. This man intentionally had relationships with younger women because they feed his ego by giving him the hero worship that he craves. His live-in probably tells him how smart he is, how she couldn’t make it without him, etc. I’m sure she knows how to keep feeding his ego and playing that tune to keep him on the hook. All women know that trick. He sucks it up and he would never change that situation.

He is certainly old enough to know how to change his life if that was his goal. To use the child as an excuse not to make changes in his life is ridiculous. The boy is a teenager, not a two-year-old, and he has some say about the people he wants to see. And if adults think children don’t know what’s going on, then they should wake up. They always know. If this guy truly loves you, the best gift he could give that young man is to show his love for you. That would be the most valuable lesson a kid can learn. You want a child to move away and have fulfilling relationships, and this man should want to show him how to go after what he wants in life, and not live in a make-believe world.

I agree with you that this guy is living like a married man. It’s obvious he takes care of the everyday tasks a husband would handle and more. So my question is—what did he do for you? I know you live some distance away, but a man in love will do little things that let you know you are important to him? Did he send you flowers? Cards? Did he make a plan to see you every few weeks? Did he ask you to visit him? Do you think you would ever see him on a holiday? Believe me, he finds ways to do what he wants to do if it’s important to him. And if you were important to him, his goal would have been to find a way to make you feel more secure in your relationship. Long distant relationships can work, but not the way this man handles it. And if a man wants to be trusted, he tells the truth.

 

After he yelled at you on the phone with his live-in present that should have been the end. Not only is he not loyal, if he had a problem with you, he should walk out of the room and tell you in private. She was the one who was way out of line—it was none of her business what you were discussing. And if he hadn’t previously discussed your business with her, I doubt she would have been so bold to butt in. And why should he discuss your private conversations with this woman in the first place? What man would dishonor the person they profess to love in that way? I don’t care if they are long-time friends, there are certain lines a person doesn’t cross. He is certainly lacking in character and he will NEVER keep anything between the two of you. He is immature and he likes to tell his live-in everything going on. That will not change, no matter what he says. He needs to grow up—yeah, even at 77 years old. This lothario is certainly not savvy enough to figure out how women will insert themselves between a couple if they see an opening. His live-in might tell him she supports his relationship with you, but believe me this one will not want anything to change unless she is the one changing it.

 

A partner should be your best friend, lover, comforter and confident, and no conversation should be repeated to others. Billy Graham had it right when he said he would never even visit a woman without his wife, out of respect for his wife, because she was his best friend and no one would ever mean more to him. There was nothing he would say to anyone that he wouldn’t want his wife to hear. That was loyalty. Pretty smart man. Everyone needs to wait for a man like that and they would be worth waiting for because they get it. And women should have the same respect for their partner. Everyone knows that relationships people had before they find their life partner always changes, it’s a natural progression.

 

You said this man is a writer, so if he is telling the truth about his living arrangement I would suggest that his live-in write a book—How to Keep A Sugar Daddy For Years Without Giving Up The Honey For The Bread. I feel confident it would sell two copies—to the two self-absorbed people living under the same roof. I see no logical reason for these two to pull others into this wretched relationship for any reason. One of them needs to find their spine and move on if they are seriously searching for a meaningful relationship. At their age, it’s not likely that will happen. They will both tell themselves it’s always the problem of the people they are involved with; they’re jealous, or they don’t understand …blah… blah…blah. But the truth is, neither one of them would tolerate the situation if they were involved with people in similar circumstances.

If this guy meant that you are the love of his life, he would know that kind of love is worth fighting for through difficult times. A mature man understands how important it is to handle conflict if he’s in love. No one is going to skate through a relationship without some tough times, because people are not perfect. I would think at his age, he knows that, but to be honest, you are simply not that important to him. He’s the one who will miss out on having the relationship he said he dreamed about—if you believe that. He makes excuses instead of working for what he says he wants. Coward? Lying? Playing games? Insecure? Take your choice on the reasons—it doesn’t matter. He made sure he created an issue to keep you from communicating on friendly terms with his live-in by involving her in your relationship, telling her just what he wanted her to know. He set the conditions of how you two would get along in the future, and it was intentional.

