Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dear TT,

I stumbled across your blog completely by accident, but I realized you might be able to help me. My boyfriend and I have been dating for three months, which isn't the longest amount of time, but I'm extremely happy. He's wonderful, and I finally understand how much easier a transition to a relationship is when we're friends first. So, obviously, he's not the issue. My friend is. She's been my best friend for a while, but since I started dating my boyfriend.... things haven't been the same.

Now, I assumed it would be a little rocky with us because there is a little bit of history between my boyfriend and my friend. My friend has been in a long distance relationship for several months, but when my now boyfriend, C, confessed his crush to her, she led him on very badly. Told him that she like him too, but she wasn't sure if she liked him enough to dump her boyfriend for him. They went to movies, talked on the phone... but then she broke his heart when she decided she wasn't going to break up with her boyfriend. She is still dating her boyfriend, and he is aware of this situation now, but blames it all on my boyfriend.

So when another one of my friends suggested I date C... I was a little unsure until I thought about it. We had been friends for around a year, and it seemed like the right thing to do. I went to my friend and checked that she was all right with it because I didn't want to get together with C behind her back. She told me she was ok with it, but then, later that day, yelled at me in the middle of my math class about how I had been keeping everything from her and going behind her back.

She has since apologized, but its been strained since. She's told me that I'm not allowed to talk to her about C, but she will go on for hours about her boyfriend. It makes me angry because I know that she talks about me to our mutual friends, and she will randomly yell at me for not being concerned enough about her, for not calling her, or for something like that. I don't know what to do. I've tried talking to her about this, but she just yells at me for causing these problems, blaming it all on me. Then she will turn around and be the friend that I always loved. I just don't know what to do anymore... Please help. S.

Dear S,

This is a classic syndrome. It's the "I don't want him, but nobody else can have him" syndrome. Most girls (and women) have, at one time or another, fallen in to this trap. Your best friend has succumbed to this ego-driven (yet natural) response to your new found relationship with your boyfriend. Because she respects you, and you like C, she may be thinking she shouldn't have passed him up so quickly. Or, she may be wondering if your relationship with C is stronger than the one she has with her long-distance boyfriend. Either way, she is having a push-pull with her ego, and that is why she's screaming at you one minute, and behaving like her old self the next.

Even though you are likely aware of why she's behaving badly, the affect is still the same for you, it hurts. I would try once more to have a heart-to-heart with her. Suggest you understand why it's difficult for her to see you and C together, but that you know she'll get used to it and, in the meantime, you really miss being able to speak with her freely and openly, like good friends should.

If she continues her erratic behavior over the next 3-4 weeks, you will (likely) naturally begin to withdraw from her and spend more time with your other friends. If she really is the kind of friend you want for the long haul, she won't be willing to let you drift away. If she does, she isn't ready to have a best friend.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dear Truth Teller,

I have been into a relationship for 2-3 years. We started it off as chat friends and then
fell in love..We met in person and liked each other..Our's is a long distance relationship..
hence we are not committed..but we are serious about this relationship..we meet once in a while.

Off late there have been some fights and misunderstandings happening between us...we tried to sort it out several times, but in vain.Its me who has always called back to clear out things and not him.

He intiated the decision of parting ways recently..and I too thought that it was high time..he wants to set things right now between us.Should I give it a second chance..or just get over with it?

Confused Soul

Dear Confused,

Healthy relationships require consistent effort from both people. Many times, long distance can actually slow down the natural course of a relationship because it's easier to let a lot of things go when you aren't there to witness them first hand. (And it's easier to keep the "not so pretty" parts of ourselves to ourselves).

However, it can also be harder to strengthen the bond between you due to the distance. In addition, history has proven that your boyfriend has not been as serious about keeping up honest communication as you have. It's time to let this relationship take it's natural course and end it. View it as good practice for a the next time, when you're in a relationship with someone you see often and who cares about you and your feelings as much as they do their own. You'll be much happier. Best, TT.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dear Truth Teller,

I was walking by two women I know in the hall of our children's school. I just heard a snippet of their conversation, but I couldn't miss the fact that they were talking about a group in which they both belong, that I just happen to facilitate. One was saying to the other, "Are you going Friday?" The woman said, "I hope so, I haven't been there in months." Then the first woman said, "I don't know if I'm going to go, it's gotten so BIG."

My question: Do I just pretend I never heard this exchange? Keep in mind I don't believe in accidents and I feel it's more than a coincidence I "happened" to walk by at that very moment. OR, do I contact the one that's clearly got the beef, and address it with her straight up? AND, if she says, "Yes, I'm unhappy the group has gotten so big," what do I do about THAT?


Dear Conflicted,

Since you believe in "no accidents", I think it's pretty clear how you should handle this situation. Contact the woman who clearly has the beef, and ask her why she is bothered by the bigness of the group. If you believe what she says has validity, perhaps you could split the group into two sessions, or create some other combination of groups. If you don't think what she says has merit (or you just aren't able to accommodate her issues) just say, "I'm so sorry you feel that way--and if you choose not to come, I completely understand".

