ROMANTIC ROAD KILL AND OTHER PROBLEMS
My girlfriend says my mother is the problem but my mother says my girlfriend is the problem and my ex wife says I am the problem. What’s a guy to do?
- George in Fenton New Jersey
Dear Georgie Porgy:
You’re the one who kissed the girls and made them cry...
Now that you’ve decided you don’t like the sound of incessant whining you’ve also decided you want to roll back the hands of time and live a quiet life.
Tragically, it can’t be done!
But I do think the most telling part of your rather inarticulate sentence (i.e. you don’t tell me exactly what the problem is) is that your ex-wife thinks you were the problem! Taking into account that your ex is not a total write off and hell bent on making your life miserable, perhaps she has something there.
There’s an old saying:
in order to be fit company for somebody else you have to first be relatively pleased with yourself.
It sounds to me like a little personal housekeeping is in order in Fenton New Jersey.
You haven’t mentioned children in this equation. One can only pray that you don’t have any because kids should never have to cope with the fallout of adult stupidity.
My best advice to you would be to abstain from male/female relationships while you take that much needed moment to reconsider what’s truly important in your own life and get your head screwed on correctly – the other one!
The Crabby Critic
My sister Tina thinks she’s God’s gift to guys. Her boyfriend, Mark gets treated like crap all the time. I feel so bad for him cuz he really likes her a lot and she knows it. How can I get him to see he’s being used.
Sandra in Dempsey
You’ve just given away the goods on where your own loyalties lay...lay being the operative word!
The question you should have asked was ‘how can I get my sister to treat her boyfriend more like a man than a mouse.' Instead, you want to know what is the best way to get down his pants by spiking Mark full of your own contempt for your sister.
For shame, trollop!
Mark clearly doesn’t have a problem with your sister’s behavior. If he does and continues to be used, then he’s a doormat. Either way, it’s none of your affair…and that’s the problem.
What’s troubling you is that Mark doesn’t even know you’re alive.
Get a clue, Nancy Drew.
Then get your own stud and leave your sister’s alone.
You’ll get more mileage out of life if you’re not slashing everyone else’s tires along the way.
The Crabby Critic
The couple next door to us recently decided to come out of the closet. For years they told everyone in the neighborhood that they were two sisters living together after a pair of messy marriages. We, the rest of the neighbors and I, had our children play together. I went over there for a Tupperware party two weeks ago! But last week, at a block party, they announced to the crowd that in fact they’re lesbians! I don’t know what to do. We’re a respectable small community and frankly, I don’t know how to handle this revelation. Please advise.
Marcelina in Buckton
Dear neighborhood blockhead:
I don’t understand your predicament. What’s changed since the block party?
If the answer is ‘nothing’ then I suggest you go about respecting the sexual preferences of others without totting a closet-full of your own misperceptions and hang-ups about lesbianism.
You state that you and the other neighbors let your kids play at this couple’s house. You also state that you attended a social gathering over plastic dishes and flatware. Clearly, the two ladies in question were highly regarded by you and the rest of the neighborhood until this ‘revelation’ occurred.
If you had said that since their ‘coming out’ at the block party these two women were engaging in lewd acts in their back and front yards; if you had suggested they were attempting to solicit either you or the neighbors, and/or the children to partake in wild kinky parties of a sexual nature; if you had told me that these women had embarked upon a campaign of vial and socially unacceptable behavior that was not only dangerous, but damaging to the moral fiber of your ‘little community’ – then I would have suggested to you that you had every right for a cause to action by the police over public disturbances.
But these gals have not changed their social habits one bit since the block party. The only difference is that before the party you didn’t know what went on behind those walls next door and now you do. To me, that clearly demarcates that your neighborhood has thus far fostered a healthy communication where all opinions and preferences have seemed valid, embraced and accepted.
It isn’t up to you to change that communal dynamic now just because you’ve your Calvin’s in a ball over the L-word. If you can’t get over having a pair of respectful woman of a varying sexual preference to your own living next to you, there are only two choices left for you to consider: 1) curtail your involvement with the neighbors or (2) move – not them…YOU!
Everyone’s entitled to their own space and happiness. These women have found their Shangri-La. Isn’t it about time you discovered yours?
The Crabby Critic
I hate my life. It’s not just one thing. It’s everything. I get so discouraged I could just scream. My friend who reads you all the time says you fix other people’s problems. Fix mine, please.
Jodie in Saratoga
With all due respect to your friend, I don’t fix other people’s problems. I try, superficially at best, to provide advice that makes the person writing in think differently about their problem.
It’s just my opinion that I’m offering. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But miracles are beyond my control. What with magic wands being is such short supply these days it’s no wonder.
However, since you said ‘please’ – I’ll do my best to provide you with some options that may help you stop hating your life in totem. First, nobody hates everything about their life. There’s always some bit of good in all that bad. So, for starters, how about searching within yourself to find out what that bit is? I guarantee that it’s in there. You just might have to look harder than most – certainly, harder than you have been.
A wise old sage living close to our family when I was a child used to say that
some people grow up, while others just grow old:
time to decide which one you are.
I have faith in you, Jodie. So, for argument’s sake – let us assume you’re a grown up.
The first thing a grown up does with dissatisfaction is to assess the areas where improvement is required. For starters – sit down and make a list of what it is particularly that you ‘hate’ about your life. When you tell me that it’s everything you’re not being very clear, fair or honest with yourself. You need to put down in black and white on paper – so that it becomes clear to you where the problems are. Even if it’s something as silly as, “I hate my nose” or “My teeth are crooked” I need you to write it down.
