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   Questions and answers from the
         newspaper column Direct Answers.


   Flirtations, Infatuation,
      And Crushes


Infatuation and Crushes

Game-Set-Match

I don't know whether to call it jealousy or insecurity.  My husband and I have been married almost 30 years.  Last year at my husband's surprise birthday party, one of my friends asked who a certain woman in the room was.

When I asked why, she said, "She and your husband have been making eye contact all night, and he seems to be paying her a lot of attention."  From there on I started watching the behavior between them.

My husband participates in a sport with this woman's husband, and at times we are all together.  Each time I noticed more and more eye contact between them.  Just to be sure I was not imaging things, I asked my sister.  She thought with the looks they gave each other, something might be going on.

Late one evening, I confronted my husband.  He replied, "Don't be ridiculous."  He said he loves me and goes to participate in the sport and that is all.  He was furious.  I told him I loved him too, but I also said my first warning was to him, the next will be to her, and thereafter to her husband.  He said if something is going on, it is all on her side.

At the next sporting event, this woman avoided me like the plague.  It was like she was scared to death of me.  Obviously someone told her something.  When I asked my husband if he had, he said no. 

Now even though I did nothing wrong, I am very uncomfortable around this woman.  I have three decades invested in this marriage and love this man dearly.  Still it is hard to get past this and be friends with this woman again.

Helene

Helene, you didn't smell perfume on your husband's shirt or see lipstick on his collar.  All you found was a woman publicly flirting with your husband.  Possibly she flirts to make herself feel good, with no real desire behind it.  But when the word got out, she stopped.

You did three things.  You let your circle of friends know you are an observant woman who defends her territory.  You let your husband know you will confront this issue head on.  And if anything was going to happen, you dumped water on the embers.

Mission accomplished.  Now the key is to drop this.  If the situation has stopped, let it go.  If you let it go, your husband may even take it as a compliment.  You have let him know how much you desire him.

With the other woman, you don't need to be her enemy and you don't need to be her friend.  Talk to her as you would to any other slight acquaintance.  Hold your head up high as a confident married woman who will not allow anyone to sneak around behind her back.

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

 

Rules Of Conduct

I have been obsessed with a male teacher of mine for months.  I am a 16-year-old girl, and he is in his late 30s, married, with young children.

We have a nice rapport and are friends in a very appropriate sense.  I've been to his place to meet his family a couple of times.  He is proper and respectful to me, as a teacher should be.  However, I have a huge crush on him.  I think about him constantly, and every time we exchange a few words, my heart races. 

I hope this obsession will die down, but in the meantime I want to know what to do.  I know we can't be more than friends, even though I'd love to kiss him.  Should I discuss my feelings with him?  I want to talk to him about it, but I don't want him to be uncomfortable.

Darcy

Darcy, a crush is not a "we thing," it is a "me thing."  It is something you experience and let pass.  Left alone, time takes care of it, and your letter shows you know that.

If you believe that is true, then why do you want to talk to your teacher about it?  Because you still have a fantasy about making something occur.  Some part of you wants to test your powers on him, even though he is not actively seeking a relationship.

In legal ethics, there is a principle known as "the appearance of evil."  What it means is that lawyers, and especially judges, should not only avoid doing things which are wrong, they should avoid even what could erroneously be perceived as being wrong.  That is the position your teacher is in.

For the sake of a romantic play in your head, you could jeopardize this man's marriage and family life, his career and place in the community.  At the very least, you will strain your relationship and make him wary of being in the same room with you.  Talking about this can only spoil your relationship.

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

 

Dream Lover

I met my wife a dozen years ago and her best friend shortly thereafter.  I was always fond of my wife's friend.  We all shared a good deal of time together through our college years and now into our thirties.  She is married with two children as are we. 

We live in the same town, our families spend a good deal of time together, and I'm good friends with her husband.  My problem is I cannot stop thinking about her.  I'll go out of my way to be with her.  I dream about her nearly every night.

