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- Robert T. Reimer, Ph.D.

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 Dear Doc:
I started dating a good friend in March of 2018. I had known him for about 3 years and we were really good friends. We had a lot in common: I have 4 kids, he has 6, and when we first met he was married. last year in June he came to my office to pick up a check and told me his wife was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. She died on October 28th 2017. I gave him support, in that I went to the funeral like any good friend would. In February he started asking me to lunch everyday, calling, texting, etc. I finally said yes, but was very hesitant because his wife did just pass away in October. One thing led to another, and now we have been dating since. He say he loves me, and I think he does in his own way, but I'm not sure if it is "in Love" that I feel, as I am just here comforting him, although we have so much fun together, and we get along great, and I am falling in love with him, but I am now withholding my feelings. We are very open about talking about his wife. I know he loved her dearly for 27 years. I am not threatened by that in any way. However, He will not tell his friends, family or work people about me, I have not been to his house, he still has all of his wife's things in his bedroom, as she left them with her ashes on his night stand. He is clearly still grieving, and I feel it is just getting worse. They now put him on antidepressants. I feel I should walk away and let him grieve, and that I am adding stress. He constantly says I help him. We only see each other about 1 night a week and an occasional lunch date. He is a great amazing guy and we could have a great life together. Just not sure of how long to keep doing this. My needs are not getting met. Please Give Me some Advise !!!!

Response: Don't walk away. It's not unusual for men to be in another relationship a year after the death of their wife. You are wise not to rush into more with him, until he finishes grieving, but that doesn't mean you can't have a future together.

Bottom Line: Tell him exactly what you told me. How he reacts will tell you whether you should stay or leave.

 Dear Doc:
My grandson plays on a football team with peers the same age. He is a standout player. Sadly, because of his skills, they want him to move from his age bracket of 12 yr olds to play with 13 & 14 year olds. Would making him play up in another age group with kids he doesn’t know hurt his self esteem and his strong work ethic? He says he is feeling punished. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. A concerned Grandma.

Response: I would not advance him.

Bottom Line: Coaches can over push, often thinking of how it will benefit them. Let him enjoy being a big fish in a small pond, as it may not always be so in the future!

 Dear Doc:
My son's ex-wife is badmouthing him and our side of the family. It is so bad that the boys do not want to have visitation with their father. It breaks my heart that she is doing this to the kids and to their dad and our family. My granddaughter and her boyfriend witnessed this last Friday. She even yelled at the boyfriend, which she does not know. They will be divorced 3 yrs come March. Can anything be done?

Response: Possibly not, unless she is breaking the law. It's very hard to legislate proper behavior by an ex.

Bottom Line: If the boys are young, your son can go to the family court (probably with the expense of an attorney) and ask a judge to take action. But unfortunately, this could be a long, expensive, and likely unsatisfying exercise.

 Dear Doc:
My husband of 30 yrs. made friends with an emotionally disturbed suicidal woman. She now believes their dating. He has tried to tell her they are just friends. She threatens to kill herself and sends pics of her holding a knife to her throat and a gun to her head. She wants me dead. My husband said he can't have her death on his conscience, so he is continuing talking to her so she don't kill herself. I told him she's manipulating him, and he needs to stop jumping through her hoops, playing her game. He says she's o.d.'ed on pills and she cuts herself, if he doesn't talk to her. What can we do to get her out of our lives without her harming herself? How can my husband detatch her from him without blaming himself? We are trying to stay together and not let her fantasy come between us. Please help! Thanks.

Response: I agree that she is manipulating him. I hope he isn't having an affair with her while lieing to you. If she has family you could warn them, but he HAS to cut off communication.

Bottom Line: Ultimately, living or dieing is her choice. Your husband cannot control that.

 Dear Doc:
Can therapists help me if I was raped? Even if I don't have money to pay, I wll come with a letter from my school principal that says I was raped. So will the therapists help me?

Response: Yes.

Bottom Line: Depending on where you live, schools are required by law to help you get assistance.

 Dear Doc:
I have custody of my 13 1/2 yr old son a who is very intelligent, outstanding, and considerate young man. The question is-My ex-wife gets him every other weekend for visitation, but she has stated that he is a homosexual, and has caused him to feel very low about himself. She gave him a bible lesson on homosexuals, and now he doesn't want to go back to her house. Does he have to go back?

Response: Probably not, but you may need a judge to agree if your ex fights you. He is of an age where many judges will listen to the child, and honor their wishes if they are reasonable.

Bottom Line: If your son is able, have him tell his mom he doesn't want to come over. In the likelihood that he is afraid to speak, speak on his behalf. The situation will then be in her hands, as to whether she accepts his wishes, or whether you have to go before a judge so that your son can express his wishes.

 Dear Doc:
My stepdaughter has issues and I'm trying to find out what her problem may be. She is 14 yrs. old. She plays with her food like she's digging for something; this goes on for about 30 min. She does not know what manners are. We tell her the time, but does not ever say them; she cannot tell time on a clock. She is very withdrawn. She does not like to talk. She lies constantly. I'm not sure if she could possibly have some forms of mental retardation. When I tell her to do something, she looks at me like she doesn't understand me. She's very disrespectful. She's just starting the 7th grade at 14. Please help me to deal with this. I'm trying to find some help. Thank you.

Response: Clearly there is something wrong.

Bottom Line: I have to assume that you have not taken her to the Doctor. That needs to happen ASAP!

 Dear Doc:
As a grandmother, how can I help my 15 year old granddaughter who is having problems at school (failing) and is now hanging out with undesirables? Her parents are divorced and have joint custody.

Response: Do her parents want your help? Does she?

Bottom Line: Assuming that she doesn't live with you, and is not under your custody, you may be powerless. Hopefully if you keep loving her and are there for her, she will gravitate toward your goodness over time. But she may have to learn some lessons on the edge of hell first.

 Dear Doc:
What is wrong with me? I have a crush on this girl at school and can't stop thinking about her, but when I confront her in person I feel very shy and avoid her without talking to her.

Response: There is nothing wrong with you. Your reaction is perfectly normal.

Bottom Line: You want her to like you, so you're afraid she will reject you. None of us wants to face the potential of rejection. Also, you don't know what to say, again because you think she won't like you. Be you. If she doesn't like you, so what. Move on until you find someone who is as crazy about you as you are about them!

 Dear Doc:
My twenty-six-year-old brother has always loved football, but now it's becoming an obsession. He goes to watch matches every weekend even though the tickets are expensive and he doesn't have much money. Athis house, hesometimes watches three or four matches on TV a day! His only friends are football fans,and his last girlfriend broke up with him because of his obsession. I want to help him, but he's older than me and he thinks it's none of my business what he does in his free time. Please can you give me some advice?

Response: You probably need to let this go. He doesn't want your help.

Bottom Line: For it is a well known fact that someone will not change until they are ready and want to.

 Dear Doc:
My twenty-six-year-old brother has always loved football, but now it's becoming an obsession. He goes to watch matches every weekend even though the tickets are expensive and he doesn't have much money. Athis house, hesometimes watches three or four matches on TV a day! His only friends are football fans,and his last girlfriend broke up with him because of his obsession. I want to help him, but he's older than me and he thinks it's none of my business what he does in his free time. Please can you give me some advice?

Response: You probably need to let this go. He doesn't want your help.

Bottom Line: For it is a well known fact that someone will not change until they are ready and want to.

 Dear Doc:
My once beautiful 17 year old daughter, seems to be going down the wrong life path. Currently she is drinking, missing her birth control but I do not think she is promiscuous, she recently bought a switch blade knowing they are illegal, she has stolen money off me, lies constantly, I just found out she changed my Netflix password. I do not know whether to talk to our local RCMP and see what they recommend. We have given our daughter everything she needs to grow and be successful but it seems like it is back firing on us. We have taken her to see a family councilor and there was no change, we have enrolled her in sports and extra curricular activities, hoping she would find another avenue to release stress, tension, and any other things, but nothing. Are we faced with either kicking her out so she can have a reality check? or is there something that can be done? I am tired of cleaning her room and finding all these illegal things. Please help I am at the end of my rope.

Response: Kicking her out at 17 sounds wrong, if not illegal.

Bottom Line: You may be doing too much for her. Let her suffer the consequences of her actions, within the safety of your home. This is sometimes a rebellious phase that can pass rather quickly, once she realizes she's only hurting herself. If you can no longer handle it, then sit down and discuss with her a plan of action for her to move out in a reasonable fashion.

 Dear Doc:
My husband had an affair with a married coworker; he lies about it being sexual and refuses to talk about it at all. He just pretends it never happened. He has become cold, sexually abusive and degrading, when for 20 years he wasn't. He doesn't recognize the pain he has caused me or our kids and never participated or helps. He lies constantly and hides stuff. He is disrespectful to me; I don't know who he is now but he is not the man I married. He has zero empathy or remorse, so why does he stay?

Response: The bigger question is why do YOU stay??

Bottom Line: You deserve better than this, don't you think?. It may be up to you to take action to preserve your sanity, by having him move out.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I separated in 05/2005, I was diagnosed as being bipolar in 02/2008. It was not long after the diagnoses, that I started to realize that my work performance, was going down hill. I was also going into a depression. I went back to the psych. hospital in January of 2009. When I was released from the Hospital, I gave notice to the two places in Milwaukee,WI that I was employed at. And moved back to my old home town in Central WI. So, knowing a bit of my background. Would you advise me on if I should ever think of getting married again, or not?

Response: Of course you should.

Bottom Line: With solid ongoing treatment you should be able to enjoy another relationship.

 Dear Doc:
my twenty years old brother has always loved football,but now it is becoming an obsession. he goes to watch matches every weekend even though the tickets are expensive and he does not have much money. at his house, he sometimes watches three or four matches on tv aday ! his only friends are football fans, and his last girlfriend broke up with him because of his obsession. i want to help him, but he is older than me and he thinks it is none of my business what he does in his free time. please can you give me some advice?

Response: It's a waste of time to try to help someone who doesn't think they have a problem, and who doesn't want to be helped.

Bottom Line: All you can do is try to be there for him if/when he asks for help.

 Dear Doc:
When I was younger my father molested me. I was taken from my mother and him at 8 years old. Over the years I was mad about my mother staying with him and I was scared of him. I've forgave them a couple of years ago, and we talk every now and then. My father is now in an induced coma and in critical condition due to kidney failure. My boyfriend doesn't understand why I'm so sympathetic and worried, and at times I don't. Can you explain why I do and how to help my boyfriend understand?

Response: We all want our parents to love us, and we want to have a relationship with them, even when it is irrational.

Bottom Line: Emotions often aren't logical. He hasn't had your experience, so his mind can't wrap itself around your love for them. That's ok, as long he doesn't degrade you for how you feel.

 Dear Doc:
I am living with someone who is separated from his wife of 2 grown children, who is now having surgery soon, but has given me his Directive. Who has rights?

Response: You will need to ask the hospital or an attorney for an offical answer, but his wife may well have first rights.

Bottom Line: This is one of the reasons why completing a divorce can be the wisest decision. If he will not do that, it may be a sign for you to move on.

 Dear Doc:
My twenty six year old brother has always loved football, but now it is becoming an obsession. He goes to watch matches every weekend, even though the tickets are very expense, and he does not have money. His only friends are football fans,and the last girlfriend broke up with him because of his obsession. I want to help him, but he is older than me and he thinks it is none of my business what he does in his free time.please give me some advice.

Response: You can't fix the one who doesn't want help.

Bottom Line: Let it go, deciding it's not your problem. When he crashes and burns, be there for him. Then he might welcome your help.

 Dear Doc:
Mom has been more socially withdrawn lately and not feeling well. She became upset and angry when we were separated in the grocery store while shopping with the employees and others that attempted to assist her. what is wrong with her?

Response: You need to get her to a doctor right away.

Bottom Line: This could be caused by many things, so it's best to get her evaluated asap.

 Dear Doc:
I'm concerned about my 9 year old son. He is hearing voices and its got to the point where he is unsociable, seems depressed, is obsessed with going jogging and now at night the only way he can sleep is if he listens to music. His twin sister is fine, its just him. I don't know what to do.

Response: Something is very wrong.

Bottom Line: He needs a psychological evaluation asap.

 Dear Doc:
My 31 year old son still lives at home. I am 58 years old and divorced. My ex-husband refuses to have any thing to do with him. My son was diagnosed with learning disabilities at age 11 or 12.He was diagnosed as having ADD. The psychiatrist told me he was hypo-active which is opposite from most ADD children who fell into a hyper-active category. He did not graduate high school although he did attend to the 12th grade. He has tried to take his GED twice and passed all subjects except for the math. He is very weak in that area. His self-esteem is very poor. He has only held a few jobs that did not last very long. He did have a car accident when he was 26 years old that crushed his right hip. His recovery period took a couple of years although he has fully recovered. He cannot work doing hard labor such as construction. He worked in construction before the accident. He is a good person although I believe he is drinking alcohol to cope. I believe he is scared about his future and so am I. I paid for counseling at a near by faith based counseling center. I do believe the counseling helped him understand his personality type as well as how to be OK with himself and his personality type. He is a laid back person. He is friendly and kind. People seem to relax around him. Although, in the dog eat dog work place he cannot seem to thrive. Basically, I believe managers and work peers see him as weak and tend to "eat his lunch" so to speak. I do not know how to help him. I feel he is running out of options and this is causing a strain our relationship as well as putting a strain on my finances. What should I do?

Response: You might want to contact an attorney to see if he qualifies for long term social security disability.

Bottom Line: Chronic situations like this are very hard on you, the care giver. Maybe find a support group of others in the same situation, to shore yourself up.

 Dear Doc:
My fiance and i are both 51 and been together almost 2 years.the first 3 months of intimacy were amazing! since then he has come up with guite the excuses as to why he cant. now he's telling me he needs to go to the doctor because he has no sexual feelings down there. he has no problem at all masterbating off and on all night long! i've confronted him and he denies it completely! this betrayal is hurting me beyond my imagination. how can i deal with his denial before i have no choice but to end this relationship. i do love him very much.

Response: Denial is the problem for sure. This sounds like it might drive you out of the relationship. If he won't talk with you about it, you're done. This may be the tip of a bigger iceberg.

Bottom Line: He may not be who or what you think he is, and if true, he may know that you will leave if everything is uncovered.

 Dear Doc:
When my sister died Dec 2010, my brother in law and I became really close. We spent almost 4 years supporting each other, doing this together and with my niece and nephew, and sharing memories. I am very close to his adult children and he is close to my remaining siblings. We contemplated being together (sex wasn't an issue following his prostate cancer, which I supported him through) - companionship and family remained the most important to us. Also, his children made it clear early on that our living together would be unacceptable, so I insisted we remain sister and brother in law and not be intimate, although there were times that we were affectionate because we both needed love and I do love my brother in law. We are in our 60's. I am divorced since 1984 and currently recovering from cancer, so even more reluctant to be involved with anyone. Unfortunately, not only have we lost my sister to cancer, I lost an older brother in 1999 and my oldest brother (72) is currently in a medical-induced-coma from a complicated cancer surgery and may not survive. I recently introduced my brother in law to my best friend (since 2nd grade). She and I share every detail of our lives daily. They began dating and my brother in law is showering her with gifts, phone calls and affection. I believe I am jealous. I had a fantasy that the three of us would be companions and do things together. Last night my brother in law indicated he is upset that she tells me about his advances. During our 4 years of companionship, my brother in law dated another woman and I had no problem with that and even attented social activities with them both, though if she called when I was visiting overnight staying in his apt. over the garage, he would leave the room and I suspect he did not want her to know I was there. Bottom line, I do not want to lose my long time friendships with my BOI or my BFF, but it is clear that the threesome issue is not working. How do I handle this without completely backing out of their lives?

Response: Love and friendship are different. Maybe speak with both of them individually, so that the air can be cleared.

Bottom Line: Your friendships are long and dear. Hopefully you can all work together to maintain them, so that your jealousy can subside.

 Dear Doc:
I keep hallucinating about my boyfriend and a girl, whom he has known for a long time before he met me, getting together later in the future and having a happy everafter.They were never together, and nothing ever happened between them. she lives far away and they aren't even in contact with each other. The idea is very absurd. And there's literally nothing that even implies that anything might ever happen between them. But i'm stuck on the idea and it hurts. I keep dreaming about it, and on some occasions i make a story in my mind and it grows bigger, and it becomes an issue and i start crying. Even though i know none of it is even true. I feel they have some kind of emotional link that i can never find out about. I told him my thoughts, and he has been assuring me that whatever is going on is in my head, and isn't even close to reality. But i still cant get it out. And it's ruining our relationship. For no reason. How do i stop thinking like that? How do i stop the dreams and get the idea out of my head? I'm 22 btw, And ive noticed that i always have "that one girl" idea i'm stuck on, in every relationship i've had. What's wrong with me?

Response: You are irrationally obsessing, and sound like you are driven by insecurity.

Bottom Line: Get yourself to a therapist. There are ways that they can help you to eliminate this type of thinking.

 Dear Doc:
After 23 years of being together my husband of two years bought a home with his father. I wasn't happy about it and he and I both have been unhappy. He got mad at me the other day and said get the f out. I moved out but still love him. He said he is overwhelmed with house responsibilities and can't keep me happy. He has been stonewalling me in the past few months. He said he wants to get back together, but wants a break from me. I pressure him to communicate, but he doesn't want to. Does my husband love me, or is he stringing me along?

Response: Sure sounds like a string to me.

Bottom Line: You deserve better, don't you think? You can't make the other person talk, so you should consider your options with him out of the picture. It might be best for you in the long run!

 Dear Doc:
I have been with my boyfriend for 4 years now. We have known each other for 17 years. We lost contact for a few years and then reconnected. In that time he had a son. We started living together immediately 4 years ago. Not once in this 4 years have I met his dad and his step-mom nor has he even seen them in 5 years. He usually makes plans to see them atleast once a year. With his divorce and everything going on he just hasnt been able. My boyfriend made plans with ne to go see his dad and step-mom finally since I have never met them. Two days later he says hes taking his son. We will only be there for 4 days. I immediately said I;m not going if your son is. I feel his dad and step-mom havent seen there son or grandson in 5 years that they are not going to give a flying hoot if I'm there or not. Am I wrong for this?

Response: Yes.

Bottom Line: Go already! If that's what you want to do. It's time to break the ice and move on with your new family configuration. To know you is to love you, right?!

 Dear Doc:
I'm 18 years old. Have had artificial lashes before. A few days ago i saw a picture on the internet of an eye that has a disease due to artificial lashes. The photo was very scary and now i can't stop thinking about it. Everytime my eye itches i feel like i have contracted this disease. How do i get over this feeling? I find it hard to even sleep now. I think about this picture everytime. Please help me doctor.

Response: Don't wear the lashes any more.

Bottom Line: Go to a Doctor to be tested, to be sure you don't have the disease.

 Dear Doc:
67 yr. olds, not cohabitating, in a monogamous relationship for 8+ yrs. his wife court ordered him to leave 10 yrs ago. I met him w/in the year, as his voice coach. Began to date 1 year after his being my client. He is still married; calls her his technical wife; he does not want divorce for financial reasons--she is ok w/ $ support, 1/2 ownership of a house. They talk by phone frequently and when adult daughter is home (inc all holidays) they 'act' like family although he never stays over night. He says he is committed to me. He knows my adult children & spouses (I am divorced); I have never met his spouse or daughter; they do not know of me . He says he doesn't want to rock the boat, so he also helps with the house infrequently and gives support/help as needed. I know/ met many of his friends, who knew his wife before he left the marital home. He is at my house daily & sleeps here nightly but leaves in wee hours to feed cat, dress for work. No money is joined; he pays for almost all together times, while I buy all groceries. I am writing a book & he has become extremely concerned that I will "violate confidentialities in our relationship ---that readers will know it's him--- even if written without negative intent. He is controlling (I understand he always has been) & if countered personally says he wants "to go home--his condo", but I learned he needs to know he's still wanted. Time to leave, after so much time? Neither of us talk marriage, but will talk of future events/ times together. He is not a communicator! He pulls legal behaviors out often enough (like not answering questions directly or when asked); he is attorney that is no longer making expected monies (says makes approx $100,000./yr.). I receive no alimony.... nothing from ex abusive alcoholic brilliant manipulative spouse. Crooked divorce. Present man by my side when I was treated for cancer and during (even as I write) recovery. Does not know my financial status, but I believe he assumes I have A LOT more than I do. Does help physically at my house; never buys for house but will offer items he has but does not want. Really does not want me attending his church more than couple times a year---I have had (until 1yr ago) my own church. What say you?

Response: It was time to leave a long time ago.

Bottom Line: Better to be alone and content than to be coupled and frustrated, no? c

 Dear Doc:

Response: I don't know. Best way to find out is to decently but directly ask him.

Bottom Line: We all know that assumption can get us into trouble. By asking, you'll find out if he is still there for you, or if it's time to move on. Both options have an upside.

 Dear Doc:
My son married a young woman who adopted one of 5 children which all were her cousins. Different fathers all were born with crack cocaine addiction. He's now 2-1/2 she fostered him from age 2 months. Between me and my husband we raised 6 children and all children are different I have never dealt with any child like this one. He has such loving moments, but they are definitely not as often as before and the sweetness only last a short time. Then he's hitting, biting, spitting, pulling hair, hurting other children. His siblings take abuse from him, 10 and 1. He hurts animals too. No matter how much love you show him, or time outs, constantly looking for something or someone to hurt. It's scary, and sad because I can only imagine what he must feel inside. He's just out of control, I fear what he is going to be capable of as he gets older. He is always mad and will slap you punch you, spits in your face. He doesn't speak in sentences, he's learning words but he's smart, and knows what he is doing. He can't help it, but something needs to be done or I fear the worse. He's so cute and gets positive attention, but once he's around anyone for a little while the bad behavior comes out. He's exhausting and I love him so much everyone does but it doesn't seem to help him showing him kindness, spending quality time, trying to teach him to understand right from wrong he always chooses to do wrong. Is this due to the drugs? A chemical imbalance from the 9 months the biological mom provisioned him with cocaine, god only know what else. He's been tested by a pediatric dr who took something from his bone marrow to check his DNA for disabilities and said he was fine. That was done early on, maybe around 1? It's so hard to be around him without going home and crying, just very stressful and tiring situation. Especially when the drs tell them they don't test/observe this behavior until he's 5? I'm not saying he needs to be medicated but we all love him and want to find out how to help him in healthy ways. He's going to either hurt himself, or someone else severely. I feel it's only a matter of time. I'm the grand mother, my son is good with him and very consistent with the way he disciplines him w time outs, pop on the fanny, not hard he minds him more than anyone. But it's a constant battle, no resolutions just a temporary fix, then he's back to looking for someone to hurt. He's 2 but hits hard, and always sneaky and looking to cause turmoil. It breaks my heart but it also makes me worry for others especially the sister who is one. What suggestions do you have, or possible insist or information that can help? Desperate grand mother. Thank you for anything that gives us hope.

Response: Unfortunately, this is probably an outgrowth of the drug addicted pregnancy, but you may need medical professionals to substantiate this.

Bottom Line: Three things affect him: 1) His genetic inheritance has probably been compromised by drugs in the womb; 2) but it sounds like the environment in which he is being raised is healthy; and finally, 3) as he becomes an adult he will choose whether to fight off the demons of his past or let them conquer them. So continue to do the best you can by loving and guiding him, while getting the best medical specialist help available, because it sounds like the deck is stacked against him.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend and I have lived together for a year and been dating for 4 years. About 6 weeks ago i realized he smoked weed,which i am totaly against! He promised me he wouldn't anymore and since then i have caught him around 9 times. On top of that all of his mom's side of the family treat him bad. They bully him, call him names, put him down, and worse things than this. either way me and my family are the only ones that support him. we all love him and care for him so much, but what's really bothering me the most is the fact that he keeps on choosing to spend time with the people that do bad things, and push him to do bad things rather than to spend time with me. yes it sounds selfish, but we literally live parallel lives. he doesn't talk to me as much anymore or care. he makes me seem like the controling one, and puts me down all the time.

Response: I'm trying to understand why you are still with him.

Bottom Line: Loving him isn't enough. He is not stepping up and doing his part. Don't you think it would be healthier to move on from this dysfunctional mess??

 Dear Doc:
My brother in law lives with me and is a drunk!!! He's been an alcoholic since he was 14. He is 65, he never showers, and he lies all the time. Where can we place him permanently, where he won't be able to drink?

Response: Nowhere, unless he is homicidal, suicidal, or non-functioning on a street corner. Even then the police can only hold him for 72 hours against his will. He will only stop drinking if he wants to. There are treatment centers, but he has to choose to go, and he has to pay them lots of cash.

Bottom Line: Your mistake was letting him stay for so long in the first place. Unfortunately you have enabled him to stay drunk because being with you has protected him from the natural consequences of his unhealthy behavior. At this point you probably can't bear the thought of just turning him loose on the street, but that's what should have happened decades ago.

 Dear Doc:
My fiance broke up with me 7 times in the last 5 months, every time was for a different reason that made no sense to me, but within a few weeks we were back together. He was always a very social drinker i myself am the biggest light weight on the planet, but he always maintained himself until Feb. he starting attending AA meetings since he stopped drinking his behavior/emotions have been out of control. i suspected bi polar disorder based on my research and his family history. he agreed to go to the Dr. and as of March 27, 2014 he was diagnosed "Manic Depression triggered by stress resulting in severe anxiety attacks" i understand this is alot for him to take in,we met today I told him that i am here for him and that he doesn't have go through this alone. He said that he has a lot to think about alot of changes to go through, then he said to me that when he sees me he gets this feeling in his gut that he needs to run from me, and that is the same feeling he had the last time he broke up with me. that hurt me to the core, 2 weeks prior he was telling me "I am the only one that has been there for him, and that I am the best thing that has happen to him" I was the one person he could turn to, now he feels like he needs to run from me. I am devastated is this how he truly feels? am I the cause of his anxiety? Thank you in advance for your response and advice.

Response: After seven times, it's best to go the other way.

Bottom Line: No, you are not the cause of his anxiety. He sounds very troubled, so you will do well to steer clear if you want peace in your own world.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other exclusively since early August of 2013. He has been seperated and living in different states from his wife for well over a year now. She cheated on him numerous times and emotionally abused him during their 20 years of marriage. He has repeatedly told her it's over, and this last weekend told her it's over and that he is living with me now, and that she needs to move on. He even took some clothes that she had left at his old place back to her. She won't stop messaging him and acts like they are still going to get back together. My question is, wouldn't it be for the best to break off all contact with her so she can move on? I told him as long as he has any kind of contact with her he's just letting her believe there is still a chance for them. We have even bought a house together. I really need some advice.

Response: It's always dangerous to date someone who is married. If they have kids, parting may be extremely difficult. If not, it can still be very very difficult for him to break patterns that have been in place for over two decades. Remember, psychologically speaking, he has stayed with her for some reason, be it guilt, a sense of responsibility, etc.

Bottom Line: Cutting off all contact could make it worse, because she may then go postal, and make his life a living hell. So much depends on her state of mind. He knows her best. It will be good if he can lay out a sensible long term plan to get her to adjust to his leaving. Filing for divorce would be a first tangible step.

 Dear Doc:
I met a guy two weeks ago, who was out waiting for his flight that had been delayed. We talked the entire time at this bar and upon leaving I couldn't just allow him to sleep in the car, so I invited him back, letting him know that sex was not going to be offered in this deal. My power was out and we cuddled in my candle light room! Who can blame me that it lead to a little kissing and touching, but nothing more! At 4 a.m I took him to his car and he left for his trip across crountry for his break. He asked to take me to lunch when his flight arrived back, but family happened to be visiting so I was unable to go. Now he wants to come visit for a weekend, so we have continued to talk. Along with texting pretty often, he occasionally sends me some "inappropriate" snap chats... Is he just interested in sex? But if so, why is he putting in so much effort? He certainly doesn't need to drive 3 hours to get laid? I can't figure out his intentions. Maybe he does just want a booty call. I am talking him up to wanting more in mind, because I really like him! I don't know, but if his intentions are not pure, I'm not sure I want to spend a weekend with him. He did give me dates he would be able to visit... What do I do?

Response: Every man wants sex. But that doesn't mean he doesn't want to get to know you better.

Bottom Line: So give it a whirl. You can always say no, right? And who knows, you may be the one who ends up wanting sex!

 Dear Doc:
My wife's first husband died of cancer, but the last few months of his life he cried because he was sad that he let his mother and sister manipulate their marriage with their money, which they have because his dead father worked his butt off to provide for them and was a very smart businessman. Now my wife, who never told her 2 children how their marriage was manipulated by them, and how they tried to drive a wedge between their son and my now wife,mainly because they never thought my wife was good enough for their son. But the wedge and manipulation continues with them trying to portray my wife as a bad mother, and feels that it will continue to the point of her kids not speaking to my wife. We live in Ga., the kids and in-laws live in NY. How do I reassure my wife or what do I do?

Response: As men, we often want to fix. Sometimes that's not wise or possible.

Bottom Line: If your wife wants to talk about it, do a lot of listening. Women often help each other by just listening and comiserating. Only your wife can affect any fixes.

 Dear Doc:
I had I guess a semi friendship/relationship with a guy for 3 1/2 yrs. he was always their for me and was a great friend to me. He is a Muslim and I'm not. About a month ago he told me he had a wife that was coming back into town but didn't want to let me go. He said it had something to do with paperwork im not sure what because we didn't get to talk about it. We had an argument maybe a couple of weeks after and we haven't spoken in over a month except for me to get my key to my house back. I asked him were we still cool he said yes. He said I acted really crazy ( which I did) and that is not the norm for me. He said your still my girl. I haven't spoken to him since then. He is a very hard worker and has a lot on his plate. I'm giving him space to do what he needs to do but I miss him so much. I want to call him but am afraid he may not answer my call. I know I shouldn't but I just want to know he's okay that's all. I told him I miss our friendship. This is really hurting me and I have tried to move on but I can't. I just work to not think about things. I fell in love with him. He told me he cared about me and that he was growing closer to me. Why is it so easy for him to not talk to me? We never had arguments up until that point. I was hurt. I even apologized because I meant to just ask him a question and it went wrong. I know this sounds crazy but please help me...

Response: Unfortunately, a lot of men have been raised not to be talkers.

Bottom Line: Don't force it. Try to let go of him. Maybe then he will come your way. If not, it's time to move on.

 Dear Doc:
I am a 63 yr old woman... Eighteen months ago, I met and fell deeply in love with a man, twelve yrs my junior. We have so much in common, he is an amazing communicator, kind, compassionate and giving. We never had a harsh word between us... After six months of bliss when by his own admission he was on the verge of asking me to live with him we suddenly broke up. Yet we never had the break up talk. I employed and stuck to the no contact rule and after 30 days he began coming around again. Long story short, here we are more than a year later and we are best friends... He calls me several times a day often and we talk for several hours while he is traveling for his job...we are best friends... This also he has said... But I have never asked and we have never spoken about the what the heck happened! In addition, he spends a lot of time with me... We go out...hand out watching movies or dinner...he always kisses me good bye and embraces me and aways calls me sweetie, etc. and yes... I know you're wondering, we are intimate from time to time. However, it is not the focus of of relationship... Far from it! I am still in love with him and I keep wondering where his head is at... Could it possibly be that he wants to get back together but either doesn't realize how I feel or is afraid to broch the subject? He could easily be dating but it's like we are a couple without the label. I should mention our friends and even strangers think we are together! I don't want to lose his friendship and I fear if I were to be honest with him and tell him how I feel and ask if he is interested in being together again that I will lose his friendship. Any advise is appreciated! Thank you.

Response: A sure relationship killer can be the proverbial "where are we at in the relationship" question.

Bottom Line: If he's not brave enough to tell you how he feels, then you have to proceed as if he isn't interested.

 Dear Doc:
I was going out with a bipolar woman for 4 months and she said she has been separated for 8 years, and always has an excuse about it. I saw her phone and realized that she was texting dirty messages to a guy, and when I asked her about it she freaked out and said it was nothing to worry about. I'm not so sure that she can be trusted, and I do love her and care about her, but I don't want to be taken for granted and lied to by anyone. Help!

Response: When you lose trust, you've usually lost the ball game. This sounds like a set-up for you to get hurt.

Bottom Line: It's time to move on. There are others out there that will treat you better!

 Dear Doc:
My long distance boyfriend is mexican american. He went to Ohio to help his family and now is staying with them. He says he wants to marry me but he never calls just texts and that isn't much. He used to be more loving and even would talk about sex with me but even that has stopped because he said he is very busy and he works long hours. He never has time for me. His address came back to a girls name and phone number not his family and when I ask him about it he says I'm tripping then he wont talk to me at all for a while. when I'm about to give up he trips and says he wants me but without the bull. How can I find out if there is someone there or is he really with his family?

Response: Run like the wind!

Bottom Line: This is NOT the kind of man you want to give yourself to. You deserve SO MUCH better!

 Dear Doc:
I have a 27 year old son who has been suffering from depression for at least 10 years. He was a happy child with lots of friends. At about age 13, I noticed a difference in him. He started withdrawing and seemed sad most of the time. My husband and I tried everything possible to help him. I think he may have been sexually abused. he denies it. To my knowledge he has never dated and has low self esteem. Should I ask him again?

Response: Asking probably won't help, until he's ready to talk. I assume you have had him to doctors. Given that it started around puberty there may be some hormonal causes, which can be treated medically. I also assume that you have tried to get him into therapy. Depression is very treatable, but no one can help if he doesn't want help (unless it gets so bad that he is hopitalized). Even then, by law he can't be kept against his will for more than several days.

Bottom Line: Make sure that you and your husband get help for yourselves as well. This can be VERY hard on parents and the family, given it's chronic nature. Nothing is tougher than when we feel powerless to make things better!

 Dear Doc:
i live in new york, and my mother died when i was being born, and i think its my fault. i punish myself for it by not eating alot, and i don't really talk to people, and i snap and use language when someone i don't know asks me something nice.

Response: It is irrational to think that it is your fault.

Bottom Line: Go talk to a professional. Don't waste your life away. Respect your mother by putting this ill-health to bed, while developing a healthy life.

 Dear Doc:
I caught my bipolar girlfriend texting dirty to a guy on her phone and lying before. Should I waist anymore time?

Response: No

Bottom Line: It's time to move on, once trust is lost.

 Dear Doc:
I am 17 years old, and I just feel so helpless lately. I have become extremely sensitive and have lost a lot of my self confidence. I am extremely family oriented and love my family and would do anything for them, but sometimes I feel like they don't understand me. I do everything right. I am doing the ib program, I study, I don't have a boyfriend, I do everything that makes them happy, and keeps me relatively content. I just feel like Im lacking love from my mom, like she will never kiss me or say anything good about me. I always have to force her to say something nice about me, but she always compares me to negative people, or says I do negative things like talking rudely at times, and I try and talk to her and explain to her that I talked that way to her because there was a reason or something happened that really pissed me off, but she doesn't listen to me or acknowledge that im actually really hurt, or what caused me to respond rudely. its as if she doesn't care about me.. I want her to understand where im coming from, but she doesn't, and she doesn't care sometimes. I feel really helpless and I just want to die because I can't take it. school is hard enough, and I stay away from peer pressure, drugs etc. because I just find those things stupid. like im not sure, I just feel really lost. I use to love to read books, and now I don't even have time for that, but once ib is over I will have time for those things I love. its only a few more months left till the ib program will be over, but what I am saying doesn't make a lot of sense. I honestly just feel so lost and helpless and I just want someone to listen to me and love me. I just want someone to be there and say wow your working hard good job, or just show some affection, something, anything. what do you suggest I do to cope with everything? my mom is very controlling, and she likes everything her way. but I think she's right like 90% of the time. everything she tells me is always right, and she always wants the best for me, but I want her to love me or be the daughter she wants! I just feel really helpless. im not sure what I am exactly asking for, maybe some advice?

Response: Give yourself a break girl! Maybe you NEED more time with boyfriends and girlfriends!

Bottom Line: Your mom is not helping by being so overbearing. You are a great person. Don't let all the negativity of home weigh you down! You can't make mom different, so spend more time with those who truly appreciate all the wonderment you have to offer!

 Dear Doc:
I've been in a long term relationship with my bf, and we have been living together for 2 years. His niece's birthday is coming up, and I've been uncomfortable to attend because I haven't received an invite. However, my bf feels that it makes no difference, because we count as one. He was at his mum's whilst discussing this over the phone to me (how wise), when his mother overheard and lost her temper, resulting in shouting in the background that I am no longer invited. (Um I didn't get an invitation in the first place). My question is; am I right to expect an invite in the first place, or am I to blame here for causing unnecesary drama?

Response: You are not to blame. It's his mother who has the problem. Rise above it all, knowing that you would never want to go where you are not welcome anyway. Above all, do not take it personally!

Bottom Line: It would be nice to be invited, but that is out of your control. Just enjoy your boyfriend. Whether his mother will become supportive is a matter of time. Just don't let her behavior get in the way of your relationship with your boyfriend!

 Dear Doc:
There was this girl (Junior by a year) I had a crush on during my high school but never really spoke to her. Time quickly passed and I graduated. I did actually try looking for her for a few months after graduating but never could find her. Eventually I got into a relationship with another girl. Two years ago, I was walking towards a store in my aunt's locality when I suddenly came across this girl from high school walking in my direction. She too recognized me and we spoke for a while (It was the first time I actually spoke to her!). We exchanged numbers and parted. We started messaging each other frequently and became really close friends. Meanwhile, my relationship was in bad shape and soon after it ended. Let me be clear that there was no link between this girl and my relationship going bad! I was very disturbed during that time and this girl stood by me being very supportive. I soon fell for her and ended up madly in love with her despite knowing she was in a relationship with some guy much older to us. She was with that guy even before I'd first seen her in high school! He's older to her by about five years. However, I tried my best to control my feelings and not confuse her or anything but I just couldn't. I ended up confessing my feelings for her one day. She'd told me it wouldn't go anywhere as she loves that guy and couldn't possibly leave him. She ended up scared for me that I'd end up hurt because of how crazily I love her. She tried avoiding me but couldn't as we were very close and had gotten really fond of each other. We became closer over time and she met my entire family too. She loved everyone and confessed to me that this was actually her dream and I'm the guy she always dreamed of but it was too late to do anything. Over the passing days, she expressed in many instances how better I am than her guy. I really love her a lot and was willing to go all the way to getting married to her. Even introduced her to all my close people. Our fondness for each other just kept increasing and we got a little intimate a couple of times. I know this in every sense means she cheated on her guy with me but I for a fact know the guilt that troubled her everyday. I'd asked her to make a choice many times but couldn't ever get her to firmly stand on any as she was in a very important phase of life regarding her career and I didn't want to add to the pressure so she asked for time and I'd given her time to decide. On one side, she couldn't let her guy of so many years go and on other side she said she couldn't be happy without me. She was being torn apart. Earlier this month, she confessed everything to her guy and we three met up and spoke. She was pushed to make a choice by him and she chose him that day. He asked her to cease from keeping any contact with me or my folks. I heard the next day from a mutual friend that her guy has forgiven her and agreed to forget everything and start over, but she's really sad and depressed and that she's been crying all day. On a selfless note. I believe he must be a good guy for forgiving her and trying to make it work again. I really don't know if I'm a better guy and can take better care of her but I can swear to god, she means the world to me. I still love her and somewhere deep within, am hoping that she'll come back to me. Today I heard from a friend that she still hasn't been able to cope with my absence and is really sad. I don't want to call her and trouble her again nor introduce complications in her life again. I truly want to see her happy and can do anything to make sure she's fine. I never meant for anything intentionally. Just wanna make sure she's the same cheerful girl again, even if it means for me to let her go. How can I set this right? I'm the one who did wrong, right?

Response: No, it takes two.

Bottom Line: Let her be. Go on with your life. If she comes to you, then it's a go.

 Dear Doc:
I am wondering if I should follow my feelings on something. Had a very, very long affair with a man and was deeply in love with him. It ended on a bad note and I have not seen or had contact with him for a number of years. I understand he is divorced. I have a rare incurable illness and I would like to see him once more. There are some things I would like to tell him while I am able. Should I contact him?

Response: Absolutely!

Bottom Line: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Better to have loved and failed, than never to have loved at all.

 Dear Doc:
last year we found out our teenage daughter was self harming; it has been a roller coaster in our home ever since. We have tried every approach, therapy still in DBT, medication, making sure we are validating her but sometimes i feel like she is taking advantage of us. She is on the cheer team, student council, a diversity club, not to mention 2 AP classes... i told her that sounded like a full plate and gave her some calendars to organize her time. she is fine until it's homework time, she puts off to the very last minute then acts like she is going to die (literally overwhelmed and suicidal) even though the day before hanging out with her boyfriend she was just fine. I do not know the right things to say or do that will not make the suicidal thoughts or self harm worse, while at the same time putting my foot down to say enough is enough. She would rather give up AP classes and do online classes to keep cheer and the boyfriend...i dont see this as a wise choice at all and i am having a hard time letting that be her decision. I did tell her that if she drops the AP classes she will also be dropping cheer (this sport has wrecked her self image in so many ways... thats a whole story in itself) to free up her time and have a balanced schedule with social life and homework. I think this is a good compromise...thoughts?

Response: She's rebeling against your attempts to control her for sure.

Bottom Line: You may have to do more letting go, so that when she truly makes her own decisions she will have to live with the joy or pain that goes with them. She will make mistakes, and regret them later. Most of us do.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I decided to watch a tv show together and I started having a bad headache and he got mad and decided that he didn't want to watch the show, but he didn't tell me. He just left me hanging, so to speak. What does this mean?

Response: Why don't you ask him?

Bottom Line: It could mean that he's a bad husband! But it could also mean many other things. We can't assume, so it's best to ask!

 Dear Doc:
My 15 year old daughter is spending too much time with an 18 year old boyfriend, who just graduated from h.s. How do I slow down this relationship without alienating her?

Response: Unfortunately you probably can't.

Bottom Line: The more you try to keep them apart, the more they will want to be together. Go the other way, and have him over all the time. Maybe she will see his downside, or you will see his upside.

 Dear Doc:
Is it appropriate for a father (my husband) to confide in his 20 something year old daughter about our problems in our marriage. The marriage is a second one for both of us and I feel like an outsider, and do not feel comfortable with my husband's daughters, as I feel they know too much about our relationship now. Am I overreacting?

Response: You are not.

Bottom Line: Triangles are almost always bad for relationships, usually pitting one side against another.

 Dear Doc:
My wife and I have been married for 26 years. She is post menopausal and has ceased hormone replacement therapy. Until she ceased the hormone therapy I had been able to give her orgasms with normal vaginal intercouse a few times in our marriage but was able to give her orgasms with foreplay involving her clitoris in most sexual encounters. Since she ceased hormone therapy she has lost interest is sex and has become so tight vaginally that she needs K/Y jelly for penetration by me. She has bled after penetration a few times and I have told her that I love her and am content to hold and kiss her and otherwise show my affection and need for her physically with no penetration. She now refuses my efforts to bring her pleasure by stimulating her external genitalia and resists all but the most perfunctory morning and evening kisses. At the same she has undergone surgery to improve the appearance of face and breasts and is buying many more new clothes. She has a big career that I strongly support, that requires a lot travel. However, she has begun scheduling business meetings with a male colleague from another city at a hotel in his city. I have noticed she has purchased K/Y jelly which she no longer used with me and is taking it on her trips. She also reports to me that she is bleeding and cannot engage in even genital stimulation of the external genitalia by me because it hurts. Early in our marriage I discovered that she had cheated on me twice but have long believed that she was over with that. When our recent troubles started and she was undergoing her appearance changes I feared that she may have tired of me and went to a (female) marriage counselor to see what I could do . My wife saw no reason to go as she saw our problems as being due job related stress and scheduling issues. The counselor thought that my wife was maybe cheating. She also suggested possible remedies (keep supporting her career, romance her more, and suggest other forms of sexual expression). I had a hard time buying that she was cheating but really worked on the remedies and also talked to her about the issues. Things have not improved and I am losing my sexual interest in her and am losing my self respect. Yesterday she left for three days for a business meeting with the colleague and a visit with friends in the other city taking with her a new tube of K/Y jelly.

Response: Sure sounds fishy. If nothing else, as you say, you are harming yourself. You need to take better care of yourself, and move beyond her if she continues to be so secretive.

Bottom Line: If she won't be straight with you, this marriage may not last.

 Dear Doc:
After getting married and pregnant soon after, my husband would take off for days at a time. I understand that he had a problem with alcohol and would explain that that was the reason he was gone all those days. I can't help but think that he has cheated on me numerous times. When he was out drinking, he was gone. No contact of any sort, nobody knowing where he was, just disappeared. And he would never really talk about what he did, just that he was drinking. He denies it all the time, but is it very possible that he cheated?

Response: It certainly is.

Bottom Line: You deserve better. Secrets hurt a marriage. Hopefully you can grow stronger, so that you can better take care of your needs, and be in a relationship that is more equal.

 Dear Doc:
My daughter is 16 and just came from the club season of volleyball as the top passer(the lebro). She tried out for the high school team and got on as the fourth DS. Two girls above her are from her club team and were below her there. Her self esteem is gone. The coach likes the other girls better and supports them. Results are, now my daughter has no love for the game and no confidence in her skill, and it shows. She wants to quit it and I feel she has given up. She says she is tired of the competition. The coaches are pitting the girls against each other. It is breaking my daughter, and the others are taking advantage. How do I help her? I don't like her quitting because she has a boyfriend. She would do nothing else, so I trying to keep her involved in something.

Response: High school sports can be very tough, and certainly not fair. I would want her to finish the season, given that she has already signed up, to learn from the whole season experience. But in the end, it is her call, even if she regrets it later. Hopefully her self esteem is built on many varying things, rather than just volleyball. Maybe she has been playing for you, rather than herself (not good).

Bottom Line: As parents, nothing can be harder than letting go of control, and watching our kids learn from their mistakes.

 Dear Doc:
My child wanted to play football, and when the team was picked he didn't get the position he wanted. Now he wants to quit. should I let him?

Response: No way.

Bottom Line: You make a commitment to play for the team, not only if you get your first position choice. To let him quit would set a very bad example for his future. He needs to hang in there. In so doing, he will learn something about persistence, and will no doubt receive some unexpected benefits from keeping his word.

 Dear Doc:
In approximately the last 6 months my mother has gone from being a business woman, loving Mom to most of her children, and an active part of society to a very angry, paranoid reclusive. Any suggestions as to what could cause this? Some background which I'm not sure if its relevant or not, is that I have a younger brother (in his 40's) that is a drug addict. He is her baby. He was sent to prison for his addiction which was very hard on the family, and especially her. Right before that I had another younger brother that nearly died but didn't because of an infection he developed that he didn't get taken care of. As a result though, he lost a leg. In the last 4 years she has had approximately 8 surgeries. Could all of these very traumatic incidents have caused her actions now? Is this something that could be treatable and bring her back to us? At this point, she will not speak to anyone except my youngest brother (the addict). She has refused to see a Dr., will not answer her phone, etc... Can you offer me anything that might help?

Response: Certainly, all of those very traumatic incidents may be causing her current actions. If she won't go to the Doctor, you would do well to go to her Doctor for her. Someone who knows her history may be able to recommend a course of treatment.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, we typically can't help the person who doesn't want help, until it gets so bad that they can be admitted to the hospital, so don't be too hard on yourself as you try to help.

 Dear Doc:
You are a baby-sitter of your relative’s child who is 5 years old. He stays with you during the weekdays and goes back to his parents at weekends. Generally, he is a rather hyperactive child and you have a difficulty in keeping an eye on him all the time as you have other chores to do. He likes to play with sharp objects and power points and your verbal warnings have gone unheeded. As he is not your child, much as you would like to, you have refrained from spanking him. You also discover that his hyperactivity increases after every home visit. You have tried giving up baby-sitting this child but your relative say that you are indispensable. Find out how you can continue to baby-sit him without being too stressed out.

Response: If you want to quit, you should do so. No one is indispensible.

Bottom Line: If they so dearly want you to continue, then they must work with you to change his behavior, possibly via time-outs and positive reinforcement of desireable behaviors.

 Dear Doc:
So after 28 years of marriage i just found out that my wife had been cheating on me with her business partner from about '98 to '04. clearly, during this time she hid it extremely well as she had traveled extensively as a consequence of her business. the business (and thus, the affair) had ended roughly 9 years ago in a very ugly way. she had suffered through a deep depression and had sought therapy and healed for what i had thought was only the dissolution of a business, again, ignorant of any outside relationship. yet, since that time up to now, our relationship has grown in a very successful, positive way both spiritually and intimately. obviously, when i found out, my mind would reel back to curious events during those years confirming suspicions i had repressed back then. now i'm going thru my own reconciliation and 'healing' process. as such, my thoughts range from forgiveness and staying our course to considering divorce with all the collateral damage it would enc! ompass. when i ask or want to discuss it, she initially resists by admitting it was a very dark time in her life and from where she stands has healed herself as well as our marriage and would much rather i forget about it. actually, i can forgive, but i can never forget. i'm now left at a juncture where i hurt alone along side her limited understanding of how new this information is to me and how i deserve the same courtesy regardless of outcome. yes, it was a long time ago, but our marriage was compromised, and while it may appear i don't need to, i'm now having issues with trust. prior to my finding this out, she had actually suggested we renew our vows on our 30th anniversary. i don't know how i feel about that or anything now. am i wrong to want my own closure where ever that may lead? sorry to be so verbose.

Response: You are not wrong. Time does not heal all wounds.

Bottom Line: It may be difficult for your wife, but talking it out is the best way to put it to rest.

 Dear Doc:
My grand daughter is suddenly anxious when she goes to my son's house and cries for her mom. Tonight my son called and said she is pacing and asking for her mom. His ex said that the child is afraid of the frogs in the pond behind his house. Up untill two weeks ago she loved to go to daddy's and would talk to us on the phone for hours. She is four and her parents have been seperated for two years. She has a two year old brother. My son uses time out, never has used corporal punishment and is very patient. He recently lost his job and started working at a lower paying job. I noticed he was a little short with the kids because he was stressed. He usually is loving, patient and lets them have the run of the house and takes them where ever they want to go within reason. What could be causing this problem with her clinging to mommy and not wanting to be at daddy's house. What can both parents do to help. They are trying to work together and went to a county fair with the children hoping that would help.

Response: It's very positive that the parents are working together. Hopefully, these fears are not based on any fundamental trauma, but rather are passing childhood worries. They should take them seriously, and do all that they can to comfort her, including changing her visitation schedule temporarily.

Bottom Line: If the problem persists over time despite a lot of cooperation, it would be good to consult with a child therapist.

 Dear Doc:
I'm 25 yrs old and in luv with an incredibly successful 37yr old man who is emotionally unavailable. he cheats on me constantly with different women all the time, when he goes on 'business trips', and I'm left @home caring for his daughter from a prev. relationship. I fell pregnant twice, and both times he insisted and accompanied me to have termination. I'm @the point where I feel so hopeless and so lost. we live together, and financially there's nothing I lack, but emotionally I'm empty. plz can I have advice?

Response: This sounds like a very unhealthy relationship. Money can't buy you love or happiness.

Bottom Line: Why do you think it is that you stay with someone who treats you so poorly? Don't you think it might be time to leave, so that you can feel better about yourself?

 Dear Doc:
I have a four month old son and a great boy friend. He works long hours at night and sleeps at day time. Help please. Sometimes I am scared to be alone and I get so lonely and depressed, and I don't feel attractive any more. My boyfriend tries his hardest to help me. I feel like I'm going crazy. Postpartum maybe? Thank you.

Response: Postpartum depression is very real. Get to your doctor right away.

Bottom Line: Talk to other new moms. Infancy can be very very challenging for both of you. Get out of the house, and try to learn from others who have been through it before.

 Dear Doc:
My sister is under a lot of stress with the man she has been married to for 18 yrs. He hates her one daughter and her son and is always making my sister choose, and they fight about it all the time. She is at the point that the stress has made her mind go dead. She gets confused regularly, and he talks her into anything. She had left him for one week, then went back to him. We are trying to get her to divorce him, because he has made her life a living hell. How can I get through to her that it's time to move on, and try to get her life back together?

Response: Unfortunately, we can't help the person who doesn't want help.

Bottom Line:You may have to actually help her less, refusing to do anything more until she leaves him. Tough love is the hardest, but sometimes it's the only way.

 Dear Doc:
Marriage started with flock of lies flying from both sides. He, very controlling older than her 10 years, abusive and life is his way or the highway. Issue with this is he is full of hot water. Then he bounces back to the mr. nice. His spans are changing but this guy is something. What can you do with someone, whom can't maintain friends, does not have a clue about life and living a life that includes giving. Saying thank you is not in his vocabulary. Relationships are a waste of time. Obviously I am talking about my husband, and your first question will be, what the heck are you doing there. That is my question, and the answer is FEAR, life is nothing but FEAR, the fear of abandonment is HUGE. The FEAR of financial POVERty is huge, regardless of the fact that we are in poverty now, that he was laid off in 2008 and decided that there were no jobs so was on unemployment for 99 weeks. How do I leave a man that is this way, OR, is this the way that men are and I need to ask him? Thank you in advanced for any advice. (Thought I would tell you this is my third marriage, my mother was a long time alcoholic from my age of 7 to 22, that made it very rough for me), what is so wrong with be, and why the heck to I believe all of his put downs. What is wrong with me. I need help. I am the one that is freaking out, all I want is freedom.

Response: You are right. You DO need help.

Bottom Line:So go get it. Fear has killed you. Right now you are emotionally dead. It doesn't have to be that way, but your change begins with you. You can do it! Don't look back!

 Dear Doc:
My daughter has a husband that is in and out of the hospital monthly for the last five years. He doesn't work and because he is chronically sick, depends heavily on her for mental, physical and emotional support. Because of his illness, he is on narcotics that he self medicates with. My daughter gave him a year to wean off the drugs. The year is up at the end of this month, and it doesn't look like she is going to break it off. His medical bills were over 1 million dollars last year, so they filed for bankruptcy. It seems like this is the perfect time to break the relationship because she no longer inherits his debt. How do I tactfully encourage her to leave him? She talks about leaving him, and I want to explain the advantages of leaving him, since he is still more dependent on drugs. I told her that her father and I will support her until she gets back on her feet, but will not support both of them together. She is 40 years old, has been married for 13 years, and is no longer a wife but instead has become his caregiver. I don't want to create a wedge between her and I, but want her to stick with her timeline of 'she would leave him if he wasn't trying to wean himself off of drugs'. She lives in a different state.

Response: Because it's her timeline, and not yours, it's her call. Maybe it's time to put tact aside, and tell her straight up that you think she should leave.

Bottom Line: Is that what she wants? Is there still love? What are her thoughts on "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health"?

 Dear Doc:

Response: This sounds way too dangerous.

Bottom Line: Don't move. Try to move on with new and healthier friends, because this is just too too toxic.

 Dear Doc:
i have been with my boyfriend for 4 years now. at first i was fighting for him; he did not want to be with me he just wanted to be friends. i didnt give up and after a while he told me he liked me and asked me out. I am 21 years old and he is 23. he smokes weed and also has adhd. when we were first together it was great. we were both very happy, we had an amazing sex life and all we could do was make each other laugh. after about 2 years this all changed. we started having sex less and less to the point that i just don't feel like it anymore, yet he still asks every day, 100% of the time. i am still very attracted to him and i love him very much, but his attitude is making it hard for me. as i said alex smokes weed and has ADHD, so i wonder if this makes things worse. it could be something as little as i forgot to buy something he asked me to, or i had an innocent conversation with another male FRIEND. He flips out and threatens leaving me, threatens punching out the other friend or worse. he just loses control of what he says. he has never hit me, but he has come out with "bitch, slut, whore, hoe, dog, dirty" names like that, and he has pushed me up against a wall and thrown me onto a bed. And after threatening leaving me he tells me i better not go anywhere and gets back nice again. His brother once used this quote to describe him: "he's like a huge roller coaster at a theme park, and we're all along for the ride, we just have to work out the twists and turns." these day's i'd agree. when he isn't around or is in one of his moods i want to leave him, but when he is around (and in his GOOD mood) i can't bring myself to do it. I have alot of financial problems at the moment. i don't want to feel like i am relying on him and that i can't go anywhere, but i'm scared that's the only reason i feel compelled to stay here. i hope it is because i love him. i need help. i can't make any sense of this.

Response: From the outside it's real clear. This is an unhealthy and dangerous relationship.

Bottom Line: You need to leave him asap, before you become permanently injured, in more ways than one.

 Dear Doc:
There is a history of depession & bipolar disorder in my family. My father was diagnosed in his 50's, as was I. I have a 22 year old son, who is very bright, and studying medicine. I am concerned that he too may be vulnerable to this. There is no history in my husband's family. But I worry for my son; he is very sensitive, outgoing, drinks and parties. He is not aware of my diagnosis, and I do not know if I should make him aware of this diagnosis, via being more susceptible if drinking. He can fly off the handle easily. He is an only child.

Response: Definitely tell him. He deserves to know. You would tell him if the family had a history of diabetes or heart disease, right?

Bottom Line: The more he knows, the better he can manage his world. It may be tough for him at first, but in the long run it should help him.

 Dear Doc:
I have a son who is a straight A student in college and high school, and is very attractive. For awhile we thought he might be gay (we were fine with that; he knows our stand on equal rights for all humans). My son confessed to us that he is haunted with images of beastiality, and has been since puberty, in his dreams. How do we help him with this? He would like clinical help, but I don't think there are psychologists/psychiatrists that can help with this.

Response: I would disagree. Shop around, and I believe that you can find a therapist who will help. Trust your instinct with the therapist, and don't stay if if doesn't feel like a good fit. You may have to go to a single session with several, until you find the right one. It may well be that these dreams represent some other conflicted feelings that he has, but which are masked so far.

Bottom Line: The good news is that your son feels safe enough with you to share his inner concerns. As you continue to be nonjudgmental and supportive, you can help him find his way through this.

 Dear Doc:
My partner can be caring, generous and attentive. However, if we get in to an argument or misunderstanding, he swears, shouts, often without me having said anything. I generally find him unpleasant. He is physically strong and has on one previous occasion used that strength against me. He can do things which are humiliating and degrading towards me, out of all proportion. He has punched a wall before and a previous girlfriend locked him out of the flat. He broke the door down. After witnessing his last outburst, and again today, I do not believe his ex was unreasonable in wanting him out of the flat. He once told me that when he asked his ex about her life once they had parted, she said she was pleased because it was more peaceful. My partner has a creepy look that comes over his face when he is angry, and in addition to saying horrible things, I will never forget the look on his ace. He behaved like an animal, incapable of knowing when to stop unless he is stood up to. He can be obsessive and sometimes cocky. Can you shed any light?

Response: The light is coming from the door, and you need to run for it as soon as you can!
Bottom Line: This sounds like a very dangerous person, who has a poor track record. Leave now, before you get hurt further.

 Dear Doc:
I am 14 years old. The other night I babysat my mother`s friend's children. The older sister, who is 17, sat next to me on the sofa and put her arms around me and said, “come on show me what a big boy you are.” My mother has always taught me to treat girls with respect, but what should I do if this happens again?

Response: You need to tell your mother exactly what happened immediately.

Bottom Line: Hopefully she will then help you to deal with this directly, so that it will never happen again.

 Dear Doc:
My 17 year old daughter is a bright, honor society student who is dating a 17 year old boy who smokes pot. He lies to her when he does it. She finally told him the next time he lies, she will break up with him. He now says he will not smoke it during the week. How can we explain to our daughter it is time to move on? She says that "I don't plan on marrying him someday". But I don't want her to get sucked in to his crowd or more lies.

Response: Let's hope she keeps her word, because if he has lied about this, he will lie about things again! So then she should break up with his sorry a**! His lieing is a big character flaw in and of itself! It's tough with our kids, because sometimes the more we push them in one direction, the harder they rebel in the other. She may well live apart from you next year when she goes away to college. Let's hope she's not a good girl who likes bad boys, because that will only hurt her over time! Tell her how special she is, and that she deserves someone with higher standards than this guy!!

Bottom Line: Let's hope that her intelligence will help her to make healthy long term choices.

 Dear Doc:
i am a woman of 34 years, and a mother of four. i had my first child with another man whom i know loved me very much, before my current husband of eight years, (who is a pastor) came along with his lie to get me married to him. i have really discovered his lies. when i asked for a divorce, he started tanishing my image instead. i am fustrated because my daughters have shown this lieing trait. i am so afraid. please help me.

Response: Don't ask for a divorce; file for a divorce!

Bottom Line: For the welfare of you and your girls, you HAVE to take charge of the situation.

 Dear Doc:
How can I help my daughter see that her boyfriend is mooching off of all of us (her, her father, and me) without alienating her?

Response: Have you spoken to her directly yet diplomatically?

Bottom Line: If that won't work, start to set up boundaries for yourself (because we can never really control others feelings and viewpoints). Do not let him mooch off of you. Hopefully your daughter will see the value of your role model, and will come to figure it out for herself as a result.

 Dear Doc:
Hello - I've lost my way, and this is driving me insane. I have no one else to turn to. My boyfriend and I broke up a while back, but he said he didn't want to lose me, so we decided to stay friends. But lately its been killing me, because I still care for him and I miss him. It's harder because we work together, and he smiles at me, and I try to smile back, but all I want is to take it slow and hang out like old times, but the problem is I don't know how to tell him to hang out, without directly asking. Please help!

Response: So ask him straight up! As they say, don't ask don't get.

Bottom Line: What do you have to lose? If he says no, it should help you to get over him!

 Dear Doc:
Living with boyfriend whose behavior is becoming more erratic. Masks symptoms with alcohol, then becomes a different person. Also has a son 24 who is mentally ill, living here with us, being forced to move out by boyfriend, who has recently started blaming me for everything. Work in the healthcare field; just tried to help him. Behavior is getting worse. Should I leave him alone?

Response: Absolutely leave him alone, because you can't make the horse drink the water.

Bottom Line: You should also consider moving out and living on your own, as this relationship doesn't sound very rewarding.

 Dear Doc:
i am 34 years old been married to same man since i was 15, we have had our ups and downs but i always thought we would grow old together. i have been through his abuse verbally and emotionally,stayed with him when he did drink and he would disappear,porn,so on. his parents were not good at all as parents.he quit drinking and seemed good for a while now angry all time. since my back and other disabilities gotten worse he wants me gone. i caught him chatting on cell phone and think stopped but dont matter something is up how can he turn off his heart for me like this. my grandmother died,dad is dying,and im very sick and he cusses me other day tried to strangle me thats when our 17 year old son said its it. my son says hes not man enough to support me through all my issues. still want know what is happening. he made me go to a wedding rehearsal to show some buddies how gorgeous his wife was and they all flipped out but when we get home hes mean as hell to me. im so sick and disability check is low what am i gonna do. im scared ive been him so long.i know i got to leave but please any tips and also what could be wrong him or is he cheating,or midlife,or looking,or a narcissist,is very controlling,his parents blame me,course they are weird, i cant stop wandering cause love i have is so deep. thanks.

Response: There's your answer, in your last sentence. Why in the world do you stay with this guy?? Leave as fast as you can! The cause of this seems simple... he does not love you or the family enough.

Bottom Line: It will be harder on your kids to be around this ugly relationship, than to adjust to a new and healthier life without him in the house.

 Dear Doc:
I am a medical graduate married to one who did not complete high school who was my love. We have 3 kids 9, 6 and 5 years old. After a few months of marriage only I found that My husband believes that his responsibility for family is just fulfilling family needs with money. He does not want to be involved in any family activity like taking care, spending time, eating with the family etc. Everything he does only after forcing or long explanation about its advantages or after verbal fight. Now these things are effecting our kids. For even simple things about family matters I have to explain a lot. Another problem with him is that he shows himself outside differently, and most of the things he does just for showing outsiders that he is good in status, good with wife, like he is working hard for his family etc. Whereas things are quite different behind the screen. We suffer a lot with his arguments, misbehaving, abusive language and many more. Nowadays wherever he goes, friends, relatives or anywhere, he tells them that I am not good with him, I do not respect him and I don't take care of him. I have helped him in every way Financially, Morally, being supportive, especially in the period when we had a great loss in business during which even his parents and brothers left him, and did not help him, but I worked even during my pregnancy so that it will support my husband and kids. He never appreciates me, but keeps on blaming me that I am not good with him. I am fed up with his behaviour. I want to know the cause. Nowadays for any simple thing also he says he doesn't want to live with me.

Response: There's your answer, in your last sentence. Why in the world do you stay with this guy?? Leave as fast as you can! The cause of this seems simple... he does not love you or the family enough.

Bottom Line: It will be harder on your kids to be around this ugly relationship, than to adjust to a new and healthier life without him in the house.

 Dear Doc:
My 8 yr old daughter wants to play organized football in a league that consist of boys her age. She is very althletic and physical. My concerns are about her physically hurting herself, and the affects that it could have on her sexual identity. Am I overreacting?

Response: Yes you are. She may be the best athelete on the team. Many girls play "boy" sports without getting hurt or confusing their sexual identity.

Bottom Line: If it's not right for her, she will drop out on her own accord. If you try to hold her back, it will only hurt your relationship with her. So go tell her to go kick some boy butt, and support her in her choices!

 Dear Doc:
How do I deal with my marijuana smoking ex-husband and his ex-wife drug addict? They are influencing my 3 yr old son. They are both sleeping with each other and other people, while consuming drugs and alcohol around my son and the daughter they share together.

Response: You could discuss this with your local Child Protective Services officer, to see if the government can take any action. However, your ex may not be breaking the law. You could also try to get full custody of your son, but that could become prohibitively expensive. Finally, you could try to move your son out of the state, but the law may not allow that.

Bottom Line: If all this fails, you will have to teach him about right and wrong when he is with you, and hope that he makes the right choices as he grows up.

 Dear Doc:
My 8 yr old daughter wants to play organized football in a league that consist of boys her age. She is very althletic and physical. My concerns are about her physically hurting herself, and the affects that it could have on her sexual identity. Am I overreacting?

Response: Yes you are. She may be the best athelete on the team. Many girls play "boy" sports without getting hurt or confusing their sexual identity.

Bottom Line: If it's not right for her, she will drop out on her own accord. If you try to hold her back, it will only hurt your relationship with her. So go tell her to go kick some boy butt, and support her in her choices!

 Dear Doc:
I'm 27 years old. At 19, I had sex for the first time with my "friend"... And 8 years later, I'm still sleeping with him, even when he has a girlfriend. At least once a year. Every time we see each other, we sleep together. And for the past 3 years, every time we see each other, he keeps asking me "What are we going to do about this chemistry? Do you think we will ever be friends? I don't think we can." He keeps saying "he's no good for me" that he would be a horrible boyfriend... but he keeps initiating sex! The thing is, I NEVER asked him for a relationship, so I don't understand where this is coming from! Do you have an opinion on this? My "woman brain" has a ton of explanations, but I would love an outsider's opinion. Why would a man sleep with the same woman for EIGHT YEARS? I don't get it.

Response: Because he likes the sex. If it wasn't for societal rules, many men would not be monogamous.

Bottom Line: As long as you keep giving it, he will probably keep taking it. Say no to him, and you will see the real him, which is probably a person who you do NOT want to spend time with.

 Dear Doc:
I need help fast. My brother is currently in a mental facility for Bipolar mental illness. This facility is mistreating him. The healthcare professionals are very rude to us when we visit with him every week. How can we get more help? My 73 year old mother has talked to a lawyer who told her he has another case of this kind of treatment from the same facility. Please help.

Response: Did he place himself there, or is he being held against his will? If he placed himself there, then he should leave there, and find a better facility. If he is being held there against his will, then an attorney is the best way to go.

Bottom Line: But if he wants to stay, there is nothing you can do, unless he has given up the right to make his own care decisions.

 Dear Doc:
i really hope u can help me asap. i'm 17 years old and 6 months pregnant. i'm going to college. i got my ged. i'm getting a car. my boyfriend is wonderful, but i'm so depressed and i've suffered from this for a long time. an old counselor of mine said it's probably just nerves from the pregnancy, but i feel like it's too much. i'm always depressed and i'm afraid it's hurting my baby. please, do you have any ideas to help me? it's not just mild, but extreme. i tried talking to my doctor, and all she will tell me is take anti-depressants, but i'm really afraid to do that. plus, i don't wanna have to rely on pills to make me better. i've given up my addiction to prescription pills, and i did ok with marijuana for a few months, but everything has become so hard. i've been ocasionally smoking. it's making me hate myself more, but i don't know what to do, and i've begged for help. please help me doc.

Response: You need a Doctor who will take you seriously. It may be that your depression is caused by hormonal changes during your pregnancy, and will pass after birth. It's definitely more than nerves, and you don't want to be on anti-depressants while you are pregnant. It is unlikely that it is hurting your child. You are correct to not take any foreign substances while you are pregnant. This will most likely pass. Try to find a support group of pregnant teens, so you can learn from their experiences. A change in your diet may improve your mood.

Bottom Line: Above all hang in there, get through the birth, and then tackle your depression with meds, if nothing else works. Depression can run in families, so don't discount the potential medical side of the problem.

 Dear Doc:
What is the normal, healthy-adult response to hurting your husband's feelings (in frustration) but realizing that the ISSUE over which you hurt is feelings is real? My husband is a know-it-all. He insists on taking on major projects in our home by himeself, with no input from others ("they don't know, *I* know"), but has a history of either completing them badly or not completing them. Yet he doesn't see how this history affects my mental state or our financial state (I am the sole breadwinner, so I end up paying for his mistakes). Today we had a blow-out over a project he wants to redo (waterproofing our basement). He did it VERY badly the first time, creating ill-will with the neighbors, costing lots of money, and NOT solving the problem. He refuses to get professional assistance to do it this time. My fear of going through this project again caused me to vent a LOT of frustration about his role (or lack, thereof) in our household. I downplayed his importance and abilities. I feel bad about that, because he is (or was, anyway) proud of his abilities -- I just don't feel the same way about them, any more. Now - I feel bad for hurting his feelings, and I would like to give him another chance to fix the problem - but the arrogance about his abilities scares me. We have a history of me being the apologist, after arguments, because I'm a "peace keeper" (even if the argument is not generated by me). So I want to apologize for hurting his feelings, but don't want that apology to be the "free pass" to him thinking he can go ahead, unassisted, to screw up this project. How would people in a marriage with good communication resolve this? Ours (clearly) is NOT one of those, but I'm trying to move in that direction...

Response: You need to get over your need to apologize. You spoke the truth...he sucks at home repair. He needs to admit that before you allow any money for repairs. And THEN you need to get someone else to do it!

Bottom Line: Maybe he's trying to find his ego and self worth in house repairs, when he needs to find his strokes in other areas where he is actually talented. Help him with that, and you will be on your way to better days.

 Dear Doc:
I'd like some advice on what to do about my 31 year old stepson who my husband gave a housekey to, just letting himself in without calling or even knocking. He also assumes one of our spare bedrooms as his own. He piles his own stuff in there, not allowing our space. His sense of entitlement and disrespect are causing resentment between my husband and me. My husband won't say anything to his son. What should I do? I feel angered by this and have to leave my own home because of the tensions felt.

Response: The problem is between you and your husband. Sharing children can be most difficult. Truly, blood is thicker than water. For watever reason, your husband accepts his son's behavior.

Bottom Line: All you can do is frankly speak with your husband, and possibly your stepson, about your discontent. If your husband won't change the rules, you will have to live with them, or move on.

 Dear Doc:
I have two adult disabled sons on ventilators and in wheelchairs that live with me, as well as an older adult son. We have been divorced from their father for 24.5 years. I have been more than accommodating for him to see his sons. This month he has come over unannounced every single day when ever he feels like it, and stays for hours. When he arrives he texts me and says that he is here. He does not provide for his disabled sons in anyway at all. The state is meeting the needs that I can't meet. I teach school full time and use much of my paycheck to get them what they need that is not covered by insurance, medi-cal and SSI. He also trys to touch me and does not respect any boundaries. I feel like telling him can only come at certain times would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull. How can I protect myself without alienating my sons. It is adding much too much stress to an already very difficult life.

Response: You HAVE to draw a line in the sand. If need be, get a restraining order against him.

Bottom Line: You can't worry about alienating the boys right now. If you don't protect yourself, the whole system will implode.

 Dear Doc:
My 15 year old hangs out with his friends and is disrepecting my house by coming in at 1:00am in the morning, two or three time a week. He has been told time and time again, but continues to do it. My husband says he can't take it anymore and he is leaving. But the problem is not me and him, it's my 15 year old. We are getting a divorce because of this. What can I do about this teenager?

Response: It sounds like the tail is wagging the dog. Is this your husband's son also? Your son keeps doing it, because you let him get away with doing it. This is certainly no reason for a divorce. Maybe there are some other underlying issues. Put your foot down. Lock your son out of the house, and don't let him in after whatever time you set. Until you lay down the law, he will walk all over you. Maybe his goal (possibly subconscious) is to get your husband to leave, so that he can be the top male in the house.

Bottom Line: It may sound harsh, but he is still a boy, and it's your job to reign him in. Your husband needs to help with this.

 Dear Doc: it goes...this man and I have been dating exclusively for five years, while we both live in separate houses. His kids live far away, while mine have grown up with me. I wanted to marry this man, but now, I've noticed he seems to be in a mid life crisis. I'm beginning to wonder what I loved about him in the first place. He does have a good side, but things just aren't right. So, how do I suggest that we still see each other, but that I need time to work on myself and my future (what is left of it)? If he can't handle your honesty, it may be time for you to move on from him!

Response: Let's try honesty. Tell him that you want to see him, but that marriage doesn't interest you right now. There are lots of couples with adult children who find that it is more enjoyable to stay single, while dating someone long-term.

Bottom Line: You are correct that what is most important is for you to get your head clear, and to live the life that works best for you. Don't let him or anything else get in the way of that!

 Dear Doc:
I am coming home from being deployed to Iraq for 11 months in a couple of weeks. About 6 months ago, I let my parents and siblings know the 3 or 4 days that I likely would be coming back, so someone could come pick me up. My car is at my parents' house, 2.5 hours away from where we get dropped off so I am not able to drive myself to their house. A couple of months ago, my sister said she would pick me up when I got home, but now she is saying she has to go out of town on business that week and another day she and her husband are taking their kids to watch a fire training demonstration to watch a house burn since a family friend is a firefighter (!!??). I feel hurt by this. Also, I feel a bit afraid to ask my brother to take a day from work to pick me up, since he gets angry and upset when plans change suddenly. And, my parents are old now and probably should not drive there to get me because it would also involve sitting through a "welcome home" ceremony in midday summer heat. My background is that both parents were both physically and emotionally abusive toward me when I was young. When I was 16 years old, I stopped eating and my Mom took me to counseling for 6 months after my Dad yelled at me really badly for a period of time at home. My one marriage ended in divorce 10 years ago after my ex-husband punched me and otherwise was abusive and since then, I had a very abusive ex-boyfriend that I am trying hard not to be in contact with, even now. It just seems like I can't count on my parents or siblings as family for emotional support and, at the same time, I have gotten into these two abusive relationships with men so far in my life. I actually enjoyed being overseas away from there, even though I've been in a combat zone. It seemed less stressful in some ways to me than my life at home. Now I am feeling sad and anxious about going back there. My parents would like me to stay for part of my vacation time with them. My family sent me packages of things and food while I have been gone, and my Mom watched my cats for me (although one died), so I feel I OUGHT to spend time with them when I get home. They have always provided material things and even money to me so I feel badly to complain or not to see them when I get home. And, also, I do care about them because they are my parents. The idea that I am coming home and no one wants to pick me up just feels very sad. Would I just be better off not having much interaction with my family in the future? I feel guilty about that idea because they helped me out a lot, materially. Also, in the past, I have tended to contact my abusive ex-boyfriend or to respond to his emails or overtures because I feel so bad interacting with my own family. I feel I have grown a lot being away from there for a year, but now I'm going to be living a mile from the abusive ex-boyfriend again and not too far from parents and siblings again. I went to domestic violence counseling for a year before I deployed and was in counseling for perhaps 4 years total before that from the divorce and abuse. The only thing that clicked for me was the domestic violence counseling as I felt they understood what I had been through and how I felt. Despite these things, I have managed to be part-time military when I'm home and have a full time job on top of that. Should I just try to start over and just not talk to my family that much? That seems to trigger me toward the destructive behavior of keeping up with my ex, who, despite being abusive, would show up at events that mattered to me.

Response: It's wrong for your family to not be there for you when you return. The old saying is that we can choose our friends, but we can't choose our family. Can you ask a non-family friend to pick you up? PLEASE don't lean on that abusive ex! You need to NOT get back with him!

Bottom Line: The world has better people for you. Don't settle for the unhealthy family and exes you have known so far! Yes, definitely start over. Move away if you have to, or maybe take another military assignment away from home. Continue to fight to break away from your abusive past, and your future will be brighter and happier!

