Featured Short Letter

This Week - Not How, But Why

My issues are so many and complicated I don't know where or how to start, but I'll try. I've been with my husband for 14 years and married about eight. Even when we were dating he was cold, emotionless, and secretive. He would never share things like his salary and his whereabouts, or recount stories about his childhood.

However he loved his family very much and adored children. Silly me, I figured when we got married, he would love and treat me like his family, too. By the time we married we had broken up five times, and the fights were horrible. We are expecting our first child this summer, and he's still very cold.

His family hates me and is always meddling in his affairs. His brother and sisters have keys and open access to our home and come and go as they please—and he thinks this is fine. I love my family, too, but they do not come to my house unannounced as they please.

Please note there is nothing wrong with me. I'm smart, educated, physically attractive, gainfully employed, active in the community, and popular in my social and professional life. While I am pregnant and this should be a happy time, I am contemplating divorce.

I believe if I don't leave these toxic and crazy people, I'm going to end up in a mental home. I have asked him to attend counseling, but he refuses. Please help! We are beyond fixing. I just need to know how to exit while I still can!

Evelyn

Evelyn, your letter raises a hundred questions, and the least of these is how to end it. See a good lawyer. Any 12-year-old could tell you that. But neither we, nor a 12-year-old, can tell you how to end the lifetime of contact you will have with these people because of your child.

The 99 questions which need answering involve how a smart, attractive woman finds herself in this situation. Without new input there will be no new output. Unless you grow as a person, after you divorce this will happen again because people do what they know.

You cannot change your husband through counseling for two reasons. First, he won't go, and second, he is the same person he has always been. He has a right to say, "How dare she ask me to change!" Marriage counseling isn't like throwing salt over your shoulder when it has been spilled. It isn't magic.

But do get individual counseling for yourself. Your life is a mixture of parents and friends, common clichés and inherited emotions. Somewhere in all that you picked up the wrong answer to the question, who should I marry?

Wayne & Tamara

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Last Week - Birds Of A Feather

I'm 19 and currently single. I haven't dated that many men in my life. Going away to college was like being thrust face first into the dating world, and even now, at the end of my freshman year, I still feel lost.

I've been on a lot of dates, but finally found this guy who seems to be different. Male, age 22, was engaged two years ago. He's been through a series of relationships since then and a number of sex partners. He is also involved in drugs (pot and mushrooms). He is currently being treated for a sexually transmitted disease, which he may or may not have.

This male, despite his shortcomings, has won me over in a short amount of time to think he's different from others. He is caring, sweet, intelligent, and we seem to have a lot of the same interests. My only worry is that with all my inexperience I will end up getting way over my head. Also, I don't think I am comfortable with the fact he smokes pot.

We've only known each other two weeks, but we've already spent hours and hours talking. What should I do? My heart tells me one thing, and my head tells me another.

Anna

Anna, some people have a problem setting their sights too high, but you've set yours too low. Asking for a knight in shining armor may be too much, but that doesn't mean you have to settle for Prince Charming's stable boy.

None of his problems are something an inexperienced dater needs. Until you get your bearings in college, stay with others who are more like yourself: clean slates with all the possibilities of life before them.

Wayne & Tamara

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Two Weeks Ago - Think For Yourself

I go out with a nice lady 15 years my senior. Everyone tells me I'm not on the right track! We like each other. Lots of the time she mentions she is too old for me. I'm 70 and she's 85. She looks younger than I, but they all know her age. What am I to do?

We lost our spouses five years ago, and we still enjoy life together. I have lots of friends my age who want me to take them out, but I ignore their pleas. As time rolls on I'm starting to feel lost and empty inside about this. Any ideas?

Robert

Robert, at what point do you get to say, "This is my life. I'm going to do what makes me happy." When is the book going to be about you, if it isn't in the last chapters? All of our lives, from the time we are born, we find more than enough people wanting us to sacrifice something for them.

Your "friends" aren't interested in you as a person. They are thinking, if he doesn't marry her, he will marry one of us. Your point is you don't love one of them, but their point is they get to rule over you. Because they are not happy for you, there is no genuine relationship with them.

Age doesn't bring wisdom to everyone. Some people are just as mean-spirited and controlling in retirement as they were when they were younger.

The only time we should sacrifice is when it is not asked for and when it is given out of love. That prevents us from feeling like a martyr or feeling like we sacrificed something. When the gift giver gives without being puffed up, or making another feel beholden, that's a good gift.

Seeing the effect of the gift is all we should ask for. You know you are giving too much when it feels like giving money to a crack addict. That's the lost and empty feeling you have now. You've been asked to sacrifice your life by others who want to manipulate you for their own gain.

Wayne & Tamara

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