If he’s fortunate to have ten more years left on this earth, it’s going to feel a heck of a lot longer. He’ll go on living the last years of his life in his make-believe world and continue his little computer relationships. He’s going to have some lonely years and the day will come when he will look back on his life and remember the road he didn’t take. Regrets might follow, or he will justify the decisions he’s made as the right choice because it had to be someone else’s fault.

Until he is living as a single man, he’s not looking for anything but someone to spice up his boring, dishonest existence. Though I don’t know why you would want a man who has told you in many ways that he does not value you. Discussing your relationship with anyone should have been the final nail in the coffin. But people in love do dumb things and make dumb decisions. My opinion is, he will never be single. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you are definitely not the love of his life. Unless he shows up on your door as a single man, professing his undying love and willing to prove to you that he is serious, keep that door closed.

Thank you for sharing your experience. It is a reminder to all of us that people of all ages will play games. In the future, listen to that little voice and don’t be too trusting. Your intuition was flashing a big yellow warning sign—that was your guardian angel trying to warn you to stay away from the beginning. This guy has probably already started texting his next victim.

Straighten your crown and go forward. You should never settle for less than you deserve. Remember, it’s often necessary to lose some people in your life to make room for the right people. You’ll find a man with integrity, who will recognize that you are worth the effort and treat you like a queen, and he won’t involve others in your relationship.

Here’s to a love-filled future.

res what I say and tells me what I think.

Then, the other day we were on the video discussing business venture and his live-in walks into the room and sits down and interjected her opinions into our discussion. I wasn’t commenting as they discussed it between themselves and then he got an attitude saying I was being rude and started screaming at me. He then tells me I ran her off and that I had no friends, and basically I was a terrible person. He hung up on me, and then about thirty minutes later he calls to apologize, of course it was after he once again discussed everything with his “live-in.” I felt once again that he was very disloyal to me. He says his friends are more important than anything. But he only has one friend.

I told him if I had a live-in and that was my best friend, confident, and the one who I shared everything with, it would be my partner.

I really don’t know what to think about this relationship.

Puzzled.

 

Dear Puzzled,

Just when I think I’ve heard it all, I’m stunned once again. I don’t know what surprised me the most—this man’s belief that there were women in the universe who wouldn’t question his living arrangement or the fact that an intelligent man would agree to this woman’s request that he lie about being the father of her child without considering his future. I thought men might have it all figured out by the time they were seventy-seven years old. Guess not.

You were certainly not wrong to question his story. I would have found it odd if you hadn’t questioned this fiction. My first thought is this guy couldn’t possibly be real, or he’s a player or just nuts. When he agreed to this ridiculous arrangement with that woman, don’t you think he would have asked himself what would happen if the love of his life came along? I understand he cares for the child, but there are ways to help a friend and support them (for a short time) without forfeiting his own life, or without enabling their dependence.

This man would have been sixty-five when the woman and child came to live with him. Did he think he would never be involved in another relationship for the rest of his life? Was he that insecure as a man? If sounds like he’s afraid to go after what he wants for some reason. Sadly, odds are at his age he won’t have many more chances. He probably talks a good game, but that’s all it is—talk. He obviously doesn’t love this woman or he wouldn’t be on the prowl. But, I would like to know what he would have thought if you lived with a man under the same circumstances. I have a difficult time believing he would have liked that scenario.

If my math is correct, the woman living with him is well over fifty years old now. Why does she still need a sugar daddy? Why can’t she support herself? Why hasn’t she found a man? He said she had boyfriends, and if that’s true, why hasn’t one of them wanted to get serious with her? And what kind of woman would lie to her child for so many years?

Here’s the answer to those questions: He told you that he handled most of the household chores, paid for the majority of the financial obligations, in addition to doing everything for the child—so why would she change anything? She has no reason to leave her little comfy situation. No incentive there. If she does have boyfriends, they obviously haven’t wanted to take care of her. Unlike this guy, they know how to spot users and there’s no reason to buy the cow when they get the milk free. If she finds a man willing to support her, does this guy think she wouldn’t be gone in a NY minute?