 Dear Doc:
I was fired from my job in August 2007. Since Jan 2008 I was in school for 2 years for an associates in Social Work. I went in the winter, spring/ summer, fall all in 2008, and right back into winter, spring/summer, fall all in 2009 and winter 2010. My last full year of school is when I started noticing some changes about myself. I was not able to focus, not able to concentrate, easily distracted. I get frustrated, irritated, and I am angry all the time. Sometimes I feel that my education was a big waste of my time and effort. During all this time, I am responsible for another person as well. My husband, who has had his driver's licenses taken away since 2002 for 2 DUI's. We got together in 2003 late November, and now for 7 years he has put off trying to get them back. I do all the driving, everywhere all the time. I do more than he does when it comes to the household chores. Then I have a 21 year old son who has been home from school, and not able to find a steady job, and he is getting on my last nerve. Everyone is getting just exactly all their needs met, and I am the one who is getting nothing in return.

It's time for you to take better care of yourself, so both of those unproductive guys may need to move out (or maybe YOU should go!).

Bottom Line: You've given out too much, and received too little in return. You need better balance in your life, so take charge, and break away from anything that is too heavy and unfair. That will open the door to a brighter future for you!

 Dear Doc:
My daughter's boyfriend is verbally abusing my 8 year old grandaughter. As far as I know its only verbal. My daughter and the boyfriend also have a child together. They both favor her over the 8 year old. Some of the things he says are... I don't love you and I wish you would go away, I wouldn't miss you. Horrible things like that. I think this man is sick. What can I do? My daughter will not listen to me or her 8 year old daughter. I am desperate to help my sweet baby girl. She is always so depressed, that I am afraid for her. She begs me not to say anything.

You absolutely have to say something. It's time to call your state's Child Protective Services.

Bottom Line: Another alternative would be to have your granddaugher come to live with you. Maybe the state will recommend that. To do nothing is to let her life go down a never-ending path of destruction.

 Dear Doc:
I have been with my boyfriend (I hate the sound of that) for 4 yrs. We also have a 2yr old together. He claims that he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but doesn't want to marry me because I'm not financially stable. We have had lots of problems in the past. I feel like I should I just give up on this. Please help me!!

You've answered your own question. It's time for you to move on. You deserve better!

Bottom Line: Talk is cheap. His actions tell the real story, and it's not a pretty one. Go out and find a better life. It's waiting out there for you!

 Dear Doc:
I have been married to a man for 5 1/2 years and recently I searched his internet history, out of curosity. I was shocked to find that he was visiting same-sex chat rooms,, craigslist ( with a host of links to transexual), trannydate. I confronted him, asking if he has acted on his same-sex fantasies. He vehemently denied even looking at these websites, yet eventually fessed up. I don't believe that he has not engaged in any same sex activities, while we have been married. I am lost and don't know what to do next?

If he hasn't taken physical action to this behavior, he has obviously gone there in his mind, which is significant in and of itself. Either way, he has probably had an emotional and/or physical affair.

Bottom Line: If you can't stomach this (and many couldn't), you may need to separate for your own sanity. If he will speak the whole truth, and you can forgive, you can try to rebuild. Very very difficult, but not impossible. However, the statistical odds are against a good relationship with him, going forward. Very very tough choices, either way. But be strong and true to yourself, and you will make it to the other side regardless!

 Dear Doc:
i am a widow of just about 4 years. i just started seeing a wonderful man 6 months ago, after i promised myself i would never fall in love again. but here i am. well anyway, he has been married twice and as a young son. he says he loves me, wants me to move in. etc. i just want to see if anyone has any suggestions of what might.............

It's great to enjoy him, but why the need for a move in? I'm wondering if he's looking for someone to baby-it and do the chores!

Bottom Line: A little distance can be a great thing in a relationship. I certainly would not recommend a move-in after six months, unless maybe your goal is to ruin the relationship in the NEXT six months! Add a child into the mix, and that is not a road you probably want to go down right now.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend calls me names when he's angry. I try to talk about it later, but he gets offended, and says I've got problems. Help.

Your problem may be that you have the wrong boyfriend!!

Bottom Line: You deserve better. Doesn't sound like he is going to change. If so, move on to someone who treats you the way you WANT to be treated!

 Dear Doc:
I have finally found a dear friend from college 40 years ago. I didn't hire a private investigator to find him, but thought many times about the great fun we had in the dorm (first floor), and how precious those years were, yet I did not realize it at the time. I did ask other friends about him from time to time, but received little results. I would love to talk with him about so many things, and how knowing him changed my life as a naive South Dakotan. Do you think it is worth while pursuing a conversation with him, or should I just remember life as it was when I was young? Ron Ortman, Marion South Dakota. p.s. I haven't been praying for him for all these years, if that makes a difference.

Hi Ron! Long time no chat, for sure! If you're referring to our time together in Omaha, I would always love to chat. Just shoot me a note through my website, with your email address. If you are referring to another, it is never too late to rekindle old friendships. We just have to be aware that some people change over time, so they might not be as we remember them.

Bottom Line: Did Al Wiens give you the name of my website??

 Dear Doc:
i went through my boy friend's phone, and i found that he is cheating. when i asked him about it, he never replied. instead, he blamed me for going through his phone. we didn't contact each other for a month. he came to me after that, saying he missed me. but when i asked about the cheating, he still didn't say a thing, and still blamed me. i forgave him, cuz i was missing him a lot, but know i regret forgiving him. what should i do?

Run like the wind, as far from him as you can get!!

Bottom Line: You are ASKING to get hurt again. If he won't honestly confess it, then he is a bum. He WILL hurt you again. You deserve better, and are wiser to go through the challenge of getting over him, so that you can have a better future with someone who treats you with the respect you deserve.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend is returning from completing an alcohol residential program. What should I expect when he returns? He told me he has changed. I feel that he has gained self worth and confidence, but will his feelings change towards our love for each other? We had a great relationship for two years. I am not a drinker or a drug abuser. I just want to be there for him, but I am afraid to lose him.

Unfortunately, this sounds dangerous. If you had a good relationship while he was an alcoholic, and if he will truly stay clean and sober now, he will certainly be something of a different person going forward.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, his chances of fallng off the wagon are high, statistically speaking. Try to be there for him, but also prepare yourself for the reality that the two of you may not fit, if alcohol is taken out of the equation. I hope your relationship is better after he comes back, but it may take more work than you expect.

 Dear Doc:
Hi! My name is Vennetta. I'm married to an alcoholic and abusive spouse. Can you have your spouse committed to any type of facility when he has become a danger to himself and others?

If the police or a Doctor agree with you, they can have him committed against his will.

Bottom Line: If that doesn't happen, you need to get away from him immediately, and not let him know where you are. There are Battered Women's organizations that can help, and the police can help you find them.

 Dear Doc:
I have been married for 15 years, and we have 3 kids, ages 13,12 and 9. My husband just confessed that he is having an affair that has been going on now for the last 3 years. What should I do? If I stay because of our kids and I love him, how will I cope, knowing that he is still seeing and sleeping with this woman?

You undoubtedly won't cope well if he continues this, and doesn't put out efforts to make things right with you.

Bottom Line: If that is the case, it will be healthier for you to leave. That would likely be one of the hardest things you have ever done, but if you are not ok, your kids won't be ok either. Let's hope that he cares enough about you and the kids to stop this behavior.

 Dear Doc:
What do you call a person who repeats himself on and on about the same topic and things that happened in the past?

A pain in the butt!

Bottom Line: Actually, this is what a narcissist does. Everything is all about them. All they want is an audience. This is usually a sign of some real insecurities. This may well be a person that you don't want to spend too much time with!

 Dear Doc:
im 17 yrs old and have been dating my boyfriend for about a year now. my parents don't really no we're dating, and can't know, because of religious differences. they think he's a bad influence on me, but from my perspective, i feel that i make my own decisions, and i am 100% responsible for my own actions. now i've changed my ways and i'm on the right path. but still, as a result of how they feel, they want me to put a restraining order against him to prove to them that i'm not seeing him. i love him with all my heart, and that's definitely the last thing i want to do. but if i say, no i'm not doing that, then that proves we are dating, in their eyes... what do i do?

Don't do it.

Bottom Line: A restraining order is a very harsh reaction, which is saved for those who abuse us or threaten our lives. Your parents are unwisely painting you into a corner where you can't win. Just say no. You will soon be 18. If they make your life hell, you may have to move on as an adult without them after your birthday.

 Dear Doc:
Can the narcissist cling to and emulate the person who neglected them as a child?


Bottom Line: The narcissist does not see their sickness, but they are looking for love from those who abandoned their heart as a child. That is part of what makes the disorder so insidious.

 Dear Doc:
hi. I am 16yrs and my periods have been going on for 2 months now... it has started for 7 days when i started to see it and then 2 weeks then 3 weeks then a month. although in between its stops. but i just want my periods to be regular instead of irregular...i need help :( pleassse...

You need to go to a Medical Doctor today!

Bottom Line: When we think that something is wrong with us physically, it only does us more harm to try to figure it out by ourselves. We need the expert medical opinion of a good Doctor to help us get better.

 Dear Doc:
Why does my alcoholic husband get angrier and angrier every day about nothing?

Because he is in denial about the misery he is in, and lashes out at others because he is too afraid to look inside himself in order to improve his situation.

Bottom Line: In reality, he is mad at himself, because he cannot conquer his alcoholism. If he will not go get help, you should further distance yourself from him.

 Dear Doc:
I have a 15 year old daughter who is "miserable" because she has no friends. However, she takes the attitude that: "I won't talk to anyone new, unless they approach me first" which has resulted in her not making any new friends since we moved from our previous home in Arizona 3 years ago. She is VERY headstrong, VERY smart, and VERY manipulative of Mom. She became anorexic in the last 6 months as she went from weighing 145lbs, down to 105 pounds (fully clothed), stopped having menstrual cycles, and losing hair. All this while telling us she wants to move from our home in Virginia back to Arizona to be with her old friends. However, she would still be over 40 miles away from them, and still (mainly) be in contact with them via the phone. There is MORE to the story, however, as she wants to move in with her older Sister who is 23, and VERY (financially) IRRESPONSIBLE. So, the older Sister would get her rent paid by US (partially, even though she is ALREADY 3 thousand dollars in debt to us for past rent!!!) because she knows we won't let her younger Sister be kicked out on the street!! So, HERE is my question: Should we let her move to Arizona to be "happy", or not? I think it would be allowing her to run away from her problems with making new friends(enabling poor social skills, and not making her face her fear) while also enabling the older Sister to keep acting irresponsibly with her money, because she will have us to fall back on. My wife says I don't care about our Daughter's happiness, but I beg to differ. I used the old saying "give a man a fish, and he can eat for a day, but TEACH a man to fish, and he can eat for a lifetime". I feel we need to TEACH our 15 year old to "fish" instead of "giving her a fish". Am I crazy wrong about this?. I also don't think it's a good idea given her anorexia. I feel she needs to understand we all have to deal with being away from our friends in Arizona, and she just has to learn to cope with it in a more healthy way.

The answer is "no".

Bottom Line: You are on the right track. My family moved when I was 11 and my brothers were 15 and 18. It certainly can be tough, but we don't learn by going backwards. She'll hate you for awhile, but probably thank you by the time she is 18.

 Dear Doc:
I've been having a hard time lately with many things in my life, but I just read all my questions to you from over the past 3 years and it helped me put everything into persective. I've grown so much and now I'm realizing that what my next step is my spiritual life. Not in an organized religious sense, more in univeral interconnected sense..nature. I'm not at all sure what I mean by this, but I know that that is the missing link. In the last three years I not only got into a car accident, I got divorced, moved, quit the company I started, got so sick from an antibiotic that I almost died, got fired from my job while in the hospital and getting divorced, got another job that turned out to be very "moochy" and didn't pay me on time while trying to flatter me into a "too good to be true partnership" (which i rejected and suddenly my job was not really existing anymore) then went to grad school and here I am. Also, through all this, I discovered in myself that my brother and i were both sexually abused, I went to therapy for this and it really helped. When it rains it pours! So now here I am, feeling drained, but somehow hopeful. I feel like i'm ready to kick this up to the next level of growth. I cry a lot, but it feels great.

Keep up the good (but difficult) work!

Bottom Line: Your life will bring you long term benefits, as you conquer your mountains.

 Dear Doc:
I have a stepson who is very agressive. He is 17 years old about to be 18 and is a spoiled brat. If he is asked to do anything (like clean his room up) he raises hell screams and cusses his dad, he got in my face screaming at me and slapping his hands together in my face because his dad told him he would not let me wash his clothes or do for him anymore because he treats me so ugly and does not appreciate it. As soon as he got in the door (slammed it) came up to me and got in my face started screaming and slapping his hands together in my face, his dad jerked him out of my face and actually spanked him on the rear hard. The boy is 6 ft 3 and I am 5 ft tall. I am sick of his behavior and a nervous wreck in my own house. We have had him in counseling for over a year. There is a lot more to it, my husbands family treats the stepson like he is a victim and he should not have to do anything we should be his slaves. I am at my wits end. What do you suggest?

It sounds like a dangerous situation. It's time for either he or you to move out.

Bottom Line: If his father's family is so supportive of him, he should go live with them. Then they will realize how out of control he is.

 Dear Doc:
my girlfriend is a recovering alcoholic with 3 yrs sober. she recently started having some female problems. her ob doctor is not sure what is wrong. she has severe pain she says, in her ovaries. i feel like she is fixing to relapse because of the pain. she says she is losing control. i hate to see her lose everything she has worked so hard for. WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP HER? please any advice.

All you can do is try to support her, and try to help her get some first rate help.

Bottom Line: In the end, it is always up to the individual to pull through their difficulties. It's hard on us to watch, but we cannot fix the other person.

 Dear Doc:
My husband is 63yrs old and I am 48yrs. We have 1 son 10yrs old, and are married 14yrs. I work as a in a nursing home. Mhusband is retired, and stays home. I just found out that he's fooling around. Sometimes the lady call's my house. I told him that I will divorce him, but he says that I can't take my son. He will take my son because my son gets benefits from social security. My husband is the one keeping my son's money. What are my rights as a working mother? Every time my son is sick I am always the one who takes care of him. He never takes care of my son good. He never treats my son well.

You need to contact an attorney asap. If that is too expensive, contact a local women's organization that helps oppressed women. Often they have people who can help you for free.

Bottom Line: You have lots of rights, and your husband is ignoring all of them! You deserve much better than this. Don't put up with this poor treatment. Keep looking, and you will find good people who will help you and your son get out of this unhealthy relationship!

 Dear Doc:
My husband of 12 years has all of a sudden decided he wants to live the single life but while he is he expects me to hang around waiting in case he decides it's not for him. His dr recently suggested he may be bi polar but he has never gone back for more diagnosis and although he has left me, now everything from the third world debt to the tsunami is my fault. He's constantly angry and I'd like to help him but how? He also drinks approx 20-30 cups of coffee a day.

I don't think I'd hang around!! It's not your job to help him. If he doesn't want to change, it will never happen.

Bottom Line: That's enough caffeine for a whole football team!! Become your own healthy person. Find your own way. If he changes, and you then decide to be with him, that will make for a healthier marriage.

 Dear Doc:
How do i tell my boyfriend to fix himself up a little bit better without him thinking that i'm trying to change him or hurt his feelings? I wish he could try a little bit.

You are trying to change him, and he probably needs it! Just be honest. You are not in charge of his feelings, so if they are hurt, that's his responsibility.

Bottom Line: The relationship isn't healthy if you can't be honest. If he can't handle it, then you need to find a healthier boyfriend!

 Dear Doc:
I just found out that my boyfriend of five years has fathered a set of twins who are 6 months old. I found out because the mom has petitioned the court for child support. We have had a rocky relationship but I don't know whether I should end things orbit. He is 25 and I am 24. He now has four kids which includes the child we have together who is three years old. This is apparently not the first time he's cheated. I was able to contact the mom and she informed me of at least two other women he dated while they were dating. I knew nothing. What should I do?

I hope you're kidding. What should you do?? You should run like hell, that's what you should do!!

Bottom Line: Please tell me that you believe that you and your child deserve better treatment than this. Throw this guy out with the garbage, where he belongs! If need be, go it alone, holding your head up high, as you look for a much better world in which to live! Because believe me, it's out there, guaranteed.

 Dear Doc:
I am a female who has been raped 5 times over my life time. I have constant flashbacks. The one thing that happens to me is I have a severe urge to masterbate frequently. I actually look at this as punishment for having been raped. I am single and really know nothing about sex except what I know from being raped. I hate myself when I have masterbated. I cannot control the urge. I have a very hard time talking about this. I have a therapist that I basically have told about my rapes but have not spoken about the masterbation, as I am ashamed and angry that if I don't do it then I look for ways to hurt myself.

Your experience is not unusual, but you can overcome this significant difficulty.

Bottom Line: Your therapy is of little use if you don't share the masterbation information with your counselor. If you are uncomfortable with this person, find another with whom you can be totally honest. If you don't, you won't be able to break this painful cycle that you are in.

 Dear Doc:
My husband is a Pastor and he has a poblem with internet pornography? what can I do to help him? we have been married for 16 years and I do not want to lose my husband.

Does HE think he has a problem? Little change will occur until he does.

Bottom Line: If he will not change his behavior, you will have to consider what choices you have on your end.

 Dear Doc:
I dated this guy for over five years. We met when I was 16. We loved each other very much and wanted to spend our lives together (we still do). That scared me because I felt like I was not going anywhere and neither was he. Unless something crazy happened chances are we would not break up. The fear pushed me and I broke up with him because I wanted to see what else was out there before making this life long commitment at only 21 at the time. I told him I was no longer in love with him. We broke up and 3 months later I realized the mistake I made and contacted him. I found out he had a girlfriend and we both agreed to remain friends. After two months of conversations we both admitted that we were still very much in love with each other. I then told him he needed to make a choice because if you love me the way you say you do then you should be with me. He said he can’t just break up with her and that it needs to be a process because he has become acquainted with her family and she has with his family. He also claims that he does not love her and does not see a future with her. He says his future is with me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. If this is the case why can't he break up with her and be with me? I feel like he is lying and he does love the girl because if you don't love her or see a future then why are you with her? We have so much history and the love we share is indescribable then why not be with me? I feel like he is more concerned with her feelings than mine. Every time we see each other the chemistry is strong. We always end up making out and we would probably have sex, but I always stop him because, though I love him, I know it is wrong. I recently told him we need to stop what we are doing and give each other space and he needs to come to me when he is single. Now I am starting to feel like maybe that was not the right choice. I just don’t know why he is choosing her over me if he claims we are going to be together any way.

You made th right choice to step away from him again. Sure sounds like he is working both sides of the street.

Bottom Line: You are still terribly young. Go out there and meet new people. You deserve better than what he is offering. If he comes back later, and your available, then so be it. If not, then you've found a better world.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I have separated after 20 years of marriage. Now that he's single he has begun to drink and smoke pot after 18 years of sobriety. We reconcile then after stress/anxiety overwhelms him we fight and he goes back to his place. Our teenage children go over on weekends and they keep secrets from me that includes their Dad buying beer and smoking pot with them. I always feel like such a fool when I go over there to pick him up for some appointment we have--only to learn his attentiveness to me was to get me out of there before I saw something he knows would make me mad. Last weekend, we were still in reconciliation mode. I was annoyed that he disappears on the weekends to go over to his house (because the teenage kids can't be left alone) and I'm left with our little ones all weekend. I knew he smoked pot but I discovered that he bought beer for our 15 year old daughter and was smoking pot. So, I had him get all his stuff out of my place and dropped him off. I also called child protective services on him. Where is the man I was married to for all those years that I was so in love with? What the hell is happening to him?

You did the right thing, for the welfare of your kids. A lot of people change over time, and often not for the better. And when you add alcohol and drugs into the mix, the person may go down a dark road and never return.

Bottom Line: It sounds like you are being used. Take better care of yourself, and don't put up with his games. Living without him permanently may be your healthiest long-term move.

 Dear Doc:
I don't know if I have the problem or my husband and daughter do. My husband has always shut me out when I try to talk to him. I should mention he is an alcoholic and he is especially like this if it is about his drinking, but it can be anything. If he doesn't want to talk about it he stonewalls and just shuts me out, won't listen, and gets angry if I persist in trying to discuss with him things that I think I have a right to talk to him about. Then he will comment that I just won't stop. Well, the issue isn't resolved and I am angry that he just shuts down communication with no resolution. So on to my 20-year-old daughter. I suspect that my daughter is copying her dad's behavior but maybe it's just me. But SHE also comments that I just won't give it up when I'm trying to talk to her, yet to me it seems dysfunctional for a family NOT to discuss important things. Like today I told her she needed to make sure she enrolls in classes for next semester because last I knew she hadn't. She said she had enrolled in one so far, macroeconomics. I asked what macroenomics was for. She is taking classes at junior college and I want to make sure I know what she is going toward and that the classes will transfer, since we are paying for school, apartment, etc. Her sister took random classes and it is going to take her 6 years to finish because she took random courses that she really didn't need, and we have discussed that she (younger daughter) needs to know what she is going toward and not just take random classes that aren't for her major or that won't transfer. She said she didn't want to talk about it and that she didn't want to get upset with me, so to just drop it. I figure as long as we are paying for school I have a right to know what she is taking and where she is going with it. I told her that and she ended up throwing a fit, throwing things on the floor and storming out. Since when is it wrong to discuss things? Am I right in thinking it's dysfunctional NOT to discuss things like this? I don't understand getting so upset about me wanting to know what she is taking in school. And when she gets upset like this she will say "Dad knows you are like this too." And when my husband gets upset with me he'll say "You do the same thing to the kids. You just won't stop." Well I don't stop because I try to have a conversation with people who won't discuss the things I'm trying to discuss. I have two other kids and they are not like this. But my husband says I ask too many questions. What mother doesn't ask her kids questions like where are you going? Who with? When will you be back? What are you taking in school? How will that count toward the degree you are going for? I'm sick of them acting like I am the one doing something wrong when I really don't think I am. If it's me, I want to know so I can do something about it, but I feel like I'm being a normal mom like any other mom and I feel like my husband has warped ideas about family communication(either because of his alcoholism or because he grew up without a mother and maybe doesn't know what a mother is like) and that his behavior is being modeled by this daughter. I know other families who discuss everything and I get in "trouble" if I try to have a discussion about anything with mine. Sorry so long.

The dysfunctional title seems to fit. I wonder what your other kids think. Maybe you should stop paying, if you're not satisfied with her responses. And maybe you need to stop being with your husband. Sure doesn't sound like a loving situation.

Bottom Line: All we can change is ourselves. If I were you, I'd quite talking to the two of them about the subjects that go nowhere. Build your own world with people who want to communicate with you. These two don't, and it's a waste of your time.

 Dear Doc:
What should I do if my sister in law is nasty one visit and nice the next?

Don't reinforce this negative behavior. Step away when you are treated poorly, or speak directly to the problem.

Bottom Line: You deserve better than this, so if she persists, you need to stop spending time with her.

 Dear Doc:
Hi. A few months ago i had a really painful breakup with a boyfriend of 3 years. I found out that he was cheating on me. i think that that was the worst day of my life. im sure it was the best day of his; he didnt have to be with me anymore. i feel like he cheated because of me, like i led him to it. he must be so happy without me. i still love him so much it hurts. i sometimes pray that i will have a dream about him so that i can see him and hear his voice, i know that's kinda weird. sometimes i can really feel him like he is right near me. i guess i should have known that i couldn't keep a man like him. he deserves better than me. whoever he ends up with is so lucky. what do i do?

Stop blaming yourself, for starters. Your words are those usually heard from abuse victims. You have value. Until you believe that, you can't really go forward.

Bottom Line: Surely he's not all good, while you're all bad! Discover your strengths, then go out and find someone who values them. Certainly you can do better than THIS guy!

 Dear Doc:
My husband has had an emotional affair. How do I know whether he still loves me?

Start by asking him. He may have never stopped loving you. Only time will tell. Affairs are often about many things, other than the loss of love.

Bottom Line: People stay married for many reasons, other than love. It will be good if the two of you can figure our why he wandered, and what the two of you can do to make sure it doesn't happen again.

 Dear Doc:
I have a 12 yr old step daughter who has Attachment Disorder. She's been having issues with school homework. My husband came up with an idea for consequences when she doesn't do her homework. If she doesn't make the right choices to bring her homework home she spends the whole weekend with her grandparents. Being that she has Attachment Disorder is it appropiate to make her spend the weekends at her grandparents? Please advise.

Does not sound like a good idea.

Bottom Line: And it makes her associate punishment with her grandparents, which is a good way to ruin that relationship.

 Dear Doc:
What would you label a person who constantly feels a need to constantly talk, and then repeats himself daily about the same concerns over and over? He also, allows problems to bombard his mind, is negative, critical and not happy with his living standards or choices he has made in life and is not happy if others don't take on the burden with him, then...he gets angry if others don't see things his way, yells and hollars, says mean degrating things then later unapoligitecally, acts like nothing happened. He has lost his sex drive also. and most times, has his own interpretation of things others see differently?

Sounds like a very difficult person person to be around, and one who is very troubled.

Bottom Line: If he cannot get to the point where he sees his own weaknesses, and is willing to make some improvements, others will likely avoid him.

 Dear Doc:
I'd like to give you advice. These people are writing in to you for advice, support, encouragement, etc. How about answering or responding to their heart-felt letters with more than just catchy one liners and short sentences? I think you should give it a try....

Feel free to offer your own advice, and it may be posted right here.

Bottom Line: This website is fee-for-service (i.e.,their is no advertising revenue), so lengthy answers are given to those who subscribe.

 Dear Doc:
i've been dating my bf close to 2 years already. The problem is that he and his parents(mainly just his mom) are always constantly arguing...even yelling at each other. Sometimes the reasons are silly other times they are serious. My bf always talks to me about his problems with them...but i do not know what to say or do. I do not want to take sides or lose his trust. What can i say or do to help him control his anger with them without him thinking that i don't agree with his reason to argue with them. I do not want to completely take his side to where he holds grudges against his parents and remains angry with them. I want to help him forgive without him thinking that i don't understand him.

His folks sound pretty messed up.

Bottom Line: Take his side, and don't worry about his anger or forgiveness, because you can't control that, and that isn't your problem.

 Dear Doc:
This is in response to the stepmother's letter about the addict stepson, the ex "daughter-in law" and the 2 children. I am the mother of the two children and I feel compelled to reply this letter. As soon as I became pregnant with the first child, I turned my life around completely. I had hoped the father would also but this did not happen. Starting with when I gave birth, he actually got kicked out of the hospital for urinating in the utility closet - drunk, drugged. Life was like a roller coaster, doing good for a short time, making promises never kept. There was not one family gathering that he was not messed up on something. I stuck by him even though my family never approved. His family has tried everything to help him. Finally I had enough when he stole my car, wrecked it and ran from the scene, unlicensed and drunk. His family had to spend money on a lawyer for him but he still treated his dad like a dog. My mother had co-signed for the car and she is still payi! ng off what the insurance didn't cover. I could go tell 100's of embarrassing stories but you get the picture. So, now to the present. I knew it would be hard but didn't want my children around trash. As for catching up with the child support, he is making an effort but I have to drive 30min one way to pick up money that I practically have to beg for. As for catching up, hopefully the state of TN will make sure that happens. One reason he got behind is because his parents fired him after he stole their work van, drunk again - still unlicensed with warrants for his arrest for not going to court. The grandparents have helped by watching the children on some weekends, partly because the father is unfit to be alone with the children. God forbid he would take a whim to take a car with them in it, drunk or drugged. I am a 23 yr old single mother. Two children - 3yrs,and 19mos. I admit that I did go out after work on weekends I didn't have the children. But, I quit the job at a! sportsbar because I didn't want to be in that environment and it was beginning to be difficult to get a babysitter on weekends. My parents never asked them to pay for daycare, what they said was, we need some help with day care until Chad can pay child support. I admit I've not been good with money but a lot of the tax return money went to mortgage and bills. As for the comment about playing house and having a good time - between now finding a daycare, working the serving job, and trying to find a full time job, getting things in place for school, being a mother, going to Dr.s, etc. there is barely time for leisure. Yes, I did want to go to my sister's bridal shower, and I'll want to go to her wedding - 98% of my social life is with my family. I wasn't trying to manipulate when I mentioned moving to D.C. with my father, I was trying to say that's something I may have to do for survival. After this past weekend I don't want any help from this family other than from the father. I really don't like my kids to be around conflict - they've seen enough with me yelling at their dad to stay sober! Should I just be cordial and let the kids have visits - knowing that they are talking about me in front of the kids? Or should I cut all ties? I hate to be this way, but if they really think what they said about me in this letter is true, then they obviously are total hypocrites - telling me they love me like a daughter, etc. while really thinking otherwise. It makes me think they're all nuts & I don't know if I want my kids around that. What should I do?

Sounds like you may need to move out of town.

Bottom Line: Too much family can make a person crazy. Maybe a fresh start in a new place will be good for everyone.

 Dear Doc:
I met my husband about 10 years ago. I knew at that time that one of his sons was an addict. While in rehab he met a little girl and they now have 2 children. We have helped with the children, by making certain that they were always safe, had food, diapers etc. The mother of the children has improved her life considerably more than the father. They did split up earlier this year. During the past year, we have helped the mother with babysitting so that she could work, and have supplied diapers, milk etc and given her SOME gas money. We were glad that she was making an effort. The childrens' father, my step son, has been good to give her child support, until recently when he lost his job. He is now several weeks behind, but is now working again, and has promised to catch up on his support. Now for the problem, the mother's parents think that my husband and myself should PAY for the mother's day care. I have tried to reach my "step-daughter-in law's" mother to relate everything that has taken place in her absence, But she won't return my calls. I probably don't owe her an explanation, but can't get over the feeling that I must explain my actions. Last year, when the children's mother practically lived with us (the step son was in jail), we fed her, the children, supplied diapers, kept them ALL safe etc. This year, since their separation, we have given up many of our weekends to babysit so that she could work. My husband and I often work 12-15 hour days, and we need our weekends to recuperate. The step d-n-law, on the other hand, missed so much work that she lost her job. It was more important to go out drinking with her friends, go to movies, buy clothes, earrings, etc. than earn an income. I helped her get back over $7000 from income tax, told her to put the money away, so that she would have money for daycare and other expenses so that she could go back to school to better her life. She wasted the money, and now that she is broke her parents expect us to bale her out. Her parents are divorced but make in excess of $200,000 a year, my husband & I make $25,000. The children's mother has also been manipulating everyone, she would call her father, her brother and mother, complaining that the childen's father had only given her $30 implying that was all she had received for the month, when in actuality it was the balance of what was owed for the month. So brother, father etc would send her more money. Instead of paying utilities, she is playing house and having a good time with her friends and her boyfriend. She is staying in her mother's home, rent free, while her mother works out of town, her only responsibilty is utilities, and when her mother returned home from an out of state assignment the utilities were scheduled to be turned off. I believe the girl's family , although with the intention to help her, are enabling her. She is sweet, but manipulating, and now my husband and I are the bad guys. There is much more, but it is difficult to convey it all in a letter. I don't want to enable her, and we are not as financially sound as the girl's parents. Our watching of the children is not totally a selfless act. We enjoy the children and look forward to seeing them and spending time with them. The children's mother has practically threatened us with leaving the state if we don't pay the day care. She then took it back so that we would watch them this weekend freeing her up to go to a bridal shower. What I don't enjoy is having the children be used as a pawn to abstract money from us, which was tried this weekend. What is your take, and what do you recommend?

Do NOT put out any more money. Take her up on her threat to leave the state. That might do you a favor! Develop a mindset where you need her less than she needs you.

Bottom Line: What her folks do or don't do is up to them. Don't get caught in unhealthy guilt. Live your lives and don't sacrifice all for her. Love the kids where you can.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I have been married for 12 years. I had 3 children when we married. He wanted to be a father. At first things were great. After we had a child of our own, however, things changed. He became aggressive to my children, to the point that I had him arrested. He went through a year of anger management and we got back together. Over time his anger has become more verbal. He also has been caught by my children looking at pornography on the internet. I finally had enough 9 months ago and moved out. He was trying to force my 17 year old son out of our house before he graduated from high school.(my son is now a graduate and is a troop leader in the marines). He had told me I was fat and unattractive after I gained 20 pounds when I quit smoking. He also blamed my weight gain as the cause of his erectile dysfunction. He now tells me that he misses me terribly, can't sleep, can't function etc without me. I met with him and he has made a lot of promises that things will be better. Is it possible that he could change that much? I also have a teenage daughter that I worry about in this environment. I had an appointment with an attorney when he made these promises. I don't feel like I can return to that lifestyle. I'am prepared to follow through but he has not been financially supportive during our separation. What would you advise?

It is very very unlikely that he will change that much. What IS likely is that he wants to avoid the divorce because he will have less money, you will do less for him, etc.

Bottom Line: Run like the wind, and never look back!

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I have been married sixteen years. He was a heavy drinker when we met and continues to drink now, but his drinking rarely interfered with his work. Early in our relationship we discussed having children. I wanted children and he did not. Our situation at the time allowed me to stay at home full-time, and he agreed to have children. Our situation has now changed drastically. He is unemployed and I'm working full time. He resentfully cares for the children while I'm working. He is drinking more heavily than ever before and I have come home from work unexpectedly and found him passed out on the couch while the children were watching television. I am unbearably unhappy and worried sick about the safety of my children. We have discussed this many times and he promises to "be more responsible" but it never lasts more than a few days. I have finally given him an ultimatum, quit drinking and seek professional help or I will file for divorce. He doesn't want the divorce or the rehab and therapy. I'm prepared to follow through, but how do I explain this to our 15 year old daughter and 10 year old son?

You absolutely must follow through with the divorce. The odds of him changing are one in a hundred. Sometimes it is better to be FROM a broken home than to be raised IN a broken home. It will be hard for them at first, but it will be forever better for them down the road. Being raised by an unhappy unemployed alcoholic father is one of life's greatest curses. You have the power to save them from that, so you MUST act now.

Bottom Line: Tell them that you love them, that it will work out for the best in the long run, and that they can see there dad as much as they want once you separate. Unfortunately, he will probably not follow through in their direction. This will hurt them at first, but as they deal with who and what he really is, they will be healthier as adults.

 Dear Doc:
i am living and married to a recovering alcoholic who is angry all the time. he accepts that he is angry, but matters at home fail to improve, and we argue and upset each other all the time. i have two beautiful children under the age of two and want to leave this unhappy environment. i am worried my husband won't cope when i leave and will return to drinking, thus losing everything.

So leave already.

Bottom Line: You are not in charge of his drinking. What you ARE in charge of is the welfare of your children, which will be ruined if you stay where you are.

 Dear Doc:
Advise on the connection between a normal lady in her sixties who is over involved with her son who habitually uses drugs and her father who was an alcoholic.

Sounds like an unhealthy two-generation pattern of rescuing that isn't helping anyone.

Bottom Line: If you want to get healthy, and possibly start really helping your son, start saying "no", and build some boundaries that are better for everyone. You may be over-helping him because you have an unhealthy desire to be needed.

 Dear Doc:
My stepson treats me like i am not part of the family, yet when it comes to buying him things or paying half the bills, i get them handed to me. I never get to go out on a 'date", but the kids get to go and do whatever with their dad. i am not their slave and i am tired of dad not backing me up and making excuses why he does so much for the kids. He ignores my kids, but i am to make my schedules or plans around their needs and wants. i don't think i can tolerate this. why are they treating me like this?

Maybe it's because you let them. It looks like it's time for you to start saying "no", and setting up some healthy boundaries that protect you from such poor treatment.

Bottom Line: Maybe it's also because they don't like you, and are only using you. In that case, it may be time to pack your bags, for surely you deserve better.

 Dear Doc:
My son has OSD and is also an alcoholic. We are trying to get him into treatment but he is becoming more and more paranoid and is now drinking hard alcohol. Please help as we are at a total loss and are afraid he is going to die.

Assuming he is over 17, the unfortunate truth is that you can't force him to make changes. Only he can decide if he wants to go into a treatment program. Some families do an intervention where they get everyone together who loves and cares for him, and you all challenge him at once in a closed room, telling him that he is going to die if he doesn't get treatment. That will sometimes shake the person into reality, where they will finally seek help.

Bottom Line: If he becomes suicidal, homicidal, or cannot function in society, the police can force him into treatment for a few days. Sometimes that will break his destructive cycle, and lead him to stick with changing and getting long term help.

 Dear Doc:
I have no idea what my problem is. My latest theory is that it’s related to some mild form of autism. The view from in here: I just don’t get it. I can’t get a job anywhere, doing anything. No matter how I dumb-down my resume. I worked before my kids were born and had some decent skills. Then I voluntarily stayed home for a while. I went back to school while my youngest was in kindergarten, with the intention of returning to the workforce full-time the following year. Well, that kid just graduated from eighth grade, and I’m still sitting here. My skills are outdated, but I would be thrilled to take an entry-level position in my field. It’s a moderately growing industry, with plenty of jobs. I rarely get an interview, and even more rarely get an offer. On the rare occasion that someone does hire me, it doesn’t last. They never give me a reason that makes sense. “You’re just not the right person,” said one supervisor. “I don’t believe you really want this job,” said another, after I had been there for almost two months. I really liked that job, and had no complaints. They all seem mad at me, as though I should know why. The last one was a light maintenance job at a big box store. And I did it with a smile. And without mentioning my college degrees. I kept my secret so well, a co-worker once whispered to me, as though I might not have guessed, “I think you’re over qualified for this job.” Really – do ya think? Again, the supervisor who fired me did it without saying why, and as though I should already know. Ok, so I have a terrible personality. But so do a lot of people, and they manage to find work. I will admit that my social instincts are weak and that I’m not very assertive. I have been working on it for a half-century and have made significant progress. Still, I’m hard to read, and people often hallucinate around me. They tend to project their own issues onto me. Compulsive liars imagine that I’m lying with every breath… With coworkers, the dumb ones will say it out loud, and their perceptions are enough to curl your hair. (I never said that or did it, never thought it, am shocked to hear that such a person could be imagined, let alone exist in this dimension of reality.) I am so awed by the stupidity that I can't even defend myself. I am dumbfounded, and just walk away. The smart ones keep it to themselves, and leave me to guess at the unguessable. The real me is analytical, philosophical, highly moral and slightly arrogant. And I have some background in psychology. But no one knows this. Most of my thoughts are my own, and too long-winded for any real-world situation, so I don’t say much. You want me to haul this garbage can from here to there? Fine. No discussion required. With a happy face, I aspire to be the best damn slug this company has ever had. And I still can’t get a job. My social life stinks, too, but that’s another story.

I'm going to try something different here. Something like a conversational blog, if you will. I'm going to ask others who read this to post their response on the site, and I will then post their responses here.

Bottom Line: Through the shared thoughts of others, some good answers will hopefully come forward. Thanks to all for your joint participation in this sharing of exeriences and ideas.

 Dear Doc:
I work with a female coworker who has the identical symptoms of a personality disorder such as a "narcisist". As soon as she enters the cubicle and greets me, she has to put down her hooks, of territory and artificial power. After studying counseling, including trauma, I am beginning to discern that she is unhappy inside. She has an unhealthy relationship (avoidance) with her mother, and came to our dept winning people over, before they would reject her for her obese weight, and unattractive appearance. How can I manage dealing with her low self esteem, poor sense of self, and negativity without getting burned?

Her situation is both very sad and very dangerous. She's probably unaware of how troubled she is, for that would take years of therapy. She is likely the victim of some forms of childhood abuse. Try to look beyond her obvious defense system of being difficult. These people are completely prickly until you break through their walls. Then they are a broken child inside, who wants to be loved and accepted.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, the vast majority of these people never get help, and provide a lifetime of hell to those around them.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend has an ex wife who is an abusive alcoholic. She lives in the house, and he lives with me and his son. She lives in the family residence and he refuses to cut ties with her. He has so many excuses as to why he can't sell his house. He pays all the bills and gives her $600.00 a month. She is also included on his family cell phone plan. He has been living with me for 9 months and has done nothing to move foward. What should I do?

Assuming it is bothering you, it sounds like it's time to draw a line in the sand.

Bottom Line: But if you give him an ultimatum, you need to be ready to send him backing. Just know that there are other fish in the sea, and that you probably deserve better than what you are getting right now.

 Dear Doc:
Why do people have to tell other things that they promise not to tell?

Very FEW people can truly keep a secret. People LOVE to have the inside scoop on a juicy tidbit of gossip, and they LOVE the power they feel at being the one who can spill the story to someone else.

Bottom Line: So be very careful what you say to whom. That's why some people go to a shrink. The money they pay for the service should guarantee that the doctor will keep their secrets private, for the doctor knows that they can be sued if they spill the beans.

 Dear Doc:
when my granddaughter was 6yrs old (now 7) my daughter abandoned her to a father who had moved away from them when the child was 5. he took an out of state job but remained in distant contact. my daughter is a prescription drug addict so she was not the best of parent. my husband and i had the child more than her parents had her. now she is over 700 miles from us. i know she misses us and we see her as much as we can but it is not enough. anyway, my question is will she suffer from maternal abandonment? according to her father she has started to lie a lot. is this normal for a 7yr old? to punish her all of her toys are locked in a closet. is this a healthy way to punish her? thank you for considering my questions.

Yes, the absence of a maternal figure will harm her. Her lieing is probably a way that she is acting out the pain she feels from being away from you. No, that form of punishment will do little to help, because it does not speak to her underlying issue of losing you.

Bottom Line: It may not be possible, but the more time she has with you, the more it will help her.

 Dear Doc:
Hi. i am writing back to your last response about my over-controlling parents.Yes i still do live with my parents but i am not able to move out and afford it financially. i do not yet have a working permit yet i still do jobs here and there whenever i can...yet it is still not enough to support myself. Today i went solo with my bf after soon as my brother got back from church they called up 5 times on my bf cellphone i did not answer. We decided to go out to lunch then over to my parents house again. As soon as we left to go to my bfs parents house to watch some movies. My mom followed us and demanded i go home with her. They have threatened to kick me out. I do not know what else i can do about this situation. Is there any other suggestions besides moving out? Please help. Is there anything wrong with them psychologically?

I wonder where you live, and what religion your family practices, because yours sounds like an overly conservative world. You need to begin today to become more independent, so that you can make your own life decisions. Get your own money so that you can make your own life. Based on where you live, your parents behavior could be viewed as normal or super unhealthy. Ultimately you are going to have to call your parents bluff, regarding kicking you out. If they will not let you be a normal dating adult, then you might be better off living poorer yet happier with your deserved independence.

Bottom Line: I wonder if they are trying to drive your boyfriend away. Most guys would not want to date a girl who had parents that were so controlling and oppressive.

 Dear Doc:
I am writing to you because i have a problem with my parents. i have been dating my bf for about 1 1/2 years already. In the beginning my parents would not let us leave at all to events,shopping or even to the park,basically anywhere, unless my siblings came along. At first i accepted it because it was my only way of leaving anywhere... but now it is starting to get sooo much on my nerves. they are soo stubborn and nothing i say to them about letting me have my privacy with my bf works. Now my little sister is soo used to us taking her everywhere that she encourages them to make us take her. I still get stuck having to bring along my siblings, a lot of the time everywhere i go. On times that i do not take them with me they(my parents) accuse me of not wanting them to go because i wanted to "find a way of sleeping with my bf" and that that would be the only reason i would want to be alone with him. The thing is i believe in waiting till marriage to have sexual relations. It really hurts me that they think that of me and it is causing a lot stress between us. I cannot leave anywhere without arguing with them. They cannot understand that i am 20 already. How should i confront this situation? They don't seem to understand that it gets annoying having them(my siblings) come along sooo many times.

You're 20?? That's nuts! What kind of power do they have over you? You must live with them. Do they support you completely?

Bottom Line: You need to set a boundary with them, and tell them that you will be going solo with your boyfriend from now on. If they kick you out, then you need to start to support yourself, becaue they are WAY too over-controlling. My god, there are a lot of young people who are MARRIED by the time they are 20!

 Dear Doc:
I have a question about your response to my letter yesterday. Are you saying that I should give up and file for a divorce if I'm not willing to live separately from now on? Because I'm not---it's just the only choice for right now. He's been in therapy for almost two months, and he keeps saying that if I'll just give him time to get straightened out, he wants to come back home. How much time should I give him? He's more screwed up than I was when I first started going to counselling; and it took me about 4-6 months to get to a much healthier place. But if there's no hope, it's just a waste of more time. That's part of the reason I asked about sex. As much as I enjoy making love with him, aren't I making myself more vulnerable to being hurt again? I honestly don't know what to do. If there's no possibility of change, why do people go to treatment? I know how much therapy helped me, and I guess I've just been hoping the same thing could happen for him. It probably sounds like I just want you to tell me what I want to hear; and maybe part of me does. But mostly I want to know why you think real change is so unlikely. I realize I'm the only one who can make this decision; and I'm going to have to live with it for the rest of my life. I want to make the wisest choice I can.

Therapy for two months is a good start, but he needs years of therapy, and probably a support system like AA for years to come, if he is to change over the long haul. I'm not trying to be negative about change, it's just that I know from 35 years as a therapist that statistically, people in his situation fail more often than not, in the long run. We all want him to succeed. The key is his resolve. If he is more determined than he has ever been about anything in his life, to make positive changes, than his chances for success go up.

Bottom Line: There's always hope. You know, you could always divorce him and remarry if he gets healthy over time. The key would be if you cut off sex and filed for divorce. If he continues to change for the better even after that, then you know that he is changing for him, and not for you. For you see, if he's changing only to keep you, his odds of success go way down. Either way, you're going to be ok! Go in any direction, rather than doing nothing, and you will learn and grow from the journey. Good luck!

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I were high school sweethearts and have been married almost 32 years. We are both 50 and have both been suffering from his midlife crisis for about 10 years now. During that time he has repeatedly been unfaithful to me and has now become an alcoholic. I still love him very much and despite how ridiculous it sounds, I believe he still loves me. He has always told me that he wants me and our marriage very much; and he is in weekly counselling to try to deal with his problems. My question for you is whether it is healthy for us to be continuing our sexual relationship during this time when we are not living together. We have always had great sex. That has never been our problem. He is still drinking but swears he is being faithful to me now. Of course I really don't know if I can believe him since he's lied to me about it for years. His counsellor says he's not ready for marriage counselling because it wouldn't do any good until he deals with his drinking problem. She says that's the main issue between us. We are getting along really well since he started therapy and are closer than we've been in a long time. Of course we're not trying to live together either. I didn't mention it before but I also have been in counselling for over two years and feel I am healthier and happier than I was before we started having problems. I earn plenty of money and have come to realize that I will be fine whether or not our marriage survives; I just want to give it every chance I can. We see each other several times a week and have sex at least once a week. Am I enabling him to continue his self-destructive behavior by trying to stay connected to him? He's always on his best behavior with me. What do you think?

Being sexual with each other is not a problem. You are not responsible for his behavior, and withholding sex probably won't change his actions.

Bottom Line: If you're happy this way, continue. Some married couples lives separately for decades and like it. If not, get a divorce and move on, but don't sit around waiting for him to change. It's not a good bet.

 Dear Doc:

She may not have chosen her illness, but she can choose her healing. Therapy and meds can make both of your lives much better.

Bottom Line: You are not stuck. Leave. If she wants you to stay, she will get help.

 Dear Doc:
I have a thousand and some odd questions that I can't seem to find any answers too. First off, a little about me. I am the type of person who takes her responsibilities in life seriously--meaning I don't slack them off on someone else or mooch off other people. I have high moral values: honesty, integrity, and the like. I have had a difficult life to say the least, but have always kept a good attitude and been optimistic. I am not the type to want a pity party, life happens, you deal with it best as you can and you move on; and if you are lucky, you can help someone else going through something similar and be their support. Ok, here I go....For the last 9 years I was married to a man I was in love with. He was extremely emotionally and mentally abusive; as was his family. Everything was always, my fault in some way. I was paying bills and we were doing well, and he started taking huge amounts of money to "play" with. I was still left with the responsibility of paying the bills. (If I didn't they wouldn't get paid). After a while we started going without neccessary items, especially me (bras, pads, food, heat, etc). It was blamed on me time and time again. I was told to be more submissive and that the man was to be the financial descion maker. I tried letting him do the bills and months later when we were in extremely dire circumstances I took over again and got us nearly out of debt. This see-saw went on for a long time at least 7 of the years we were married. In 2004 I had told my husband I couldn't continue to live this way and begged for us to go to counseling. I continued to hold on; especially since I had no support. His family would jump from one side of the fence to the other to protect him and constantly contradict what they said previously. In 2005, I had my fifth child and my mother committed suicide within that week. Husband told me not to worry he would take care of everything so I could just take care of kids and grieve. Stupid I know, but I thought maybe he was finally starting to grow up and be responsible. Two months later everything was getting shut off due to him not paying bills. I did my best to deal with the mess he created, but after years of making deals with companies to pay they no longer trusted we would do so--And I don't blame them. My husband of course thought they were all horrible people and didn't comprehend the idea that you have to pay your bills and those people also have bills. A year after my mother's suicide his family started in on me worse than ever and the one person I had in my corner decided I was in the wrong and went off on me being a horrible wife and on and on. Something triggered and I had an "episode" of sorts. I was put on meds and faithfully took them. Recently I moved a state away from my husband and his family. During this time he stopped my medical insurance coverage and I could not afford my pills. I faithfully took them for over a year and a half. The only time I got immensly better was when my husband was removed from the home....anywho...I couldn't buy my meds, I tried to get help from the community and found none. I had about a weeks worth of cymbalta left and the mood stabilizer so I weaned myself off slowly hoping the withdrawal effects wouldn't be so severe. Please understand, I would've taken the meds for life since I have children, period. The circumstances mad it impossible to do so. I have been off the meds for almost two months now and I am not having any symptoms or signs of bipolar. I have told numberous people in the church, neighbors, support group so they are aware in case I have an "episode" and can get me help. However, I am back to being the "me" I was ten years ago before I married my husband. My Vocational Rehabilitation counselor wonders if I had Post Tramdic Stress (considering my background of being abused from a young age on). In 2005, I did have a psychotic seemed like I was drugged was dream like...I went through 3 days of hell and never want to repeat that...another reason I wouldn't have gone off meds. I am full of questions...if I have bipolar I, according to the nurse practitioner I was seeing in the other would be obvious I was off my meds within 3 days. Is it possible I am not bipolar? Is it possible that the stress and abuse I endured for so long and without a support of any kind cause a nervous breakdown? I am confused as to why I am doing so well. Don't get me wrong I love it! It is nice to feel normal again, and not have irrational fear and anxiety. My moods are stable, my stress is fairly low. I do plan on getting into counseling just so I have someone professional that can back me up on being fine...and to watch in case I do have an episode. I have been going through a christian based 12 step program that has helped me a lot as well....I realize that I could have stopped it long ago and left. Unfortunately, him and his family knew my faithfulness to my faith and played it against me; however, I had the power to stop it. Mainly, I am tring to figure out what happened to me. My few friends I had during my marriage have studied bipolar with me and they say they have never seen any of these symptoms in me. I have a huge support group now and none of them see any symptoms either, (there are a few that work with bipolar people regularly). I want to stay healthy and I do not want another episode as it was horrible. Unlike most of the bipolar people I know...I remember everything during those 3 days clearly and it was scary and made no sense--yet at the time in my mental state it all made perfect sense. Do you have any ideas on this that I can check into? Is it possible that removing myself from the stressful situation was all I needed? I don't deny I have issues...the biggest one being I don't seem to know how to make boundaries--and when I do make them, I tend to let others guilt trip me for it--which in turn causes me to remove the line in the sand, so to speak. I just want to ensure I get the right help for the right problem as well...LOL. Sorry to have gone on so long, I appreciate any insight you could give me on this.

You are correct that yours would be a much better world if you started to develop healthy boundaries.

Bottom Line: If it's not too late, change your whole world now, and certainly take the medications that a competent Doctor prescribes for you.

 Dear Doc:
hi, i've been dating my bf for a little over a year. Right now i am realizing an annoying habit of his and i don't know how to tell him about it. Most of the time he does not like to admit he's wrong, or even though he does is hard for him to listen and understand on certain things. What i am realizing is that my bf has a terrible habit of lying. I notice he gets into this mood after we get in small arguments. They are not big lies like he's cheating on me or anything... they are just small obvious lies and when i correct him and say that's not true he denies it. i don't know if he's lying intentionally or not. i don't know why he would have to lie about small things intentionally; they are no big deal. This habit of his is leading me to not believing him on many things. When i hear him telling me things he sounds sooo convinced on what hes saying that i often hold back on correcting him. How can i talk to him about this without him getting offended and come back at me with saying " your calling me a liar!".

Your relationship sounds very sketchy. You're calling him a liar because he is one. You shouldn't have to sugar-coat that. Talk to him straight up. If he can't handle it, then you need to break up and move on asap!

Bottom Line: You are letting him get away with unhealthy behavior, and you are not acting as his equal. That's a formula for disaster down the road for sure!

 Dear Doc:

First of all, you need to learn to not write everything in caps. It turns most people off. With regard to your question, personal appearance is only the first thing that brings people together. After that, it is who they are on the inside that keeps them together.

Bottom Line: Attractiveness is subjective, so maybe she is attractive to him. Plus she may bring a lot of other benefits to the relationship, which he has decided are more important than external appearances.

 Dear Doc:
My ex-boyfriend pled to assault and battery for spitting on me and he's ordered to do no contact from me for a year and to get a mental health evaluation. I have been able to be strong enough not talk to him for about three and a half months so far, because I moved, changed numbers, and now also changed my job, because he had worked there too. I am in domestic violence counseling since I have a history of past abuse as well. I got a new job that is interesting and financially better than the last job, despite all my stress from this. About two weeks ago, my former boss called to warn me that he got fired, for outbursts at work. His coworker emailed me that he had a "mental collapse" at work. In the past, he blamed me for things, including wanting to kill himself, and he had acted out at me at work in the lobby. In between raging, he was an apparently nice, charming, charismatic, attractive man. I had real trouble doing no contact until I changed jobs because he and I worked at the same place. Also, before I changed jobs, the company gave him a warning for leaving a message on my work voice mail, telling me I had better call him or else he'd make sure I'd pay (think he meant pay him money because he said he'd sue me for an Internet posting). I seem to be having trouble all over again, since my former boss called me, being worried about HIM, now that he's fired. Even now, three months later, I seem to have trouble accepting that he is mentally ill, not getting any help, or else not explaining his actual behavior to the counselor when I did get him to go. I still have feelings for him and care about what happens to him, although I have managed not to contact him so far in light of the order, etc. I think he has borderline personality disorder, although is very high functioning. How can I ever emotionally accept that he is not changing, not getting help, even now? He wrote things on the Internet blaming the company for firing him and saying he would sue the company, etc., not taking responsibility. Also, he wrote that he is moving out of state due to his firing. My minister who helped me through all this has advised me not to contact my ex to see if he is okay since his firing, since he'd be angry and possibly dangerous. Plus, I'd have to change my numbers all over again, because he always asked for them, was nice for a while, but would then would rage at me until I had to change them (4 times). I was doing much better until I heard he got fired. I think I also feel guilty for reporting his message at work, which also contributed to him being fired (the warning). I guess I don't understand how to stop caring what happens to him. It's hard because I still remember when he acted "normal" and I know rationally he is just sick. Also, how do I not feel guilty because my reporting his behavior got him a warning, which laid the foundation for him being fired? Now he doesn't have health insurance and can't get help. Lastly, do some people just go through life, blind to the fact that they need help? I really tried to get him help but he said the counselors were entertained by his stories but did not help him at all. I sort of feel like I "drove him crazy" somehow. When I met him he was on anti-depressants, though, from a previous breakup.

You need to avoid him like the plague. It is absolutely true that some people never get better. This is the type of person who ends up on the evening news, after the police are called because of domestic violence.

Bottom Line: You need to see your own ill-health in this situation. Get into some good therapy, where you can dump your unhealthy guilt. You were powerless to make him as sick as he is, and you are even more powerless to help him. Being a rescuer would be one of the most unhealthy things you could do (and it's guaranteed to fail).

 Dear Doc:
why does my boyfriend get mad when i don't answer his call and leaves me messages like "i know you are up to something, i know how you are"?

Because insecurity is very ugly.

Bottom Line: This is NOT a good sign. Jealousy kills many relationships. You may want to consider a life without him, for your long term sanity.

 Dear Doc:
My 19 yo daughter is in over head and I'm fearing she may need some type of inpatient treatment to snap out of it. She has always been troubled, no matter how hard her father and I try to help her. Last year she finally seemed to break through, and was doing great with her studies and socially it seemed. Then near the end of her junior year of HS (we kept her back in kindergarten), she said she was raped by one of the most popular boys in the school. I totally believe her and stood by her, her father thinks it's another one of her stories. Well, because she didn't go right to the police there wasn't enough to prosecute him with. She went back to school for one day and was tormented, because the other kids said she was a liar. Since then a lot has happened and she is now living who knows where, she says with friends, but won't tells us where she is. She moved by her own choice, and I'm still not sure why she moved out. I'm so afraid she is going to end up hurt or worse. The thing that really troubles me about her is, she is a compulsive liar. I've never seen anything like it, she makes up all these horrible stories about her life. She tells other people things have happened to her that never have. She even told someone she had a chlid when she was 13, that was the result of her fathers molestation. Which, believe me is a complete fabrication. Is this a mental problem? I stand by her and believe her when she is hurting, my husband doesn't. He says everything is a lie, he doesn't even know about what she said about him and the child. If I get her to sign herself in for inpatient psychiatric help, will this help her. Do you recommend any particular type Tx center? Please help before she is gone forever!! A Loving Mother

Yes, compulsive lieing can be defined as a mental health disorder. As you may know, once a child is 18, they can sign themselves out of the hospital, unless the authorities determine that she is suicidal, homicidal, or cannot function on her own. So, if she will stay in the hospital, they can possibly help her, but only if she wants to change. Unless she is covered by a health insurance plan, these programs are very very expensive.

Bottom Line: This type of situation can be hell for you as the parent, because it is obvious to you that something is wrong, but you are powerless to do much about it. The biggest hope will be if she asks for help, and is serious about making some self improvements.

 Dear Doc:
Hello, I have an adult son who began using drugs at about age twenty-five. He also had O.C.D..(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). He was a sickly child, and had health problems into adulthood. I believe that he began using drugs, in order to escape the demons in his head. I remember him telling me once,"somtimes I cannot turn off the terrible thoughts my brain has going on. I often imagine TERRIBLE images in my mind, and cannot turn them off." Is it possible that the drug use was an attempt to quiet the scary thoughts?

Absolutely. It is sometimes referred to as "street medicating". The person aches for relief, so they use substances that are available on the street to ease their pain. They often are not even conscious that they are doing this. This is a VERY common practice, in that many use alcohol, marijuana, etc. to get the job done.

Bottom Line: The better alternative is to go to a Psychiatrist that he can be honest with, and whom he trusts. That person will then prescribe to him safer and more effective medicines that will help slay his demons. There are currently some very effective OCD medicines on the market.

 Dear Doc:
After being in my step son's life for the past five years, why would my step son tell his mom that i spanked him with the belt? I don't even punish my other two children; my husband is the primary punisher. I do however take things away when the kids mis-behave (ex: Playstation). How do i get my stepson's mom to see that i would never hit a child?

You can't get her to change her mind if she doesn't want to. Continue to be a good person, and hopefully his mom will admit to your decency one day. Speak with her if she's willing, but realize that she may have a dysfunctional vested self-interest in viewing you as a bad person (e.g., it makes her feel better about her own poor behavior).

Bottom Line: I wonder how old your step-son is. People do things for a reason, so he must have had a goal in mind (be it conscious or not), when he told that to his mom. Rise above it all, and you will find a calm in the long run.

 Dear Doc:
why after 16 years of marriage & then 15 years of being divorced, & we are both remarried to some one else, why is she so bent on destroying me still? She's the one that cheated & she is the one who filed for the divorce in January 1992.

Some people are unhappy for life, and they want to (often unconsciously) take everyone down with them.

Bottom Line: Be happy that you are away from this toxic person. Do everything you can to stay out of touch with her.

 Dear Doc:
I called my ex to see why he hasn't called our son. He got very angry with me. Like always, it's my fault. I usually get mad and hang up. Im really getting sick of being blamed for his pride problems or whatever it may be. Please help me to defuse the situation for my son's sake.

Don't call him again. Unfortunately, you cannot save your son from dad's misbehavior.

Bottom Line: Explain to your son that there is nothing you can do. Encourage your son to contact him if he wants to see his dad. If dad continues the non-contact, your son will learn which parent is there for him, and which one is a flake. A hard but valuable life-changing lesson.

 Dear Doc:
I've read your reply to another wondering if her spouse could be gay and respect your advice and opinion. I'm troubled by the same dilemma. My scenario is incredibly close to the Brokeback Mountain movie. It's not a matter of seeing how life imitates art; instead it's a worrisome coincidence that sends me chills. My spouse is sensitive which I appreciate, but more effeminate than masculine. Our sex-life is sporadic; the pattern is weeks without activity and then one literal honey-moon week after I express my frustration. He feels I have an unusually high drive, while I feel his interest is far lower than my past relationship partners. He enjoys frequent hunting and fishing trips. Right now he is on his way home from a trip and of course he hasn't caught anything. Before he left he told me about how wimpy his fishing buddy is and that last time the guy kept asking him if he was cold or if he should come into the bedroom quarters (instead of the couch). Talk about Brokeback (and my partner hasn't seen the movie either). Then yesterday in our 4 minute, touch-base-call, wouldn't you know a joke about this same friend "coming on to him all night" was said. He told me the fished the night before, but later stated the boat wasn't set up yet (?). Before he left he talked about how much he used to enjoy nudity when he lived on his own and told me of a time he answered the door naked when his friend visited. I thought this sounded like unusual behaviour. Others in his life wondered if he was gay before. He said he isn't. I've tried to help him communicate on these issues in gentle and direct ways, but without any real responses. I explained how most men I know have had others come on to them, same-sex fantasies are normal, etc. One time when we were looking at pornography he seemed especially interested in transexuals and told me if I'm good, he'll get me one for my birthday. I joked, "is that one of those presents you really want but get for someone else?" Then I tried more direct approaches, and stated some observations--still nothing. I still love him, but do worry I can not compete with male interests if they exist. I sense he would not reveal anything new in counselling, or dealing with this issue could hurt him. For now, I wonder if what I've described sounds like there is a good possibility he is bi-sexual. Sincerely, Curious if he's bi-sexually curious.

A posibility indeed.

Bottom Line: Keep your eyes and ears open. If you discover definitive proof, then you can directly speak with him about the possibilities regarding your future together.

 Dear Doc:
My 14 y/o daughter seems to have the hardest time adjusting to coming back home after visiting her father for 3days during school & 9 weeks during the summer. He lives 2 states away. I have primary px. custody yet she seems to think of him as the "good parent" tho he provides very little to her support month-to-month, year-to-year, etc. How can I look better in her eyes...I provide so much more for her incl. instilling good morals, values & principles. I'm beginning to feel like a failure yet I know that if whe were to live with him in New Orleans, these things might vanish. What should I do?

It's hard, but be patient. There is no way that you are a failure.

Bottom Line: The "fun" or "good" parent is usually found out as the child grows up. As you continue to be there for her over the years, she should come to realize your great value over time. This may take until she is an adult, but she will get there.

 Dear Doc:

If he want to see her, that's the right thing to do.

Bottom Line: It will surely be complicated, but your younger girls can view her as a positive rather than a negative, if you present it in that light.

 Dear Doc:
my husband is a recovering alcoholic--we are currently separated--his personality and physical appearance has dramatically changed for the good--he is polite, engaging, involved--i do think that he may be a narcissist--a bit manipulating and controlling. how can i tell--can i still be happy with him?

Proceed with great caution. Unfortunately, the odds of a relapse are great.

Bottom Line: You have to set clear boundaries with this type of person. Statistically, the chances for long term happiness with him are slim. Anything is possible, but you would do well to keep your life-choice options flexible.

 Dear Doc:
I antagonized my boyfriend by trying to get him to see me more, even though I know all the things going in his life are preventing him from doing so. I really gave him a hard time this weekend and I regret it because I drove him away and I didn't mean to. I appologized and told him that I was too focused on not appreciating the time that I did spend with him; instead, I focused on the times we didn't spend together. I wish I understood men more; we got along so well and I feel so aweful because he didn't deserve my badgering, he is too sweet.

In the long run it never works to try to require or force a person to be with you. It's usually the kiss of death to a relationship.

Bottom Line: If he doesn't want to be with you, go out and have fun with yourself. Maybe then he'll realize how great you are, and will start to want to spend more time with you. If he doesn't, then move on, because waiting around forever is a waste of your time, and you can do better!

 Dear Doc:
I am a twenty year old girl and I'm currently in college. I have a twenty-five year old boyfriend who I've been dating for over a year. At the end of this school year I would like to possibly move in with him. It would save us both money and I already stay at his apartment half of the time anyways. The problem is, my parents are very old-fashioned and conservative. They do not believe in sex before marriage or living together before marriage. My parents love my boyfriend and I wouldn't want to do anything to change the way they feel about him or our relationship. What should I do? Thanks.

You are not in charge of how your parents feel about your boyfriend. Your parents are in denial, as you have been living part-time with him in a sexual relationship for quite some time already. Look at it this way: maybe you will do them a favor in the long run by pushing them to consider new ideas. They won't like it at first, but that doesn't mean it isn't good for them.

Bottom Line: It is healthiest to be true to yourself, and live your life as you see fit. If you compromise who you are for others, you are creating a slow death for yourself. Not a good idea.

 Dear Doc:
my daughter just turned 16 and is pregnant. her "boyfriend" just had a baby 2 weeks ago. my husband and i are 34 and have 4 kids of our own and raising my niece and nephew, a total of 6 kids, and are not ready to raise another one. my husband wants her to have an abortion or have her emmancipated. i dont know what to do. please help.

Maybe adoption would be a reasonable choice. Your daughter has created her own problem. Her adult choice to become pregnant must be followed by her adult choice as to what to do now. For you to rescue her would be to deprive her of the opportunity to learn the consequences of her actions (one of life's most important lessons).

Bottom Line: It seems true that your family is full to the brink already, and that to take on another child would probably sink the entire ship. Not a good idea.

 Dear Doc:
I'm so lonely and just want to cry all the time, so I do. I keep having flashbacks of my exhusband treating me poorly and wanting me to feel bad about myself. I'm angry at all the mean and horrible things people have done to me in the past because I actually thought that it was ok for them to treat me this way. When I look back i'm enraged.

So far so good. This is the first step in your recovery.

Bottom Line: Now you need to not get stuck feeling like a victim. Do something positive for yourself by going forward in your life. Without hope we are dead, so believe that you are now empowered to bring good into your world. It really is true!

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend and I (lived together eight years) have been seperated for one year. I was the one who called it quits. He has dated a fair amount this past year. Last month, we started seeing each other again and last night we spoke hypothetically about rekindling our romance. Is it appropriate or desirable for me to call him? Or should I treat this as a formal courtship and wait for him to call the shots? If I want to get back together, how do I ensure that we succeed and that I get what I want and am able to fulfill his needs, too?

There is no reason why you shouldn't call him.

Bottom Line: Obviously, there are never any guarantees, but if you both are truly honest about your needs going forward, you will have your best chance for success.

 Dear Doc:
I am very unhappy, our marriage has been on an unpersonal level for the last 15 yrs, I fell like a maid or housekeeper, I get little respect, all the quizzes I have taken I am considered emotionally and verbally abused, my husand is a past Alcohlic and drug abuser but has been dry for years,I am a nurse but due to back injury have been unable to work since 1995. Material things I have not lacked for within reason. We just do not seem to have anything in common or like the same things since the kids grew up. He does things like get another dog I did not want which I take care of most of time or it would be neglected, then makes me feel guilty when I don't want him. I had a difficult dhildhood, my self esteem is bad to start with and grew up poor and do not want to live that way again. We do travel 4 months out of yr which I enjoy and he is like a different person. I do not converse often with him as anything I say or do seems to make him angry, like if I talk about plans for future, he then gives me the I am never satisfied routine, so I have jus learned to bottle things up, and that makes him mad that i do not visit. We live in a small community of 350 so there is not much to do here and I don't enjoy living here but our house is paid for and they are not worth anything here, so selling out and starting over in a larger place would cause a mortgage and his health is worse than mine and I can't afford a big mortgage as at least 50% of his income I would loose if he died, he spends money on all the sports things he likes and traveling but complains everytime I want to upkeep the house or move the laundry room up to make it easier on my back and walking as I fall and it is happening more often. I just am so unhappy I rarely smile or have lost interest in any of the artistic things I used to do, I just seem to cook, clean, wash clothes, take care of the dogs and others. Would I be better off alone? Is there any question tests to take to help me decide or point me in right direction?

You don't need to take any more tests. Your situation is pretty obvious... you are a member of the miserably married club (which is, unfortunately, a very large club).

Bottom Line: It sounds like changing your world would be very very difficult. Assuming that you are not up for that, it looks like you need to make the best of your current circumstance by finding a life beyond your husband. All you can change is you, but if you change for the better, maybe that will bring some good out of him. Above all else, don't wait for him to make you happy, because that never works.

 Dear Doc:
I once again got emotionally hooked into a relationship with my abusive ex-boyfriend who works at the same place I do. I had been in counseling a year and a half and just switched to domestic violence counseling which seems more helpful. The last thing that happened is that he held me down, told me not to leave his apartment, and spit several times in my eyes, on my face, and on my work clothes. I had brought him a biscuit sandwhich and he threw it at me, and spread it on the carpet and said you did this, it is your fault, clean it up. I reported this to the police and I think he is charged with assault and battery. I know they served a warrant. He also yelled at me in the lobby at work and we both had to talk to HR and security, accusing ME of threatening HIM. I have been trying to find a new job and so far have no luck. He looks at pornography and is mesmerized by pictures of young women with men spraying semen on their faces. I told him I did not like this and in the last couple weeks, he held me down and did that to me. Because of the police situation, I am not talking to him. Also, my pastor says he could kill me because he said he felt like killing himself because of me and I ruined his life. I was debating whether to take sick leave from work but so far am functioning as I can work elsewhere up to 3 days a week sometimes. I am just discouraged as my ex-husband punched me and my Dad physically and emotionally abused me and I keep repeating the same stupid patterns. What else can I do? I'm in domestic violence counseling and three online support groups. I just feel very powerless to report to that office building not knowing if he is in an elevator I'm walking into.

Your pastor is right. You've got to get away from him to save your life. Take the police report to your work, to prove that you can't be around him. Get a restraining order against him. Change jobs and move out of town if you have to, to ensure that you are away from him. Unfortunately, as the old song says, you are looking for love in all the wrong places.

Bottom Line: Don't give up on your therapy. If need be, find better people to help you. But in the end, it's up to you to protect yourself and start your better life over, away from this eminent danger.

 Dear Doc:
I'm always attracting guys who want to dominate me, or control me in some way. Why might this be? I want to find love, real love and don't even know what this really means. I love myself, I finally accept who I am, but still have not met anyone.

Unfortunately there are a lot of not-too-healthy guys out there (and ladies too)!

Bottom Line: As you love and like yourself more, you'll need outside love less, which is when a healthy male version of it will most certainly appear. If we want it too much it alludes us. If we are content in ourselves and fine whether it comes or goes, by golly but here it comes. One of life's many great paradoxes.

 Dear Doc:
Something simple. My ex girlfriend had suddenly been consumed with caring for her sick uncle and taking care of her mother's chores over a period of 3 months. Our time together had been dwindling. I would question it and all she would say was that she's never been so busy before in her life. Short of the story is that she told me "I knew you wouldn't wait" (what is that supposed to mean?) The other thing was I asked her if she wanted me out of her life and she said yes. I can't stand the ups and downs any more (recently being diagnosed bi-polar). What do you think?

I think you are better off to move on and not look back.

Bottom Line: Those mood swings could be the death of you. Wish her well, and advance to someone who is easier to be with.

 Dear Doc:
How do I get my daughter away from manipulative ex-boyfriend? She is a 17 yr old who dated an 18 yr old for a year. He cheated on her several times during this year and she finally had enough of the rumors and broke up with him. She lost her virginity to him a few months ago. He has been gone all summer and she has tried to move on with her life. He has now come back to town for the new school year and was with several girls during the summer. He now tells her that he wants her back... that he loves her. I told her that if he loved her he would not have been with girls over the summer or cheated on her. I know he is only using her and manipulating her. She tells him that she can't trust him and he tells her that she should just forget about the past and that he is trying to make things work and she is just making things hard between them. He is very manipulative and a compulsive liar. He has denied ALL of the cheating alligations and has said that everyone is just making it all up. She even talked to one of the girls that he was with and this girl confirmed that they were together. He said that that girl is also making everything up. The trouble is she believes him! We have banned her from seeing him or hanging out with him anymore which now she is mad at us and I feel that by doing this we are probably pushing her closer to him. We feel that she should be so mad at him for all of this that she hates him, but she doesn't. She says that they are going to be friends. But he won't stop at telling her he wants her back and that he loves her. When we try and tell her that he is no good she defends him. How do we get to see that he is no good? Please help!!

You are pretty powerless in this situation.

Bottom Line: It may be wiser to get out of her way and let her learn from her mistakes.

 Dear Doc:
i need to reinvent myself. i've never had a boyfriend because every guy ends up thinking im crazy. i think i get attached because i had a bad history with my father and im afraid of losing people. i get so crazily attached and then they end up thinking im crazy and that's why they don't want to be with me. what's wrong with me?

You definitely sound like you are too needy, which as you say, drives them away.

Bottom Line: Go get some long term professional help. You need to rebuild your self esteem, which will help you become stronger and more independent. Trust me... then men will want to spend time with you over the long haul.

 Dear Doc:
I've been dating a guy for 5 months that i have a great connection with. We both work a lot and both us of us love what we do. He seems like the kind of guy who is afraid to be in a relationship, he's a scientist and i'm an an artist. As i'm writing this, i see that i just have to let him go and see what happens. Why is it that men can chase women, but women can't chase men. As I write this, I finally realize he has a lot of "mommy" issues and often thinks i'm critising him when i'm not at all. I'm sad about this, because I like who he is very much, but he seems like an injured child and i'm not about to go and jump in to try and save him, that would be scary on my part. Argh, when will i meet a great guy who i feel comfortable with who is there for me. I am spending enormous amounts of time getting my life together, being healthy, hanging with my wonderful friends, but still, no man. I guess I need to stop trying.

It sounds like you are heading in the right direction.

Bottom Line: Enjoy yourself, and your good friends. If a guy comes along, may it be the icing on the top of your cake. It's never healthy to make another person the center of who we are.

 Dear Doc:
How to sum up a long story...I've been with my boyfriend for 6 years. We were engaged 2 years ago and I broke off the engagement a few months after it happened because I hadn't successfully dealt with some pain from the past. We continued to have a relationship, but as you can imagine nothing was ever the same. I sought professional help to get me over the past and I have been trying to move things forward with him for a while now. My boyfriend is still with me, but things are very strained and he is not sure that he wants to commit to a serious relationship again. In fact he says that he is confused and unsure how to get the things that he wants for the future. So, I would really appreciate some advice on how to help discover what is really in his heart and how to rekindle a strained relationship?

The truth is that you probably can't get back what the two of you once had.

Bottom Line: It sounds like he may have been irrepairably hurt by your past. You could try going to therapy together, but you may also need to prepare yourself for the end of this relationship. A sad but possibly unavoidable truth.

 Dear Doc:
My friend Grant who is 14 is going through a rough time. He just found out that his sister who is 17 drinks, smokes pot, and is bisexual. His uncles is dying because hes an acholic and i dont know what advice to give him, or how to help him.

It's great that you want to be helpful. In these situations there often aren't any easy answers.

Bottom Line: If you can just be there for him, listening and being non-judgmental, you may help him talk himself through his struggles.

 Dear Doc:
i'm often made a fool. Why might this be? I'm tall, very attractive, talented, and smart and am a target of envy. i'm usually a little too nice to people, i smile a lot. I also avoid conflict a little too much.

Continue exploring, and you will find the answer. Find an honest friend who will tell you why others make fun of you.

Bottom Line: If need be, seek out a therapist to help you understand the underpinnings of this apparent contradiction.

