Am I Crazy?
I just need to know if I am crazy but when a man takes his phone to the bathroom an takes it with him when he showers keeps it locked up an freaks out if you need to use it. His computer the same way I have to go to my sons to use his computer when mine was down and there is a computer setting in my bedroom that can't be normal he's says I'm over reacting that I'm crazy are jealous that he's completely innocent. HELP!
No, you’re not crazy. There’s the simple answer.
So, in this age of laptops, smart phones and other digital devices, we certainly have issues with privacy. I do believe that people shouldn’t have full access to everyone else’s stuff because if you start looking for something, you’re bound to find it. Or worse. So, there’s this part of me that wonders if he’s cutting off your access because you’ve snooped in the past? Have you? Believe me, I know a whole lot of snoopers and have been one myself which, I can tell you, is always a symptom of something wrong with your relationship (something that needs work or something that is just broken, it depends).
If you have not snooped in the past, then his behavior is incredibly suspect. It could be that he had a snooping ex and he’s still gun shy. It could be that he’s just an extremely private person and he’s a little obsessive about protecting his privacy. OR it could be that he’s hiding something from you. Ok, so here’s the rub. Even if you HAVE snooped in the past, his behavior is indicative of something that needs to be fixed. If he doesn’t trust you enough to let you onto the computer in the bedroom that you share then there is a problem. I’m sorry to say it but if there is nothing to find on that computer, there’s no reason not to let you use it.
When it comes to the phone, I’m a little more forgiving. I have conversations with my friends all the time that include venting and sometimes I say things that I think better of once I’ve had a chance to calm down. Would I want just anyone reading through those things, no. I want my private thoughts to be my own and when I talk to my friends, I want those words to stay just between us. Texting has created a whole chain of evidence on conversations that would otherwise have not been recorded. It’s an unfortunate side effect of living in the digital age. Our words stay around much longer than we mean them to and it makes casual conversations take on a whole different relevance in our lives.
Note on the subject of texting: once you send it, you’ve lost control of it. Will it be spread around, forwarded, used against you in the next argument? Who knows. Think before you text.
Ok, back to your boyfriend. Clearly a talk is in order here. Not knowing the details of your relationship with him, it’s hard to know whether his behavior has some grounding in past events. Nonetheless, whether it’s a trust / privacy issue or he’s actually hiding something from you, its important that you talk about the issue now. If you’re sharing a house and a life, you should be able to share a computer. If the computer contains all sorts of important work documents and that’s why he’s nervous about letting you use it, fine. Have the talk. If the computer is full of pornography that he’s afraid you’ll see, that’s a whole different issue and one that needs to be addressed. If he’s regularly chatting up the girl next door and is afraid you’ll find out, then yes, you’ve got a problem.
See what I mean? Either way, the situation calls for a good discussion. You’re reacting to his obvious desire to keep you out of his personal space and considering that you seem to be living together, that’s an issue worth talking about.
Taking Care of Mom
My daughter is 33 years old married with 3 children and takes my mother who is 94 years old for granted financially. The only time she ever calls or visits is when she needs money. My mother is on a budget and doesn't have a lot of money. She recently gave her $800 to fix her truck then gave her another $200 for her birthday last week. She doesn't call after to say thanks, she has her truck fixed, etc. My sisters and myself are just sick of putting up with this. Can you please advise of how to handle such elder abuse without hurting feelings or stepping on toes?
Dear Taking Care,
Let me start by saying that my grandmother died last year and so the topic of elder care and abuse is one that is near and dear to my heart. I have some very strong opinions and I have seen first-hand the complexity of dealing with end-of-life issues. Sooo…here goes.
Unfortunately, you may have to step on toes here to stop what is most definitely financial abuse. Your daughter may truly not realize that what she is doing is wrong but you need to make her aware. I would suggest talking with her and trying to stop the abuse at this level. There’s no reason that you can’t have a caring conversation with her about her behavior but if it upsets her, you may need to take further steps (in fact, you may need to do this anyway) to protect your mother financially.