I would bet he only calls you when she’s not around, or if she’s around, he certainly wouldn’t say anything in a “loving” way. And he wanted you to believe this living arrangement would be no different if he were living with a man? Hogwash! He wouldn’t be going on trips with a male live-in, etc. This man intentionally had relationships with younger women because they feed his ego by giving him the hero worship that he craves. His live-in probably tells him how smart he is, how she couldn’t make it without him, etc. I’m sure she knows how to keep feeding his ego and playing that tune to keep him on the hook. All women know that trick. He sucks it up and he would never change that situation.

He is certainly old enough to know how to change his life if that was his goal. To use the child as an excuse not to make changes in his life is ridiculous. The boy is a teenager, not a two-year-old, and he has some say about the people he wants to see. And if adults think children don’t know what’s going on, then they should wake up. They always know. If this guy truly loves you, the best gift he could give that young man is to show his love for you. That would be the most valuable lesson a kid can learn. You want a child to move away and have fulfilling relationships, and this man should want to show him how to go after what he wants in life, and not live in a make-believe world.

I agree with you that this guy is living like a married man. It’s obvious he takes care of the everyday tasks a husband would handle and more. So my question is—what did he do for you? I know you live some distance away, but a man in love will do little things that let you know you are important to him? Did he send you flowers? Cards? Did he make a plan to see you every few weeks? Did he ask you to visit him? Do you think you would ever see him on a holiday? Believe me, he finds ways to do what he wants to do if it’s important to him. And if you were important to him, his goal would have been to find a way to make you feel more secure in your relationship. Long distant relationships can work, but not the way this man handles it. And if a man wants to be trusted, he tells the truth.

 

After he yelled at you on the phone with his live-in present that should have been the end. Not only is he not loyal, if he had a problem with you, he should walk out of the room and tell you in private. She was the one who was way out of line—it was none of her business what you were discussing. And if he hadn’t previously discussed your business with her, I doubt she would have been so bold to butt in. And why should he discuss your private conversations with this woman in the first place? What man would dishonor the person they profess to love in that way? I don’t care if they are long-time friends, there are certain lines a person doesn’t cross. He is certainly lacking in character and he will NEVER keep anything between the two of you. He is immature and he likes to tell his live-in everything going on. That will not change, no matter what he says. He needs to grow up—yeah, even at 77 years old. This lothario is certainly not savvy enough to figure out how women will insert themselves between a couple if they see an opening. His live-in might tell him she supports his relationship with you, but believe me this one will not want anything to change unless she is the one changing it.

 

A partner should be your best friend, lover, comforter and confident, and no conversation should be repeated to others. Billy Graham had it right when he said he would never even visit a woman without his wife, out of respect for his wife, because she was his best friend and no one would ever mean more to him. There was nothing he would say to anyone that he wouldn’t want his wife to hear. That was loyalty. Pretty smart man. Everyone needs to wait for a man like that and they would be worth waiting for because they get it. And women should have the same respect for their partner. Everyone knows that relationships people had before they find their life partner always changes, it’s a natural progression.

 

You said this man is a writer, so if he is telling the truth about his living arrangement I would suggest that his live-in write a book—How to Keep A Sugar Daddy For Years Without Giving Up The Honey For The Bread. I feel confident it would sell two copies—to the two self-absorbed people living under the same roof. I see no logical reason for these two to pull others into this wretched relationship for any reason. One of them needs to find their spine and move on if they are seriously searching for a meaningful relationship. At their age, it’s not likely that will happen. They will both tell themselves it’s always the problem of the people they are involved with; they’re jealous, or they don’t understand …blah… blah…blah. But the truth is, neither one of them would tolerate the situation if they were involved with people in similar circumstances.

If this guy meant that you are the love of his life, he would know that kind of love is worth fighting for through difficult times. A mature man understands how important it is to handle conflict if he’s in love. No one is going to skate through a relationship without some tough times, because people are not perfect. I would think at his age, he knows that, but to be honest, you are simply not that important to him. He’s the one who will miss out on having the relationship he said he dreamed about—if you believe that. He makes excuses instead of working for what he says he wants. Coward? Lying? Playing games? Insecure? Take your choice on the reasons—it doesn’t matter. He made sure he created an issue to keep you from communicating on friendly terms with his live-in by involving her in your relationship, telling her just what he wanted her to know. He set the conditions of how you two would get along in the future, and it was intentional.