 Dear Doc:
I have been going thru breast cancer tx since 2003. I have many other health issues. However my toughest one and still is happens to be the man I gave my everything to. 7 yrs of building trusting, loving, forgiving , the thought of him leaving me was an issue until we went to counciling and I really worked on setting my boundaries and learning to say no. and him respecting that. He was scared when we found out I have cancer and was there but, it was almost like a duty. Well he left me almost 1 yr to then day of diagnoses. It took so much of me. my friends tell me I am not the same person. Not mean or anything but,well one friend said it's like I died inside.We broke up several times and he always was on the door step saying he could not be without me to come home. anyway heres the kicker he called me 3 months later and asked if he could see me and of course i could of said no but I wanted to touch him, he came in had a glass of wine and we started touching, hugging , crying, then he told me before we made love that he was GETTING MARRIED. (all the touching STOPPED) We still have a connection to this day and he was stopping by my job in the mall. Ha, easy access. Well I started dating and after 4 mo. this man asked me to marry him. I accepted and I called David and told him. He was silent for awhile and then his voice started shaking and he told me this was hard for him and he did not like it. He did not want to hear it and he did not think he would have felt this way. He congradulated me and hung up. Well we picked out rings and everything but , everything started moving really fast. This man started yelling and flipping (sign langage) out men that smiled while we were driving down the interstate. So my family started telling me to watch that one theres something not right. I BROKE IT OFF.... OK, SO, NOW I'M BABBLING MY QUESTION IS HOW CAN A MAN THAT I KNOW WE WERE SO COMPLETLY CONNECTED GET MARRIED WITH IN 3 MONTHS OF OUR BREAKING UP? MIND YOU HE HAS BEEN MARRIED 2X BEFORE. IT IS HARD TO LET YOU DOC, WHEN THERE'S 7 YRS. OF HISTORY HERE.

People often remarry in order to try to run away from their broken heart.

Bottom Line: Sounds like it is best for everyone to move forward, and not look over the shoulder of the past.

 Dear Doc:
I have raised my step-son for 16 years, he has recently moved out, and his girlfriend is pregnant. He does not see or want to see his biological Mom. What rights do I have for my step-grandchild? My step-son is really like my son.

You will have to contact an attorney, as the laws no doubt differ from state to state.

Bottom Line: Hopefully your step-son will want to include you in the life of his child.

 Dear Doc:
My mother-in-law does not get along with her 3 daughters, but has a good relationship with her two son's. One of her daughter's is having her first baby. What should she do? Reconnect or keep it discontinued?

If it hasn't gotten better after all these years, it's probably not going to happen now. She should move on. If her mom wants to change things, she can initiate the improvements.

Bottom Line: The birth will be an especially important time for the daughter to protect herself from the mother's downsides. She doesn't need mom messing up her relationship with her new child!

 Dear Doc:
I dated a guy I met on line for two years; met his family etc. We planned a life together. I broke the relationship off Feb 2007, because I still had no ring and felt it was a game. well... I felt lonely the other day and called his phone; he had his number changed. Was he lieing to me the entire time? Did he really care ? Sex is something he can get in his home state?

You're reading way too much into the number change. It could be as simple as him changing phone companies.

Bottom Line: It makes little sense that all of two years would be a lie. People don't stay together that long if they don't care, and there had to be more to it than sex. It sounds like your insecurities are doing the talking right now. Tell them to shut the !@#$ up!

 Dear Doc:
As a recently divorced woman getting back on the dating scene, I've been incredibly self-absorbed lately and trying to get my career going, get healthy because i was severely ill this winter and almost died. I was just told by a guy who I was actually going to break up with tonight that i'm self absorbed. I just answered "your're right" so we broke up. I don't like that he wants me to feel wrong for being really involved with what i'm doing etc. I felt like he was rushing me into something. I need my time to heal, date slowly and get my life on track and not feel wrong for doing so. It would be great to meet a guy who would understand this. Where is he? Taking my time to get to know someone seems like it's the most important thing for me right now because I'm worried that I could still be attracting the same kind of guy.

You are making the right choices. Keep it up!

Bottom Line: Rebounding is so typical, and so unhealthy. You will be better off in the long run as you take your sweet time to get yourself right, before sharing you with another.

 Dear Doc:
Why did this married man who promised to marry me leave me so heartlessly when his wife found out?

It's time to wake up and smell the coffee. This is what happens most of the time in your situation.

Bottom Line: When it finally comes down to tearing up a family, a house, and finances, most people decide that leaving just isn't worth it.

 Dear Doc:
What guidance can you give me in trying to have a civil discussion with someone that commonly uses "always" and "never" to describe their dissatisfaction with another's behavior? (e.g. you ALWAYS take his side of an arugument)

You might want to give up having a discussion with someone like this!

Bottom Line: There are many reasons why people speak this way, and they usually point to the person's emotional ill-health. Tell them you cannot speak with them any longer if they can't find the middle ground of words like "sometimes" and "maybe". However, they probably won't change, so prepare yourself to move on from these unhealthy and wasteful discussions. There are better people out there for you to spend your time with!

 Dear Doc:
What do I do about my teenage daughter who doesn't want to spend every other weekend with her father? Says she hates him, says t his to him, and if he really cared about her he wouldn't force her to stay on his weekends with the kids. (We have been separated for 6 months. She has always had anxiety about staying over night at places other than her house. I feel she needs to have a relationship with her father and spend the weekends but she is angry and upset that she is being forced. My husband feels we should not give her an option and tell her it is unfortunate she feels that way and we understand that she is hurt and angry but she has no choice and will be staying with him every other weekend, and if she chooses to just not talk and sit in the corner it is her fault. I feel she needs to talk to an outside party, someone who deals with this kind of issue. Someone to help her understand and learn to cope with her situation. That her, me and my husband should go together and seek help in this matter. My husband feels that I gave her a choice on some weekends to stay home if she felt that way and that has just hurt her more and that my way of protecting her put us back and she needs to know that this is just the way it is now and she will have to accept it and deal with it but she will be staying with him every other weekend and how she chooses to be is her problem and if she doesn't change her attitude and doesn't stop carrying on she will be punished for her disrespect. I need some serious help, I am upset my daughter is hurting and I want to help. How can I????

It will only backfire to force her. You can't legislate or require love. Let her choose, and then there is a chance for love down the long-term road.

Bottom Line: It would be great to get with a counselor and discuss it as a threesome, but will her dad listen to what he doesn't want to hear?

 Dear Doc:
my sister had some issues with an abusive boyfriend and my mother took guardianship of her two children almost a year ago. since then my sister has had a very difficult time getting her children back. she is fighting her all the way. she has since gotten her life in order but she still refuses to give her children back. she is also doing things like "playing" them against their mother and telling them that she is not their mom. we all know this is damaging to the chilren more then anyone. what should she do, because she is also concerned about hurting my mother and does not have the finances to continue the battle.

The last thing she should worry about is hurting her mother. Without money, she will probably lose, because these battles are almost always won or lost in the courtroom.

Bottom Line: Maybe she can find a public funding source to help her to fight for her kids, but be prepared for a battle that can go on for years.

 Dear Doc:
i have such a toxic family. I'm in my early thirties, I am successful and on the verve of becoming extremely sucessful, but my father doubts me to my whole family behind my back. I'm so sad, I feel so betrayed. He is a "good guy" to me in person and on the phone and then I found this out yesterday. My family is always playing each other against each other, creating triangles, especially with money. I've moved away, been divorced (surprise, surprise, i married and divorced a wolf in sheeps clothing) I'm in therapy, but i'm still always disappointed by them, but I guess I realize they won't change. It is just sad. I really love what I do, my father never followed his dreams and he doubted me all through school. My new success is a world class success that i'm sure he could never see for himself, but i guess i have to realize that my family can not see much past themselves. It's just very lonely now to be divorced, have an unreliable and more an untrustworthly one. But the silver lining in all this is that I have amazing friends of all ages.

Some families just don't get healthier.

Bottom Line: So you have to move one, and enjoy those friends, who are the family you choose, rather than the family that was foisted upon you at birth!

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend of three years is soon to be moving home which is about a 4 hour drive from where I live. For the past three years we have practically lived in each others pockets and weekends apart were tough on both of us. Any previous attempts at long distance has ended badly. Neither of us talk naturally on the phone and we dont communicate well long distance which has lead to fights. do you have any tips on how to build long distance communication skills? or how to broach the subject with my boyfriend? Thanks.

Can you live near him?

Bottom Line: Short of that, you had better have a direct discussion about it asap, or else the relationship probably won't make it.

 Dear Doc:
i am 20yr old girl,am studying in abroad.i was brave and studious when i was with my parents,but now i don't think so.because these days am distracted lot.i was friendly to a guy,and i was concern regarding his health since he has congenital defect in his heart.and also he is 18 months younger to me...but later on it developed to love .i can't be without him and he can't live without me.the problem i have is we both are from different caste and my parents won't agree for our marrige.and i don't want to hurt my parents feelings,since i respect am thinking a lot about this and i couldn't concentrate in my plz help me out of this problem.

Difficult indeed. Assuming you don't want to change everything with your family and their traditions, you'll have to let this relationship go.

Bottom Line: On the other hand, a lot of society's rules are unnecessary, and hold people back. If you can go against the tide, stay with him and build a new and freer world for both of you.

 Dear Doc:
i am 20yr old girl,madly,truly,deeply in love with a 25 yr old...we are dating for 2yrs nw and we have plans of marriage in 2010...the problem is i am residing in kolkata n my boyfriend is leaving for mumbai next week...a 2yr programme...plz tell me how shall i cope up with this...i cant live without him for a second n i am studying here n cant leave kolkata n neither can we marry now!!!I AM VERY DEPRESSED!!! n i trust him bt i dnt trust the girls in insecure for that too...n moreso how shall i impress his mother...she just cant tolerate me...she shows her son she loves me but i fight...i just want my boyfriend to think i am the best gf he has got...please help.

You're going to have to relax a bit, or this will make you crazy.

Bottom Line: Be the best person you can be. What will be will be. You can't control the future.

 Dear Doc:

It is not wrong. It is all good!

Bottom Line: Just like it is natural to eat food or breathe air. It's part of how we're made, and part of what we need for good health.

 Dear Doc:
What to do when your boyfriend has a drug habit and is hitting you up for money and feels you should not be mad?

How about...lose the boyfriend!!

Bottom Line: There is no doubt that you can do better than this. Don't settle for crumbs.

 Dear Doc:
hey, this is the 19 year old who talked abt the 1-2 week severe depression. thank you for your response. I'm just wondering if there are certain foods i should stay away from and what foods i should eat? everytime i go to a fast food resturaunt, whether it be Wendy's, Mc Donalds, places like that, I'll get veryyy tired and need a nap; afterwards i'll become anxious and a little paranoid. so i'm wondering if certain foods trigger it and what foods will help me?? thank you

Yes, foods can have a significant affect on your moods. Go online to study which foods affect which moods. There is a lot that is written about it nowadays. Also ask your Doctor for some reading materials.

Bottom Line: It usually has to do with foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat. More fruits and vegetables, as well as whole-grain breads will probably help.

 Dear Doc:
my wife was diagnosed with biopolar. she has racing thoughts 24/7. she doesn't want to work any more, and is always attacking me verbally, and sometimes physically. i tried to help her but i can't seem to keep up with her antics. its bringing me and my kids down. i've spoken to her doctor about her ways,and all he does is prescribe more medication. she has a lot of anxiety. one anxiety is that she fears things are going to happen to me and our kids. she wont let them be by themselves or go to school on there own. my kids are 20 and 15 years of age. she tells me not to interfere with her way of thinking. it's driving us crazy. i told her doctor that she needs to be put away for treatment and evaluation, because she really needs it...thank you

Yours is one of the toughest rows to hoe. These people are usually better on their meds, but they often don't take them.

Bottom Line: You may have to not live with her. Having her go in the hospital would help while she's gone, but odds are she would go off her meds when she gets out, which would just recreate the problem.

 Dear Doc:
I'm 19, female. I have these intense 1-2 week periods of severe depression where I'm hopeless that I'm not good enough for myself or others and I just really hate myself and think some people are better than me. The strangest thing is sometimes I think I'm just as good as them. Combined with that, I experience, slight paranoia where I think people are laughing at me or trying to avoid me or are mad at me and I said something wrong and they don't like me anymore. Sometimes I even think people know what I'm thinking. During the depressive states I get in, I have extreme crying spells about anything, whether it be about something touching I see on tv, or just a sad thought and hoplessness and confusion I can't quite put together in my mind. I'll get irrational obsessive thoughts that scare me and I'm really close to my mom and I tell her everything so I have her reassure me in my wierd 2 week states I call it. I hate them. But the thing is they don't stay. It goes away for a while. Maybe every other month or so. And the weird thing is it's always around my menstural time. And I find the sunshine helps me feel better. I'm on a birth control that is suppossed to help with these ups and downs but i've only been on it for a week now. And when these 1-2 week episodes go away, I get happy again and I'm OK. I also have a bad memory problem. Is there something wrong with me?

It's most likely that there's nothing wrong with you that a hormonal adjustment won't fix. Many women take birth control pills to solve these problems. Your problem is probably more biological than psychological. The reason it happens every other month is that your ovaries alternate, and it's common that one of them causes more of these problems than the other.

Bottom Line: You may need a specialist to give you the right hormones in the right amounts. If this first round of birth control doesn't help, seek out someone who specializes in this. Some talk therapy would probably be helpful also, to help you come to understand your situation, and how you can cope with the irrational moments.

 Dear Doc:
I am trying to decide what type of Dr. I need to see. I have severe anxiety attacks, then can go into depression within an instance. Crying etc. From looking on the outside you may think that I have a great life, but there is something missing for me. I do not like myself at all, feel like I want to just stay in my self esteem, mad at the world...I am taking care of my elderly mom, my oldest daughter and good friend has moved over 1500 miles away...I am 'pre' menopausal...gaining willpower when it comes to exercise or a full time job....Should i see my MD for depression meds, or a therapist? I just want my life back!

It is usually best to go to a therapist first, to try talk therapy. If that doesn't help, then and MD and medicine make sense.

Bottom Line: However, your hormonal symptoms would suggest that there is a biological piece to your struggle, so going to both types of Doctors at the same time is reasonable. It's just that Pychiatrists usually aren't the easist folks to talk to, and regular MD's don't know enough about psychotropic medicines to necessarily give you the best advise. The good news is that there is help out there for you, and you CAN get your life back!

 Dear Doc:
my sons wife left him, she has two daughters, one daughter is 12 and the other is 4. my son has been the 4 yrs father since birth. at first the mother would not let him see the 4 yr old, but since easter week-end he has been seeing her every other week-end and on wednesday evening. the mother now states that when the child comes home from visitation all she wants is to be with her daddy and live with him. the mother appears to be stopping the visitations, as my son was suppose to get her on friday 5/4/07 but has not happened as yet. please advise as course of action, i know the child is very attached to my son and he with her, he considers her as his very own. thank you.

He probably can't do much about it, if he has no legal rights to her.

Bottom Line: All he can do is ask the mother to consider what is best for the child.

 Dear Doc:
I've been dating my boyfreind for 5 months. He seems a lil too attached which i've gotten used to... the one thing i cannot seem to get used to is having to talk to him up to 3-5 times (about 1-2hr each) a day. When i tell him that maybe we should shorten our telephone times he gets upset and says that i'm just not that interested in him. That is not true; i love being around him. Is it normal for me not wanting to talk to him that much through the phone...i'm not sure why he gets upset..about it. Another problem is that he used to say "i love you" plenty...after i had told him that it loses meaning with it being sooo casual he got upset and brought it up again..that i'm not interested in him...anyway i was wondering if there is any way of explaining things to him without him getting too upset about them...or is it just me?

It's not just you. This guy is WAY to needy!

Bottom Line: The relationship will never last if he doesn't learn to be more independent. He will drive you away if he doesn't change (and odds are he won't). Tell him now, so that he can either get his act together or you can move on to someone who isn't so clingy.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend is overly jealous, and gets really annoyed if I stand too close to another man. We are supposed to be getting married in a couple of months and right now we are not speaking over one of his jealousy attacks. What should I do?

Don't get married right now!

Bottom Line: Jealousy can be a cancer, and usually is a red flag for insecurity. Go get some serious couples therapy, if you want a chance at a good marriage down the road.

 Dear Doc:
last time child saw father she was 8 months old. he abandoned her. now in may she'll be 4 yrs old. the father was given visitation every sat and overnight every other sat. she does not know him and i fear him because of his violant behavior. i'm currently fighting the visitation he was given. I was not there to present my case. in your opinion would this traumatize her?

It could be most difficult for her, depending on how you present it to her.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, she will probably be the loser in this situation, regardless whether your case is heard or not.

 Dear Doc:
To add something else to my story which i posted yesterday about my wife of twenty two years is that this girl has done this before. Our friend who we lost contact with explained this to me. This is where my wife met her because we lost contact with our friend. I have found entries in a diary saying she was meeting this girl over twelve month ago outside a bar. I went abroad to help my brother in law with my wife volunteering me to help him with some building work. I rang home to see if everthing was ok. my son answered the phone. i asked to speak to his mum. he said she had gone out at 1:30pm walking the dog. the time i rang was 7:30pm. another baffling thing is she say's she can't afford to divorce me or people separate and get back together in a few years. Since the separation i have helped her to buy a new car, fit a new washing machine even though i am disable through arthritis, sorting out a bank loan with her because she had more going out than coming in. My son walked out with me. he say's that i am the better parent. my daughter is just down right nasty with me saying her mum doesn't want anything to do with me or swearing down the phone at me then hanging up. i have asked my wife to have a word with her. all she say's is that she is entitled to her own opinion. This weekend just gone she slept out for 2 night's leaving my daughter at home with this girl's mum who i don't know. she could of invited anybody in where my daughter was. Another strange thing that has happened is she has put the family home up for sale. Don't think i am being paranoid, but i asked my brother who is gay to see if i could make sense of the changes in my wife. his boyfriend said it sounds like she is being manipulated in a certain way which did make sense after he explained it because it had happened to him. if this is true i need some serious help because my wife will lose everything because of this girl. thanks.

Don't let your wife off the hook so easily. She is still responsible for her own actions.

Bottom Line: She is taking you to the cleaners. You'd better get an attorney asap to protect you from total financial and family ruin.

 Dear Doc:
I have been with my wife for twenty two years. Just over a year ago i found out she was writing e-mails to a gay female and text messages on her phone. She started to go out with this girl and was coming in at ludicrous times of the morning ranging from 4.30 to 6.30 in a morning. I was finished from work due to ill health and was asked to become a house husband with which i duelly obliged whilst she went to work. I made sure the house was clean, the children were picked up from school, then had their tea. i did everthing a house husband should do. She said that her and this girl were friends nothing else. Please don't judge me on what i am about to write. When i found the text messages on her phone i just went mad after being out for a drink and physically abused her. I have been to counselling to try and understand why i did this. My wife is still seeing this girl 10 months after separating from me, staying out all night and leaving my daughter with complete strangers who i don't know. I have never been physically abusive to my wife before in all the time we have been together. She seems now to have just dumped me like a boyfriend and will not talk to me when i contact her. There is more to this story, but i don't want to sound like a bleeding heart. Thanks.

Sounds like she's having an affair with the lady. Unfortunately you have lost all credibility because of the abuse.

Bottom Line: Be patient, and she may come around. You have so many years together, which will hopefully count for something. If you can't wait, then you'd best cut your ties and move on with your life (while still staying close with your kids).

 Dear Doc:
Is my husband cheating on me? A month after a camping trip with his buddy's he has gential warts. We have been married five years,and now this? I find it hard to believe that he contacted it years ago and now all of a sudden he has a break out . Seems strange to me after an outing with his single buddies, who are known to be wild, he suddenly has warts after that trip. Am I being silly?

You are not being silly. What does he say when you ask him directly?

Bottom Line: Check with your medical doctor for more direction.

 Dear Doc:
My wife of five years has had an emotional affair! I am 99.9% certain that it never crossed the line into a physical affair but the pain & sense of betrayal is real nonetheless. The problem is that my wife is suffering from untreated Post Partum Depression. I have to take some responsibility for not getting her help sooner. In terms of forgiving her (which I am trying to do!) I am wondering if the PPD could lead her to make this type of uncharacteristiaclly stupid decision and should she be absolved of her responsibilty in betraying my trust because of this illness. (Temporary insanity plea!) I am desparately trying to reconcile this behaviour in my head. She is getting CBT treatment, (just started) and I'm going to talk to a counsellor about my issues. We are planning on starting marriage counselling too! Can I save my marriage and forgive her. I still love my wife. Before our child we had an incredible marriage. Do we treat her PPD first and then our marriage issues or do we treat both simultaneously. Help a desperate man!

PPD can make a woman do some truly crazy things. However, she cannot be absolved of all responsibility because of that.

Bottom Line: Yes you can save your marriage, and you can choose to forgive her, but you will never forget, so there will always be a scar on your heart. The PPD must be treated first, or the marriage treatment will be ineffective.

 Dear Doc:
I am writing because i am very concerned about my brother. He sometimes seems very frusturated with himself. We ask him whats wrong and he tells us that he has unwanted thoughts bothering him...thoughts that he himself would not think about. He also says that he hears a voice inside his head cussing constantly at people he cares about. He is a devoted christian and this bothers him to the extreme that he begins to pray out loud at random times. He has gotten better than before...but its been happening for about a year now. Perhaps i am not explaining it quite right...but my brother seems very troubled ..we are not sure what to do. There are not therapists near by. Is there anything i can tell him.... ? Is there a name for this disorder/hearing or thinking thoughts that you would not think of yourself?

He has a serious problem that requires medical intervention.

Bottom Line: He will probably need medicine to bring his thoughts back to normal. Go to the nearest regular Doctor in your area. Do NOT let his problem go untreated. It will bring harm to him and those around him if he doesn't get help.

 Dear Doc:
I'm 24 yrs old and I don't like my life here in my home town. I want to leave but I can't. What to do?

Start believing that you CAN make a change!

Bottom Line: It really is true that if you want it bad enough, you can change your situation. If you can't find the belief and strength inside yourself, surround yourself with people who believe in you, and who will encourage you to do whatever is necessary to make your life better.

 Dear Doc:
i am 20 yrs old. I graduated but never went to college and i do not know what to do with my life... i get depressed really easily. How may i become less indecisive...more happy in life?

What's most important is to do SOMETHING!

Bottom Line: There are remedies for your problem. Maybe go to a vocational counselor to help you develop some longterm career goals. It may also help you to have your Doctor prescribe an anti-depressant medication for awhile, until you get back to a happier and healthier view of your future.

 Dear Doc:
How does one deal with an extremely jealous ex-wife? She is jealous of my relationship with my husband and their two children. The ex-wife had an affair that ended the marriage. There is a shared custody agreement for the children. The ex-wife has 4 other step-children with her husband and I do not have children. She does not recognize any of her faults but projects the blame. We recognize this as a lifetime issue but would like some better coping skills on how to deal with her continous deceptive/jealous behaviors. She does not recognize any of the long term affects that these behaviors will have on the children. What to do?

You and your husband could seek some therapy to deal with this significant long-term problem. If need be, take the two kids with you, to help them understand their mom's unhealthy behavior.

Bottom Line: Short of that, try to rise above her, and not get pulled into her web. Assume that she will continue to be jealous, and that that is not your problem. It sounds like she regrets the life she now has, and likes yours better. Develop clear boundaries to not let her into your world, and don't be tempted to rescue her.

 Dear Doc:
Thank you so much. But doing what i wanted to do (without him) is enough for arguments. I have this feeling that he wants me to be exclusive to him. He even brainwashed me to push away my close friends. When i argue with him, he always demand for break up. And because i love him i do the first move. Why just i cant let him go? I am so afraid of losing him? what will be the first step to get away with this man?

Next time he demands a break-up, take him up on his offer!

Bottom Line: The first step to your freedom is to become more self confident. You aren't staying with him out of love. Instead, you are staying with him out of fear... fear of being on your own and making it in the world as an individual. You have been brain-washed into not believing in yourself. Find a good therapist, and begin the process of learning to love and believe in yourself.

 Dear Doc:
hello. I'm 26 years old and dating a married man (30 yrs old). He has a 7 yr old daughter. We've been dating for more than 3 years. The thing is i love him so much that i cant live without him to the extent that he doesn't visit me at home (because i always does). I'm confuse, he has this attitude-- controlling my life even my career. We argue on things that when he gets angry, he uses abusive words that really lower my self esteem. I'm always hesitant to talk to him about my feelings, or to tell stories about work because later he will use them against me. We have conflicts about these past few days (we date on Sundays-- as in just the two of us!), on weekdays, i visit him at home with his daughter then talk or watch tv. These may seem okay before, but now it makes me puke. I feel that i am competing for his daughter's attention. I told him to visit me sometimes so that my family would know him better (my family and friends doesn't want him for me), but he always say that I should make the move first, I told him that we can date twice or thrice a week, he said i'm demanding, Sometimes I want to go to the mall but he didn't want and so he said "if you want to, do it on your own". Im really confuse right now, am I demanding? should i allowed abusive words to ruin my life? is this guy worth my love? because right now i'm just tired of our relationship but feelings hold me back. what will i do? thanks in advance.

Strange that you say you can't live without him, yet there are a lot of problems with the relationship (the first being that dating a married man almost always leads to no where good in the long run).

Bottom Line: It would be healthier for you to not be too dependent on any one person. Find your own strengths, so that you can walk away from this type of dysfunctional relationship in the future.

 Dear Doc:
i am writing this because my son is getting these anxiety attacks. he is getting married and also my mother his granma is in hospice, and he lived with her almost all his life. what can i do to help him? he is very quiet and does not want anyone to know he feels like this, but his girlfriend tells me he does not express his feelings. he is happy one way and sad another way.

The key is to get him to start talking, so he can let all the pain out.

Bottom Line: See if you can get him to a therapist. If talk therapy doesn't help, medication may be necessary.

 Dear Doc:
i had a friend who came in my life jst 10 mts bk,craving for love and care. im married wt 2 kids, he was unmarried. i jst mothered him. he was an alcoholic,abusing himself for past 5-6 years, had a history of broken love relationships, tragidy of loosing his parents in a span of 5 years, depressed. but officially he had achieved the greatest hights at a very young age. i think he knew about his problem. but i never understood him, as he was always telling. i jst thought tht it is jst his alcoholic problem, forced him to come to a psychiatrist in an deaddiction centre. he obliged, came, but died in the hospital on the 3rd day of treatment-xact resn not known- my be due to DT, or MI or doctor,s negligence. i cant xplain my feelings here. guilt, pain, loss of confidence, pain pain pain.. pls tell me wht went wrong? where it went wrong? can i come out of it? how? why? pls help me pls.. im very low..

You have a lot of codependent/rescuer traits.

Bottom Line: You must realize that you are not responsible, and that his long-term unhealthy behaviors let to his demise. For your sanity, you have to let it go.

 Dear Doc:
My son is 15yrs. old. He suffers with ADD and anxiety with panic attacks. The doctors have him on Zoloft 37.5mg and Ritaline 40mg. They seem to help him but at the same time he has been sick with his stomach, having on and off diarrhea and nausea. I'm not sure if the Zoloft is causing this problem and it concerns me. I've tried lowing the Zoloft but it didn't help his anxiety and the stomach problems didn't really get better. Right before he started to take the Zoloft he had a stomach virus and shortly after this he was on anti-bioctic for epotago (sorry about spelling). It has been about 5 weeks with this on and off again problem but he never seems to feel good. Can you help. We are going to a Gastroentorologist next week but I very worry. Mrs. Tolomieri

You will do the right thing to get him to a Doctor asap.

Bottom Line: It usually isn't wise to try to change medications without the advise of your Doctor.

 Dear Doc:
How may i feel more comfortable around strangers and large crowds.I know this may be because of can i become more self-assured/confident?

The good news is that you recognize the problem, and want to do something about it (rather than making excuses).

Bottom Line: Some therapy could definitely help, but you can also work on desensitizing yourself to the fears associated with these situations. Further, if you can come to understand where these fears came from in your development, then you can start to write a new script for yourself, that frees you from the myths that are holding you back.

 Dear Doc:
blended family strife: X-wife after 9 years trying to destroy our marriage. Kids from first marriage are at issue, with constant interference attempting to create wedge between kids and us. What if anything can be done? Who can we speak to that is trained to deal with the emotional rollercoster my wife and and I are on?

This is a tough one, and sad for the kids, because they always lose in these situations.

Bottom Line: As you suggest, in some ways you may be powerless. However, go to a family therapist, and if need be get the courts involved. If the kids are old enough (usually about 13)to express their own opinion, courts will often honor their requests as to whom they want to spend time with.

 Dear Doc:
I recently went out with another guy while I'm still in a relationship. We went out for breakfast, lunch and dinner on seperate days. He hugged me and gave me a peck on the forehead on one occasion. I have since cleared things with him and stop seeing him. I told my fiance about it but didn't come clean. I only told him we had lunch. He was very upset and wants to cancel the wedding. I can't bring myself to telling him the whole truth but the guilt is killing me and I feel like dying. What should I do?? Help!

Better come clean. Otherwise it will eat you up over time.

Bottom Line: Then let the consequences of your actions make or break the wedding. A cancel now would be much better than a divorce after the wedding.

 Dear Doc:
my five children are driving me crazy. is it wrong for me to take time away from them?

Possibly not.

Bottom Line: But maybe you should have thought of time for yourself before you had the five children??

 Dear Doc:
Our grandson is 16yrs old.he has started to rebel at home and at school.Is rude to parents and teachers ,has started to not turn in his school work,started lying,had a party in his house whilst parents away and didn't even clear up.Is lazy and defiant,but is really a lovely boy and well loved and has everything i.e computers ,i-pods etc how do we help him back on track please.

The first question is always... does he want to change? In some ways, his behavior sounds quite normal.

Bottom Line: And the second question is... are his parents willing to move him toward change? Without their help, you're pretty powerless. If you continue to be there for him, some of his current behaviors may pass with time.

 Dear Doc:
my son has adhd, and is in need of a child psychologist that accepts insurance in nassau county.

You should be able to contact your County's local Psychological Association for a referral.

Bottom Line: They should be listed in the phone book.

 Dear Doc:
I have broken up with my boyfriend twice in the past year and each time he has threatened suicide. I am refusing to listen to this threat anymore. Isn't this a form of 'control'?


Bottom Line: What a terrible reason to stay with someone anyway. Move on, because I'm sure you deserve someone MUCH BETTER than this guy!

 Dear Doc:
How is it possible to forgive a husband who once engaged in beastiality? He assures me that this is all in the past, but I still find it difficult to trust him or engage in sexual relations with him. Please help me understand how I can deal with this!

That's a tough one for sure.

Bottom Line: Go and get some professional help for this unusual problem. At the same time, give yourself permission to consider not being with him over time. Some mountains may just be too large to climb over.

 Dear Doc:
i am 16 years old and i am not happy with my life. my mom is very demanding and she always wants me to be perfect. i think that i am not straight and i need some help. my friends always tease me and i do not know what to do. a piece of advice will be nice.

Find someone to talk to who is understanding, like maybe a counselor at school.

Bottom Line: Do something. Things will get better, so don't settle for how tough it is right now.

 Dear Doc:
My 8year old has been the only for so long and now I have a new baby. She has not been doing well in school for the last 4months and i do not want to make excuses for her behavior by blaming the baby's arrival but I just can't take another second of her behavior. She back answers, sucks her teeth, rolls her eyes up in her head when I am talking to her, throughs herself on the ground and across the floor when she can't have her own way, screams to the top of her lounges when I ask her to clean her room up and she doesn't want to do it, back answers her teacher and she is rude to her teacher. I get called to the school almost every day. I am breastfeeding my 4mnth old and I seem so stressed out and the baby needs her milk. I talked to the school counseller and she says not to spank her. I will try just about anything at this point to get my oldest baby back on track. Please help me!

Then you'd better get into therapy with her.

Bottom Line: Seems clear that she is not handling the birth of your baby well at all, and that she is acting out her struggle.

 Dear Doc:
my husband and i got married 4 all the wrong reasons, but decided 2 make a go of it and sort out our problems before deciding to have kids. but within the first year i longed so much to have a baby that i decided to fall pregnant without discussing it with him first. now resents me.i am also a very jealous person and he says i don't trust him eventhough he has never done anything wrong.he doesn't love me anymore,he wants to leave but hasn't because of our two kids. i love him more than life itself. plse help.

His distrust makes sense, don't you think? Maybe he will go to therapy with you.

Bottom Line: The hard reality is that you are swimming against a very strong current. You may need to prepare to let him go. If you truly do that, maybe he'll want to stay.

 Dear Doc:
My 15 year old stepson has been needlessly hurting our pets, holding the cat in a head lock and shooting plastic pellets into his tummy, slamming a dog with hip problems into the wall,playing with matches,not eating regelar meals,constantly lying,not doing chores or homework,coming/going when he feels like it,threatening me with calling the cops if I try to correct him,etc. His father lets him get away with these things and tells me I am harrassing the kid when I try to correct him. Am I nuts or is this kid in trouble mentally? What should I do? He doesn't have any contact with hi biological mother by choice.

You are not nuts. He is in deep trouble.

Bottom Line: You may have little power, if dad disagrees. But take a stand for what you know to be right, and try to get your step-son some professional help.

 Dear Doc:
My mother is 74 and has become increasingly angry. She hits my father, argues and has mood swings. She gets events and things she is told or hears on the news confused. Then she is upset and yells when she is confronted. She won't sleep. She has always been a early riser but now swears she doesn't sleep at all. I think she realizes that she has things confused and it scares her. Her younger sister has Alzheimer so I am concerned. My father is older and thinks she is just upset with him...that he has upset her. I don't know if I should call her doctor or just wait to see what happens. I know she will be very upset if I try to get involved.

Don't wait. Call the Doctor now.

Bottom Line: Let her be upset. To do nothing is to court disaster.

 Dear Doc:
Hypothetically, if the parents of two minors both die, and there are two adult siblings who both want full custody, who does custody go to? And can the non-custodial sibling challenge the other for custody? Can he get visitation rights?

This is a legal question. You need to contact an attorney.

Bottom Line: It would seem that you would first look to see if the parents made any provisions in their will. If not, I imagine a Judge would have to decide.

 Dear Doc:
I have been dealing with a BPD daughter for 26 yrs. she lived w/me till 2.5 years ago. she also has a 6yr old son that I raised for the first 5 years of his life. When her BPD was too much for me and I didnt want to be a victim of it any more she left my home w/my grandson. He has been in foster care a few times and I have spent close to 50,000. in court trying to get custody from her. The system is not set up for the child but for the mother. Now I have been ordered to go to family therapy w/her (with the therapist that did the custody evaluation!) The GAL thinks that if we could just fix the conflict between my daughter and myself the problem would be solved. I think I already know the answer, but how can this work with one party being BPD and unwilling to even admit it? Even though she is on social security disablity for it. Also why would the Ph.D. treat after she was involved with the custody eval?

You are correct. It won't work. Even if your daughter understood her BPD, it is one of the hardest disorders to stay on top of.

Bottom Line: Sometimes the Courts will allow the same therapist to do the therapy after the Custody Evaluation, because they believe they have the most insight into all that is going on. But objectivity can be compromised with such an approach. You could choose not to go, request a new and neutral therapist, and see where that leads.

 Dear Doc:
what do I do about constant thoughts of suicide, depression, anxiety, inadaquacy, loneliness, stress?

Talk to someone asap, and keep talking.

Bottom Line: Go to a therapist, and stay with that person for a long time.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend and I have been together for 4 years and have had a very good and open relationship. When we first met, he was honest with me from day 1 and told me he was attracted to both men and women. He's never physically acted on those thoughts and I love him regardless. He has recently expressed how difficult it is to live with these feelings and wants to "get rid" of that part of his life. He doesn't consider it a part of him because it isn't who he wants to be. We've talked about it many times before, but within the last few months, he's expressed more and more how he wishes he could change it. I told him that I didn't know if there was a way to change it and maybe that is just who he is and we'll have to live with it forever. He asked me to try to help him change it and I promised him I'd stand by his side, but I don't know how I could possibly help him with this. We talked about counseling and he said he wants to do that if we "aren't able to do it on our own! ". I don't know if you can offer any advice at all, but he is my best friend and the man I want to spend the rest of my life with and bottom line to me is that I want him to be happy, whether it is with me or not. Any advice would be appreciated.

These types of feelings tend to be innate, so they are not easily changed.

Bottom Line: He will definitely need therapy to address this significant issue. Go together, be honest, and you will have your best chance of a great future together.

 Dear Doc:

You could report the person to the State Psychology Board.

Bottom Line: Or you could contact another therapist, run the problem past them, and get their perspective, to see if your reaction is healthy or out of proportion to the situation.

 Dear Doc:
I have been in a relationship for about two years now. He and I are both divorced with children. We moved in together a little over a year ago (with my children). He is extremely jealous and insecure. We have had some pretty bad fights over it. He wound up going to his parent's home about 2 months ago and has been staying there ever since. We continue to talk and see eachother occasionally, I have very deep resentment over what has happened. However, I do feel that we both still have a very strong connection to eachother. (His ex-wife did cheat on him) Do you think this relationship can be saved?

Probably not.

Bottom Line: It sounds like there are too many strikes against it.

 Dear Doc:
i drink for two to three days continuosly when i have money; but when i don't have money i don't drink. am i an alcoholic?

Sure sounds like it.

Bottom Line: Go to a few AA meetings and you'll know for sure.

 Dear Doc:
I have borderline personality disorder and I find it very devaluing that you say that it is the worst condition to deel with. Wy do you say that?

Because it's true, unfortunately. I believe I said it is one of the worst to deal with, not the worst. There is a difference. It may be good that you are troubled by what was said. That may help motivate you to get the right help, and stick with the prescribed recovery program. Good luck to you.

Bottom Line: Maybe research it on the Internet. You'll find that, sadly, the failure-to-stay-healthy rate is very high.

 Dear Doc:
Name- Jeremy, and I have a 15 year old niece who said today and displayed her feelings about life...She said that she wants to kill her self...How do I gain her trust to be able to talk openly about her feeling and what she wants?

Keep listening, and don't have a judgmental attitude toward what you hear. Once she talks out the reasons for her thoughts, she will hopefully feel better and more hopeful.

Bottom Line: However, be ready to take protective action if you think the threat is real.

 Dear Doc:
I'm always having problems with people at work, this is a common thing for me. My friends tell me it's because i'm healthy, happy, beautiful, talented, tall and i'm modest. I'm also typically kind to people and really love what I do. Miserable people want to hurt me at work. We are a small office and there is one woman that won't look at me, and hardly speaks to me and when she does she looks at me with disgust. Another woman is very insecure but very agressive with me. How does someone like me become less threatening to others? My personality is not threatening, it's my presence. I never want to lower myself to make others feel comfortable though. I know their insecurities are because of them and not me, but I don't want anyone getting in the way of my career. I think more than anything, i'm in the wrong office because they all speak so poorly about others. I'm also very vulnerable right now because I am divorcing my husband NEXT WEEK! I'm happy I finally got the courage to do this. I know all this has to do with boundary issues, but I don't yet know how to take action.

It's good that you aren't lowering yourself to their level. Just be who you are. Other confident people won't be threatened by you. Congrats on your divorce. This will be a stressful time, so you need to put yourself into environments that are as healthy as possible.

Bottom Line: You are correct that you are in the wrong office, with insecure people. Try to move to another area as soon as possible.

 Dear Doc:
My ex (divorce was finalized 3 months ago) is spending the night with her new boyfriend (not the one she cheated on my with that caused the divorce) or he is spending the night with her. She is taking her 14 year old son (from her first marriage) with her, and her 3 year old son also(not my biological son, was from an affair she had when we were married). She has agreed not to do this with our two boys. (8 and 6.) I can’t trust her and I am beside myself about the other two. I have been keeping our two at night. I believe she has a sexual addiction, or at the least addicted to the infatuation of new love. She does not believe that she has a problem. (She cheated on my at least three times that I know of) What type of impact will seeing there Mom spend the night, or have someone stay the night have on the 14 and 3 year old? Especially with there future relationships, and the type of wives they seek. I have offered to watch them when she has over night visits or visitors so that it will limit there exposure. (she has not answered me yet) I feel guilty because I have limited resources and it will tax both my time (studying and trying to set up a business) and money as well. I know my ex will help some with expenses. How far do I go to save the children that are not mine (I do Love them) Will it impact the two that I am raising? Any good books on the subject?... sincerely looking for normalcy.

Unless she is doing something illegal, you are relatively powerless. You could get an attorney and try to take her to court, but you'd probably go broke in the process. Your best bet is to try to get her to cooperate with you.

Bottom Line: The impact of her behaviors on the kids is very hard to predict. A lot depends on how she behaves in their presence. Study the psychology section at any bookstore, library or Internet site for some good reading.

 Dear Doc:
hi i have non verbal learning disorder and i was recently diagnosed within the past 5 months.I am struggling with relationships all my life and had no idea why till now. My question to you please is this.... Can i live a "NORMAL" life and really be happy?.... sincerely struggling.

You most certainly can.

Bottom Line: The good news is that you now have a diagnosis that pinpoints the problem. Now you can seek out the treatments that will help you get back to normal.

 Dear Doc:
I want to lay it all out on the table!! My husband will not talk with me or give me any of his money. There is no sex for 2 years now...hello!! He is mean to me!! I want to leave him and have a new start...but I don't know how. well, maybe I just need encouragement. Thank you. ~~ from, CUTOFF

Make a plan and move on.

Bottom Line: To do otherwise diminishes you and encourages his bad behavior.

 Dear Doc:
My husband suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. Recently he physically pushed me up against our breakfast bar and hurt my back. He has promised never to touch me like this again. I do not feel as if I can trust this because he becomes so out of control. If my husband were dieing of cancer I would not leave. He is mentally ill and we are trying to find a counselor who treats his disorder. I don't feel as if I can leave just because he is sick. He admits his total responsiblity of his behavior and is willing to take medication and therapy. However, I am afraid that he will not follow through on his word. I need practical advice. Can you help me?

Unfortuntately, this is one of the least likely groups to change. Given that they usually do not stick with medicine or therapy, they are a very high-risk group.

Bottom Line: If you don't want to divorce him, consider staying married while you move out and live separately.

 Dear Doc:
I am married for 8 yrs mother-in-law & her sister have been constantly interferring in our relationship since the past 10yrs(2yrs of engagement).I hv been trying hard to keep the peace in our family by trying to work out things with them on one end & with my husband on the other.But my husband fails to understand that my mom-in-law & her sister are actually trying to ruin our relation.He feels that i am the one who is responsible for all this.My mom-in-law comes & stays with us for 6-8mths. she runs our house the way she wants,arrange things the way she wants & even sleeps with us.when she's not sleeping with us,she does not let us close our room's door!!I have started feeling really frustated now.Whenever i object on these issues my husband makes me feel guilty by saying that i am being disrespectful & that they are our elders.He also tells me that i am behaving more like the western women who do not regard their in-laws or parents(We are from asian background).But even in our culture,i try to explain him,that these things are not considered right.I feel sad that we are fm very educated & well to do families but even in today's time an educated daughter-in-law is treated like this.My mom-in-law threw away all my belongings & when i questioned in front of everyone ,"why did u throw away my possessions?"i was labelled "rude & disrespectful"!!She refused point blank to accept that she did such a thing to me.My husband believes her words.I stopped talking to them for some time.They then said that let's start everything with a new note!!They r saying so because of losing their good reputation in the society.In our families divorces are considered bad.My husband is now trying to please me in every way.But he wants that i should never ever question his mother(even if she's wrong).I feel very hurt & feel i am losing my self respect.I have 3 small children.I am at home.One part of me says"leave them"....the other half says "maybe bad things r over?!this will not happen again"....Pls advise me what is the right course of action?

Although certain cultures give women fewer rights, it would not be healthy for you to accept your family's overly controlling behavior.

Bottom Line: Continue to assert your basic rights (to privacy, exclusivity of time with your husband, etc.). As hard as it is, you must leave if they will not respect your basic needs for you and your marriage.

 Dear Doc:
Back in the Summer of 2005, my wife spoke to my mother-in-law about how she felt about how my wife and her sister were raised growing up and some other things. She basically had a serious discussion with her mother. They both said some things that hurt one another but eventually they patched it up and are working on a better relationship. Now, on Christmas day my mother-in-law's sister sends a very hurtful email to my wife to basically stick up for her sister, granted this almost a year and half later after my mother-in-law and wife have patched things up. My wife replied to her aunt's email and more or less told her it was none of her business to interfere. The aunt replied back with more "incite". My wife told her mother about it and sent her mom the emails that were sent by the aunt. My mother-in-law spoke to her sister and we received an apology but also stating that she did that to get them talking. My wife replied back to her aunt with a thank you and maybe next time she needs to know when she feels it is her business to interfere in a family matter. Now my mother-in-law writes back and wants to know what boundary was crossed? Now you need to understand the aunt speaks out alot. I feel she sticks her foot in her mouth alot. But she feels she is always right (my mother-in-law can be the same way). I have stayed out of it because this between a mother and a daughter, but when the aunt butted in with the comments that were said; I wanted to call her and basically tell her, in so many words, to stay the heck out of it because it is none of her business. Now, we get the email from my mother-in-law to find out what boundary was crossed. This is making me irrate. Is it me or do my mother-in-law and her sister just not get it? What do I do in this situation? This all started out between a mother and daughter. Now an aunt is involved, who I feel shouldn't be. Only to listen as a friend/sister and offer advice to the other. It's to the point that I don't want to go visit this summer for my wife's grandfather's 80th b-day party. Just let my wife and kids go. I'm at a loss. Help! P.S. Sorry it is so long but I have a lot on my mind with this and other things. Thank you.

The first question is whether your wife wants your assistance. If she does, then you should feel free to step in and speak up. It seems clear that the aunt is clearly stepping in where she is not needed or welcome.

Bottom Line: If your wife does not want your assistance, then you have to make some personal decisions. If you can't handle visiting the relatives because of this tension, then so be it. That is the price the family will have to pay for not including you and not dealing with the problem directly.

 Dear Doc:
We have a young man (21) who wants to get married and get his pastoral college done this year. Boy's mom is interfering with and being negative with his christian girl friend, who is very supportive of him. Please advise what we as pastors can advise.

In most cultures, getting married at 21 would not be advisable (because a lot of growing up will continue to occur until about 30). However, he is an adult, so he should do what he feels is best, regardless of his mother's interference. If his marriage turns out to be a mistake, it will be one of life's lessons that he will hopefully learn from.

Bottom Line: Lots of people are married and go to school, so that seems workable.

 Dear Doc:
i am a 14 years old girl. i had a boy friend who was 17 and i was 13. he was sexually active and i thought the only way to keep him was to give it up to him. he was my first. the first time we were trying anal sex but it hurt so much i stopped him. he was so caring, and i felt so bad for stopping him. so the next time we had sex in his room when his mother wasnt there. after that every thing changed. he started yelling and mostly walking past me like i was invisible. i didn't believe he hated me because he told me he loved me after we had sex. i didn't want anything to mess up our relationship. his sister was my friend but she found out and stopped talking to me. it was hard because everything was getting out of hand. people in school started teasing me. i couldn't take it anymore so i went by his house again and he was passing me straight but i stopped him and asked him if he still loved me. he said no. was i a fool to have sex with him???

Unfortunately, you were very very foolish.

Bottom Line: Number one, you're way too young for this type of involvement. Number two, any guy that doesn't hang around if he doesn't get what he wants is trash, and you need to dump him asap.

 Dear Doc:
I've been seeing a man that has 2 exwives. He has a 14 year old son with his first wife which she is remarried and by his second wife he has a daughter one year old. They both have gone to him to ask him back but he refuses. He has more trouble out of his second wife than the first. I have been seeing him for a year now. He went back to his second wife in January and May 2006 thinking that he could make it work because of his daughter. But it did not work out. During the time he tried to make it work they had sex. I'm having a problem with that. Trusting problem i believe. How do i know it won't happen again? How would i know cause he wouldn't tell me again? It hurt me so bad that he did go back to her and plus had sex with her. he told me about it and my heart went into pieces because now how can i trust a man with a history of an exwife who offers sex with him everytime he goes over there to pick his daughter up. He tells me she is crazy and he has no love for her. none. He would never hurt me like that again. but he cherishes his daughter. I don't hold it against him for his daughter's sake cause if you can make it work for the children do so. But i have a problem trusting him. I really want this relationship to work. He is so loving, caring, supportive, of everything i do. He tells me he loves only me and that we are forever. But i feel like maybe he is not sure or is it me not sure. My late husband had affairs and it made me have a low self-esteem. I don't feel pretty, attractive sexual. I have crazy thoughts of myself because i thought it was my fault he had sex with other women. I forgave but not forget.Now since he had sex with his exwife makes me think that maybe he missed her or maybe he had to be sure about me. I don't won't that kind of relationship no more and he knows that. He is a great guy. He is more like a best friend. But everytime i think i should walk away i think of how much i love him and its BIG. I wonder when he went back to her for his daughter sake did he really miss his exwife and the sex with her or was he really missing his daughter. I dont know. I have three children who are 14, 17, 18 and they really like him, He spends time with them and always wants to know what is going on in their lives. He is such a good man but can i handle all this. I know im the one who has to decide for my self but any information would be helpful. I've never been in a situation like this. My husband pass away and we were married 20 years. I'm new at this relationship. I really do love him but i don't need to worry about, if this or this. You know. He says he has never met a woman like me. But i also know men will lie, & use you to get what they want. But im not into mind games. Over with that. Please any info. would be appreciate Thank you so much! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! Need help with advice.

So if you guys are forever, why is he sleeping with other women?? Sounds like a crock to me.

Bottom Line: It's never your fault if someone else is unfaithful. That is their choice, regardless of your behavior. The odds are that he will do it again. If so, he's not worth staying with.

 Dear Doc:
my parents are divorced and i live with my mother. she just recently kicked out my sister who is 18 years old. my sister is now saying that she's going to tell the court everything that has happened with in the past years since my father has left. there is a chance that my mother will be forced to go to rehab. i am only 14. what will happen to me? where will i live?

Your father would be first in line to take care of you, if he is responsible.

Bottom Line: Your sister is right to tell the court, if you are being mistreated. In the long run, it should be to your benefit.

 Dear Doc:
i am 14. my mother is an alcoholic who doesn't think she has a problem. she has caused me great suffering and pain. this has been goining on for years. i am so unhappy. this has happened for so long i dont even feel like she cares about me at all. this has gotten so out of hand that i dont feel like there is anyone in the world who cares about me the slightest bit. i have friends but sometimes i dont feel like they like me either and i chose great friends. i really dont know what to do. i dont have anyone to lean on when things happen. sure i could go to friends but i havent told them. im not the kind of person who likes to talk about how they feel or personal things like this that goes on in my life. what should i do?

It sounds like you need to get away from your mother.

Bottom Line: Can you go to a trusted extended family member?

 Dear Doc:
I found out my husband has cheated on me. When i confronted him, he apologized profusely and swore off contact with the woman. I was going through our cell phone bill and discovered several voice conversations and text messaging conversations as recently as ten days ago. He obviously is lying to me about it being over, and I know that if I confront him with this new information I can expect similar behavior- tells me what I want to hear but doesn't change. I am four months pregnant. I know I deserve better than this but am afraid to leave. What's the best thing for me to do for my baby?

The best thing for you to do for your baby is to take good care of yourself, and raise your child in a healthy honest environment.

Bottom Line: As a result, you need to not tolerate poor treatment. Move out, set up some healthy boundaries, and let's see if he really wants to be with you. If he doesn't, than good riddance in deed!

 Dear Doc:
My mother is elderly and needs help every day, and my mother in law is in the same position. I do not have anyone else to look after them. Is it selfish to help my mother, and let the local suthorities help my mother in law?

You can't do it all. His family should be helping your mother-in-law.

Bottom Line: Take care of yourself by only taking care of your mom. If there is no family to help your mother-in-law, then the local authorities are a good alternative.

 Dear Doc:
My husband is bipolar is the middle child is 45 and works in the family business with his alcholic Father. He has tried everything to get away from this situation. His Father pays him poorly and makes him feel guilty every time he tries to do something else. He keeps going back and it greatly effects his mood swings. He sees a physciatrist and is medicated for the bipolar disorder, but when his Father attacks him about money and how he spends it it sends him into a tailspin. His two other siblings only deal with the Father is they have to and not too often. My husband feels responsible to keep the business going, entertain his Father for every holiday and make sure his Father has somewhere to go everyday because he is afraid he'll drink himself to death. My husband and I never argue about anything but his Father. I am having a hard time watching him go thru this. Are there any good books that tell him it is his Father and not him that is the probem? Is there anything I can encourage him to do? Is he too old for alanon?

There are plenty of good books on being the adult child of an alcoholic. Go to the library or bookstore, tell them that's what you're looking for, and you'll find a lot of helpful material. He won't solve the problem until he gets brave enough to decide to take the risk of changing.

Bottom Line: He's never too old for al-anon. But you can't make the horse drink the water, so separate yourself from his problem as best you can, and find your joy in other things.

 Dear Doc:
I'm 15 and still have a little penis. Is it because I masturbate too much?

No. Masturbation is a normal part of growing up, and it will not affect the size of your penis.

Bottom Line: Your body still has a lot of changing and growing to do, brought on by puberty. By the time your maturation is complete, your penis will no doubt be of a normal size.

 Dear Doc:
I had a disagreement with my fatherinlaw and I did not speak to him but one day I met him in the street and he tried to apologise but at that time I could not accept it. He has since died and I regret not saying sorry but I did hold his hand when he was dying. How can I get back to my old self?

Don't be so hard on yourself. He may have done some terrible things to you, and you weren't ready to let it go. There's nothing abnormal about that. We can't control the timing of life's events. Forgive yourself for not being perfect, put it to bed, and don't waste today's living worrying about what you cannot change.

Bottom Line: Now go out and make a positive difference in the lives of others, from what you have learned from this experience.

 Dear Doc:
I am 52, look 40, quit drinking and drugs 7 years ago. I have been in a 12 step recovery program that has given me a path to spiritual freedom. I look at myself and think i am aq success. I have my own home, money in the bank, look and feel 15 years younger than my age. People tell me I'm one of the most positive people they have mat, but deep inside me a lonely heart dwells. I was married for 13 years to an emotionally unavailable, alchoholic woman. It seems that ever since high school, I am attracted to narcissistic, emotionally unavailable women over and over again. The last one I met lasted about a month before she told me that she wasn't "in love" with me. She is retired and travels often. She said that she wasn't sure if she could ever give her heart to someone. but for weeks her signals were so mixed. Talk about abandonment, she's gone quite a bit traveling but I was ready to accept this because I thought she was a perfect fit in so many ways. Now I see I didn't even know her as a person and I told her that. I see now that this relationship probably would never work but it just brought to the surface those deep, dark lonely wounds. I know because my father was an abusive alchoholic I may be subconsiously attracted to this kind of person. Am I seeking "him" to "get it right finally, to connect with the un-connectable? I now see I give all of my power to these women (thinking that I will let her lead in the relationship) so that I don't appear to be "needy" but just the opposite occurs. I'm just so confused, hurt and lonely right now. I want to increase my spiritual awareness an get out of this "groundhog day" routine I seem to be going through, where each relationship ends up the same, just leaving me hurt promising I will respect myself more the next time. Please help. Regards.

The first goal is to not need another to fill that hole in your heart. It is true that you may still be looking for your dad's love, but no one can give you that, so you have to work on better loving yourself, so that if a relationship comes along it's a bonus, rather than something you are desparate for.

Bottom Line: Some long term therapy may required to achieve this important yet challenging goal.

 Dear Doc:
I am a 60 years old Italian-Canadian woman living in Ontario for the past 40 years. I have a mother living in Italy(76 years old and widow for the last 10 years). She had 2 hip replacements surgeries, the last 4 years ago. She is healthy, but she claims to have a lot of pain. She does not move without screaming and she goes around her apartment with a walker (only if she knows to be seen). She is very needy and expects everybody to do everything for her. My sister and nieces (living close to her) refuse to help her any further and do not even phone her. My mother has never had friends.The only contact she has are a cleaning lady and taxi driver to take her shopping and to medical appointments. Also, she does not want any friends. Since I can remember my mother has been a very difficult person. She wants everything her way. She has always been very abusive with my sister and I, and she is very abusive and agressive with anyone she comes in contact with. My sister and my nieces stopped calling on her about 8 years ago. My sister moved and never left a forwarding address or new phone number. I visit my mother once a year when I go to Italy for vacation, and I used to phone her every 2 or 3 days. Lately she was complaining so much about being alone and with so many things to do, that i felt the necessity to go for a few weeks to help her. Once in Italy I witnessed her "moods" and how she treats the cleaning lady. She is very agressive with the doctor that does home visiting for her every week. We needed to call a plumber to repare the kitchen fossett. During this event she became very violent, did not want to pay the plumber,and promised to use the gun if he came back. I paid the plumber and when he left I told my mother that she cannot keep on behaving this way. She caused other problems during the next few days (She took sleeping pills during the day, and then pretended to be sick. She refused to pay the cleaning lady. She accused my sister and her grandaugthers to rob her of her money. She had a violent argument at the bank, closed the account and now she keeps her money in the middle of old books. Plus she put up many other tantrums). One week after I arrived in Italy she locked the door of the apartment, took away the key, and came after me with her walking cane screaming and atempting to hit on the head. I was scared. I called the local emergency phone number, and when the fireman arrived, I was helped out of the appartment, spent 2 days with my brother in law, my husband managed to change my plane ticket and returned to Canada. Since then I phoned her doctor and her cleaning lady. I found out that she has pulled stunts like this many times before. (Four times at 4 different hospitals - Once with a real estate agent - Several times with the tenants she used to rent an apartment to - and many other occasions) She has been in Court for assault and fined 800 Euros for assaulting the real estate agent. She has been detained for causing a scene at one of the hospitals and she has been seen by psychiatrists. She was sent home every time, after giving her a cooling off time, and attributing the incidents to attacks of "pazzia" (uncontrolled madness). I do not know how to solve the problem. I am afraid she is going to cause some major disaster for herself, the family, or some stranger. Her doctor tells me that he cannot do much about it, and he will continue to go see her, but he made me understand that he is at a loss. Please, help me! Give me a suggestion. I love my mother (I do not know why) and all this is stressing me a lot. Any suggestion will be appreciated. Thank you.

She is no doubt mentally ill. She probably needs to be on meds, to stabilize her moods. It would be best if you could get her to a Doctor who can prescribe for her. However, given her combative style, it is unlikely that she will take the meds. The only other alternative is to force her into a psychiatric inpatient facility, but that is hard to do, and very expensive. Her Doctor who continues to see her is a saint. Maybe he can get her to take some psychiatric meds.

Bottom Line: You can't solve the problem. You must accept that. As you let go of your need to help, your stress should subside. You are not responsible for her crazy behavior.

 Dear Doc:
I am having some serious doubts about my daughter going to visit her father. We have been divorced for almost five years and my daughter is almost nine. He got re-married last summer and is now getting ready to have a baby with the new wife. He also acquired a step daughter that also will be nine. They are trying to buy a house for the growing family. Their agent said they had to take a minimalists approach to the condo. Most of my daughters things had to be put in storage including her bed. When she spends the night she ends up sleeping on the floor while the other gets to sleep in her bed. Also he doesn't have any clothes for her at his place and what she does get from holidays her step-sister wears instead. My daughter is starting to feel very left out of his family. I put my daughter first and make it a point to spend time with just her, her father used to but not any more.. She has asked him to spend time with just her but of course he doesn't. As she gets older I can see that her time will be limited in his life. What can I do if anything legally to help her. Especially when it comes to winter and sleeping on the floor. Thanks DW

You would have to contact the county and file a report, or get an attorney to represent her. This could get very ugly, if her dad fights you; or he could just back away from seeing her. Proceed with caution.

Bottom Line: If at all possible, speak with him and try to get him to work with you. Maybe he will join you for some therapy on her behalf.

 Dear Doc:
How do you start to trust your spouse after she has lied to you 2-3 times? I don't know how to believe she will not do it again. She swears up and down it won't happen again. We have two kids together too. Are there secrets on how to forget it and move on? A day does not go by without me thinking about it. I don't want to think about it but I can't stop myself. When I do think about it I am in a bad mood instantly. I am always wondering who she is talking to on the phone. I catch myself checking her cell phone, which I never did before.

You can choose to forgive, but you can't choose to forget. Your mind has stored this hurt, so you have to give it time to lessen. Try to let go of trying to stop the thoughts. Accept that they will be there for awhile, and you will be surprised at how they start to fade when you don't give them power over you.

Bottom Line: But also be smart. This may be a person you cannot trust, and possibly someone who you should get away from in the long run, if her behavior doesn't improve. Be open to letting go of her, because we can't control the other anyway.

 Dear Doc:
I have tried to get on with my inlaws but they cannot accept me. If I keep away for the sake of my marriage and allow my children to see them am I doing the christian thing?

That sounds like a reasonable solution to a difficult situation.

Bottom Line: Many families have this problem. You are taking the high road to a solution, which is much better than going to war with your inlaws and/or your husband.

 Dear Doc:
My sister in-law was placed in the phsyciatric ward of NCMC. In Nassau County N.Y. She has a 16year old son, who is in my care. I have guardianship papers through the school, but not filed with state. My sister in-law was there for several days because a friend brought her into the emergency room. She was feeling suicidal. She has been very depressed, she has been known to talk to good and evil spirits and also claimed to have moved to Texas because the devil told her to. She claims he also told her to kill herself. That is why I brought my nephew back from Texas in August. They were only there for a month. She came back to N.y. in September and has blamed this child for everything that has gone wrong with her life from the electric going out to not being able to be nun. My husband and I feel we should start legal proceedings to keep my nephew with us. He wants to stay with us also. She would leave him with us as long as she collects his social security check. He gets S.S. because his father, my husbands brother past away eight years ago. I was told by her social worker at the hospital that she is clinicly depressed maybe manic. They would not give me anymore information because she won't let them. She will not speak to anyone in the family. She has no relationship with her own family. she never has. I understand that her mother had the same type of illness. Do you feel under these circumstances that she can possibly care for her son, or is his best interests served by staying with my family? If she has manic depression what do you think the courts will do?

There is almost no chance that she can care for him. For his long-term benefit, begin the legal proceedings.

Bottom Line: If she is as bad as she sounds, the court will rule in your favor. Also, at his age, most judges will respect his wishes, because they believe he will be a flight risk otherwise.

 Dear Doc:

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be a very serious medical problem, with physical and psychological roots, so getting the person to a coffee shop may be no small task to accomplish.

Bottom Line: If the person wants help, getting them to a therapist and an MD can be most helpful. If they don't want help, you won't do them any good, until they are in bad enough shape as to ask for help.

 Dear Doc:
Can a family therapist suspend interaction with dad's girlfriend and his kids through the manipulations of ex-wife even though the kids tell the therapist that they miss me and want me home? The therapist has made numerous attempts to talk to the ex-wife about this and she will not return her call.

Unless the therapist is appointed by a Court of Law, the therapist is powerless, other than through their powers of persuasion.

Bottom Line: You are in very tough territory. If the ex chooses to fight you, and uses an attorney, it may well be a long tough road. In fact, for some this road never ends.

 Dear Doc:
how do you know if someone is serious about being suicidal, and not just trying to get attention?

That can be a tough call, but you always have to error on the side of caution.

Bottom Line: So get the person away from the suicidal situation, and then try to understand what their needs are, so that they can be helped to find hope again. Chapter 18 of my book, which can be read on my website, discusses this subject, and may be worth a read.

 Dear Doc:
I wrote a few times to you in the past about leaving my husband. Well, I did it! What a huge difference this has made. Though it's scary to be alone at 32 and not knowing if i'll ever meet someone or have children, so what, i'm happy. Thank you!

Congratulations. Way to go!!

Bottom Line: Take my word for it, as you keep making healthy choices like this in your life, good will come your way, whether it's a marriage and children, or the joys of a healthy single life.

 Dear Doc:
i started a recovery program, a 12 step with sharing groups, i am an adult child of an alcoholic with fear and anxiety, self esteem issues, and unable to move in my life, suffer from procrastination and compulsive behavior. my sponsor noticed some habits with me and asked if ever thought i had add. i really am not hyperactive, but forget things, and cannot seem to move in my life, with applying for jobs, and have a lot of innatentive behavior. i have gone to see a psychiatrist two times and shared with her my family's alcoholic past and what i was struggling with, and the second time she suggested we try 10 mg of adderal. i've only been taking it once a day for 3 days, but how do i know that i really have add, should she be sending me to a therapist or for testing? i do not want to be taking anything i don't need. or do i just need to wait a couple of weeks till my next appt with her to talk some more on how they affect me and any changes in my behavior or concentration that i've noticed? I've never been to a psychiatrist before, so i don't know what they should be asking and if getting meds seemingly right away is good or not. help?

In general, Psychiatrists are not known for their "talk therapy" skills. They specialize in giving you the right Meds, often after you have been referred by a non-MD therapist. It is more typical to go to a non-MD therapist first (like a Psychologist, Social Worker, or Marriage and Family Therapist). If you can't talk your problem out with them, they will refer you to a Psychiatrist to see if Meds will help your situation.

Bottom Line: Most good Psychiatrists recommend that you see a "talk therapist," in addition to seeing them for medication management. Unless your Pschiatrist is one of the few that is highly interested in talking through all the details of your struggle, you may want to see an additional professional, who doesn't suggest Meds as a first course of action. And yes, there is some testing that can be done to determine if you have ADD.

 Dear Doc:
My daughter 18 has been training to BMX race with the Canadian team and has been working very hard. She was feeling very confident about herself until recently when she went to a camp and the coach told her that her technical skills were poor, her endurance was poor and made her feel that she is fat. She has very many important races coming up within the next few months and I am afraid that her self esteem has been bruised. My question is how do I help her to gain her self esteem back so she can travel to these races with confidence?

Well if the coach was wrong, then tell her that the coach was full of crap. If the coach was correct in some areas, help her to use that info to improve her skills. Encourage her to get mad, and find that place inside herself where she refuses to quit. Tell her that many great people were told that they were inadequate, only to go on to become the greatest in their area of interest.

Bottom Line: If all else fails, take her to a Sports Psychologist, who can help her with her focus and motivation.

 Dear Doc:

Get out of her way, and let her suffer the consequences of her actions. She obviously lied about the job to get you off her back (which just goes to show that you can't make the horse drink the water!). When she gets thirsty enough, she'll do what it takes to survive.

Bottom Line: Probably time to kick her out of the nest, and pray that she will fly. Your love have not been tough enough yet.

 Dear Doc:
Why won't my husband won't admit that he gets turned on when he sees beautiful or sexy women?

Probably because he believes he will get a very negative reaction from you.

Bottom Line: It is not unusual to be impressed when in the presence of beautiful people. Both men and women have these responses. However, jealousies that grow out of insecurities usually stop people from saying what they really think.

 Dear Doc:
How do I talk to my doctor about all the problems I am having and why I think I need to be started back on meds? Because I know I am having to deal with anxiety disorders again, and I am staying depressed and very angry. I always hurt and have BAD headaches. What do I do?

The good news is that your future is in your hands. Speak up to your Doctor, or whomever else can help, and you will make progress.

Bottom Line: The bad news is that your future is in your hands. Be passive and unwilling to speak, and your present struggles will continue into the future. So the question is... what will you choose?

 Dear Doc:
i have a wife that has now left me and has another relationship. she has a split personality, and it makes me so angry that no matter how often i try to communicate with her about important issues, she always seems to want to escape reality. Is there a cure? how does one get close to this person, and how do you ask them to be honest to you all the time?

If she will get to a Doctor, she can receive some help. Unfortunately, these people often won't keep taking the Meds that stabilize them, so they just cycle back to their crazy behavior. If she stays on her Meds and keeps seeing her therapist, you can get close to her. Otherwise, forget it, and move on. Without ongoing professional care they can't even be honest with themselves, let alone you.

Bottom Line: You are in a high risk relationship, so it could be healthier to let it die and move on.

 Dear Doc:
Have a 15yr old who has been in residential treatment for ptsd w/psychotic features for last 2 years - was removed from home due to sexually abusing younger brother, 7 yrs his junior. He was visiting grandparents and touched grandmother inappropriately. She pressed charges, he was interviewed while at the facilty by the officer with his GAL, therapist, CASA worker and social worker in the room. He claimed that he was just trying to give her a hug and had no other intentions and that his grandmother misunderstood his intentions. DA chose not to press charges for unlawful sexual contact based on the fact his intentions were not clear and could not be proved. All people in room believed him, but a month after the therapist wrote in a monthly report that he believed that he was actually lying. Then 5 months later the 15 year old finally admitted that he lied and wrote apology letters to the containment staff and one to his grandmother (which was never sent to her). The reports we recieve are 2 months behind the current date and according to the report, it states he admits he lied about wanting to give a hug but that he still had not admitted the intention. It is unclear if he has since admitted his intention. The question is - can this admission of having lied to the officer about the incident be used to possibly prosecute him. Can any other crimes he may have admitted to, especially the crime of sexually assaulting his brother be used to press charges as well? His brother is now in a place to recount in detail and when first questioned the 15 year old completely denied every sexually assaulting him. Can his accounts in his sessions be used to press charges with the testimony of his brother? Thank you.

No attorneys here, so we can't help you.

Bottom Line: Even if it's a public defender, it sounds like you need to consult with an attorney asap.

 Dear Doc:
I have been in a relationship for 5 years. Engaged for almost 2yrs. Fiance lives with mother. This man is 55 yrs old. Now he tells me it's a package deal. What should I do? Thanks.

Get the hell out of Dodge!

Bottom Line: He may be ok to date, but no healthy new wife would want to walk into THAT hornet's nest!

 Dear Doc:
I have a very difficult, ADHD,ODD, angry, depressed daughter who lives with me most of the time. Her father has basically been unavailable for about five years, mostly consumed with himself and his 24 year old girlfreind. he just informed my daughter that his girlfreind will be moving in. Madysen awoke the next morning to find them waking up together in his bed. She was upset and confused by this. She first confronted him but as usual he dismissed her and mentioned something about his life and choices having nothing to do with her. I asked him if this really happened; he said yes, this is what he wants... I asked if this decision was in the best interest of our daughter (of course i think not); he said she'll be fine. I want to have documented proof, somehow how unhealthy, how selfish, poor judgement, poor role model...

Take your daughter to a therapist and get some documentation of your daughter's feelings about what is going on at her dad's house.

Bottom Line: If the therapist substantiates that dad's behavior is harming her, get an attorney and take him to a family court. If your daughter is younger than her teens, the judge may take greater action to protect her. If she is older, the court may listen more closely as to which home she wants to spend most of her time.

 Dear Doc:
I was spanked as a child, but never liked the idea of spanking my children. Why do you think that is?

Probably because it wasn't a positive experience for you.

Bottom Line: The most current research discourages spanking, and encourages using time-outs as a method of discipline instead.

 Dear Doc:
Should a battered wife divorce their partner?


Bottom Line: Unless you can get away and be safe, while your partner agrees to change by getting professional help, and continues in treatment for as long as it takes to get better (usually years). The partner rarely will agree to this, so a divoce is usually a much more sensible option.

 Dear Doc:
I am married for ten yrs. I have a husband that has a drinking problem. health wise he had seizures from drinking. the seizures can occur the next day, however they are infrquent they exist. I am tired of counseling,exhausted on trusting,and weary about continuing this marriage. I cannot go anywhere with him and not have a concern with etoh. I have to monitor my chidlren with him and i feel they are suffering as well. He can be violent probably due to frustration with the problem at hand. He knows all about AA but admits he cannot go there. He still wants to drink. I want out but I am tired and all that goes with it. Having knowledge in detox as a nurse who has worked there I know my battle is futile. I want all to go smoothly in the separation that is where i am stuck! help

So leave already!

Bottom Line: Smooth? Of course it won't be smooth, but your life will continue to be insane until you bite the bullet and get the hell out of Dodge! With the time, smoothness will come.

 Dear Doc:
Hi, I am 16 years old and my boyfriend is 19. We are having a problem with the holidays. He wants to spend it with his family, but he is in college and I hardly ever get to see him and I want him to spend it with me, because i have put so much into the relationship. Should he spend the holidays with me? Please answer, we have been fighting a while about this.

Be it now, or down the road, you will eventually lose out if you try to come between he and his family. Encourage him to go to his family, and suggest that you go with him! Don't waste your time arguing against something that hasn't changed since the beginning of time. Have you ever heard of the old saying, that "blood is thicker than water?" Well it's still true, and his connection with his family is thicker than your feelings for each other. Either get use to it, or break up with him (but you'll just experience the same thing with the next guy!)

Bottom Line: Turn his family into your cheerleaders by showing them how much you support him spending time with them. Once they tell him how wonderful you are, he'll just want to spend more time with you! So if you want him to come your way, let him go. May seem hard, but it's the only real chance you have, because if you try to control someone, they will eventually rebel (either outwardly or inwardly).

 Dear Doc:
Two of my brothers are gay, and I think I am bi-sexual. I have reddness on the end of my penis, and do not want my wife to know. What can it be if I am having sex with a man?

Go to the Doctor right away. The Doctor's job is to protect your privacy, so no one should know about your time with the Doctor.

Bottom Line: Only with a personal and professional exam will you know the answer.

 Dear Doc:
Are there counselor's that speacilize in pornography? I mean, helping couples who have an issue with it. I am the one who wrote earlier about the boyfriend who watches porn behind my back. I think he is addicted to it. Thanks

AA runs groups called Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. Many people have been helped by this specialized 12-Step program.

Bottom Line: There are also Sex Therapists who specialize in helping couples with this type of problem.

 Dear Doc:
getting back to my lazy selfish stepson, (thanks for the response by the way) I really think he has some kind of personality disorder. For example, if you don't want him to have something (no respect for other people's stuff) you'd better lock it up because no means nothing to him. If you tell him to do or not do something, he'll do just the opposite, even if it means "shooting himself in the foot." If he gets reprimanded for doing something wrong watch out! because now he'll just do it again twice as bad as before. My husband does know what's going on but has no clue how to deal with it. He flips flops back and forth between agreeing with me (only when he's mad at him) to defending him. Do you think there's any way to get my husband to get the kid to a doctor? the kid's mother refuses to get involved. I think she get's a kick out of all the trouble my husband's going through and blames him for it. any suggestions??

He definitely needs professional help. But if he's 18 or older, you can't require him to go.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, your husband is a fool if he doesn't take him to a therapist, because this type of problem can be improved with a Doctor's assistance.

 Dear Doc:
my husband is having a relationship. i found it out and said i'll leave him. he loves me and doesn't want to lose me, but he can't do sex with me because i'm too fat for him. what shall i do, how can i change things??

Maybe you should leave.

Bottom Line: Do you think you're too heavy? If so, work to change that for your own well-being.

 Dear Doc:
I'm a 40 year old native american with major anxiety's and depression. In the last year things have gotten worse to the point where my thought's are scaring the heck out of me. I've been this way most of my life and its really starting to get to be too much. I find myself having mental melt downs to the point i sit and cry all the time. I have a hard time going into public without have an attack, I can't sleep most of the time, and have lost a ton of weight. I've totally stopped doing everything i use to do. it's like life has come to a complete halt. I walk around confused or spaced right out. I just got married three months ago and my relationship is failing. My whole family are feeling the affects from this. I need to know where to go to get the help I need before I do something stupid. I do not want to go on another 40 years this way. I feel like I'm dying inside.

Get some professional help asap.

Bottom Line: Ask your Doctor, or go to a clinic in your community.

 Dear Doc:
my sister took her life in 1992 at the age of 48. i now think she was bipolar. always ruining on a high. never took drugs. married and had two teenagers. but approx. twice a year for many years she would turn into someone else staying up for sometimes 36 hrs. she rarely drank but sometimes she would have 1 or 2 beers she would become depressed call different family members in the middle of night her emotions would go from blaming you for her depression to hating you. as years went by her 36-48 hr bouts of depression got worse talking about killing herself. she was committed by police twice and was out by the next day. she was in her other high state and knew exactly what to say to the doctors and they would let her go. do you think it was bipolar. my sister was 16 yrs older than me. I loved her however I experience first hand my sister turn into someone else right in front of me. almost like the devil.after 36-48 hrs she would sleep at least 24 hrs wake up like nothing ever happen.

Sure sounds like it.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, some people don't get better, even though there are treatments that could help them.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend of three years lies to me all the time about viewing pornography behind my back. I didn't have a problem with porn until in the beginning of our relationship, he quit touching me for about a month. One day,during this period, I walked in on him with his pants down watching porn. Needless to say, I have become very against porn, in every way. I told him that I can't be with someone who watches it behind my back, so he said he would quit, this was back in 2004. We are still dealing with it. He lies to me about it still(but we do have an active sex life) He asked me to marry him, but I am really hurt, by these lies. I want the man out there that doesn't like porn, but I think I'm fooling myself, I think all men watch it behind there womans back. So I don't know what to do. I am very depressed. I care about him alot. He is really smart and sweet, but this one thing makes me look at him a whole different way. Last week he told me that he doesn't want to do it anymore, he wants to be the man that I want. But I dont' think he can quit. I feel like if I leave him, I will regret it for the rest of my life, but I can't deal with this depression anymore. And this is the only reason that I am depressed. I don't know how to deal with this problem, could you please help me out. Once we went to a counselor, and he was male, it seemed like the counselor was on his side. Maybe we need to see a counselor who specializes in couples with this specific problem if one exists? I would really appreciate advice. Thanks.

He probably won't change. You should probably move on.

Bottom Line: Not all guys are like this. What you want is honesty, and what you have is a liar. You deserve better, don't you think??