Let me know how it goes. Love, TT

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dear The Truth Teller,
I'm currently in a relationship, and have been for just about 9 months. At first we were just dating commitment. But over time things got more serious, and upon the new year we decided to make it official... I've never been in a healthier relationship! This girl treats me well, she understands me, she accepts me, and she is so unbelievably patient with some of my relationship hangups (mostly sexual). She has helped me discover things about myself and about what I want/need/deserve in a relationship, and through her I have discovered my feminine side, which has been in hiding for a loooong time. At the same time, she has grown healthier by dating me, and has also discovered things about relationships that she never a good way. Yet, my feelings toward her continue to fluctuate between "she's so wonderful," and "ugh..." Hard to explain, but sometimes we connect, and things are great...and just as often I am annoyed and wish to be alone.

I have never been in a more honest relationship in my life, platonic or otherwise...and I am truly blown away by how great this girl is. No one has ever accepted me like she does, and it is so refreshing; something that was missing in my former relationships. She consistently goes out of her way to do nice and thoughtful things for me; she is so giving and so generous...but something is missing for me. I know that this is not the girl I will end up with, I have even failed to tell my family about her her (including my favorite cousin who is ordinarily the FIRST person I tell about a new relationship). I don't feel like I'm embarrassed of her, but for some reason I keep her separate for the most part.

I try to just not think about the future as much, and try to just enjoy my time with her (i.e. live in the present)...but then I struggle and wonder if I'm using her in some way, as if to just keep her around until someone better comes along. I am clearly not consciously doing this to her, but I am so fearful that I'm doing something unethical or wrong... is it wrong to be with her if I'm positive that I'm not going to end up with her in the long run?


Dear Abby,

First and foremost, please let me apologize for my extended absence.

Now, on to important issues--your relationship anxieties. I assume you have heard the expression, "Methinks thou doest protest too much"? (Gotta love Shakespeare for cutting to the bone). Every time I hear a man or woman singing the praises of their mate (without a hint of sarcasm), I suspect they are having an affair. I used to think I was just being snide, or jealous--but my intuition has all too often been correct.

Your extolling of the virtues of this healthy relationship and how well you're being treated rings a bit of a false note. Just a slight one, but there nonetheless. The fact that you haven't told your family (especially your cousin!) is another clue to the possible truth.

Remember, the beginning of the relationship is the FUN part! The part where you just get to be smitten, and wowed and blown away. If you are already rationalizing, it's just not a good sign.

I truly believe in the value of being in the present, and in enjoying whomever you are with--but it is even more important to be honest with her about your feelings. If you tell her you feel something is "missing" even though you love spending time with her, and she accepts it, then you are not doing anything unethical. But if you are keeping it to yourself, then now's the time to fess up. A relationship between two adults--where each person knows where the other is coming from and accepts the terms, is a "true" one--even if it's complicated and messy. But when one partner is hiding their feelings, it's not fair to the one who is putting it all out there.

Listen to your gut, and listen carefully to her response when you open up. You may end up smitten--or alone--but it'll be your truth. I hope you'll keep me posted.
- Show quoted text -

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dear Truth Teller,

My kid has special needs and a lot of therapeutic activities are part of the deal. Lately, I feel suffocated by other parents as I wait and watch my child do her things. Last week I got caught between two other mothers (loud talkers) who went on and on ad nauseum about the problems at their respective schools and the special ed services they offer. It was the same thing this week. Not covering any new ground, just on and on verbal venting.

At another activity, a different mom regularly tries to talk my ear off (for 1 1/2 hours) about her kid and his issues. When I try to look disinterested, putting my nose in a book, etc. She taps me, repeatedly. WTF? Sometimes yapping away even when it is my baby's turn to do her thing and I want to concentrate on her. There is only one waiting space at both of the activities I am describing.

Am I an awful person for wanting a little quiet or time to focus on my kid? Do I have a "dump on me" sign on my forehead? Any ideas on how I can stop the incessant chatter?


Had it up to here with the yap yap yapping

P.S. The one that taps has bad breath.

Dear Had It,

I HEAR YOU. Although you don't want to be rude, it is your time, not theirs, and you have to put boundaries around it--or (if you're like me), one day you'll just bite one of their heads off and then feel horrible.

This is where the wonderful invention called the ipod comes in. I trust you have one--if you don't, get one. This lovely piece of equipment could become your life saver. I'm sure you realize they will not leave you alone just because you have earphones in--but when the tapping begins, remove one earbud only and assertively reply "I'm sorry, not to be rude, but I'm listening to something very important and I need to pay attention to it".

What's better, is that you CAN be listening to something important to you--and it will drown out the incessant chatter of the others, but not take your attention away from your darling.

PS: Offer her a tic tac along with your reply.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm really freaked out right now cause my friend has a lot of issues with her parents (issues being them verbally abusing her) and she e-mailed me saying she wants to kill herself. I am really, really scared. I don't want to tell anyone cause I don't want her to freak out but I don't want my friend to get hurt. I'm really scared. What should I do?

Dear Scared,
I URGE you to tell someone. It is the only way to help your friend. Go to your school counselor today. He/she will have experience with this issue and know how to help.

