Featured Short Letter

This Week - Inviting Offers

I am a male in my 30s in a very lovable, committed relationship. My partner is considerably older than myself. She finds no harm in giving and asking for other men's phone numbers in order to have coffee, though she tells them she is in a committed relationship. When men do phone to set up a coffee date, she declines.

When I find out about it, she says it is a purely innocent gesture, and she does not understand why I am angry or hurt. Is this a form of unfaithfulness, or am I just being a prude?

Rod

Rod, the publisher Bennett Cerf was known for placing ads for books which didn't exist. He or his staff would dream up a title like Seven Tips of Great Gardeners. If enough orders came in for the book, he would commission someone to write it. In the meantime he would return customers' money telling them the book was out of stock or temporarily unavailable.

Your girlfriend is advertising her availability, a product which does not yet exist, but if demand is sufficient, it may. She is also compiling a list of back orders she may decide to fill. You know how much men respect a woman in a relationship who asks for their phone number. Those men know the difference between a committed woman and a woman asking them for a date, and so does she.

Wayne & Tamara

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Last Week - Starting Point

I have just about the worst dating rap sheet out there. I mean I have dated abusive guys, both physically and emotionally. I have been cheated on, and it killed me. For the past four months I have been sleeping with a married man.

He is a coworker. I am 19 and he is 32. We had what we both thought would be a one-night stand, and it turned into us hanging out and sleeping together every day. Neither of us can stop seeing each other no matter how hard we try. He makes me laugh. I told him things I don't even tell my psychologist.

I also have huge commitment issues. I have the nickname of Julia, as in Julia Roberts from the movie Runaway Bride. I always run from happiness. Please be honest with me and let me know what you think as an outsider.

Marni

Marni, the way we are raised forms the porthole from which we see the world, and it looks like your porthole was in steerage.

Find a psychologist you feel comfortable telling your secrets to. With the right assistance you can break the pattern of abusive men, married men, and cheaters. Do the easy thing now, and you will have a hard life. Do this hard thing now, and you will have a much easier life.

Wayne & Tamara

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Two Weeks Ago - Bad Example

Both my mother and my mother-in-law cater to the lazy, substance-abusing, nasty members of our families. My husband and I visit our mothers regularly, invite them to dinner and such, while other family members seem to take them for granted. Still our mothers go out of their way to "help" these leeches. Why do you think they do this?

Lucy

Lucy, your mother and mother-in-law don't believe in taking matches away from children. They believe in running around and putting out fires. Though that is the description of an enabler or martyr, it does have an upside. It gives them a purpose in life.

You need to create a firebreak between your children and family members who play with matches. The danger is not that you will become thick-skinned about their plight, but that your children will become like them.

If you are not careful, your children won't have to go out in the world to find bad influences; you will bring them right into your own home. You want your children to decide to be like mom and dad, not like Granny Enabler or Uncle Druggie.

Wayne & Tamara

Send letters to: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com