Ok, so onto the practical application. You can frame this conversation in terms of your mother’s needs as she ages. The reality is that growing old and dying is expensive. Funerals are expensive. Care is expensive. It would be a good idea to use this as an opportunity to review your mother’s financial situation. You can cut your daughter off in the context of getting your mother’s things in order and it may make the blow a bit less hard to take.
If your mother is anything like my grandmother, she’d probably give away her last dime to her family and that’s exactly why it’s important for you to intervene on her behalf. Perhaps you could call a family meeting and set some boundaries with your sisters there to support you. There’s really no reason why this conversation has to hurt your daughter’s feelings or step on toes BUT the reality is that if your daughter is used to receiving financial support from your mother, she’d likely to be upset by being cut off. Be prepared for any reaction she might have and it’ll make the whole conversation go more smoothly for you. If you try to get her involved in being part of the solution rather than singling her out as the problem, she might take it a lot better.
Of course, all this assumes that your mother is willing to go along with the plan. Here’s the real stepping on toes part right? The reality is that your mother may also need to be persuaded that it is in her best interest and will make life much easier for everyone else if her needs come first. That’s a hard one for many women so I won’t pretend it’s an easy sell. But the bottom line is that when the time comes (whether you’re close to that point or not), the expenses associated with old age and end-of-life are not only many but also can be unpredictable. It’s a good idea to make sure that your mom is in the best financial situation possible and that’s really something that your family should be able to buy into.
Hope this helps.
Looking for Love on a Shoestring
I know of someone desperately wanting to be in a relationship, but is on limited income. He is only able to afford a night out, (movie, dinner, etc.) like once a month. Is it worth it of him even trying to get involved?
When I read your question, I had to spend a few minutes feeling sad for the state of affairs in our society. Why in the world should it matter how much money a person has when looking for love? Of course, it’s mattered forever right? How many stories have we heard about people waiting to marry or never marrying the person they loved because they didn’t have the income.
So, after much consideration, here’s what I’ve come to. It’s 2014 and dammit, the answer is yes! He should most definitely try to get involved with someone. If your friend is looking for companionship, he shouldn’t allow his limited income to keep him from finding what he needs.
Ok, so now for the practical advice. Your friends’ limited income may simply require that he think outside the box. If you’re been reading my answers, you’ll notice a theme. Honestly, communication, boundaries. Your friend is going to have to be honest about his situation. The reality is that he probably can’t afford to go the Match.com route for dating. Why do we invite people out to dinner or a movie anyway? It’s usually because we don’t know the person well enough to choose something more personal and so we’re sticking to safe places where we know that the other person will most likely find something they like despite our lack of knowledge.
My advice for your friend is that he start his search for companionship in a slightly different way. Namely, he should start from common interests. Wherever you live, there are usually tons of free and low-cost options of things to do. Libraries have events based on books and other interests. Meet-up.com is a great place to find people who like to do similar things, whether its hiking, cooking, making art or even just sharing a glass of wine. Your friends’ best bet, in my estimation, is to spend time in places where he enjoys doing some activity. He’ll meet people who also like those activities and will be able to form relationships based on common interest rather than generic romantic activities. Going to dinner or seeing a movie can be reserved for special occasions. Heck, who said your friend has to pay for every date anyway? It’s 2014! It’s unfair and unfortunate that men are still expected to pay for every date (my humble if not popular opinion).
Tell your friend to be open and honest with the people he wants to get involved with. Most of us have struggled with income at one time or another and if he makes it clear that the relationship is more important to him than money, he may just find that his special someone will feel the same way.
How can I overcome jealousy? Whenever I make a friend and they mention being with their other friends I always feel like I'm a substitute for when their other friends aren't around.
Here’s the thing. The jealousy is a symptom of something else. The reason you’re feeling jealous has more to do with your own feelings of self-worth than it does about your friends. Jealousy springs from insecurity. We worry that we somehow won’t measure up; we can’t compete. The problem lies in feeling like you have to compete at all. If you’re not feeling worthy of friendship than you will suspect your friends motives. And unfortunately, overcoming jealousy in this case means taking some time to work on you.
