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         Moving On

Moving On Advice

The Long Way

I wrote you about four years ago, when my eight year marriage was ending in divorce.  At that time you gave me some great advice about beginning again.  After reading the recent letter from Linda and how she "settled" for the wrong man, I felt I had to write an update letter.

I can look back now and realize in too many ways, I "settled" in my first marriage.  I reaped the results eight years later with a broken heart.  After that marriage ended, I chose to live my life to the fullest, to take every opportunity to enjoy life and my friendships, and within reason, to never settle in anything.

I wanted children, a family with which to grow old together, and the white picket fence.  But I couldn't focus on what I didn't have.  I could only focus on what I did have, which was a lot of time and some great friends.  Sure there were women who came and went during that time (mostly went), but I never settled.

Amazingly, I did meet a fantastic woman who is in every way my other half, as I am for her.  We've been married now a little over a year and are happier now than when we were courting.  We can't imagine life without the other now.

My point is not that I met my other half, but instead I want to mention the positive outlook on life and love we both originally had.  Being the right person for the other would not have helped either of us if my wife and I had a "wrong" attitude when we met.  We would have simply walked right past the other.

Having the right attitude towards life, we ended up being like a huge magnet attracting steel.  Anyway, thanks for the great advice and continue the great work!  I never miss a week.

Scott

Scott, sometimes we get things right only after we have made a mistake.  Sometimes we get things right when someone shows us the way.  And sometimes we need a wake-up call to get things right. 

In the book "Life Lessons" David Kessler wrote about Caroline, a woman with "the most genuine smile you will ever see."  Not only was she happy, but to him she seemed to be one of those people who live a charmed life.  When he told Caroline he thought she was lucky in love, she told him her story. 

When she was in her early 40s, Caroline found a lump in her breast the doctors called suspicious.  She waited three agonizing days to learn if cancer was spreading throughout her body.  It wasn't.  The lump was benign.

But Caroline resolved not to let those three days mean nothing.  She had been single and desperately lonely.  When she went to a party or event, she would quickly scan the room for Mr. Right.  If he wasn't there, she'd go somewhere else searching for him, and always she went home more desperate than before.

Caroline decided to change her approach to life.  Even if Mr. Right wasn’t around her, other people were.  She would talk with them and enjoy them, no matter what.  At the end of each day she no longer felt lonely for she truly talked and smiled and laughed with others.  The more she did this the more wonderful people she met and the closer she grew to her friends.  She stopped being a desperately searching person.

She didn't meet Mr. Right the first year.  Or the second.  She met him four years later, and two years after that, they married.  Being "lucky in love" has a lot to do with being ourselves and being fully engaged in life.

David Kessler wrote, "In our hearts we know we are destined to live fully, to love fully, and to have great adventures in life."  Our task is figuring out how to do it.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Signs

I've dated my boyfriend for four years--through my entire college experience--so I feel like I missed out on meeting other guys.  We've been happy, but lately I wonder if the happiness is just friendly on my side. 

I know he loves me, but I don't know if I feel romantic about him anymore.  To make things worse, he wants to get married.  He's great!  Really!  Good-looking, smart, funny, and caring, too.  Just a little boring for a 22-year-old.  I want mystery.  Maybe it's my new lifestyle.

This is the point where the person I'm talking to normally says, "Don't marry him.  You're not in love."  The thing is, I don't know if I am in love.  I've got a new job, am meeting great people, and just don't want to get married right now.  Actually I don't even know if I want to date anyone now.

That's not quite right either.  Here's the truth.  I want to have fun.  Romance, mystery, a new face.  It sounds terrible, I know.  The thing is, I met a new guy at work and I like him.  It reminds me of when you liked someone when you were 16 and got nervous, excited, and worried.

I don't know what to do.  I keep thinking if I sit down long enough, by myself, the answer will come to me.  It's not working.  I'm not full of myself or anything, but my boyfriend seems to build his entire life around me and I don't want to hurt him.