If he’s fortunate to have ten more years left on this earth, it’s going to feel a heck of a lot longer. He’ll go on living the last years of his life in his make-believe world and continue his little computer relationships. He’s going to have some lonely years and the day will come when he will look back on his life and remember the road he didn’t take. Regrets might follow, or he will justify the decisions he’s made as the right choice because it had to be someone else’s fault.

Until he is living as a single man, he’s not looking for anything but someone to spice up his boring, dishonest existence. Though I don’t know why you would want a man who has told you in many ways that he does not value you. Discussing your relationship with anyone should have been the final nail in the coffin. But people in love do dumb things and make dumb decisions. My opinion is, he will never be single. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you are definitely not the love of his life. Unless he shows up on your door as a single man, professing his undying love and willing to prove to you that he is serious, keep that door closed.

Thank you for sharing your experience. It is a reminder to all of us that people of all ages will play games. In the future, listen to that little voice and don’t be too trusting. Your intuition was flashing a big yellow warning sign—that was your guardian angel trying to warn you to stay away from the beginning. This guy has probably already started texting his next victim.

Straighten your crown and go forward. You should never settle for less than you deserve. Remember, it’s often necessary to lose some people in your life to make room for the right people. You’ll find a man with integrity, who will recognize that you are worth the effort and treat you like a queen, and he won’t involve others in your relationship.

Here’s to a love-filled future

From Renee, Knoxville, TN

This is going to sound stupid but I'm conflicted about getting a divorce. I don't hate him or anything like that. He's actually a good guy. I just don't love him. We don't have kids and we both work. I just don't know what to do and have no one to talk to about it.

Scarlett's answer: Hello, Renee, you didn't mention how long you've been married or how well you get along, I would think you loved him at some point to have married him. You might first consider a marriage counselor before taking a more drastic step. Sometimes we have a habit of focusing on little negatives instead of the positive traits of our spouse. You describe your husband as a good guy, and you might keep that in mind if you're considering an alternative. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, but it still has to be mowed. Perhaps if you focus on the reasons you said "yes" to begin with, you would rediscover what you may have forgotten. Divorce is a painful, emotionally draining roller-coaster ride, which no one enjoys. My advice is to think long and hard before you take that step. 

Nathan's Response: As always, Renee, Scarlett's advice hits the spot. But I'm going to answer your question from a different perspective. So please open your mind and think about what I am going to say. It's been my experience that when any relationship goes sour, no single person is 100% to blame. That old adage it takes two to tango, comes to mind. I assume you loved him in the beginning. And now you don't. Ask yourself why? If he's legitimately a good guy, what changed? I would bet that at least half of the change is looking back at you in the mirror when you apply your makeup. Are you being realistic about the type of man you want or are you living in a fantasy world? As Scarlett said, the grass always appears greener . . . yet it almost never is. My sincere advice is to take your husband on a romantic getaway for the weekend. Just the two of you. Make a concerted effort to reconnect. Talk to each other. He may be totally unaware of how you feel, and if you tell him there's trouble in paradise, he just might surprise you. That roller coaster ride Scarlett mentioned is a ride you do not want to get on except as a last resort. On the other hand, you deserve to be happy. But I think you should give yourself a chance with your husband before you pull the plug.

Clarence, Oskaloosa, IA

My entire family is an enclave of progressive jerks. I'm a stanch conservative. I don't want to disown them but I cannot stand breathing the same air. Any reasonable suggestions?

Nathan's response: That's a tough situation to be in, Clarence. You didn't mention if your family includes your mom and dad, brothers and sisters, or (God forbid) your grandparents. Regardless, I'm guessing Christmas isn't a lot of fun for you. But I digress. Without knowing what type of BS you're subjected to, or how you respond to it, I'll simply say this. Why don't you sit them down and tell them you love them all, but you would appreciate it if they refrained from mentioning any type of politics when you're present. Family should come before politics, that's a fact. If they can't or won't do that, for your own sanity, I'd stay away from them except when communication was absolutely necessary.

Scarlett's answer: Clarence, this reminds me of Winston Churchills' supposed (not exact) quote, "If you're not a liberal when you're young, you have no heart. And if you're not a Republican when you're old, you have no brain."

I don't know when politics became so divisive that it tears families apart, but it's getting old. Politicians are not our gods, and we should keep that in mind when we are conversing with our families, in particular. 

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