I am physically attracted to her but no more than to any other good looking 30-year-old.  My wife and I have a good relationship physically and emotionally.  So what the heck is going on?  What should I do?

I can't break off all contact.  Our families are much too close, and everybody will want to know why.  I think telling my wife will only get her upset.  So I am stuck with feelings I can't tell anybody about, and I can't think of any way to correct my situation.

Robin

Robin, there are many ways to alter the course of a life.  For example, you could rob a bank.  You could pass a note to a teller that says, "Give me all your money."  That would change the course of your life, but it's not a very productive method and neither is this fantasy. 

Nowhere do you state this woman has a romantic interest in you.  She seems to be an innocent puppet in a play you're staging in your mind.  In fact, her reaction to an actual overture may turn your dream into a nightmare.  If you tell your wife, it may change the way she looks at you forever.

A huge amount of mental energy is flowing toward this other woman.  Why?  What is wrong with the rest of your life that your thoughts flow there?  That is where you need to look.  Your wife's best friend is a diversion from something you need to face up to.

It could be your career is not going where you wanted.  It could be something else.  But before you take any more steps down fantasy road, focus on what you really think about your life, your job, and your family.

The dream you had for life is not turning out as you hoped, and that is why you dream of your wife's best friend.  Pulling mental energy away from her and shifting the focus to yourself, will point you toward the answer.  If the answer still eludes you, individual counseling may help.

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

 

Teacher's Pet

I am 32 and a mom with two children.  I've pretty much been single for two years.  My problem is I found myself falling for my son's teacher.  I never saw a ring on his finger, so last school year I made every attempt to visit my son's school as often as I could.

Eventually I took the chicken's way out and emailed this man and told him how I felt.  He replied that he was flattered, we can remain friends, and he is my child's teacher.  I emailed back saying I didn't know what I was doing and was not sure how uncomfortable things would be.  He said it would be fine, no feelings hurt.

Once again he is teaching my child, and I still feel the same way.  He is such a great man, so dedicated to the kids in his class.  He is the man I want to get to know better.  I have only seen him once this school year, but we often talk on the phone, though always about my son. 

We get along so well and laugh like it is natural.  Whether he is just being nice, I don't know.  After this year he will no longer be my child's teacher.  Is there any way for me to find out if he'd like to continue talking?  I'm hoping for more.  I've been hurt in the past, but with him it just feels so different, so right.

Anya

Anya, if you expect to have the right to say no and you want that listened to and respected, then you have to know he has the same right.  He said no.  When you get a no, you move on. 

If your lottery ticket is one number off, it doesn't matter.  As much as you would like it to be a winner, the numbers don't match and you don't have the winning ticket.  There is no sense dwelling on it.  Badgering him will make it less likely he will want to talk with you at all.

There is one great positive in this.  You have come in contact with a good man with the characteristics you've been looking for.  He has given you a model for what you want.  You want a man who makes you feel like this one.

This teacher is teaching you a lesson.  He has been patient with you.  Show him that you have learned.  As Thomas Carruthers said, "A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary."

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

 

Training Wheels

I am a woman who was married for 15 years.  Unfortunately, my husband left me for another woman, my best friend.  Recently I have found myself drawn to a friend who has entered my heart.

He is a very God-loving individual, a friend always there in my adversities.  In him I find almost all the qualities of an ideal man, yet I sense a despair in myself that is hard to explain.  Why?  Because this man is a priest!  How do you explain my attraction to him, and how do I know what I feel is something else?

Geneva

Geneva, each generation of adolescent girls goes crazy over male pop idols.  These young men usually have a vulnerable, non-threatening quality, and the girls coo over them as they might coo over a puppy.  Twenty years ago it was Michael Jackson, more recently it is any number of boy bands. 

It is not surprising that you are drawn to this priest.  He is caring, empathetic, and everything your husband was not.  He will never let you down.  It is his vocation.  In a sense, he is like the "starter males" teenage girls pine for.  He is a man who is totally safe.