Also, this number (215) 831 6300 is the Friends Hospital Crisis hotline.

Give it to your friend and have her call if you think she might. You can offer to call with her so she knows she has your support. If you think you can go to your parents for help, perhaps one of them can take her to the crisis center. There are five centers in the Philadelphia area.

If you aren't able to do any of these, get back to me and I'll have more ideas.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hi Truth Teller~

I am visiting your site from the link on Angie Ledbetter's Gumbo Writer blog!

I have a question about how to handle a problem my husband and I are having with good friends. We've been friends w/this couple since we moved to Ohio almost 3 years ago. We do a lot w/them socially and they have a daughter who is the same age as our oldest daughter (11) and the girls had been friends up until the beginning of this school year (5th grade). That's when things started to go south. Their daughter, "B", started being mean to our daughter, "H". B began hanging out w/another group of girls that really didn't like H. B is condescending to H, she ignores her, rolls her eyes when H says something, etc. My friend, B's mom, and I discussed the trouble w/the girls, sat them down and had a talk w/them about their feelings, etc., but the girls have since drifted apart. It's made things a little weird and strained between me and B's mom, especially, even though we still do a lot together socially.

My friend has made a number of unsettling and sarcastic comments about different things over the past few months. I'm thinking it's because of the girls' relationship and the fact that our daughter no longer seeks "play" time with their daughter. Our daughters don't eat lunch or play together at recess like they once did. The relationship has become uncomfortable for me and my husband and I don't know how to handle it. The man and woman are a nice couple--sweet, caring, fun, they go to church, they have a lot of the same family values we have. We do have a lot in common with them and we've enjoyed their company over the past few years. But my friend's comments are getting harder to tolerate and we don't want to continue bemoaning the issues between our daughters--especially because my friend defends her daughter's actions all the time. I'm simplifying here, but in the past when I've said to my friend, "H said B was mean to her today" my friend will respond with, "Well, B tells a different story and B thinks H is mean to her." Ugh. I realize there are two different sides to every story, but my friend has never said B came home crying from school because H was mean to her, or B hasn't been sleeping because H is mean, etc. My daughter has chosen to separate from B. She no longer wants to hang out w/her and play with her after school or on weekends. We're fine with this as we think H seems happier now.

So how to handle our friends, B's parents? We have a dinner date w/them this evening and we're not looking forward to it. We'll have to listen to my friend's comments and we'll have to listen to her go on and on about how wonderful B is when we've seen a completely different side of their "angel." What would you do in this situation? It's sad that the girls have gone their separate ways, but can we, as the parents of these girls, still have a good relationship?

Thanks so much for any help/insight you have to offer.

Dear Mom,

Yes, this is a sticky wicket. You've definitely got a case of "Mama-bear syndrome" and for good reason.

Once, when I was young, I overheard a conversation between my mom and an older, African-American woman. They were discussing how someone had wronged one of her children and she said to my mother, "You can pretty much do anything you want to me, but don't F___ with my baby!". I was initially shocked by the language of this very genteel woman. But the real reason it stuck with me was because of its utter and complete truth.

It doesn't matter whether it is another child her own age--your daughter has been hurt and you are compelled to protect. Since B's mother doesn't share your concern, everything she says is rubbing you the wrong way. Having said this, I believe it still may be possible for your relationship with this other couple to survive--but it will need some transition time.

For now, I would only see the couple when it is effortless--when neighbors or other friends are getting together in a larger group, but don't try to hard to maintain the relationship as it was once. It sounds like, although you had lots in common, it was also based in part upon the girls, and that part is no longer. As your daughter's each find their way into middle school, they will naturally gravitate to others, and possibly even back together again.

When the feelings are less raw, you may find yourselves in a better place to pick up the friendship, but in the meantime, let it drift and take its natural course. If B's mom keeps trying to get together, just be busy with other plans--and try not to feel guilty about taking a time out. You need it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dear Truth Teller,

I'm a 46-year-old woman, married, two beautiful, well-adjusted, engaging, teenagers, that are both good students, involved in great activities, and have friends I couldn't have chosen better myself. I have a lovely home, and an exciting in-home business that I run with my husband - who, by the way, adores me.

So what's my problem?

I feel like I'm not living up to my potential.

Although things are on an even keel now, I don't have a sense of well-being. Is it the traumas from the past that haunt my future - and this family has had their fair share - is it the tapes that play in my head, old recordings of voices that aren't mine (probably my dad's) that I'm allowing to drown out my higher self?

Is it ego?

Is it all the recent, and hard fought attempts to break my ego, that is generating this ultimate "final exam?"

Tell me, Truth Teller, how do I let go of this sense of not enough?

Full Life in Philly, But Struggling with Lost Potential

Dear Struggling,

I have a sense it may be a combination of all of the above. We all have tapes in our heads whose time has come and gone and it's definitely time for your tapes to be gone. Both your "trauma response" as well as your dad's pressures may run deep. Try to unhook both of them by replacing them with something new.

I want to ask you to try an experiment. Every time you feel the anxiety of "not enough" rising up in your chest, say these words to yourself, "All that I have is all that I need". You have to trick yourself into a new view. Keep doing this until you really believe it. It may take a while, but be patient.