The truth is that when we make new friends, sometimes they are a substitute for our other friends. When I have a new friend that I am not familiar with and I’m building a relationship with them, it takes work and so my other friends are sort of the safety net. Does that mean that I don’t enjoy spending time with new friends? Of course not. It simply means that the friendships are different. The relationships are at different stages. And as a result, it’s going to BE different; to FEEL different. What you need to do is accept that the person who is with you wants to be with you and that’s hard to do if you’re not feeling worthy.
So here’s my advice. When you’re with your friends, old or new, be in the moment. Try not to worry about how it all fits in the cosmic world of friendship. Just enjoy being there. Be present. The rest of the time, work on yourself. We all can benefit from some time for introspection and for work on strengthening our self-esteem. Consider finding a counselor or someone that you can talk to openly about how you’re feeling. Think about the things that make you a unique and special person and realize that you are worthy of friendship and love. And most of all, understand that your feelings are just that, feelings. They are not fact. Relegate them to their proper place. Give yourself permission to feel, but also remind yourself that feelings are not fact and try to take each situation, each interaction with your friends, as it comes.
I have been married over one year recently. The first week of my marriage my husband physically abused me and with me being out of work I lost everything that I owned before the marriage. He could not provide for me, we moved with his relatives and I found out that he was bipolar and schizophrenic. After the episode of him jumping on me for the third time after he said he would not touch me like that, I left and moved out the state back to my home town. I married my first love so I thought. He drinks a lot and he has done more than smoking weed. He wasn't willing to change at all. My experience has been hell. We talk and he is more hoping I will give in and come back. He is not what I want in a man. He's jealous and wants unusual attention. I'm so exhausted with the mood swings. On the other hand my ex boyfriend of 12/14years we spit up a year almost 2. To make a long story short he wants a relationship with me. Yes we have had a lot of problems as a couple... He's heart is good but I feel like he's pressuring me when I feel like I need to put more focus on me getting my life back together. It's confusing me, I need advice. My ex is telling me how much he loves me and want to support me and I believe him. But is it self motivated.
Please, please, please tell your ex-boyfriend you are not ready for another relationship. Listen, it sounds to me like you’re last few years have been a nightmare and its not unusual to want to cling to something that seems stable when we wake up from that nightmare, right? But you’re already telling me that your relationship with your ex-boyfriend isn’t great so that instinct that is telling you that you need to focus on getting your life back together...listen to that. Your body is telling you this isn’t the right thing. Don’t ignore your instincts! They are there to protect you.
I have a question for you: something to think about and if you want to contact me again, please do. Was there something traumatic that happened to you growing up? What I’m hearing in your letter, the rapid progression from one bad relationship to another, makes me want to tell you to take this opportunity to do some self-exploration. Find a good counselor and focus on yourself. I can tell from personal experience that the moment when you have that “OMG! There’s a pattern to my life” is a liberating time and when you identify the patterns and figure out how to recognize them and make different choices, its pretty much the most amazing thing. You’re whole life will change.
Bottom line, my advice is this: this is you time. Don’t take on a new relationship until you are ready and it feels right. If your ex-boyfriend really loves you, he’ll wait.
High School Purgatory
I currently need some advice like fast. I'm a sophomore in high school and i am at school in the library, during lunch break, because i guess i don't have any friends anymore. I honestly don't know what to do, no one is talking to me.
It all started because one of my friends (friend 1 ) was talking to me at lunch on tuesday about everything i ever did negative in our friendship like i acidently lost a few of her things, i understand my fault. But then she texts me during 6th period on tuesday about how their all tired of my " shit " so their not talking to me and i mean all of them. What do i do ? Please help.
