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We all go through ups and downs in relationships whether it be with friends, family or your significant other. We often want to express ourselves & get opinions or advice from others. Well this a place to do just that! You can comment/ask publicly or anonymously, participate in polls and more.

Long Distance Love  

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Scenario: My boyfriend moved from Sacramento to Chicago for 6 months for an internship which might turn into a job. It's been about 2 months since he left and it's been hard. I miss him so much and we end up fighting alot about cheating, money and a bunch of stupid little things. How are we supposed to make it through 4 more months of this? Or worse what if he moves there?

Response: Long distance relationships are harder than the average relationship, but they can work if you both really want it. Communication is the biggest part of a long distance relationship, followed by trust. The reason I say communication comes before trust is because you honestly cannot have trust without great communication. When there is lack of communication, you feel secrets are being kept, resulting in a trust issue. Lets dig into these two areas:

Communication - Long distance relationships require twice the amount of communication of average relationships because you are not spending the time most couples share together. You have to be able to share your daily lives and emotions through other avenues. Your partner is not there to read the expressions on your face to recognize if you are happy, sad or upset. Words are your biggest asset at this point. Communication is key.

Trust - If you have trust issues your long distance relationship will never work. It is hard enough living in the same city but now you have to completely trust your partner's actions. There are no friends to call and say they saw your partner with someone else. You are not there to give them the attention they need and you have to trust they are not betraying you, that they are finding ways to occupy their time that will not upset you. Hopefully you have already established a mutual trust before the distance was present because you will need even more trust now that you are apart.

Patience is also important because you will want to see your love as much as possible, you will miss them every day. However unless you are rich with no obligations it will not be possible to see each other as often as you'd like. Months may go by without a single visit. It gets sad and frustrating but you have to have patience and really make the time count when you do get together.

If you are fighting about cheating or suspicion of it then you have trust issues between you, insecurity that needs to be dealt with immediately. Money is something that you should try your best not to argue about. If you are not able to manage money together, try letting his finances be his business and your finances be your business. You are not married or living together so if you cannot handle it together then you each deal with your own finances, simple as that.

Arguing about little things? This sound like the petty thing many couples do out of mere frustration. If you are calling the issues you argue over little things then they are not important and should not result in an argument at all. Also, to answer your question regarding a possible move. Well, at that point you would need to decide if you wish to join him or stay where you are. Take into consideration your current obligations, goals and lifestyle. If not married or engaged, I personally would not move for a guy unless I had another personal reason. You want to make sure that if you move and things do not work you will not feel like you moved just for him, you had some other intention and will not regret the move.

You have to find ways to keep things fresh, show love and communicate. Get ready to upgrade your cellular phone plan and include unlimited text because your phone calls and text messages will increase. Email each other, attach photos and send e-cards. Try Skype, it is an awesome service and I believe it is still free. Skype is great because it allows you to see each other, it is like a video phone/chat. Make a dinner date where you both plan to sit and eat dinner at the same time while chatting on Skype. It will be like you're actually dining together.

Send flowers, care packages and letters. Make cute videos for each other and email them, upload them to a private server or share on YouTube or another free hosting site. If you have a microphone on your pc, make a recording of anything you want to say to your love, then burn to disc and mail it so they can listen to it. These are just ways to do something different, something other than just phone conversations. Also, printing photos and mailing them are great. Email is faster and cheaper however when someone is away, receiving mail and packages ca give them a sense of home. You have to remember that is hard for you but it may be harder for the person who is away, as they have left family, friends and normal surroundings.

Just remember to communicate, trust and be creative. Stay positive and try to keep things light and happy. Be there for each other in times of need. If you can make it through the distance until he gets home, your bond will be stronger than ever. I have been going through distance with my love for approximately 7 months and it is not easy but I think the distance has made our bond, trust & communication stronger. Our connection is actually stronger than most of the couples I know. If you are having problems after 2 months then you have work to do and you need to start it now. Good luck and please don't hesitate to ask more questions if necessary or update in a few months to let us know how it is going.
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Shadow, Shadow Everywhere!  

