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.