That's what high school tends to be. Purgatory. You're not out in the "real world" yet but you get all the complications of a complex social scene. I'm sorry your friends are bailing on you and while I promise it won't last forever, I also was a high school girl once and it can be the pits! So you and friend 1 got in fight and now the whole crowd is taking sides? Here's the thing with high school girls. They all (we all...I was there once too) tend to be overly dramatic and very catty in the way we deal with one another. Part of this has to do with the way that girls relate to one another in general. Girls focus on the social pecking order. As females, we are tuned in to relationships and sometimes that's great. But it also means that we experiment. We want to see what kinds of reactions we can get out of others. Add all the pressures of being a teenager to the mix and high school is a perfect place for drama to unfold on a regular basis.
You've seen it before right? If you look around you, there's a constant stream of drama. You may even find yourself right up in the middle of it. I remember taking sides. I remember getting so wrapped up in social situations that feel like the end of the world. I promise they're not, but I know it doesn't feel that way right now.
So here's my advice to you (and this advice will serve you well in your adult life too). You CANNOT control how other people react or feel. Ever. The only thing you CAN control is how you react and feel. So make the decision right now to not be a part of the drama. Take responsibility for your actions but don't let your friends make you miserable. This week's drama will be replaced by next week's drama and if you make it perfectly clear that you are not going to get sucked into these shenanigans, they'll lose interest in the silent treatment and you'll find that things get easier. Take this time to think about you and how you want your life to be. As adults, we sometimes think we are powerless and it starts with situations like this. You are not powerless! You can decide how you are going to spend your time and who you will be spending it with. Hanging out in the library? Fine! Read about something you want to learn about. Think about a place you'd like to travel or something you'd like to do after high school. When they see that you're not bothered by their behavior, you'll see that the power has shifted back to you.
Be patient. Be kind. And above all, be brave.
I like what I have read in your responses. My dilemma is that I have a same-sex partner who I have been with for eight years and now I am having feelings for men. There is one man in particular and I told my partner that I have this feeling, she was very upset and shocked. The reason this all came up is because I found a job in another state and contacted this guy just to say Hi. And felt really happy about it. My family does not like my partner, they say she is controlling and a bully. She can be that way and I am very afraid to tell her once and for all that I think these feelings for men will persist. We keep discussing it and I say- oh it was just a passing thought. How do I get over the fear of telling her my feelings?
I hear a lot of internal struggle going on here, but let’s put that aside for a moment and reframe the conversation. When it comes to your current partner, the issue really isn’t your feelings for men but really your feelings for one man, one person. The fact that you have feelings for a person who isn’t your partner, despite gender, is really at the heart of your dilemma so let’s talk about that. You have feelings for another person that you want to explore and in order to do so, you’re going to have to be honest and up-front about it with your partner. I imagine that you’re fearful because you’ve been with this person for 8 years and maybe you don’t want to hurt her. Or maybe you’re afraid that she will be angry and mean. The truth is that she’s probably going to be angry and when people feel heartbroken they often lash you. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself for the conversation and be confident in your decision. This is your life after all and you need to make decisions based on what makes most sense for you.
Ok, so here’s the reality of the situation. People think WAY too much about other people’s sexuality. I get the feeling from your question that either you’re struggling a bit with your newfound feelings for men or your partner and/or family have some definite feelings about this seeming “switch.” The bottom line is, we (big inclusive WE) are attracted to all sorts of people in our lives and anyone who tells you different is lying to themselves. We often find ourselves with people who we don’t consider our “type.” That’s the way love goes. It doesn’t always follow a pattern or fit the socially acceptable definition and honestly, that’s sometimes a very good thing. So, let’s separate the WHO of this problem and get back to basics.
You don’t want to be with your partner anymore. If you did, you wouldn’t be thinking about how your family sees her or contacting a man from out of town. You’re looking for something else and you’re trying to justify your actions/decisions by finding fault with your partner or struggling with considerations of sexuality. I’m not saying that those aren’t perfectly valid issues to grapple with, but I would suggest that they are not really the problem here. The real issue is that you want to break up. Am I right?