Sunday, February 15, 2009
Scenario: My girl is always around. She wants to be with me every spare minute and when we're not together she's calling and texting. She even calls my family and friends looking for me. Is it that she doesn't trust me or is she just clingy?

Response: It could be either of those reasons. Could be a bit of both. Some people are very clingy and they mistake this for love. It is fine to want to spend time with your loved one but not too much time. And there is indeed such as a thing as too much time!

If you spend every waking hour with your love, what on earth will have to talk about? We all need our personal space and time to spend with others. Which is great because it leaves something to talk about when you reconnect for lunch, dinner or whatever date you have planned.

Or, as you asked, she may not trust you. The reason can vary. She may feel you've given her reason to be suspicious of your whereabouts and activities. Or it may be a trust issue she has because of some past relationship gone wrong. This is something only you can figure out. Talking to her is a great way to start.

If it is pure fascination and she is clingy you need to make her understand that while you care for her and love the time you have together, you also need your personal time. As well as she does. You both need to maintain a portion of the lives you had before your relationship started. You need to have your own interests and thoughts. Try easing her into it, making a set day each week where it's guys night & girls night so you both are busy with your own friends.

If it is a trust issue because a past relationship, you need to express that you are not the person from her past and should not pay for his mistakes. Though it may be hard, she needs to let that go so you can start with a clean slate. I fully believe that without some level of trust there can be no relationship of value. She needs to allow you to earn her trust by giving you freedom and dealing with betrayal if it occurs. We have to realize that monitoring someones every move is not going to prevent them from wrong doing.

If you've given her a reason not to trust you, then that is on you. Such as prior cheating or lying. You have to rebuild that trust and redeem yourself. You lost her trust, yet you remained in the relationship. Therefore you have to deal with how she chooses to react to your betrayal. If you cannot deal with her lack of trust in you then maybe your mistake is also your loss. Because you should not stay in the relationship if you cannot withstand the repercussions that follow your actions. She is entitled to her feelings at this point and if you truly do not want to lose her, you need to just deal with it for now.

Another reason you may not have thought about is lack of a social circle. Does your girlfriend have her own friend and hobbies? If she does not have many friends or have activities her main focus will be you, after all you would be just about the only connection she has. Try to get her into activities that allow her to interact with others. Maybe she can take some credit or non-credit classes at a local school or join clubs/causes that interest her.

Also, maybe it is a sign that she feels neglected. If someone does not feel you spend an adequate amount of time with them, they may constantly try to get your attention. If they do not get that attention they will take it as you being careless about them and the relationship. They may eventually give up on the relationship.

Whatever the reason for her lack of trust or clingy nature you must make it clear that it is not okay to harass your family or friends regarding your whereabouts. If there is not an emergency, this is just not acceptable.

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Old Skeletons  

Monday, February 9, 2009
Scenario: My ex and I split about 2 years ago but are still friends. Really our friendship is stronger than our relationship ever was! I ran into a friend of his who hinted that he cheated while we were together. Should I ask him if he ever cheated?

Response: Well there are two separate issues to explore here. First you need to examine why your ex's friend would out him like that. Surely he knows you two still speak. So that would immediately make me wonder what his motive was for putting this suspicion in your head.

He may have genuinely wanted you to know or carelessly let it slip out. But he may just be an instigator or have a crush on you. Think about the motive and then ask yourself if you can trust this person.

Now, as far as asking your ex if he cheated, I personally would not bother unless their is a question of your health (i.e. you had unprotected sex). You have to look at the big picture here. You say your friendship is better than ever, why take a chance ruining that? It is rare that relationships end with friendship. Asking this question may or may not end your friendship but it most likely will damage it to some extent because you will be showing a lack of trust and some insecurity.