Your attempts to break your ego are steps in the right direction. Your realization that any time we compare ourselves to others, it's an ego response, rather than a "true you" response, the ego lessens. It would be wonderful if this were just a big test. Try to look at it that way. I've heard it said we are either either going into a trial, in a trial, or coming out of a trial pretty much all the time until we become enlightened. So, perhaps you are now coming out of a big trial, but still a bit shaken.

Please use your new mantra for 30 days and let me know if you get results. TT
I am not extending my thanks to you for you comments and advice from

This situation is still "going" believe it or not! I think as of last night
this is where things are:

The insurance company offer is actually more financially attractive than
last time.
I did negotiate a very small amount of flexibility into the job but they are
not willing
to have me less than full time for the time being...bummer, however...
What I did get is M, W and every other T an 8-4:30 (rather than 8:30-5)
schedule so that I can still get my 10 year
old to Tae Kwon Do MYSELF (some people would be relieved to hand this trip
off to others, I am not
one of them.)
I was able to enlist one of his classmates and Scouts moms to drop him at
home after school each day
as they live in our neighborhood. She was amazingly nice about it and
wouldn't even take gas money. He will have a key and let himself in each
day but even on the days I work until 5PM he will only be there alone for
about an hour and a half or so (he gets home from school at 3:30)--just
enough time
to let the dog out and play with him, get a snack and get his homework done.

My current employer truly wants to keep me but simply cannot pay me more or
offer benefits, particularly with the recession. We have had several long
very mature conversations and she wants to keep me on as a paid consultant
(either on a monthly retainer or paid hourly) to her company.
This would involve some weekends and evenings but I will be working on
bigger long range projects that I enjoy and have already laid out and have a
passionate vision for. I will remain connected to her and the company for
as long as we both need and want the relationship, with the caveat that if
we totally take off she intends to "steal me back" from the insurance
company! (While this seems a bit fantastic I have seen amazing things
happen when she is involved which is why I love her so and love working with

So...I will be very busy but still involved in my son's life--at first I
balked at the afternoon "latch key" thing but he is excited about the new
big kid responsibility and thrilled to death to have his own key! I still
get to take him to both of his activities (scouts starts later in the pm so
isn't a conflict and TKD works with the negotiated schdule mentioned above)
so I don't feel like an absentee mom. AND I will have a nice new salary that
actually pays the bills... and probably more side work than I could ever
want from the consulting firm---I may be able to actually get new carpet in
my house before my son's college graduation!

Thank you for your advice~I felt very stuck and trapped and scared. It is
difficult to see alternatives when you get mired down in the either/or
scenario. This outcome is not the picture that I imagined but it will
work...and it isn't awful by any means... and that is all I can do...the
best I can do... for TODAY. And, also my attitude about all of it is what I
CAN control ie I can choose to be enthsiastic and embrace this and consider
it a blessing and give my best self to it (or not). Yes, I am having to
"give up" picking my son up every day from school but what I am getting
isn't really too far off from that and the burden of my financial concerns
will be relieved. I think so much of acceptance and flexibility has to do
with letting go...I had to let go of what my internal picture was of being
there for my son. I still will be. It will be ok.

PS I don't know if you are a man or a woman but I suspect that you are a
woman. Let me just say that one of the great tragedies of my life was that
I was never close to my mother. In my entire upbringing I never once heard
her tell me "I love you". I know that I am resilient as a result, but I
really could have used a mentor at many points (now even!) in my life.
People need wisdom and guidance and people they can process things with as
they navigate life. I am not sure why you are motivated to maintain this
blog but I appreciate it...I think there are a lot of people out there just
like me. Thanks for meeting a need.

Please let me first say you are not at all remiss. I am not doing this for any reason other than for the benefits I get from know the saying "we all teach what we need to learn", therefore, I believe if I help anyone at all, I am helping myself.

I am thrilled by the way this is playing out. Most importantly because of your attitude about it. Your son will most definitely continue to thrive with your choice to have both financial security and consulting work that energizes you. I bet you'll also see him "rise to the occasion" with a new level of responsibility and maturity--an added bonus.

PS You are so right--we all need people to help us process and navigate. It takes courage to reach out and ask for it. You certainly aren't lacking in courage--and you are very welcome.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I see crosses everywhere - I have going on 4 years. Usually just before sleep. They are not crucifixes - I'm not a "recovering" catholic - just grew up episcopalian. I love what I believe is Jesus's message. Love Period. I'm not really struggling with anything but would love to get your perspective. Thank you in advance.

Dear Seeker
I believe this means you are blessed--and it's a sign telling you that you are on the right path. From what I've learned, crosses symbolize the horizontal path of our everyday life, coupled with the vertical soul--the essence of who we are that lives on. (Maybe you should've been a Catholic!--TT IS a recovering Catholic)

Monday, February 2, 2009

My parents are getting divorced and my dad who hasn't smoked in years smoked today. Im so mad at him i cant even stand the sight of him, What do i do?!??!

Arrgghh! I'm sure you are beyond frustrated. It is horrible to watch someone you love do something harmful to themselves.