So here’s how you get over the fear of telling your partner your feelings. Give yourself permission to have those feelings. Don’t write them off as being a passing thought, either to your partner or to yourself. Embrace the fact that you are a dynamic person with changing needs and that even though it may be scary or different than the way your life has been, those needs are important and valid and should be honored and respected. Give yourself permission to find happiness. By doing this, you will ease the fear. The conversation may not be pleasant, but you will be confident that you are making the right decision, whatever it may be, for reasons that are important to you.
Dealing with a Dilemma
Here's my dilemma, my husband and I are having issues. He is always gone for work, which I understand (military) but we have lost our communication. So we started emailing 1 question a day to get back to a happy place in our relationship. We tackle each question and move on. It seemed to be actually working. . But then one of his answers sent sparks in my brain awaking a memory I had forgotten for 12 years. So 12 years ago we were seeing each other in my eyes.. but not officially. We were both in training in the military and young, 21 yr olds. So we did a lot of drinking. One particular weekend we were supposed to hang out but something happened...miscommunication and we didn't meet up. Well he slept with someone. I didn't know for a few weeks and had started my sexual relationship with him that very next day. Later when I found out I was hurt. His response was a typical young man's response saying well we weren't technically dating. I suppressed that memory somehow until now. So I am crazy hurt and angry. To make it all worse this memory collides with a moment with my first husband. My first husband also slept with another girl before we were officially a couple (even though we were sleeping together) so I feel these 2 events are merging and causing heartache. It has been 12 years since current husband did this.. and 16 years since experience with 1st husband.
Because of the events and the pain I am feeling, I have chosen to stop the emails. My current husband insists he did nothing wrong. So my question is am I over reacting to the whole situation? It has been 12 years, and why would I forget something like that? Also why would I care so much after so long.. it's very frustrating.
I’m not sure that overreacting is really the right way of looking at this situation. Long-distance communication can be really difficult and I think what you and your husband are doing, emailing questions, is probably a great way to keep the dialogue going. But you’re definitely going to run into issues over time, this one included, and dealing with those issues long-distance is much more complicated than it would be in person.
So, let’s look at the specifics. I’m not exactly sure what the trigger was in your conversation but from your reaction, I think you must be feeling that you are not being heard or that your feelings are not being taken seriously. Is that the case? I suspect that you suppressed this memory because at the time you were hurt but willing to move past it. But memories get tucked away and some of us (me included) tend to bring those out when our current feelings make us feel the same way we did then. When I’m feeling hurt in my relationship, I often bring up every incident that ever felt the same. Half the time he can’t even remember those things happening, but I can, and the hurt is acute. Remembering makes it feel like it just happened. And the reason those kinds of memories are so painful is because the feelings are completely unresolved.
Let’s take your current husband for example. Young man or no, in blowing off your feelings about his sleeping with someone else, he was sending you a message: you’re making too much of this and I don’t want to take responsibility for my actions. Do we do this when we’re young? Absolutely we do. Heck, we do it when we’re older and wiser too and should know better. Just like now. The compassionate thing for him to do at this point would be to acknowledge your feelings and try to empathize. But as you said, you guys are having a hard time right now and so instead he’s defensive. He doesn’t have to see how upset you are and so it’s easy to write those feelings off as an overreaction.
They are not. I repeat, your feelings are not an overreaction. They are a reaction. We all react. We all have feelings. Feelings are not fact and they are fueled by emotion making them volatile and not grounded in logic. But feelings are real and should be validated, especially by the people we love.
Your first husband is just a repeat of the same feelings and behaviors. His actions were crappy. Period. And your feelings, both then and now, are fully justified. Who cares whether the relationship was “official” or “technical!” People need to have more empathy for other people’s feelings and should take responsibility for their actions (Yes, that is my opinion and boy would the world be a better place if we all acted that way, eh?).
Ok, so let’s get back to you. What I hear you saying is that you have a long history of having your feelings disregarded by the men you are in relationship with. Unfortunately, these feelings are now compounding in your mind. It’s not really these past incidents, these memories, that are bothering you now (I mean, yes they are but really just as examples of the deeper problem). It’s actually the feelings associated. Whatever triggered this memory for you was probably related to feeling that your voice is not being heard or that your feelings are not be considered and taken seriously. So that’ s where you need to start.