You need to ask yourself a few questions. If he admits cheating will it change the friendship on your part? Would you be upset even though you are no longer together? Will knowing mistakes from the past affect your life or feelings now? If the answers to those questions are no, then ask yourself this: why on earth would the answer matter? If it is not going to affect anything now then there is no point in dredging up the past.

Now as I said, I would not bother unless I was worried for a health reason. In which point the best bet is to simply go get a check up for all STD's if you have not done so since your breakup. If something turns up, then yes, address the issue with him. Because at that point he needs to know about the health concern as well as notify anyone he may have been intimate with. But unless this is the case, I would let it go. Breakups are hard enough, why bring back pain and/or drama when you are at such a good point?

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That's My Ex, Get Your Own!  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Scenario: My friend is trying to hook up with my ex, she told me they've already went out a few times. I was with him for 4 years until he cheated and broke my heart. She was there for me through it all and I can't believe she would do this to me! What kind of friend is that?

Response: The kind of friend that is, is one that cannot be trusted! We all know there is an unwritten rule amongst friends: The ex is off limits! We should not go after someone a friend was previously involved with. It can lead to so much unnecessary drama. People need to think about whether it is worth risking friendship to pursue a relationship that may not even last.

Another point is that your friend was wrong to date your ex without even discussing it with you before hand. If she was going to break the friend code she should have at least had the respect to give you a heads up and get your input. Your feelings were not considered in this situation. She knew how badly you were hurt by this guy and to choose to date a known cheater over maintaining a friendship is simply foolish.

You need to decide if this is the type of friend you really need in your life. If you decide to keep the friendship going, you may want to keep a close eye on her intentions in the future. Most likely you will always have a trust issue with her from this point on. When your next boyfriend comes along, you will always wonder if she likes him more than she should or if she will go after him as well.

I personally feel that someone with such disregard for your feelings is not a true friend. If I were in your situation, I would consider this person a waste of space in my friend circle. I prefer to cut drama out off as soon as I see the sign that it is on the way and in your situation there is definitely potential for drama. However, everyone feels differently. So if you decide to continue with this person if your life, take my advice and keep your eyes wide open until she earns your trust back.
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Not My Style  

Thursday, January 29, 2009
Scenario: My boyfriend buys me the most ridiculous clothes! He knows I don't wear tight clothes. I don't feel good in them with my body type right now. I don't know what to say without making him mad.

Response: Most men do not know how to shop for female clothing. They do not realize that it is not as easy as picking a size and running to the register. Women are picky and with good reason! A size small at one store may run big or small at another and we all have different curves. This is why you find women using fitting rooms more than men. I'm going to give a few suggestions for your problem, but first let's address your man's gifting habit.

It is true that sometimes men selfishly buy clothing because they want to see you in it, not realizing we are not all celebrities with personal trainers to sculpt us into what some insane person suggested is the perfect body. Other times the man truly just lacks style. However, sometimes a man buys what we may find unflattering because he truly believes we are beautiful enough to pull it off. If this is the case in your situation, you should feel wonderful that your man feels this way about you.

Now, here are a 5 quick suggestions for this problem:

1. Gift card! I am a huge lover of gift cards because you can purchase what you like! It takes out all the guess work. So gently express to your guy that you love gift cards and why.

2. Start shopping together. Once he shops with you a few times, he will start to pick up on your taste and how you determine your sizing, etc.

3. Accessorize! So you don't like the tight dress he gave you? Well, try to glam it up in your own style. Find a cute jacket or sweater to go with it or add something from your current wardrobe that makes you feel comfortable.

4. Strongly hint of other non-clothing items you like. When a commercial airs for a digital camera you like say "Baby I LOVE that camera, it would be great to have one!" and do the same for items you see in stores. Really make it clear that you absolutely love and want these items. He will remember!

5. Wishlist! If your favorite store sells online, they most likely have a wishlist function. Wishlists let you save your favorite items, along with size & color, for later purchase. You can email the list to others to share or print them. Make a wishlist and let him know about it. When he wants to purchase something for you, he simply clicks add to cart and checkout! My guy and I use wishlists and it is great! It makes it so much easier for him to purchase clothing he knows I will love because I picked them out. Give it a try!