As soon as possible, ask him for some time alone where you won't be interrupted. Then, voice your concern in a thoughtful, concerned manner, not accusatory. Remind yourself that people tend to revert to old behaviors when under stress. It doesn't mean he has started up for the rest of his life. Hopefully, it may just be a temporary reaction.

By letting him know you understand he is under stress, and you can appreciate what he is going through, he will be more likely to be able to "hear" you. Then, ask him to stop. Directly.

You also may be harboring some other angry feelings toward your dad related to the divorce. If you aren't in counseling already, it may be something to consider. This is a rough time for everyone in your family, and a good therapist can be invaluable. If you need the name of a good one, please let me know.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dear Truth-Teller,

I am married to a man who is my best friend. We have similar goals, laugh together, give each other our space while supporting each other's individual passions, and parent as a team. A year ago, "Scott" decided he wanted to leave his job of 16 years to start his own business. We shuffled some things, met with a financial planner and made it happen. So far, he's done incredibly well and is enjoying himself immensely. It is terrifically rewarding to see him excited to go to work every day but it's beginning to strain our relationship that he is working so many hours.

A month ago I finally worked up the courage to ask him why we haven't had sex in over six months. He's gained a little weight since starting his own business and I know that that impacts his self-esteem a great deal. I assured him that I'm still physically attracted to him and I miss the physical intimacy. He swears that his feelings for me haven't changed and says that he's not sure what the issue is and he doesn't really know how to address it. I'm positive he's not having an affair, I know he loves our kids and I believe he loves me as much as always. The trouble is, he loves his work so much that he seems more willing to bury himself in that than attempt to find any answers. I don't want to nag him to go to the gym (even though I have a feeling that it will help him immensely) and I don't want to harp on him for not trying to work on it. I'm not sure where to go from here. We've been married for 15 years and have two gorgeous children. Both of us are committed to our relationship, but I’m too young (and so is he) to give up on sex, nor am I willing to. He felt badly that I'm upset, but I don't see him going to a therapist and, so long as I don't push it I think I'm giving him an excuse to ignore the whole issue.

Dear Seeker,
You know this already...but you are so, so, so lucky. Even though it's all the rage in the movies, hardly anyone really gets to say they are married to their best friend after fifteen years. You must be very grateful.

Starting a business is one of the most all-consuming efforts ever--it can not be overstated. Like childbirth, if anyone really knew what it would be like before they did it, there'd be far fewer entrepreneurs. The share-of-mind can be even worse than the number of hours, so I can appreciate how intimacy can become a distant memory. It just doesn't seem as pressing as the work.

However, taking care of your relationship is just as much of a priority, so it's good you are on top of it.You are right not to nag him about the gym or the weight. He will deal with that when he's ready--and only he can be in charge of how he feels about himself.

The main thing you can do is figure out what you can do--and not make it about what he's not doing. For example, if you took it upon yourself to do date night once every other week, and you sat down with him and seriously asked him to participate. You get the babysitter, if need be, plan the outing, and when you get home, make it part of the ritual to take the initiative with him. Even if you have not normally been the aggressor, now's the time to start.

Sex is like exercise, when you're out of the habit, you don't remember what you liked about it. But when you're in the habit, you feel really good. He may just need a jumpstart to get back into the habit. And you can be the catalyst to make that happen. Be prepared to take the initiative for quite a while, however....because it may take him some time to get back into the "swing".

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dear Truth Teller,

What do you do if someone presents an idea or theory to you as theirs, but you've seen it around for years. For example, they give you the "Holland" yada yada if you have a special needs child, like they came up with the analogy themselves.

Do you tactfully mention you've heard the concept before? Or do you let it go, figuring we're all just recycling ideas all the time anyway.

What would TT do?


Not at all bitter, resentful or superior

PS I also think anyone who talks of Holland but who does not have a special needs child, should be shot on site. Or at least made to baby-sit over a long weekend.:)

Since the Truth Teller so rarely feels bitter, resentful or superior (okay, maybe superior), this is a tough one. In this kind of common occurrence, I imagine laid-back people would let things roll, logical people would try to explain why their situation is unique, and the truth teller would use humor.

With your "Holland Analogy" situation, I would muster up my best Maxwell Smart imitation and mutter, "Aahhhh, the old Holland analogy, eh?" and then let out a big belly laugh-- gently implying this is the one-millionth time someone has shared the analogy. Hopefully, this response seems somehow conspiratorial, not jerky. All is forgiven.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Right in the start of November, before the holidays, my husband went to a pub with a friend to watch a pay-per-view fight. He isn't a man who hangs out at bars, so I am sure it wasn't expected that he would be there to catch our neighbor making out with a woman we have met at their house several times. She is also married, and they work together.

The husband saw my husband, and made himself scarce. I wish he hadn't, but my husband approached the woman (he couldn't find the neighbor), and asked what the hell?? She drunkenly barffed up the whole dirty story-- telling my husband that she and our neighbor had "been together" for months, she wanted him to leave his family (he has two young children), blah blah blah. She told him "everybody cheats sometimes", as if it were no big deal. She couldn't believe it when my husband told her that was not true, that she was just trying to make herself believe she wasn't such a scumbag for ruining this family. It got unfriendly...