Don’t stop talking to your husband. I promise, its not going to fix the problem. Your husband needs to understand how you are feeling and I would suggest that you take a “When you…it makes me feel…” approach. Ask him to listen to you and try not to get defensive. Set ground rules for the conversation and try to stick to them.
If you don’t already have a counselor, I suggest finding one. It would be really helpful to have someone who can help you work through the communication issues that are clearly at the root of your relationship problems with your husband. Military bases often have support services for families. Seek them out. I know you are frustrated and you have every right to be. Give yourself permission to feel frustrated and then to seek resolution. The fact that you and hubby are even trying to make things better tells me that you are both invested in this relationship. Build on that.
Held Hostage By Stuff
My ex and I broke up in July he still has not gotten all of his belongings is he doing this to keep a connection to me?
It could be that your ex is trying to keep a connection with you. Are you still friends? Has he been putting off getting the stuff or “forgetting?” It also could be that he feels too awkward about the breakup, he avoids confrontation or he’s just plain lazy. Whatever the reason, my advice to you is the same. Give him a deadline.
Muster up your kindest most compassionate tone and let him know very plainly that if he doesn’t get his stuff by Friday or a week from Tuesday or the end of the month (whatever works for you) that you’re going to throw it out. You don’t have to be mean but you do have to mean what you say.
So, are we talking a toothbrush and a shirt or two, or do his belongings include furniture, sports equipment or other big ticket items? Either way, put them in a box or pile them next to your front door so you’ll be super motivated to get them out of the way. When (if) he comes to get them, help him load them up. Don’t bring up the fact that he’s been putting this off for months. Just thank him for helping you take care of this issue and wish him well.
If he still doesn’t come for his stuff, get rid of it. Toss it in the dumpster. Take it to a thrift shop. Have a garage sale and make a little extra holiday money. Whatever you decide to do, if he doesn’t claim his things they become your things and you can do whatever you want with them, including throwing them away. If it’s a lot of stuff, call your local thrift shop and see if they’ll pick it up. The bottom line is that you guys are done and its not helping anyone move on to have this stuff lingering. Don’t worry too much about his reasoning. Take action! Reclaim your space!
Help, I have a very religious brother, and I know he means well, but his dogmatic views on religion has become a bone of contention, no pun intended. He espouses love of all, but it comes across as love for those who believe like he does, and the rest can all burn in hell. I want to be able to talk to my brother without it becoming a spiritual slugfest.
Religion and politics…the two topics you should never discuss in mixed company, right? Well, sometimes the same goes for family too. I come from a family with a wide variety of views on religion and spirituality so I can tell you firsthand, its not an easy path to navigate at times. So, what kinds of things do you want to talk to your brother about? Because talking religion with him (or politics for that matter), is not likely to end well. You’re going to have to have some off-limit topics and I’m guessing those two will be at the top of the list.
The deeper concern here, of course, is that you feel like you cant’ speak openly to your brother because he will judge you. There’s not really any easy way to get around this problem. The best thing that you can do for yourself and your relationship with him is to have an open conversation about how you feel. Tell him that the “spiritual slugfest” makes it hard for you to talk to him. Tell him that you want to be able to talk to him and suggest being more open about how you both feel so that you can develop a better communication style. The truth is, if you’re feeling uncomfortable, he probably is too. Imagine getting into an argument with someone over your beliefs every time you’re around them…oh wait, no need to imagine.
And then…let it go. You can’t change the way that he thinks, only the way that you react to it. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you want to have a relationship with your brother, you’re going to have to agree to disagree. Focus on what brings you together, what you have in common. Find new things that you can do together that don’t go down that spiritual path. It may not be an easy road, but if you want to travel it together, you’ll both have to do the necessary work to create a strong foundation that allows you both to have your beliefs without stepping on the others toes.
Don't be shy! Say what's on your mind and get a good dose of perspective in return.