 Dear Doc:
I am writing to you about an insecurity/jealousy problem i have. I am driving my partner and myself mad with my behaviour.I constantly accuse him of looking at other women in real life and the tv, watching unsuitable programmes on the tv involving nudity, worried he will find my friends more attractive than me. I constantly seek reassurance and repeatedly ask the same questions, etc. i do not wish to be like this; i cannot go anywhere in public with him for fear of who might be there and what they look like and will he prefer them. i know it can't go on as i am going to ruin everything. he is the first person who has never made me feel insecure ever. but he has a bad temper and i am bringing out the worst in him. he then retaliates by saying v hurtful things he knows i am insecure about. i feel embarassed to write to you with such a stupid issue, but somehow it has taken over my life. i hope you can help me change.

Don't be embarrassed. Yours is a typical problem. You need to see a therapist asap. It is a big problem indeed, in that it has grown to be quite severe. I don't know if it grows out of others hurting you in the past, but it is guaranteed to hurt your future if you don't repair it. The good news is that it can be fixed!

Bottom Line: Don't worry about him. Humans will always look at others. If you learn to believe in and love yourself, then if he goes away you know you are going to be just fine, because you are a person of great value!

 Dear Doc:
My 19 year old stepson is a lazy, selfish, slob who constantly lies and manipulates everyone around him. he refuses to get a full time job (dropped out of high school) and doesn't do anything but watch sports and play video games. He refuses to cooperate with house rules and does everything in his power to annoy me on purpose and has admitted it. He fools his friends and girlfriend and they have no idea what he's really all about. the biggest problem is my husband, his father. it's his only child and I can understand that, but he is an enabler. What do I do? This kid has lived with us for six years now and is just getting worse by the day. I can't stand him!!!

You have got a very large problem! I am assuming your husband knows how you feel, and that he chooses to do nothing about it. It is an even bigger problem if he disagrees with you, and thinks his son is no problem at all.

Bottom Line: If that's the case, you may have to tell him you will be moving out if he does not take some action that is supportive of you.

 Dear Doc:
My 4 year old boy just does not listen to a word I say. I have to repeat my self 3 to 5 times to get him to do something. When I show him how to do something the right way he just does not get it . I'm starting to think something is wrong. He is in soccer now. He is the only one who just runs off and does what he wants. After I tell him to stay with the team he pays no attention to them. He gets left out a lot. I get so stressed out about it. And I do get so mad. I don't know what to do anymore. Is he just being a 4 year old boy or is there something wrong? Please help me.

This goes beyond typical behavior.

Bottom Line: Talk to his pediatrician and/or a therapist. With professional help this situation can be improved.

 Dear Doc:
I got your answer. I'm the one who is dreaming about this guy. My husband and I did go see a therapist. Things changed for about a week but went back to the same old ways. That was about 6 months ago. I guess i'm going to talk to him and see if we can go again ,but what if things don't change and i can't feel like i use to. Then what--- do I stay or not? How can I stop thinking about the other guy? Should I tell my husband i'm think about someone else or just forget about and let it on.

With your husband's lack of interest, you will probably never get the good feelings back. You may need to contact your old flame, to see if he has any interest. If he says "no", you've got your answer to stay. You probably won't stop thinking about him until you meet with him. Consider telling your husband that if things don't improve, you are thinking about leaving.

Bottom Line: Don't bring up the other guy unless you discover there is something to it. Would be foolish to bring up a fantasy. That would be all pain, no gain.

 Dear Doc:
I'm leaving my husband who my therapist tells me is a narcissist. I miss what I fell in love with, but not the actual person that I see he really is now. How can I prevent myself from falling into the same trap again? I feel like such a fool and I really miss the guy who I thought I married even though I know he doesn't exist.

Stay in therapy, and come to understand why you are attracted to the narcissistic personality.

Bottom Line: You made a mistake. We all do. Let it go. There are much better guys out there. As you get healthier, you will be drawn to healthier guys (and driven away from the sick ones!)

 Dear Doc:

First of all, don't write in CAPS; it's considered shouting, and turns most internet users off. The daughter's response is not surprising.

Bottom Line: If the two of you take it slow and easy with her, it can work out just fine. Give her time to adjust to her dad's new world.

 Dear Doc:
I really need your help . I'm married and have two kids I have a good life but I'm really not happy inside. my relationship with my husband isn't the best one but i love him and he takes really good care of me and our two kids.I'm in love with someone else. the hard part about it is i haven't seen or talked to this person in about 5 or 6 years. I dream about him almost every night . When i had my litte girl I dreamt that it was his baby, not my husbands. the day before my wedding i dreamt that i was marrying him. I don't understand why i keep dreaming about him. this guy was my first true love. I was 11 years old the day we met. then we dated for 6 years off and on . Then i moved away, but we still talked, and every time we did he always told me he still loved me and always would. I want to see him so bad. I see his family members sometimes. He's having a baby with this girl we went to school with. For that reason i just stay away, because he has a family, but i really don't know if he and this girl are together anymore. I don't know what to do. I do love my husband but i don't think i'm in love with him. so much stuff has happened to us in the past 4 years, that it's hard to go back to the way we use to be. or is there something i can do to help my relationship with my husband and stop thinking about this other guy? please help asap. jen

Sounds like you're in love with a fantasy. You could go see him, but is it worth possibly losing everything you have now?

Bottom Line: If you're serious about your marriage, tell your husband that you've lost the spark, and that you'd like to get it back. Then go to a therapist with him. If he won't go (which would be a bad sign for the survival of your marriage), go by yourself.

 Dear Doc:
My son is 21 he is now living with his Grandparents in another state. We have been told he is slow, has ADD a various number of things. He is bright and has this amazing memory, he knows things that when he talks about it he sounds like an expert. He has graduated from high school. He is also very emotional. He was working with children and when he found out he would not be working with the same children the next year he was so upset. He wrote letters to the school, to the parents and the children, he called their houses etc. He has since come to terms with this. He was upseyt over he and his cousin who is the same age drifting apart. He called his cousin at least 10 times a day - he would first be calm and by the fifth or sixth call he would be screaming and cursing at him to call him back. He recently has been fixated on finding his step cousin who he hasn't seen in about 18 years. We do not know where she is but calls me all the time screaming and cursing at me to find her. He claims as he always does that this is all he wants in the world. He does not listen to reason. He would not be able to live by himself at this point as he can not handle adult responsibilities, bill paying, laundry, cooking etc. I myself have been diagnosed with bipolar many years ago and since that have been fine. This however does not have the earmarks of bipolar as I know it and am hoping to get some direction as to what this could possibly be. I am searching for a mental heath specialist in his area now but was hoping for any information. Thank you, Linda

Hopefully you can find him a therapist asap. No doubt he needs to be on some meds, possibly change his diet, etc. It sounds like a biological problem. The difficulty may be that he will not be willing or able to make the necessary changes.

Bottom Line: He has probably inherited some of your psychological makeup. However, that is not your fault, and he can't hide behind that. If he is willing to go get it, there is definitely help out there for him.

 Dear Doc:
this boy and i have been close friends for a while now. during this time we both have fallen in love with each other. recently he messed with this girl, and supposedly she's pregnant now. i told him that we would go through this together, but the truth is i'm falling apart. everytime i hear somebody talk about it or if i think about it i become so weak. i love this boy so much., and although he has put me through hell and back, i'm still here. am i crazy for staying?

Yes you are.

Bottom Line: Your reactions are normal. You deserve better than this. Move on to someone whose love ACTIONS match their love WORDS!

 Dear Doc:
I have a four year old daughter, 7 & 9 year old sons whose father left three years ago. The boys love visiting their father every other Saturday night,but their sister has decided she doesn't want to go stay at his house. She has verbalized this clearly. Do I make her go on overnights or just let her visit with him on her terms? I do not believe that anything negative has happened. I think she does not feel connected or secure when with him.

Take her statements seriously, and try to understand why she doesn't want to go. Discuss it with her dad, and see if he thinks it's ok if she doesn't stay over night.

Bottom Line: Maybe she can just go over until her bedtime. It's unhealthy to let her have the complete power to decide, but maybe a healthy compromise can be reached, until she feels better about going overnight again.

 Dear Doc:
Is there such a thing as a man who has a psychological reason for cheating? I found myself with someone who, after I got pregnant, I found out he may have been seeing other women. He promised he was not guilty and that he would prove it. I just found out, he has been continuing to see these women - telling all of us he wants to marry us and have families with us. Last week he told me he loves me and will never hurt me, but the next day I learned he went away with another woman. I'm hurt and don't want to be in a relationship with him anymore, but I don't he's right in his head. Might he have a pyschological problem?

YOU will be the one with the psychological problem if you stay with this loser!!

Bottom Line: Don't make excuses for him. He is a user and a liar. Stop being hurt. Get mad... and then leave!

 Dear Doc:
I really need your advice because the situation my parents and I are dealing with is coming to the point where I feel like it is a crisis situation. My father is 68 years old and my mother is 65. My mother has Alzheimer's disease. I am 42 and I have a brother who is 35 years old who has lived with our parents his whole life. He has never paid rent,he is very selfish,he talks to himself a lot, and even though we have all told him he is sick and needs to get some kind of help,he just says it's no big deal he is just thinking out loud. About 3 years ago I moved back home to take care of my mother and in that time I have gotten to know what kind of person my brother is. He is lazy,works once in a while. Buys food with his money that he feels no obligation to share with anyone else,but eats up most of the food mom and dad buy as well and feels no shame about it. Over the last two and a half years he has repeatedly cursed at me,bullied and intimidated me whenever I tell him he is wrong about something,like treating our mother or father disrespectfully,or being lazy and not wanting to share the responsibility for caring for our elderly parents or housework,and much of the time if I have a private conversation with my mother or father he will listen outside the door to the bedroom,and when I go downstairs to the living room he will begin to demand to know what I was saying about him,start cursing me and calling me names and bullying Me. He bullies my mother,walks all over all of us in the home,and I have told my father that it is way past time to cut the apron strings. I feel that my brother is sick,and even evil,and becoming dangerous. I have told my father recently that the time has come for either my brother to go,or I will leave,but I know I can not leave either one of my parents in a position where they are alone with him. I do not trust him after seeing how callous, selfish, ungrateful and arrogant he is. I believe that if I leave my parents alone with him, he will become much worse then he already is with no one in the home to let him know he is being watched. I need help and I would really appreciate any advice you can give. I wish I could help my brother but he does not want our help,he wants to use and abuse the family,and continue to take us for granted. To be honest I want him out of our living environment. He is creepy and my parents are worn out.I realize that my father is the bigger problem,because he has allowed his son to get away with too much for too long being the youngest out of the three of us children. I have one older brother,and I am the only daughter,a middle child. I have talked to our oldest brother and he has also said that it sounds like we may have to make our youngest brother leave until/unless he starts facing the fact that he must change to remain in a position of protection and shelter within this family,and his abuse of any of us will no longer be tolerated. We also want to tell dad that he has to change too,and stop being weak and allowing all of us to be tormented by this over-grown spoiled brat because he can't face making him stand on his own two feet,and stop using the family,stop using Dad most of all. Please tell me what you think,what we should do,and what you think is wrong with our brother.How should we handle this?HELP!!!!! My brother is just so disturbed,and we can't seem to reach him. I am sinking into a deep depression living with him everyday. I hate going downstairs when I know he is home. I am afraid in my own home and I am tired of it. I know my brother has a lot of hurt and anger and he is very immature,but I cannot allow the fact that he needs healing and counseling to continue to be a license to abuse us. He is such a cold person,you have to be around him,to witness it,it's scary. I wonder sometimes if he has a conscious. I have never before witnessed someone's behavior that is so absolutely, and consistently selfish. Last,what is wrong with our father? I think I should tell you that 15 years ago dad's oldest son from a previous marriage was murdered. We think that dad was so hurt by this that he cannot get past his fear that Kevin will be killed or something bad will happen to him if he is made to leave,we think that he cannot face what he must do. Dad has fed this attitude of entitlement in our brother for so many years, that our brother cannot see that dad and mom do not have to allow him to live with them,rent free,and/or put up with him at all. Their legal obligation ended when he turned 18,and he is 35 years old!. Thank you Doctor for your time and advice.

You accurately understand the situation. You could involve the police, to try to force him into getting help, but it won't work, because he hasn't committed a crime yet. Your brother is probably mentally unbalanced, but your dad's fear of challenging him over the years has just made it worse. The truth of the matter is that your brother probably can't make it on his own in the outside world anymore anyway, so you are dealing with three sick people. It's critical that you take care of yourself in the midst of all this craziness, so that you too don't go down with the ship.

Bottom Line: What a tough situation. You can't do anything, if your dad won't support you. Given that he won't start practicing tough love, you'd best move out, and visit every day, to be helpful where you can (while keeping yourself sane from a distance).

 Dear Doc:
Is it true that when you have a critically ill spouse and are care giver for 3-4 years that the greiving period begins long before the actual death.

That is very true.

Bottom Line: Many may not understand it, but death comes as a gift when the spouse is freed from their illness, and the care giver is freed to say goodbye, close the book, and move forward.

 Dear Doc:
Hello, i have a question i hope you can help me, i am very shy to go to a gynacologist and ask this question. Therefore i want to ask this question to you. About a month ago i lost my virginity to my boyfriend, he promised me that he's going to marry me and we been together for 2 years, but he did not keep his promise, and we broke up. I feel like dirty and used. I only had sex with him 2 times. Now I want to know is it possible to become virgin again, physically, is ther any kind of surgery for this? Please help me out. Virginity means a lot to me and to my culture, therefore i want to find out. Thank you for your support.

Sorry, but once you've lost your virginity, it's gone forever.

Bottom Line: You will just have to go forward. Maybe you can keep this secret to yourself.

 Dear Doc:
I have been seeing a married man for almost 4 years now within the first six months he said he seperated and was thinking of divorce. We have been best friends for over 20 years, and before he said anything about divorce I knew that I would have to stop this one day because there was nowhere to go with it, well after he said he was seperated our relationship grew, we both have children his children are over 18 and he is divorced from there mother for a very long time, I have older and younger children, they see him as there stepfather, he spends every holiday with us and we go everywhere together, we have all become one family, we talked about our future, our grandchildren, I now have a stepgrandchild, and everything that couples talk about, I have learned that his children do not care for her much they are not allowed to speak with there father when with her she gets mad they say, I learned he isn't pemited to have pictures of his family in his home, I learned that, when his daughter visited him and he also told me, up until 4 months ago I believed he was seperated and wanted a life with the family we made and combined together, now he has a baby maybe 2 months old which I just found out about and the older kids did too. He still wants to be a family and states he has divorce papers,but can't do it right now? and all the older children want this family to stay together, and believed as I did, he states he needs time? his wife is not us citizen, please help.

Your first mistake was to date a married man. Things will most likely never change with him.

Bottom Line: It looks like he wants more than one family. So tell him you won't do it, and that he has to choose. Odds are he'll be gone. If that doesn't work for you, then decide to keep going as you have for years.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend and I have been living together for over a 18 months (something we were not ready for but I needed a place to live and he took me in) From the beginning he told me he was still married but seperated for 15 yrs. He told me he does not want to get married again but he did not mind getting a divorce. He put off the divorce because he was afraid his wife would cause conflict and keep him from seeing his daughter who just turned 18. His wife lives in Cananda we live in Texas and his daughter just moved here to Texas. His daughter has not seen her father since she was 8. They just reunited. My bf tells me he loves me to death and he does not want to lose me. A couple of times he has spoke of marriage but then took it back....we even talked about adopting a child. Just the other day he said it again "you know I do not want to get married but I am not saying it will never happen". I know not to pressure him...the marriage conversations just come now and then usually brought up by someone else. I am not into any blame game here I just need to know the truth does he really mean what he says....I do not want to ever get married again. Recently we talked about his divorce but he told me his ex will cause a lot of problems and he hates conflict and can't handle it right now. He is under a lot of stress and does not want to deal with her right now...fair enough but is this just another excuse? I do not know what to believe any longer. He talks about our future together and even wants me to move again with him to another place...but I am tired of mixed messages and I need to know if he is playing games, just waiting for the right one to come along and I will do until then...fear of failing or getting hurt? He has a hard time with communication but has tried to issue we are working on but he gets upset if I bring anything up about our relationship....which I barely do. I love this man to death but I want marriage and do not want to keep living together but right now I can't afford to move out and I have no one to stay with. Do I have the talk and take the risk of running the man I love off for good...... if there is a chance of marriage in our future? What is this man really telling me and what should I do? I do not want to waste any more time on this relationship if living together is a far as it will ever go. I am sorry if this is a confusing post but right now I am confused and I really have a hard time with sharing the right words..You may not tell me what I want to hear but I am looking for truth here. Thank you for any help....Lori

It is very unlikely that he will ever follow through with the divorce.

Bottom Line: If marriage is what you want, then moving out is what you must do.

 Dear Doc:
I have finally taken the step of initiating a move out of my neighborhood to keep my abusive ex-boyfriend from contacting me and me from responding to his overtures. I have not talked with him at all for a week so far. Before that, I made it for 2 weeks. I know that's not long. He works where I work and lives less than a mile from here, so he is always around so it is challenging to avoid all contact. He came up and rang the bell one day last week for a long time and left angry messages. I am in counseling once a week, joined an online support group, and confided to my family how bad the abuse got (mostly emotional), among others. It is like a spell has lifted and I am out of isolation and I'm beginning to (for last 4 weeks) socialize with friends I had been out of touch with. It has been good during this time. How can I be sure not to get in such a relationship again? The first abusive relationship was when I divorced my ex-husband after he punched me in the eye and scratched my cornea. My father and mother were physically and emotionally abusive to me as a child sometimes. I have been in counseling several times, once when my Dad yelled at me so bad when I was 16 that I stopped eating much, once when I was getting the divorce, and again during this last situation. Lately, I have felt good being on my own and am starting to feel like my own person again, especially in preparing to move away from here. I just wonder what it takes to feel strong and good enough about myself that this sort of thing does not happen to me again. I feel like I am slowly coming to life again now and don't want to revert back into the darkness of an abusive relationship. Thank you.

Continue with your therapy and support groups in the years ahead, and your emotional health will continue to improve.

Bottom Line: Move far away from your abusive past, no matter how far you have to go.

 Dear Doc:
Hello, my name is Sarah. I am 28 years old and have recently been given the facts of my medical history with regards that I underwent extensive pyschological testing presenting with constant and consite dissregard and complete disrespect for anyone with athority or any person whom gave me direct instruction. My mother finally revealed to me that my diagnosis was oppositional behavior dissorder. I have asked her on numerous occasions previously, wondering how it was possible I was never diagnosed with ADHD, feeling this was truely the factor that constantly made my efforts to progress in society and life depressingly so far below the bar I know I am mentally capable of acheving. Her response never faltered in being what I now see as vague yet believable. This reponse verbatim almost to the T " You were tested for ADHD, you were tested for a couple of days, they ran many tests, and they said you were very very smart, very very smart. You did not have ADHD." My mother has never lied to me before. I was told and always remember knowing that I was adopted. My mother, who gave birth to me, loved me so much that she knew she could not give me every thing she wanted to so she loved me so much she gave me up so I could have everything she wanted the best for me." Perhaps my mother telling me this instilled in me the belief that the truth is what was spoken. For me I took it one step futher. If that is what is told to you that is what you believe. A person lying is ashamed of the truth and says what they want to be, I dont think average people realize that truthful people take this as reality and choose there actions based on these lies." Ok went on a Tangent., Anyway my question to you Doctor, given this new light on the apparent dissorder, "OPPOSITIONAL BEHAVIOR DISORDER", what should be my next step in beginning treatment. If possible could you mail me information or pehaps a general outline for me to follow, perhaps just a list with potential avenues to persue. Thankyou so much for your time and knowlege, Sincerely...

Half the job of your improvement is your acceptance of your diagnosis, and your willingness to work on it.

Bottom Line: Read everything you can find on the subject, and get yourself into long term therapy.

 Dear Doc:
My potentially future mother in law hates me. It is affecting my relationship with my fiancee to the point that she doesn't want to be with me anymore if I can't fix the problems with her mother. What do I do?

I know it's hard to hear, but you'd best run away, and never look back!

Bottom Line: If your fiancee is not supporting you now, and you're not even married yet, you will be entering a forever hell if you go ahead with the wedding. Let her mother win. She wants to break you up. She will be doing you a favor in the long run!

 Dear Doc:
My wife of 8 years is currently a recovering alcholic and has started an affair with another AA member and has told me. Do I kick her out, leave, or hang in there?

Is she going to stop the affair? Many marriages goe through this, and can survive, if the couple remain dedicated to each other.

Bottom Line: Life with someone in recovery can be great, if they stay on their program. However, they sometimes just switch their addictions. In a case such as yours, this may be the case, and may suggest that it's time for you to go solo.

 Dear Doc:
I'm about to have my attorney send papers to my husband because i'm divorcing him. He's been verbally abusive, unsupportive and manipulative by always toying with my emotions. Why do I feel so guilty? In my state, everything is 50/50, I came into this 4 year marriage with nothing, but I did move 1/2 way accross the country to be with him. He has hurt me so much over time, why am I feeling bad about hurting him now?

Probably because you ae unhealthy. Assuming you believe that you don't deserve to be abused and manipulated, you need to tell yourself to cut it out and eliminate your unhealthy guilt responses.

Bottom Line: If you feel too badly, you can always not take half of what he owns. But most people don't get to the point where they feel all THAT guilty!

 Dear Doc:
I am 40 yrs. old. He is 47 yrs. old. He and I hit it off. We started out as friends, and eventually had sex. I really like this man, but after I realized he was only using me for afternoon quickies, I confronted him. He never sees me in the evening or on the weekends; always at lunchtime. So, now he tells me I am too pushy and to back off. Was I right to speak my mind about it?

You certainly were.

Bottom Line: Unless this is the type of relationship that you want, only you can change it, by letting him know what you think.

 Dear Doc:
My son had a drinking problem. It started his last year of highschool and continued for a few years before he stopped. While he was drinking he stole from his employers and lost two jobs because of it. One pressed charges and he went to court. He graduated a year later than his class and when he started working after graduation he was fired because he would oversleep every morning. His senior year he was already 18 so we were told there was nothing we could legally do to get him to stop that we would have to wait until he was ready or the courts made his decisions. He had two DUI's along with the stealing. He than met a girl that he moved in with and shortly after she was pregnant. He decided to give up alcohol and has been sober for a few years. Shortly after he quit his girlfriend had a miscarriage and they began arguing. He told me he was moving out but they were going to continue trying to work things out. He never moved out but she began seeing her old boyfriend. Not long after that the holidays came and he asked that we change the time we spend holidays to another time because his girlfriend has to go to several different parties as her parents are divorced and their are several grandparents and others to go to that day. We accommadated them the year before but this time I said no, their multiple families were not my problem, I have several other children to think about also, if they couldn't make it maybe they could comeover someother time but I wasn't making the little ones wait for the "Easter Bunny" until the day after. Now they are getting married. I had not met her family yet but My "lovely" son told them what I had said about the multiple families and it being their problem. When I did meet them it was a very hostile environment. They made several references to "multiple families etc." He also told them how horrible I am because I'm a "nut job" and he slammed his siblings to them also. So several negative digs were made regarding them also. My son denied ever saying that but I have caught him in too many lies to believe he didn't. My husband and I have already put up half the money for this wedding before this all came out but I really don't want to go now. I have already been to one shower and got a taste of how the wedding will be. But apparently slamming me to his new family wasn't enough he than enlisted the aid of my sister whom there are too many years between us to have ever been really close. Would it be really terrible to bow out of your own childs wedding?

The high road would be to go, and to rise above all the pettiness, showing that you are not diminished by the dysfunctional family games.

Bottom Line: But hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. It's not like your relationship with your son is headed anywhere positive in the near future anyway (unfortunately).

 Dear Doc:
My current "live-in" boyfriend was married twice. No children by the 2nd marraige, but 1 child by the first, and 4 step children by the 1st. Unfortunately, his biological child passed away, although they had been divorced for about 6 years, at the time. Since then, "J" has maintained a relationship with the 1st's children. The problem is not the relationship that he is maintaining but the exwife calls all the time and wants to talk. She has caused many many problems with our relationship, saying irrational things, calling all the time and wanting to "curse" at me. I think it is improper for them to talk, being that they have been divorced for 10 years. She thinks he should call her and wish her a happy birthday, as she cries, or makes insignificant conversation. He feels bad and feels in the middle. What is appropriate? Thanks.

He is afraid to be assertive, and give his ex some boundaries. Sounds like he doesn't want to be the "bad guy" toward his ex.

Bottom Line: He is making a mistake. He needs to get stronger, and commit more of himself to you, or he may lose the good that he has with you.

 Dear Doc:
I have been with my boyfriend for about a year and a half now and he is struggling with smoking pot on a regular basis. I believe he has an addiction because he has tried to stop and failed and doesnt necessarily want to. We have been getting really serious and he has talked about marriage. I told him I will not marry someone who does drugs because I dont want that around my house and eventually our family together. He doesnt seem to think its a big deal and says he wants help and is willing to try hard to stop. However, I find him still doing it. He doesn't seem to be getting better. I am not so sure what to do. I dont want to let it continue and then 2 years down the road we are still facing this same dillema when it comes to marrying him. Should I dump my boyfriend or continue trying to help him, while he knows that I will not marry him while he still does drugs?

Move on without him.

Bottom Line: If he is serious about you, and changing his habits, he'll come after you.

 Dear Doc:
I am 80 years old, my husband of l8 years and I can not get along. We have three pets 2 dogs and l cat. The dogs never seem to do anything wrong- he just picks on the cat if it gets sick. He constantly find fault with me. What can I do with this situation?

Probably not much. I'm assuming that if you could afford it, you would have moved out.

Bottom Line: Go out and make your own life as best you can, and don't give his words toward you any power.

 Dear Doc:
I have a 19 year-old nephrew that lies, steals, and pawns anything he can get a hold of. He will not work or even go back to school to get his GED. All he does is sit at home or drive his father's car around. I'm sorry to say, his father gives him money all the time.

So the problem is with dad, which impacts his son.

Bottom Line: You are powerless here. Look the other way, unless your nephew asks for help.

 Dear Doc:
I was wondering how you begin to trust again, my wife lied to me awhile back.She said she will get her trust back.So my question is how will I know? We had a problem about the lying she did,and she said I was insecure and jealous,which she is right and I am trying to change it but having problems doing it,I dont really know how.It seems like I am trying really hard to make this work but she is not, maybe it is just me.Ihave to admit are sex life has improved drastically.So maybe that is a good sign.How do I stop being jealous and insecure?

You really won't know. Once it's been broken, doubts usually hang on. The longer she goes being honest, the more trustworthy you can feel. You have a right to be insecure and jealous.

Bottom Line: It's not a good sign that you are trying harder than her. She may be using you. Try to let go of the relationship a bit, realizing that you can move on without her if need be.

 Dear Doc:
I have been engaged to my fiance for 2 years and we are supposed to get married in 6 weeks. however he has just been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and is taking wellbutrin and depekote. He is still having violent episodes about every 3 weeks. we have a 16 month old son and I have 3 children from a prior marriage and us calling everything off will devestate them however my family is no longer supportive of the marriage and are urging me to leave him. I know in my heart that he doesnt mean the mean nasty things that he says and that afterwards he is really sorry and he doesnt want it to happen again but he is obviousely sick. the invitations have been sent out and everything is paid for. I do not want to turn my back on him I feel like we are soulmates, things are so great whn he is not in an episode. I love him but I am not sure how to get my family to understand his disease they think hes just deliberately mean and doesnt care. I want to stand by him I just do not know how to live on these emotional rollercoasters with him is there any hope or is he just always gonna be this way??should I stay or should I go what is the probability of this working out we are both committed to his treatment,please help.

If he stays on his meds, and also stays in talk therapy, your chances are decent. The problem is that this type of person often goes off their meds once they feel better, thinking that they are "fine now." Then, of course, the ugly side of the person invariably comes back.

Bottom Line: It would be easier to run, but if your love and mutual commitment is as strong as you say, then proceed to the alter.

 Dear Doc:
My girlfriend and I have been dating for 8 months. The problem is that she continues to lie to me about stuff. The last time I found out, I told her this is the last time "Do not Lie to me ever again over anything", She promised not to ever lie to me and to always tell me everything. Over the last couple of months she keeps giving me confirmation that she will never lie to me again. Well I have just found out that she has lied to me again and she kept lieing to me to cover it up. I love her so much, how can I stay with her? She keeps begging me saying it will never happen again...but I have heard that already over and over again but it has happend again. How can I trust her? Is it possible, or is our relationship doomed to fail? This will be the fourth time if we start again. How many chances can I give?

So be a man of your word and leave her!

Bottom Line: Yes, it's doomed. You have probably given her one chance too many already!

 Dear Doc:
i have a husband thats an alcoholic, and every night he's verbally and emotionally mean, to everyone. been married 23 years, have three children, in the last three years I have caught him flurting with a coworker(who has since been fired for sleeping and being sexual with the other employees),I'll never know the full extent of his relationship with her, he's a really good liar. he has been on line looking for a discrete sexual relationship and whenever caught acts devastated and swears he loves me and the kids and will never do it again. but all his life he has made bad choices and can't quit any addiction he starts. example smoking , drinking, porn ect. his health is bad and I feel guilty thinking if i wait it out it will be easier when he dies than getting a divorce. but i'm a good honest person and feel awful about waiting for his illness to end this, and it could be awhile. all my kids are lovely and support me and tell me to leave him and it just hurts to know the legacy he has left for them to remember. will a divorce make things better for the family (Kids and I) or not, I just I'm not sure what to do.

Listen to your kids, and leave him tomorrow!

Bottom Line: Waiting for his death ruins the life that you have left to live!

 Dear Doc:
I wrote to you recently about being in a so-so marriage. I'm on my way to leaving my husband and i'm scared to death. I found an apartment to rent in a great neighborhood in the city I love for a great price. I will be living down the street from great friends. I'm a nerveous reck. He's been so disinterested in my life and a jerk lately, but I oddly don't want to hurt his feelings. I feel like i'm making a huge mistake at the same time that I know I need a change. I don't feel anything sometimes and then I burst out crying because i'm just so sick of him. My friends tell me great things like i'm beautiful & brilliant, they make me feel so good about myself. I told my father, he said he doesn't want me to feel like i'm alone, however, I really know I cannot count on him. Part of me is so utterly embarrased by all this..i'm ashamed that i'm going to be a divorced woman. I'm ashamed that i'm going to be moving back to the city I love with a failed marriage. My friends keep telling my that my husband is the one who failed me. I'm soo utterly scared. The man that i'm renting the apartment from is so nice, he is so supportive. I think what bothers me most is that i'm afraid I will not make it, that I won't have enough money etc. I've noticed though, that my life has changed a lot over the last year. I've been much more self-sufficient and have been meeting people who are healthy for me. I met my husband during a very dark time in my life, so i'm not surprised how things have turned out. I wish I had a crystal ball that worked.

Here's what your crystal ball has to say: You will be fine! Don't let fear hold you back.

Bottom Line: Change is scary as hell. But it will open the door of your life to a wonderful future... guaranteed!

 Dear Doc:
I have been married for 13 years. But the last 2 years my husbands driniking has come to embarrass me. He says he can quit but never proves it to me. He has been caught lying to me so be out with others that may have more relaxed views on alchol.(my perception) We tried couple counseling when this started and it made him mad. We have 2 children 6 and 8. I feel that he thinks things are owed to him. I think we have had our glory days and we put the family needs first then we can play within safe limits. I feel that I should try and help him so I can feel like I did my best. But he doesn't lie about where he is at now he has mutated to just not showing up and being responsible for anything. He likes to turn things around saying that I have the issues not him. We have done individual conseling that has helped me realize my self worth and I am pushing towards couples counseling again to hopefully deal with the issues that he is running away from. How can I empower, motivate him instead of being the bad guy. I feel he is emotionally unreachable. I hate to give up on him, but am lost at what I can really tolerate any more. Any advice would be great!!

Stop trying to fix him. He won't budge, and it will make you crazy.

Bottom Line: Live your life, and don't let him hold you back. If he can't be with you, then you're better off alone and healthier.

 Dear Doc:
I have a boyfriend who is an alcoholic, and he cheats on me often as he is scared of commitment.This only happens when he is close to drinking weekends, which happens once in about two months, but for about 3 days at a time. In between he can manage to fight the alcohol because I help and support where I can.He is 32 and still living with his mom.He can not work with money, and does not pay her to stay there. But she understands and we all are helping him and supporting him. He is getting better. It just hurts me when he visit other girls - who are willing to drink with him usually - while I care too much to allow that. When he is drunk, and very depressed he comes to me and I am always supportive and understanding. Never judging him. But due to his friendship with me he is getting better. I do not want to let go of our friendship. I love him very much, and he loves me too. But what can I do to make things better as I am really depressed because this weekend he is again visiting the other girl - and my heart is breaking because of it. I dont know if it is romantic or what - he feels that he does not have to tell me or his mom if he doesn't want to. What can I do? I love him so much. And he knows I'll be there for him. He always come to me , but why is he such a user? What am I doing wrong?

Your're being too nice, and letting him use.

Bottom Line: Hit him with some tough love, and quit rescuing him. Then you'll see if he really cares. Sorry, but I wouldn't hold your breath on that one. This guy's a people-user and a taker.

 Dear Doc:
My older sister has such extreme jealousy issues with me, it spills over to even my daughter. I find it very disturbing, upsetting and even baffling. I do my best to be a good sister but, she continues to make nasty, snide comments. It makes me want to totally avoid her but, I can't always do that due to family occasions. My only response has been to ignore it. How do you think I should handle it?

Maybe you should stop being the good sister, and tell her what you really think.

Bottom Line: If you really can't handle being around her, skip a few family events. That will probably create some interesting change within the larger family.

 Dear Doc:
Im not sure where to start. I am a seperated mom of a three year old boy. my husband walked out on us january 2005, for another woman. he lived in another state for a year, seen his child once in that year. he now lives in our state and wants visitation every other weekend. We are in the divorce process, which i am doing without a lawyer, and paying for all court costs my self. He says he wont agree to sign the papers unless he can see his son.We are on public assistance since he left, we lost our car, and i have had to file bancruptcy He is irresponsible,(cannot keep a long term job, or a drivers license) unstable (has lived at three different address' just in the last 6 months)and thinks only about himself and what he wants, or needs. He pays me no money to raise this child, and is extremely immature. ( i know "why did i ever hook up with him in the first place") he is a really good liar. so he is now living with a girlfriend, and insists on not giving me his address, or giving me her full name. I am on this earth to take care of my children, ( have a 11 year old girl from previous marriage)and i want to know who they are with and make sure they are safe. If my ex has to run to the store or whatever, what kind of person is taking care of my child, i think i have a right to know. He doesnt always make the best decisions in his life, and i dont want my child to get caught up in his web. i obviously cant afford a lawyer, what do I do? I know that my son deserves to see his father, but im scared. help please.

In most communities there are organizations for women without resources. Call your county and search out an attorney for people without funds.

Bottom Line: There has got to be a way to keep your child safe. Try your county's Child Protective Services office.

 Dear Doc:
Recently told my wife I want a divorce. It has taken me years to come to this decision. For years she made me feel terrible about myself. One day I decided I couldn't take it any more and refused to let her bully me and to stop always caving in to her. She had said numerous times that she was unhappy, wanted to leave and leave me with the children (I have been the pretty much the primary care giver of our children: Dr. appts. school p/u and drop offs etc.), that I should find someone else, that it was her and not me. She would become terribly jealous if I went out with a friend for a few beers (mind you I only do this once every other month or so). We tried counseling a few years back, but only after I wrote her a letter saying we couldn’t go on like this and we need do something. That first attempt at counseling failed miserably. I couldn’t discuss a sore subject with her with out her shutting me down because she was annoyed that I might bring it up in counseling. The therapist said we were pretty much opposites in most ways. My wife never would discuss anything in counseling. Eventually we quit counseling and to this day she still says that therapist had the ‘hots’ for me; to which I still disagree. Two to three months prior to my telling her I wanted a divorce We had a discussion where she told me that it was ok if I didn’t love her any more and if it was over to just tell her, that these things happen. She also said she would move out in six months if that was the way it was. It was a tearful moment for both of us. I guess I wasn’t ready and said lets just wait a little longer (in retrospect that was somewhat dishonest). Finally I get up the nerve to tell her I want a divorce and she flips out completely. Not at all what I expected given our last conversation. The next day she and I talk and she goes on how she want to try counseling if only to help us communicate better, that we owe it to our sons, that we had it before and it was important to her. Reluctantly I agreed to counseling mostly for the sake of our sons. Finally it came out that she was seeing a therapist for the last two or three months and felt she was now in better place to address our relationship. So now I find my self in counseling. This counselor is very good in many ways. However I feel pressured to change my mind. I resent the fact that when the marriage was in crisis I was left holding the bag alone, finally gave up and then took a long time coming to terms with that and what it would do to my family; but now three or four years after the initial crisis point she finally wants to make it work and I am supposed to try to feel something emotionally that I gave up a long time ago. I don’t hate her I care about her but I cringe at the thought of spending the rest of my life with her. I can’t bring my self to make major improvements to the house since I feel it is money down the drain. I feel like I am back a year ago in terms of stress and anxiety. On top of everything she now says she want the children even though by her own admission many of her issues revolve around her feeling of inadequacy as a mother and she only sees them 3 hours a day. Help!!! What should I do!!??

Move out and move on!

Bottom Line: She is hanging on for all the wrong reasons. Once you get over the hump of the split, life will improve by bunches.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I have loved our two daughters immeasureably, like most parents, I guess. Our first daughter was wonderful, not perfect (none of us are!), but wonderful until about sixteen. We had a mother/daughter "conflict" over a boy. Of course her dad was not happy either. All this somehow lead to depression, suicide attempt, a year of therapy, and medication, then she "seemed" better, but always chose the "dregs" for friends, and dates. We found out years later, in college, from a true friend of hers, that she was doing meth. We had an intervention and she agreed, reluctantly, to go to drug treatment. After three months she moved out of the treatment facility with no money, although they had encouraged her for months to find a job. She moved in with a man she met in AA almost twice her age, and one month later was engaged to him. We had been paying her way through school, sorority, etc. She was living elsewhere that last semester and had taken up with an assistant cook who she met in the "house" where she was living...and in the month that she finished her drug treatment was professing her undying love for this woman. One month later she was engaged to this guy. She has manipulated the rest of the family who now lives closer to her that all of this is our fault and that we are mistreating her with hate in our hearts. Her man has expressed many vulgar negative and disrespectful thoughts to us. I personally begged him to wait a year after her treatment for marriage to allow us some healing as a family. He never finished his education, and has been a cancer patient on and off since his early twenties. We do have another daughter, who is trying to do the right thing. Older sister really has affected younger so that she tries to be perfect, and the younger one is too hard on herself, although thinking back on them as babies, they seem to have been born with personalities that persist. Obviously, I made a career out of being a mom and I am having trouble getting over the loss created here. We, of course, blame ourselves in part for not being perfect parents, but we blame free will more. We cannot approve of a disrespectful offspring at any age, and are finding we have to love her at a distance, which is still difficult when you want your family to be whole. I guess we just need to try to go forward, and if things eventually work out, they will. Older daughter did go back to school on govt. funds, as she rejected our offer to see her through school if she would wait until she finished school to marry, and lived alone until her head was clearer. She is 23. We have holes in our hearts. I think she blames us for not loving her enough, loving the other daughter more (didn't) and everything we did as parents she seemingly did not appreciate. She has never seemed contrite about anything, which we see more clearly now. Sadly, there is now a baby on the way, will be financed by medicaid. We are living a nightmare, and thinking why our family? Our communication with her is limited to a couple of e-mails or a phonecall now and then, very distant. She lives in another state, where we sent her for treatment, and we have not seen her in over a year.We feel that we have to love her from a distance, period, and hope someday that things will be different. We don't know what else to do. We had therapy for a while, but this didn't seem to help. It appeared that we needed to help ourselves to go forward, and focus on daughter #2 to try to see her through her education until she is self-reliant. Any advice? (Of course there is more to the story.)

You are doing the right thing with your tough love. The truth is that our kids are the luck of the draw. Some are always wonderful, and some never are. It is healthy to not take too much credit for their successes, and not to much blame for their failures. Unfortunately, your story is not uncommon. Continue to do your best, and live your life forward.

Bottom Line: She hasn't learned from her therapy, because she is still blaming others, rather than taking responsibility. Prepare yourself for things not improving. That's the most likely outcome, regardless of what you do. If it gets better for you, let that be a sweet surprise.

 Dear Doc:
What is the best way to break up with someone for good who has a really bad temper, lives in my neighborhood, and works down the hall from me? I had tried to break up with him and failed several times in the last several months. Part of the problem is definitely ME because I pick up the phone and talk to him when he calls. I am afraid he will get really mad and do something crazy and I still remember when he acted "normal." Part of it is also that I feel so helpless as he does not listen to anything I say. I wrote in to you before when he (on-again, off-again ex-boyfriend) was really acting up with his temper. It calmed down in intervals for a while but now he keeps getting angrier and angrier. I have been in counseling since March as a result of all this. That has given me some outside perspective that helps. I have broken up with him and he keeps saying he loves me and does not want to break up. He'll say "sit" and I have to sit on the couch. Then when he does not like something I say when I try to tell him how I feel, he says "get out." Last time, I said, okay, I will and we should never speak again. Yet, I saw him at work and on my cell phone he left 3 messages the next morning saying how much he loves me. I know it is not love, but I'm having trouble extricating myself again. He is highly intelligent, went to law school, but when he was younger used to break into shopping malls, beat people up on occasion, and used cocaine in law school (stories he has told me). Now he takes Ritalin and sleeping pills all the time ostensibly for a sleeping disorder. I am starting to realize that I am better than this through the counseling. (I also had an abusive marriage a year before I met him and had just emerged from that). For a while, I have still felt like I had to win his approval all the time. I see that I am losing sleep from the late-night fighting and am afraid of him. One day lately, he threw his briefcase at a bus and blocked the bus driver from leaving the bus after he thought the driver was trying to run him down as we were walking to the train at the same time from work. He called the police thinking they should arrest the bus driver for assault but they did not. He calls me at home to ask if I will look up stuff in his Yahoo mail account since he buys stuff on Ebay, his computer broke, and instead of using his money to buy a computer like he said, he bought a 1973 motorcycle. I said do you really want me looking in your email account and he said go ahead, look there's nothing bad in there. So, I looked in some email files other than the inbox, and part of the time last year when he was promising he'd go to anger counseling, he was emailing a very close apparently ex-girlfriend about taking out a personal ad. There were also repeated emails calling me a b*** and saying he hoped I'd die in Iraq if I get deployed there (I'm also part-time military). The "hatred" emails were at a time when I told him we were just friends and he wrote how I was a terrible person to his friends (out of town friends- he doesn't have any here other than a motorcycle club) because I would not have sex with him. I don't trust him anymore from reading all that and he knows I read them. There were also emails in there in which he faked Yahoo mail accounts and spent Friday afternoons a year ago (when we were not dating me) writing emails from ex-girlfriends to himself in hopes I would see them one day, he claims, to make me jealous. At first, I thought they were real, but he showed me how he created about 5 different email accounts in their names. I have gotten him to go to the employee assistance counseling twice, but get the sense he is not impressing upon them the seriousness of the problems. They are just seeing him once every two weeks, he says. I go once a week to my counseling. Last time, you advised me to move away and/or find a new job and that he sounded dangerous. I can't afford to move and I have not found another comparable job. Even though he invited me to read his email, he also simultaneously threatened me with jail if I kept any copies of them and I have acted in ways myself that are not healthy, such as when he kicked me out after a long fight in the middle of the night, I was crying out his name outside his building on the steps and I think the neighbors heard. He tells me to call him and come over and then acts like that. He is highly intelligent, a former lawyer and manipulative, and I think he'd use anything against me, including the time I was outside his building after the fight, or anything else he might make up to get me put in jail as he threatens. I am having real trouble with doing "no contact," and I think I have to somehow do it. The trouble comes in when I hear his plaintive voice mails and believe him again. I am taking the advice of my counselor to do more social things away from him, but it is like my heart is not in it. He never plans ahead to do things with me but always expects me to be available at the drop of a hat all weekend. Or, he tags along when I go places. I simultaneously joined a Bible study and am training for a marathon, which are the only things I am really enjoying right now. I feel if I stay in this situation I am in, I'll get really depressed. Why can't I seem to permanently get myself out of this situation?????? I can't talk to my family anymore about it because they think I already got out of the situation and did not really offer any emotional support, and my Mom said, here you go again, making the same mistakes over and over again.

Unfortunately, your mom is correct. Your reasons for staying are complex. Hopefully your therapist will help you figure them out. Once you know why, you can better break your toxic pattern.

Bottom Line: Regardless, you need to get the hell out, before real violence occurs. A move across the country might be in order, because as long as he is near, you probably won't stay away from him.

 Dear Doc:
I am having a hard time with being jealous about my wife,she lied to me awhile, she went for coffee with a ex boyfriend for 4.5 hrs one night.But she lied about everything prior to doing this.She waited till I left for work, then phoned him. And I caught her in a bunch of lies to where she was,when she finally realised she was caught she finally told me the truth about where she was.I think I believe her nothing happend, other then talking.We have been talking to a marriage counsellor,and we are getting along great now.But the problem I am having is how I forget this happend and continue on with are life. I just cant stop thinking about, but I dont say anything to her about how much it is bothering me because we are getting along so good right now.My other problem is insecurity. I have always had that how do I over come that problem too.

Maybe you should focus on some therapy just for yourself. Insecurity is a deep problem that usually started early in our lives. You're wise to not bring up your jealousy to your wife. It stinks the way she has lied, but you can't control her behavior.

Bottom Line: Develop more strength in yourself, and then you will be less needy, so that you can leave her if she doesn't take good care of your marriage.

 Dear Doc:
My daughter is only 6, but acts like a spoiled teenager. She has never had to wait too long until the next gift from grandma or whoever, but was still sweet and could at least muster up a 'thank you'. Now, she pushes me out of the dressing room and acts like we owe her something. She likes to talk 'valley girl' style and has no older siblings or cousins to emulate. We have cut off all disney channel shows and just need advice on how to get our sweet little girl back!

Cut off all of the spoiling from the outside. Only reinforce desireable behaviors. It will be hell for awhile, but then she will return to kindergarten decency.

Bottom Line: Usually we are the problem, not the child. Tough love is hard, but it's almost always best. It's time for her to go to kiddie bootcamp!

 Dear Doc:
I don't know how to forgive my parents. I've been to therapy, it helped greatly, I realize distance makes our relationship better. However, I don't feel any love for them. Maybe I feel guilty? The reason I don't even respect them anymore is because they are so selfish. When I talk to them on the phone, all they talk about is themselves, when I talk, it's like they are incapable of listening. My parents have money and a lot of assets. They wouldn't help me pay for college, and because they have a lot of money, I was not elligible for that much financial aid. They constantly doubted me and told me I don't deserve a good education (I ended up graduating with honors from one of the best schools in my profession which requires not only brains but also god given talent) I had to work through school, I was so poor, I could hardly eat, I could never go out. At graduation, they left early because my father was miserable (I think he was jealous becuase he never applied himself...he made all his money buying real estate, but never had a career in the traditional sense of the term) I just hate calling them, I dread the thought of their old age because i'm sure they will hold my inheritance over my head on a string. (My mother's family did this to each other) It's sickening really, people think they are so nice, but I see the way they really are. I think i'm in a marriage now that I really don't want to be in, but got into out of being so poor! When i'm around them, they feel like strangers and people that for some reason I ended up with in life that I owe time to. It's actually boring to be around them becuase they just go on and on about themselves and have no interest in me unless I tell them of my accomplishments so they can go brag to their friends to make them look good. My father is really controlling with money and my mother is bipolar. My brother doesn't ever call and most of his friends don't know I exist. In many ways, i'm the black sheep of the family, but also the one that has it together more than them becuase I have been able to step back, get help and get away. I'm just sad still, but I know I can't change them.

It sounds like you've learned a lot. Now learn to let go of them. Don't try to forgive them. They are messed up, and too sick to be aware of it. It only makes sense to forgive those who see the error of their ways, and ask to be forgiven. As it is said, we can pick our friends, but we can't pick our family. You may need to divorce yourself from all their dysfunction, and go out and build a new and better world with people who you choose to view as family.

Bottom Line: Leave your marriage if it's a mistake. Continue to build your own life, so that you continue to not be controlled by their money. If you don't let them have any power over you, then you are truly free indeed... and there is nothing more beautiful and satisfying than that.

 Dear Doc:
I got married at the ripe old age of 19 to my ex-husband. we had a good marriage for the most part, but his drinking got to me. the marriage ended because I found out he had cheated on me, so I wanted a divorce. I moved back home and went to college. During that time, I met someone... Brad..who I am married to now....and we had briefly broken up the fall of 2001. I contacted my ex-husband and we had plans to meet again. (he lives about 6 hours from me. ) I never went because Brad and I got back together and have since married- 3 yrs next month. I was having marriage problems and the first person i thought of was Calvin. I called him last fall and we talked for a few months. I t was so strange. we were on the same page in life!! both had our degrees, ready for a family...etc. I would say we were on the same page not in the same book, though. He felt the same for me as I did for him. We had plans to get back together... this time forever. We didn't . I thought i better work on my marriage again. Now I am at my wits end, and it has almost been another yr. what do I do? I offered counseling to my husband and he thinks it;s a joke. I went to counseling last fall and my "shrink" had told me that i was looking for every reason to leave and go south.

You can't relive the past. Time to go forward.

Bottom Line: If you really want to leave your current marriage, stand up and do it, without any promises from the past.

 Dear Doc:
My problem is that I can't seem to let go of my husband. He thinks that i had an affair w/my boss. i didn't. he was coming on to me really bad and I didnt tell my husband. it had been going on for about 2.5 years. he knows now but thinks that most of what i'm saying is not true. he had an affair with his sister's best friend of 28 years. My sister in law knew about the affair. He didnt stop talking to her. he said that they never had sex but did kiss and it wasnt right. he says that it was more of a friendship so it was like an emotional affair. we have went through me moving out, him moving out, me moving back in because of legal issues that arouse when I approached his lover. after that i tried to leave again and couldnt make it so i had to come back. i was sick emotionally. i had lost about 23 pounds. so now i'm back and we are still "sleeping" in the same bed and stuff like that. he says he loves me but cant live with me because i nag all the time and we argue a lot. i have no trust for anyone really. he says he's not seeing or talking to her and he wants to prove it but is still wanting a seperation and possibly a divorce and after we heal he says that if its ok then he will marry me again. he says that hes celebrating my birthday with me and its going to be a blast (surpise) and he promised. he knows if he promises- well you shouldnt make a promise you dont intend to keep. then i think about wedding vows. my problem is that i cant except it and i am scared and non trusting and his affair stays in the front of my brain daily. i am in counseling but i dont know where i'm going. help me with suggestions.

Move on as a single.

Bottom Line: There's too much baggage and pain. It is weighing you both down, and won't let go of you. There's a better life out there for both of you as singles.

 Dear Doc:
I am a compulsive gambler, married for 20 years. Gambled once, lost lots of money and my husband bailed me out, went to counseling a few times, joined GA, but thought I could control it. Of course that didn't work, so I gambled more and got in trouble again financially. This time he filed for divorce so I don't ruin him. What he wants is a relationship with me, but has pretty much washed his hands of my gambling problem. My heart is broken, and I feel like he only wants the good part of what we have, but not the problems. I say it's a package deal and want him to be there with me to work through this huge problem. Am I expecting too much? Everytime I see him I feel like he loves me and he cares about me, just not enough, then I want to go gambling. What do you suggest I do?

You are expecting too much. Love doesn't conquer all. Never has, never will.

Bottom Line: Continue to deal with your problems on an individual basis. See a therapist on an ongoing basis, and don't blame anyone else for your problem.

 Dear Doc:
I am a gay male that has been involved with the same male for almost 18 years. I love him very much but he no longer wants anything to do with me. I found out he has had many affairs and recently became infected with the hiv virus. I was tested and my results came back negative, how do I get over this person. I sometimes feel I can't exist without him.

Thank god that you're clean. He's treated you like garbage. Move on already.

Bottom Line: Look honestly into yourself, and discover why you have put up with his junk. It's a weakness in your own character. Once you fix that, you can not only exist without him, you can thrive as never before!

 Dear Doc:
Have been in a realtionship for five years, moved out 2 months ago. We have become best friends over the years, and i really care for him. From the start he has been hot and cold He loves me, then he changes his mind, wants space, we have worked together, took care of him when he was sick, payed rent/food goes on and on been there for him when no one else wanted anything to do w/him, also dealt w/his off and on pot addiction. My stupidity...been his best friend through it all, and the sex has always been awsome, always constant, frequent, chemistry has always been there. I use to model when younger am considered by others as very attractive, always keeping fit...Two monts ago he started w/his space issues, and needed more variety of women w/me joining in! I have always been open w/sex,but never a swinger type, I would go to strip clubs w/him try and experience as much as two people together can experience sexually. he wants to feel that excitement you feel when you first meet someone. He still cmes around for the so called booty calls,few times a week. He told he needs a taller women w/a bigger ass! sounds ridiculous. He thinks I'm beautiful has great sex w/me and he considers me his best friend! I know what I need to do, I just need to hear it!!! Can a man & woman in this situation stay friends, or will it just continue to a painful situation? Help! its hard and I love him..we both have a hard time letting go, but i know he has his own agenda...

Definitely one unhealthy relationship.

Bottom Line: If health and sanity is what you want, then move on is what you must do.

 Dear Doc:
I need to find the courage to leave my husband. I'm in a so-so marriage. I'm an artist and work from home, If I left, my life would change drastically. I get along with people, but I think because i'm myself more than most people, I have a hard time working with others. If I left, I would have to move to another city, I also know that my family would not help me in any way shape or form. I think i'm staying because i'm afraid of being alone, even though i'm a person who like spending time alone.

Do you remember that famous line from Shawshank Redemption? "Fear can hold you prisoner, but hope can set you free!"

Bottom Line: To change for the better can mean letting go of all of the bad, as well as the comfortable. In the long run, you will rebuild with much more good and much less bad. Without a doubt, it will be worth it!

 Dear Doc:
I am in a relationship where I often feel dissatisfied with many things. For example, I mind my boyfriends behaviour, lazyness, lack of ambition etc. On the other hand, when I decide to leave him I change my mind over night. After quarrel, I tend to forget all the reasons that drove me to the decision. What is it that makes me change my mind - is it my own insecurity or could it be love? Btw, we are both young enough (28) to find something more fulfilling.

I would bet on insecurity.

Bottom Line: Don't waste your time on this one. Move on. You deserve better, and it's out there for you!

 Dear Doc:
I've been married for 4 years and my husband doesn't know how to let me feel sick or sad. He's always trying to fix me. I had food poisoning and I felt like I was bothering him that it was interrupting his plans, I threw up in our hallway getting out of the elevator and he wouldn't help me. If i'm sad because when I have a bad day, and get upset, he trys to stop me from feeling sad, he ends up just calling me crazy and yelling at me. What is going on? Why is he so unloving?

It sounds like he is operating out of his own sickness. For some reason, probably based in his past, he can't handle your emotions. He can't be supportive of you because his own dysfunction has him too twisted to be able to see past himself, toward your needs.

Bottom Line: If you haven't already, tell him how this makes you feel. See if he will go to a therapist with you. If he can't admit his own neurosis, take care of yourself regardless.

 Dear Doc:
I got into a car accident yesterday and although i'm ok, my neck hurts. My father-in-law is a doctor and told me that I could just put ice on my neck and take Advil. I'm upset though because my husband is like a baby when he is not feeling well or is hurt, but when i'm hurt or sick it's like he doesn't want to be inconvenienced. I just get a bad feeling from him sometimes. I even question what he would be like to me someday if I were pregnant. I have so many doubts and then some days i'm so happy. I keep questioning my intuition and judgement and that is what scares me the most.

More than anything else, trust your intuition.

Bottom Line: Keep your eyes on this guy. He sounds like he may be a sheep in wolf's clothing.

 Dear Doc:
As a father, and divorced man, my daughter disrespects me , i try to tell her i love her and she won't respond. Her mother is very disrespectful to me. I lost my temper on the phone with my daughter because she was giving me such a bad disrespectful attitude. How can I make ammends. Or should I just ignore the situation.

Just let it go.

Bottom Line: Continue to be a decent man and a good father. Over time, she will grow up, and hopefully come to appreciate you.

 Dear Doc:
i was molested as a little girl. a year ago i was raped. i have severe panic attacks and want to feel better. How do i do this. i can't even think straight.

You can't do it alone. Get professional help asap. You may also need to take some medicine for awhile.

Bottom Line: It will be very very challenging, but you CAN conquer your traumatic past.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I have been married for almost 12 years. His best friend in the world passed away on Christmas Day 2005. I find that sometimes he will get in a mood to listen to certain cd's and he starts getting all depressed and wishing he had his "buddy" back. My husband had a huge problem w/ drinking rum. (his drink of choice) He would not "mix" a drink, but rather drink it straight followed by my son's juice out of the fridge. We would always get into fights and they would get very nasty, although never physical. After his friend passed away, he promised me he would quit the drinking. He has and it has now been about 5 months. When we gather w/ friends, he will have the occasional beer, but his "shot drinking" has discontinued. However, my husband smokes pot daily. More than once daily. I would say he smokes it about 6 times through his pinch hitter per day. I thought that after the drinking that our marriage would get better....but it hasn't. He constantly tells me that I don't do anything for him and that I have no consideration for him and that I take advantage of all situations. He tells me I am pathetic. We have a son who is 5 and we both love him dearly. I just wonder if the pot is not effecting his thinking/behavior. Sometimes he says things that aren't true and he truely believes what he says. It's amazing that I can hold down a full-time job and he complains that the house is not spotless. I don't think he truely understands just exactly ALL that I do. I am responsible for taking our son to school/daycare. I do the dishes and the laundry, clean the bathrooms, grocery shopping, all the things that have to be done to live normally. BUT it's not spotless. My husband is a wonderful cook, so he does the majority of the cooking when he is home. When we fight he throws that in my face that the only time we get a decent meal is when he cooks. When I do cook, he is always coming in and "messing" with what I do. My husband would sleep until 10 or 11am every morning if he could. He works a physical job and not to mention that he is constantly on the road on business. If I ask him to help me with anything it's a fight, or I'll get to it later. I find that he has no motivation of any kind and every time I say that something needs done, his response is "my plate is full, add it to my list" Him and his dad work together. They own their own business and the money isn't bad. We live comfortably. Not rich, we don't want for things. He does not get along w/ his dad, you can't talk to him. I think this is also eating on him as his dad promised him 4 yrs ago that eventually he would find a way for us to buy the business off of him. That has not materialized and because of my husbands hard work he does at least 50% of the business. My husband has a lot of good traits, but I am at my ropes end. We don't seem to get along anymore, he is constantly complaining and saying that I don't do anything and that everything is my fault. That's another thing, EVERYTHING is my fault. I don't know what to do. There are a lot of factors that I feel are playing into this unhappiness. He is so aggitated all the time and gets so upset at the "small" things in life. He seems angry all the time. He also threw in my face last night of the time I went out of town and I met a guy.(was not in the plan, but nonetheless met him @ a club) I never acted on it, but he thinks that more happened. This also was about 10 years ago *surprise* when we weren't getting along. I have never cheated on my husband and I believe that he has been faithful. I think he is depressed. He also complains of our sex life. I would be more apt to be interested if I wasn't always feeling like I do. How can I be attracted and feel attracted to him in the middle of all this mess? Please tell me what you think. I am not perfect and no one is and I know you are just getting my side of the story, but please respond. Sincerely, Too young to be unhappy.

Undoubtedly his pot is not helping your marriage. Your marriage is in bad shape, which unfortunately isn't uncommon at your stage of marriage. Go to see a therapist. He probably won't go with you, but invite him anyway. He is depressed, and no doubt has long-term issues with his dad and family, that won't be resolved without the help of a professional.

Bottom Line: If things still don't get better, you'd better move on with your life in a new and healthier direction.

 Dear Doc:
My husband is always saying cutely "clumbsy wife" as if it's a pet name. Sure, i'm clumbsy sometimes, but we all have our faults. After September 11th, I lost several jobs due to economy, but I recently started my own company and am doing very well. My husband keeps reminding me of my lost jobs and says "you can't even keep a job" as if he wants me to feel bad about myself! I hate him for this. I'm working so hard, doing a fantastic job and it's as though he doesn't want me to do well. He usually doesn't like to know what i'm working on or thinking about, it's all about him. I recently received some recognition for the work that i'm doing, and suddenly, he is interested and telling me how to proceed!!! Always saying, "make sure you do this" or "check your spelling". There is also a subtle tone from him that says, "don't think you are anything special". People love him, they think he is so amazing, but I see him as a child. He is always causing problems and drags arguments out for hours. He treats me like a child often, he talks down to me and always has to make his point. He requires that I sit down while he finishes telling me things...there is no room for interuption. He's very controling. I think he is actually a wimpy guy who is kind of spoiled, though he works really hard, I think deep down, he just wants everything handed to him. It's like he is Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde. I'm in my early 30's, I know i'm pretty and have a bright future ahead of me. Why am I putting up with this crap!

The great news is that you've figured out that he treats you like crap, and that you are not going to put up with it any more!

Bottom Line: Go, go, go away from him as fast as you can. You deserve WAY better, and it's out there just waiting for you, if you will be brave enough to cut your ties with your dysfunctional past!

 Dear Doc:
im 15 years old and i have been uncontrollably copying people, and when i try to stop i cant. i have to concentrate really hard to not copy the things i see, and when i stop concentrating i find myself copying someone again. do i have a dissease, a dissorder, or a problem whats wrong with me?

It sounds like obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Bottom Line: Get yourself to a therapist for some help. Your problem can be conquered.

 Dear Doc:
I've been married for 9 years and in the last four of these years my husband has not shown any interest in me sexually. He will make excuse after excuse not to be intimate but yet he will masterbate regularily so it's not like he has no sexual urges.He swears up and down he has no interest in anyone else which I find very hard to believe because whenever we are out together he is always checking out the young girls who bare there belly buttons. He has no consideration for how that makes me feel,which I might add makes me feel just terrible. When I first tried talking to him about this he would get angry and walk away ignoring all I had to say. After so many attempts at trying to comunicate with him did I tell him I was leaving and only then did he show some interest in what I was saying but nothing changed even though he promised he would stop treating me like I was invisable. He has the nerve to say to me " I don't know why you feel I am trying to hurt you" After four years of total rejection anyone in thier right mind would feel the way I do. I do everything for this man and I ask for very little other than for him to show me some affection.I take care of myself and look young for my age so I'm even more baffled at why he does this.His male friends always comment to him about how lucky he is to have a nice looking wife yet he can't see it.He has my pictures on his desk at work and shows them to his co-workers all the time and when we go out he tries to show me off to his male friends and smothers me with attention until we are alone then it's back to checking out all the other women.I am so confused. I do know he has low self esteem and I think he uses me to boost himself up around his male friends. Not a day goes by that I don't feel sick inside and I have thoughts of running as far away from him as possible.I resent him very much and I am finding it hard to feel any love for him. Why would a man do this to the person he claims to love? When you love someone you don't conitnually do the same hurtful things over and over knowing that you are hurting them.I can't see things changing and I am tired of always being the one to try to make things right even though I'm not sure what I need to make right because he tells me everything is fine.What is he trying to do to me?

That he doesn't deserve you? That you should leave him because you deserve better?

Bottom Line: Maybe you should take him up on that message, and move on to a better life of which you are more deserving!

 Dear Doc:
My 13 year old daughter is extremely jelous of her two older sisters, 21 & 18, especially the 18 year old. She also has a short temper and explodes very easy. She has already hurt herself and has broken a wall when in one of her fury attacks. How do I deal with this?

Therapy for her, and maybe the whole family, might be in order.

Bottom Line: The teen years can be some of life's toughest, but biological and psychological issues can make things even tougher.

 Dear Doc:
I have been divorced since March 2003. I m a 40 yo(was married for 15, actually 17 years before it was all said and done.) I have had a couple flings. Nothing fulfilling or trustworthy, just warm bodies. I still feel so lost. Kind of worthless and so very alone. I definitely thought, that my ex was the person that I would grow old with. The time that has elapsed since our life together ended seems so empty.(wasted, uninspired time) Is there love after love rips your heart out? What makes life seem like it is worth living?

There is definitely more love to be found in the world. It is usually good people that make life worth living.

Bottom Line: You may want to get some professional help for your depression.

 Dear Doc:
I do not know what to do. I have been dating my boyfriend for 8 years. He was my best friend too. I was getting a divorce from my first husband, and I turned to my friend(our minister) for support. After I was divorced and he was we began a relationship. He promised me that he would not let me be with another addict. He was told doing brief therapy that the drugs and alcohol he was using and going to meeting for was his secondary addiction. Sex being the first. Well he promised me marriage, that he would be with me to the end, holding my hand when I die. The face I would see first thing in the morning, and the face I would see the last thing at night. About three years ago I started to see porn on his computer, then other things that I saw and I spoke with him each time. He admitted to me the difficulty and told me the truth of what had been going on. Now he wants to work his program for 6 months, and then go to a therapist to see if we can live together in marriage, and he cried and said he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. Its been weeks and when I do speak to him at church, or painting classes he is cold one min. then calls me to say good night. I believe he has been cheating on me, however I am living in a divided world right now. I see both sides, and all I want is the chance to know the truth. Why if he is having an affair which I truly believe he is, does he want to keep me hanging. I asked him if the 6 months when we are not in a romatic relationship if this is was a bunch of crap. (Not in those words exactly)A veiled promise, he said I cried in your arms what do I need to prove to you that I want to be with you. I have been in therapy for the last 3 years, went to coda groups, took courses on addictions. So here you have an abused woman from birth to an 18 year marriage, and now my 8 year relationship I am so very confused. He promised me that he would never hurt me, he would tell me the truth and we would always be together. I have been in prayer for him for 3 years, and for myself. Sunday he is coming over to talk, he told me he would go to his office in harrisburg because he had an 8:30 meeting with staff, he has to get the night staff and the day staff togther and that is the best time, and told me he was going to stay there because he did not want to drive the 45 min. in the am, and he could get things done. I ask him where he was sleeping, he told me a couch in his office. There is no couch in his office. At this point I just want the truth. I am an incest suvivor, been through 10 years of various therapy, and I taught a class for women. I would not have gotten involved with him, but I trusted him, and gave him my heart and soul. I don't want to disbelieve, and I don't want to belive in a man (clergy) who's motive is more deception. What should I do to get him to speak with me, or what am I to do to find out the truth. This has been painful and I suffer from PTSD and when the sex addiction behaviors come up, I started to have very bad PTSD episodes. I was in the hospital for 5 days several weeks ago because all my emotions just slammed me. Not just him but car that broke down, illness, allegic reaction to spider bite, I get injections in my skull for nerve damage, financial issues, all this in one week and I lost it. I also lost the prescription coverage of my insurance, and I didn't have my meds for 4 days. I knew if I went in to the hospital I could get at least 2 weeks of meds. hoping to find drug companies that I could recieve free or low cost medication. So you see it was a tough week, however his coldness and concern and behaviors sent me over the top. Dr. J and Mr. H. What should I do, I only want the truth.

Move on. Eight years is more than enough.

Bottom Line: We often hold on too long, thinking the tiger will change his stripes. Ain't gonna happen.

 Dear Doc:
been married 42 years and husband always tells me i am not a wife. he says i am supposed to do everything he says. our marriage did not start out like this. we were partners until i went through menopause and he started drinking a lot. he also says a wife is supposed to put on something sexy(like victoria's secret) and always be ready for her husband. every night i am told how bad i am because i do not act like a wife. last night he told me if he said frog, i was supposed to jump.

How about you tell this guy to find a new home!

Bottom Line: He sounds insecure and totally insensitive, which is the opposite of what you need in your life.

 Dear Doc:
what is the clinical term or diagnosis for a person who talks to himself out loud on a consistant basis over a period of years? I am asking because I have a brother who is 35 now and he has been doing this since he was about 13 or 14 years old. Over the years he has gotten worse. He seems to have very little ability to control this behavior. I am very uncomfortable around him and I realize that something went very wrong in his life. I believe he is sick and needs help,but even though I have told him so, and other family members have urged him to get help he refuses to admitt that there is something wrong. He will not get help,and our parents have enabled him to live in this state of denial for years by allowing him to live with them,feed cloth,and shelter him. He has never left home and lived on his own,ever,and he has not worked in years. He did not finish high school,and I cannot get him to face the fact that he has to get help because our parents are in ill health and one day they will no longer be able to shelter him and allow him to continue denying that he is sick. He is going to end up homeless. I don't know what to do. I will be so greatfull for any advice. I believe this is a crisis and he needs intervention and assessement.

How about you tell this guy to find a new home!

Bottom Line: He sounds insecure and totally insensitive, which is the opposite of what you need in your life.

 Dear Doc:
I always knew my husdband of 5 years looked at internet porn occassionly which is okay. Lately I've been checking how often, It's EVERY time my son and myself leave the house. It has made me feel very insecure about myself. I confronted him about it. He laughed the whole conversation, said I have phycological issues, and put a blocker on the computer so I can't get on and check. Being a rape victim as a teenager and have had eating disorders I am amazed that he laughs at my feelings about this. About the blocker on the computer he says "what I don't know won't hurt me" Any advise please.

How about you tell this guy to find a new home!

Bottom Line: He sounds insecure and totally insensitive, which is the opposite of what you need in your life.

 Dear Doc:
My niece was dating a boy and her mom and dad just thought the world of him. Well, my niece decided she did not like the boy anymore and her mom is actually "punishing her" for breaking up with him. Help! Lost in my world of love,

That is terrible indeed. Unfortunately, I assume you have no power in this situation, other than to be supportive of your niece's decision.

Bottom Line: Nothing is harder than being powerless in a situation where it seems so obvious that we can do a better job.

 Dear Doc:
My ex husband was extremely abusive for years to me. Both mentally and physically. and I have been divorced from him 4 years. Neither one of us has remarried, yet there are times where I find myself wanting him back in my life. Why do I still cry and feel the need to want him back, when he was so dustructful to our marriage, and to my own soul.? I cant seem to stop loving him. I have been in extreme counseling with other women that have been through the same situation, which has really helped me realize that I am a person with dreams and goals too..Yet there are still moments when I cry and want him back? Lost in my world of love,

Hopefully your therapy group helps you see your sick side, which allows you to consider being with someone who is unhealthy and dangerous. You're probably crying over the loss of your dream of how your love-life might have been.

Bottom Line: Give it up. Move on. Not all men are sick. Be healthy, and you will attract health.

 Dear Doc:
My oldest son is 24 and for the past 6 months has decided that he wants to disown me after a fight we had. He was living with me and my youngest son, not able to get a job for a long time and not helping around the house. I wasn't able to find steady work struggling to make ends meet. When he got a job and had money, was reluctant to help out. He has had an anger problem for several years and we have had arguements escalate before where I fear his actions. I told him finally to leave when he spit in my face and told me I wasn't his mother anymore. Since then I have tried to talk to him a couple of times, the last was a couple of months ago. He told me that he did not see any point to trying to work anything out or try to make an effort for us to have any contact, that there is no reason to. With today being Mothers Day, I am extremely hurt. I can't imagine anyone, especially my son being so cold hearted to treat someone this way and certainly didn't raise him to be like this. His father and I have been divorced for 12 years. I have never received any moral support by his father in raising our sons and have always had deep concerns that they would grow up thinking they could treat women the same as their Dad did with me, since he showed his real side through our breakup. My youngest son is not at all like this and has been a great sense of support to me during this period. My son has done things in the past that has been almost as hurtful. When he came around I always had open arms but want to break this cycle for good, for him to know that I can't deal with this behavior any more. I'm concerned as to how to handle if and when he decides to let go of what he's holding on to. I don't want to reject him but I don't want him to think he can go on treating me this way when he gets mad.

Stick to your guns, and don't allow him to be around if his behavior is unacceptable. He probably has more of his father's genetics than you'd like to admit.

Bottom Line: You can't change him. Protect yourself. If life won't educate him for the better, at least you will have made yourself safe.

 Dear Doc:
My 17 year old son is becoming a habitual liar ... I don't know why - he lies all the time not just when he is in trouble ... I think sometimes he even believes his lies - I want to talk to him about the dangers of lieing and I need some inspirational thoughts - I really want to make him look in the mirror, realize what he is doing, and become honest with himself. Help....

Let's hope he's not a pathologial liar. That's someone who can't stop themselves, even if their lieing is hurtful to them. Also, teens sometimes do irrationally crazy things, just because they can, in the name of rebellion. This almost always passes as a result of negative consequences.

Bottom Line: At 17 we cannot make our kids do much of anything. You can tell him of your concerns, and warn him of the consequences of his behavior, but he will have to learn from the school of hard knocks that lieing doesn't pay in the long run.

 Dear Doc:

He had better get some serious help asap, or you had better leave. Unfortunately, he probably won't want to get help. If he'll go, go with him.

Bottom Line: Learn from your dysfunctional past, and set up strong healthy boundaries. If they are violated, you have to separate, for your sanity and safety.

 Dear Doc:
We have been married for 5 years and together for 10. Last year I realized he was cheating on me and I confronted him on numerous occassions to end it with this other woman if he loved me so much. We finally at the end of the year I decided I was not going to go into this year living my life like I did last year, IN DENIAL! Well I called her and confronted her and him. He denined at first and then admitted to the affair. It had been going on longer than I even thought. It had been going on for two years. Then he decided he needed to figure out what he wanted. I was in agreement so finally after 4 months of trying to figure things out I moved out. I thought this would give him time and myself some time to think about things. Well come to find out he is still lying to me about her. He just went to visit her and told me he was on a work trip. I called him and his phone was off of course. So I feel like we are back to square one again. Why can't I just let go and divorce this man. I want to trust him and believe he is really trying to figure things out, but why continue to lie to me. Just tell me the truth and let hit hurt. It would hurt a lot less than me finding out he is lying to me again! I don't know what to do. Should I just cut the strings and divorce him or continue to let him try to decide what he wants? IT has been 6 months now, I think he should have something figured out by now. He can't still sleep with me and her too.

Denial is a river in Egypt, that you will only drown in. Put your feet on dry land and get the hell out of Dodge asap!

Bottom Line: If he wants you, he will come get you after you've left. However, you may well be better off without ever having this type of man in your life ever again.

 Dear Doc:
I am a 30yr old working, single mom, with a 10 year old. I'm starting to feel like my son is going through alot. He's not interested in any sports, and he seems to have a low self esteem and low confidence. My boyfriend of 5 years lives with us as well. He's not experienced in raising kids, but him having been a boy at one point in his life, I talk to him about these things. My boyfriend likes to assure me that it's just a "growing Boy" thing and there's really nothing to worry about. It makes me feel better to hear that, but there's still that uncertainty of whether or not I had something to do with the way he is now. My son has always been the happy kid in the bunch. He has lots of close cousins and he falls in the middle-age catagory. He gets along with all the kids, and he's very helpful with the little ones. It's only been recently that this attitude really started coming out. Tell me, should I really be worried about this "new" personality my son has developed or should I just wait and see if it passes??

This sounds pretty normal. He's a little young for puberty, but boys go through significant mood changes as they develop. There's no doubt that insecurities can be a part of that package.

Bottom Line: I would ride this one out. Because adolescence is so challenging, it may get worse before it gets better, but that doesn't mean he is abnormal.

 Dear Doc:
I am 41 and my wife is 26 and we have been in our marriage for 3 years and one day she decided to walk out and get her a apartment and decide that she did not want to be married anymore. I thought that we really enjoyed each other and we got along very well, that is until the month leading up to our seperation. I was there while she got her first degree supporting her in every way i could but as time went by and we decided that i needed to go back and finish getting my degree things started to go down hill. we decided that i should quit one of my jobs to finish quicker and that meant that she had to pay more bills and it seemed as time went on she got tired of it and that is when things started to change. She started hanging out with her friends more and coming home when she got ready. I also went out with my friends. Things really went astray. We both admitted that we both had affairs and i told her i could forgive her and try and move past this but she did not want to stop, so i turned myself over to god and right know he brought me through a lot of hard times but i find myself missing her and wanting to tell her that i love her and want try and rekindle our marriage but i dont want to be rejected again. Can you give some advice on this hole situation.

You've got a big problem for sure. If she doesn't want to be with you, there is little that you can do. Your efforts may be too little too late.

Bottom Line: Be the best person you can be. If she doesn't come around, move on to something better.

 Dear Doc:
I am 52 and am in a super relationship for the past 8 mths. he is 56. We have known each other for 4 years. Our sex life is fabulos. However, we make love twice a day and that is not moderate yet we are both extreemly happy and very much in love. We also lead full lives and enjoy both our families.We are thinking "marriage. Do you think 2xs a day is not healthy considering our ages?

Most people would die to have your problem. It is said to be good for your physical health, and should also help your mental health.