Pamela

Pamela, when scientists wanted to design warning signs for a nuclear waste site in Nevada, they faced a problem.  This material will still be toxic 10,000 years from now, yet no one knows what languages will be in use then.  Also, languages change over time.  "Beowulf," written in Old English a thousand years ago, is now virtually unreadable.

So in addition to posting the site with warnings in half a dozen languages, scientists realized they needed a timeless symbol which would express the danger.  The symbol they selected was the distraught face from Edvard Munch's famous painting "The Scream."

The danger signs in your letter are as unmistakable as Munch's scream.  You want to taste life, but that hasn't occurred because you've always been an involved female.  You don't want to hurt your boyfriend, but you have to. 

It's as if you are working yourself up to go to the dentist.  You are talking through some of the fears to lessen the pain.  Lessen his pain by letting him know this is on you.  Tell him you care about him as a person, but you are not in love with him. 

Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Perspective

My girlfriend just broke up with me, and it was totally out of the blue.  It started two weeks ago when she said she was confused and needed a little space to sort things out.  We thought she was pregnant, and she said that really made her think.  The weird thing is the week before she told my extended family she had found "the one" and would never let me go.

She is 23.  She's had constant boyfriends since she was 15 and now says she wants to be on her own for about a year and not date anyone.  She told me she loves me very much, but she needs a chance to be a single girl and work on herself.

I just don't understand any of this at all.  In a week she went from wanting to marry me to wanting to be a single girl. 

Roy

Roy, a mountain looks totally different depending on where you are.  A climber on a sheer rock face may see only a few meters of rock above and a long fall below.  A woman on the east at sunrise sees the mountain bathed in golden light, while for a man on the west side, it is still cold and dark.

What each person sees depends on their point of view.  Let me tell you our point of view.  That was a close one!  What if you had gotten married, and she still had these doubts?  What if you had two or three children, and she had these doubts?  The stakes would be higher and your loss greater. 

We won't tell you our point of view is the only point of view, but it is the only way we can view your situation. 

Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Unforeseen Event

I am a forgiving person and cannot understand why a man who told me daily he loved me could turn his back on me and our children for a woman who smokes, has an alcohol problem, and if he marries her, will be her third husband!  If you knew my husband, you would never guess he would go after this type.  He better hope she is worth it, but that, I doubt. 

Isabel

Isabel, in the Aeneid there is a story about a prophetess living in a cave.  The god Apollo tells her the future, which she writes on leaves.  But whenever someone enters the cave, the draft from the open door moves the leaves and rearranges the future. 

You thought you knew your future, but that future has changed.  Now you have two tasks: getting past the sadness and anger, and being the lioness protecting her cubs.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

 

Over The Limit

I am a legally separated man who is going through a divorce. A friend introduced me to his girlfriend about a year ago. We immediately took to each other, but until a month ago we didn’t realize how the other one felt.

I was happily married when we met, but my wife fooled around on me so we split up. Anyway, I started talking to my friend’s girlfriend. While he was away for two weeks of job training, we began seeing each other.

We both want to be together but don’t know what to do. She is four months pregnant by him and is happy with him. On the other hand, she wants me and I really want her. Do you have any suggestion on how I, or we, should handle this situation?

Ron

Ron, the last time I saw anything this tangled, it was opening day of trout season. Fishermen were lined up elbow to elbow on the bank, and there was not enough room to cast. Two men even caught the same fish, which sounds a lot like your situation.

I would think pregnancy would set the hook for this woman, but your lure caught her eye. She doesn’t act like she’s been caught, though. At any moment she could reject both of you and move on to someone else.

This woman is not a keeper. You are involved with a woman like your wife. The difference is you are in another role, about to betray a friend. This is not a positive direction for your life.

Play out your marriage to its conclusion, and let this woman determine the relationship she will have with the father of her child.

There will be another trout season next year. Give yourself a break. Next season when you are free to go fishing, find a quiet stream before you drop a line in the water.

Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

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