To make matters more odd, the neighbor wife showed up at the bar to give the husband a ride home, and when she couldn't find him she offered my husband and his friend a ride. Then, in the car, she started asking my husband these accusing questions about "who is he(my husband) meeting when he walks the dog"? as if My husband were the cheater! He was shocked and offended. He kept his mouth shut and came home and told me everything.

Okay, so at first I was pissed and confused about why she would behave that way with my husband-- in the past she has teased us for being "so sweet" together. But I realized she might be a little envious of our relationship, and certainly she must know SOMEthing is going on with her husband, and is projecting. So I let that go. But it made me not know what to do, otherwise...

I figure that if she knows something, she is choosing not to act for some reason. If I tell her what we know, I fear I may be forcing her hand before she is ready to deal with it. She is NOT stupid. (she is a lawyer, infact). Also, last year she was suspicious that her husband was cheating with a woman at his work, and they were even separated for awhile. I was happy when they decided to work it out, because of the children. But she has gone out of her way on several occasions to make me believe this "woman" was not THAT woman...when it turns out it is. (Something else the woman told my husband that night). So obviously, she doesn't want me to know for some reason. Probably because I would ask her what she was thinking letting this B**** in her home, and around her family?! Why has she made friends with the woman she felt was messing with her husband??

The whole thing has me SICK to my stomach for months now. I have felt I had to pull back from my friendship with the wife, because I feel like I am lying to her with my silence, AND because the whole thing makes me so mad I will blow my top. Our children used to play together all the time... To make matters worse, we still see this woman AND her husband over to their home all the time-- even on Thanksgiving!! AND this woman seems to go out of her way to say "hi" to my husband if she sees him outside going to his car, or checking the mail. (It is just her good luck that I haven't seen her myself). The WHOLE thing is making me NUTS. I hate the idea that these two people may be under the impression that my husband was not IMMEDIATELY honest with me! Even the idea of that feels like a punch to the integrity of our relationship. I also hate the idea that they may believe that because we haven't told on them, we are somehow complicit with their scumbagery. And I am not unusually the type to keep my silence in the face of someone I care about being hurt...The whole thing goes against my grain in a huge way.

But I know that this woman was HOPING to blow everything up, and force the cheating neighbor to leave his family. I don't want to be the one who forces that hand, and ruins the kids life-- and does her dirty work for her.

What do I do? Stay silent, assuming that it is not our place to blow anything up? Assume the wife must know something, and respect her choice? Should I at least say something to the cheaters, so they at least know we are not trying to protect THEM? Should I continue to keep my distance from my friend, or just act like nothing is wrong when I am around her, and deal with my anxiety? OUr while relationship has changed, so she must know something os wrong...but she hasn't asked. What if she does ask? What then?

Thank you,
Sick to my Stomach

Dear Sick,

Before I respond, I feel compelled to compliment you first. Number one, the restraint you have shown thus far has been exceptional. You are obviously thoughtful and caring and have the wisdom to have held back this long already. Second, your use of the the word "scumbagery" in your description really takes the cake!

I, myself, have been in similar situations before...and I know how unbelievably difficult this must be for you. After all, you care for your friend, and I'm sure you feel YOU would want to know if the situation was reversed. But, it's not you.

As you suggest, I believe your friend may have an inkling, somewhere deep down, that something is going on. In many ways, her silence speaks volumes. However, her situation is complex, and we just don't know how her past history is shaping her responses and really can't (or shouldn't) judge. As difficult as it is, it's her issue--and she will have to deal with it soon enough. I believe she will keep being given opportunities to learn whatever lesson she needs to learn from this experience over and over until she is ready to learn it.

I suspect that at some point, when she is ready, she may ask you if you know anything--and, at that point, telling the truth--with as few details as absolutely necessary is the kindest choice. Something to the affect of, "My husband saw them together once, but since you all are friends, we weren't comfortable making more out of it than you would". She will really need your help and support when she is ready to deal with it, so you can take some comfort in knowing you will be there for her when the time comes. In the meantime, the distance you are keeping from her is natural, and helpful. Try to just accept whatever happens and be there for her when/if she opens up to you.

And as far as what the cheaters think of you and your husband? I once heard an expression I remind myself of very very often--"What others think of us is none of our business".

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I really like one of my friends--we've known each other for 4 months and I've liked him since I've met him basically and he's so perfect and he dated my friend but only for like a week she knows i like him she doesn't really mind.
I really like him but i don't know how to tell him. i thought i should wait for him to tell me but i kind of want to ask him out. but every time i go to tell him i back out and to tell him is easier said than done. I thought maybe i could tell him over the internet because that where i feel most comfortable because we aren't face to face but i think that's kind of tacky. Any Advice?

Dear Seeker,

The fact that you've known each other for four months and have been friends is in your favor. The fact that your friend is supportive is also a plus. It seems like you are ready to ask and just need a method. I agree with you that the internet is a bit tacky, however there is nothing wrong with a phone call, voicemail or text message. The key is to be specific. Rather than saying, "Do you want to go out with me?", make a specific suggestion. For example, "Would you want to get together on Friday night to go to the basketball game?" That way, if he says no, it shouldn't be embarrassing to either of you and the friendship won't "get weird".