Bottom Line: As the newness wears off, your frequency should subside. Enjoy it while it lasts!

 Dear Doc:
I believe my daughter is a sociopath and I would loke to know if there is a treatment. She has 3 children and they are being affected my her moods and actions, as well as the rest of her family. Please let me know if there is any hope for her.

If she refuses help, there is very little hope.

Bottom Line: This is one of the toughest types of problems to deal with, and typically ruins the lives of other family members.

 Dear Doc:
A few months ago I found out my husband has been looking at porn. We talked about it and I understand why he does it. But recently I found pictures of my sister's face superimposed on female porn stars' bodies. I was furious and we had it out. He swore it was a one time thing and it would never happen again. A couple of weeks ago I found a half naked picture of my sister in with his porn magazines. I know he didn't take the picture because I know where it came from. I am devastated. WE talked about it and I said I forgave him but I can't stop thinking about it. I don't know what to do; we've been married 10 years and have kids. I love him but I hate the way I feel. What is your advice?

You would do well to go and talk with a professional.

Bottom Line: And he should go with you. This problem is probably larger than you'd like to admit.

 Dear Doc:

This can be one of the toughest things to overcome, but it can be done. This is a very common occurance in marriage, so fortunately there are sources of help.

Bottom Line: Read some of the many books on the subject, join a support group, or spend some time in therapy, and you will make progress.

 Dear Doc:
I have this out of control desire to look at porn on the internet. Much of my job is sitting at the computer. And since I work for myself, there's really no one to stop me. Through out the day I may look at naked women several times. There are so many sites and there is one that I go to often that directs me to a huge amount of pictures. It seems like there are naked women doing crazy things everywhere. Today is not the first time that my has caught me looking at porn in my office. It hurts her and I feel like a total bastard about it. I feel like I'm addicted to looking at it. I don't seem to have the same sexual relationship with my wife. We rarely have sex anymore. I feel a lot of issues and this is one of them. I mean the shame of looking at porn and hurting my wife's feelings. I know it seems like a simple thing to stop doing and that's what I keep telling myself. And some how I will go for a few days and end right back at the same free porn sites. Often it's not because I want to masterbate right then and there but just because I want to look at it. I know many other married men are out there looking at it too. What are some of your thoughts on this.

It often is an addiction. You may need to join a 12-step program for this type of problem. The most typical is called Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. Any AA group can help you locate the local meetings. Another option would be to find a therapist to help you with your problem. What would not be healthy is for you to deny the problem, keep it to yourself, and try to conquer it by yourself. Obviously that hasn't worked so far, so there's no reason to think it will be working today or tomorrow.

Bottom Line: Sex is a good part of our lives. But like everything else, it is healthiest when it is enjoyed in moderation and with the right people.

 Dear Doc:
I am 38 and my husband is 37 we have been married 10 months and have not had sex since our honeymoon. He has diabetes and takes medication. Earlier on the doctors said his testostornne was low but then a month later they said it was normal again. The one time we have tried he could not keep an erection. he has been given viagra and now has a perscription for livetra which he has not had filled. The only physical contact between us is iniated by myself. He says he is working on the problem . What can I do to help.

So was sex good before the marriage?? This doesn't sound good. This is a shared problem, not just his.

Bottom Line: Ask him to go to therapy, and join him as needed.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend and I have been dating for a little over a year. I feel like he has some emotional issues. Shortly after we started dating, he told me that he had an inappropriate sexual contact with his half sister when he was 15 and she was 3, his parents found out and he went to counseling but he felt it was never resolved. He was told by his mother that there was suspicion that he was molested by a neighbor boy but he has no real recollection of the incidence. Of course, this alarmed me. He also has real issues with letting go of the past and until recently, he was still talking to his ex girlfriends on the internet and saying inappropriate things. After talking to him about it, he told me that hearing there responses made him feel good about himself. He was basically doing it to seek attention/compliments from them. I told him, it was her or me. He stopped talking to her but feels very bad about "letting her down" What do i do????? I'm very confused. He is very loving and gives very much to my life but these things concern me.

Do not proceed with him if he is not willing to enjoy therapy for a long time.

Bottom Line: These problems have to be taken seriously and addressed now, or they will come back to haunt the relationship until they crush it.

 Dear Doc:
i have a six year old little boy who is having a lot of problems in school. we are working on his behavior but i cant help but feel that the schools with zero tolerance is also partially to blame . it sets a negative atmosphere in my opinion. i teach my kids that they are responsable for their actions but everyone makes mistakes thats how we learn . he no longer wants to go to school because he knows he is going to get in trouble. im trying to teach him to behave but he is hyper and we are in the process of trying to get him help and the school knows this. i dont want him on meds if at all possible and thy know this . i prefer diet and counseling for right now because he is so young. i guess what i'm saying is i feel the school is trying to force a form of treatment to meake their lives easier even at the cost of my son and they are going to keep punishing him until i do what thet want. he got sent home today for hitting a girl he says he patted her on the shoulder to get her attention. its always something like that. thank you for luistening

You are probably powerless at the school.

Bottom Line: It looks like it's time to find a new school, that has a more creative apporach.

 Dear Doc:
My husband has a bad temper. He yells at me, (swears, screams, etc) in front of our 3 year old daughter. He says that it is my fault that he yells at me. For instance, this morning he woke up our daughter by shouting, "Wake Up!" I couldn't believe my ears. I thought to myself, what a horrible way to wake your own child. When he was alone again, I told him in a calm and empathetic way, "How would you like it if I woke you up like that? You would have been so angry and upset with me. No one wants to be yelled at like that." He proceeded to lose his temper. He screamed, "What the hell is wrong with you? Why do you have to fu#*ing repremand me about how I deal with our daughter. I am so fu*!ing sick and tired of you repremanding me. I left my mom's house for a reason, I don't need you to be my mother. What the Fu@k is wrong with you?" I walked away and begged him not to yell in front of our daughter, that I did not yell at him. He unleashes this type of behavior toward me whenever I disagree with him about how he treats our daughter. I know this will scar our child if he keeps yelling like this in front of her. He thinks that he has every right to behave this way. What should I do?

You are with a very troubled person.

Bottom Line: You need to consider moving on without him, because the chances of him changing are slim and none.

 Dear Doc:
my so called boyfiend David Lies, Cheats and is heartless, He has no respect for a persons feelings,We started seeing each other a year ago, He convinced everyone he had a heart and kept persueing me,All my friends convinced me he was a good man, Yeah for about 3 months then the old David resurfaced, He begsn working in Miami where he started seeing Maria a latino woman, Funny he doesn't like latino, He brang her to Panama city to live in his home, A few weeks later he started coming back to me, She went back to Miami He said they were finished, We had a big fight on a wendesday he went back and brang her here again, Next day he was back at my house, Needless to say he has hurt both of us, Devestated is more like it, He has a sense of no feelings very cold hearted what is his problem? He actually thought he could have sev with both of us without her finding out,

So the answer is plain to see, right??

Bottom Line: If you don't walk away from someone like this, you'll be stuck in a bad life for years to come.

 Dear Doc:
My girlfriend of 1.5 years has just told me she has herpes. Hid it from me all this time. First of all I love her, but can I get over the deceite and trust her again? Should I even try? Should we seperate for a while to see if I really want to stay with her? Second, I do not have herpes, and dont know if I want to get it. Knowing there are ways to have safe sex, but I have a strong chance of contracting.

Why would you want to hang out with someone who consistently lied to you for 18 months? Getting away from her for awhile sounds darn sensible.

Bottom Line: Your life would be a lot simpler if you developed a relationship with someone where you didn't have to worry about contracting a life-time illness every day.

 Dear Doc:
i was in a loveless marriage of 18 years had an affair left my wife for the other women. i have a child 11 years old from my first marriage i am now divorced, my child refuses to sleep over or accept my new wife and new life,my new wife wanted dearly to have a relationship with my son from the begining but he wouldnt and i wouldnt force him. now ten months later i want to try to introduce him to my wife whom he has met but there were always call backs from my ex wife about not treating him right or being over protective, every time he would come over there were problems, he has never slept here and refuses to. now my wife doesnt want to have a relationship with him because it has been so long , i usually see him alone twice a week and take him for supper. i love my wife very much and she loves me too but wont give in to this what do i do ? just continuing seeing him alone or try to convince my wife she can have a relationship with him too . she has two girls 12 that live with us most of the time but they do sleep at there dads, but mine just comes over and i return him home to his moms.i just want all of us to get along and be like a family but my wife says it is too late and to long that i have waited to push my son to come here.

It looks like it may be too little too late. Continue seeing him. Give him a choice. Hopefully, if yours is a good place for him, he will choose to be with you over the long haul.

Bottom Line: Try redefining your family in a new way. The old way isn't doing you or your family any favors.

 Dear Doc:
I was separated from my husband for 3 years. We now have decided to get back together. He has many issues that relate to sexual abuse that occured when he was a child. I've gone through alot of counseling and have decided to give him another chance. I do love him. He loves me. Will this reunion last?

Probably not. As the song says: "what's love got to do with it?" Feelings of love are relatively easy, compared to dealing with our inner demons of abuse. If he hasn't been in therapy as long as you, you're asking for trouble.

Bottom Line: If your therapy is good, it has taught you to have healthy boundaries, and to not be with someone who isn't dedicating their own life to getting themself back together.

 Dear Doc:
My exwife want to reconcile and have a relationship at this present time. She has apologized to me and has explained that the break up was not my fault. We have two girls, one three the other five who I love dearly by did not have a consistant father to daughter relationship over the last two to three years because of constraint of visitaion and me just believing that things were my fault. At one time I thought about reconciliation, but thought that becoming friends would be best first. We did spend time with each other to get a feel for what was different. Because of the friend comment by me, things have changed a bit. I can speak to the girls by phone, but not really get to see them. I probably have seen them more in the last 4 months, than in the last 2 years. She does have issues with me along with the friend comment. I feel weary and uneasy around her. She has said that she loves me, but has not said she is in love with me. I have questions because she has got better with attitude but I don't trust her intensions.

Sounds like you had better proceed with caution. Hopefully, she won't use your children as a pawn to get to you. If she does, that's a sure sign that you shouldn't go back. There's no reason why you can't be great friends while both focusing on the welfare of your children. Some couples get along better when there isn't a marriage to muddy the waters.

Bottom Line: It's important for you to try to understand what she really wants. Does she want to be with you because of love, or does she want your financial backing, etc.

 Dear Doc:
I am in love with a married man..... I know the obvious solution to the situation but I've never felt this way about someone before....what do I do?

Part of the answer probably rests on what he will do. If he is going to stay married, then you have to decide if you want to be a mistress, and if that is enough for you.

Bottom Line: It's complicated when love doesn't arrive in a neat package. Even if this one dies, maybe you have learned some things that will lead you to greater love down the road.

 Dear Doc:
I am a long distant non custodial mom of a almost 15 yr old daughter...who doesn't want to come for visitation anymore...that tells me it's her choice...she can make her own decisions now. She also has a father that is loving this...meaning he places no value or importance on her having a relationship with me. My heart is broke, and I don't know what to do anymore. Being 10 hrs away...I can't make her get on the plane...and dad sure won't...his attitude is...she doesn't want to come...and I'm not going to force her to.

Regardless of whether dad is good or evil, she is usually correct. At her age a judge will allow her to make her own decision. Keep loving her, and being a great parent. It may take years, but some day she will realize how much you care, and will then draw closer to you than she's ever been.

Bottom Line: If dad is the dark side, she will figure that out also, over the long haul.

 Dear Doc:
I am confronted with a situation that is perplexing me. I am a male homosexual and I have a married man flirting and paying a great deal of attention to me. I have not provoked the man to do so. Now, his wife, who was in the past a pretty good friend, is treating me cold, vendictive and distant for no reason what do I do in this case. I'm about to be come angry with her since I have done nothing to be treated badly.

Speak to both of them directly at the same time, and tell them that he is the problem, not you. If she wants to be angry with anyone, it should be him.

Bottom Line: If that doesn't work, then they weren't very good friends in the first place, and you should move on without them.

 Dear Doc:
me and my girlfriend were goin out for about a year and all of a sudden she broke it off. i asked her why and at first she just sat there and dodn't answer. then she said she just doesn't want a boyfriend right now. she said i was a great bf and always nice and didn't do anything wrong and she loved me very much. and 2 days before she did it we were fine and everything was normal. and after we broke up she still kissed me a few times and acted like we were goin out. i just don't know why she would do this all of a sudden and without like a good reason. any suggestions? and what should i do now? thank you.

There's almost always a reason, and it's usually because she has met someone else. It sounds like she doesn't want to hurt you, so she's only telling you half of what's going on.

Bottom Line: Regardless, don't waste your energy fighting for someone who wants to run the other way. Think well of yourself, and that you deserve better. Go forward to meet new and better people.

 Dear Doc:
I would like to put the past behind (my old relationship) but ghosts keep coming back - as this is a closed community. I keep running into his family, friends... I don't want to move or run away, but seems that I can't embrace my current life or keep positive about future. I always question past and decisions I made. I moved on, but I noticed I am much sadder and less sure about my self since break-up (one and a half years ago). How to be positive about future?

For your own well-being, you may have to move up and out.

Bottom Line: However, if you feel you made a mistake by breaking up, put your pride aside, and go rekindle the relationship.

 Dear Doc:
My fifteen year old son is dating a sixteen yr.old girl. She is manipulating and controlling. She threatens to break off with him if he sees his boy friends. After being on the phone for an hour if we tell him to get off the phone she threatens to break off with him if he hangs up. These are just a couple of examples of her behaviour. He thinks he won't get another girl friend if he breaks off with her. They are having sex and we feel this is what is keeping him with her. It is not healthy for him. She is diminishing his self esteem. This has been going on for a year and we are at our wits end. Please give us some suggestions on how to open his eyes to her behaviour.

Unfortunately, 15 year old boys rarely listen to their parents! I remember thinking, at 15, that my parents were the most clueless and ignorant people on the planet. It surely sounds like this is bad for him. All you can do is warn him... and then get out of the way while he probably only learns from the school of hard knocks any way.

Bottom Line: When he falls, the good news is that you will be there to catch him!

 Dear Doc:
my boyfriends family hates me!! It breaks my heart because I love him very much and I know I will never be accepted into his family.. I do not want to let them control my relationship by making me feel ousted and thus should be without. My boyfriend does not want us to part ways.. He wants to be with me also. and has told his family ... but they want him to "break free".... The reason for their viewpoint is my boyfriend made the mistake of going over to his family and telling them about a fight we had.. He was in pain and wanted to vent... Well.. now I am the bad guy.. He tries to explain that it takes two to tango.. but they dont want to listen.. They just want me out of his life.. We are in our 30's we are not children. but he is close to his family.. I feel in the future this will be hard to deal with because Holidays I wont be invited over.. and if i am.. I will feel soo uncomfortable.. whats the point in going?? Please help me with this.. we love eachother and want eachother.. but why do I feel so hurt and betrayed by his family.. all I wanted was to be a part.. and Im so far apart now... thanks for advice...

This doesn't look good. Typically it's up to him to commit to you, and let his family make their choice. Do not force him to do this. It has to be his choice.

Bottom Line: But if he can't choose you within a reasonable period of time, you'd better move on, because otherwise you are just walking into an ongoing hell.

 Dear Doc:
My brother was recently involved in a fatal car accident. He was the driver of a car that hit another car and killed one of the occupants. My brother was drinking and was over the legal limit, but it appears that the other car pulled out in front of my brother. My brother feels a deep sense of guilt, and recently went and saw a therapist. This therapist told my brother that he was at fault, that he would be felon, and probably would not get a job in his chosen field (teaching) and would end up only being able to get a low income, low skill job. This just further depressed my brother. Is this a proper therapy technique? I thought that therapists, psycologists, and psychiatrists were supposed to be non-judgemental. Please let me know.

First of all, does she want your help? Is so, then find her a competent marriage counselor asap.

Bottom Line: Success is not likely for this couple, because it sounds like he made his decision long ago (consciously or subconsciously) to choose his sons over her.

 Dear Doc:
My best friend is married to a man that has three older sons from a previous marriage. They are rebelling against this and now the couple are seperated. This has gone on for three years now. They have been married ten years. How can I help my friend? Neither want a divorce. He is torn between his sons and wife.

First of all, does she want your help? Is so, then find her a competent marriage counselor asap.

Bottom Line: Success is not likely for this couple, because it sounds like he made his decision long ago (consciously or subconsciously) to choose his sons over her.

 Dear Doc:
I'm in the process of getting a devorce and seeking advise on the process of filing for one. I've been married for about 8+ years and separated for about 2 years now. I feel it's time to legalize this devorce. My ex-wife does not work at this moment. She is about to graduate from college within this year. We have two wonderful boys ages 3 and 8. I have the kids on the weekends due to my work hours and she has them during the weekdays. We both agree that we don't need anything from each other, it's pretty much what she has is hers and what i have is mine. We are not looking to get at each others throats and make it ugly. At this moment im paying for my kids schooling and we both agre as soon as she graduates she'll be paying half of the expenses. In the near future she is planning to move. My question is, what is my rights in regards to custody or visitation rights since im at work during the weekdays. Will she get full custody of my kids? Basically im clueless on my rights as a father filling for a devorce. Your reply would really help.

This is, of course, a truly huge question and can apply to physical, sexual, emotional abuse, etc. However, yours is an important question, because people often don't know that a person has been abused, or think that they should just be "over it" by now. In truth, abuse usually leave scars that last a lifetime, and affect every move the person makes, following the abuse. It usually takes many years of hard work in therapy to right their emotional ship.

Bottom Line: In a word, when an individual's personal boundaries are violated, they are knocked off their emotional center, and choose (consciously or subconsciously) unhealthy ways to try to stabilize themselves. This can lead to dozens of unhealthy lifestyle choices.

 Dear Doc:
how can child abuse lead to physical, mental, emotional scars?

This is, of course, a truly huge question and can apply to physical, sexual, emotional abuse, etc. However, yours is an important question, because people often don't know that a person has been abused, or think that they should just be "over it" by now. In truth, abuse usually leave scars that last a lifetime, and affect every move the person makes, following the abuse. It usually takes many years of hard work in therapy to right their emotional ship.

Bottom Line: In a word, when an individual's personal boundaries are violated, they are knocked off their emotional center, and choose (consciously or subconsciously) unhealthy ways to try to stabilize themselves. This can lead to dozens of unhealthy lifestyle choices.

 Dear Doc:
Is it true that a child will have more mental problems with a gay parent then a straight parent?

No. There are plenty of emotionally balanced people who had a gay parent. Just as there are plenty of emotionally unbalanced people who had a straight parent.

Bottom Line: Being balanced has more to do with the quality of parenting you receive, rather than whether your parent is gay or straight.

 Dear Doc:
I'm 27, and was involved with a guy for 10 months 3-4 years ago. I was very much in love, and felt a deep connection with him. While I was preparing move away for more college (uncertain about our future, but not wanting to break up), he was unable to cope emotionally and revealed he'd been hiding a cocaine addiction. He also changed suddenly and became rageful/abusive towards me. In the end, I left without saying good-bye/completely cutting off any possibility of communication because I was afraid for my safety. Over the years, I have been to therapy, dated other men, and have processed a *lot* of my experience. I am definitely in a better place than 3 ys. ago. I have tried really hard to do all the "right" things. The problem is, as I've looked deeper inside myself, I still love him. No one I've met since has come close to that intimacy/connection I felt with him. In spite of myself, I'm not sure my heart is capable of falling in love again/being open to someone new until I have some closure. When I left, I was still in love and in a state of disbelief because he had so suddenly changed. I needed to leave before seeing enough to know deep down it was over. Also, the area I was living in was very dear to my heart; a lot of good friends, the first/only place I really blossomed/found myself. So my love for him could be tied up in my overall wonderful experience in that area. When I left him, I felt like he *had* taken my life, because I had to leave this idyllic life behind (because of him, not freely). Even though I've been away, part of me has still been "living there." I very much want to move back to that area, and find my closure. I need to see to believe that a) he's messed up, forget it, I finally know there's no hope (a friendship is OK), or b)he's truly regretful, been to rehab, there's hope or c)?. If I move back, confront my fears and feel a sense of reclaiming my life, my heart would be much more open to the possibility new love. Yet, I very much would love to see him in a better place, having worked through his baggage, and have the 2 of us at least be able to reconnect/understand the person better. But I know this may not be the case. Because of the depth of our connection and his threatening me for leaving, I was afraid that the "monster" I saw in him would become more permanent after leaving and he'd be in *really* bad shape. It's tough to feel partially responsible for the potential self-destruction of someone you love. Do I make sense? Am I nuts? Over the years, well-meaning friends (who haven't met him) have been very concerned I'd go back to him. They've been very emphatic about safety/relationship concerns (and I was afraid also/followed teh advice), but my quality of life has been miserable without the closure/loss of my home. I don't want to live miserably anymore, I need to return to that area. But how do I handle my feelings for him, while reclaiming my sense of safety?

You need to go back, so that you can write the last chapter of the book.

Bottom Line: You are much more empowered now. Cover your bases with family and friends, and you will no doubt answer your questions while finding a greater sense of strength and safety.

 Dear Doc:
I have been married for 26 years, there have been two instances in which my husband has become friends with other women he says that they are just friend. it hurt our marriage. He desires attetion of other women I cannot understand this. The women that he has become friends with are very worldly women and I found out later that a friend of mine set him up with these women he and i did not know this. He says he loves talking with other women Please Help!

Sorry to say it, but you had better get use to it not changing. I'm assuming that after 26 years he's not working on changing it.

Bottom Line: If you can't accept how it is, you either have to walk away, or discover a way that changes in you will reduce his interest in others. However, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for your changes to change him.

 Dear Doc:
I'm in a new relationship and living with a man that has already asked me to marry him after six months. He's addicted to looking at porn sites and has a fetish about big breast. However, he doesn't touch me and we hardly have sex. He seems to have a some issues from his child hood that I know he's supressiing He was physically and emotionally abused as a child. I know this is a lot, but how can I get him more focused on me? He's a great guy, very devoted, funny and we get along great, but there's just nothing there intimately. Help?

Don't you dare say yes to marriage!! You are suffering from what is sometimes referred to as "stink'n think'n." That is, you are irrationally holding on to the impossible. This guy has huge issues that would probably take years of therapy to repair. He will never be able to focus on you until he works through his own issues (which I'm guessing he is unwilling to do).

Bottom Line: Without intimacy, this relationship is dead in the water. The truth may hurt, but it can also set you free over the long haul.

 Dear Doc:
I am a 40 year old divorced woman. Over three years ago I started a new relationship and decided to move in with him. It was a little rocky in the beginning. I began to notice little things. He would get jelous easily. Didn't like me to wear certain cloths when he wasn't with me. I found him to be a perfectionist therefore I started to change my behaviour. For instance always making sure that I would complete a task correctly by asking him if this is the way he wants it done. Could be cooking, right down to finding a space in a parking lot. Things always would escalate if we were to go out. Especially if drinking was involved. He would accuse me of acting like a tramp. A couple of times he told me to get out of his house.(in no polite terms.) This made me feel more and more insecure. His attitude even spilled over into my favouite sport. He is quite accomplished at it and would try to instruct me. I was actually quite good at it also. I found the more he tried to "make me better at it" the worse I got. My confidence has been completely taken away from me. He critisized everything that I did and would humiliate me in front of other people. Yelling and swearing at me. I would break down and tell him that his behaviour was unexceptable. He would just shrug it of and tell me that I wasn't tough enough or I didn't have a competitive bone in my body. Oh I forgot to tell you he has quite the temper. Although you probable deduced that on your own. It all came to a head last summer. We were at a function and he was drinking saw something he didn't like and started acting like a jerk. I had had it by this time and said that was it. He left the party we were at without me knowing. I stayed for a while longer and then came home. I did not go near him and laid down on the couch to sleep. He had been waiting for me and came into the room and grabed me by the neck. After it was all over he was the one looking like he had taken on the wrong girl. I realized that his anger and resentment was changing who I was I had never been physical with anyone in my life. I stayed for a while longer. You see there is always a wonderful honeymoon period after. Unfortunely that ends and things start over again. Only this time was concerned for my physical well being. I decided to move out. I made it very difficult for me to be able to move back and I am still have me own place. Although I have told you all the bad things about this man there were many things that I do love about him that is why I am here writing this letter. He has promised to make changes in his behaviour and I have seen some of them. We still get into little things but nothing like before. Bottom Line he wants me to move back in. I can not see this happening any time soon. When I think about it all those old fears come back. To top off everything my desire for him has fallen off and he defines a lot of the relationship with physical intimacy. just don't feel the same way. I find myself just not wanting to give into him. Although I enjoy spending time with him. Cuddling etc. I don't understand why I just don't let go, but I still love spending time with him. We can do many things together without problems. I guess I am just looking for a little insight from somebody else. What do you think? What questions do I have to ask myself to make sure that I make the correct decision to go back or to end it.

You can almost guarantee that the relationship will go to hell again if you move in with him.
Bottom Line: This is a very unhealthy relationship. But if you want it to continue, your only real chance is to maintain your independence by living on your own.

 Dear Doc:
Okay. Here is this sad crazy story. Met a younger guy (six years) and dated, he had two kids from a previous marriage and I have one. Long story short - his kids came to live with us one month after we got married because his ex-wife went to jail, he had not seen his kids in five years (they are six and eight), he is constantly angry with the kids, me, and life itself! He yells, slams doors, has long spells of silence, says hurtful things, hates everything, negative is his middle name, never speaks to me about problems only talks to his "best-friend" mother, (another long subject), can be good but turns bad, and this is just a brief discription. By the way the eldest child is mentally disabled from birth - he is very distructive. Mom says she wants to have the kids back after her short vacation, but who knows! My life has been turned up side down by these issues, I think of leaving all of the time, but something makes me stay. Oh just to add a little more drama, we now have a newborn. I really do not want another divorce, but I don't know if I can help this man with his emotional issues. And going to a therapist is out of the question - his "best friend" told him all of his life that people are nosey and so are doctors! He is hurtful with his mouth and hates everybody!!!!

Move out without divorcing him. If you didn't have a baby, you should be going away, and never looking back.

Bottom Line: Establish your independence, and try to take the relationship back to where it was before all the kids came over.

 Dear Doc:
I'm 33 yrs old and have been married for little over 13 yrs. We have two daughters who are very good natured (one is eight,the other is about to turn 13). I have been trying to find out online what I can do and where I need to start. My life seems to be such a jumbled mess and has been getting worse for about the past three-four yrs. You see my husband and I have had problems for a majority of our marriage. We dated for about seven months before we were married and things were great during that time and continued to be great for the first year into our marriage. After that we've for sure had our share of ups and downs. Family and friends tell us that all marriages go through those, its normal. Now, my family life before I met my husband was a bit on the screwed up side. But I guess I hid it very well. I had decided that my parents were not going to ruin my life, so I kept a very good attitude about things and people and life itself. I was very happy with who I was and the way I was. Even through the troubles that my husband and I have had, I had continued to stay positive. I could see and feel things about me changing in some areas of my life and knew it had to do with the troubles in my marriage. But all in all I still had a pretty good attitude and was still hopeful. Now in these past four-five yrs I've seen a big change in my attitude and my whole outlook on life, the way I handle things. Now I feel hopeless most of the time, I am very negative, I'm moody,no patience anymore, and I have a bit of a temper. Just to name a few. I guess my attitude started to change really bad when I started to feel hopeless about the marriage. You see, my husband stopped doing anything with us (Me or the kids). He rarely wants to go anywhere or do anything. Once in a blue moon,we will actually go somewhere. We hardly ever do have the money to do big things or be extravagant in what we do. But he says its hard to do things when we dont have the money (Family time and togetherness does not cost). I think that is in part an excuse. Usually the most he pays attention to the kids is when they have made a bad grade in school, or he's getting on to them for something like playing loudly, being in front of the t.v. etc. And the most attention I usually get is when he wants sex or hes hungry, etc. He works Mon.-Thurs.(ten hr days) and he goes to work and comes home and doesn't move from the couch watching t.v. or playing his ps2 or from the chair in front of the computer. Fri.-Sun he's off work and these two locations (couch and chair) is where he will be. And about the only sounds from him will be the kids in trouble, he's hungry, thirsty, or talking to himself or the games. unless the kids are in bed then he wants sex, and gets mad if he doesnt get it. I've tried to talk to him about these issues and many more that we have but I didnt cover. But I never get anywhere, because he seems to think that everything is ok and the problems we do have is normal. I still love him, but I can tell my feelings are changing toward him along with my attitude. And I can see that our daughters attitudes are changing. Can you give me any advice about the situation and how do I change my now negative attitude back to being positive again? I know that one is responsible for their own actions and attitude and such. But I have found it very difficult to not become bitter and angry. And I find myself blaming him for this attitude I have, because of his always complaining and yelling and gripping when something is not so-so or his t.v. or pc time is interupted. I feel more like we're just roommates or something. And I've been thinking alot lately if the kids and I wouldn't be better off if I just told him thats its over. Please help with any advice you can give. I really want my marriage to work but I can't do it alone and i'm just feeling really exhausted. Physically and mentally drained and stressed out all the time. Thank you so much for your time to read my very long story and in answering me back. It is greatly appreciated.

Unfortunately you belong to that popular yet undesireable club... the miserably married. Because of so many years of a bad relationship, you are now worn down. What you have gone through should never be regarded as normal and acceptable.

Bottom Line: It's time for you to get healthier, and relish the days ahead of you. You may need to leave with your kids. At least tell him that is your plan. If that won't cause him to participate in change with you, then walk out and never look back.

 Dear Doc:
I have been diagnosed with depression and given medication in the past. I think the meds definately helped but I have never been comfortable with therapy. I have seen 6 or 7 different therapists and feel they don't do a thing. Is it possible to be prescribed meds without the pain of therapy?

Usually yes. You need a physician to prescribe your meds, but it doesn't have to be a psychiatrist. If your regular doctor will fill your prescriptions, you should be good to go. You may need to go in once or twice a year to keep your doc up to speed on how you're doing.

Bottom Line: There are some psychiatrists who will only prescribe, with semi-annual visits. Most like it if you are seeing at least a non-md at the same time, but others will allow you to come to them just for meds.

 Dear Doc:
hi my mom is 38 and I`m 14! she hits me and tell me I`m a big mistake in her life and she hates me! she hits me in my face and tell a Lie to my dad every night and now he hates me aswell! ever sins my grandma moved in she is like the new child and that is when it all stared what can I do please help?

Go to your school, or the police, and tell them your story.

Bottom Line: They may remove you from your home, or they may require that the family be monitored while the family is required to go into therapy.

 Dear Doc:
To the individual who was diagnosed with a Brain tumor; you may want to refer them to a Brain Injury Association. They can assist with referring to support group and/or a mentor who has gone thru what they are experiencing right now. I work for an Association in MN and run a mentoring program that deals with similar questions all the time. Thank you Doc for All you do.

Thanks to YOU for helping!

Bottom Line: Working together, we can all do a lot of good in our world.

 Dear Doc:
Iwas diagnosed with a low-grade astrocytoma (brain tumor) about 13 yrs ago. I have not worked since then because of seizures. I do not have seizures all the time but altogether I have had 9 brain surgeries. I guess my question is that I come from a family of six children, and although I have never looked for attention from them I have never gotten it as well. I have been remarried now for seven years and I am the baby(so called) of the family. My family pretty much treats me with very little respect and beings that I try not to stir up trouble, I say nothing, but it hurts me deeply. Even now they will comment to me about not having a job, and how little I do with my life. I have two girls from a previous marriage that live with us full time and two step children from my marriage now. Please tell me how I can stop the comments when my sisters say things to me. I really so not talk to my brothers that much. Why can't they understand what I've been thru?

You cannot stop their comments. Maybe your family is very screwed up, and you have to accept that you are powerless to make them act more healthily.

Bottom Line: If it continues to bother you, and they won't change even after you've told them your feelings, move on without them. You can pick your friends, but not your family, so leave whomever is sick behind, and spend your life only with those from whom you receive suport.

 Dear Doc:
My husband doesn't want to do anything with me outside of our bedroom but he always has something to do with his friends and then braggs about the places he goes and the people and girls he meets there is even a young trap who live around the corner from our house that my kids seen stop in front of my house and waved to my husband and they said he was smiling and waved back then lied to me about. what do I do because I do love him we have been together going on 15 years and we have four kids.

It sounds like you are being treated like a second-class citizen. You are being taken advantage of, so you need to stand up for your rights. Even if you love someone, it is foolish to let them walk all over you. This type of mistreater doesn't deserve your love, and your children will be messed up if they grow up around a chauvanistic dad.

Bottom Line: Get family and friends behind you, and then tell him that things are going to change, and that you won't tolerate his male-dominant treatment. If he won't change, you have to be brave enough to move out (otherwise there is no CHANCE for change).

 Dear Doc:
my parents are trying to prevent me from moving out and I am 19, can they do that?

As far as I have heard, every person is an adult at 18, and can do as they wish.

Bottom Line: Consult an attorney, then exercise your rights!

 Dear Doc:
I broke up with my boyfriend a couple of years ago because something about the relationship made me uncomfortable, as he always seemed very angry and blamed others for all his problems. However, he never stopped calling for about two years and told me that he loved me and really cared about me. So, I started dating him again about a year ago. It has been terrible and it got worse and worse. He started calling me and ranting and blaming me for why he has been sick (he ruined his sinus cavities, I think from drugs he used in law school) and when I tried to speak in reply, he would hang up the phone. On several occasions, the ranting and the hanging up happened late at night for a few hours. I distanced myself from him and refused to see him when he was in these states of mind, however, I was worried as well so I answered the phone. Lately, he had been asking me to "help" him by getting him groceries (he missed several days of work) and he always buys a ton of motorcycle parts on ebay and wanted me to come over there to help him carry them up the stairs to his apartment. I am just feeling really sick. On Valentine's Day, he called to say he decided he did not like me after all, that we just did not get along, and would I like to go to dinner so he could explain why!! I did not go and said not to call, but he's STILL called several times and emailed me. He works three doors down at work and I got emails at work and was upset by them so I mentioned it to my boss. They already talked to him once because he came in my office saying the "f" word really loud when I did not immediately answer one of his emails once. I think he lied to them about me or something because all they did was talk to him and tell him to stop. Also, he lives 7/10 of a mile from me and used to come over unannounced. He also would call and be very rageful if I was vacuuming, etc. and did not pick up the phone. Any advice on how to escape from this? I've set up an appointment with a counselor but in the meantime am struggling to understand why he did all this. Also, he promised for 7 months to see a counselor and he lied because he did not do it (excuses). When all the craziness wasn't happening, I talked to him quite a bit and confided in him (he was quite charming and smart) so I'm also very sad about this.

Your safety is probably at risk. This sounds like a very troubled individual, who could physically harm you. File a complaint with the police today! Create a public record of his harrassment. Do not befriend him. Say "no," and stick to your guns!

Bottom Line: Get a restraining order asap, and never look back! If need be, move away, and don't let him know where you are going.

 Dear Doc:
I have been in a relationship with a man for 3yrs. He is 36 and I am 45. I met him on a website. We decieded to be in a monogamous relationship after a year. Only, we still keep his webpage (stating single) and frequents it often. In the past year he has setup two more pages that I have stumbled across. What concerns me is this. I found a webpage that with he setup (and I have proof its his) with a picture of his penis. On this site abuse of the site, such as offensive images can be reported. I reported the page and it was shut down. Too my surprise he altered the name a little setup another page. This is the fourth time. Each time I report it, he setups one up. On this site, people can send you 'notes' or comments about the page. Is this some type of sexual addiction? I have sent him notes tellng him that I know its him but he doesnt reply. I have tried to talk about his time spent online (hours) giving that unattached guy image. Know I find that I am the addict. I find myself watching him. Can you offer any suggestions?

This sure doesn't sound like a monogamous relationship. His mistress is his website, and yes, this smells like addictive behavior.

Bottom Line: The healthiest thing would be for you to move on to something better, with someone who might actually be honest!

 Dear Doc:
I'm 27 and currently in a 1 year relationship with a very kind guy that I find very attractive. I feel that a time is coming when I would really like to settle down and have kids. However, I am not sure if he is the right guy. He is not professionally accomplished and sometimes leaves jobs to just not do anything. He sometimes get into his lazy and depressed moods. And he is only 29 - how will he be when he's 35? He wants to help around the house, but I am not sure if I could rely on him as provider of the family. What should I do?

It sounds like you may need to move on from him. Tell him everything you've said here, and see if it makes any real difference in the next three months.

Bottom Line: If things don't significantly change by then, they probably won't ever change much. If so, pack your bags.

 Dear Doc:
I am a nurse ..I am 57 years old. my boy friend is 53 he is and accomplised musician. He also has a great job in electreonics with alot of responsiblity. I recently discovered he is using cocaine .. it seems every 2 - 3 days as he buys it using his atm and I see the recepts for the same amts... his whole personlity has changed and he lies to me I have found it in his wallet and pockets I have been with him for 5 years and my anziety has increased .. but never expected this not sure waht to say to him as he has occationally lost it with me he has never done that before he was always calm and and when do I approch him What do I say I want him to get help. concerned J

Lovingly confront him, in the presence of others that make you feel safe. Challenge him on his addiction, and tell him you will be with him if he seriously attacks his problem.

Bottom Line: Odds are that he won't, so be ready to leave. If he does change, then you have helped both of you.

 Dear Doc:
I'm a single mom of 2 teens, a son who is 15 & a daughter who is 13. We lived with my parents up until my son turned 5, then moved out on our own, still within the same town. Five years later I took a new job out of state and I relocated my children and myself from Ct to PA. My mom has been sick for over 10 yrs now, and the doctors have not been able to put a name to her condition. We are now being told by the doctors that there is nothing they can do. My Family & I have discussed what is best to do for my mom and we have decided to bring her home and hire a nurse to help us take care of her and we have also decided to sign the DNR. I have been running up to CT for the past 2 weekends, and plan to do so every weekend until the time comes that she is relieved of her pain & suffering. The first weekend I took my kids up with me, the 2nd weekend the kids told me they just could not see her in the hospital, so I let them stay home in PA and a friend kept an eye on them. Of course the 2nd weekend was when the doctor told us that we had to make some decisions as to what we wanted to do because there was no cure and she was not doing so great. I came home Sunday night and tried to discuss this with them, but they were not ready to talk. On Monday night I sat down with my kids and explained to them what we had decided to do. They took it pretty well, they cried, which was expected and we touch base on what is going on daily. My daughter seems to be dealing with this a lot better than my son, she's reaching out to her friends and has even talked with her science teacher about it. She's hurting, but she's talking about her hurt and still trying to keep up with her normal daily routine. My son on the other hand is not handling this very well, he's fighting and refusing to go to school, he's not sleeping right and is very angry. I know this sounds pretty normal on how some people deal with a loss of a loved one, but I'm concerned. I am getting ready to go back up to CT tomorrow, and have told both children that they should go with me. My daughter says she'll think about it, she's not sure & my son just out right refuses, and tells me if I make him go he'll just leave the house so I can't find him to make him go. I don't know what the right thing is to do for him. Do I force him to go, or do I let him stay home under the watchful eye of a friend? What else can you advise to help me help my children deal with their grieving? Any advise would be greatly appreciated as I am doing my best dealing with all of this myself.

Do not force him to go. This is an awful lot for a 13 year old male to take in. Give him time to adjust to this tough reality in his own time. Don't bring it up in discussions with him. For now, a little denial may protect him from an unbearable reality.

Bottom Line: Continue to provide a warm and inviting environment for him, and when he is ready he will start to talk about it, and process his feelings. The funeral in itself will be a huge experience for him to have to go through.

 Dear Doc:
My teenage son is hurting, due to his grandmother being terminally ill and doctor's have told us there is nothing they can do for her. He is having a difficult time dealing with all of this and the end has not even arrived. Is there anything you can suggest to help me, help him get through this all?

Hopefully you are close. If so, keep him talking, so he can get his feelings out. If grandmother can still communicate, and she is a balanced person, maybe she can speak with him too, about this terribly difficult yet inevitable stage in the cycle of life. For some, a personal faith is very comforting during these times. You could also offer to take him to a therapist, but that may not be his choice.

Bottom Line: It's a healthy sign that he can show his emotion, and his compassion for his grandmother. There are also books on the market targeted for teens, on this subject, that you might want to expose him to.

 Dear Doc:
I have spent the last 12 years with the same man. We have 3 awesome kids, a 4 1/2 year old, a 2 1/2 year old and a 14 year old (his from a previous relationship). He works 2 1/2 hours away and commutes daily. I am a stay at home mom/wife. I do a great job with the house and raising the children, however my husband and I are a different story. He has continued to gain weight (he was a 34 waist when we got together now he is a 42/44). He suffers from high blood pressure, some type of depression, and now type 2 diabetes. I am barely attracted to him and rarely do we have sex. He has now threatened to leave me because I don't sleep with him. He feels that after all this time we shouldn't need to work on things and we should be having all kinds of sex. Any suggestions?

He' crazy if he thinks that good sex comes about without working on the rest of the relationship. That sounds more like prostitution. His poor care for himself probably suggests significant psychological issues within him. You may need to call his bluff regarding leaving. Maybe if he left, and came to appreciate all you bring to the relationship, he would start to repair himself (which would in turn help repair your love life).

Bottom Line: The absolute worst thing would be for you to roll over and fold to his demands. You must be strong, and true to your own feelings. There are a lot of "miserably marrieds" out there in the world---don't let yourself settle for that!

 Dear Doc:
i have been together with my bf for a yr and a half and i love him no questions asked and he loves me to but i am a christian and he is not and he has decided to convert for me but i think he is doin it for the wrong reasons as he is doing it specifically for me also i think our relationship has become more physical as we have stopped talking as we used to and i want to go back to the beginning where we used to talk all night how do i do this?

It's pretty hard to go backwards. Discuss it with him, and see if that works. But the talking phase usually comes before the intimacy stage. After intimacy you surely can talk a lot, but without intimacy also being a part of the equation, things may become awkward.

Bottom Line: It sounds like you are doubting the entire relationship, and want it to go back in time. Given that that probably can't happen, this relationship may not last.

 Dear Doc:
my day starts with waking up my 2 step daughters 14yrs. and 8 yrs., my 9yr. old son and the baby 2yrs. old. we all hurry around to get ready for school and work. while my husband lie's in the bed a sleep. I drive each of them to school/ daycare making 3 different stops before 8:00am. i work 9 hours day then pick each of thhem up from school. we walk in the door of our home and i cook clean etc. my husband doen't help me

Did you sign up for this prison sentence? I hope not! I'm assuming that you've told him this is unfair, and that he needs to pull his half of the load.

Bottom Line: If my assumption is correct, and he will not change, then it is time to keep the kids and lose the husband!

 Dear Doc:
why does a man cheat no matter how hard a woman tries to satisfy him?

The bigger question is why a woman would stay with such a jerk?

Bottom Line: Women deserve better, and should run like the wind from any man who doesn't make them number one in their lives!

 Dear Doc:
how can i cope with the lonliness of a recent divorce?

Surely it can be a huge problem. The good news is that others have survived, and made it to a great life after divorce. Over half of the marriages fail, so there are LOTS of other divorced people out there to learn from!

Bottom Line: Get out. Don't stay home. Don't sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Get involved in activities where you can laugh, and meet interesting new people!

 Dear Doc:
have an x g/f who I broke up with 3 years ago. Six weeks later I contacted her by email and wanted to work things out and she had already moved in with a guy she had met on the internet and had moved 500 miles away from her 16 y/o daughter and her other adult children to be with him even. He is abusive but has not hit her in the laqst 3 years but has done things like threaten to shoot himself if she leaves and pull the phone out of the wall and more ... she has left twice to womens shelters and several times to her moms and a week ago cmae ehre even to stay saying she needed to be further aways and still had feelings for me shich is hte hook she has used on me for the last 3 years to keep me talking to her nad such ... anyhow she left after 4 days saying i am just like him and she needed to go home and he is really not abusive just depressed and he is going to counciling this time for real ...I talked to ehr social worker to give her th eheads up as she helped get her on a plane to here 2,000 miles away and she was like "oh my god" hearing she is making excuses again of heim not being abusive ... well I would not put her on a plane back to him but to her moms but a week later she just went back to him anyhows and of course she does not want him to know anything about me bieng ionvolved and all but she seems to always realize it is all his bs and manipulations agin some weeks later and the abuse cycle starts again and gets to the event stage and she has some clairity and I hear from her about how she loves me not him nad just is misserable and all again ...I am really thinking I need to cut her out of my life as I have done what I could for 3 years and she has laid the guilt of me being at fualt for breaking up with her or she would not have goten involved with him but this time she was here and she told me she was leaving there for real and good but hse ran back in less than a week blaming me for not being understanding enough nad talking about him while it was her who right away was reading his emails a day after here and all and feeling guilt for leaving her owner as she is the one who takes care of him or hse does not even shower ... sheesh ... anyhows I feel she will contact me agian in a month or so sayuing how seh is misserable and really loves me still na wnats a life with me but still just can not do it and break free of him .... I am thinking enough is enogyuh and it is way past time to cut her out of my life and change my numbers and not allow her to use me any longer ?

Change your phone number, run the other way, and never look back!

Bottom Line: This woman makes fruitcake look like it's low on nuts!!

 Dear Doc:
i need some advice on how to make my relationship alot better,u see i'm sufferring from depression and anxiety and sometimes it's kind of hard to deal with it on my own and he just don't understand... and i think he is cheating on me!please tell me what to do!

Go to a mental health doctor asap. Talking and medicine can help.

Bottom Line: Might be smart to dump him and move on to something better!

 Dear Doc:
I am being treatened with abuse by my husband we have gone to counciling for this my councelr suspects sexual abuse is going on with my daugter . I am affraid somehting is going to happen if i don't leave . i live in kansas and want to go to my family in california with my daughter can i do this leagaly the file for divorce when i get there.

You had better catch the first train out of town. While you're at it, get a restraining order.

Bottom Line: The first goal is the safety of you and your daughter. You can work out the divorce proceedings once you are safe in California.

 Dear Doc:
our business failed just before christmas and my wife of 23 years told me that she did not love me anymore. She has been going to the gym for a few years now and a "freind" from work joined recently as well,well the bottom line is he and her started to fool around. we talked about it and she has agreed that it was not the thing to do she was feeling vunerable and she fell i have forgiven her but i think that she hasn't forgiven her self.She seems to be carrying a lot of anger. she also tells me that she dosn't want to have sex or cuddle anymore because it might cause her "Pshycological dammage" what is that??? i dont get it she says that she is committed to fixing our marriage but yet she dosnt feel close to me........i have tried flowers dinners etc giving her space etc but now i am scared because i am finding my selk starting to with draw emotionally and that scares me! i find it hard not to hear her say i love you anymore

It sounds like it is time for you to go it on your own.

Bottom Line: Excuses get old fast. Focus on his performance. If he doesn't deliver, then he is dead weight that you don't need.

 Dear Doc:
i want to know if i should stay in a marriage where husband has been unemployed for 2 years i am tired of paying everything by myself he said his felony conviction prevents him from getting or keeping employment help

It sounds like it is time for you to go it on your own.

Bottom Line: Excuses get old fast. Focus on his performance. If he doesn't deliver, then he is dead weight that you don't need.

 Dear Doc:
i am 29 year old hindu girl and i love a muslim boy who is 7 years younger than me,he is earning well ,doing his MBA.i am a divorcee girl and im working and earning.we both love each other very much and have a good understanding and compatibility with each other.but my parents want me to get married in coming one year and that boy says he will marry me after 3 or 4 years after setteld his job properly and also he has one younger sister to get married.what could we do now?we want to spend our life together as a husband and one in our family knows about our affair.he said that he will tell in his family after doing MBA and after that he get a smart job.i am waiting and also so many offers coming to may family for my marriage .what could we do now?we both ove each other and not able to live without each other.we r expecting an intelligent solution frm your side.thank you.

It would help if I knew what part of the world you live in. In most Western cultures, you should be able to build a life together, despite what your family's have to say. Unfortunately, it sounds like you live in an area where women don't have the right to choose their spouse. You may both have to leave such a place for a part of the world where you can be free to be together.

Bottom Line: It will be very tough to start your lives over, but if your love is as strong as you say, it will be healthier in the long run, and it will bring you happiness.

 Dear Doc:
well im 15 years old and i cant live at my house any more its become too stressful for me,i have actually attempted suicied and well im not dead parents are taking me to a christian psychatrist but even though talking is fun it dosnt change anything at home my parents constantly fight my mother has which you might call a border line personality and its just too much for me to take and its hard for me to study for school now its even hard for me to pay attention i always end up worrying about my parents and i still cut my self yo get away from my misery in my house what should i do?

Try to go and live with some healthier family members. If your folks won't allow it, get them to go to therapy with you, because they are a big part of your problem. Borderline personality disorders are one of the worst to deal with, and one of the least likely to improve.

Bottom Line: Worst case scenario, talk to your school counselor, pastor, or current therapist, to get the police involved. Your states's Child protective Services may be able to free you from your prison.

 Dear Doc:
i am 15 years old and i will b able to date in 6 moths i will be 16 im actually verry worried because im not really sure what to do in a relashionship because i have no good examples my parents dont get along i nnever remember them being able to and my sister and her boy friend love each other but they do argue alot and make up i dont want to be either also kinda emotional scared of men because what has happend to me when i was little i dont know how to persue my dream of some day becoming a wife and a mother if im too scared to let a man into my life what should i do? i dont want to have these fears forever...

You are outstanding because you have figured this out at such a young age. Most people never figure out what you have discovered.

Bottom Line: Go and get professional help. If your parents won't help you, find a free counseling service through your school, church, or police department.

 Dear Doc:
dear doc,im 16 i livwe in ireland and im suffering from social phobia for the past 3 years i've missed alot of school but the one thing i want to do is acting would it be a good idea for my health to prusue it??


Bottom Line: Some actors have found salvation in their careers. For example, some who studdered all their lives, were able to conquer the problem via their careers.

 Dear Doc:
how do you deal with tension without bringing it home ?

That's a huge question. It partly depends on what is causing the tension. Some people try to work out or go for a run before they get home. Some like 30 minutes to themselves when they get home. Some may take a hot bath or hot-tub.

Bottom Line: What's important is that you recognize the problem, and that you are willing to take serious action to reduce your tension for the benefit of yourself and your family.

 Dear Doc:
im 18 and i dont like living at my house im still in school and getting good grades. i will be getting a job soon and a car and i will be insured i want to move in with my friends house. i will be leaving to the marines in august. i was wondering if i have to get emancipated so i dont have to have my dad sign all of my report cards and so my mom does not have to pay for chiled support. right now my mom is 2 states away and is almost imposable to move in with her. the reason i want to move out is my dads girlfriend i hate her. she is a magor clean freak and it drives me nuts. i tryed to talk about the problem and it did not work and now she i mad at me and wont talk to me. but i have a bad gilt about leaving and dont want to upset my dad because i love him and if i do got i want him to be happ and have us part in a good way. i want to be able to come back and be good friends. HOW DO I DO THIS?

If you are 18 you can live on your own, in most states.

Bottom Line: There are even stories out there that at 18, you can sign your OWN report cards!

 Dear Doc:
well what do i do when my my newly wedded husband wants to leave me and i never met his mother or father hes going to tell them when he leaves me what should i do -lost in hope!!

It sounds like this was a no-go from the get-go.

Bottom Line: You can wait around for a bit to see if he comes around, but it sounds like an annulment may be in your best interest.

 Dear Doc:
My 18 almost 19 year old step daughter came to live with us after her mother threw her out. We my husband or myself do not know her very well. She was kept away from her father and neither of them was not told about each other. She is extremely unpleasant. She is mean to our three year old son and very jealous of our ten year old daughter. She makes comments of burning down the house. She refers to us as you people. She is mean to the cat. Has no motivation. She doesn't want to go to school or work. I have to make her get up everyday and go out to look for a job. Which I don't think she is doing. She is consumed with losing weight and sticks her finger down her throat after evey meal. Help! I am clueless on how or where to start. Her family has mention therapy and she freaked. I am nervous about going to sleep at night. I worried about her safety and my children. My first instinct is to put her out. But guilt keeps me from it. What can I do?

You had better put her out yesterday, before she brings down the whole family.

Bottom Line: Guilt can be irrational, misguided, and unhealthy.

 Dear Doc:
my dad is very angry that im seeing this boy because im am only 15 and he is 20 my dad said he was going to get a restraing order on him so he wont be able to see my can he do that if i dont want him to an he dosent have any prrof that any thing sexual has happend

Yes, it's possible that he can do that.

Bottom Line: When you are 18, it won't matter if the guy is 23. But right now, if your dad doesn't want to allow it, you may need to put this romance on hold for awhile.

 Dear Doc:
My girlfriend broke up with me. She has possible breast cancer and said she doesn't have time for a relationship right now. But now she is hanging out with her ex who is her son's father. I treated her great. At the same time, I work as a government contractor and I'm about to leave for 5 months. What is your conclusion? I'm confused and want her back. What should I do?

Move on without her.

Bottom Line: It sounds like she has used you. Believe in yourself, knowing that you deserve better, and that you will find her.

 Dear Doc:
When my daughter was 2 months old her father's parents took gaurdianship of her. After 16 months I finally got her back. I have been told that they were very abusive to her. She used to have night terrors that lasted up to 3 hours. She's 3 1/2 now, still hits herself and others, she will play with herself (privates) on a daily basis and in public. She also tries to touch other girls in very inappropriate areas. She's refusing to eat more than once a day or tries to put her fingers down her throat to puke. She also has moments that we could all be playing and having fun then all of a sudden she'll run to her room and beat her head on the wall. The doctor said that she does not need further help, that it's a stage. I've been given lots of advice on how to deal with her but for some reason I'm not sure what more I can do.

The Doctor is wrong.

Bottom Line: Get her to a good child therapist asap, and plan on her being in long term play therapy.

 Dear Doc:
My sister took my mother to an attorney and had her change her will so that she will get to live in my mother's house until my mother dies. We were supposed to inherit my mother's estate (my father is dead) equally. This is the second time my sister has taken my mother to an attorney to change her will. I am very angry and hurt. The first time I "overlooked" it and we remained a "family". This time I cannot forgive my sister, but have continued a relationship with my mother. What should I do?

As children, we have no true rights to our parents property, so your mom can do as she wishes. But if you feel that your sister is manipulating your mom, you should consider breaking off all ties, as it is unhealthy to fake getting along with someone who is screwing us. This assumes that you have talked with both of them, that you have been completely honest, and that they have ignored your feelings.

Bottom Line: Healthy lives are congruent, not dissonent. Only spend time with people you trust, and who have your best interests in mind.

 Dear Doc:
My husband is 44 and appears to be going through a midlife crisis due to financial debt, marital problems after 22 years of marriage, and has separated from us now for five months, now he wants a divorce. His thought process tends to be irrational. We have two girls and loves them dearly. Thus far, there is no marital affairs that I know of. Do you think there is any hope that he will come out of this irrational thought process?

Yes there is hope, but you must prepare yourself for either possibility. Divorces are expensive and time consuming, so that's on your side. However, if the fundamental problems aren't addressed, he may stay away.

Bottom Line: His thinking may not be irrational. People change over time. His may be a midlife adjustment, rather than a midlife crisis.

 Dear Doc:
i have thoughts of depression and suicide sometimes i need help please?

Tell someone you know, who can get you help asap.

Bottom Line: There's no doubt that life can be overwhelming, but suicide is really the ultimate in selfishness, and the quitters way out. Fight it with professional help, and you will win!

 Dear Doc:
I have been with my fiance for almost 2 years now. He has always been very "short" with people when he spaeks to them. after about 3months of dating, he proposed to me. I knew that was fast, but I accepted. Then he asked me to move inwith him and he would help take care of me and my twin daughters. At the time I had just lost my job and my lease was ending soon, and it seemed like a good idea. Well, turns out he had a drinking problem and likes to say horrible things about me and evry woman in his life. That was, of course, an issue for me. We would discuss it when he sobered up. He constantly would bring up my past boyfriend, whom I am not dating anymore, but had been in touch with, (he is dating someone else and I am friends with her also). One night the ex called to tell me that his girlfriend had had a baby girl, and they were wanting me to baptise her. (I am an ordained minister) My fiance saw the caller ID and went bolistic. (he had been drinking most of the day. I told him who it was, and what they wanted; all he heard was the exes name and said very horrible things. I didn't care to listen to any of it, so I told him I was going to bed. The next morning I was awakened by him snatching the pillow from under my head, saying it was HIS, then he continued to snatch the sheets and blankets, then preseded to beat me and wouldn't let me call the police because he said it was HIS phone. When he finally stopped I told him I was going to call the police, so I left and called from a neighbors apartment. When the police came, they took pics, as I was bloody and bruised. The did not arrest him! He had left. From all this, we went to court, he claimed he was going to anger management classes, which he actually started and ended and started again recently. The attack happened last March 13th. I and my daughters spoke with him, and he assured us everything is okay. I am still friends with my ex and his girlfriend and there is no amount of assuring him that that is all it is, a friendship. He checks my cellphne calls and goes as far as investigating who each call is from, and brings it up in arguments. My question is; is this someone I should even consider marrying? He tells me "talking to my exe or any man is carrying on a relationship". What should I do?

If you consider marrying this sick person, then they should put YOU in the psych ward!

Bottom Line: This is a TERRIBLE relationship! Run like the wind, and don't look back!!

 Dear Doc:
My ex husband can't seem to get over our 25 year marriage. We divorced 2 years ago, at which time had been coming for a long time. We did not live together for 5 years before but still I did everything as if we were living together. He would get drunk and be abusive,I dealt with it as long as I could. When my youngest child turned eighteen I filed for a divorce. I, not looking for anyone else ran into a man I knew 30 yrs. ago, we started dating and now live together. He is a very good man and is good to me, my children like him alot. However, my ex thinks I left him for this man and still thinks I need to get over it and come back home. One minute he is crying to our daughter about how much he misses and loves me the next I am getting a cussing. He won't get on with his life, and I never wanted for him to end up being a lonely old man. I would like for the children and grandchildren's sake we be able to at least be civil to each other. I could but he can't. I also had to move out of the state where I was raised to make him leave me alone. It's been 2 yrs. what should I do?

Look away. You are powerless to change the other person.

Bottom Line: The problems are his, not yours. Teach your family to go forward, and let him work out his own serious issues. He probably won't, but if he does, at least it will be the real thing.

 Dear Doc:
I have a stepmom who is very cruel to me, and my dad knows she's doing it but won't say anything to her. I have heard that there is a certain age that you can chose to live with one parent all the time. I want to live with my mom. DO you know if that's true? If so, what is that age. I want out of this situation as soon as possible.

There are some judges that will listen to young people who are in the 13-14 year range, because they figure that you are a flight risk. You would need to have your mom get you in front of a judge, so that you could tell your story. If they agree, they can assign you to be with your mom all of the time. Realize, of course, that your dad can fight this in court. It can cost everyone a fortune, and not necessarily turn out as you would wish.

Bottom Line: Your first move should be to ask your dad to let you go to your mom's. If he won't listen, get your mom to speak with him. If all else fails, you can try your luck in the family court.

 Dear Doc:
I have a Talented, very artistic & beautiful Daughter who is 18,spoiled,andlately has been lying about what she is doing &who she is seeing.She doesn't work, and has aquired a homeless street "boy friend"23 who thinks she is great(and she is!) and has come to the house for dinner Christmas eve & is using her to get money and food and a place (here he wishes!)to live !! That will not happen and she is rebeling like crazy ! He has intoduced her to Pot and I hope thats all, but our lives are quickly all focused on how to stop this in it's tracks, and it's not easy. We are sick worrying that she will end up on the street and on drugs if she does not see this life for what it is! Is there some goverment operated and paid ,counciling for parents and teens with this sort of problem in Vancouver or Richmond B.C. Canada or any other Counciling available for this kind of problem? We need help now!!

Because she is 18, she doesn't have to go to counseling if she doesn't want to. Assuming you've been trying to tell her of your concerns, your only leverage is probably to inform her that she can't live with you if she doesn't change her ways. You are at that scary stage of parenting where you are powerless, and you can only hope that she will fly out of the nest, rather than crashing.

Bottom Line: You might want to contact the police. They may be able to refer you to some professional help. If she won't go, you should probably go for your own sanity!

 Dear Doc:
I moved out after my wife asked me too. She has been seeing another guy and was doing so before i moved out. It had been going on for about 4 months before she asked me to move out. When we talked about me moving out, it was implied that we could work on our marriage while apart.It has been 2 months now and I want to move back in. Can I just show back up even if she doesn't want me too? She is in that mode of knowing that i'm here and will be here for her but she is also having her fun now. I have 2 kids still at home and he has even started coming over to the house.

Start off the New Year in your own home! You have been too weak, and too nice. If she wants to mess around, let HER move out!

Bottom Line: YOU need to be there with your kids. Ready your mind for a divorce. It may not happen, but at least then you'll be coming from a position of strength!

 Dear Doc:
my husband filed for divorce he did not show up in court for the divorce, he came home stating he wanted to work it out then went on to tell his sister he wasnt happy and was going back home to England, he then refused to sign the papers to disolve his complaint for divorce...I then kicked him out of the house we have two very small children...we are in counseling, he comes over just about daily, we make love but he refuses to come back home to this the behavior of a man who doesnt love me anymore? as he wont tell me he loves me, he wont tell he does not love me....the mixed messages are unbeleivable, my emotions are out of control...I'm living moment to moment and they can be extreme..I can be fine one moment, crying the next....our therapist advised to give a 2 week pressure free trial..were i dont ask him to come home ect....but every time i see him or hear his voice it's all i can do to keep from crying...I love my husband, I am commited to him completley....but i just dont know what his intentions for our future are how should I cope with this?

Your therapist is correct. Hard as it is, the best thing that you can do is to let go of needing him to come back. Your husband is either confused, or not telling you the whole story.

Bottom Line: You deserve better than this. Work yourself away from dependence, and toward independence. Then you will feel that you truly have a choice, and can live with any outcome that occurs.

 Dear Doc:
Our daughter who married as soon as she turned 18 us now 24 and in the Navy. She joined the Navy to help get her husband out of fishing and she wanted to move out of South East Alaska where it rains 200 inches a year. Long story short.... 4 years ago she gave birth to a girl and left her with her husband who was out of work to go through boot camp and hospital corpsman training. They were suppose to join her but my son in law got a TSA job and it did not work out. He had told the recruiters he would go where ever she went and find work. My daughter had lived with me after I helped her when she was pregnant with our grandaughter. My son in law was out to sea for six month commercial fishing. Our daughter was living with us when #1 gradnchild was born. I helped with the delivery and the first month I was the dad. I had to let go when the son in law came home. I love my children so much and have been there when they needed me. My son in law found a good job near the base with good pay and they decided to bring another child into the world. I helped for several months on and off becasuse my daughter gets so sick when she is pregnant and was on bed rest. She was working 12 hour shifts in labor and delivery. Our grandson was born a year ago in July. I can kinda sense when they do not want me around. My daughter calls when she sick or everything is falling apart. They had a great day care lady who moved away, she was awsome and just a few doors down. My son in law did not talk to us or the daycare lady and decided with my daughters brilliant help to go back commercail fishing be gone now 9 mos aprox. He did not know the day care lady was moving away and he did not honor me in running buy us. I was signed on as parental suppost if my daughter had to go out to sea with the promise that Micheal would be around. Now I see my grandson has been damaged some daughter (I did not mention) has migraines and has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She is on a lot of medication. She goes out side to smoke when the kids are alone in the house. Our grandson is very easygoing and grandaughter is very busy. Without going into details..I know something has happened to esp. my grandson. I believe my daughter also watches tv and does not hear what is going on when she is watching it. She has had to make due with whoever was available to watch the kids. The neighbor has helped alot. I do not know what has happened but he is so withdrawn and lithargic. Our Grandaughter is so bright and used to have a great vocabulary now talks baby talk. If I talked to by daughter she hurls back any mistake I evermade at me. Although we have talked over the years and I gave here many opportunities to share with me her resentments. I did have a temper I had to get help for and now see she needs help. The burden I feel is so huge I fell into a serious depression and can't sleep. I do not want to be cut off from my grandchildren. I feel like I want to do something but do not know what I can do without destroying my relationship totally with my daughter. She just one a special achievment award in the Navy but I do not respect her for this as I believe the job we have to answere for in heaven is the job with our children and the Navy is down the list. She gives her all at work, but she chose to have these two beautiful kids and I afraid the boy is destroyed. What can I do? Very concerned Grandma and Mother

It is your job to help if they ask, not to be in charge. Even if you are correct, you have to stay out of the way, unless they welcome you in.

Bottom Line: Do your best to love and help the grandkids, during whatever time you have with them.

 Dear Doc:
my boyfriend withdraws to complete silence for no apparent reason. I just dont understand so then I become anxious to find out why which then makes him more silent but its not always silent. we are emotionally connected for some time. I dont understand our negative communication behaviors.

The man-of-silence-syndrome is never healthy. But if he won't tell you what's up, you're hands are tied.

Bottom Line: Don't stay with him if he doesn't work to open up. It will go nowhere good over time.

 Dear Doc:
I love my husband, but my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws are very nasty people. I will not ask him to choose between his family and me. I think it would be much better for him if I just left. I know they dislike me intensely, and frankly I dislike them equally as much. Over the more than twenty years of our marriage, my relationship with his family has continued to spiral downward. I now become physically ill when we are traveling to his mother's home (especially if his siblings will be there). Each time he assures me that I will not have to visit them again, but then always wants me to try 'one more time'. Today I came completely unraveled when we arrived at his mother's home to find his sister and her family visiting. I had been told (promised by his mother) they would not be there, and when she met me in the driveway to tell me 'they are prepared to be friendly', my stomach churned. I actually had a panic attack when I went in the house. I felt tricked and lied to. I practically ran out of the house, I know this is exactly what my sister in-law (the nastiest of the bunch) had in mind. These people have been mean and unwelcoming to me for many years and in many ways. They also pick on my oldest child, she no longer will accompany us to their home. Each time they are careful to be civil to me (us) in front of my husband, just to turn plain mean when he is out of the room. I just feel like the only way to keep my husband from being in a difficult position is to leave. After we left his mother's today, I began to shake and cry, and I just could not seem to get warm. My husband has offered to completely cut them out of his life, but I feel that he should continue to have a relationship with his mother, regardless of her actions. I love my husband and do not want to be responsible for causing him unhappiness, but detest my in-laws to the point of illness.

It sounds like it's time for you to move on.

Bottom Line: I don't know how your husband will respond, but this oil and water relationship with his family should have ceased decades ago, because it sounds like it has already harmed your children.

 Dear Doc:
How does one deal with a narsscistic personality dissorder in a family member?

Books could be written about this (and have been!). This is one of the toughtest things to deal with, because these people are usually clueless about how much others disdain them. You have to be assertive and in their face, to have a chance at gaining their attention. But don't hold your breath, because they usually don't get it.

Bottom Line: These people are often best left behind, because it takes years of therapy to change them (and they don't want to change!).

 Dear Doc:
I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years now. When we first met I felt it was 'True Love'and I still do. He is a very independent, self-motivated man. I moved in with him and just got engaged last January. He drinks more than I like to see him drink. I don't mind a few beers but 12 pack or more is getting to much. I have to be careful what to say to him while he's drinking or he gets upset. Some of the things he says really hurts my feelings. Recently, we had a argument and I was told I didn't have a opinion, etc. etc. he really got upset and wouldn't let up. I left to go cool off because he had been drinking, knowing it was not a good time to say anything, when I returned, (1 hour) I thought it was going to be over and went to bed. When he came to bed he started in wanting to argue. He was mad because I didn't cook him any supper. Then he started saying mean things again (I hadn't had supper either). I was fed up with and got out of bed and grabed my ice tea, that I had drank and had 1/2 glass of ice in it. As I was getting up to leave the bedroom, I grabed my glass of ice, as I was walking away he really started to say mean hateful things to me. Without thinking straight I flung my ice out of glass at him. It sprayed all over the bed and he may of got hit by a piece of cruched ice. He jumped out of the bed and I knew I was in BIG trouble. What I didn't expect was what he did to me. He grabbed me and through me into the wall and picked me up and was yelling at me and threw me on the bed and when I sat up in shock, he hit me - then he kept hitting me. I couldn't belive he would do that. I was all bloody and bruised and ended up in the emergency room the next day. The question that I have is; I love this person with all my heart and soul. But I'm having a great deal of trouble dealing with what he did. I'm truly sorry I threw my ice at him in anger. I don't even like to raise my voice at anyone nor do I like the way it feels to be angry or argue with someone. I have totaly lost my trust in him. He won't hardly talk about it, he says he never hit me but slapped me, he also said I bruise easy. (slapping/hitting) I know it just hurt. I asked him if he ever hit his x-wife before and he said "No". Maybe I should have asked if he slapped her before. Anyways......could this just be a isolated event of anger? Or what are my odds of this happening again?

You'd better run away as fast as you can, before it happens again. There are some seriously unhealthy thoughts and behaviors in your relationship.

Bottom Line: A reasonable response would have been for the police to charge him with abuse. I'm surprised the emergency room staff didn't file a report (assuming you told them the truth).

 Dear Doc:
my husband and i have been married for five years. we have two small children ages 3 & 6. I thought everything was fine basically between us. He recently told me that he does not love me anymore and is not quite sure if he ever did. We got married very young and Im not sure what to do. he wont do counceling and says there is no hope. i took the kids and moved in with my parents 3 hours away i hope that may make him see what he is missing. is this the 7 year itch everyone says or is it truely over. im devestated please help!

There is hope. Go to therapy on your own. This pattern is not unusual.

Bottom Line: Getting divorced is hard, long-term, and expensive. Be true to yourself while still trying to love him, and he may come around.

 Dear Doc:
I had a fatherinlaw I did not like and he has recently passed away I did not go near him but I never stopped my children or my husband going my motherinlaw was there to attend to him so he was not alone I did go to see him when he was dying but since he died I have had a nervous breakdown with guilt I am a christian but I believe I may go to hell for this my parents advised me to keep away from my fatherinlaw as well I wish to get better and believe no harm will come to me I never meant to hurt him and I thought I was doing the right thing for my children and my husbands sake please help thanks

Sounds like your faith is working against you. It seems like the people who care about you agreed that you were doing the right thing. Some people are truely evil, and should be avoided at all costs.

Bottom Line: Maybe you should get some healthier spiritual counsel, from those who speak of God's grace more than God's wrath.

 Dear Doc:
My 5 year old son does not listen and makes bad choices. He is very aggressive, has a huge ego, is very bossy, very smart and no matter what the consequences are to his actions he still continues to mis-behave. What do you suggest we do?

He appears to be very strong-willed. Are either of you like that? You need to discover if he is merely stubborn to a fault, or if there is a biological base to his misbehavior.

Bottom Line: Go and get some professional help, from a therapist who has experience with these types of young children.

 Dear Doc:
My husband told me he dosen't love me anymore. We have a 9 month old and i'm 5 months pregnant, how can i win his love back? please help me...

This is such a tough problem, because there is so little time for you to be an in-love couple. Feelings of love can come and go. Hang in there with him, and try to be your best person.

Bottom Line: However, don't take full responsibility for your mutual love. If he's running the other way, you can't control his attempts at an exit.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I own a music store and we both work at the shop. I play an instrument and am in a band. My husband also is in a band. I grew up playing guitar but a few years ago gave up playing to become an artist. About a year ago, I picked up my guitar and started playing again. My husband always knew me as just a visual artist. Now that I am playing guitar, he gets so jealous that I too am successful at music that he gets very violent and breaks things and tries over and over to sabbotage my attempts to play music with my band and with him too. For me, music is just a hobby but it is a goal of mine to become a great musician. Working at a music store, I am surrounded by it. This is my opportunity to really learn on my spare time. When my husband and I talk about it, he says he has a viseral reaction and pressure on his chest when he thinks about me having musical talent. He says, "you are art, and I am music". I am in a tough position wanting to better myself and grow as a person, but also not wanting to hurt my husband's feelings. I am too stubborn to just quit. I want this to be an opportunity for my husband to mature. When someone is territorial like this, is it instinctual? Is it learned? Can he change? Can I help him? Thank you in advance.

His unhealthy reactions to your growth are not instinctual, but learned. Change is possible, but I wonder if he wants to, and is willing to go through the hard work. You can't do the hard work for him, but you can try to be loving and supportive.

Bottom Line: However, don't you dare give up your healthy growth, because of his unhealthy responses.

 Dear Doc:
My son is an agoraphoic & at times its hard for him to go to his therapist that lives about 1/2 hour away from our home. There are times when it is no problem and there are other times when he has a hard time going. He is on Klonipin & Wellbutrin which works well for him, but there are times when he does well and other times when he does not well at all. Is this the nature of the illness. I am his mom and it is very upsetting to watch my son at the age of 31 to have such a horrrible illness.

It must be most difficult to watch your son struggle with this often misunderstood illness.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, such behaviors can be a part of this disorder. Hopefully his doctor can help you to understand the illness better, and help you help your son as best you can.

 Dear Doc:
I have been dating a 63year old man and I am 34 years old. We have been dating for three years. Now that I have moved in with him temporary because I lost my job. He now will not do much of anything for me or with me. why?

My guess is that he may want to date, but he doesn't want to live together. He may not want to hurt your feelings by saying that, so he is passively (and maybe subconsciously) acting out his feelings.

Bottom Line: Living together has brought many a good relationship to an end. 24/7 is just too much for some folks.

 Dear Doc:

Unfortunately, mailing him something won't help. This sounds like a horse who doesn't want to drink the water. Hopefully your daughter can put some pressure on him to get some professional help.

Bottom Line: He sounds like a troubled (and hurting) individual, who may well have been treated the same way when he was a child.

 Dear Doc:
I have a 18 yr. old daughter. She moved out cause she didn't like the rules of the house and the boyfriend did'nt like them either. She is still in high school. She is just leaching off of people and could care less about her parents. I is very difficult for us. She is being very irrespectful to us. After all we did. How can we handle this?

You've got to let go of expecting anything from her. For now she is gone, and you've got to move on without her.

Bottom Line: Let's just hope that with the passing of time, she will realize and start to appreciate all your efforts.

 Dear Doc:
I Love my boyfriend so much but there is the sition that we fight to much I would like to save our relationship and so would he. We don;t know how so the question that I am asking is how can we get through this

When two individuals are healthy, their relationship is healthy. You need to discover WHY you fight, before you can learn to STOP fighting.

Bottom Line: Please go get some professional help. With that, you have a good chance of turning things around.

 Dear Doc:
I'm a kid and I am 115 pounds. I know I am slightly overweight so anyway I decided to stop eating. After awhile of this my friends confronted me and another friend of mine who had stopped eating too. At first I thought 'yeah right' then I thought 'maybe I really am in danger'. Then I thought 'yeah right I eat a lot'. Then I think that I'm just playing along to get attention. I'm really confused. I sort of want to tell my mom but I also REALLY don't want to because I think I'm not really anorexic. I don't know what to think. Plus my best friend who was also going anorexic that my friends confronted said she was going to tell her mom. Then she later told me that she couldn't and wouldn't. Now I don't know if we can trust if she's being truthful and I'm worried sick about her. I know I should tell my mom because I don't want to seem untrustworthy to my friends but I don't know how to tell her. Please help me doc. Miss Anorexic?

Yes, you should tell one or both of your parents. You should also see a counselor. Maybe start by talking to someone at your school.

Bottom Line: You are simply too young to deal with this by yourself.

 Dear Doc:
my brother is a prescription drug addict and constantly verbally abuses my dad and mother. he is 45, un-employed and my dad won't allow the rest of us to put him in rehab. My mother is a narcisst and guilt-trips, wants to die, and my wife and I are always caught in the middle. is now the time to walk away and love from a distance?

Run, don't walk!

Bottom Line: The healthiest thing that you can do is break the pattern of family dysfunction, by no longer participating in the sickness games.

 Dear Doc:
We have a 17 year that is so ready to get out but she has no money or no place to go. She is very disrespectful to us and to her siblings. She is very ungrateful for all that we do for her. We have looked into some camps, but find them quite expensive. We really want to do something to help her before she is 18. Other than our daughters attitude our family is very peaceful and loving. How do we handle a spoiled know it all. We really want to do something!

You could spend a fortune sending her away to school, and she'd probably get them to kick her out anyway. I assume that she won't go to therapy. Go then, for your own sanity.

Bottom Line: You can't help her, if she doesn't want to be helped. Admit that, then practice tough love, by telling her that she will have to leave, if she doesn't go with the program. Then be strong enough to let her go out and starve for awhile, until she appreciates all the family does for her.

 Dear Doc:
I am a recently seperated navy wife with a 21/2 year old son with ppd with is propably linked to austism. My son is on the go 24/7 and i donot get any breaks. My psycologist recently diagnosed me having post traumatic stress disorder and my husband also changed the account number so i don't have access to any money what can i do?

Sounds like you had better get an attorney asap.

Bottom Line: There are public and private organizations that are designed to help those with your type of need. If need be, go to the police to find these folks.