But being excessively close to him is not likely to be good for either of you.  When you are ready for a man for yourself, remember the qualities you didn't find in your husband, and look for the qualities you admire in your priest.

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

 

Playing With Matches

I just found an old boyfriend I dated when I was 14.  Tom has been married now for 10 years.  Happily, I might add.  He told me so.  My problem is his wife hates me.

When my husband and I are at this couple's house, she acts fine in front of him, but when he leaves the room, she makes remarks about us leaving.  When he returns she says, "You don't have to leave.  We're not pushing you out."

My thinking was to get to know him all over again, and her also.  I have to admit Tom has asked inappropriate questions, like when he asked me if I would pop up somewhere with just a long coat on.  Or the time he mentioned my breasts and said, "Where did you get those?"  His wife laughed and said we are the same size. 

One thing, though, she has implants and I don't.   We were at a bar and because it's such a long drive home, Tom thoughtfully invited us to spend the night at their house.  She said she just put clean sheets in the spare bedroom, but when we got there, she made it known we were not welcome.

All my life I grew up with other girls not liking me, and the married ones don't want me around their husbands.  I'm very religious and would never commit adultery.  I don't even look at Tom that way. 

Years ago when we dated I was shy, and he intimidated me.  Now I speak right up, and it's nice for a change.  All three of us get along, it's her I don't know what to do about.  I am having nightmares because it is bothering me so much.

Gale

Gale, in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption," a convict named Andy Dufresne is serving life for two murders he didn't commit.  When Andy comes across evidence which will clear him, he tells the warden. 

The warden is a corrupt man who is using the prison to line his own pockets.  He pretends not to understand.  He will never free Andy because Andy knows about his dirty dealings.  Exasperated, Andy blurts out, "Are you being deliberately obtuse?" 

You, too, are being deliberately obtuse.  Are you that bored with your own marriage?  The truth is you want this flirtation and the thrill of pursuit, and you don't care what that does to this woman's marriage.

Gale, you are standing in your living room poring gasoline on the carpet and chairs.  What we say may not make a difference, but if you are asking for our permission to strike a match, the answer is no.

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

 

The Elephant In The Living Room

I have been married to my lovely wife for 25 years.  We were very happy for several years.  Then after seven years of marriage, I went overseas to work and was gone months at a time.  I made great money and sent it all home to my wife and family.

After a year and a half I became friends with a young lady.  After months of friendship, we had an affair.  My wife and I got a divorce over this.  When I realized what a mistake I had made, I talked to my wife and she took me back to keep the family together. 

For 14 years I have been true to my wife in every way and tried to make it up to her.  I love her more each day and am very happy!  About two years ago she met someone on a chat line.  To make a long story short, they met and spent two days together.  She told me she did things with him she would never have done with me.

After the two days, she came home and admitted she made a mistake.  I told her I could understand.  We stayed together, mostly because I love her.

A few months later she became interested in church, which is great.  But now after two years, she has decided sex and affection aren’t necessary anymore.  I love my wife but this creates a great void in my life.

Please help.

Jerry

Jerry, there is such duality in this letter we could divide it in two.  One letter from a man who celebrated his silver wedding anniversary, loves his wife more each day, and is very happy.  The other from a man who was happy for several years, then was unfaithful to his wife, got divorced and remarried, and was paid back in spades.

Your wife took you back, but she never got over what you did to her.  She gave another man what she never gave you, and never will.  In fact, she’s not going to give you anything else again. 

You haven’t stated the real problem.  Since early in your marriage, there has been an elephant in the living room, and neither of you talked about it.  Now you and your wife must deal with the elephant.   

You’ve been dissatisfied with this marriage almost from the beginning.  That is the problem you and your wife must honestly address.  You cannot get help without the courage to be truthful about what the problem is, and the courage to accept what you find.  That is where the two of you need to start.

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

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