If he says yes, just keep up the same strategy on a regular (but not too frequent) basis. If he says no, but seems like he has a valid reason--consider giving him one more chance. If he says no twice in a row, I would assume he just wants to "stay friends".

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

So here it is:
I am a 45 year old divorced woman with 2 sons aged 23 and 10.
Historically I have worked in positively hateful jobs out of necessity,
primarily in the field of insurance. My degree, however, is in education.
I ended up in insurance for no reason other than the need for a paycheck and

For two years now, I have been working about 2/3 time at a good wage but
with NO BENEFITS for a small company the specializes in organizational
and leadership training seminars. I handle everything aside from doing the
training or consulting. It is the best job I have ever had in my life.
I work from home and have the freedom
to set my own schedule and hours as long as the work gets done and that I am
deadlines and appearing at meetings. My boss is fabulous--she trusts me to
get the job done,
listens to my input, has provided actually relevent and helpful guidance
when necessary,
is appreciative and genuinely brilliant (ie I actually admire her
abilities--she is not a fake) and
we are friends. I actually feel like a real grown up in this position.

At what point, however, am I sacrificing my future, my children's best
interests, etc. by seeking my own self improvement? What has happened is
that the insurance company's second choice (after I declined their offer)
did not work out. I was called back to talk to them again and I have no
doubt that in the next 2 weeks I will
be offered the same job again. And again I am positively sick with
indecision. And also, what are the chances of that anyway? Is the universe
telling me something?

I worry that I am being irresponsible keeping my current job---what if I got
sick and had a bout in the hospital? How would I recover the wages from the
lost work and pay the bills with no emergency fund in place? How am I going
to make up that 5K that I earned last year with the government? What kind
of a nimrod am I for not being in a job that provides for my retirement?
Who do I think is going to take care of me at that stage of my life if I
don't plan for it? And what about home improvement house is
fine now but not too far out from needing big ticket items such as a new
roof--again, no will that happen?

HELP ME!! Am I entitled to be
happy in my actual work OR is work just work and one should be grateful to
have a job that pays all the bills including saving for the future????
(PS Not to rush you or anything but I have my second interview tomorrow
which means an offer will be pending soon...I would really be able to add
your advice to my thought processes.)

Dear Seeker,

You are in one of those rare situations where the universe is unfolding right in front of you and you are actually able to glimpse it. At least part of it. The first thing to remember is that we only have "this moment" and no other in which to live our lives. Therefore, you aren't sacrificing your future by doing something you love, but actually creating the right future for you by doing what you love in each and every moment. When we do whatever it is we are doing with enjoyment and enthusiasm, it creates the kind of energy needed for us to be following our true path.

However, as you have already proven you understand--our lives are no longer our own once we have children-- and we have a responsibility to them to live our dreams, but not at their expense. We must not be reckless. And you've been anything but.

I think you are looking at this situation as if there are only two options available; to go to the "job" for security for your child, or to "selfishly" stay at your dream job. Might I suggest that you are actually in the quite enviable position of being incredibly valuable to BOTH companies.

It is my understanding (and you will need to check this) that in order to be eligible for benefits, one has to work 22 hours per week for an employer.

Here's where some creative thinking --and creative negotiation--is key. Why not (after you are sure they are salivating for you) offer the insurance company the option of gaining you as a valuable employee for 55-60% of the full time salary rate plus benefits and you will do the job in 22 hours/week.. It is a proverbial "steal" for them b/c they don't have to pay you for full time, but they will get the mature, competent, productive employee for a bargain.

Your dream job, if it can be done in roughly the same amount or (maybe a few less hours), will keep you sane, interested and creative. Plus your boss, if she's as together as you say, will totally get why you need to supplement your income and will be supportive.

If you work your schedule right, your child will only need after care two days a week and you will be able to pick him up 3 days a week. You may have to give up some involvement with school, but hey--that's why you're paying them!

I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how flexible and willing people can be. There are other options I can think of as well, because I truly believe that combining your need to follow your dream with your need to be a responsible parent CAN be accommodated.

The Truth Teller
I've got a dilemma. I confronted a person very very close to me about something he is doing that I and (others who said things to me about it) saw as a health danger and bad choice, and which had been going on for a while. An addiction from all appearances. The upshot is that after our talk, things turned nasty between us, as he went into total denial mode. Now I'm wondering at my decision to confront. I know I'd want someone to talk to me if the shoe were on the other foot, but now I've probably lost someone who has always been closer than close to me over the issue. Your thoughts appreciated.

Dear Seeker,

First of all, not enough can be said about the kind of caring, compassionate friend who honestly confronts someone they love and tries to help. It's a risk--and you knew that going in--but you had the courage to risk the friendship to ultimately save the health of your friend. Stop wondering, you did the right thing.