 Dear Doc:
I have been happily married for 5 years and recently my sister told me that she thinks that my husband has been moving on her. She also said that he hit her behind once and she expressed her dislike for it and she told him to tell me. He said he didn't tell me because he was afraid of how i would have dealt with it. It recently happened again. I have spoken to both of them and he is sorry about what he did. I am sorry because my sister now feels uncomfortable coming to my home to visit me and her nieces. When I think about the whole situation I get overwhelmed. I am a teacher and I can't even stand up in front of my class to teach. I tried the other day and started to break down can you please help me with some solutions to deal with theis soltion. Also i have spoken to them individually but I feel i need to speak to both of them together. What do you think?

This happens more often than you might think. Go to a therapist for some help. Have your husband and sister go with you. Apparently your husband hasn't been as happily married as you have been.

Bottom Line: Take care of yourself above all else. Don't settle for empty promises. Rather measure him based on his actions, instead of his words. Be willing to leave if he won't work with you, and if his behavior doesn't change.

 Dear Doc:
I'm 16 years old and a former teacher of mine who I hadn't seen in about year because he now teachs somewhere else, recently contacted me. It started with friendly chatting, but he eventually admitted that he'd been sexually attracted to me when I was in his class. Now he wants to meet to just "talk" and catch up, but I'm unsure of his intentions...What should I do?

I'm quite sure of his intentions. He wants to move toward an intimate relationship with you. If you're up for it, it would be good to tell your folks about this. The easiest answer would be to not have any more contact with him. However, the other question is whether YOU want a relationship with this guy.

Bottom Line: There's nothing wrong with friendship, but of course he would be breaking the law if the two of you became intimate. Once you are 18, you are of course freer to make your own choices.

 Dear Doc:
i would like to know the difference between aggression, assertiveness and passiveness to know were i stand.

Aggressiveness and passiveness are two ends of a continuum, and assertiveness is inbetween them.

Bottom Line: When it comes to personal relationships, being too aggressive or passive will harm a relationship, while being assertive should strengthen the relationship.

 Dear Doc:
i have a 20 year old son with a really bad anger problem and am wondering if it could be a symptom of a mental didorder.i have always believed he has had adhd although undiagnosed.he will go off yelling and swearing for no reason at anyone who looks at him the wrong way if he is in a mood.even when he apears happy you have to walk on eggshells around him.he has ended up getting on crystal meth and doing some time in jail.he is off the drug now.this isn't what started his anger problem as he was like this as a child.he refuses to get help and is quite caring and would do anything for anyone but just goes off for no reason.he talks to his girlfreind terribly and will be all loving one minute then calling her every name the next for no reason.he also cannot hold down a job for some reason.he gets a job and gets all exited about it then won't get up and go.he always has these plans to better his life and then never does anything about it.i'm wondering if the anger is caused by some other problem that he has and cannot control.i have a younger son with aspergers and deals with his anxiety with anger and my 20 year old says he probably has that too although i know he doesn't as he doesn't have the same symtoms.i would apreciate any suggestions you may have.i feel his anger is holding him back from having a productive happy life.thank you.

Most likely he has a very real medical problem. The other possibility is that he was chronically abused, but has never dealt with it.

Bottom Line: He absolutely needs professional psychological help. Unfortunately, it is common that those who are the sickest are the least likely to get help. These people are usually dangerous, and should be avoided.

 Dear Doc:
we have been married 45 years have been working and having money. we are at an impasse as he started divorce actionc 10 years ago through behaviors of putting everything in his name and doing what he wanted while i went to church and had friends i ran around with all the time not having a relationship with him and now ive waken up and he wont talk what do ido

Coming out of denial can be a huge shock. Avoiding a difficulty does not make it go away. It usually only makes it worse in the end.

Bottom Line: You'd better get to an attorney, to protect your rights. You can try to work it out with him, but it's probably too late for that.

 Dear Doc:
I am married and have an affair with another married man X. I recently found out that Mr X has another affair with another married woman. I am deeply hurt since i thought i was in love with this guy. What should I do now?

Doesn't it seem odd to think that a man who is unfaithful to his wife would be faithful to you?

Bottom Line: You are playing in a dangerous area. The safest choice would be to exit the game.

 Dear Doc:
my brother disowned me after my divorce of his wife's brother....I had six kids and he had five who were very close It would have been easy if he had just disappeared but he has made a point of accepting my children when they are with their dad and at that(his wife's) side functions and totally ignores my children if they are at a function on our side. I also have two small children he has nothing to do with and has walked by my husbands extended hand numerous times. I just want to move on and him out of my life but I keep getting blindsighted with his appearance and coldness at functions of my now grown children. How do i keep from getting hurt and protect my young children from this?

Unfortunately, you can't protect them. Do your best to help them understand, and then get out of the way and let them figure out what works for them.

Bottom Line: It may seem weird, but you can chose not to be hurt. Maybe you should not attend anything where he is present.

 Dear Doc:
my 59 year old husband goes for a nap happy and wakes up 2 hrs. later mad at me for anything I do or say, goes back for a nap and wakes up as if all is well and loving. not remembering anything up maybe two weeks later.

Just like women, men can have physiologically based mood swings.

Bottom Line: Get him to a doctor. Something biological may be impacting your husband's memory.

 Dear Doc:
Im a young 26 yr old single mother in a relationship with a guy that i really love and he loves me to but we fight about everything oh and hes older than me 9 yrs older than me and thinks he knows everything also was raised very differently and he expects alot from me and im trying really hard to change the person that i am for me and him and sometimes it still is not good enough. Ive had a really rough life and the life that i had has made me the explosive angry person that i am and im trying really hard to change for me,my kids, and him, but he thinks it should happen overnight and in reality it cant i know i need help.But can you help me with this guy.

Change for you, and no one else.

Bottom Line: It sounds like this guy is holding you back, and that you can do better.

 Dear Doc:

Tell her with your feet. Move out asap, even if you have to live in your car!

Bottom Line: Let's hope your husband goes with you. He sounds like he is WAY too close to his mother!

 Dear Doc:
I need to know how to deal with my 9 year old nephew and 6 year old neice. Their mother lives in my neighborhood so her kids and mine are always playing together. My nephew and neice seem charming and normal on the outside but as far back as my nephew was 4 I remember two sides to him. He would do terrible things like kick kids in the face and the other kid would be bleeding all over and my nephew would say it was an "accident" but I knew better. Most of the time my nephew and neice are charming but sometimes when they're parents aren't around and I'm watching from afar I'll see them lash out at each other my nephew will just kick or punch his little six year old sister without provocation.And when I call him on it he'll look confused as if wondering why he is being punished. He and my neice have a playful way about evertyhing they do but dark as well they are always whispering to each other about things sometimes they will say things about wanting to be proffesional killers when they grow up and when they see me get upset and ask them why they would say such things they start talking talking about cutting people up then when I ask them why they would say such things they giggle and run away. I have tried to speak to my sister about her kids but she sees it as playful mischeif. The most atrocious thing my nephew did was when my 7 year old son came to me and told me that my nephew and neice asked him to put a plastic bag over his head and my son seeing it as a game did so then my nephew started choking him for about a second and then let go and my nephew asked him how it felt not to be able to breath then my son ran away and told me. At that point I punished my nephew and neice severly and when my sister came to pick them up I went off on her a little she punished them also but does not seem to think anything wrong with them. Both my nephew and neice have extremely high IQ's and my nephew is a bed wetter. I've heard that combination can lead to no good. The way they act It's seriously like they have a monster locked up in a cage inside them that just lashes out. Is this mischievous behavior or are these kids going to grow up and be antisocials even though they are quite the little charming socialites?

This is very troubling. Children with these symptoms have often been abused. If something doesn't change, they will likely become anti-socials who will do harm to themselves and those around them.

Bottom Line: Those who are the most charming have every ability to also be the most troubled.

 Dear Doc:
I need advice to give to a dear friend of mine, honestly it is not for myself. I just do not know what else to tell her and I know she will not take my advice to speak to a professional. Recently, she explained to me her 7 month mini torture fest from her in-laws which is effecting her marriage. Main points, her father-in-law who makes comments about her weight, what she wears and how she looks, finally stepped up his little evil game and accused her of doing something she did do. A little background, she's rail thin, beautiful, smart and a strong person. The family she married into is a rich, controlling, private, Italian which is dictated by the father. What really frightened me this father-in-law cornered my friend and accused her of doing something she never did and then told her if she told anyone else that he "would make her life really hard." In turn, my friend did not tell her husband what his father accused her of and she has become a hermit. I don't know what to tell her and what would be the next best step. I told her to tell her husband the truth and to never be alone with her father-in-law again. This is eating her alive and this crazy family is emotionally abusing her. Any advice would be great.

You told her the very best thing to do. She will be forever in hell if she does not challenge this tyrannt. With her husband's help they will win, even if they have to walk away from his dysfunctional family.

Bottom Line: The bigger question is whether her husband will support her. Let's sure hope so. Otherwise her marriage should probably end, because it is never healthy to stay in an emotionally abusive relationship.

 Dear Doc:
What is the appropriate response to a physically dominant teen aged boy (6'1", 180 pounds) threatening to punch the face of his mother for removing a privilege (as a consequnece of staying out all night and smoking marijuana)?

This sounds dangerous. I wonder if he's 18. If so, it may be time for him to move out, before you get hurt.

Bottom Line: When kids can no longer accept decent discipline, they need to go out and live on their own.

 Dear Doc:
can long distance relationships work

Usually not for too long.

Bottom Line: People need to be together. Otherwise someone else comes along and fills the need.

 Dear Doc:
I have been in a relationship for the past 2 years with a married man who married out of wedlock 20 years ago to a woman who has a chronic illness, but functioning. This man has not only been my best friend but the love of my life. Our relationship has started unexpectedly and grown overtime. Unfortunately, he is depressed and unhappy in his marriage but is having difficulties making the move to divorce because of fear of hurting his 20 year old daughter and financial loss. I don't know what to believe anymore.

Please believe what you see (something that isn't easy).

Bottom Line: If he's not moving on, you should be!

 Dear Doc:
I am a 33 year old male and my step mother is in her 40's. We've been great friends for years and have drawn very close over the last year. My father is in his 50's and has cheated on her, which in turn has led her to cheat in years past. They have little in common, and he shows little love for her. Her and I have fallen for each other in a big way. We both know what is morally right, but it's like we were both made for each other. We have NOT had sex. What are your thoughts.

Sounds like a very sticky situation.

Bottom Line: Hard to imagine it working out well over time.

 Dear Doc:
My husband says he doesn't love me anymore can he ever love me again

This is a very common occurance. With time, the feelings of love often fade.

Bottom Line: Some people do learn to love again, although it is often not the same type of romantic feeling they had when they first fell in love.

 Dear Doc:
my 10 year old daughter gets sick evertime she goes to her dad's house, what is causing this? Is there something in his house she is alergic to or stress?

This doesn't sound good. No way would I bet on allergies, and stress should not do this continuously.

Bottom Line: There may be something going on over there that is abusive. I hope not, but keep your eyes open, and endlessly try to get her to tell you what bothers her over there.

 Dear Doc:

You will never forget, so give up on that one. You are scarred, but it sounds like you are not dead to the relationship. So there's hope.

Bottom Line: Yours is the toughest job, as you try to move your mind beyond this understandable obsession. But it is possible. Others have done it. Maybe find a group that will support you in this effort.

 Dear Doc:
My marriage need serious assistance. I have been married for 13 years. My wife and I are in the military. I am active,and she is in the reserves. In Dec 03, she was called up into active duty. It's Oct 2005 and she is finally released from active duty. She found a job where she was located, in Europe, and doesn't want to come home. She intends to stay there for at least a year. She says she's taking care of the family, by getting a job. I am currently in Iraq, and will soon be going back to my duty station. We have a 16 and a 7 year old. She has not seen her little one go to pre-school, kinndergarten, 1st, or 2nd grad. I know she is having an affair over there, but she denies it of course. She is more emotionally attached to this married guy, than to her own husband. Everytime the subject comes up about her staying, we get into an agrument. She gets defensive when the subject gets close to that topic. I want her to come home and find a job where her family is located. Once earlier in our careers we moved and it was financally difficult for us ,and apparently she doesn't want that to happen again. Should I try to work this out or get a divorce? Extremely confused spouse!!!

You can't work it out if she won't cooperate. Don't plead with her. Let her go, and let's see if she will miss you and the family.

Bottom Line: Plan your future without her. You deserve better. If she wants to work on it after you've let go, then maybe there is a chance for the marriage.

 Dear Doc:
My name is Angela. I am a singlr mother with two small children ages 3 & 7. I am fighting for my children with the state of Florida. I am not even fighting false allegations of child abuse because the Court found all allegations that were twisted until they (cps) could classify it as "a reason to file a dependency petition". How nieve I was about the world and how bitter people are and can be when they feel you've challanged 'their authority'. Anyways I am deeply troulbled about the effects this is having and has had on my children. My oldest son was extremely bonded with me, he slept on my chest from the time he was born until I couldn't breathe, I never dated, nor did I have any activities that didn't invovle him (except christmas shopping, etc.). I worked out of my home and he was homeschooled his first year of school, he did have play groups and such but would never stay anywhere. When he was five I had my second child after I dated an old friend for approximatly 4 months- with this exception I didn't date anyone else. When his brother was born I started the parent child bond the same way as he to slept on my chest until I couldn't breathe. I was and am very devoted to my children. They never lacked for anything (within reason. They had all well baby checks, immunizations, we did so many fun things together just being silly. What I'm trying to say is how is this going to effect them long term-the traumatic seperation from me. The oldest was 6 and the youngest almost two and now they are 8 and 3.They have been tossed around like garbage because of full Court dockets, judge reassignings and a lot of other political garbage. I know your probably thinkingh why doesn't she just get a lawyer, yeah well I did I got 6 altogether and all they did was steal my money and never show up for court dates and the Fl. bar is a joke as far as sanctioning lawyers. Do you have any input on how this is going to affect them long term amd how can I help them-if I can help them!

Are they happy the way they are, or do they want to change? If they're happy and you're not, you'd best leave them alone.

Bottom Line: It can be very easy for twins to form a world around just the two of them. If they want to change, then helping them to become individuals with varying interests may help them in the long run.

 Dear Doc:
how can i help my 13 year old girl twins who are shy and have no friends

Are they happy the way they are, or do they want to change? If they're happy and you're not, you'd best leave them alone.

Bottom Line: It can be very easy for twins to form a world around just the two of them. If they want to change, then helping them to become individuals with varying interests may help them in the long run.

 Dear Doc:
My husband was caught recently in an emotional affair with a previous co-worker that he has known for over 5 yrs. He says that it is now in the past. We were all lovey dovey for about 3 weeks and then he went back to his old routine of being too busy for us and not putting any effort back into our relationship. Does his behaviour indicate that he has resumed his affair or that he cannot take the time necessary to re-build our relationship? What do you suggest?

His connection to her probably never went away. It's possible that even with time, and effort on his part, that the two of you cannot rebuild.

Bottom Line: Prepare yourself to be on your own, for surely you deserve better than to stay with someone who can't give their heart to you.

 Dear Doc:
Living with a man 21/2 years. His wife still works out of the same house. He says he doesn't want her but not in any hurry to pay for the divorce either or her half of the house. What would you say is the bottom line with this one?

So are you all in the same house? That would be most unusual. I wonder why she keeps hanging around. Maybe she thinks she can out-last you??

Bottom Line: There's no doubt that some people don't want their marriage, but they are reluctant to go through the financial loss of a divorce. However, if it goes on too long for you, then you will need to leave for your own sanity.

 Dear Doc:
I am writing you in regards to a 7 year old girl who attempted suicide yesterday by runnung into traffic after the kids at school told her that she was better off dead. I am so bewidered by this I am compleltey beside myself. Is ther any advice youcan give me or offer insight to what would posses a child to do something like this without any prior behaviours as to being depressed. She lives with her mother who is a working single mother in a large city and goes to visit her father on weekends . The Father is very uncaring and really has no time for the little girl. He will not display any of her artwork in his home because he says it "doesn't go with the decor". Please I am at a complete loss over this ...anything will help. Thank you for your time and consideration of my question.

Most of the time, what we see on the outside of a person, tells us very little about what is going on inside of the person.

Bottom Line: Let's hope she gets professional help asap. Her behavior probably has something to do with her home-life, and most likely with her dad's unhealthy treatment of her.

 Dear Doc:
i am 48yrs.old and was raped when i was 14 i was taken to a scarey cemitary in the country,i was afraid to tell anybody,i finally told my mother 1yr.ago,more and more everyday this is bothering both of my parents are gone thier house will have to be sold and this creep wants to buy it,i finally told my brothers and sisters and husband,can i still prosecute him

You must contact an attorney in your area, to find out.

Bottom Line: It is true that in some areas there is no statute of limitations, so he still could be prosecuted.

 Dear Doc:
My Mum had a stroke 6 months ago, and already for the past 4 years I had been constantly battling to help a childless aunty and uncle, so my exercise routine suffered, and I began to put on weight. Now since my Mum (who I love to "hang out" with has been paralysed down her right sight with speech problems, I have fallen totally apart and gained even more weight. I have Bipolar (borderline). My overreating is causing me psychological pain.

Get to a doctor for some help. Medicines can definitely help your Bipolar disorder.

Bottom Line: Once you get that in line, start to treat yourself as well as you do others, by exercising more and eating less. You CAN do it!

 Dear Doc:
I've been married for 14 years. I just found out that my husband had a fling with a co-worker. He swears that he never had sex with her, but she did pleasure him 3 times. He has told me everything about it and I do believe him. He said it only went on past a "friendship" for about 3 months. He called it off because he said the guilt consumed him. He says he loves me with all his heart and will never hurt me again. He said he prays for forgiveness from GOD everyday for what he did. I pray that GOD will give me peace about this because I do not want to divorce. We have a 6 year old son. Any advice.

Just like Bill Clinton, your husband has also had sex with another. If you haven't already, go see a therapist, and maybe have him join you.

Bottom Line: This happens to lots of couples. With hard work by both of you, you can get through it, and can continue enjoying your family of three.

 Dear Doc:
I have been divorced from an abusive alcoholic for 6 years. We have a 10 year old son together. My son has informed me that he has been taken into bars, and his dad is drinking around him, along with driving. I live an hour away. The custody order states everyother weekend. I have contacted an attorney to get some advice. The probelm is, my son gets very upset when I try to talk to him about what is going to happen. We are going for a suspended visitation, in lew of counseling for his dad. This whole thing rests on my son talking to the judge, I didn't want to have to put him in the middle, and I have told him this is the only way we may be able to help his dad so my son can spend actual quality time doing the fun things on the weekends. Is there anything I can do to help him prepare for this talk with the judge, and help him to understand why we are doing this.

Both of you would do well to be in therapy throughout what may be your very long legal journey.

Bottom Line: We hate to see our kids go through this hell, but dad's sick behavior requires it. Keep in mind that if you don't take action now, the long term damage will be much greater.

 Dear Doc:
I feel like my husband does'nt love or care for me anymore. I have seen and heard of him being unfaithful and I am so hurt by him. I really just need to know what to do and how to get things back to him loving me and only me.

Maybe leaving him will let you know if he really wants to be with you.

Bottom Line: If he doesn't fight for you once you leave, he's long gone already, and you will help yourself by going out and finding a new and better life!

 Dear Doc:
my ex wifes son visits me every week he is ten years old.. he see his natural father almost everyother weekend.. he asked me the other day if he could live with me what do i tell him. i have been in his life since he was three and we are very close i would love to have him as my own but i know he is not mine.. his mother yells at him all the time.. his sister has moved to her dads house because of my exwife .. i dont know how to handle this please help

What does his mom say? I assume she says "no". If she agrees, then try to work it out. If she says "no", then do your best to continue to help him on a part-time basis.

Bottom Line: Does the dad have any power to have him live with you? Tell him that the choice is not yours, but that you will always be there for him, and that once he grows up, no one can stop him from spending time with you.

 Dear Doc:
I've been with my boyfriend for 5 years. I was always wanting to have sex, but it seem like he could take it or leave it. One day I caught him looking at porn. I was hurt and confused. It didn't seem lke he wanted to have sex with me, but he could be on the computer all night watching other people have sex and look at naked pictures of women?? Everytime I caught him he would tell me some lame excuse. I told him many times that him looking at porn really hurts me. He would get mad and tell me that I'm being paranoid. He would try to cover his tracks on the internet but every once in awhile I would cetch him. There were times I would walk into the room and he would quickly click off from what he was looking at. He would be on the computer all the time when I wasn't there. I found in search history many times sites that dealt with incest, rape, beastiality, and underage girls. He had even been on the personals chatting and recieving photos. His mom and I are very close and I had mentioned this to her. She seemed surprised but she did tell me that when he was a teen he had quite a collection of dirty magezines. Other than his porn addiction, our relationship was fine. I thought I could put all of this behind me, but after five years of this I find myself wondering if there is anything that can be done. Is there a way to help him or should I just leave him???

Packing your bags would be a good plan.

Bottom Line: He doesn't want to be helped. As a result, he will not change.

 Dear Doc:
I have been for alomost 3 years and i just don't know what to do i have these feelings for someone else and i just can't get this guy off of my mind. I don't know what to do or what to tell my husband because i don't like to see my husband in pain. This guy that i can't stop thinkin about tells me that your the one if i ever get married again i would marry you and that would be awesome! He is divored also with 2 kids and i also have 2 kids of my own! Would you please help me on what to do!

Seems like you should first decide whether you want to stay married. There's no doubt that leaving would come at a high price for all.

Bottom Line: I sure wouldn't leave for this guy. It sounds like he's all talk and no action.

 Dear Doc:
My girlfriend and I have been together for a little over six years now, she found out about a year ago that she had Genital Warts. At first she wanted to kill me, saying that she got them from me. At the time I did not have any present, I have since had some appear. She is being treated for them as well as I. The ladies at the clinic that she goes to told her that I had to have cheated on her, since we had been together at that time for over five years. I have never slept or been intimate with anyone else other than my girlfriend while we were together. She says that she has not been with anyone else either. It seemed that she had come to peace with that, and after about a year after finding out that she had Genital Warts, I asked her to marry me. She has said that she needs time to think it over because of the Genital Warts. I talked to a OB/GYN doctor that told me that she or I could have had it for up to seven years and not known it. I do not feel that she has cheated on me. What do I do to try and convince her that I did not cheat on her.

Sounds like you should let go of trying to convince her. It sure is negative energy for you.

Bottom Line: You might be surprised by the outcome. Maybe she'll leave. Then maybe she'll figure out that being away from you was a big mistake. If not, you're better off on your own anyway.

 Dear Doc:

I'm trying to figure out why you're still with this person, given how bad it is.

Bottom Line: Isn't it amazing how often we stay too long, when the craziness seems so obvious to those looking from the outside in?

 Dear Doc:
I have had a relationship with a woman for the past two years . I love her dearly. However we have issues and we are constantly breaking up. I want to go to some kind of couples counseling. I think it is worth a try .... no matter what the outcome. Am I wrong to suggest this, or should I just move on?

Yours is a great idea, but i wonder if she'll agree. If not, move on, before you get forever stuck in a destructive cycle.

Bottom Line: It can take a lot of bravery to walk away from a sick situation. As the old song goes..."ya gotta know when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em."

 Dear Doc:
my mother is dying, she has done things to me that are unspeakable. I have forgiven her, but I am still angry!!!!! Should I swallow my pride and go and see her? I wake every morning to a reminder of what happened years ago when I was just 4 years old.

It doesn't sound like you want to see her. Don't go if you don't want to.

Bottom Line: If you go, it should be for your own piece of mind. You're not a bad person if you don't go.

 Dear Doc:
my ex boyfriend who i met during his sepparation has recently went back to his wife, because he misses his kids, hes a great dad. the kids are acting up worse that when he left the first time. they go to marrige,seperate and kids counceling,nothing is changing she always been verbally abusive to him.he has recently told me that he doesnt know why he left exept that he missed his kids dearly. we both love each other very much, and we got along great mentally ,physically, great communication. he said hes still misirable.

Unfortunately his problem becomes your problem. Maybe he should give more focus to the fact that their mom may be messing up the kids. Makes sense that if she is abusive to him, she will do the same thing to the kids, sooner or later. Maybe his goal should be to get them away from that toxic environment.

Bottom Line: But you've got to take care of you. I've seen people never leave these sick relationships. You'd better be ready to move on, because you may die of old age waiting.

 Dear Doc:
My husband is trying to convince me that i am doing things behind his back, and is constintally accusing me of outragious things that he "knows" i am doing.I cant prove othewise. (example:wants to know who's been over while he is at work, cuz there is tire tracks in drive way) calls me a liar, and screams his delusions ,like he has proof...i think he needs to have a mental evaluation, before he drives me nuts...any advise or suggestions?? I live in Texas.

It sure sounds like he needs help, but the sickest one's are often the least likely to go get it.

Bottom Line: Above all else, take care of yourself. If he won't work with you, you must move on without him.

 Dear Doc:
I have a good hard working husband we have two older sons for twenty two years off and on I DONT REALLY know how much he has smoked pot when we first met i told him that or me i dont want to live like that he says he loves me with all his heart and i believe him dont know what to do help.

So do you know for sure that he's smoking it? If he is, and you meant what you said, then you'd better leave. If he isn't, and you're unrealistically accusing him, you've got to work on your own problem.

Bottom Line: Sure sounds like you folks aren't talking, or that someone isn't telling the truth. Not a good predictor that the relationship will last or thrive.

 Dear Doc:
i have been married for 7 years. i feel shy and nervous sleeping or having some rest in the afternoon in the presence of my husband thinking that he will think i am irresponsible and that i do not look after my kids. please help me.

If you haven't already, ask him directly if feels this way. If he doesn't, nap away! If he does, ask him why, and see how you can find a mutually satisfying solution.

Bottom Line: Assumptions and miscommunication can be the kiss-of-death. Let's hope that once you talk to him, that he turns out to be a decent man!

 Dear Doc:
I just got married and I have a wicked 35 year old daughter in law who is trying to make my life miserable. She is doing everything in her power to separate us and is extremely jealous of us!!!! She has said so many horrible things to me and asked me to leave her home and told me I just wanted to marry him just for his money and the entire family felt the same way!!!!

Ideally, these problems should have been addressed before the marriage. Apparently at least one member of your new husband's family feels very threatened by your presence.

Bottom Line: Your husband needs to speak with his kids, and you need to be gracious and loving. That's one tall order, but it will either win them over with time, or they will go away.

 Dear Doc:
I would like to know how it affects kids that are being split between parents and siblings. I am the stepmom of three children ages 15 boy,10 boy and 9 girl. The parents are divorced. The kids stay one week with dad and one week with mom (only the two younger ones) The older chooses not to and only makes contact when he needs something or money. Has no respect for either parents. He wants to live with mother's parents. The situation at this point is that the mother wants to leave the country and stay in the UK. The father says okay to that but wants the 10year old boy to stay with him. The other two chooses to go with the mother. I need to know how this will affect the kids amongst themselves. The 10 year old is confused and not sure what to do as he feels that if he stays with mom he wont see his dad and vice versa. I feel so sorry for them and I would like to help with advice. The 10 year old has asked my opinion and I told him that its best that his parents makes the decision for him and that he should not really worry much about the decision at this point. Its difficult for me to say dont worry because I know he worries. Please advise me on the best way to help him.

A split can be very tough on the kids. However, it doesn'n have to be so difficult, if the parents can cooperate for the benefit of their children.

Bottom Line: It is correct that it is the parent's decision, and not the child's. Tell him that both of his parents love him, and that they will do their very best to weather the changes and moves in ways that will help the family.

 Dear Doc:
I am a 28 year old women looking to file seperation and devorce papers on my husband. We have been married since november of 2003. He has done nothing but make my life extramly hard finacily and mentaly. I feel that the mentale abouse has made me go down a path of destruction. He has told me that if I ever filed for devorce that he would make matters even worse on me. Thank God we don't have children together but that still dosn't make me feel any better about the rough out come that this devorce is going to have on me. Do you know anyone that I can talk to about filing papers that either cheep or is willing to help me? I have no money because of him and with his hurassment at my job I am soon to be truminated. I feel that this is going to get ugly but I don't know how ugly its really going to get. Is it normall for a person to feel frightend in a situation like this? Is it normall for someone to completly lose their mind with fright? I don't know what to do or how to come about doing it.

There should be a women's shelter in your community that will take you in, help you get a lawyer, and protect you during the divorce. Your local police station should be able to give you the number for these helpers. If need be, they will escort you there, and help you file a restraining order against your husband. Worldwide, it is said that 1 in 3 women are abused. This terrible crime will take the efforts of legions, in order to be stopped.

Bottom Line: I commend you for your bravery. Don't let him stop you from leaving. To stay is a sure hell. To leave is the hope of a heaven.

 Dear Doc:
follow up to the 1 1/2 year custody case you responded to ..would it make any difference in your response to know that I allowed his older brother to move at the same age he is now 18 years) and he is now a convicted felon after vandalizing a catholic high school with over $40,000 in damages, has spent time in jail for this and other charges and is on probation for 5 years in two states. He left here with good grades and was in no criminal trouble even though they argue he started drinking here. If the older brother had not moved to the city from our small town I do not belive he would be a felon today but in college on a baseball scolarship. My younger son is at top of his class and scores better then 98% of students in the US in his testing and is involved in sports and school activities here as was his brother. Please respond.

Yes, that info makes a difference. Full-hour therapy is so much better, because then the whole story can be told. It sounds like there may be some big downsides to living with dad. But I wonder why your son, being so bright, still wants to be with dad. I wonder what the attraction is, given that he has seen his brother fall so far. There must be something about life with you that he finds distasteful.

Bottom Line: This needs the time of a full therapy session. Still go, even if your son won't. There may be an upside to keeping him with you, but most judges won't force an adolescent into that corner, because they know that they can be a flight risk.

 Dear Doc:
Just got the results of a 1 1/2 year long custody battle..the judge kept my 13 year old son with me instead of allowing him to move and live with his father as he requested. My son and ex are furious and will do everything possible to get me to agree to turn over custody. My son tells me he will make my life miserable until I do and refused any counseling. How do I handle this?

Although it will be the most difficult, it is the wisest to let him go. At your son's age, he needs to have some choice (even if it turns out to be the wrong one). Think long-term (as in the rest of your lives together). It may help you to accept the pain of his departure now, in the short run.

Bottom Line: If you force him to stay, it will be hell. If he goes, and then he decides he wants to return, yours will be a beautiful relationship indeed.

 Dear Doc:
I find myself lying to people all of the time. It always surrounds things to get people to feel sorry for me or to be concerned about me but then not wanting them to do this - like making up being hurt. Or it's making up a boyfriend so people don't think that something is wrong with me or pity me. I hate lying and don't understand why I do it. How can I stop? Is this a self-esteem issue?

A self esteem issue for sure. Maybe seeing a professional would help. The fact that you know and acknowledge that you do it, is half the solution.

Bottom Line: Once you come to understand WHY you do it, you can hopefully train yourself out of your too-easy habit.

 Dear Doc:
I've had a lot of bad things happen to me this last year - my two friends got together behind my back and decided that I was lying about it. They didn't talk to me, they went to other friends and my parents. They now feel "bad that they hurt me" and want to reconcile. I don't trust them and don't think they believe me still - can we reconcile? Should we?

Why waste your time? Surely you can find better friends than this.

Bottom Line: I'm sure that you are part of this problem, but even so, once trust has been broken, it's time to move on. Especially when you consider that there are more friends to be found in this world, where you can all start on fresh footing.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and i are having problems in our relationship. I am willing to ride the wave and work things out. I truely feel that we need counseling. I feel that he needs seperate counceling for himself also. How can i bring up the subject without him getting defensive and upset?

You probably can't. Just accept that he will be defensive and upset, and say it any way.

Bottom Line: If couples will keep talking they have a chance, but it's so easy to just shut down. Continue to lovingly push him toward seeing a therapist, and you may have a chance.

 Dear Doc:
I have been w/ my spouse for ten years, we have just entered marriage counseling and he has had 2 indiv sessions w/ her because she states she needs to get to know him, then me, then we will regroup as a couple. My concern is yesterday he told me he was leaving for two days, he needs time to think, I dont understand the need to leave for two days? What would be the reason to leave for two days and then come back?

Temporary leaving isn't unusual. Question is... will he be alone, or is he running to someone else?

Bottom Line: Don't let the therapy be too individualized. A session or two is ok, but more than that can create greater division, rather than cohesion.

 Dear Doc:
I am a teacher and I have a child who is very agressive and tends to speak to others in a manner that is hurtful and downright rude. I have spoke to him many times and he just seems to "forget." I have been told that he and his mother moved away from his father due to abuse brought upon his mother. I do realize that agressive tendencies can evolve from a child that is in this kind of enviroment. As a teacher, what can I do to make this young mans life a better, and make his social skills more acceptable that will allow him to fit in with everyday society? He is in the sixth grade, so he is approx. 10 or 11. Thank you for your time.

The more difficult the child, usually the more emotionally damaged they are. I hope you can save him, but don't be surprised if you can't.

Bottom Line: While trying to love him unconditionally, be firm and consistent. He will no doubt test your love. Once he truly believes that you care, and that you are safe, he may blossom into all the potential good within him.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I have been married for almost 18years. Recently I have caught him lying to me over such simple things. I am questioning whether he has always been this way and I just didn't know he was lying. I have also been wondering if he is lying about the simple things then are there Big things that he has also lied about? Now every time he tells me something I doubt what he says is the truth. How can I get past this and bring TRUST back into our Marriage?

Once you loose trust in a person, you may never get it back.

Bottom Line: If he is willing to help you, and work with you, trust can return, if he is truly honest, and if you are able to hear what he honestly has to say.

 Dear Doc:
what are the affects of a drug addict on a child? does thier behavior change, do they show signs of distress, are they in danger of growing up and addict themselves?

The affects can be devastating. All that you suggest can happen.

Bottom Line: Get the child as far away as is possible from the addiction.

 Dear Doc:
I am unable to pay to move my mother to another state at this time and she believes that this is a form of abuse, is it?

It most certainly is not.

Bottom Line: She must think you can afford it, but are refusing to do it.

 Dear Doc:
I am very very depressed I never got on with my fatherinlaw he was horrible I lived with my husbands parents for three years when we got a house of our own i never visted him my own parents told me to stay back from him i never stopped my husband or my children going to see him well when he died i felt that maybe i was wrong and i should have went to see him as i am a christian i thought that god would send me to hell for not going i think my inlaws stayed away from me as they knew perhaps they had been wrong also and did not want to interfer with our marriage my motherinlaw is now in hospital and i go regularly to see her belief me i am not a bad person i am a caring person put when i was young i did not have confidence in socialising with my inlaws please

You can't change the past. It makes sense to stay away from people who are cruel to us.

Bottom Line: If it now feels right to visit your mother-in-law, focus on the good that will come from that for both of you.

 Dear Doc:
I gave an std to my boyfriend. Is there any suggestions you can make so i can continue our relationship to the way it used to be? I love him very much, and this std has ruiened both mine and his, and i want him to realize that it was an accident, i don't know what to do anymore.

It will probably never be the same. Be honest about your error, and maybe he will give the relationship a chance.

Bottom Line: Just because it won't be the way it was doesn't mean it can't grow better via this adversity!

 Dear Doc:
when is it appropriate for a therapist in a group therapy setting to ask one of the members who is shareing very sensitive information to refrain from shareing if the therapist feels the group may not handle the information in a helpful way

It's usually appropriate when a person's privacy is at stake.

Bottom Line: A group usually sets it's rules of operation at the beginning of the process. These shouldn't change until all agree.

 Dear Doc:
I was having an affair with a man who had been in a 6 year relationship, it was a stupid thing to do so I ended it 2 weeks ago, this week I found out that they had broken up. The reason he gave is that he said she was having an affair, I know 100% that this is a lie and now all there friend have turned their back on her,should I come clean?


Bottom Line: As the old saying goes, he shouldn't play the game if he isn't willing to take the blame.

 Dear Doc:
do you agree or disagree with parents who want their children to totally avoid the pain or failures of life?

Our most important lessons are usually learned through our failures.

Bottom Line: It can definitely harm a child to be over-protected against life's inevitable perils.

 Dear Doc:
what would happen if you lost your confidence, in the middle of confusion, uncertainty and undecesiveness, can somebody overcome it by themselves, what are the tendencies that would happen to them, it tears me apart realizing that time had passed by so fast and the hardwork ive done from the very start had been wasted afterall. thanks. wrong grammar iguess, sorry. fr japan.

It's easier to overcome it with the help of others.

Bottom Line: You can rebuild your self confidence. Be honest about your struggle with friends and professionals, and you will find your way back!

 Dear Doc:
i stole some money from a friend, because i could not bear the stress as there was a problem and i needed the money. now i've told my husband about it. he's ver angry with me. he feels completly let down by me. i am very guilty and depressed because i've done something wrong as well as i am loosing the man i love the most. what do i do i cant live with out him. how can things get better. what do i do?

Repay the debt. Hopefully that will cause your husband to regain some respect for you.

Bottom Line: It's not over yet, so do your best to correct your error, and maybe your husband will want to rebuild with you.

 Dear Doc:
My husband is not interested in having sex very often anymore. It makes me feel unwanted, what do i do?

Not a good sign. Hopefully, the two of you can talk. See a pro if needed.

Bottom Line: This is one of the hardest things to discuss, but one of the most difficult. This is usually a symptom, rather than the sole problem.

 Dear Doc:
Last year I lost two cats that I have had for 13 years. One had kidney disease and the other cancer. Since the loss, I have had a very difficult time. I have been HAPPILY married up till my loss. Since then me and my husband are not as close as we used to be. I seem to not trust him - even though he has never given me a reason to - and I don't feel like he loves me anymore. He has grown a goatee and he knows that I hate it but for some reason he is persistant on keeping it. This makes me suspicous. I know there are things that he doesn't like about me, but he will never tell me. We have a 5 year old that just started school. I know this has added alot of stress to me as well. My husband always told me he was jealous of our cats. What can I do to change the way I look at things. Are we doomed?

Doomed, no. In trouble yes. It's not just how you look at things. There are some core gaps in your marriage, that only have a chance of being closed with some serious self-work, followed by him opening up to you also.

Bottom Line: You'd best get some pro help asap.

 Dear Doc:
Hi there, I am so confused about things at the moment...Here it is: I met a Jewish felloe on a on-line Jewish site (I am also Jewish), we met on June20/05. He resides in another city about 3 hrs. away. We ended up visiting eachother about 3 times each and we spoke everyday sometimes up to 4 times. He is also a psychologist and is divorced twice with 3 children, I am also divorced with no children after an 11 yr. marriage. Most women would run the other way due to his extra baggage, but I chose not to, in fact I really like this person and in such a short time, I have started getting feelings for him, am I scrazy to feel this way?? anyways, I had asked him a question about what if he still had feelings for any of his ex-spouses or girlfriend, he wondered why?? little did I know that this would turn him away and to some extent scare him away. He actually surprised me back on july 1/05, in fact he showed up at my door, I was flattered. He had e-mailed me on Wednesday his letter! was cold and distant. He stated that he was confused why I asked him the question about whether he still had feelings for his ex-wives or girlfriend, he then said he was sorry about how things happened so quick, so soon that mybe all we needed was a bit of time & space, I then e-mailed him this: that I supported him in his efforts to get clarity reagrding his past relationships, that I was having difficulty in understanding what he meant by him not being sure as to where to go from here and that I was so confused right now, that I didn't know where to go from here... He then e-mailed me back saying that he joined the club, if I was there that he would have asked me out for coffee, but that he wasn't sure if he wanted me to stay for the weekend, hopefully, time a nd space will be good... I want to e-mail him, but I am wondering what to do next, please advise...Signed, so very confused

Leave him alone. He may not be stable enough for you.

Bottom Line: Your questions about his past life are reasonable. There's something about his situation that just doesn't smell right.

 Dear Doc:
my daughter begged daily for 5 years to be homeschooled. After being bitten by a brown recluse, her immune system was low and she was sick more than before, causing her to miss too much school. She constantly fought us at bedtime, then again when it was time to get up, wreaking havoc throughout our household putting a strain on our marriage. After having barely passing fifth grade due to attendance & tardiness, (grades were A-B-C's) and causing us to receive letters regarding this situation from the D.A., (whom I knew on a personal level)two years in a row, I turned to people of authority asking what they thought. I knew these people, the D.A., the President of the Schoolboard (also our family Doctor), our Attorney/judge, and a DHS caseworker. They knew our worked was demanding but we were able to keep our children with us when not in school. We had already successfully seen our son through these years of schooling, who was very much opposite regarding obedience, school,(top 10%, perfect attendance, ...) and pretty much everthing else, rarely causing disruption of kind. They recommended try homeschooling. We ordered the books, and the moment the arrived her mind changed, fighting us at every turn. We noticed her improvement as far as remaining more healthy, more often than before, which was wonderful. So that was a plus, but her defiant attitude was horrid. She began to play me against my husband, I would catch her quietly being mean to her younger brother to make him react loudly & fiercely, making it look as though he was the problem. He is undergoing evaluation for ADHD. She has turned to lying or only giving half truths manipulating other family members to believe I am totally incompetant as a mother. My husband is only 56 being consumed by RA and is awaiting a hip replacement, as he is unable to do most things without my assistance. She has made this her golden opportunity with extended family members to the point, they have encouraged her to defy our rules and everything good we have tried to keep alive considering the rapid changes this has swept over our family. She has been hurtful to me and her brother almost daily for the last 2 years, keeping her Dad as her closest ally. After going to "help" my Aunt babysit my cousin's children as they were both phsically unable (Aunt had gallbladder infection, & cousin had 3 ribs out of place) to lift the little ones for two weeks, she was working them successfully, as they took her word as gospel. She is a beautiful, very helpful to everyone, except me. Upon arriving home, within 48 hrs. she turned on her Father for the first, screaming at him in a condesending manner making him feel belittled, vulnerable & hate even more what is physically taking his once very capable abilities away from him. He for the umpteenth time gave in to her demands out of rage, taking her to the very place she wanted to go, she got out of the car without showing remorse for her actions she never looked back. 2 days later my Aunt is in the hospital with high blood pressure after knowing how hurt I was from this. please help

Unfortunately, she sounds very disturbed and selfish. May be time for one of you to move out.

Bottom Line: See a therapist asap. Be decisive. Don't continue as it is, because it sounds like a death trap for all!

 Dear Doc:
My daughter is going to be a freshman this year in High school. She is an excellent athlete and was hoping to make the JV Soccer team. She has been playing sports since she was 6. I watched the tryouts and she did well. I knew it was going to be tough because there were 40 girls going for 20 spots. She didn't make the vut and the coach didn't give any reason(s) why, just a note saying, "you didn't make the team thanks." She is down as I expected but she has really lost her confidence in her playing, and she is giving up. She has always loved soccer more than her other sports and I suggested that we play rec and she won't even consider playing for another team. Is there any advice you can give? I told her it's okay to be upset but to to feel good that she tried her best and if things don't work, she can learn from that and can try again.

It is so hard to watch our kids go through that, yet it's a part of growing up. Is there a freshman team she can play on? Time will tell if she wants to keep fighting for the right to play, or if she goes in another direction.

Bottom Line: The change in direction can be hard for parents, but in the long run of high school, it often causes the child to find new doors of opportunity.

 Dear Doc:
I have an 18 year old son who dropped out of high school has lost one job and recently has been being irresponsible with his new job. I seperated from my husband for 8 months and my son has been living with me he has contributed very little and does not abide by my rules He drinks alcohol constantly and has his friends over and they party a lot against my wishes I believe he is turning into an alcoholic. His step dad and I have decided to reconcile and my son is totally against it. He manipulates me in to thinking its my responsibility to take care of him so to speak . However just last year he got a D.U.I and while he has paid his reinstatement fee he still owes$550 of his $1200 fine he has been paying on it for a year now He does not want to move back in with me and his step dad because we will be living in the country and obviously he doesnt want anyone to tell him what to do . Is it unfair of me to put myself first and tell him to fend for himself or am I suppose to continue supporting him so he can do as he pleases

No, it is not unfair of you to put yourself first. You will only hurt him down the road, if you help him too much now.

Bottom Line: It is time for him to sink or swim on his own.

 Dear Doc:
My mother is a 66 twice widow woman who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship for the past 3 years. I am a 40 year old female, and my sister is 37. This man is a classic manipulator (cheats on her with other women and tries to make HER feel bad about it, makes her feel it's HER RESPONSIBILITY to support him financially, has tried to turn her against my sister and I). My sister and I and her best friends have done everything in our power to help her see the light, but she is very nnedy emotionally, can't accept she's aging and won't come out of her denial. He manipulated HER into getting a lot of money to pay off a huge debt he had, and proceeded to cheat on her. My mother promised in front of our therapist that she wasn't going back to him but we just found out she's been seeing him again. My sister and I are at peace in that we feel we have done everything possible to help her, but we are incredibly hurt at her lying to us again, and haven't even started to deal with her passive aggressive behavior to us during this time (in her eyes we are the enemies not him). We have at least managed to protect her assets as much as we can, but don't know what else todo. My sister and I are through trying to rescue our mother, her denial is too strong and it's like beating our head against a wall. However, we don't want to just stop talking to her, because that is exactly what that man wants. My mother has Parkinson's and becomes disoriented at times.... we have to be close enough to try to watch out over her, but at the same time keep more of an emotional distance as we can't stand the pain of seeing such an intelligent woman auto destruct they way she is doing. Can you offer us any advice in handling our communication with her? Thank you!

Keep up with your therapy. It's healthy that you have retired from trying to help her. The ball is now in her court.

Bottom Line: Let go of mom. Hopefully, she will be wise enough to see your value, and his manipulation. If she doesn't, you have to move on, because you've done your best.

 Dear Doc:
My step-son has commited 3 felony acts involving a firearm against me and his sister. He is in court ordered residential treatment. He has planned an escape involving a staff murder. He is 15 years old. Can he be emmancipated? He resides in PA. We have moved out of state. Fear and despiration has taken over. Help please.

He should not return to you. The judge may make him a ward of the court, and send him to a foster home or a half-way house.

Bottom Line: You must stay away from him at all cost, unless you see years of rehabilitation, and have assurances that he will not harm you. Unfortunately, this is not likely to occur.

 Dear Doc:
i had a phone lover who i dated without seeing for three months but the we made love the first day we met after i spent two days at his house. i called him the following week after the incident only for him to tell me that he doesnt want to see me any more.he doesnt want to talk to me any more and what ever existed between us was over. what could i have done wrongly,why do you think he decided to treat me this way.

It sounds like dating live didn't agree with long distance dating.

Bottom Line: Don't take it personally. Learn what you can from the experience, and move on.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend and I have decided to take a break from our relationship so we can have some time to deal with some individual problems we are having with communication. He is holding onto a lot of past feelings of guilt and anger (famiy issues) and I have a short fuse and do not handle misunderstandings or disagreements in a good way. My question is...How can we work on our relationship if we are apart? My thinking is he wants to see if I can figure out how to not fly off the handle when he brings something up. How am I supposed see if I can handle disagreements in a better way if I am not in an active relationship? If we are apart, I don't see how we are working on us?

It sounds like he talked you into taking the break. You can't work on your relationship when you are apart. Unfortunately, it sounds like this is his way of easing you into a breakup.

Bottom Line: As individuals, we should always try to gain more insight, while we try to get healthier. This can only help our relationships, and can happen while we are with the other person.

 Dear Doc:
My partner recently confessed that he had a one night stand with a female friend of his over a year ago. I suspected this but he has only just admit it after months of arguing. Is is possible to get over this, and what can I do to try

Yes it is, but it's one of the hardest things you will ever do. It will be a lot easier if he is supportive, and admits his fault.

Bottom Line: Go get professional help, or at least a support group.

 Dear Doc:
i am 20 years old, i live at home with my younger brother and mother and father. about 1 1/2 to 2 years ago my older brother and his wife and 2 kids moved in with us, so my older brother could complete college. since they have moved in it has been really hard to adjust. i feel like my house has been turned up side down. on seperate occasions i was physicaly assaulted by both of my brothers. i feel differantly about them now. i have no choice but to live in the same house with both of them, when my younger brother attacked me he really beat me up i had bruses for about a month. he is only 16, but he is huge, he plays foot ball. i feel that he has no remorse for what he did to me even though he apologized. i feel he likes to be intimidating. as for my older brother the air in my house is so think with tension because him and his family are still here after 2 years. he has no job at the father is paying for all the grocerys for his family. i dont know what to do. i dont feel secure in my own home. and i cant move out because i just started nursing school. please just give me any advice that you can concerning all of my issues. my main question is should i have to live with 2 men, even though they are my brothers, that physically assaulted me? and how common is physical abuse between adult siblings? i feel like they both do not respect me, and that hurts so badly, because i loved my brothers so much and now i cant even look at them or conversate with them, but as i said i have no choice but to live with them. what can i do? please help me. thank you.

No, you should not be living that way. Get the @#$% out asap! I do believe that you have a choice. Do not tolerate ANY abuse! There is obviously serious emotional sickness in that household.

Bottom Line: You may be as poor as a church mouse when first you leave, but the improvement to your psyche will help you to go forward in your life, and cause you to build yourself a better world!

 Dear Doc:
Can a mom put a restraining order on her daughters boyfriend just because she doesnt like him?

No. A judge would never grant a restraining order unless there were much more serious reasons (like a threat of physical harm).

Bottom Line: A parent's disdain of the teen's boyfriend may not be legally preventable, but the parent can make the teen's life hell over the boyfriend. Hopefully a compromising answer can be found.

 Dear Doc:
I have a pretty extreme problem. I'm 20 years old and living with my parents. We used to get along a very long time ago, but when I was 6 years old to the time I was 10 I was raped every night by my older cousins boyfriend. My mother once she found out refused to tell the police, claiming no one would believe me due to lack of evidence etc. After a while I became resentful and even resorted to heavy drug use, which to this day she wont admit. I never really stole from her (at most $10 once or twice), but I was gone alot, and when I was home I was locked in my room by my own choice. After a while we started to get along again and I had cleaned up my act and gotten sober and clean. But my mother still resents me, and when I was 18 my sister pushed me into an abusive marriage, I later left that man and came home. Recently my mother admitted to me that she hadn't wanted me to come home, that if it were up to her I could have just stayed where I was. She also called me white trash (when I'm actually hispanic and israeli) and insulted me even worse. Tonight, there was a lizard in my bedroom. I have a very intense phobia of lizards, so I woke her up and asked for her help, she came in and pretended to spray flea spray, but I saw the lizard move so I asked her to get my father to catch it, she refused. I said to her that if it were a rat she'd understand and she'd have an army here, she replied with "yeah I'm such a bitch that I only think of myself right?" and left me locked in my room with the lizard. As I was panicking, I bumped into a tower that held some glass eggs, they fell on me and broke, but my parents didnt even stir although their room is right next to mine and can hear anything through the thin walls. My friends say I should leave, but I have no money and no abilities that anyone would consider rather valuable. I need help and don't know what to do. What can I do?

Your friends are right. You must find a way out. There is a way. Ask your friends to help you find an answer.

Bottom Line: Your chronic abuse can harm you for life. Once you find a new home, get professional help. Programs are available for those without resources.

 Dear Doc:
I've dated a girl for almost a year. She's an alcoholic and drug abuser. I knew nothing of how to deal with this during the first half a year we dated. I made the mistakes that most 'enablers' make because I thought I was doing the right thing. I read a lot, learned, and tried things until I finally realized I needed to leave, and so I did. I maintained some contact, because I believed if she would stop the drinking/drugging, we could be together. Bottom line: she did a lot of things that hurt me - mostly lying, manipulating, and some cheating. She's been clean now for three weeks with the help of NA and AA. We've been talking and I've been helping her get to meetings and hanging out when she needed someone. She wants the relationship to go back to the way it was, but she says she's not far enough into her recovery to face all the things she's done, especially to me, so she can't apologize for those things yet. I feel like I need some kind of apology or understanding about what I went through. I understand she can't face that so early in recovery, and have said I'm willing to wait. But in the same vien, I don't want to get too attached again for fear of being hurt again. I am willing to wait for the apology but she keeps pushing for me to go further in the relationship. The biggest sticking point right now is that she wants access to my friends and family but I'm afraid of the way they'll react, since they saw the devestation she caused in my life. She never really saw it. Am I being 'selfish' as she says, by not letting it go, or is she being 'pushy' as I say, by expecting more from me than she gives herself?

You're not selfish. She's being pushy. Most knowledgeable people would tell you to stay away from a recovering addict for at least a year. You may be one of her addictions, and she may be afraid she can't make it without you. Give her a wide berth as she heals herself.

Bottom Line: If she truly makes it through recovery (which is statistically unlikely), there will be a lot of time to be together.

 Dear Doc:
I have been having an internet relationship with a man now for six weeks. We have never met but plan to in a fortnight. We talk daily and he seems a nice guy. I like him. But.. the other night he rang me, after a few drinks, and told me 'i think im falling in love with you'. This has put me off but i dont know why?. Is it possible he can feel that way after such a short time? and having never met me? What do you think??

Those feelings are possible, but they are based on fantasy more than reality. Don't avoid him because of it. Give it a chance.

Bottom Line: After you spend time together face to face, you will have a better feel for the relationship's potential. Anything is possible!

 Dear Doc:

Are all women the same? All restaurants? Cars? One of the greatest challenges of aging is to fight off cynicism and pessimism. Idealism may be dead, but realism still holds out hope for good people in a good world.

Bottom Line: Stop thinking in black and white. Enjoy him. Tell him of your fears, and find a great life in the gray areas of life!

 Dear Doc:
I have a 15 year old son, whose father has never really been part of his life. About 10 years ago my son and I moved to a different state(with his fathers permission) to make a better life for ourselves. My sons father hasnt talked to my son in almost 4 years even though weve had the same address and phone number for over 7 years. My son spends the summer with my aunt and uncle, whom live in another stae, thier kids are grown and they love to take my son places with them, and do things with him that I cannot afford.(Disneyland, etc..) This year I traveled with my son and took a 'mini' vacation. While we were there my aunt asked where my son was (he was in his room)and when she went to go get him my uncle stopped her and told her he was having a 'dad moment'.I went into the room to see what was wrong and my son was sitting there in tears. When I asked him what was wrong he said he was having ' dad issues' and didnt want to talk about it. My heart hit the floor, I have never seen my son like this and he has never shown any emotion when it comes to his father. I dont know what to do, I figured if his father wants to be part of his life that he would be part of his life, but hes not and I dont want my sons heart to break again only to learn that he is an after thought in this mans mind. Yes I admit I dont want my son around this man,obvously hes not much for resposiblilty, and wouldnt know who my son is if he walked right in front of him. But I feel my son needs to know his father, but Im worried that it will cause more harm than good.Should I help my son find his father if he wants? If not how do I help him with this?

Yes, help him find his dad. Your son is old enough to deal with the discoveries that he will find down that road.

Bottom Line: Just be there for him, so that he can choose whether to stay in contact with his absent dad.

 Dear Doc:
here is the situation i made my chick mad at me and she thought i was breaking up with her, so out of anger she goes and sleeps with her drunken best friend (long distance relationship of couarse, so i'm just about to propose when she tells me, completly shatters my world and then she hits me again with an "i might be pregnant" so that it could be either of ours, she expects me to forgive her and i want to but there are a couple of major issues here and i don't know how to trust her.

If you don't run from this situation you are foolish indeed!

Bottom Line: Relationships that are based on manipulation and coercion are on a road to destruction.

 Dear Doc:
my girlfriend just seperated from me after 6 years together.all because i was foolish on letting my personal stress get to me to the point where i became distant and less affectionate towards her.she says she wants to be happy and she desevre it.she still loves me deeply and i feel the same,she says if it's meant to be we will be back together.but she also said that this freedom will better my chances with getting her back.i want her back so bad but know it can't happen now.i am willing to do anything to get her back.we also have a child together and that is our 1st am i a fool for planning to get her back some day? because as a 25yr-old man i want to get married in a few years and knows she is the hurts to see my own family break up , my child still has both of us, but she's use to waking to mom and dad and going to sleep with mom and dad,she deserves can i get her back?what should i do?

It's not foolish to be hopeful.

Bottom Line: But you will have to be patient, and show her over time that your love is steady and ongoing.

 Dear Doc:
I am living with a man who is going thru a very bad divorce. His wife & her family are very bitter, and have said so many negative & terrible things about me. His children knew me from way before, they use to like me & got along fine with me up til 7months ago, when the mother put a restraining order against my boyfriend, this kept my boyfriend from seein' his 11 and 7 year old kids for 7months. Now they are afraid of me & cry and don't want to be around me. Their mother calls and checks up on them to find out who they are with and what they are doin' when they are with my boyfriend to make sure I am not around. His wife is using their kids to get back at him for leaving her. I have a 10 year daughter myself and she knowes his children and also get along fine, my daughter respects & likes my boyfriend. I know that this affair we had was wrong, and it wasn't suppose to happen the way it did, but he fell out of love with his wife and inlove with me. We both fell deep inlove,we dated years ago & reunited after 15 years I was his first love & he was mine too. Anyhow, now his children do not want to come around me since their mother has said all these bad things about me, and this is very hard for me and my boyfriend. What can we do to help the kids overcome the negative image their mother said about me. What can my boyfriend do? Will this ever get better? Or is it best to just get out of this relationship now before we invest more time on something that may never work sister & mom says his kids will never accept me or like me, because the mother is sooo determine in bad mouthing me to destroy my relationship with my boyfriend. What should I do? I love my boyfriend so much, and I know he loves me this situation only goin' to get worse????? I am 32 and my boyfriend is 33.

Affairs will bring out the darkside in people for sure. Do your part not to use the kids as pawns.

Bottom Line: Your goal is to be good and decent to all. Over time, the kids will see your goodness, and decide that being around you has an upside. Realize, however, that this could take many years.

 Dear Doc:
I have a soon to be 17 yr.old son that I think may need medication. I raised him until he was 12 and the father decided to give him everything and take him away from me. after about 3 months, my ex- husbands mother did the same thing to him that he did to me. That lasted about 4 months and my son came back to me. Then it was my mom and back to dads and back to grandmas on the dads side. My son ran off from me for a week and does not say where he is going or when he will be home. He started hanging around the wrong crowd and lashes out everyone in his life, smoking pot when he is out until about 1am and I feel like this chip on his shoulder is ruining his life. He can't go back to high school because his grades are shot. He won't find a job and his dad and him are driving me crazy, calling every night due to one thing or another.He lacks respect and feels no-one respects him. I can not blame him for everything since the court system and the dad and his mother all had a part in it. Would he have turned out like my daughter had I kept him and no-one butted in? Who knows, but he was doing good and he is a great sensitive person. Is this typical teenage boy behavior? HELP HELP HELP HELP HELP HELP HELP HELP HELP HELP HELP HELP

Rebellion is typical, but he sounds like he's over the top.

Bottom Line: If he will go to a therapist, take him. If not, try to love him, while keeping firm boundaries that protect your own sanity.

 Dear Doc:
dear doc, me and my girl just broke after 6 up and down years,i made the mistake of letting my personal demons affect our realationship to the point where she felt unappreciated,i love her deeply and she feels the same but thinks a seperation is best.though it's not promised,she didn't extacly closed the door completely.i know i have to fix me first,but i know this IS who i you think it's foolish to fight to reconcile however long the seperation MAYBE?,PLEASE HELP!

It is not foolish. Go for it.

Bottom Line: It may hurt to follow our heart, but it is usually a necessary journey.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I have 4 children. We have been together for 16 years. My husbands family can go years without talking to each other. He has 2 sisters and a brother. His parents dont talk to one daughter and rarely to their other son. My husband and our 16 year old son had a heated arguement the other day over a very small unimportant subject, but they got in each others face and both are stuborn and they had to make it into a arguement. My son cursed at his Dad telling him to F--- off. My husband, whom works in his families business, told my son he was fired from his job there at work. The arguement had nothing to do with work. My son feels bad for what he said. My husband wont talk to him or even go near him. He will not talk to him till he apologizes, but my son is feeling ashamed. My husband does this sort of thing, but if HE were wrong, he would not apologize. I feel the arguement was his starting anyway. I am torn up over this. And now my husband and I fight because of it. I tell him we are not His (husbands) parents and I dont want that kind of family. He says fine, he just wont deal with the kids anymore and I can handle their problems! My kids are starting to resent him like he does his Dad! Im tiered of trying to keep the peace! Shall I just give up and let him ruin his relationship with them? Only to badly effect mine? Thanks

Retire from your peacemaker job. We can't assume that his relationship with them will go to hell without you in the middle. Just the opposite might happen.

Bottom Line: Maybe the sooner you get out of the way, the sooner they will have to find their way.

 Dear Doc:
I sincerly hope you can help me. I am 27 years old, lead a relatively normal and happy life. For others. However, I have a huge problem, from time to time I get so depressed, I think there is no point in moving further. I had a relationship of 5 and a half years, when exactly a year a go, my boyfriend at a time left me for another girlfriend. we had a really excellent relationship, where we (he even more passionatelly) planned our lives together etc. Now, a year later, he is happilly married with this other women and I still feeld desparate. I am so involved with this break-up, can't get over it, feel anxious when I talk about it or meet our commmon friends. For some reason, I just think that there is a chance we might be together again. I have a new boyfriend, I try to lead normal life, but the memories just keep comming back, in dreams, everywhere. I just can't let him go. I keep pretending I forgot him and I avoid discussing or mentioning us alltogether. I thought this strategy would help me forget about him easily. But no I get more and more obsessed by him. What is even worse, we were both professionally and socially very connected. What is you advice, what should I do make me the center of my universe and get him out of my trone as my Mr. Perfect. He is smart, kind, successful, hard-working etc. I keep blaming myself for break-up. Please, help, thanks.

Clearly, the relationship wasn't all that great, from his perspective, given that he so quickly married after your breakup.

Bottom Line: Kill the rumor that a Mr. Perfect exists. You gave it your all, and it didn't work out, so there must be other good down the road without him.

 Dear Doc:
i lost my husband a week ago and he was only 50 years old from a massive heart attack, which he just drop over dead. i am handling well, and i am very strong indepenent person who is only 48. i am also rn and do make money. my husband left me well off. my children are 21 and 22, both a boy and a girl. they are treating me like a little old lady,by controlling me. i am in control, and there is power struggle between them and me. i am so stressed out and keeping telling to quit nagging at me and treating me like a child. help me, before i break down.

It is very unusual that you are doing so well immediately after a death. Most experts will predict that the significance of your loss will hit you more over time. We will also expect that your kids will have some long term struggles as a result of the sudden loss of their dad. No one in the family may find normality for at least a year or two.

Bottom Line: With regard to your kids, you sure have the right to live your own life. Go out and live it, and let your kids just deal with your independent choices. But also try to be tolerant of them, as they grieve dad's death.

 Dear Doc:
I have been with my husband for about 13 years and we have two children the age of 7 and 4. About 3 months ago we received shocking news that my cousin's 12 year old son's father is my husband. We both did not know of this child. I have been through a lot of emotions. I never wanted this type of thing to happen to my family. We have all been affected and are trying to deal with the situation. My cousin is an alcoholic and drug addict. She has failed to live a alchohol and drug free life; therefore her son has been taken away from her. Since my husband is the father, he has assumed responsiblity, and now the 12 year old lives in our home. All of this has happend withing three months. My 7 year old son is becoming very emotional about his older half brother. My 7 year old has expressed that his father no longer spends time with him and doesn't do things with him like he use too. I and other family members have noticed all of my husbands attention is focused towards his 12 year old. I have focused all my attention evenly between all three children. I have not yet picked and chosen who I'm going to take places. I have expressed this problem to my husband. He said he understands. Well today my son was very hurt because his father picked up the 12 year old and did not even acknowledge asking my 7 year old son. I don't know what to do or how to address this to my husband AGAIN! I feel that my husband will think that it is just me and not my son feeling this way. I know things will never be the way it use to, but I am trying hard to make this situation work. I need advice on what to do. My 7 year old has talked to my husband about the way he feels, but my husband fails to get in through his head. What should I do?

Is your husband willing to lose the marriage over the 12 year old? Because that may well happen, if he doesn't wake up and smell the coffee! Get him (and the rest of the family)to therapy asap. Unfortunately, he sounds like the type that might not go.

Bottom Line: Yours is one of the hardest family situations out there. I commend you for your efforts to help the 12 year old, but fight like hell to keep the goodness of your original family!

 Dear Doc:
If you are in a abusive relationship can you become emotionally unstable?

There is no can. Instability is guaranteed!

Bottom Line: It may be subtle, but it will hurt you. Get out while you can!

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend that I was seeing has returned to try and work things out with his ex-wife because his children have begged him to come back home.I know his kids wanting him to come home was tearing him apart inside. Unfortuantely, I am EXTREMELY HEARTBROKEN. He told me that the personal phone calls are going to have to stop, although we do have to talk about business stuff- and that is exactly what it is business stuff now. He called to tell me(Saturday)about his decision to try and go back and make things work for the kids sake ,as well as trying to make things work between his ex-wife and him---and just thinking about(him and his ex-wife) that TEARS me up inside.But when I do talk business with him, I have to pretend that I am not bothered by him going back, otherwise it will make work an awkward situation, considering next week he will transferred to my department. But before he hung up with me on Saturday he did tell me..."it might not be right to say this right now, but I do love you..but I will feel guilty for the rest of my life if I do not try to go back and try to make it work one last time."---even at the risk of losing me.(because that is what I lead him to believe)...although I did tell him that I would be there waiting for him if things didnt work out? All my friends say that give it 3-6 months and she'll be back to her witchy self (because right now she is being an angel to him) and then he will see that he did try to make it work but it just didnt happen. But my concern is, will he just stay in an unhappy relationship because he wants to be there for the kids?

My guess is that you are re-asking a question that was answered here just recently. If he stays unhappy with his ex, consider yourself lucky that you didn't get stuck with such an unhealthy individual!

Bottom Line: If he is going to move on, he has to get over the hump of his guilt about leaving. His kids can survive the divorce, if he will be decisive and build a new life with them as a single dad.

 Dear Doc:
My daughter is 20 and is dating a 25 year old service man who is in the Navy. He wants to marry her. I have caught him in a few small lies and have told her I am concerned that if they marry, he will probably not be very honest. She says she knows he lies and thinks he does it to make himself look more important or more proficient than he is. She is trying to help him overcome his lying and thinks he is improving. I just found out that he has been lying for 2 1/2 years to her about graduating from college. His college says he is not a graduate. Should I tell him what I found out? Should I tell her? She is about to get a dual degree in Spanish and Psychology and plans to continue on for a Masters and Doctorate in Psyc.

Yes, tell him, as well as her.

Bottom Line: Then tell her she deserves better, and that she can achieve a better relationship!

 Dear Doc:
I have been married for 30Years, Right now I have left because he threatened to kill me. I have not spoken to him since i left. My children have talked to him, he claims to stopped drinking and will change if I would return. This is not a one time occurance, however before he did not threaten to kill me. Would you advise counseling for both of us or stay gone.

Counseling would be great, but my bet is that he won't stick with it. His talk of change is cheap, but his sick behavior is deeply seated (as is your putting up with too much of his sickness).

Bottom Line: Try counseling, but if/when it doesn't work, stay away for good.

 Dear Doc:
I am in love with someone who is still married (for 12 years), but separated for about 4 months now. (He hasnt lived at home during these 4 months) Ive known him for some time and recently (Jan) we expressed strong feelings for each other. We have had a great relationship (More than friends) since then. Our sex life is amazing(3 months now). But today he told me that his children are asking him everyday that they want him to come home and work things out with their mom(who is by the way being nice to him...because she wants him back) She has tried several times into talking him to come back home, but he realized that it just wouldnt work between them. and i know this sounds like a cliche, but he has told me that he loves me (and shows me)--and trust me i know that he does..but he says the guilt that his children are giving him is unbearable that he is seriously thinking about going back to her to try and make it work. She wants him back desperately ( she has even gone as far as using his son to call him and tell him that he wants his daddy to come home ). And it is killing me inside while he thinks about what he is going to do. He says that until he figures what he wants to do..our sex life will be on hold....and he is staying true to that....because believe me I have tried. He doesnt look at me the the same way....and it hurts! I can tell that this situation is tearing him up inside. Because I told him if he chooses to go back, I will not be there if things dont work out. I've even tried to tell him that he should go back (not that I really wanted him too, but i cant stand to see him so unhappy). Still he tells me he doesnt know if that is the right thing to do. So meanwhile...Im angry, confused and most of all hurt. What do you think he will do? PLEASE HELP ME!!! I love him.

Sounds like you fell for the wrong guy. Or at least the right guy at the wrong time. Given that you are one, and his children are several, you need to get out of the way, and let him figure out what he needs to do.

Bottom Line: If your love for him is real, you can step away, no matter how much it will hurt. But it would be immature not to consider being with him down the road, if that's how it works out (for true love can wait ever so long).

 Dear Doc:
I am involved with a sociopath. He was cruel to his wife. Divorce is final after 35 years. I have been involved for 13. Is there a cure for such a person. I have not seen all his true colors. He used to be quite into the women when he was married. Now he doesn't seem interested. Who will he prey upon Next? Should I notify the coop board of his illness before he is approved.. He may reign terror on all 500 apts.

These are the hardest people to cure. If they don't want to be cured, there's really no hope. And VERY FEW of them want to be cured.

Bottom Line: If you are smart, you will run from him as fast and as far as you can!

 Dear Doc:
I am 15 years old and I have been going out with the same girl for 7 months now. Before me she had never had a serious relationship and all she did was hang out with her friends. I have noticed that she has been exceptionally taken with one of her girl-friends. She wants to be like her, talk like he, and do absolutely everything she does. What is even worse is that she does everything she says and cannot say the word "no" to her. My girlfriend and I were friends before we started dating and when I asked her out, nothing much changed. She still treats me exactly the same as when we were friends. when we were friends she always chose her girlfriend I have been talking about over me and I accepted that because they had things in common, mainly their gender. But since we have been going out she still chooses this girl over me. She will often break our plans because this girl has asked her to do something and instead of telling her that she already has plans with me. She tells her she can do it and then later tells me she is busy now. I have confronted her many times but she just says she is just trying to divide her time equally, even though my opinion it is more 70% her girlfriend and 30% myself. And even if she was actually dividing her time exactly in half i still feel that because I am her boyfriend, I should be treated a little different then her friend. My family all tells me that she us selfish and only wants to hang out with me when it is good for her. They tell me she only wants to be with me when all her other friends are busy. Am I just being selfish myself or do I deserve a little more respect from this relationship?

You deserve a hell of a lot more. Your family is correct.

Bottom Line: Tell her goodbye, and start spending time with someone who really appreciates you!

 Dear Doc:

It is not a phobia. The question is: WHY is he changing his appearance? Whether we realize it or not, we do everything for a reason. Once you understand why, you can more effectively deal with the problem.

Bottom Line: We can't make the other person change. All you can do is tell him of your concerns. If he won't listen, you may have to take what ever action is necessary, to help you feel better.

 Dear Doc:
How do I help my daughter get out of an unhealthy relationship? He does not beat her just he got her to smoking and drinking. He tells her his parents will not let him do anything with her. he never pays the kind of attention to her that most boyfriends should. I am not saying i dislike the boy but he does not love or treat her as a special person.

I'm guessing she doesn't want your help. Nothing is harder for parents, then watching their kids make bad dating decisions.

Bottom Line: You can tell her of your concerns, but she is most likely to learn the truth only after she has been badly hurt.

 Dear Doc:
I am 33 yo male who just completed my PharmD degree. Now that I am not in school and will be making money- I would like to start having visitation rights to see my 5 yo son (never married). Mother is unfortunately using child as pawn or weapon and will not let me see him. I live in Cincinnati, OH while the child and his mother live in Ashland KY. How do I go about seeking visitation and then sole custody (physical). Mother has terminal illness may last 2 yrs at most. GPs currently supervise the child. there are many issues about the childs safety and welfare in his current living conditions. I, on other hand, will have excellent income, w/ excellent access to schools, etc. First, do I need to get a lawyer from ashland, KY or can i get one from around my area where I live. Second, what issues may there be regarding my attempt for sole custody. Any comments would be greatly appreciated, THANKS.

You'll probably need an attorney who practices in the County where your son lives. Go to an attorney in your area and ask. They will usually give a 30 minute consult for free. Sole custody may be a big battle, given that he has not been with you. There must be some assumption by the court that her place is better, or that at least the grandparents are better guardians than either parent.

Bottom Line: Take it in small steps, be prepared to pay significant legal fees, and plan to not give up your legal efforts (which, unfortunately, may take years).

 Dear Doc:
Recently my step-son moved here a year ago for the school year. He was living with his Mother and her Fiance. His Mother was not a displinary at all and in fact lacked structure. Since his moving down with us (Father, Step-Mom, Step-Sister, Step-Brother)mine and my husbands arguing has grown worse. He is always telling his Father that he gets the worse chores that the Step Sister and Brother do the sames things but only he gets in trouble. My Step-Son is very argumentative and confrontational and it always seems to happen when my Husband is not home then in turn in calls his Father on the phone and tells him a completely different story and quite frankly my Husband actually believes him and does not even listen to what I have to say and they always talk together over our (myself and step-son) confrontations. Should I not be included? My Husband and I have argued in the living room where he can hear upstairs and I have asked my Husband to go to our room because I think it has only added to the problem. My Step-Son is always threatening to go home and I think he uses it as a tool because he knows it bothers his Father. We did go see a Couselor and afterwards my Step-Son ask his Father why does he have to come back he hasnt done anything. Do you have in suggestions I am desparate? Also I need some tips on how to open my Husbands eyes about his Sons behavior.

Yours is one of the toughest problems of family life. It could break up your marriage. If your husband can not see his son's dark side, the hell will continue. Go back to therapy, and approach it as a family problem, rather than the stepson's.

Bottom Line: It will take a lot of talking and bending to find a workable middle road for the long haul.

 Dear Doc:
I have a friend that lived with a sociopath for 5 years and ever since then she is only about 50% of the person she was... Is there any web sites or any self help things that I might be able to work with her on to help her get back to her old self. She is currently in a depression but is always there- she also has bipolar. I am willing to do anything to help my friend out and I would love to be able to get some advice on how to help her to get herself back. Please help me.... Thank you HP

If you really want to help her, get her to a therapist. Those are serious problems, that need significant help, probably including medications.

Bottom Line: As friends, we need to realize when problems are over our head, so that we can get the most qualified people to help us.

 Dear Doc:
Our adult daughter is on crack cocaine and we are paying her lot rent on the trailer my husband bought her, at what point do you stop paying the support when the person refuses to stop the crack cocaine or having the druggies at her house? We are buying her groceries and she has a car that is out of gas at this point. She is unable to pass a drug test. She has recently with our pushing attended counseling at the local mental health only because we said we would turn off the utilities if she didn't . We are Christians and need to know at what point does this end?

The end has come. You've got to let her sink or swim (with the possiblity that she may indeed skink). Yor are being manipulated, which is benefiting no one.

Bottom Line: You might as well tie a ball and chain around your leg, if you don't take action now.

 Dear Doc:
Do dogs pick up an overly agressive attitude in a particular human in the family in which he lives and become overly protective and aggressive toward other dogs and strangers?

Yes. Dogs pick up on the environment which surrounds them.

Bottom Line: Dogs have certain inborn genetic traits, but the way they are treated at home goes along way in determining how they will act.

 Dear Doc:
is it possible to see a psychologist/psychiatrist without them putting you on medications?

Yes. Unless you are forced by the police to be in the hospital, the choice is always yours.

Bottom Line: Fyi, in most situations, only Psychiatrists can prescribe medications. In most states Psychologists are not allowed to prescribe, because they are not medical doctors.

 Dear Doc:
Everytime I am in a good mood and things at work or life are good, my husband has to bring me down with an insult or a change of plans we made to do something together or pulls away. Small things that over time (25 yrs married) seem to be a pattern. He pulls away, for instance he changes the plans we made to go to a stag and doe for his friend and now says he will just pop by for a bit and go with my brother in law instead. Half hour later he said he was going for a ride on the motorcycle (bought a harley for our 25th) even though he had a good ride 2 hours earlier, and I said "oh great! Can i come?" And he slammed the keys on the counter and said "forget it, I just wanted to do a small ride" and stomped outside to put the bike away, and had a joint. I didnt say much except to tell him to go ahead if he was bent on going alone, (he rides tons by himself), he is what i call Jekyll and Hyde, i never know one minute to the next how he is going to be. He worked years on afternoon shift and got excused from the hustle of life in the evening. We have twin daughters (now grown), he was never "stretched" into giving up his time and giving to them and helping out because he was always at work. I probably overcompensating keeping things quite and smooth so he could sleep, now he just seems years later to be immature and selfish. What do i do to not be manipulated by his quick mood changes?

Hold your ground, and don't let him manipulate you. No doubt, he is an immature and selfish spoiled child. If he won't change, leave him. Otherwise, be prepared to be treated like junk for the NEXT 25 years!