Acknowledge and document all your woes for posterity.
Then, get off your posterior and start making the necessary changes.
Self improvement can be daunting. But it’s not about doing everything all at once, rather, about doing something for a change. Wallowing in self pity and regret gets you nowhere fast! Consider the statue of ‘the thinker.’ He’s still thinking! You haven’t his luxury of being cast in marble. Life is moving in a forward direction – you either catch up or give up trying. Just in case you’re wondering – giving up is not an option!
So, if you need to lose weight – lose it!
Want a better job? – Find one!
Thinking about going back to school – get registered!
Is it easy to get motivated. Not at all.
Is it essential to your well being.
Absolutely - yes!
I don’t want you to look at the big picture – because I get the sense that when you do you’re simply overwhelmed by the model of inefficiency you see staring back at you.
After you’ve made your list, I want you to take the thing on it that bugs you the most and make a concerted effort to change the circumstances creating that one problem. Put blinders on like a pony in training and concentrate only on that one facet of your life that you’re determined to improve.
You’ll be amazed how much you’ll accomplish if you only invest and focus on that one problem instead of your top 50! When you feel you have a handle on your first problem, you may want to challenge yourself by taking on another problem area from your list.
But here’s the wrinkle: as you conquer your dislikes (and conquer them you will!) I want you to take a big red marker and cross them from your list – to illustrate for yourself what you’ve accomplished and how much more there is left to do. Three final bits of advice for you to remember:
1) Think positive!
2) Stay strong (emotionally and physically)
3) Never be disheartened!
I’m expecting great things from you! It’s time for you to start expecting them from yourself.
The crabby critic
Would you date someone who was considerably younger than you?
Debbie in Fresno
I’m serious. People in love are always quick to say that age is just a number and a relatively inconsequential variable when choosing a soul mate. I beg to differ. I’ve heard too many men and women during the courtship stage make the argument that ‘Oh, he/she is very mature for their age’ only to marry that person and then discover that ‘whoops! - actually, they’re not’ or just think that they are and that pomposity begins to grate on the other person’s psyche and nerves.
At the age of 36, I’ve developed a scale for myself that is fairly limiting. I wouldn’t even consider dating someone more than five years younger or two years older than myself. That’s a personal preference. I have friends and colleagues who have chosen to discard this advice. Only some are living to regret their decision.
I’m not saying that all May/December romances are doomed from the start. Goodness knows, there are quite a few that do more than just survive – they thrive! But it takes an exceptional couple to make the rift in age work…or, conversely speaking - a lot of money so that the younger of the two can be occupied as the older person in the equation enters their emeritus years.
I’ll use myself as an example again, this time with an 11 year discrepancy between me and my prospective mate. That means that if I’m 36, my imaginary partner would be 25. She’s very mature for her age. She just likes to kick it at the clubs until two in the morning while I’m thinking about buying my first home and going on a really nice three week vacation to the Bahamas.
Okay, fast forward 20 years. I’m 56 – a scary thought. My significant other is only 45. She’s in her prime and wanting to experience travel and great sex revisited. I’m getting close to retirement. Now let’s tack on another 20 years. I’m 76. She’s 65. She’s just retired. I’m already on my third round of Ovalteen.
The point to this exercise was to illustrate that tastes and preferences come suitable to the time. I don’t think it’s a particularly fair level of expectation for me to want my 25 year old mate to give up her clubbing standards to stay at home and paint cupboards and hang wallpaper simply because she’s with a guy who wants to settle down and build a home. I also don’t think that my 65 year old wife should have to run out to buy me Depends and massage bed sores from my feet when she’d rather be playing with grand kids in the backyard or planning a restful cruise.
Life is hard enough when you find someone who thinks and acts similarly to your own likes and dislikes. But introducing a rift of 10 years or more creates a whole new set of variables. Some people cope with this discrepancy. Some don’t.
I’m not clever enough to try.
The crabby critic
I was a bad father to my children. I divorced their mother when they were nine and seven and with very few exceptions, pretty much stopped seeing them all together once my ex remarried. That was seventeen years ago. Last week I discovered I’m dying of cancer and I wanted to get in touch with them and let them know before it’s too late. My father thinks this is a bad idea. What do you think?
James in San Bernadino
I stand with your father on this one. You did a terrible thing seventeen years ago. You cut out a piece of your life that desperately needed a father figure. You didn’t just ignore your past – you obliterated it, and you did it remorselessly until now. But you haven’t learned your lesson yet. You’re still thinking only of yourself.
You’re dying and so you want the children you cast off to run to your side, embrace you and ease your conscience into the great beyond. But you don’t want these things for the sake of your kids. It won’t ease their lives to be reintroduced to you now – especially since any reunion with their estranged sperm donor can only be short term.
You want your kids back because it suits your agenda best; because your conscience is gnawing at you and you fear the repercussions you’re facing for your own actions in the after life.
It’s ironic that as human beings we only tend to think of the pain and suffering we’ve managed to inflict on others – either deliberately or by accident – when similar peril is staring us down.
I’ll go this far – no one should have to suffer through cancer alone. But you won’t be alone. You’ll have your father by your bedside which is more than your own children have had next to theirs for the past seventeen years!
Leave them alone, James. Your ex gave them what you couldn’t – a stable two parent home with a guy who at least attempted to coddle their joys, support their ambitions and quell their fears. That man is their father.
The crabby critic