If all fails and you continue to receive clothing items you do not like, just let it be. Be appreciative that he is loving and considerate enough to provide a gift at all. After all, it means he was thinking of you and there is no better gift than that!
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Love at First Sight...or Lust?  

Sunday, January 25, 2009
Scenario: Do you believe in love at first site? I've been seeing this girl for like 3 weeks, I told her I love her and she didn't believe me.

Response: I personally cannot say I believe in love at first site. I do however believe there can be attraction and very strong chemistry between two people who have just met. But everyone is different, it really depends on the people involved. I'm going to get into reasons why this girl may not believe you love but first let's address love.

You need to understand that there are different types and levels of love. There is love for family, which levels can be different for your parents, siblings, extended family and your children. There is friendly love, where you love others but not romantically. There is romantic love, however just because you love your significant other does not mean you are in love with them. We've all probably heard the "I love you but I'm not in love with you" line at least once in life. We hate it but it is truly how the person saying it feels.

Do you truly believe that you love this woman after 3 weeks of knowing her? Do you know about her to love her? Everything seems perfect in the beginning of any relationship but as time goes by you get to learn more about the person. If in 2 months you discover that she is not perfect are you going to dump her? Do you know her likes and dislikes, personal or family values, goals and dreams? Have you found all her little habits that annoy you? Believe me they will come!

If you do not take the time to know someone beyond the general date talk then you cannot possibly love the person. You love her laugh, smile, hair, eyes, and lips. You have some common interests. This is not love. It is lust, fondness or a plain old crush. Those feelings are easily confused with love. Anyway, let's get to some reasons she may not believe you love her at this point.

1. Why? Before you let your mouth form the words "I love you" you need to know your reasons for loving this person. She may be wondering why you love her so early in the relationship. What are you basing this love on? Being nice, funny and attractive for a few weeks is not enough.

2. Player! She may take your early declaration of love as a play boy move. Thoughts would be that you use the love line for all the girls to wrap them around your play boy finger.

3. Chemistry. You are attracted to each but have you connected on a deeper level yet? You have fun together but have you had real conversations about your past, present and future?

4. Emotional mess. Usually women are the first to say those words. Men do not usually express themselves so soon. So doing this usually signals us to think you may have some emotional baggage that makes you feel desperate for someone to love.

5. Definition. She may think that someone who loves her after a few movie and dinner date does not know what love is.

There are many things that could be going through her mind. But most importantly, just because you tell her you love her does not mean she feels the love. Also, she may say she doesn't believe you so the subject can be dropped. This is because she may not feel that way about you at this time. Timing is very important in relationships and you must try not to come on too strong. Let the relationship play itself out, pay attention to her vibes and you will know when the time is right for everything.
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Get Off My Sofa!  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Scenario: My little brother has been staying with me since he got kicked out of his girlfriend's apartment a few months ago. He's driving me nuts! I want him out but I don't want to be a bad sister. What would you do?

Response: Let me start by saying that in no way would you be a bad sister for wanting your brother to move out of your home. It shows that you are a loving sister for the mere fact that you allowed him to stay there at all! I feel for you, we all love our personal space!

If you did not establish a general length of stay from the start, now is the time to address the issue. Decide how much longer you can handle him being there before he completely drives you up the wall. Also, try to think of how much time he realistically needs to get a place of his own or find an alternative living situation.

If he is paying rent or utilities while he is staying with you, you may want to nix that so he saves his money to get out of your hair even sooner! Once you have a deadline in place, make it clear to him that you mean business. Let him know you will help as much as you can but you have your own responsibilities to take care of.

Again, wanting your brother out and setting demands does not make you a bad sister. The fact that you are siblings does not mean you are responsible for each other. It does not require you to take care of him or give him the right to live off of you. Try to hang in there and make sure you set those goals to avoid any damage to your relationship on account of driving each other crazy under one roof!
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