Bottom Line: Hi might benefit from therapy and medicine, for his mood changes, but he doesn't sound like the type to get help! Also, he may be taking substances that make his problem worse.

 Dear Doc:
hi, my 19 yo daughter has had an on off relationship with a guy who is 2 yo than she is. In her junior year they started dating then that summer he dumped her, made up, dumped her and this happened 6 times. she finally broke off and had a great six months then here he came. I feel that he is emotionally using her/abusing her, he's anorexic, and needy. She thinks she's helping him. we have had long talks, arguments, and discussions as to why we believe this is an unhealthy relationship. She just left with him again tonight. my husband and i are heartbroken. she is very bright,pretty,and very gentle and kind. He has made her so despondent before that she actually contemplated suicide. I don/t know what to do anymore. thanks

She needs to discover why she is attracted to this kind of sickness... what the emotional payoff is for her. Until she answers that, she won't leave him in the dust. Short of moving her out of the area, all you can do is talk to her.

Bottom Line: Let's pray she learns from the school of hard knocks, before she foolishly and wastefully harms herself over a guy that is probably a lost cause.

 Dear Doc:
I have married a man whom i dearly love soon to be four years ago. We have a 21 year old daughter next month and is still living with us. At the time she is still looking for a job. She has worked 3-4 odd jobs since she was 17 that didn't last but a few months at a time. Her mother sent her to live with her father when she was 13. She said she couldn't handle her. She was engaged to get married in February this year. Her fiance broke off the engagement after he discovered her true colors but they are still seeing each other. Her mother set up arrangements for them to move into a rent house and also a promise of a job waiting for her. In April she came to us and said she quit school 7 weeks before she was to graduate. She has drove both of literally sick. My husband comes home from lunch at noon and she is still sleeping. Then at dinner we ask her what she did for the day and she'll say. I went to visit some friends or sometimes after noon he'll come home and she is watching movies. She wrecked our car in November but since then has attained a car from a family at church. They are paying for her insurance and maintenance. Says she gets the gas money from people that owe her. We do not approve. Countless times we have tried to help her. It's to the point where were emotionally drained. Wev'e given her six months to prepare for her future and find a place of her own. She has exausted her resources and asked just about everyone she knows to move in with. All refused. Her mother has rejected her moving into the arrangements she set up now. My husband made up his mind and appointed me to have a van (were paying for)to move her stuff on the 25th this month and she is to point us in which direction she wants it to go. Either to storage (were also paying for) or where ever she has determined she will live. Is this right? She thinking she has three choices now 1-live in her car, 2-we pay for a flight to her mothers with her disapproval or 3-live in a motel (sink or swim.)till her money we had set aside as a wedding gift(maybe last less than a month) is exausted. What do you suggest?

You are doing the right thing. The choices are hers. You've done enough. It's time for her to sink or swim. And you have to live with the possibly that she may well sink! If you don't, she has you manipulated, and can play that card over and over again.

Bottom Line: Tough love is the hardest to pull off, but in this situation, it is the only thing that has a chance to save the rest of her life.

 Dear Doc:
My 12yr old daugther wants to go live with her gay dad and his partner what should I do. I want her to be happy but I dont want to loose her either. Signed Hurt in Florida

It's so tough when the parents live in different areas. She's getting to the age where she can make that decision, even if you disagree. This may sound harsh, but some people move to where the other parent is, so that they can stay close to their child. Even if you don't move, you don't have to lose her. Quite a few kids have parents who live in different areas.

Bottom Line: See her often, call a lot, talk on the internet. Your a mom for life, so if you stay connected through her teens, regardless of where she lives, you can have a close future down the road.

 Dear Doc:
I think i am a victim of domestic abuse but im not sure, my boyfriend is extremely jealous and insecure and constantly accuses me of being unfaithful which i havnt but he has with four other women. He is controlling and is an arrogant man when he is drunk. we have fights all the time and he is constantly calling me names and putting me down. he knows it hurts me and after the fight he will just shrug it off. Sometimes when we are fighting he'll get this look in his eye and then he'll jump on top of me and get me in a choke hold or he'll push me, slap me and punch me, but although it hurts he never leaves bruises. I love him but i want him to stop this. we havve talked once and he admitted it but he shifted the blame and he agreed to go to councelling with me. I just dont know why hes like this, hes a christian and his family are all very religious and hes an only child, hes never been abused so why is he like this? I want us to get help but i dont know how without making him mad. please help me

There is no DOUBT that you are a victim of domestic abuse!! Get out as soon as you can! Go get some professional help to assist you in the process.

Bottom Line: I have practiced in the religious community most of my life. It is there that some of the sickest people are found, because their faith keeps them in denial as to what they need to change.

 Dear Doc:
i went out last night with my boyfriend to celebrate my bestfriends birthday. She tipped her cups just a bit too much and while me and my boyfriend were dancing she came up behind him and started to dance too, ( this is not unusual since me and my friends tend to do this with people who we are familiar with) but what seemed like just dancing took on more of a seductive kind of feel and i felt her touch my guy. Wanting to confirm this i asked him " did she just touch you intimately?" he replied " i don't know?" i shot back " how can you NOT know if some one is touching you there" he then replied " you allowed it". i got defensive and backed away, immediately started to say to myself( i know i was making excuses), " she's drunk and doesn't know what she's doing, i don't want to make a scene and get into confrontation with my best friend on her birthday, maybe my boyfriend's right and it's my fault for allowing the possibility of the situation to take place knowing how my best friend is when she's drunk" i was extremly upset and disappointed by my boyfriends response (blaming me for "allowing it to happen"). I don't feel that what occured was my fault, my boyfriend didn't exactly push her away. I felt the need to confront her, and let it be known that i was pissed, not just at her but at him as well and at the same time, i didn't want to make a scene even though i felt like making a movie about it. My boyfriend blew the whole thing over like it never happened and (since i don't see him often) i wanted badly to get over the incident and not ruin the night but the way he responded to the question i asked said something to me about his character besides the fact that he inicailly responded with " i don't know?". He wanted to mess around afterwards but as much as i tried to put the incident behind i couldn't and i just called it a night. Am i making a big deal outta this? am i passive-aggressive and afriad of confrontation because i walked away without doing anything about it? what does this say about me? Where do i go from here? Help!

No, you are not making too big a deal out of this. Most of us are afraid to assertively confront relationship problems. What this says is that you are weak. This will only harm you in the long run. Tell him that he needs to own up to his own behavior. If he won't, move on, and consider yourself lucky to have gotten out when you did!

Bottom Line: Don't waste your time blaming her. If he loves you, then he needs to be committed to you, and push away the advances of others.

 Dear Doc:
I am the one sepreated after 36 years and the one that has gone back to school. What do you mean by to think of the speration different. It is going on into three years. This is the man that said that it is my fault if you can remember me. I still have a problem getting pass this relationship. I stopped going to counseling after two years. I have fisnished my college course and i am getting ready to go back to school some more. Today I fill so sad, because I still fall for his game. He says he is sorry, but won't say any more, than ,I don't understand that he is confused.Still sounds like game to me. He still sees this women that he left the marriage for, but wants to hold on to me to. I need more money, but I don't seem to be albe to make the decision to do something about it. My mind is so stressed right now. What can I do. I know that you nor any one else can make the decision for me, but I just needed to tell some one. I can not afford to go back to my counselor right! now. Help!

Sounds like your only hope is to divorce him and put him in your rearview mirror. There comes a point when any decision is better than indecision.

Bottom Line: Hopefully you can develop greater belief in yourself, and build a new and better world. Change can be one of life's greatest fears, but it also opens the door to life's greatest joys!

 Dear Doc:
i am in my fifties and have gone back to school, but some reason I cannot get pass this age thing. I think what is the use to get an education at this age. I,m seperated from my husband, and needed to start a new life. I. lonley and I don't know what to do. I am a christian, so I cannot court anyone alse, as lond as I am married, even though my husband has done so. help!

Our job is to live until we die. Aging is certainly a challenge, but it is our attitude, more than our years, that determines how well we cope and conquer. Maybe find a group of others in a similar circumstance, that can serve as your cheerleaders.

Bottom Line: Divorce can take many years. You may need to adjust your thinking about your separation, in order to free you to do and be all you are capable of!

 Dear Doc:
How should a parent react if she doesn't like her teenage daughter's boyfriend?

Truly one of life's oldest questions. The issue is alot different if she is 18, as opposed to 13. In the end, you can't control it. Tell her you love her, and then why you are concerned. She may well not listen, and have to learn about his downside through the school of hard knocks.

Bottom Line: If she stays with him, you'll have to try to learn to love him. Maybe if you can come to understand why she loves him, it will help you to better tolerate him.

 Dear Doc:
It has been close to nine months since I lost my father who was also my best friend, and my older brother. He lived his life in the fast lane (chronic heroin user), so I guess you could say that I was also his mother when he needed me to be. In spite of his drug habit, I must say he was more sober than not and he was there whenever I or my children needed him the most. I cannot get the last weeks of his life out of my head, dreams or heart. I seem to remember every single horrific detail. He was found in his neighborhood by my brother with an altered mind and apparently couldn't move his legs. I found out later that he went into diabetic shock (he didn't even know he was diabetic). He was taken to the hospital and was diagnosed as being severely dehydrated, was malnutrution and had a Urinary Track Infection. Less than a week later, I was told that he had developed sepsis. After that, he slowly died. We were able to say good-bye, but I feel so lost, angry and alone. My husband and children have been supportive. However, I feel as if I am slowly dying. I have been on antidepressants since he was hospitalized. What can I do to make this overwhelming pain in my heart subside. I feel as if I am being so unfair to my husband and children. Sometimes, I am so hurtful torwards them and I just want to be alone. PLEASE HELP!

Antidepressants without therapy won't do the trick. Get in long term treatment, because it will take quite awhile to work through your grief.

Bottom Line: You may lose your family if you don't move quickly. It would be a double tragedy to lose your present life, after the loss of your past.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend and I were friends/dating for a year and a half before he asked me to be his. I knew that I was in love with him a little more than a year ago. He had some issues that he needed to work out with his ex girlfriend. He was with her for about 11 years, they had been together since high school. They had been apart before and during that time he started seeing someone else. Then they got back together and separated again. Two years after their last separation that is when I met him. About two months after that she called him and told him that she had found someone new and that this girl was also younger than her. He couldn't believe that she turned gay. He was convinced that they would be together again, so one night I asked him if he was waiting for her to come back to him and he said yes. The next day I got my things and moved back home. So he went back to her and at first it was hard for me to accept, I think for the first week I was still calling him and then after that I gave up. This was at the end of last Nov. By Christmas he started calling me again, we spent New Year's together and moved in together in Feb. In March he told me that he loved me and asked me to be his girlfriend. The problem that I am having now is his pas two girlfriends still call, the one that he left for me, calls all hours and at least 5 times a day. He use to tell me when she called, but he stopped. I asked him about it and he said that If it was the other way around, if my exboyfriends were always calling me he wouldn't want to know, he said that he is trying to prevent us from fighting. His exgirlfriends little sister is graduating from high school and he is going, and she will be there. I know I am jeoulous of her, but am I over-reacting, will her phone calls go away with time? Please help.

No you are not over-reacting. Most women would have left this guy on the side of the road a long time ago.

Bottom Line: You can do better, don't you think? Aim to think more highly of yourself, and find someone who treats you in the way that you deserve.

 Dear Doc:
hi i really hope you can help i am a single mum of one child who will be three in july the courts have said that she has to see her dad. which she has always done except for six months nearly 2yrs ago when i stopped the access as he caused trouble outside not wanting to had her back when it went to court the judge said he was to have her a few hrs a wk which went ok no real tears but she was nearly 1 now nearly 3 and i have a very distressed little girl who shouts no daddys when we go near the collection point on most days she wakes up saying no daddys mummy pls when i try to hand her over she is very upset and distressed pulling at my clothes to stay with me which then gets me upset but she does not see that he still takes her heartbroken what can i do it is getting worse everytime pls help

Can you get the Authorities involved? Someone from the Courts needs to observe this. It's not healthy for any of you. A Therapist should help with the transition. If the Courts won't supervise the transition, then maybe video or audio tape it. Then show that to the Authorities.

Bottom Line: This could cause your daughter long-term damage if it is not corrected. If he's a decent dad, then it will benefit her to see him, but it has to turn from a trauma to a treat.

 Dear Doc:
I am a 33yr old single mother of two.In 97 I left an abusive relationship with my two kids and never looked back. I worked two jobs and made it , sometimes barely, on my own even though my ex told me I never would. For 5 years I was single and loving it,I liked my independance and the fact I had to answer to noone but myself. Three years ago I met my current boyfriend, we dated moved in together and things seem to be going fine. My boyfriend has a son by a previous relationship and I HATE THIS KID WITH A PASSION!!!! He constantly lies, steals and is just an all around brat when his father is not around.I kind of feel sorry for this kid because his mother is now in an abusive relationship and has no self esteem to speak of, trust me you can tell, she also cares more about herself than anyone. In the past year and a half my relationship with my boyfriend is starting to drive me insane, he does nothing to help me , cleaning or otherwise. His comment one time was he worked thats all he had to do. My response was that I work a full time job too plus come home and cram eight more hours of work into four while he sits on his ass. And that if he ever spoke to me like that again he can pack and leave. Everytime his kid does something and I try to bring it to my boyfriends attention, he blows up and it starts a big fight, so needless to say his son gets away with murder, my boyfried is lazy at parenting too. I know my boyfriend loves me , but I am at my wits end and ready to kick him and his son to the curb. I really dont know what to do

Get your boots on and kick real hard! I do NOT think he loves you. Men who love women never treat them like he treats you.

Bottom Line: His son's world is sad, but he has helped to create that monstrous situation. Make sure you save you and your kids first.

 Dear Doc:
We will be celebrating our 25th anniv. this year. we have 3 beautiful children, 23,20,13yrs. old. I have always had an intuition that my husband had a short affair or sexual intercouse with prostitutes, within the first 5,10 yrs of marriage. within the first 5yrs of marriage, I found out he was seeing his ex girlfriend and other women while dating me. his reaction to my confrontations and his behavior for the first 10 years of marriage lead me to beleive he was unfaithful. I ask him to be honest with me, I love him to much and am willing to forgive no matter what, our relationship has been great for the last 14yrs. recently I was dx with parkinson, he has been so loving and supporting, I want to get all skeletons out of closets and start a new relationship with honesty, he confess being with prostitute 13yrs ago, apologize and cried, but I suspect more than that,he denies it.How do I convince him how important it is for him to be honest?

I doubt that you can do much more to get him to talk. I hope it's not true, but my first thought is that if he is still doing it, it will be harder for him to confess. If it is all old news, and he loves you dearly, it seems that he would want to come clean.

Bottom Line: For your own sanity, assume that the worst is true. That way you are prepared for anything. If you can still love him through the worst-case scenario, then maybe you will be freed from worrying about what might have actually happened.

 Dear Doc:
Hi there! I need your expertise! My boyfreind runs a motel where the office is part of the house we live in, instead of having a stranger in the house working as assistant manager he has hired his mother, which now lives in an apartment in the back of the motel, litterally like two feet away. She is the most caring, loving woman I know, but she is always here, always cleaning our house, cooking dinner for us, taking up all my responsabilities as a woman, his woman. I find myself thinking, who's really taking care of the man of the house, me or his mother? I spoke with my boyfreind on this and he nor I know how to pusue this with her, we cirtainly don't want to make her feel unwelcome or hurt, but we want our privacy, we don't want her here all the time. And myself being out of work at the moment makes me bored and want to do the wifely things around the house, I'm not the greatest cook, but it seems like she does these things becasue she maybe thinks I can't handle it. I hope that doesn't sound too selfish, you would think most people would be happy to have the help, why do I not feel that way? Is it my own pride? PLease help I'll be awaiting your response thanks.

You feel that way because you're normal! Parents can be great, but you two need your own private life. Get over worrying about hurting her feelings. You have no boundaries now, but must set some with her, if you want to have a good marriage. Your first mistake was probably to let her have that job. You probably should have taken it instead.

Bottom Line: You are not helping her either, by letting her mother both of you. She may hate it at first, but she needs to find her own life!

 Dear Doc:
im 25 and have 3 boys ages 4,2 and 8 months, my partner of six years has been cheating on me 4 nearly a yr, but was caught, begged 4 forgiveness said he will make everything rite he loves me so much and the children, and he game bk he was good with the kids was close with me etc, 3 wks later he rang me and said i have to go away 4 a bit to sort some business out to make some money to make our lives better will b few days. that was last wednesday he took the only bit of money from my bank without leaving me and the children a penny to get food,and havnt heard from him untill i found out hes not away hes about 10 mins away living with the same polish girl, he still telling his family lies that hes workin etc, im so hurt its killing me inside i became ill from the whole thing wen it first came out i suffer wit crohns and he knows how ill i was when he left this time, and its like he dosnt care 4 me or the children at all, it hurts more because i said to him if u dont want to b ! here pls go to her and we can sort out wen u c kids, just dont play with us, but he was like , no i want 2 be here with u and kids irl never hurt u like that again , i love u so much im so sorry and realy seemed genuine to me, friends, and his family, i feel numb why is he being so heartless about the whole thing and nasty, im devastated.

Three strikes and he's out! Move on to a world that is free of this person you can't trust. It will be hard, but you will all be better off without him in the long run.

Bottom Line: Life is too short, and you and your kids are too valuable, to waste your time on someone who is a liar and a cheat.

 Dear Doc:
My parents got divorsed this january and i wan't to get them back together. My dad is OK with this idea, but my mom thinks she doesnt want to get back together. My dad wants her back, but she only wants to be friends. I wan't them to be back together before summer, and if they do, i give great thanks. I really haved already tried alot like writing a not to her and getting her a psychiatrist, but she says that if a professional gives her good advise her mind might change. I am going through a big phase and it seems like my life is going on hold. I didnt want to do anything social untill like, march and I cannot stop thinking about it. I have two older sisters and a younger brother, but they don't seem to be trying to help because they had already given up. My dad really wants to get back together w/ my mom, but no one really knows what to do. Give me ideas to get them back together

I'm wondering how old you are. You have good intentions, but it is not your job to get your parents back together. I know it could be very tough for the family if they split up, but only they can make that decision.

Bottom Line: It would be very unhealthy for you to think you could fix their marriage, only to have it fail. You might blame yourself for years, which would hurt you in your own future relationships.

 Dear Doc:
why are children who play video games anti-social

If this is an assumption, it is incorrect. Kids who play video games can be very social, especially now that they can play other people live via the Internet. It is not the games that make someone anti-social. It is their broader life that is the issue. If they have healthy people in their life, and video games are just a part of what they do, they can be well-balanced indeed.

Bottom Line: Change is hard, but families can use new technology in a positive way, if they come to understand it, and place reasonable limits (just like they should be doing with everything else!).

 Dear Doc:
Yeah. So my self-esteem is about to hit rock bottom. My self-esteem problems come from skipping a grade and basically being ostracized from grades 3-5. My parents regret it, and I hated it. Combine that with not making more than maybe 5-6 friends until 9th grade (I'm about to graduate from HS now) and getting rejected by every guy I went after until the one I'm with right now, and you have one pretty ripped-up-and-stomped-on girl. I didn't realize I thought this badly of myself until now. I think actually managing to have a boyfriend - especially a long-distance one - was going to bring me to this point eventually - I'm assuming, almost, that he's cheating, even when I have no concrete evidence in his actions OR his words (aside from him saying 'and i would probably find a way to convince you that i hadn't done anything anyway' and apologizing later once it occurred to him that i was taking it as a sign of lying when he'd had my complete trust a few minutes before), he has no known history of cheating, his parents don't seem to condone it (and seem to be happily married), I only know of one of his guy friends who MIGHT have cheated on his girlfriend (I'm not even sure he did because I don't think he and his girlfriend have been together that long) and I'm not even convinced despite the fact that all the evidence from both him and even from others who know him to varying degrees points to only one thing: that he is honest, loving, and completely faithful. So I come to the conclusion that he's either an incredibly honest guy or an utter cheating lying bastard who's probably also cheated on his other girlfriends, despite having talked to one of his exes and having gotten an answer of 'he wouldn't cheat, i don't think' from her. Why did my mind decide on the latter when I know I'd be a complete idiot to not trust the guy? In addition, my parents won't let me get therapy for it. Mom's so against it to the point that if she catches me in therapy, she will break me and him up AND forbid me to college until I get rid of the problem ON MY OWN. This is really driving me nuts...

Your mom sure isn't helping. I wonder if you could talk to a counselor at school on your own. The law is supposed to protect your privacy. It sounds like your problem is more inside your head, than with his faithfulness to you. If you are grounded, you will leave him if he hurts you, and be better for it, without being vindictive.

Bottom Line: Work on you, and then what others do will be of only secondary importance.

 Dear Doc:
My 12 year old daughters is a 6thgrader and an excellent student. She has had all a,s on her report cards since kindergarten. my problem is the stress she puts on herself at school. her teacher tells me that when ever something new is introduced in class that my daughter freaks out and she can see it in her eyes as she explains any thing new (math problems, etc) the teacher then says she has to practically draw a picture and then my daughter gets it and is fine. the teachers wrote this note on her last progress report. taylor is excellent academically but she puts to much pressure on herself and does not enjoy school. also her dance teacher has had a expressed the same things to me that when taylor is learning a new dance step she is a wreck but then calms down. her teacher also says that it has come to the point on test that taylor will quote the answers to test questions to her and want to know if it is correct before she writes it down. myself her teachers all tell her that she needs to be calm and tryto teach coping skills but i am at a loss. her teacher last year also had these same problems. when she was 6 I underwent treatment for cancer and i am fine we do not have financial problems her father is in home we do not pressure her to perform, she is an only child/ i would appreciate any advice, last year we attended a few counseling sessions but she was very anger and after 4 sessions we did not continue. thank you.

Yours is a tough problem. Parents want their kids to achieve, but we don't want them to have anxiety attacks along the way. It may be that her anger in therapy is where some of the answers could be found. I'd consider therapy again. Pick another therapist, if she didn't get along with the last one, and let her go alone if she prefers.

Bottom Line: Understanding a person's fundamental motivation is usually the key. If we can discover what her inner needs are, that drive her perfectionism and fear, then maybe we can help her to ease up on herself.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend's ex will not allow me to go to their kids functions hosted by her but my boyfriend is invited alone and continues to go. He rather me not go than to feel uncomfortable. Do you think I am wrong to tell him that this situation needs to change? Can he do something to change it? Should I just ignore it?

You are not wrong to tell him it bothers you, but it is a waste of your time to try to control the situation. Take the high road. Be the better person. Tell him to enjoy the time with his kids.

Bottom Line: In the long run, if you're the better person, everyone will see it, and that which you want will start to come your way.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriends ex girlfriend of 7 years will not stop calling him or me. We have been together for 7 months and she has not stopped harrassing. He swears he does not talk to her, but when he got his number changed and new phone i found her number on it. He swears everyday that he doesnt talk to her. But she calls him at work, sends e-mails, calls his cell phone and house. I have gotten my number change 3 times. She sends cards and gifts to him, HOW DO I MAKE HER STOP!!!He has promised me that he will take care of it but she is still in my life.I can not check his phone r his e-mail what should i do, does he still have feelings for her after she has leterally put him through hell and me? It is like he does not care though, my ex called me and he flipped out and said i was cheating on him, i have not talked to him since he left for college, but he can continue to receive everything and i can't say anything. What should i do

You can't make her stop. Maybe you should consider changing boyfriends, because he doesn't sound very believeable.

Bottom Line: Too many people settle for relationships that are not good enough. Better to be sanely single, than to be insanely dating!

 Dear Doc:
my daughter and her husband have been together 11 years and had their first baby 2 years ago this month. The baby was born with a heart defect and it was very emotional and traumatic. The couple had a hard time with the fear of the condition of their son. My daughter turned into her baby and became very protective and the husband turned into himself and family and became emotionally and verbally abusive. When the baby was 3 months old he began to threaten attorneys, divorce. The baby had surgery at 31/2 months and things got better for a month or so. By the time the baby was 5 months old he had asked or threatened divorce 4 times. My daughter began to change emotionally and when he ask for divorce the 4th time she had a mental breakdown. She was in the hospital 10 days, put on a program and started healing. Her husband would not look at her or give her any emotion other than anger. they stayed together until after Christmas and he told her again in Jan he did not want to be married. We brought her home and she went into a deep depression. She had support from her family and we supported her with caring for her child. She never missed a beat with her son, she is a caring wonderful mother with strong instincts. Her husband filed for divorce the next month and wanted one week for him one week for her with no child support paid by either. My daughter was a stay at home mom, we found an attorney and the fight began. The husband has tried to use every form of abuse possible to cause my daughter to break down, get the custody of the baby to keep from paying child support and have control of both her and the baby. This battle has been going on for 1 1/2 years. My daughter is still in physothearphy, recovering spirtually and is off medication. What is the postion of the court with mothers that have had mental issues, post pardum and has shown a consistent pattern of positive care and attention to her child?

Only an attorney can answer that question. Unfortunately, all of you have entered into divorce and child custody hell. Get the best attorney you can afford, and unfortunately be ready to mortgage the house to fight your battle.

Bottom Line: If there were ever an arena where there are no winners, this can be it. Let's hope it doesn't happen, but sometimes those who have the most money come closest to victory in this terrible situation.

 Dear Doc:
I am a financially independent, angry middle aged wench with "issues". In the last 4 years, I sustained numerous really big adult catastophes: Got separated (from a passive aggressive), had a near fatal car accident (where I fractured 7 ribs, clavicle, scapula, right hand, basilar skull,had a bilateral clavicle separation, pneumo-hemothorax with complete lung collapse, and extensive nerve damage), my step mom died, my dad was killed by a goldigging now ex-friend of mine, I initiated divorce proceedings (in which the actual divorce court date was cancelled because husband got fired by his own divorce atty for being abusive to the staff, Started dating a guy I'd known for 3 years who ambushed me with unforeseen extreme physical abuse, I kicked oxycontin (for pain from car accident), had to quit my aerospace enineering job for several reasons), [my cat got diabetes] and I have been PTSD, semi-agoraphobic, and have been in screaming pain since I got off oxycontin and then later got off Bextra, Neurontin and Celebrex cuz all these drugs in lawsuits for heart/cardiovascular problems. I used to be into Xtreme rock climbing, mountain climbing, body building, scuba, snow boarding, running, swimming, cycling etc. But now I'm a blob. My "ex"husband calls or comes over uninvited pretending like he's all sorry for the things he did (prolly cuz his most recent girlfriend trashed his apt since he was cheating on her and meanwhile eating my food and drinking my booze), acts as though he wants to reconcile, stays for a day even on the couch(no sex TG), then leaves and soon calls making plans (like dinner or exercising together) then flakes on me. I am susecptible and and vulnerable( right now) and he knows it I believe he's preying on me for that. I call it Lucy Van Pelting me because Lucy was always trying to cajole Charlie Brown into kicking that football and - against his better judgment or stupid optimism - Charlie Brown would always go for it and was always fooled when Lucy whisked that football away as he tried to kick- it. Anyway ever since the last physical abuse (from the guy I dated after my separation) I've also noticed that most people are really uncomfortable hearing stuff like that and they flee - esp at a time when friends need "friends" the most. Oh they can handle listening to accounts of a mugging from a stranger, grand larceny and fraud from identity thieves and yer house burning down but when it comes to domestic violence, they're gone. And after the fact, so are the police, the DA, the women's advocacy groups, the courts -- when you ask why he's still at large, a no-show at the 12 or so restitution hearings etc ad nauseum. And ever since the last physical abuse which, among other injuries, included brain trauma, I've experienced extreme balance problems that are getting worse and the neurologist bailed out on me after the MRI he ordered showed lesions all over my brain - but he didn't even tell me about and I found out later - accidentally - from the billing dept at the MRI center! I feel as though I have a kick me sign around my neck and I NEVER EVER was a doormat by any stretch of the imagination. And so once again, my almost ex husband acts as though he cares, and I gullibly take the bait and then get fried. I've been in therapy now for a year, though I can't say its done a damn thing. My therapist is caught up in administrativia and repeating (not-paraphrasing) the things I say while not recommending anything the the PTSD even tho I bring in research articles about its treatment. ANY advice?

#1, get a new and better therapist. Good therapy will help. #2, get the best physician you can find, to help with your physiological issues. #3, find something positive to focus on.

Bottom Line: Hope makes our world go round. When life is terrible, we are doomed, if we can't find a silver lining.

 Dear Doc:
I grew up in a home where my mother was an angry alcoholic. She would frequently snap at me when I needed reassurance. Well, I am now 35 years old, and find myself thinking of my mother often, even though she died about 3 years ago. Most of my memories of her leave me feeling angry and frustrated. There were many times she really talked down to me and made me feel that I would never succeed in life. I never found the courage or voice to stand up to her. At this point in my life, I feel terribly insecure with my own abilities. My problem is this: I find that I feel a deep sense of hurt, insecurity, and emptiness inside my heart. Sometimes, I even feel shame. I never talked to anyone about this because we were raised stout Pentecostal Christians. As a result, I find myself struggling to build healthy, adult relationships! One common theme in my adult life that I have noticed is this: Every female friend I have had, has been someone with an alcohol problem and works their way into being psychologically and emotionally abusive towards me. Needless to say, none of my love-relationships with men have lasted. I frequently feel lonely. And if I'm not mistaken, I think I have sent others the message that I am needy and smothering. Because my mom put me down soo many times, I never found the courage or strength to move out of my parents home till she died 3 years ago. Sometimes, I think I am trying to fill the void she left in my heart by befriending the wrong individuals. What steps do you recommend I take from here to reclaim my sense of self? What can I do to present myself to the world as a healthy, strong, self confident woman? I am very sensitive inside after being dumped on for soo long by my mother.

Get professional help asap, and plan to stay there for a long time. Your right wing religious roots will be a burden that will take years to break free of. There are many good books about being the adult child of an alcoholic. Read them, because your life depends on it.

Bottom Line: You have been abused over decades, so it will take years to correct the scars.

 Dear Doc:
I have been with my gf, or should i say ex for the best part of 3 years. This has stretched from halfway through gr 12 until now which is a month into 3rd year of uni. People say i am too young to worry, but I know I am really in love. Knowing this was my last year at uni and I was likely to move interstate with gf at end of uni, I have gone out and spent far too much time with my mates in the first month of school. I have gotten quite drunk several times; once I left her at the unibar without telling her I was going home because I forgot she was there. This caused big troubles, but we eventually decided to try adn work things out and then I go out the next night, get drunk again and kiss another girl on the dancefloor. This is the 1st time I have ever done anything like this and it has only made me realise how true my feelings for her are. I told her straight away. I have tried to explain this, but as well as saying she doesn't think she can overcome this, she has brought up other things that I do on treat her as well as I should and am selfish. I know I am selfish, I would like to change this, and haven't treated her well for this month, but only a month ago she was commmenting how well I was treating her. What do I do? I want her back more than I have wanted anything. I do not want to be selfish anymore and know if given another chance I will not blow it. I will never cheat again. Help me please

You may be too young to give her the commitment she wants. Sounds like you would need to stop drinking, or at least the heavy drinking with your friends. Ask her to give you a chance. If you blow it again, I would tell her to leave you and never look back.

Bottom Line: Our actions usually speak much louder than our words! If you really want her, than you will really change.

 Dear Doc:
Married for 25 years. The last 3 years have been somewhat unstable. My husband started showing a disrescpet for me about our releationship as far as not wanting to do things with me also started showing any affection. We have not had sex in about 3 months even though he knows how important it is to me. He said he just doesn't have the desire. I really need to be held We did get into marriage counseling but he seem to only hear what he wanted to hear. He moved out 1 month ago and we have been in contact he said that maybe we could get back together soon. He has left most of his things in the house. Why would he keep saying that we might be able to work things out. He said he doesn't want anyone to know where he is living even though I told him I wanted to see the place. Do you think maybe he wants to see if something better comes along? I got my hopes up and started calling him to set up a few diners with him 3 in all I had told him maybe we could go away for the weekend but every time we have met he usually ends of telling me that I need to get a grip on myself. He said it is all my fault and he will only come back if I can accept him as he is meaning he is not going to be loving as I would like. And he said i need to accept what affection he gives. I feel that in the past he has held back affection from me on purpose. I guess my question is why do I want him back still and I am even thinking about on his terms. Yesterday I had called to want to meet and he told me he did not want to talk to me untill i got a grip on myself I have always been there for him How could he be so mean and not consider what I am going through. So now its the next day and no he did not call to see if I am ok. 2weeks ago he had an withdrawl from Xanax and called me I of course we to the hotel he was staying at and he had a seizure I call 911 and now he is ok.I went to the hospital and gave him a ride back to this hotel. I told him yesterday that I was at a loss of what to do with and for myself I feel lost and just wanted to see if he had any feelings still. thats when he told me to get a grip. I can't seem to get my mind clear. Sorry for the way this letter types out i am hoping for some help to get thru this. I have bought 6 differnet books and read them all why can't I think clearly. Please help

It would be wise for you to continue in therapy alone, if he won't join you, or if he's dragging his feet. Any chance that he's involved with someone else? Could he be gay? Are there kids involved? I agree that the central question is: why do you put up with his behavior! I'm thinking you deserve better than this.

Bottom Line: You need to take better care of yourself. With the help of therapy, try to let go of him. Maybe then he'll want to come home. If he doesn't, maybe you haven't lost much after all. And then you could move on to a better world!

 Dear Doc:
I have been dating my boyfriend for about 6 years. A few months ago i did something thoughtless behind his back. We argue a lot but we do love each other very much and at the time I didn`t think of how he would feel about doing what I did. It wasn`t anything to harm him nor anyone else but it is kind of embarassing and something he would not approve of. I have been feeling very guilty about not telling him but I truly don`t think telling him would be a good idea. I just can`t stop thinking about it and i don`t know what to do. I have a tendency to feel guilty and ashamed about a lot of things anyway, so i don`t know if i`m overreacting or it`s just part of who i am. I suffer from anxiety so i get worked up pretty easily, especially about this situation. Should i just stop feeling so guilty and try to forget about it? Do you have any suggestions?

You would probably do best to keep your secret to yourself, if you think telling him will only make things worse. I wonder if you were raised in a religious family. Guilt can affect us for good or bad. It's often easier on us to tell the other person, but it also can easily make things worse. The higher road may well be to keep the secret to yourself.

Bottom Line: Why not talk to someone who is required to keep your secret confidential (like a therapist). Then you can have the relief of sharing it with another, without it ruining your relationship.

 Dear Doc:
Hello Doc. My name is Kayla and I feel I am in some serious trouble. I have to confront my love about being a sociopath. I really think that he is one! He has all the signs of it. I am just wondering if there is a right way and a wrong way to talk to him about it. I need for him to listen, but I am afraid that he will get angry with me,yell at me, and completely disregard anything I say as I just opinion.PLease help me!

If he is truly sociopathic, you will not have much luck changing him. This is a very serious disorder, where the person sets their own standards of right and wrong, and ignores what the rest of the world has to say.

Bottom Line: You might want to get others together (who agree with you), and lovingly challenge him as a group. Odds are, he will react as badly as you suspect. If so, get the hell out of Dodge, because the relationship is headed for ugliness!

 Dear Doc:
I have been married to my wife for 3 years. Recently she told me she didnt love me anymore and wants to be seperated. I had become very relaxed and set in my habits. I went to school and worked, she works 8-5 m-f. my school and work are mosly at night which means i dont see her but a couple hrs a day. Added to that i've had problems with anger/frustration issues. I smoke pot. and at the time i play online video games that took lots of my time. basically i was ignoring the most important thing, my wife. This has been going on a while and she said she is just drained and no longer loves me. I took this as a wake up call. I told all the things i would change and made all sorts of promises because i was scared of losing her. I cancelled my video games. I've been looking on'line for help with my anger management issuus. And, I've been praying alot and trying to establish my faith in god again. I want to change so bad. Its hard but I'm doing it. My question is how can i recharge my wifes love after something like this? Is it possible? I dont want to drive her away when we do seperate, so what are things that i dont want to do during that period? It all hurts so bad and what i might think to be a good thing to do might be just driving her away more. How Can i Save my marriage?

Unfortunately, you fell victim to the dark side of marriage. You thought that because you were married, you didn't have to work on your relationship any more. You figured it would always be there, so you focused on your own wishes. If you will truly change, your wife will hopefully give you a chance to put it back together. Yes it's possible. Be patient with her, don't smother her, and continue to get your act together!

Bottom Line: Many others have gone through this before you. She loved you once, when you had your act together. She can love you again, if she sees that you're serious about getting better, and never again taking her and the marriage for granted!

 Dear Doc:
I have been dating my boyfriend for 1-1/2 years and we have a very good relationship with one exception. He is having a difficult time being emotionally intimate and even prefers not to look at me during sex. He says that he is very attracted to me but has shared so much of himself with me that he has a difficult time with what I must think of him. He has scheduled an appt. with a counselor in hopes that it will help him connect with me. I believe that he is a good man and is trying to do what is right but not able to handle the pressure. He has been married multiple times and has shared that he is very afraid. He says that he has a difficult time being intimate with me because I am very nice...exactly what is that supposed to mean. He has said that superficial relationships are much easier and he has done some things to sabbotage us so that I will break up with him but then regrets and wants to try again. I love him and am at a loss of how to handle this.

I hope he finds a great therapist and sticks with it! To be honest, he sounds pretty unhealthy. Protect your heart, because this guy is a high risk for a break-up.

Bottom Line: It's usually not a good sign when the other says "you're too nice for me." If he continues to get help, he may be able to break out of his unhealthy dating patterns. Good luck!

 Dear Doc:
I've written to you before about my boyfriends ex-girlfriend that always talks *crap* on friendster and myspace! They broke up several years ago because she cheated on him! Then he met me...we've been together for 3 years now. This girl has been talking all this trash about us for about 3 years!! It's never directly states our names BUT I do know it's about us. Just beacuse of the certin topics she would write about. She even had the nerve to create a fake profile and try to email me and ask me about my hair?! The reason I found out it was her,I did a search with her email address and that fake profile showed up! It's been years and years..and this girl will NOT stop talkin about me. We got a house together and here she is talkin bout how i'm broke and i party all the damn time! I am NOT broke..and yes I do go out alot but so what? I know the things she writes aren't true BUT sometimes words do hurt. I even got a comment on one of my pictures from an unknown person calling me a nasty slut! I'm soo far from that and her little games. I'm sick of it! I want to strike prove i'm not chicken sh*t, but then again why should I justify my life to her? I don't have enemies..BUT I can't shake this girl off. She bugs! My friends tell me shes jealous and so does my boyfriend. I know it..But the words still somewhat hurt. Give me something smart to say...or do.

If you want to be truly smart, don't do or say anything! That's exactly what she wants. She has no life, so she is obsessing over you and your boyfriend. She WANTS you to react, to stoop to her gutter life. Don't fall into that street fighter mentality. You have nothing to prove. This kind of person can be truly dangerous. I would avoid her like the plague. It's not about fighting. It about rising above her ghetto mentality, and going forward in your life with peace and happiness.

Bottom Line: No amount of time spent on her will bring you anything positive.

 Dear Doc:
I am 37 years old. I just reunited with my ex and and in the beginning of our reunion things were great. We even had sex every single day. Now he is living in the past, i really thought he was over the past. I cheated the first time but it was because he wasn't there for me. I'm not that same person, and like I told him I wouldn't allow things to get that bad where I had to do that to him, but he also realize the things he done that brought the affair on. I don't understand whay he need to have sex every day, and if i fall asleep he has a serious attitude with me the next morning. Now I regret getting back with him, because i am so unhappy, becase we argue all the time and I hate it. WHat should I do?

It's very hard to go forward in a relationship, after an affair. Insecurities and lack of trust often take charge. He may want daily sex as a reassurance that you want to be with him.

Bottom Line: Tell him exactly what you think and feel. If you can't find a happy compromise, you're better off to end it now, before it drags on forever and gets uglier. But if you do, you'd better stay gone this time!

 Dear Doc:
I am an over the road truck driver with my husband. I have a 18 yr old son, that is a great kid, very responsible, he will be graduating in May, he only has 1 class this year. My problem is, I quit trucking last week because his brother who was staying with him just went into the Navy. I also quit trucking because my husband and I were arguing alot on the truck. I starting sending out my resume for (property management), my field before I started trucking and still no interviews or calls. I am worried that I wont be able to land a good job and money is tight. Should I go back on the road or stay home and stick it out. I hate to leave my son, but he doesn't care, he works and is never home. But I am also leaving a house that I love and my dog of 8 years. But I am going broke. What to do?

Stay home. That's where your heart is, and it might help your marriage.

Bottom Line: If you follow your heart, the needed money usually follows. It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better!

 Dear Doc:
have a boyfriend who is a pathological liar. He has spent most of his adult life (about 75% of the last 16 years) in and out of prison because of this. He would like to get help or so he says. He is currently in jail now awaiting his court date on more of the same charges: worthless check ($39,000) used to purchase an SUV and charged with grand theft auto as a result. He has a habit of posing as wealthy individuals, trying to impress people, using his own worthless checks to purchase expense items like corvettes and suv's and goes out shopping for million dollar condos (I think just to get the respect and have people look up to him). Where/how can I find some sort of program - in-house/half-way house or out patient in the state of Florida or in the Pensacola/Molible, AL vicinity? While he was out on probation for a month we went to the county mental health facility and he was assessed and set up with a counsellor who he had time to have only one seesion with be fore he went back in on violation of probation. That couselor basically told him there was nothing she could do to help him but he could come in and talk to her (I don't think they put him with the right counselor and they seem to be more geered up for substance abuse). She said she thought he had anti-social tendancies and probably Robin Hood complex. I would like to find some type of program that has dealt with this type of problem before. He has never received any counseling - just prison time. He is a really nice person with above average intelligence and a good heart. He does not have a temper and is more passive than anything. He doesn't seem to do any of this for any actual personal gain because he doesn't have anything to show for it and although he seems to have an addiction to nice car he always - at least recently- has intentions of taking them back to the dealer before they realize the check is no good. Any ideas you can suggest would be appreciated, I've been trying to search on the internet with out much luck. I'm afraid this is all a bit new to me.

Are you seeking treatment for him or for you? Take care of yourself, and wait to see if he takes care of himself. Unfortunately, the odds of him getting better are very slim. There should be clinics in your community that can help you. Ask lots of questions and knock on lots of doors, and I'll bet you'll find some life-changing help.

Bottom Line: All we can change is ourself. I wish him the best, but I sure wouldn't wait for the tiger to change his stripes.

 Dear Doc:
hello, i have a 16yr old daughter and she constantly has anxiety attacks, at least i believe that's what it is. she has a very short temper and gets unbelievably upset over very minor things. she cries uncontrolable when she gets overwhelmed with things. can you please tell me if this sounds like she has some sort of an anxiety disorder or does it just sounds like a over dramatic teenager? i truly believe that there is definitely more to these attacks.......

I would get her to a medical doctor, to see if her hormones are out of balance. If that doesn't help, I would take her to a therapist, for some talk therapy.

Bottom Line: This really doesn't sound like an anxiety disorder. Sounds more like the psycho-physiological complicated life of an over-stressed teenage girl.

 Dear Doc:
I have a 10yrold son who talks about killing himself when he is disappointed. Should I be concerned about this for he has mentioned it before. I remember saying these to get back at my parents but didn't mean it when I was a child. My son is very strong willed & cannot accept his mistakes or when he's proved to be wrong. Help.

We always have to take that kind of talk seriously. Does he remind you of how you use to be? Does he behave in other ways that suggest he is trying to manipulate you, vs. seriously hurt himself?

Bottom Line: He surely sounds like a strong-willed child, but we can't be wrong on this one, so get some professional help if you have even a small belief that he is serious about suicide.

 Dear Doc:

Move on girl! It won't be easy, but it will be best down the road.

Bottom Line: Far too many women put up with unhealthy relationships for far too long!

 Dear Doc:

It's best for your son to be raised in a healthy environment, and this roller coaster you are on sure isn't healthy! I hope you can see that you are being used. And I hope you believe that you deserve better.

Bottom Line: Move on, and put this wacky guy behind you! If he really loves your son, he'll continue to be a good dad, even after the split. I'm betting that won't happen!

 Dear Doc:

Change is possible, but difficult. Half of the work of changing begins with seeing the NEED to change, and being willing to ADMIT it. Only about 10% of the population ever gets this far. Secondly, studies have shown that the human personality is pretty set in stone by about 30 years of age. Once the person tackles their need for change, they can read books, talk to people, practice new healthier behaviors, etc. Good change usually happens when we have a support system, where we can get honest feedback about our successes and failures.

Bottom Line: Nothing is more exciting than seeing someone who is willing to change, and who is willing to spent the EFFORT that is required! We need to cheer these folks on, because there is a much better life out there for them, after their changes are made!

 Dear Doc:
For the second time in two years, a seemingly great relationship ended suddently at the 3 month point without signs at the peak of Romance. Both girls were in their 30's and we met on-line. In both cases, I screened several people before I decided to go forward. Both girls claimed to have wanted family, have only moved out of their parents house a few years back (rather late), have never been married ( as I have never been), no children, and claimed that I am the ideal guy long term. This last breakup - on Valentines day I got showered with gifts, food, intimacy...etc. Only for a day later claiming "we seem to want different things"....sorry. I told her that I did not agree - but I also knew that the result would be the same. She claimed to be supressing her thoughts for the least 3 months and wanted to give me a try, but could no longer. She couldn't give me any specifics on what the differences were and would not discuss except that I am not the night person she is. Since the beginning she made claims like "if you don't hurt me, I can make you happier than you can ever be" and "I think I am falling in love". She also told me all along how much she enjoyed staying in and settling down - getting away from one particular friend always involved int he wrong crowd. What gives? Are these two examples in dating I have experienced two wack jobs, are is the problem me? I thought I screened not for looks but compatibility. Both girls take care of themself, but neither are models by any stretch. Any info or comments will be great. I will be turning 40 later this year - good job, homeowner (nice area), secure...etc. I am ready to settle down and finally start a family. My luck has been terrible. How many more 3-4 month breakups that come out of the blue do I have to go through. Why both times it has been the same durration? I am miffed at all this.

No reason to think that there is a 3 month pattern. I think they may be wack jobs. There are quite a few out there on the Internet, hiding behind the anonymity of their computer! You sound like you have a lot to offer. Don't give up on your computer, it is the future of dating in our world!

Bottom Line: Maybe try next time. It was founded by a psychologist who uses sophisticated personality tests to match people together. One of my clients met his wife there (after two failed marriages). If you are judged to be compatible from the beginning, your chances of success are much greater!

 Dear Doc:
My 22 year old son is struggling in college as a junior. He just broke up with his girlfriend. He wants to quit school and feels reallyyyy down. What can I say or how else can I be supportive. I have said how much we feel his pain and that we are there for him and that we love him very much. Any other words of wisdom.

You probably can't do much more. Just be there for him, listen to him, and try to avoid preaching to him. The hardest thing can be to watch our kids struggle, with the knowledge that we are powerless to "kiss it and make it better!"

Bottom Line: Let's hope he can get over the hump of his depression. If so, he will have learned a life-long lesson about how to live with loss, and that there is goodness after the pain!

 Dear Doc:
I need to know what is going on with my husband. He likes this woman he says only as a friend. He bends over backwards to get her attention, she does not seem to respond. He went as far as giving her gifts, money and calling her gorgeous. He says he doesn't love her or want any sexual relationship with her, he only wants to be friends. At one point he told her he got jealous because she was talking to another man (he also told me he got jealous, but he doesn't know why cause he doesn't think of her that way). The first time this happened with her I told him he had to make a choice between me and her, he refused to make a choice. She made him upset and he didn't talk to her for a month, then he missed her and wanted her attention again. He also told me this himself. He is hurt because she won't give him the attention he wants. I just don't know what to do anymore. I told him to make a choice again this time he says he will stay away but I am not sure. He say's he doesn't know why he feels this way, and he doesn't like it. He say's he still to this day does not love her or want a sexual relationship with her. Now he is talking about just saying hi and bye when he see's her. Oh by the way she is a bartender; he goes to the bar to see her. He does not want to go to any other bar but that one because he know's alot of people there. Hope you can help me.

Something doesn't smell right with his story. He obviously has some unmet needs that he's trying to fulfill through her. He should be in therapy tomorrow, if he isn't already. At a bar huh? Well that's sure not the best place for him to develop healthy habits! If he was really dedicated to you, don't you think he might want to stay out of that bar??

Bottom Line: You may have to make the choice, rather than him. I wonder how he would be if you told him to take a hike? If he doesn't clean up his act asap, you might want to give him a chance to find out!

;Dear Doc:
he truly believes that hes not lying, will fight you down if you don't. he's done so much he can't stop. when confronted he will deny until you see his way. he truly cant see his lies.

You have described a pathological liar. His lieing is so sick, he can't even see it.

Bottom Line: This is a dangerous person to be with. Your smartest move may be to turn and run! How can you be in a relationship with someone that you absolutely can't trust??

 Dear Doc:
if you think you need emotional therapy ,but no one else does, what does a seventeen year old girl do??????

You do everything in your power to get it anyway! There are free clinics out there, if you have no money. At your age, you should not need the consent of your parents to receive private and confidential therapy.

Bottom Line: I know a 16 year old young man whose parents got on their knees and begged him not to get any therapy (because they were afraid of what the people at church would think!). He found someone who would help him, and spent the next 7 years in therapy (sometimes walking or hitch-hiking 30 miles to get there!).

 Dear Doc:
my question is that my niece needs closure from losing her parents. could you give me some advise for her,she lives to far away and she cannot visit the grave site. my niece is 28,she has 2boys 2&4 yrs. her mother died of cancer (lung) ,her father of asma. her mother died 5 yrs ago, her father 2 yrs.

This is a tragic situation. If she isn't in therapy already, she should try that asap. There are also many good books available on this subject. If she is a religious person, maybe the head of her congregation can be helpful.

Bottom Line: Sometimes we can never truly get over the loss of a loved one. Our goal may be to heal as much as we can, while living with our scars.

 Dear Doc:
is it possible to lose weight without changing your diet

Most experts recommend that the best way to lose weight is to improve our diet, while also becoming more active. In addition, discontinuing behaviors such as smoking or excessive drinking can help our overall health.

Bottom Line: We should avoid extreme changes in diet. The key to long term health is to evolve into healthier lifestyles over the rest of our lives.

 Dear Doc:
Just I like said my husband showed up today. I did let him in to see what he wanted. We dicussed a business matter on the phone earlier today, and I knew he would show up. He claimed he wanted to use my computer to look up his bank statement, so the matter we discused would be taken care of. I would not let him use the computer and asked him to leave. This man started to search the house, he said I was hiding something. He tried to make himself at home, going into the frig. getting things out. I explained to him that this was not his home any more. At that point he tried to start an arguement, which I did not buy into. He also tried to challenge me that this is his house too. I explained to him that this was his house but that this was not his home any more because he made a choice to leave when he made the choice to cheat in the marriage. This man has taught marriage to couples in our church for years, so I know that he knows the right thing. On his way out he said that it would be best if we didn't contact each other direct. We needed to go through someone else. I stated ok. He left very angry and I told him to not come back, because I wouldn't let him in. He emplied that he wasn't going to pay the bills anymore. I said ok. I know that was manipulation. I did not raise my voice, but I was very firm. He still tried to blame me for his actions. Said that I put him out. I told him he made his choice, when he was seen with this women. He told me that it was over that he wanted this other women, so I did move him out of my house. That's been two years ago, and enough is enough. After 36 years I deserve better and I'm fighting for it.I believe I acted in an assertive manner, and I feel good about it. He'll be back.I plan to stay on guard.

You're making great progress. Keep it up! He will continue to try to twist the truth, and sell you on his "innocense", but that's just so much garbage! Not only do you deserve better, you ARE better than this sorry excuse for a husband!

Bottom Line: The changes will be hard for awhile, but in the long run you will realize that breaking off from this sick person was the best thing you ever did!

 Dear Doc:
Today I went class and my instructor is a counslor wit tewnty five year experienc. By the way I'm in a substance abuse class, to become a Alcohol and drug abuse counselor. Anyway I asked this counselor about book on passive behavior. He knows a little about my situation because we have to use real problems in our class. He suggested that I get books on assertiveness, which I did. He also told me to get in touch with my feelings. Learn how to feel again. He ask me what am I getting out of this relationship. The only thing that I really could say is that I get all my bills payed, and a lot of frustration. He encouraged me to take a good look at what I want and to go for it. I am determine to get out of this passive state in this relationship. Like I said yesterday, I got a call this morning around seven, from my husband, thanking me for living a good clean life in front of his children, which are all grown and gone from the home. He also called again today to ask me something about one of the grandchildren. This man lives with the grandchildren, seems to me he would have asked the children's mother, since that's were he sleeps. But that tells me he didn't sleep there last night, which my daughter informed me. Is that an exmaple of manipulation. I am going to stand firm, I don't want to see this man or talk to him

He doesn't want to lose you, because you feed into his sickness, and keep him from facing the changes he needs to make. Certainly his phone calls and questions about the grandkids are manipulations.

Bottom Line: You are getting stronger and more independent, which threatens him. As you cut him off, he will probably get worse. Not your problem. Do NOT look back.

 Dear Doc:
I'm the one again that is married 36 years. My next comment is that my husband is passive agressive. He called me this morning thanking me for living a good clean life before his children. He was a fairly good husband I thought before this happen. It's hard for me to let go. Is there not ant hope for this marriage.Or maybe I don't know any other way, because I;v been married so long. Do you think that God can heal this marriage. I know that God hates divorce.

The WORST type to deal with is the passive aggressive! No one is more manipulative (and unaware of it!). You tell me he is good. Can you see the power of your denial? Read below what you told me about this cheating man. Good? I don't think so. The hardest thing to do is to let go (but the most necessary!). Anything is possible in life, but we have to live with the reality of probabilities. I would NEVER bet on this marriage getting good enough for you to stay in it. What God hates most is sickness, and this marriage is terminally ill!

Bottom Line: You are absolutely correct. It is because this is foreign to you, that you struggle with your new life. But you can do it, and there is a much better world for you out there, once you get over the hump of the unknown!

 Dear Doc:
I received your answer. I,m the one that has been married thirty six years to the sex addict, that blames me for keeping him from his son. My question is how do I overcome this passive behavior, when it come,s to this husband of mine. I went to my counselor, and we recognized this behavior. I was told that my husband is in control still. I'm trying to change my behavior.This is what happens. My husband still lies and see's this other women. Even though we are separted, he comes to the house all hours of the night, pecking on my bedroom window. I try to outlast him, and not let him in but he keeps pecking on the window. If I don't open the door and let him in, he rings the door bell, none stop. I'll let him in and he goes straight to my computer to look at porn. The last time he came it was two fifty in the a.m.. I was angry and told him not to come here any more. The next morning he called and said he was sorry and would not come back until he had gotten ride of the addiction. I have not heard from him but one time since then. Today he calls with an urgent message, to call him asap. I did not return the call, but I know he'll be coming or calling again soon. I have not seen him in a week. I won't call him. I have to stop this passive behavior, how do I do that. Are there books that I can read. I'm really trying to live a new life. I don't want to be in that victim role any more. I really need to be more assertive in all areas of my life.How to I learn not be passive

You are on target, to change from passiveness to assertiveness (which differs from aggressiveness). However, you may have to be aggressive for awhile, until you break loose of this jerk. First, file for divorce. Second, get a restraining order that will keep him away from you and the house. Third, never talk to him again, because he obviously manipulates you with his aggressiveness.

Bottom Line: There are lots of good books on assertiveness for women. Ask your counselor, search the internet, or go to the local book store. Stay away from religious books, because the conservative ones won't encourage you to be aggressive enough to conquer the 36 years of sickness in this marriage.

 Dear Doc:
afraid abusive father may beat up mom or kids again when he gets out of jail again

You should assume that he will do it again. Take action NOW. Go to a shelter or abuse protection agency for help. Move out of the area. Maybe start your life over again where you can't be found. Too often we hear of this type of situation ending in the loss of life.

Bottom Line: Rarely is there anything in prison that will rehab an abuser. The pattern typically repeats itself, so it is foolish to stay around, hoping it won't happen again!

 Dear Doc:
I have been married for 36 years. Two years ago my husband decided that he married the wrong one and went back to a high school sweetheart. He had a child by this woman the second year we were married. At that time we were seperated, but he decided to come back home and left the child with its mother and her husband. I found about the child, but was told that they made a decision to let her husband think it was his child. Two years ago my husband decided that I kept him from his child. He has been having an affair with this woman and has told this grown man that he is his father. My husband says that this is my fault. I refuse to take the blame for his actions, so now everything in our marriage was wrong. By the way my husband is a preacher and has been for the last 25 years. He has been mean, insulting, rude, disrespectful of me. He has brought this woman into our home. I made him leave our home after My children and myself saw him out with this woman. At that time he told me in front of this woman that it was over for us and a few choice words i won't repeat. We have been seperated going into the third year and he still wants to play both sides of the fence. My husband is also a sex addict and it is getting worse. Because of my religious traning I have been praying for this marriage, but I'm at the point that I don't know if I really want him or if it is just habit. I have been getting counseling and have made good progress. I have gone back to school, and enjoying it. I married when I was 18 years old. How do I deal with the feelings I have, and the religious background and starting over at my age, I am 54 years old and he has always been my sole support. I stayed home mostly and raised the children during this marriage. He has left the church and the family. help.

It's nuts to think that you kept him from his child. That was his call. You did not tie him to the bedpost! Girl you godda dump this guy! I grew up in the kind of religion you describe. It's so sad how many good people like you stay in a junk marriage because of unhealthy religious training. Keep up your therapy, but I hope it's not from a religious person who says you HAVE to stay married. That would be VERY unhealthy. You are starting to rebuild your life, so you're going down the right road. You may feel that you need him financially, but I hope you don't love him, because that would be an unhealthy sign for you. You deserve better!

Bottom Line: If your church can't be compassionate and help you in your divorce, go find one that will! God is a hell of a lot more forgiving than many of the folks at church.

 Dear Doc:
im very stubborn and aggressive.i love my husband alot,he loves me too.we had fights on small small things.sumtimes i hurt him,he does also...theres something which is bothering me,but i dont know what????

Yours sounds like a very dangerous situation. Professional help would be adviseable asap. Stubbornness and aggressiveness usually are signs of emotional ill health.

Bottom Line: The good news is that you realize that something is wrong with you. Now let's hope you have the long term strength to find the answers. Good luck!

 Dear Doc:
How would i know if my ex-wife is turning my son against me.

It depends on how old your son is. If he can't speak for himself, maybe others who know all of you can give you a clue. Changes in his behavior may indicate something. If he is older, maybe he will speak with you. Is their a matriarch or patriarch in the family, that can get to the bottom of this, for the good of your child??

Bottom Line: The worst situation would probably be to get in a long-term court battle. Ultimately, what is the character of your ex? Is she that evil? Have you done something that would merit such a move by her?

 Dear Doc:
I am a senior in high school and I have been doing really well...3.64 G.P.A and my parents are very demanding because they have sacrificed so much for me. Now this term, I got a 2.76 which made my cummulative G.P.A come down to a 3.58 and I know my parents are going to be very upset. My mom has high blood pressure and she can't take this stuff. This was very important to them and I let them down...they don't even know it yet so they tell me that this is the term I can get my grades up and are nice to me and everyting. I feel so horrible. I don't know what to do. Please help me

Remember that you are not in charge of your parents health. It's great to please them, but don't live your life for that. Do what pleases you, and learn to accept that they won't always agree with you. Part of growing up is finding your own way, which means the inevitable disagreements with your parents. Hopefully their love is not conditional, so they will love you as you become your own unique wonderful individual self!

Bottom Line: I graduated from high school with a GPA that was lower than yours, yet I ended up being a Doctor with four college degrees. There is hope! If you want the grades, go get them. If not, hopefully don't party too hardy, so that you can pick yourself up at the end! Never forget to enjoy the ride.

 Dear Doc:
I was trying to research "middle knowledge" as it relates to persons with a terminal illness. I am a Hospice nurse and the words "middle knowledge" were mentioned during a grief seminar. It peaked my curiosity about the term so I typed it in and got you as the only reference. What can you tell me about "middle knowledge" and how it relates to dying persons.

I have no experience with the concept of "middle knowledge". I'm not quite sure why your search engine sent you to me.

Bottom Line: Maybe another one of our readers can add some insight into this concept!

 Dear Doc:
my wife constantly fights with me & argues about my children from a previous relationship as well as the ex . i give no reason for this from myself and she actually thinks of things i did not do but once she thinks them then they are arguments why i give more to this one in one year thann the other in 14

Sounds like you've got quite a problem. There are two sides to every story, so her perspective might be interesting. Maybe she is jealous, and doesn't feel she is number one with you.

Bottom Line: Blended families are about as complex as anything we have to deal with! She will not be number one. If she can accept that, you have something to work with. If not, it may be unfixable.

 Dear Doc:
I have been going out with my boyfriend for the last 6 months. Before this wonderfull man I cheated on my ex and I vowed to myself never to do it again! And I havent. But I find myself checking my boyfreinds moblie phone and also his email! He is the most wonderfull man I've met and I trust him 100%!! But i'm thinking to myself is he doing what I used to do?! Is he texting girls when he's not with me? Is he emailing girls without me knowing? all these thoughts are going threw my head but I know that he isnt! I'm paraiod! And it's not helping with our relationship! Because we do want to go futher than this! We want to make this work! Both of us! He doesn't know that I once cheated on an ex! And I want it to stay that way! Please can you help me?! I know theres a reason I'm feeling like this but I cant put my finger on what it's called and why I'm like this!? He has recently gone on holiday with the lads and I trusted him! I kept texting and ringing him to see what he was doing! and I know in my heart he was doing nothing to hurt me! But me being like that has made both of us ill! We cant go on like that! Please tell me what to do! Tell me how to cope with my mind! so my mind doesnt go into over drive! I need to sort this out! please say you can help? Whats wrong with me?

You seem to be suffering from an obsessional disorder. You need to spend time with a therapist, in order to sort it out, because there can be many causes for this type of problem. The good news is that you realize you have a problem, and you want to fix it. As you indicate, if you don't fix it, it will ruin the relationship.

Bottom Line: In addition to talk therapy, there are medicines that can help solve this problem. If you will seek out the right help, you will conquer this struggle and carry forward with this good man!

 Dear Doc:
I have been married for almost 25 years. The last five have been a struggle and I have done everything I can think of to save our marrige. I can't do it on my own. I have come to realize that my husband must be passive agressive due to the emotional treatment he recieved from his father growing up. He has said we need to talk about divorce but doesn't bring up the subject until I try to talk to him about his feelings. He goes about his life like things are fine but as soon as I ask him anything that he would have to reveal about his feeelings he gets upset and then walks out. My husband does not like confrontation and will just walk away from a disagreement. This leaves me feeling like I am to blame for whatever the problem was. I am in therapy and we went to joint counseling. He however doesn't do anything differently and says the therapy isn't working. At our last joint session both my therapist and I told my husband things weren't changing because he has issues he need to deal with. (I know he is very angry with things I have done in the past that he hasn't even told me he was angered about.) This seemed to surprise him and he said he would get individual counseling. That was in October. I asked him in November, December and January if he had made an appointment and he had one excuse after another. On New Year's day I asked if he would please tell me when he made the appointment and he said he would. Two days later I asked in an email if he had called and he replied that he forgot to tell me he did make an appointment. Most of the time he "conveniently" forgets to tell me something I want to know or does something that he knows I don't want him to do and then just smiles at me and pretends everything is fine. What are the traits of passive agressive behavior? How can I deal with him or should I just let him have the divorce?

Passive agressive people are probably the most difficult to deal with, because when they sabbotage the relationship, they don't seem to see it (and sure won't admit it!). They can drive their partner crazy with this denying behavior. Do a computer search of "passive agression" for an education.

Bottom Line: Divorce this guy and get the hell out of dodge! He will not change. You are NOT at fault for everything.

 Dear Doc:
I am 22 years old and I am in a relationship with a guy I went to college with who is 23. Last May, my twin sisters boyfriend, who was a wonderful individual, was hit and killed by a bus in Newport RI. She was very much in love with him and is still not doing that well. I am finding the grieving process very difficult as well but I want to be there for my sister as much as I can be. My relationship with my current boyfriend has a tremendous affect on my mood and behavior. We fight a lot and I am constantly questioning his intentions and behavior. I find that I ask him if he really and truly cares for me quite frequently. He has a very laid back a reserved personality, which can cause him to be unenthusiastic, standoffish, unemotinal, and unaffectioate at times. I find that when I ask him to do something with me, he backs out. Our fights usually begin because I question his intentions or actions, which leads him to say that I am overreating and that he can't deal with my emotional outbursts. I get angry at him, and he in turn, becomes angry at me for acting "crazy." This then leads me to believe that he doesn't care for me that much. He has a lot of redeeming qualities too and I find that I am very attracted to him and his love for me. He has also been suppotive in this time of sadness and devastation that my family and I have been enduring. I don't want to be unappreciative of his support and help because he really has been my confidant and I do love him, but I don't understand his behavior. I don't like being sad and confused because this causes me to not be there for my sister as much as I should be. I want to be in a happy, stable, mutually respectful relationship but I don't know if it's my behavior or his that is causing the difficult times. I am so confused and I hate myself for constantly questioning my boyfriends intentions and assuming the worst outcome. Why do I do this? Although I am having trouble separating myself from him, would that be the best thing to do? My family is not that fond of my boyfriend either, not nearly as much as they were of my sister boyfriend who died. Is that a sign? I don't know if any of this makes sense or if I have given you enough information, but do you have any advice for me? Do you think I should see a therapist?

Does not sound like a healthy relationship. You either need to accept him the way he is (because you can bet that no one is going to change him), or break it off with him. You are behaving this way because you have needs that he isn't meeting. Work on meeting your own needs, and then see whether you still need him.

Bottom Line: If your family is emotionally healthy, then it is a sign that you should break up. By all means get to a therapist as soon as you can!

 Dear Doc:
My son will be 9 years old next month. He is ADD. He is also showing serious signs of emotional problems. For the past 3 years about every 6 months I find out that he has urinated in places around the house other than the toilet. Is this an act of compulsion because of his ADD and nothing more? Or, is this a result of an underlyng emotional problem? Is this linked with puberty and/or sexual emergence? I am a single mom and he sees his dad every other weekend. I find that he does this when he may be frustrated with something. Have you ever heard of this happening before? Help!

I would not connect it to the ADD. Nor would I connect it to puberty and/or sexual emergence. In my experience, it is not a very typical behavior. Does he do it at his dad's, or is something troubling going on at his dad's?

Bottom Line: First talk to dad. Then get him to a therapist asap.

 Dear Doc:
Breifly, my husband had affair(s) went to a dr. 30 miles away. reddness severe burning on urinnation. received a shot antibodtics, hidden at work. he never said anything to me for almost 2 months.He said he never had contact with this girl just fondled her with his fingers. how do i find out the truth? who?did he have std? how do i get his medical records?HELPPPPP

You should not be able to get his medical records without his permission, so ask him to let you see them, and maybe go to the Doctor with him. You won't know the truth if he won't give it to you. You should get yourself tested for STD's asap. If you want to be with him, you need to see his cleared STD tests before you choose to be intimate.

Bottom Line: You need to be considering whether you will stay with him, or go it on your own.

 Dear Doc:
I have been married for almost 25 years. The last five have been a struggle and I have done everything I can think of to save our marriage. I can't do it on my own. I have come to realize that my husband must be passive aggressive due to the emotional treatment he received from his father growing up. He has said we need to talk about divorce but doesn't bring up the subject until I try to talk to him about his feelings. He goes about his life like things are fine but as soon as I ask him anything that he would have to reveal about his feelings he gets upset and then walks out. My husband does not like confrontation and will just walk away from a disagreement. This leaves me feeling like I am to blame for whatever the problem was. I am in therapy and we went to joint conseling. He however doesn't do anything differently and says the therapy isn't working. At our last joint session both my therapist and I told my husband things weren't changing because he has issues he need to deal with. (I know he is very angry with things I have done in the past that he hasn't even told me he was angered about.) This seemed to surprise him and he said he would get individual counseling. That was in October. I asked him in November, December and January if he had made an appointment and he had one excuse after another. On New Year's day I asked if he would please tell me when he made the appointment and he said he would. Two days later I asked in an email if he had called and he replied that he forgot to tell me he did make an appointment. Most of the time he "conveniently" forgets to tell me something I want to know or does something that he knows I don't want him to do and then just smiles at me and pretends everything is fine. What are the traits of passive agressive behavior? How can I deal with him or should I just let him have the divorce?

This sounds like a dangerous relationship. Any time we put ultimatums on a person, and try to change them, we are asking for trouble. He may enjoy the relationship from a distance, and will die if he is around you 24/7.

Bottom Line: Just because we give to another, we can't expect to get it back. That's not good or fair; it's just the way it is. He's probably been doing stuff behind your back. You might want to consider leaving him on the corner, and going forward on a solo flight!

 Dear Doc:
I am 23 years old and in recovery next month i will have 2 years sober, my problem is with my relationship. I have been dating a great guy who is also in recovery he just celebrated his year. Anyway all of a sudden after 8 months of him being insecure and crazy and me being patient, caring, and understanding, I now find myself being the insecure one. One day out of the blue his whole attitude changed he was no longer insecure or at least not showing it and now i find myself being crazy starting arguments. He lives about 40 minutes away and i only see him on the weekends and i really don't know what goes on with him when i'm not around , I feel like a part time gig. When i went to his anniversary this girl shared about how much she enjoyed their mini meetings and i could tell as i watched this girl blushing when she spoke that she liked him. The whole night after we spent arguing about this girl, his response was that he never talks to her and had no idea what she was talking about, the next day when the arguement was over he decides to tell me the truth which was that he had one conversation with her about a problem he was having with me, needless to say i was furious i think it is inappropriate to speak to another female who obviously has feelings for him about a relationship issue his response to that was that he wasn't sure what was going to happen with us, on top of that i was oblivious to this relationship threatening issue i never even knew we had a problem that serious so now after all of this i said to him that i want more out of this relationship and i want him to move closer to me, right now he is in a sober house and he has a curfew of 12:00am and i work nights which is why we don't see eachother during the week i work until 11:00pm, so after some talking he agreed to move , so now i feel he should start over in his new town with meetings he tells me tonight that he wants to go once a week to a meeting out there and i am not comfortable with that. We got into a huge fight with him saying i was being immature, crazy, and controlling. Maybey i am but what makes me so upset is that i put up with this kind of stuff from him for months with love and understanding now when i am going through the same thing he can't repay me with the same condideration. It's not like I just got insecure for no reason, there were things leading up to this, he works at a deli and was constantly telling me about all these people he was meeting(customers) that give him discounts at their stores and stupid things like that but they were always females. I ignored that but it bothered me but then the night of the anniversary all my feelings exploded. I also find it weird that he was so insecure and then just like that he wasn't, that's when i started feeling insecure. i guess i just would like to get a professional oppinion : am i being paranoid or are my feelings valid? I love him very much but i am scared I do not really know him please respond

This sounds like a dangerous relationship. Any time we put ultimatums on a person, and try to change them, we are asking for trouble. He may enjoy the relationship from a distance, and will die if he is around you 24/7.

Bottom Line: Just because we give to another, we can't expect to get it back. That's not good or fair; it's just the way it is. He's probably been doing stuff behind your back. You might want to consider leaving him on the corner, and going forward on a solo flight!

 Dear Doc:
My 8yr old child has ADHD,attends a private Christian school. His behavior is difficult to manage at times and I know it's frustrating to the teacher.Recently his father and I were called in for a meeting with the principal . My son was also present .The principal called my son a liar. I took my son out of the school and on the last day when I went to pick him up,to place him in a school for ADHD, his teacher said his only problem is lying. She was very hostile. I'm dumbfounded and hurt for my son.Is there anyone I can follow this up with?

Probably not. You could try to sue the school, but that probably wouldn't be fruitful. We love our kids, and want to protect them. Taking him out of that school was probably your best move. Schools such as that often don't have the resources to understand children with special needs. As you are placing him in an ADHD school, let's hope they treat him with more respect and greater sophistication.

Bottom Line: You may have already done so, but if not, a visit to a Doctor who specializes in ADHD will know doubt help even further. You sound proactive, which should help your son greatly over time.

 Dear Doc:
I have been dating my boyfriend for 6 years, and He had a nervous break down compond by drinking to much. Now he is seeing a therpist and trying to get sober. I need to know how to deal with this. This has effected me as well. I am glad he has finally realize he needs help. Will our relationship ever be the same. Will he ever have the same feelings about me?

You should be getting help also. It would be good if you could see his therapist together. This can be a dangerous time for your relationship, if he stays clean and sober. He will be a different person, and the dynamics between the two of you will change. There is a high divorce rate among couples where drinking ceases and recovery begins.

Bottom Line: Let's hope he continues to get help, because it will be healthier for all in the long run. If you grow with him as he changes into a sober life, you will hopefully build a great future together.

 Dear Doc:
what is the difference between abuse and spanking

Opinions about this have changed over the years. In the 50's spanking was rarely called abusive. Today, some believe that all spanking is abusive. Books are written supporting both arguments. It would be unreasonable for any one person to answer this question for all people in all cultures. However, the general opinion of most western world health care professionals today is that spanking does not help children, and that techniques like time-outs should be used instead.

Bottom Line: A child can be spanked without being abused, in that spanking should be about education toward change, while abuse is about coercive over-powering of one by another.

 Dear Doc:
I have been dating my b/f for 2 years and I need to get out. He has sociopathic tendencies (pathological liar, no guilt, cold hearted) and has unfortunately mentally trapped my into this realationship. I recognize I need to leave, however I feel there is a good man underneath it all. But nevertheless, i do need to get out. I have tried many times, but he keep convincing me to come back. I feel trapped because I have failed so many times when i tired to leave him. Mentally he has a hold on me. I need to leave, but I do not know how to. I need a plan, or some kind of help that will help me through this and help me leave him for good this time. I do not feel I have "backup" through my family and friends since they think the last time i left him was for good(I had gotten back together with him since then). Thus, i do not have support through family and friends. Please help.

Go to a professional therapist, and use them as your support system. Maybe try a Battered Women's Shelter as a first step. You are addicted to this sick relationship, and need strength beyond yourself to break its spell. Realize how sick it is to say "I feel there is a good man underneath it all." If you don't get away from him asap, you are going to go down with his dysfunctional ship!

Bottom Line: Hopefully your family will come back to help, once they see that you have admitted how sick the situation is, and that you are getting out, regardless of how hard it is!

 Dear Doc:
i clean my house compulsively it is ruining my life please help.

The good news is that there is real help available. New medicines have provided significant relief for this problem, when combined with talk therapy.

Bottom Line: Get to the right Doctor asap, and you should feel better! If the first Doc doesn't help, keep looking until you find one who knows this subject matter, because there are answers out there!

 Dear Doc:
I am in desperate need of advice from an "outside" person. I'm 31 yrs old and feel like I'm 90yrs old from all this stress. Last year is when my world really came crashing down. I've been with my husband for 15 yrs. (8 yrs. married) with a 10yr old & 3yr old. He's always been verbally abusive and at one time (in the beginning) physically abusive. We separated a few months before Christmas & was staying with a friend who lives in the same city. He then decided to take a trip to visit his Grandmother for "a few weeks" (which ended up to be months)well, he ended up staying with his cousin who lives down the street from his Grandmas's and that's when all hell broke loose. He and his cousins met a guy in the same town who was nothing but trouble- that's when my husband & cousins started using cocaine....and I mean, A LOT! For the holidays the kids & I traveled to see my family (who also lives about an hour from his). Well, Xmas Eve was when I went to a motel with the kids because I couldn't wake my mom to let us in.I called and left a message for my husband to let him know where we were and we went to bed. My husband called about 100 times on my cell & I didn't answer because I'm a deep sleeper (and he knows that). When I finally called him when I woke he was screaming & yelling & calling me horrible, horrible names. He kept me on that call for hours- even while I drove the kids & self to my moms- they all opened gifts while hearing him yell at me on the phone. He wanted a divorce & swore up & down I had cheated & started giving me off-the-wall scenarios that I could've been doing. Then when I went to his cousin's a few days later to "produce" hotel receipts to prove myself innocent- he basically took me hostage for 4 days. Took my cell, my keys, searched my car, luggage, purse, checkbook, workfiles, YOU NAME IT- he searched it. But the worst &most devastating part is that he allowed his cousins & the friend to take part in it. Then I finally got out of there & got home but he continued to make threatening & harrassing calls. He'd call all hours of the day & nite screaming about divorce & god-awful things. Two weeks after I got home he confessed to me about other women he had been with before we were married (in hopes I would "come clean" about Xmas day)All the women he admitted to were the ones I had questioned him about when I suspected. but of course he denied. On top of the Xmas chaos now I had this to deal with. At first, I was in disbelief- my life seemed like a bad dream. And for 2 months I begged & pleaded for him to believe my innocence- I had NEVER cheated on him. Well, finally I couldn't take it & stopped trying to convince him. I was so frustrated & just kept wondering "WHY?" this was happening & why he would think that. He ended up moving back home but since he admitted to cheating "before we were married" - I've been running every second of our relationship through my mind & have realized some "questionable" events. I have become obsessive-compulsive about finding evidence of his possible cheating while he was at his cousins house using cocaine, I've been obsessed with cleaning & can no longer use the telephone out of some unknown fear, I talk to NO ONE because all I do is cry when I start to open my mouth, I have shut my whole family out & lock myself in my room all day, my work is suffering & I no longer am making money to pay bills, I'm suicidal, etc etc,- I've told my husband I'm not mentally well & I'm worse than he thinks, but I don't think he cares, he'll see me have trouble moving something heavy or something like that- and just watch, or pretend he doesn't see me. He sees me hauling in heavy groceries (5-6 trips from the car) & watch me & not even open the door for me. He's now started to confide our personal problems to his sister whom he just met 6 months ago & already hates me because of him bad mouthing me & I feel I can't trust or tell him anything because he'll run to tell his sister. I have nobody to talk to and need help before I go off the deep end. I know I should leave him & know what "should" be done- but I just can't bring myself to do it because I'm so emotionally weak & exhausted. Do you think maybe he did have an affair while he was visiting the inlaws? Why did he flip out on me so badly? All the horrible words & things he did to me- I'm asking myself 24/7 "Why? This just doesn't make sense!" I cannot get over it and cannot move on & it's gotten out of hand. I just need some sort of explanation to make it all sink in and click. I'm now suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks- on top of lifelong depression. What are the possible reasons for his actions? Please help!