Now, for the fallout. In time, your friend may see the wisdom and caring in your choice to confront. Or, he may not. Be patient, try to give him lots of room, and if you believe in God, pray for him. You may also want to consider reaching out to his parents and sharing your concern. They should feel lucky their son has a friend like you. The Truth Teller

i cut myself. i haven't done it in a while, but things have been pretty bad lately. i don't know how to stop. it gives me an outlet where no one or nothing else can take me. I know its wrong, but i don't care.


Dear Anonymous,

Although this practice has become more common in teens and young adults as of late, it is SUPER serious and must be handled IMMEDIATELY by a professional. I am urging you in the very strongest of terms to tell your mother right away. If, for any reason, you can't tell your mother, I will give you the name of a professional who will be able to help. Do not think this issue will go away on its own. It won't. Get help now.

The Truth Teller
Alright, so...there's this guy, whose name I won't say..but lets just say he is
....amazing. almost perfect. his only fault is that he's too perfect, and that makes me shy around him. unbearably shy.
He's not loud, he's not obnoxious. he's quiet, but when he talks, his words are always calm, and just the right thing to say. he's laid back and mysterious, but also funny and clever.

I can't remember how we started talking, but we did this year.

and for lack of something non-cliche, i fell in love with him.
In my mind, every time he messaged me on facebook, it was a sign that he really adored me the same way I did him.
we found that we had a lot in common.
so one day, i invited him to come over during christmas break.
and he did.
we watched a movie, went to the library, went to his house.
it was like a dream.
nothing happened, as in, neither of us made any moves.
but, I felt like I was totally not myself.
it was the strangest thing. I heard myself saying really mean things.
like, i started making fun of this one kind of dorky kid that goes to our school.
just stuff i don't usually do at all. i could barely believe the words as they came out of my mouth.

since then, it's been sort of downhill.
we still talked on facebook for a while.

but now the thing is, every time he's on facebook, i wait for him to message me, the way he used to. but he doesn't anymore.
he's online, but he doesn't message me.
i see him sign off without a single word.
i guess i really just dont mean that much to him.
i dunno. im just really confused.
and it's not just something i can let go.
i know that in ten years, none of this will really matter.
but every time i see him, my stomach clenches, and every time somebody messages me on facebook i still hope it might be him.
and every time i see him in school i act like he's insignificant to me.
i can't be around him too long, or im afraid I'll do something stupid.

so....basically....i feel heartachy.
to know him has always been wonderful. but now it's just painful.
just really, really painful.
i've been dealing with it in my usual manners of songwriting and poetrywriting and listening to music and journalwriting and just crying to myself.
nothing seems to be helping.
Awfully Lovesick

Dear Awfully Lovesick,

Your sign-off actually said it all. You are "lovesick" and just because you won't remember it in ten years doesn't make it unimportant today. It is important. Being crazy about someone and unsure of how they feel about you is as anxiety-producing as it gets.

You are also a very obviously a bright young woman who has just not found her own authentic "voice" as of yet. You will. That mean stuff you said? Forgive yourself. He probably said some pretty weird stuff, himself. Both of you are just struggling to communicate, and communication is difficult--even in long-term relationships.

You are doing all the right things to heal--journalling, writing poetry and music, etc. A good run or dance class wouldn't hurt either. Sweating has a way of getting some of those "stuck feelings" moving. But mostly--and I know you are going to hate to hear this--it's going to take a little time. When your mind runs crazy with anxious thoughts, just take a deep breath and say to yourself, "That's just my mind running crazy. Right this moment, I am okay". Be kind to yourself.

The Truth Teller.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I want to ask this Girl out but it's my first time and I have no idea what to say. Help

Dear Seeker (of the truth),

The first time is the most difficult. It gets much easier--but that doesn't help you this minute. First, you don't say for sure, but I have to assume the girl knows you exist and that you have made some effort to chat with her "as a friend". As such, you should have some idea about her interests. So start there--and the main thing is KEEP IT CASUAL and BE YOURSELF. The only thing you lack right now is courage. So, face your fear and go for it.

If she's into movies, something like "Hey, I was going to check out The Dark Knight this weekend, would you want to go?" If she's into music, how about "I've got some friends who just formed a band, want to check them out with me next time they have a gig"? (Just make sure you have friends that have a band, though. The truth teller never advocates lying, but there's no harm in getting your friends to form a band real quickly if need be...after all, you didn't say they were good)

If she does not know you exist, we'll have to start back at square one. Keep me "posted".

The Truth Teller

Thursday, January 1, 2009

You CAN Handle It

OK, Your mother "borrows" your credit cards on occasion and then feigns disbelief when you call her on it...your current wife doesn't know you didn't actually get that annulment you said you did from the feel manipulated into throwing a party when you should have said, I'm so sorry, I won't be able to do that" just saw your good friend's husband in a bar with another woman.

What's a person to do? Ask the truth teller, of course.

I'll give you FREE, unfiltered, and of course, truthful advice. All you have to do is send an email with your dilemma. I will never publish your email--I will only publish your question and my response. Others can comment if they agree or disagree with my two cents. Or they can politely keep it to themselves.

I'll send you an email once I've posted my reply. Go ahead--ask me anything. I think you can handle the truth.