I'm sorry, but I don't think finding out whether he has had an affair is the biggest issue. You should assume that he has. The biggest question is why you haven't left this toxic relationship yet. Most outsiders would say that this relationship has caused a great deal of your sickness, and that your only hope for health is to put it behind you and start over asap!

Bottom Line: It's amazing how much emtional abuse we will tolerate in the name of love and marriage. View your situation as you would a job... if the situation is intolerable, and is making you sick...quit!

 Dear Doc:
I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years. when we first started dating I asked him if he did any drugs. He said he smoked pot occasionally. I do not like drugs but I liked him, so I was ok with it....if it really was on occasion. I found out that it was, well for a while. It seemed as our relationship progressed his smoking did to. I had come to the conclusion that he was depressed and was hiding behind the smoking. His attitude changed, the way he treated me changed and our relationship changed. I have dealt with this for a good year and a half now and he is so different then he use to be. Its like his spirit went in the air with the smoke. I see has a emotionally person now. I have tried to explain this to him that the pot has almost numbed him of any emotion. Please tell me I'm right, because if my boyfriend is really this heartless I cant deal with it anymore. He went from smoking maybe a couple of times a month to everyday...and that's when I noticed the change in everything. Please help...I'm desperate. thanks.

Pack your bags girl, because your relationship is on a downhill slide!

Bottom Line: We can't change someone. If they don't see the problem, and deny the need for change, then we'd better get out of town quick!.

 Dear Doc:
I have all these pressures on me. I am a senior and I am trying to make it to a good 4-year college, but no matter how hard I try, there is no raising my SAT scores. I only have a 920 in that test and a 3.64 GPA. My parents won't approve of me going to a community college because they think it is sooo bad. If I convince them, my aunts and uncles will talk about me being stupid just because I go to a JC. I am thinking about leaving the state after I graduate and going to a JC in another state, and transfer back to a UC in my sophemore year, but that is far too expensive for me. What should I do?

I think you're a very good student! You have better grades than I did in high school, and I ended up with four college degrees! It's your parents who have the problem. It sounds like their pride and insecurity is clouding their vision. They must be concerned about what others think, because they sure aren't focusing on your needs! You need to be free of this stress, so that you can enjoy the rest of your senior year! They will save money if you go to a JC, and JC's provide some of the best teachers in the state. Get good grades there, and you can transfer to any of the state's top UC schools.

Bottom Line: There are lots of good schools that will accept you with a 3.64. Maybe go to one of the California State Universitys first, and then go to a UC as a transfer, if your parents keep beating you up about the JC's. But in the end, you have to do what works for you. You may have to take a stand against your parents. That may be hard, but in the end it will be better for all of you!

 Dear Doc:
How do you explain marriage separation to a four year old?

Keep it as simple as possible. You don't need to speak about divorce, because you don't know if it will end up that way. Talk about mom and dad loving the child, but that sometimes parents disagree, and that just like kids, sometimes they need a time-out, in order to calm down and think about things more cearly.

Bottom Line: Assure your child that they will be seeing both parents a lot, that you both love your child to death, and that your child is not responsible for this "time-out".

 Dear Doc:
my grown daughter is trying to rule my life ,every since her dad got killed 1 year ago,,i was married to her dad for 36 years/we have 2 other children ,,an they don't act like this 1 does,,..i'm getting a royalty check off my dad's land,,,which is in her name,, when the checks were little ,,she didn't want them,,now that they are big she's changing every thing ,but she tells me she doesn't need the money...and i only live on a fixed income,,,i can't understand why she'll tell my other girl all this and not me,, please help me ,,my mind is going nuts. yours truly

Unfortunately, it sounds like it's all about the money. If the money is intended for her, then you should give it to her. If it is your legal right to have the money until you die, then she must accept that. It may well be that you will lose your relationship with your daughter over the royalty check. If you want her more than the money, let go of the money and hold on to her.

Bottom Line: All too often, arguments about an inheritance break up families. She is talking to your daughter because she is hoping that the family gossip will force you to give her the cash.

 Dear Doc:
My husband of 10 years and I just separated 2 months ago and are trying to come up with a legal agreement on several issues. We have a 2 year old son and a 5 year old daughter. My husband has a girlfriend (who is still married and living with her husband at this time)who he plans to begin a relationship with in the next 6 months. He wants to involve the kids with his girlfriend in about 6-8 months from now. I think we should be divorced, or at least separated for a year before doing this. What are your thoughts and is there any research on the effects of meeting the new mate too early has on young kids?

You may not have much control over when he introduces the kids to her. You may want to take this one day at a time, to see if she is even around in 6-8 months. Given that divorces can take years, waiting for that isn't reasonable. Let's hope he is wise, and introduces your kids to his new friends as just that... friends. In other words, the kids will always enjoy knowing their parents friends, but meeting potential step parents should be a much more serious matter, and should only happen after years have proven that it is a long term relationship.

Bottom Line: Children are adaptable, but change can also be hard. If they know that they have the on-going love and involvement of both of their parents, they can more easily adjust to the changes that are around the corner. In these matters, evolution is better than revolution.

 Dear Doc:
My ex boyfriend and I tried to get back together this summer. He lives in NYC I live out west. He left his ex girlfriend to be with me and try to give it one last chance. He spent Thanksgiving, Christmas & NYE with me. In between Thanksgiving and Christmas he moved back in with his girlfriend. He bought her a dog and lied to her that he was on a long ski trip. Really he was at my house. This summer he bought me a puppy. I found out that she had no idea where he was and wanted to know why he never answers the phone. He does the same thing to me when he is in NY. She has forwarded me past texts he sent her about getting back together. I saw them. He tried to deny it. Yet, moved back in with her because he needed a place to stay in the city. (Is his excuse) My big question is -- do I tell her that he was with me and our families for all three holidays. Acting like our life is going to work together. Or do I just let it all go and karma can take over. He can just fall back into her arms and she will never know. What is your advise on this? By the way we are both in our late 30's.

Yes, tell her. If he chooses to live this double life, then he needs to be prepared for the consequences. This will of course blow your relationship with him, but I'm hoping your wise enough to run from this kind of mistreatment anyway!

Bottom Line: It would be very dysfunctional for you to continue to get pulled into his game of lies. The healthiest choice is to put the cards of truth on the table, and let all live with the consequences!

 Dear Doc:
if a mother loses custody of a child, can the grandmother get custody?

It is my understanding that Grandparents do have certain legal rights with regard to seeing their grandchildren. You need to check with an attorney in your state, to see which laws apply.

Bottom Line: With regard to custody, my experience is that this is more difficult. It almost always involves a lot of time in court, and a lot of money spent.

 Dear Doc:
I have been married for 28 years. After my husband,s parents died and losing my own father, all in less than 2 months, my husband told me he was not happy and wanted to leave. He was a totally different person and became antagonistic and mentally cruel to me. I fell into a depression and try to commit suicide by swallowing some pills. He found me after "hearing" his parents warning. That happened 2 years ago, I saought help with a psychiatrist and now, I confronted him about being unfaithfull, since we have had no sex since then. He told me that there is no one, but refuses to go to a marital counselor. I told him it was impossible for a person, especially a man, to go without sex for 2 whole years. He tells me he is totally blocked by my attempt and cannot have sex with me. This is not only hurting me but now I do want answers and am willing to cope with anything. How should I go about it

Seems like you might have to move on without him. In letting him go, maybe you'll find out if he really wants to be with you (and you with him). If he won't talk, won't be intimate, and won't go and get help with you, then there isn't much to stay around for!

Bottom Line: It sounds like he is forever punishing you for your suicide attempt. He won't be straight with you, yet he won't let you go. You may have to take care of yourself at this point!

 Dear Doc:
I am having a concern about a couple at church. The husband controls the sound board and thinks that his wife should sing all specials and solo parts in all choir songs. He got mad at the choir director and myself when I was asked to sing a solo part since his wife had larangitis. We have numerous talent in our church with both singers and musicians. How should I handle this?

Sounds like he lost the Christian spirit at church! Your only chance is to handle it directly. A lot of folks try to passively deal with this type of thing, because they don't want to "hurt the other person's feelings." That doesn't work. It just makes everyone more frustrated. For whatever reason, this guy is a control freak, and needs to be challenged. Meet with the pastor or the head of music, and then have them meet with you and this man.

Bottom Line: If your pastors won't do this, it's not a good sign (assuming they agree with your premise). Healthy organizations are those who deal directly with differences. Yes it's hard, but it's much better in the long run!

 Dear Doc:
I am having all sorts of pressures around me. I can never seem to please my parents with my grades and I am about to cry right now because I think I may get a 3.5 this term. Plus, I don't have a lot of friends at school and everything is driving me nuts. My applications for college are crazy. And I keep on thinking, what if I don't get in?

Dude, you've got to learn to lighten up! The first rule to a successful life is to retire from trying to please everyone! 3.5 is a hell of alot better than most kids get! You may not have enough friends because you're too uptight. Trust me, with those grades, you'll get in somewhere! Let's remember that life is a journey. You'll get in where you're supposed to get in. If your parents don't like it, remind them that it's your life, not theirs!

Bottom Line: Please learn to enjoy the ride of life, rather than the goals at the end of each stage! Otherwise you'll miss out on all the fun. After all, isn't that what life should be all about??

 Dear Doc:
I am in my senior year of college and I have been dating my girlfriend for nearly 18 months and I have met her parents once. They live only an hour away and her mother wants nothing to do with me. Her mother is on anti-depressants currently, while her family is very rational. Her mother absolutely loved her prior boyfriend and took his side when her daughter broke up with him. Her mother has heard rumors from the exboyfriend of my earlier years in college. Whenever my girlfriend tries to invite me to hang out with her family, the mother flips out and gets extremely angry and threatening with her. She will cancel the family visit to her at school, or threaten to take her car, stop pay on her tuition, and whatever else she can manipulate with. How can I get through to her mother that I just want a chance to prove to her that I am not a bad guy and that I truly love her daughter.

You probably CAN'T get through to her mother. The person with the REAL problem is your girlfriend, because her mother seems to be very emotionally unhealthy. And know that this is not caused by her depression. It is another type of disorder. If your girlfriend is going to date and marry whom she chooses, she may need to tell her mother to take a hike. I sure hope that the rest of the family is as healthy as you say, because you definitely wouldn't want to marry a woman with this same set of mental disorders.

Bottom Line: Enjoy your girlfriend, but let her deal with her mom. Be the best person that you can be, and don't worry about being liked by the mom-in-law. If your girlfriend is sharp, it will be clear that being with you is a wise choice, regardless of mom's hang-ups.

 Dear Doc:
I have a friend who is not even divorced yet and is dating someone new. The problem is the new girlfriend is pressuring him to introduce her to the daughter. The relationship is tumultuous and hostile at the best of times. My friend doesn't want to introduce the girlfriend to his daughter but wants some expert advice on what an appropriate waiting period should be before introducing a child to a new partner.

A good rule of thumb is that if either half of the couple is uncomfortable with introducing their child, or meeting the other's child, then it's too early. Because some divorces take years, it's not unusual for people to start dating before they get the final piece of paper. However, the parents need to err on the side of caution, and wait until everyone is ready, before proceeding.

Bottom Line: Divorces are complicated enough. The last thing we want is for kids to become confused because their parent has too many prospective step-parents going in and out of their lives! There will be plenty of time to meet the adults, if the couple end up together over time.

 Dear Doc:
I have not had any real family association with my parents for over 5 years now. I have three children that visit with them a few times a year and I speak with my father on the phone regarding setting up these visit but we have not physically seen each other in over 5 years. Prior to this parting of the ways, I had several disagreements with my mother, who tends to get upset and apparently offended very easily. At the same time she is very outspoken and does not mind offending others verbally. She had a difficult childhood and much of the time I have tried to ignore it. The explosive situation occured after my fatherinlaw passed away. My father had an interview on television that she called to see if we had watched. My husband answered the phone and told her that he had been in a meeting planning his fathers funeral with his family, and before he could go on to state that I had watched it she hung up on him. I was present at the time and he stated to me "I think your Mom just hung up on me". Obviously after just loosing my father-in-law, we were already under great emotional stress. We had moved him in as he had a terminal illess. My mother did not agree with this and would not come to our home while my inlaws lived there. She stated she didn't like my inlaws and felt they were taking advantage of our ability to take care of them. After receiving this call I called my mother back and asked if she had just hung up on him. She stated something about not taking time to watch the interview. I told her it didn't matter if we had watched it or not, it was totally unexcusable for her to create such a disturbance at our home when we already had so much to deal with. She immediately hung up on me and that was the last time we have spoken. I then called my father to tell him that things seemed a little out of control. When I explained to him the situation that my husband could not watch because of his obligations but that out children and I watched, he told me that it was obviously just a misunderstanding then and that everything is fine. This I did not agree with. My mother has long performed in this matter and everyone just ignores it. I felt it was wrong to just ignore such behavior as everytime we just let it go it only gets worse. I told my father this and told him that he really needed to let her know that she cannot act this way. My father has always let her behave badly to others and even himself. I told him that he needed to stand up for what is right because it was out of control and making our lives miserable. I have never made such a request of him before. He again made excuses for her and stated that I just don't know everthing. I told him that he needed to then explain it to me or my patience had just run out. No matter what the situation or what may have happened in your life, is it acceptable to treat others badly because someone had treated you badly? My mother was abused by her father, I know that, and have always tried to deal with her with this in mind. She has never been physically abusive, but she can be verbally abusive, has a bad temper, and has a very me first attituted. I had tried to deal with her keeping this in mind, but it was as if this was the last straw. I know she is his wife, but should my father not stand up for what is right and quit passifying her? My father would not tell me what It is that I'm not aware of and it has never been brought up again. Anyway, Things only got worse that week in that obviously my husband was greatly offended that my mother would behave as such when he was already distressed over his fathers death. Hense, my father called to discuss this with him and my husband ended up telling him off. The initial months following this I did not want to talk to them as I was greatly hurt by the whole situation. I even feel that to a degree I felt relief that I would no longer need to deal with them because of their attitude and the stress it put on my life in trying to resolve issues. However, it does not mean I do not care about them. I not sure how to resolve this situation. I did make one effort several years ago and I believe my father stated that some things can just not be resolved. I have let it go at that, feeling that he knows that I made some sort of attempt and now its up to him. However, they are getting elderly and I do care for them as they are my parents. However, since then both my father and my mother have had a heart attack. In both instances I was not advised of it by my brother until they returned home from the hospital. I thought this was improper but have not said anything as I my brother is my only family member that I get along with and I know his sort of in the middle of things. In both instances I made phone calls and sent a card to let them know I cared. however, I don't get much of a response. Is this a hopeless situation? They have made no effort at all to resolve the issue. Yet they are 69 and 70 years old. They may need my help soon and obviously we can't go for ever without seeing each other. Either a wedding or a funual will eventually take place. I really don't want someone to die before this is settled. Should I make additional efforts or is it hopeless if they do not want to resolve the issues. It's been over 5 years and I really don't want to hold on to this burden any longer.

It IS hopeless if they don't want to resolve the issue. They may go to their graves with this chip on their shoulder. I'm very sorry for your mother's abuse, and it can mess people up for life (if they don't get help). But that does NOT excuse her from her unhealthy behavior toward you! Not seeing you is their loss. Are you sure you want your kids to visit with such emotionally unhealthy people? I sure hope their dysfunction doesn't rub off on your three children. Dad is a classic codependent, who is too afraid of the discomfort that will come to him, if he challenges your mom (which he should probably do, for their sanity, if not others). It is good of you to want to reach out to them. And in truth, if you can let go of the hurt and pain they have caused you, you will be better for it.

Bottom Line: One of life's most important lessons is to realize how powerless we are over everything, other than ourselves. Sorry to say it, but you may need to cut your losses, choosing rather to spend your life making sure YOUR family is free of your family's significant sickness!

 Dear Doc:
I am a 34 year old married man. My wife (33) and I have been together for 10 years. Married for 4 years. We have a 3 year old boy and a 12 year old boy (her’s from a previous BAD relationship when she was 18-21ish. We are generally a very happy family, and we have lots of love for everyone. The problem is when we fight. We get into an argument, and I get cold, and I’m not really a ‘fighter’ more of a ‘discusser’. I do get angry, and we have raised our voices at each other, obviously. The problem is when we do fight, she gets very angry, I mean VERY angry. There is a fire in her eyes, almost a hatred or something. She says some things that are very hurtful and cruel, instead of staying with the argument. When I argue back it leads to her saying ‘I know, im a terrible wife/mother/etc…” She has played the ‘I want a divorce’ card a couple of times. When we talk about things after, I tell her how hurtful some of the things she says. It tears me apart. We can rarly have a ‘healthy’ fight, if there is such a thing. She knows this, and feels very sad when its all over. I know I don’t help matters during our argument, but I never stoop to ‘low blows’ like she does. At times she gets a little physical with me, and it takes a lot of inner strength to keep from striking back. Physical like pushing, getting into my face, pushing me over in a chair, etc… I know she loves me, and when we met, I was kind of a savior to her. She was a single mom working hard to raise her 2 year old. He was a little monster when we met, but cute. We grew together, and have built a great home and life together. I know she doesn’t mean some of the things she says, but it takes longer for me to get over these arguments than her. I don’t understand how someone can claim that they love you soo much, and tell you that you could never live without you, but say some of the things she says, and become such a ‘monster’ during an argument. Am I taking these fights too personal, or should she/we seek help? Paul

You should definitely seek help together. A good therapist should be able to help you improve the situation.

Bottom Line: It sounds like her reactions may be growing out of earlier hurts in her life. She may not even be aware of them, when she over-reacts to you. Without help, it will be very hard to repair a set of buried hurts from the past.

 Dear Doc:
Me and fellow co-workers have a question for you..Is there a dissorder of somesort that would make a person leave the store price tags on all of their clothes and misc. possessions as well as kitchen items,cups,etc? We are wondering as we have a fellow coworker who shows signs of ADHD and Bipolar dissorder? Your answer ASAP would be very helpful..Thank you.

Leaving tags on is not typically a symptom of the two disorders you mention. It sounds more like an obsessive compulsive disorder.

Bottom Line: Some of us are more unique (i.e., neurotic) than others. Such people can be a challenge to be around, but are usually relatively harmless, unless something pushed them to the extreme.

 Dear Doc:
I am writing in hopes that you will be able to answer a question stirring in my head. I have been married for almost ten years to a man who for the most part is truly a great guy. However, I am slightly convinced that he may be getting romantic with one of our female friends, whom we both have known for awhile now. There has been several occasions where I have caught the two in inappropiate situations, like one time I walked in on them rolling around on the bed togethier. Well just the other night She had come over to our house and when she left he walked her out to her car I peeked through the bushes at them to see what was going on and to my surprise they were sharing what looked like to me was rather an intimate moment. I confronted him about it but his only answers are its not what it looks like, he says they are just really good friends. So my question actually I have two. Is it okay to have a close friend like that while married or am I just a jealous freak like he says? And the other question is. Does it sound like something suspious might be going on? I need advice, starting to go crazy!!!

First, it is not normal or appropriate for a married man to be that close to another woman, and second, your concerns are normal (i.e., you are not a jealous freak). Thirdly, it definitely sounds like something is going on.

Bottom Line: Either hire a private detective to get the true story, or you and your friends should research the case, until you get to the truth. I'm, afraid you won't like what you find.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend of nearly six months has just recently lost all interest in sex. Before now, he couldn't get enough - even 1-2 times per day, but now he has no interest at all. WHAT'S WRONG?????? His job has been stressing him out, but I've asked what is wrong and he says it isn't that. I've tried wearing sexy lingerie, whatever it takes, but nothing. Has he lost interest in ME?

Something is wrong. Either he's found someone else, or the high of the relationship has passed, or something else interests him more (which doesn't make much sense). Sorry, but experience says that this relationship is dieing. You may need to let it go, and move on.

Bottom Line: You've reached out to him. You've done your part. If he doesn't want you, don't waste your time hanging around. The longer you do, the more it will hurt!

 Dear Doc:
my father is 79 years old and lives with my disabled mother and handicapped sister-he is verbally threatening them all the time-they are all verbally abusive to one another-he throws live ashes in the garbage-makes equipment malfunction when they go to bed at night, etc.-is there any recourse I have as an outside the home family member to stop this ridiculous ongoing situation-my mother and sister keep calling me for comfort-my only recourse is to kick him out-but if my mother won't do this what grounds would I have to see something done to absolve this situation-I love my family-but I also have my own famly-and a young son to contend with and feel my priority towards my son and family-perhaps my parents and sisters enjoy hating one another??-can I contact any person or persons to evaluate my father-need some kind of advice or direction-please-my father is to be on oxygen-he has an in-house machine which he doesn't use-but won't allow my mother to have removed for fear of fire or explosion due to his chain smoking in the house and near the equipment!! I don't know who to contact before something terrible happens at their home.

It does sound like a train wreck waiting to happen. That may well be his sub-conscious goal. You are correct to take care of your family first. You are pretty powerless in this situation, if those living in the house do nothing. You may want to stop supporting the ladies with phone calls, and tell them if they won't take action, you don't want to hear about it. This will hurt them, but it may push them to do something. I doubt that you can do anything legally, unless you can have your father proven incompetent, which is usually terribly expensive and not easily successful. No need to contact others to evaluate your dad, if he won't cooperate. If he will, his doctor should be able to start the evaluation process.

Bottom Line: It can be life's hardest task, but sometimes we have to know when to walk away from a hopeless situation, in order to save ourselves and our immediate family.

 Dear Doc:
I am a Drug Counselor. We both are Christians, however, my husband is a Crack-Cocaine addict! It the worst burden any spouse can endure!! Tehe anquist is equal to what one would feel about death! The money sspent is unthinkable! We have a dear son who contracted MS as a Marine for our country, and he is so pround his parents have stayed togrther 38 years, I shutter to think what wold happen to him if we parted.Yes, I believe he loves me, but you get to a point where you don't want to be strong anymore! You no longer have any rabbitts to pull out of the hat anymore! It hurts, like a hole is right in your heart!He's the church stuart,as well as a trustee. I,too, am a well as a national officer! We've loved each other since we obviously were kids!! Went to college together,but never, never did I dream something so horrific could come between us! It'ts like I'm on a mission at work to save them from this drug that has come from the very pit of hell itself!I'm cried out! I'm now weary! please give ME some tools to use!

It sounds like you don't want to leave. That would be one reasonable solution. If not that, I assume he knows how you feel. Given that you've told him where you're at, it sounds like you need to live your own life until (if ever) he cleans up his act. Unfortunately, such couples are commonly referred to as "the miserably married".

Bottom Line: We can't change the other. If we think the price of divorce is too high, then we have to live our own life, in the hopes that our loved one will see the light. However, this is NOT likely to happen.

 Dear Doc:
I have just done thru this terrible divorse in which I do not even get to see my darling girls. I was married to attorney that was gay and verbally degrading. i have the worst self esteem problem and part of which is my own falt I ate myself to death during the whole time. Iam now trying to seek help and every time I turn around i go to these doctors in Reno nv and they do not help me what so ever!!!!!!! Can you recommmend one either in the la area or with in 400 miles of reno. thank you. Tinia

You may want to send me a personal email via the website, so that we can talk more personally and privately. I do have contacts in San Francisco, so that might help.

Bottom Line: Nothing is more important than finding the right shrink! Don't give up, because there is a good fit for you out there.

 Dear Doc:
I have communication problems with my 28 year old son. He cusses me, calls me names, calls me a liar, sides with his live-in girlfriend. I don't get to see my grandchildren. His girlfriend is wacky and causes trouble for my son and myself, which results in us not speaking. please advise.

Unfortuntately, you're on the outside looking in. I'm assuming your son doesn't live with you. If he did, you would have some leverage. Assuming he doesn't, you need to protect yourself from abusive behavior. Be it your son or anyone else, do not spend time with someone who treats you poorly (I'm assuming you are not trying to incite this behavior in him).

Bottom Line: Do we have people in this situation, who are abusing drugs or alcohol? If so, the situation will remain impossible, unless they clean up their act!

 Dear Doc:
I have a problem..... Everytime i am alone, or at night and at anytime that I am alone i pull out my hair i feel as if i can't control it plz help me what can i do?

You need to get to a mental health professional asap.

Bottom Line: The bad news is that this behavior may suggest a serious problem. The good news is that there is help for this type of problem.

 Dear Doc:
We've been having some major problems with our four-year-old. He has been peeing all over the bathroom, all over the wall, floor, soaking the toilet paper roll, etc. He did this at school and had to be picked up. Later on in the week he got kicked out of pre-school and we are trying to get him placed in a state sponsored school if he qualifies. He has classic ADHD symptoms, impulsiveness, hyper activity, lack of focus, unable to follow directions, etc. He is VERY openly defiant! Just basically does what ever he wants, he seems to not care about consequences like times outs, spanking, naps, we've tried it all. We are married loving parents both educated, we pray before meals, go to church, we're your basic average normal family. As far as we know there's been no abuse. He's never been watched by a babysitter, just grandparents. We've never left him with anybody for any significant amount of time, pre-school and sunday school is about it. He's on a completely natural and organic diet, we have two other normal children, and he's the oldest. My husband is totally against drugs like Ritalin to help him and we really can't afford psychologist visits to try to get it diagnosed. I'm at my wits end with this child, I feel like I'm raising the next serial killer or something and this peeing everywhere makes me think he could have some sexual problem. I just don't understand it. Please help!

Unfortunately, your husband is making a huge mistake. It seems completely uninformed to not try a well researched and established treatment for your son's disorder. If your son needed insulin for his diabetes, would you deny him that?? I am willing to bet that if your son goes on the right medication for 30 days, it will change his life and yours... for the better! If it doesn't work, what have you lost? A little bit of time and money. It's not going to irreparably harm him. But if you don't try it, I'm afraid you are on a downhill path, with little help of turning things around.

Bottom Line: You can't afford NOT to go to a Doctor with your son!! You are in a crash and burn mode. Tell dad to swallow his pride, call the Doc, try the meds, and bring the family back to sanity!

 Dear Doc:
i am woman, who has always had promblems with my mother..she has never once seen any good in me, even tho of 4kids, I am her only daughter, and am good to her, where the boys aren't,,she judges me unfailry, never hears me, and finds fault with all I or my adult kids do,,but the sons can do no wrong,,I get very depressed about this,,,when my youngest son was killed, her words to me >was to get over it>...and now thinks me mentally ill, as I grieve him, as any parent would,,thank u

She sounds like a very ill person. Your goal needs to be to get to the point where you don't need her approval. Sadly, you are not there yet. Maybe you should move far away, become a true individual, and let her want YOU for a change!

Bottom Line: One of life's great truthes is that we can't change the other person. Their sick treatment of us is devastating, until we realize we really don't need them!

 Dear Doc:
My girlfriend and I recently attended a "relationship problem" sesion with a therapist. I walked out of there in shock because I was tolded by the therapist that a" person in my situation had a lot of baggage" E.G I have a son who is hard of hearing and a brother of whom is mentally handicapped and will need help in the near future with both and that 99.9 percent of the females in the world would not go for that. I found that comment to be very judgemental on the part of the therapist. Basically he stated that I will find no one. Does that make sense? please write back

Part of the job of therapy is to instill hope in the client. Directive therapy can challenge the client, but it should never cause the client to walk out of the door without hope.

Bottom Line: Therapy doesn't always go well the first time. People often have to interview several therapists before they find a great fit. When the fit is right, you will know it! Don't give up!

 Dear Doc:
reply, im 16 you had answered my last question of seeking a counsler fast about my depression playing into this 20 yr old guy. becoming suicidal, actually all that came from an abuse in the home when I was little and when I attepted the suicide I was visiting my dad. The 20 year old guy he hangs out with me and the whole family, iv had a counsler before and im going back to it but I have huge feelings for this guy. as we are both christians we seek God first. I get conserned of loosing him maybe to another girl he may persue? I have a hard time thinking about that and it conserns me. iv recently have had horrible anxiety attacks and my depression gets bad some times. I think most of the time I feel alone, not that I need a guy but he just seems to be there for me. Anywho yea im having a prob with these feelings iv had for a year now and counting. anything you can consider for me?

Yes, you may lose him. If so, that's best for you down the road. As a Christian, I assume you believe that what happens is God's will, and that it is your job to accept that. Maybe you should be talking to your minister also, to help you to increase your faith that God will take care of you, regardless of what happens.

Bottom Line: For the religious person, suicide (or thoughts thereof) is the ultimate lack of faith. God is suppose to be the provider of hope and answers.

 Dear Doc:
My boyfriend and i, both 22 yrs old, have been together for roughly 3 years (a few 2 month breakups though). We live an hour apart but manage to spend the night with each other an average of 3 nights a week. we've both encountered some minor trust issues for one another due to prior incidents that happened while we were "taking a break", however, i feel that this is more of a problem for me. I am in my last year of college at school notorious for its social scene, whereas he bartends in a town with a very lively nightlife. We recently promised each other our full trust and and to stop constantly questioning one anonther. The other night after work, he and and a coworker went out for drinks, spent the whole night together, went to his house after last call and "just talked" untill the both passed out (together in his bed). They're not close friends by any means, and from what i know, i've been there the 2 other times they've hung out outside of work. She's a little younger, seems really cool but made a comment to me a few weeks ago how she would love to hook-up with both keenan and i. So- am i wrong to be upset and feel uncomfortable about their previous "just friends" night together? I vaguely and non-chalantely expressed my uneasinesss to him, which he brushed off as "it was nothing, i told you that". I'm afraid to press the issue because i want to show that i'm really trying to trust him like i promised. But i feel that it was out of line, regardless of if they hooked up or not... i know if the tables were turned he would freak, I would really appreciate any advice you can offer me, i'm completely torn and confused as where to go from here. Thanks for your time-

No, you are not wrong to be upset. However, it won't do you any good to gripe at him about it. You either have to leave him, or let it go. My bet is that they hooked up, and that he is lieing to you.

Bottom Line: Jealousy is terrible, and tears all of us up. But we can't control the other, so we have to move on if they are treating us with disrespect, by lieing and cheating!

 Dear Doc:
my daughter always is with her boyfriend. they always wanna be alone and when i come home and theyre in her room the door id locked and when i knock she tells me hold on. is she having sex or not

Of course they are. Do you approve, if they are? How old is she? Is it your house? Are you in charge? Unless you're living as roommates, you need to be the mom, and she needs to be the daughter. No closed or locked doors allowed.

Bottom Line: If she doesn't like the rules of your house, she can go find one of her own to live in!

 Dear Doc:
my boyfriend and i have been together for 4 years and have a 8 mouth old daughter. he sleeps on the couch 2 to 3 times a night he says its an accident but sometimes we dont have sex for 3 or 4 weeks at a time. He starts fights over nothing hes so angry with me all the time. he always has some where he has to be and on his night to go out he s out untill 2:00 in the morning. what should i do is he cheating on me??

You've got a big problem for sure. This is not normal or healthy. I don't know if he's with someone else, but it sure sounds like he has emotionally left you. I would bet that he is cheating on you.

Bottom Line: Call him on it. Tell him you can't live like this. Hopefully he will want to work on it with you. Go to a shrink together. But my fear is that he may be too far gone.

 Dear Doc:
My husband and I have been separated for 15 months and are in the final stages of our divorce. We tried working things out several times, the last time being less than a month ago. He said he missed his girlfriend (first relationship in 18 years) and wanted to pursue that avenue. We parted amicably. He has now been with this woman for 2 1/2 months and thinks he is in love with her. I have done checks on her and determined that she has not been truthful with him. I have not told him about any of the information that I have found but I have serious concerns about my meeting her. He wants to introduce my 3 children ages 7, 8 & 9 to this woman - how long should a parent wait before they introduce a new partner to their children?

2 1/2 months sure isn't a long time! You should tell him the dirt on her, if you believe she is not good for him. Because if she is not good for him, she won't be good for your kids. I hope he's wise enough to remember the infatuation of youthful love, which can change with the wind! If he'd been with her for 2 YEARS, that would be different!

Bottom Line: I think he wants to introduce your kids too soon. You may not be able to stop him, so make the best of it, but be stable for them, and ready to explain when/if dad's new "friend" doesn't stay around too long!

 Dear Doc:
is smoking marijuanna sinful behavior

The answer, of course, is relative to one's religion. Non-religious people would not view it in those terms. It is against the law in the USA, but legal in some other countries.

Bottom Line: There is no doubt that standards of right and wrong are relative to each culture, and each period of a country's history!

 Dear Doc:
I think that I have PPD even though my child is 20 months old. I left her father because if abuse when she was 5 weeks old. When she was first born i didnt want anyone to hold her and still sometimes dont want people to watch her. I was afraid before going for walks because i was afraid that a car would come on the curb and kill her. I had way too many thoughts like that. They have slowly gone away, but now I am serverly depressed and have major anxiety. I sometimes feel that i want to physically hurt my child eventhough I would not. I dont have much help even if I wanted it. I live in Mississauga Ontario canada and need help what should i do? When my daughter was 9 months old i told her that i might have post partum but she freaked and saud that she raised 3 kids and never got it so i dont have it which is a lie and wrong of her to do and say. The father doesnt see her which is okay but sometimes i get angry because he is not around and keep thinking that i should have stayed with him eventhough again those are wrong thoughts. I have been depressed since i was a teenager now i am 27 and i feel totally exhausted and feel that i cant make it through another day. Can you please help me?

Fortunately, you have realized how troubing your situation is, and you want to do something about it. If you can't find a professional in your community, use the Internet to chat online with others who have similar struggles. PPD is a very real physical problem, that can often be helped with medicine. If nothing else, get help for the long term welfare of your child. Fortunately, you will enjoy getting better (and happier) in the process!

Bottom Line: The good news is that there is hope, and you don't have to stay depressed!

 Dear Doc:
i have been in long distance relationship for 2 years.(weekends only) she lost her father just before i met her and she has a anger problem so she says and is totally resenting her she says she doesn't want to see me anymore. but losing me would be like losing her father. can you give some guidence.

Move on my friend, if she doesn't want to spend time with you! Nothing is worse than hanging on when you are not wanted. If she regrets losing you, that will be her problem.

Bottom Line: If she wants to come back, you can decide if you're up for that, or whether you want her to get her act together (probably via professional help) before you take her back.

 Dear Doc:
Hey I am a 15 year old Femaleand almost 5 yrs ago I moved away from everthing I ever knew. My friends my school everything. We moved because of my dads job. I had to leave my best friend and my childhood behind everything changed. Is it natural to still feel depressed, to feel like my life is falling apart all because of this move. The more I think about my best friend and everything back home the more it hurts inside. Yes I have friends here but they have all been together since they were little and I feel like Im missing out on something. Like theres a hole in my heart. My whole world was taken from me. I just got out of a great relationship with my ex he was perfect. He loved me and I loved him until one of my new friends decided she liked him and wrote love notes and he told her no, yet I broke up with him cause i didnt feel like I deserved him or she was better than me now he wont even talk to me and it just makes this move even harder on me cause i dont have anyone to talk to about this. Is it natural to always feel depressed like this. Thx for your help

No, it is not natural to be that depressed after 5 years. You need to get some help. Find a pro to talk with, and maybe take some meds to break the cycle of your depression. Your parents should be concerned about you, and should help you to get better, whatever it takes. Breaking up with him sounds like a mistake. Your self esteem is in the basement.

Bottom Line: Do what it takes to feel better about yourself, then get him back, find a new and better guy, or learn to be happy with your own wonderful single self (yes, it IS possible!).

 Dear Doc:
I am a 52 year old male who left a relationship 5 years, but we are still friends and keep in touch with each other. However it is for mutual support and we have not settled all our finances thus we are still tied to each other. I moved to another city and met someone else, but this new relationship has met with many problems from cheating on each other, to drinking, the other person hiting me. Most of the problems have been becasue of my X, who I did take to Europe for one week. Because we had FF miles and went Free. The new person is over all this X and has started to see someone else. I realize I have made a mistake by not breaking all ties to my X, but I just could not for various reasons. We do not want to live together (my X and me) but my new is just to jelious and just cant accept any relationship with my X. What should I do to fight for the new person in my life that I have been seeing for four years, and I am afraid that I will lose this new person, who is about 14 years my junior.

You may have already lost junior. You never brought closure to the first one. If you can, close that one out now, then see if junior still wants to hang with you. But don't hold your breath.

Bottom Line: It isn't all bad to still have a connection with your past, but most current lovers aren't going to go for that. It really is true that you can't have your cake and eat it too!

 Dear Doc:
I am a 52 year old male who left a relationship 5 years, but we are still friends and keep in touch with each other. However it is for mutual support and we have not settled all our finances thus we are still tied to each other. I moved to another city and met someone else, but this new relationship has met with many problems from cheating on each other, to drinking, the other person hiting me. Most of the problems have been becasue of my X, who I did take to Europe for one week. Because we had FF miles and went Free. The new person is over all this X and has started to see someone else. I realize I have made a mistake by not breaking all ties to my X, but I just could not for various reasons. We do not want to live together (my X and me) but my new is just to jelious and just cant accept any relationship with my X. What should I do to fight for the new person in my life that I have been seeing for four years, and I am afraid that I will lose this new person, who is about 14 years my junior. MWT

Seems clear. No one wants to get divorced. Question is... does that work for you? If not, it's time to move on. I sure wouldn't bet on him making a marital change any time soon!

Bottom Line: People stay married for lots of reasons, and love isn't necessarily one of them. That's the risk that goes with falling for someone who's married!

 Dear Doc:
I have been in a relationship with a 58 years man,he is not with his wife anymore.I am 45 years not with my husband anymore but both are still marriage to other.But my friend alway bring his wife up in our relationship never want to talk a future together.

Seems clear. No one wants to get divorced. Question is... does that work for you? If not, it's time to move on. I sure wouldn't bet on him making a marital change any time soon!

Bottom Line: People stay married for lots of reasons, and love isn't necessarily one of them. That's the risk that goes with falling for someone who's married!

 Dear Doc:
What about online therapy? What would be the positives and negatives?

Some Positives = privacy, anonymity, greater availability (some are available 24/7 from anywhere in the world) , possibility of complete candor from the first moment on, don't have to commute to therapist's office. Some Negatives = the absense of face-to face contact (and the clues that that would give the therapist/client); some people aren't comfortable with the Internet, Instant Messaging, therapy over the phone, etc.

Bottom Line: It's not for everyone (given that traditionally most people do therapy face-to-face), but it is a growing trend, that some people love. Change is hard, but given our hectic commute-crazy world, this is a trend that will probably become an establishment over time. The Internet has only begun to change our world, so online services of all types will become more comfortable with people over time.

 Dear Doc:
My 18 year old who has just finished football has pulled away from his family. He has been smoking and drinking and who knows. We gave him some guidelines, we took his car and phone and told him to be free, but home by 12:30. He didn't come home, has been out every night this week. Do not know what to do?

Sounds tough. At 18, he has some freedoms, yet he lives with you, and needs to respect you. You can't let him run wild without consequences. But are you ready to boot him out if he doesn't tow the line? Probably not. Some parents would call the police to report his misbehavior. Some would lock him out.

Bottom Line: Try talking to him, telling him this isn't working for you, and that if he can't work with you, he will have to leave, (and find a way to support himself). Tough love is the hardest thing to do, but sometimes it is the best (and only) thing you can do.

 Dear Doc:
I am a 48 year old woman with a 27 year old boyfriend. We've been together 4 1/2 years and are very devoted to one another. The problem is my insecurity and jealousy. We work at the same office and the girls there flirt with him on a regular basis. He's very smart and attractive. Most of the girls are younger, smarter and more attractive than I, and with our age difference, I feel the odds are stacked against us. It's very upsetting to me to see him talking to any of them. And I can't help worrying that he's sending them signals, whether consciously or not, that he's available. We have discussed this and he insists I'm being silly and that he loves me. How can I deal with this jealousy and not ruin our relationship? Should I pretend I'm not jealous? He never acts jealous of me. It took me over 40 years to find someone I truly care about and I don't want to lose it.

That's a tough problem. I feel for you. I imagine that if you married you might feel more secure, but that may not be in the cards. You'd better hush up about it (assuming you've already shared your feelings), because it may drive him off. It probably won't work to pretend you're not jealous, if you really are. Maybe own it as your problem, and tell him you're working on it. Tell your struggle to others, more than to him. Maybe find a therapist, and use that tool to help you to focus on your great strengths.

Bottom Line: Develop the view that if he were to leave you, it would be his loss. You can't control whether you lose it or not. Enjoy today's moments, and be as healthy as you can be.

 Dear Doc:
Im 16 and I have a crush on this guy, hes 20 but it seems like he feels the same about me. He hangs at the house mostly all weekend. Family friend. We email regularly and talk. Im a christian and so is he and I know that I have to wait but I just seem to feel depressed whenever I think about letting go. I really dont know what to do about it. Its been about a year and the feeling wont stop. Although he plays into it too. He knows im 16 but still talks to me and emails. Long chats and serious talks. My mom dosnt know but somehow moms always know, My dad is definitly conserned but has relaxed about it. Hes noticed what was goin on. Anyhow I have attemted suicide in the past with cutting also due to family issues. My deep depression seems to fall right back on him. and I think about it alot. I dont want my frustrations to turn into somthing disturbing bound to happen. What should I do?

Sounds like you are playing with fire. Get to a counselor asap. You may need meds to break your battle with depression. You can bet that thinking about this guy is not going to be good for your emotions, in the long run.

Bottom Line: He is not the one to save you from your depression. He is a symptom of a bigger problem, rather than a solution.

 Dear Doc:
I have a daughter 19, whom I love with all my heart. The problem is that she is becoming a rebel. For the past year, she has been going to college; she lives at home, but with every spare moment she parties! She doesn't come home at night, she stays with friends, and her grades are gradually going from a 4. to a 2.3 to what next? I took her to a therapist, who said that you cannot change another person, either throw her out or put up with her. She does not do any chores at home, communication is foul, and her nutrition and health is pathetic. If I throw her out, she will obvioiusly quit school and her future is lost. What can I do to save her?

As hard as it is on parents, rebellion is a normal, and usually healthy, part of growing up. As long as she doesn't fall too far off the wagon, she should be able to pick herself back up. The hardest thing for you as a parent, is to realize that she is now an adult, and that you have very little power or influence over her. It is not true that all is lost if she quits school. If she decides, after quitting, that it really is worthwhile, then she will come back and put genuine effort into it. If not, then she will have to find her way in life via other avenues. Do you believe in her? Then she will eventually find her way to a successful life (which may differ from what you would have picked for her).

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, the therapist was pretty right-on. If you can't stand to watch her sow her wild oats, you may have to make her move out.

 Dear Doc:
I have a crush on a teacher of mine... a gay teacher. I'm a heterosexual female, and I can't get him out of my mind -- I don't know what to do. Any advice?

I wonder how old you are. I'm going to assume you are under 18. Enjoy those crush feelings, but beware against acting on them. A healthy teacher, be they gay or straight, will understand that these things happen, and will act appropriately, if they find out. Talk to your friends, but probably not to the teacher. That would probably be too complicated for both of you. Trust me, this feeling will pass (even though that may seem IMPOSSIBLE right now!).

Bottom Line: A lot of us have been there. We too have survived, and live now to tell you the story, and how we too made it through the forest of high school crushes on teachers!

 Dear Doc:
What if a woman who you have been seeing for about three months keep stating sheu does not want to be in a committed relationship and you are not asking for one but she takes you out of town over the holiday to meet her sister and mother

Ah yes... there's nothing more interesting than mixed messages in a relationship! I suggest you take her at her word. If at some level she has another agenda, you are not bound by it, if she doesn't state it clearly.

Bottom Line: This is the stuff that can make or break a relationship! Speak clearly, even if the other does not.

 Dear Doc:
I have a dauther in her middle 20's and she has a boyfreind that everyone likes ...he is one of those people that has that special personality that attracks people. Anyways, Her cousin lives in the same neighborhood and when my daughter goes to work at night he will tend to go over my neices house until she comes home (my neice will call him or sometimes even my daughter says go over there). Mind you they all are freinds and hang out togehter. To me it looks like she really likes him around. Which I can understand because he is so nice. But I noticed it more and more that she likes being around him. I spoke with my daughter last night and asked her if her boyfreind has any freinds he can hang out with while he is waiting for her to get off work and she said not really only co-workers he fishes with a little after work. I explained to her that since her boyfreind is really nice and everyone easliy loves him I really felt it was not a good idea for him to be going over her cousins that often by himself. She is the same age as her and really does not have a lot of freinds she hangs out with and no boyfreind. I felt i needed to say something and my daughter said well they all are just freinds. I said i know but I can tell she is getting a little attached to him. I know when 2 people get toghether all the time by themselves and get along you never know what could happen. I feel sometimes having a couple of drinks and talking is promoting a situation that might not be expected. I just told her to be aware of different things not that anything would happen. What do you think about what i said? Remember this is my neice and my daughters cousin I am really worried.

You did the right thing, ans spoke with a gracious spirit. There is not doubt that such a situation could bring problems, if not watched closely.

Bottom Line: Part of being young is to be naive. You've given them fair warning. Now they may have to learn from the school of hard knocks.

 Dear Doc:
Should my boyfriend allow his 13 year old daughter to watch TV in his bedroom late at night when he is asleep? This seems like a violation of healthy boundaries. My boyfriend is not married and we do not live together.

It is an interesting question, but probably not your issue if he doesn't want your advise. Some would recommend against such behavior, but without knowing all the facts, it can't be said that it's all bad.

Bottom Line: It would be best to ask him what he thinks, and whether he welcomes outside input. If he doesn't want to listen, then it's not your issue, and you'll have to let go of it.

 Dear Doc:
Why does my 21 years old daugther blame me for the stress in her life and the reason for seeking help. I was a good mother I think? There was no aduse,gave her love took care most of her needs. Never forbidder to to do anything. Tried to talk to her about things. About drug and sex. Had a open mind. She lied to me about sex she started having sex at 16 that I know of. I found out about this in a letter I found by mistake to another boy. 2 weeks before her turning 18 years. I never remarried, single for 14 years now. I also have a son 24 years old. Can you help.

Because it's a hell of a lot easier to blame than it is to accept responsibility (unfortunately!). If you think that you were a good mother, then believe it, and don't let her difficult behaviors convince you otherwise. Maybe her goal is to make you feel guilty, so that you will rescue her from her irresponsibilites?

Bottom Line: Can you focus on your son instead? Does he appreciate what you have done? Does he think that you've been a great mom?

 Dear Doc:
Each year my Mom tries to push me and my sister together. My sister and I do not get along. Both of us are adults 40ish....Mom will not let it go. How do I ask her to (politely) butt out!

You probably CAN'T politely ask her to cut it out! It may help to try and figure out WHY your mom irrationally pushes her agenda (it usually has something to do with her own guilt and neuroses). You have to either assertively and directly tell her CUT IT OUT, or you have to accept that she WON'T CHANGE.

Bottom Line: For sanity's sake, one of you has to let the issue go. My bet is that you will have to be that person.

 Dear Doc:
I am a 33 yr old mother of a 6 month old and I also have one on the way. I have a Bachelors degree from U of M, a good-stable job, and a good outlook on life. My problem is that my boyfriend of 2 years is trying to stop drinking-. He's good for a month or two and then repeats his ritual of coming home late-drunk, and usuallly very agrumentative. He's been taking antabuse but did go off it with this last episode. He has promised once again to stop drinking. It's very hard for me to trust that. On top of that he openly smokes pot on a regular basis-which I hate. Personally, I think a recovering alcoholic should not be using drugs such as weed. It is just another addiction. But he claims, he can work on it, function on it, drive and it doesn't effect his judgement. He has totally refused ever giving up smoking pot and said I just like to be in control. To me it is not a control issue it is a quality of life issue. What do you think about this situation?

I think your situation stinks, and that you may need to move on! Most experts state that he will not be able to conquer his addiction without getting into some type of treatment (like drug rehab, AA, etc.).

Bottom Line: You are sharp, and can do better. It's sad if he's the dad of your two kids, but better to be free of him now than later, if he won't clean up his act!

 Dear Doc:
I have been with my b/f for almost 4 yrs. We're both in college in different parts of Canada and even though I love him and I know he loves me I still think he's cheating on me. I have these feelings all the time and no matter how much he convinces me he wouldn't cheat I still think he's cheating. He has never given me any reason to think he is while he's been in college, but I have heard that if you have feelings you should trust them. What should I do?

Trust your gut, unless you've been burned in the past, such that you now over react. He's probably cheating. It kind of goes with the territory when a couple lives far apart.

Bottom Line: Most relationships start to die, when a couple is too far apart for too long. They either have to move closer, or expect a slow death.

 Dear Doc:
What do I do if my husband just yelled at me so loud infront of my 3 year old son and 5 month old daughter. He hit the cupboard and has deeply hurt me. I guess he is angry at me - but does he have to yell. This is the worst he has yelled - it really burns inside - together now 8 years - should I be worried?

You should be very worried. No one deserves that type of treatment. Build a support system to help you. If need be, leave him.

Bottom Line: Verbal abuse is sometimes taken less seriously, because there are no physical scars. But it can be unbelievably damaging to you and the kids. Don't stand for it!

 Dear Doc:
doc i dont know where else to turn am 21 male i just got back in to the world my unit was posted in sd near kuwait city i served with the 401hq company (blackwatch) anyway if since i was 16 doc ive been with this one girl and god knows i loved her so theres nothing i wouldnt done have done for her and i thought she loved me to but things turned very badly on my 20th birthday we were engaged to be marryied on at about 6 o clock that night i got a call from her borther telling me to call her i asked why he said do it ( and with hold the number) then he apologuised and told me he would call me back later i thought it was a little odd but when i called her number it rang thro witch is strange in its self cos she allways gets her phone with me being away i couldnt comitt a time to when i would be able to call her anyway i tried 10 mins later and this time she picked up i said hey sweetie its me and at this piont i just got back from a 2 week tactical so i hadent called her in that time and all she had to say was yeah what do you want ? witch hurt me becuase those are words i never thought i would hear when first we spoke she usually says hey baby i missed you she was very quiet then a couple of mins later i heard a guys vioce i asked who it was but she said just a guy passing in the street she started to moan and kinda goran her vioce and then coughed and i heard the guy say is it good and i heard her try to cover the phone and say yeah i called her on and she admitted she was having sex with another guy at that moment my heart broke completley in to nothing seemed to matter my blood ran cold and everything i once held dear was ripped from me all i could feel was my ever pounding heart i wanted to brake down to my knees but i couldnt i couldnt find the strength to move later i found out she had been sleeping with just about any guy that would let her her brother so i was told threw her out on her ass and told her to look after her self he looked after her financially she didnt have a job i hear now shes living in some motel 6 a real dive but doc my world i just cant put it back togethar i was granted 2 months personal tradgedy time but i can even begin to get over this i find myself become more and more depressed at one piont i had tryied to take my own life many times ive become reliant on pain morphene based pain killers to get me thro the days i started smoking drinking i lost my entire world i used to have a great body and be golden gloves of my unit (boxing) but know i dont care all i do is smoke drink sleep swallow tablets nothing matters day night right wrong i dont give a shit anymore it feels like am standing on the edge but ive got no one to pull me back and no one to care if i fell no body noes it but i brake down daily my hearts allways filled with tears although my physical never shows it am lost with out anyone who cares i have no one not one soul who i can turn to talk about this or tell how i feel i have freinds but i could never confide in them i dont know what to do anymore at nights is the coldest i know it sounds so silly but sometimes i pray for a girl that i can hold and cry in to her arms doc please help me i dont know how mutch more my heart can take before i loose all feeling

Get some professional help asap. Maybe go to the Vet Hospital, and find someone you can talk with. Maybe see a Medical Doctor, and take some medicine to help you break your cycle of depression. Things really can get better, but first you've got to find someone to help you dig out of the black hole.

Bottom Line: No woman is worth what you're going through. If you find a good one that's great, but don't put all your emotions on the shoulders of another. If you do, they can take you down... and that's not a healthy way to live.

 Dear Doc:
I've been dating my boyfriend for about 7 months now and we always get into stupid arguments because we are together so much. We never have anything major to fight about. Little things turn into huge arguments and they're so stupid but I find myself getting really upset about them. I think it makes me really upset because it just shows off his qualities that I don't like. He is very dependent and I'm mature and independent. Opposites may attract but we sure have a lot of stupid little arguments. I'd like to eventually leave the area we both live in and I know he's not ready for it. He's mature about many things but he's so stubborn and independent on such stupid things. Little things don't individually get to me but every now and then they build up and that's when we argue. But the side of my boyfriend (who's 3 yrs older) that is immature reflects the way he would act on such subjects of moving out of this area. I think I'm much more mature due to the fact that I want to leave this area and go on to bigger things and we have different view points on it. I'm just asking for any advice on how to bring this topic up and how to express to him that we're not on the same level. I really love him and want to be with him but he's so stubborn and I think I'm ready for much more in life than he is.

7 months is is not a long time. The whole opposite thing doesn't work very well over time. You can find someone with whom you are much more compatable. Move on.

Bottom Line: There just isn't enough here to build a long term love relationship on. Any time you hear the words "I love him but...", beware!

 Dear Doc:
i was with this guy for 1 yr and 4mnths- he is in the military and stationed here in PA.. that is how i met him... he is from Michigan and for the longest time he told me he was going to continue living here and get married to me... then about 5 mnths ago he realized that he wouldnt be able to afford it and that he is going back home to michigan for good to go to school and all and does not want to carry on a long-distnce relationship.. this is happening in june of 2005... so we started arguing and my brother and him go into a "drunken fist-fight" and then he dumped me and told me he didnt wanna be in the relationship anymore, that he is leaving anyway, and he jus doesnt want a girlfriend. well i was and still am emotionally torn apart- he was basically my 1st love and i cant let go of him for some reason. Also, a couple of days ago my brother saw him at the bar with another girl! he told me he didnt want any girls! this is killing me inside and its soo hard to forget about ! him and not call him..why did he do this, and what do i do???

You need to move on girl! Call it a starter relationship, learn from it, and be wiser the next time. This guy is not worth your time. You can do better, don't you think?

Bottom Line: It can be a waste of our time to figure out what happened. Focus on the current situation, cut your losses, and go catch another fish in the big sea of dateables!

 Dear Doc:
i was with this guy for 1 yr and 4mnths- he is in the military and stationed here in PA.. that is how i met him... he is from Michigan and for the longest time he told me he was going to continue living here and get married to me... then about 5 mnths ago he realized that he wouldnt be able to afford it and that he is going back home to michigan for good to go to school and all and does not want to carry on a long-distnce relationship.. this is happening in june of 2005... so we started arguing and my brother and him go into a "drunken fist-fight" and then he dumped me and told me he didnt wanna be in the relationship anymore, that he is leaving anyway, and he jus doesnt want a girlfriend. well i was and still am emotionally torn apart- he was basically my 1st love and i cant let go of him for some reason. Also, a couple of days ago my brother saw him at the bar with another girl! he told me he didnt want any girls! this is killing me inside and its soo hard to forget about ! him and not call him..why did he do this, and what do i do???

You need to move on girl! Call it a starter relationship, learn from it, and be wiser the next time. This guy is not worth your time. You can do better, don't you think?

Bottom Line: It can be a waste of our time to figure out what happened. Focus on the current situation, cut your losses, and go catch another fish in the big sea of dateables!

 Dear Doc:
im a 17 year old senior in highschool. Ive been with my boyfriend for 11 months now and for the past couple months hes been really mean and doesnt seem interested. He abuses me in a mental state but i love him and he claims he loves me too? what shuld i do? i dont want to leave cuz i dont want to get hurt again?

I'm concerned that you think you love someone who abuses you. That can't be a healthy kind of love. You should run like the wind from anyone who treats you poorly. His feelings for you can not be a genuine love if you treats you like crap!

Bottom Line: You will experience much greater hurt if you stay in an unhealthy relationship! The short-term hurt of leaving now is much better than the long-term sorrow of staying in a sick relationship.

 Dear Doc:
I cared for my brother for several months while he was dieing of aids, we became very close and it was heart wrenching to watch although I wouldnt have traded it for the world. I held his hand when he was dieing in his home and I can not come to grips with this. I stay up all night baking and sleep all day, I have no life and that is the way I want it. I am single and 33 years old, he was 36. I have lost hope. Everyone tells me how much I have going for me and it makes me mad to hear that. I want everyone to leave me alone and it has been 3 months now. I am beggining to get on my nerves and think I am pathetic. What do I do?

You have been through one of life's greatest sorrows. Get some help. Talk to others who have gone through a similar struggle. To live without hope is to die to yourself. You need time to grieve, without getting stuck in a forever-depressive loop.

Bottom Line: It's a good sign that you are starting to irritate yourself. Other people's encouragement won't cause you to get out of your funk. You will do that when you are ready (which will hopefully be sooner rather than later!)

 Dear Doc:
I am a 19 yr old sophmore in college, and I have been with my boyfriend since I was 15, a sophmore in highschool. He loves me so much, and I know that he thinks that I am the ONE. He treats me good, and tries to go out of his way for me to show me that he loves me. I know that he would be a good husband someday and treat me right, and provide me with stablity financially. However, I cant help but feel sometimes that I need to go out in the single realm and see who else is out there. I try to fight this feeling soooo much, but everytime I do I start feeling it even more. It may seem strange but I want to explore myself independently and sexually, because he is the only guy I have ever slept with. Tell me if I am making a big mistake!!!

Your desires are normal. It is much better to explore before your wedding, rather than after. I wonder if he has any of the same unspoken desires? If you wait to marry until you are 25-30, and explore other relationships before then, you should have a better chance of marrying the best person for you.

Bottom Line: If you do not follow this desire, it could mess you up forever. Conversely, you may find, once you explore different people, that your first guy was the best. If so, then you will feel much better about staying with him for the long haul!

 Dear Doc:
I am a 17 year old female that is dating a black male for almost a month now. The problem is my mom HATES the idea. She goes on and on about how I should date my own color, hes not my type, how the family will react etc. Im so sick of listening to it because we fight over it constantly. I dont want to hurt him because he cares about me and i care about him and Im starting to really like him.His family is okay with us. The other problem is, is that he doesnt know my mother disagrees with us. I dont know how to tell him. I mean this is one topic I dont feel comfortable talking to him about because I dont want to hurt him more than this is hurting me. I cant keep going on with this because my mom wont give in to this subject. I went to the movies with my friend and her boyfriend and my boyfriend as well, and i told her that and she freaked out on me. I feel so horrible about this I dont know what to do anymore. I hate fighting with my mom because she's all that I have now since my father died 7 years ago. I just need to know how to break this to him without crushing the both of us. There is no way my mother will ever let this happen and its tearing me up because I do not know how to tell him this. Please Help Me!

If he's smart, he already has a hunch that your mom doesn't approve. If he's a guy of character, it won't blow him away. Tell him the truth. It's sad that our world is still so full of prejudice. If you still want to be with him after you are 18 and on your own, I think you should. Your mother is only showing off her own hang-ups. At 17 you don't want to hurt her or lose her, but once you are an adult, you need to do what makes sense for you.

Bottom Line: We hope your mom can accept your decisions, but if she can't, and breaks away from you, that is her loss.

 Dear Doc:
i am 15 years old and i am not wht you would call a socializing person. im situations were i am meeting new people or talking to a gurl i have feelings for i usually freeze up, get nervous and start to talk to fast and just blurt words out, or act really shy and act like i dont even like the person as a friend. how do i solve this problem cuz my friends that use to be just like me are growing out of this way of socializing and i can't seem to shake this bad habbit. what do i do, how do i change?

I'm glad that you at least reached out to the Internet. There is hope. Other guys have been down your road, and have found their way out of the forest. The more you socialize, the easier it will become. So don't hold back... get out there and talk! Find a good friend who you can honestly discuss your fears with. A good therapist could also help a lot.

Bottom Line: You're probably too young to have heard about the Dale Carneggie courses, but they could help. They've been around forever, and they are designed to help people get over their fears of speaking in public. Ask someone old. They might be able to help you hook up with them!

 Dear Doc:
Please help...I have been raising my 4 yr old grandson single handed since birth because my daughter decided she didnt want to be a mother or have anything to do with him. She asked me to get the papers for her to sign over custody, I kept putting it off until this year. I have gone through hell trying to help her when she was into partying and drugs and I have always been there for her for money, food and when she has no place to go. She is now 22 yrs old and hasn't lived with us for over 2 yrs. now. I have never denied visitation with her son, I've encouraged her to see him and if I didn't take him to see her she would never make the attempt. She has gone from one bad situation to another and I was really starting to close to her again. Now she is with a guy who is 30 yrs old,has a criminal record and is very controlling of her. She can't do anything without his consent including phone me. I have no way of reaching her anymore because she no longer has cell. He would answer her cell and now the bill is so high she can't pay it. They have been evicted from the place they lived in. His father abused all 3 wives and he is a hot tempered individual. I have seen it twice the second time was directed at me for the consent papers and me not allowing my grandson to go to his place because I did not know what he would be exposed to. I know they partying and drink alot but I'm afraid I won't see him again and this guy will abuse my grandson and control him the same way he is controlling my daughter. I see all the signs but my daughter thinks he is being protective and loves her. I told her I'm there if she needs me and it hurts that I can't speak with her or celebrate her birthday by taking her out to dinner (whatever). My mom has tried talking to her and she was verbally abused as well by this guy. I'm afraid for her and yet I can't do anything except wait. I'm going for sole custody of my grandson at the end of the month and I have so much support from family and friends, doctors, daycare Director, police etc. that I'm touched but so very afraid of the court case. My daughter has never bathed my grandson or babysat him and this guy has met him 2x only and has threatened to take him away from me only for what he feels he can get financially from him. Social assistance, child tax, gst etc...I have tried so hard to have a relationship with my daughter and I keep getting hurt over and over again. As a mother, I don't know what to do anymore and I'm hoping you can give me some advice. Thank you.

I hate to say it, but it sounds like it's time to move on from your daughter, and focus only on your grandson. If there's anything I've learned in 30 years of therapy, it's that some people don't get better. You've tried real hard for a very long time. Get a good attorney, spend the money, and get full custody. You should win, because everyone supports you, and your daughter has a poor reputation. If she gets her act together down the road, that will be great. She can reunite with her son then.

Bottom Line: The worst thing would be to expose your grandson to this unhealthy abusive man. Protect your grandson like there's no tomorrow! To do anything else would be immoral.

 Dear Doc:
Hi, my father died in 1999, and I live with my mother since, I think I am overly depended on my mother, and I think I developed something similar to this what this website has described: "Chances of children experiencing problems after divorce depend on mother's parenting style, child's temperament" ( Is there any cure for this? Anything to make the situation better?

Yes, you can get better. The fact that you want to make a change means that you are already on the road to recovery. A professional should be able to speed up your healing process. Also continue to search The Web, looking for answers. They are out there. Be patient, for your healing will be an evolution, rather than a revolution.

Bottom Line: It is surely one of life's biggest struggles and challenges to lose a parent when we are still a child. But the child's personality, and the life experiences that follow the loss can help or hinder the person's future. But if we're committed to learn and grow, we'll do just that!

 Dear Doc:
my husband acts different towards me when we are around his children he treats me like Im an idiot he talks to me like Im stupid and calls me fat.He is so good with his children spoiling them and making sure the three of them are always happy.sometimes I cant help but be jealous of them but he makes me feel like that whenever they are around.when its just me and him hes so good to me but when they come around his attitude changes he pays so much attention to his daughter sometimes I feel like he doesnt realize I am even around when he has her over.what am I supposed to do?

There's something about him that is unhealthy for sure. There's no doubt that blended families are very complicated, but with hard work and discussion, you should be able to have a situation that is much better than what you're currently going through. The good news is that he appears to love all of you individually, but the bad news is that he doesn't seem to know how to be loving when you're all together. He's not going to help any of you if he doesn't learn how over time. He will either spoil the kids or alienate you.

Bottom Line: Tell him of your concern, and ask to go to a therapist together, if he won't discuss it at home. If he won't do this, the relationship has a poor prognosis over the long term.

 Dear Doc:
I am 33 yaers old with a 28 month old and an 8 month old. When I was 10 weeks pregnant I had a brain hemorrhage, I almost died. I was 32 at the time. Doctors say that I will make a full recovery,Thank God. I'm still doing therpay now. My 28 month old son won't let me in his world. He shuts me out and I do not know what to do. We just always seem to be fighting ,now he's great with my husband. Of course my husband took care of him when I was sick. I was also to sick to play with him. Can you give me some advice on how to reach him.

Hopefully your key can be your husband. It sounds like your child may have bonded to him, more than you, during your sickness. Use your husband's connection with your child to have your husband introduce you into your son's life. It may almost seem like you're starting from the very beginning, but with continued effort you will hopefully make the long-term connection.

Bottom Line: We know from many studies that those first several years are vastly important, in terms of connecting with our child. However, it doesn't mean that there is no hope of connecting, if we start today, and keep at it for the rest of their lives!

 Dear Doc:
I have had scolosis for about 8 years and I refrain myself from dating people because of it. I don't know how to get over this. I am so conscious of it even though it really isn't that bad.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy, and we have incorrect views of ourself. You need to change the way you THINK about yourself. A good therapist could help, or maybe a support group of others who have stuggled in the same way that you have. The good news is that you realize that it is unhealthy and irrational to keep viewing yourself in such a negative light!

Bottom Line: It is said that Marilyn Monroe thought she was unattractive, while the rest of the world thought that she was a beauty queen. It's in changing our INSIDE view that we will go the farthest!

 Dear Doc:
My 16 year old brother inlaw feels he can confide in me and likes to talk. He recently went from being OCD to exact opposite, He doesn't care about anything anymore. My concern however is that he has become sexually active and has had repeated one night stands. With girls his age ranging up to those who are in their 20's. My husband and I are concerned with the regular stuff such as STD's pregnancy, etc. and have spoken to him about this. What worries me though is his lack of respect and emotion. I worry he is setting himself up for a careless sexual lifestyle where he is hurting these girls and himself. I don't want him to feel he cannot talk to me, but my morals and feelings on this topic are very strong. What do I say?

Do everything to keep him talking. He'll shut down for sure if you preach to him. Try to share your beliefs with him, without telling him they have to be HIS beliefs. It sounds like his OCD is showing itself via his promiscuity. Do his parents have much influence on him? Would he go to a therapist if you went with him?

Bottom Line: His behavior really isn't about sex. He is acting out some inner emotions that run much deeper. The goal is to find out what is REALLY going on inside of him.

 Dear Doc:
my dog is our problem he is so soft with the kids in the house,and so well behaved indoors its just when i take him out he will try to attack anything that moves,and this stresses us all out that we dont want to take him out he is missing out on all the enjoyment what can i do ? my nerves cant stand any more...

Have you taken him to obedience school or a trainer? If yes, then you will have to get rid of him. You sure wouldn't want his aggressive side to be turned on your family one day. The welfare of humans must take precedent over your pet's welfare. This could be hard for your kids to understand. Maybe point out stories on the news of dogs who have attacked their family or neighbors.

Bottom Line: Pets are great, but in their core they are animals from the wild. If they show any hint of danger, they need to be taken away from the family, because you only have to be wrong about their agressiveness once, to create a life-long family tragedy.

 Dear Doc:
I was in a 15 yr relationship and 10 yr marriage, ups and downs of course but we loved each other. He met this 21 yr old girl who was his coworker and he is 36 going though midlife crisis or says he is. She was in a loveless marriage and her husband left her recently husband left me for her. Will this love rebound relationship work due to the feelings they have had and what about the age differance.? thanks

The odds are against that relationship working. People often come to their senses after awhile. And given that she is so young, she may want to try on other guys once she gets over her husband leaving her. Don't wait forever, but let some time pass before giving up on your marriage. Try to be patient and loving, without being a doormat.

Bottom Line: If he doesn't want to return after a period of time, then the healthiest thing will be for you to move on. It won't be easy, but it will be better for you in the long run!

 Dear Doc:
My daughter has an eating disorder but will not admit it. If I ever discuss eating she gets really upset and tells me there is nothing wrong with her. I am very worried about her as she is so thin. What should I do?

Paste these into your browser to find some help:

Overcoming Eating Disorders - What affects treatment (;

Warning Signs - List of characteristics (;

Shaping Self-Images - How to help your daughter (,19840,647311,00.html);

Chats and Message Boards - Get support (

You are a good parent to take this seriously, and to look for ways to help your daughter.

Bottom Line: Denial is one of the key features of this serious illness. Research has found that warm and compassionate support works better than harsh criticism or preaching.

 Dear Doc:
thanks for the responce........... dont get me wrong im far from nuts,i just happen to be a person that tries to forgive and forget when needed but over this prime example.after i left her home yesterday i did come to this just like you said,i would be crazy to try and be friends with this person.also just to add to my long story......... at the end of it all. she stated that she didnt want anyone to know that we had started seeing one another again until she felt it was right,the way i looked at things was that most was never wrong(in other words she made the madness in the relationship)if it wasnt one thing it was another with her.she also had the nerve to tell me that she wanted to keep our relationship a secret,now after that telling i was on my way out the door(that there was about 2 weeks before she blew up on the last night i seen her)and yes i did tell her if she couldnt speak on the issuse that she may have had with me then there weas no reason to move on with this,and like i saw yesterday the bitterness she has wasnt about me i really think it was abou herself. and just to add some of me into this whole case.......... when we met i didnt have a job,i was in court fighting for my son.i never asked of anything from her,and if i did ask of anything from her was just to be in my corner and understand it or at least try to.i never asked for money,i never asked for help,and if she did do such things i replaced so i know i didnt take from her.also before i stop running on and on............. something i noticed.... after i started working,she began having dreams and whatnot about me going back to my old girlfriend,and that i was cheating on her(thats why i said my last words to her in the below post)but what im almost tempted tp believe that she was doin the i said thanks.. the one that cant move on from her

Good luck. A lot of us are "nuts" when we hang around too long, do too much, and don't healthily protect ourselves. Clinically, we are called "codependent". It's an all too common curse, that can be subtle, yet devastating, to our long-term well-being.

Bottom Line: We canot fix the other, and sometimes we do them no favors by doing too much. That why we need to move on, to help them, as well as ourselves!

 Dear Doc:
how shall i start,it went from one thing to the next.i have been dateing a girl for 10 months,or should i say we broke up last make a long story short,shes quite the wishy washy the begining of the realtionship she didnt want a boyfriend,then a month later she does.after giving her just sthat,then she states that i dont give her what she wants and needs,soon after that she kicks me out of her home 6 times.we then get back to gether,it went from this to wanting to marry me,then states again that i dont giver her what she wants and needs.i gave her space she did what she wanted and how she wanted,we both never cheated or had a need now its been a month since we last spoke,i did something i may not have done.i went to her home to try and salvage at least a freindship and also to seek closier over the break-up.throughout the whole relationship i never did her any wrong nor gave her reasons to be so cruel to me which i had taken from her for so the ! end or meaning last month, we went out to dinner shopped around for things for her home,plan had now comes the end of the night,i decide that i should leave and take care of somethings at my home she blows up.stateing that i come and go like im a dealer and that i only stay for short periods of time instead of staying all night like i normally do.within all this her words were harsh than just that,so i choose to say somethings that are now words i shoukld naot have said.i said that it would be funny throughout this whole relationship it would be funny if i was cheating on you,so laugh at i said above,i never did.bu the thing is she knows this,we spent every minute together excecpt when we worked or school,and a child i have from another person which he lives with mind you im not trying to make myself out to be the good guy,im just saying that she has done most of the hurting. so my question is why am i trying to reconcile with her when i purely have done nothing wrong to her,why do i feel like ive been the one in wrong.and why for her knowing shes done me the way she has,to just slam her door in my face,and last but not least says that she is dead and never wants to see me again..........thanks signed I wish i could move on from her...........

You're trying to reconcile 'cause you're nuts! Move on already buddy!! I hope you believe you deserve better. If not, you must have a low opinion of yourself. That's something you'll want to fix, in order to enjoy the rest of your life.

Bottom Line: There are many other people in the world to date, so go out and find one! Almost anything would be better than what YOU'VE been going through!

 Dear Doc:
I am 47 years old and have been divorced from my ex-husband for the past 3 1/2 years. We were married for over 26 years (married young). Anyway, he is an alcoholic and had been for most of our marriage. He was not abusive - he just wasn't emotionally there. He wore me down and and after repeated attempts to get him to get sober I told him it was over - he asked what he could do and I told him to get sober. He did - he went to AA and has been sober ever since. My problem is that I got involved with someone immediately upon our separation (am thinking it was a rebound thing) although at the time I didn't think so. My problem is that I'm still involved with the person I got involved with right after my separation/divorce but I still have very strong feelings for my ex and I don't know what to do. I'm not trying to play games with people's lives and my ex has always told me that there will be no one else for him ever and I know that if I called him today and said I wanted to reconcile he would be there in a minute. I don't know what to do - I don't want to hurt anyone and either way I feel like I will. I'm not sure of my feelings for the guy I'm involved with right now - he's totally different from my ex - I do know that we fight all the time - he's so picky - but he always tells me that is "normal" and that I didn't have a normal relationship with my ex so I don't know what normal is. Can you give me some advice please.

It is not healthy to make your decision based on who will get hurt. It's not your job to take care of that. If you stay with your boyfriend because you don't want to hurt his feelings, NEITHER of you will be happy down the road! What YOU need to do is follow your heart, which is pointing you back to your ex. Fighting is not normal. Lots of couples do it, but it's because they are unhealthy and mismatched.

Bottom Line: If your ex stays sober, and is growing through AA, you could have one hell of a great relationship going forward!

 Dear Doc:
I had written several months ago about my husband of 3yrs who does not pay any of the bills and disregards me when I want to discuss this with him. The relationship is only getting worse; any time I tell him we need to talk about anything he immediately gets very angry . Then will turn around and tell me I had better look at what I need to change and do not worry about him. That it is not him that has a problem it is me. He will get so mad. This morning I was walking away from his anger and he grabbed me and spun me around and started screaming in my face and shaking me until I jerked away and told him he had no business ever grabbing me like that(this isnt the first time). I had to go out the door to go to work and he followed me to the car still screaming at me . Well needless to say I have been very upset all day . He just called like nothing ever happened. Asked me how I was I told him okay ....he says GOOD> He knows i cannot talk at work, but I will go home tonight and he will act the nothing is wrong...but keep asking me there something wrong ...over and over again. We have no children in this marriage and my children are grown and out of the home.This is my second marriage. Seems we cannot see eye to eye on anything!! I told him we needed a seperation and maybe some counseling. He would not hear of it. Now he says he will go to counseling but when it comes down to it he will not. He told me if I looked at things differently I would not feel this way and there will not be a seperation or divorce . That I had no idea what I was talking about. All I know is that I am very unhappy and upset most all the time. Am i crazy here????? Because I sure feel crazy. He never comes out and says that, he just goes on a tyrade about I have no idea what I am talking about or saying..for hours! What am I to do?

You are not crazy. Unfortunately, yours is a classic example of spousal emotional abuse. It sounds like it could turn physical, so you need to get away from him. Get yourself to a therapist asap. Don't worry about whether he joins you. Your only hope for a healthy relationship is to take a healthy assertive stand. If he wants to work toward change with you and the counselor, that's great. But that probably won't happen. It sounds like he tries to rule by intimidation. Who wants to be in a relationsip like that?? No one!

Bottom Line: Seperation or divorce is your most likely outcome. Prepare your mind for that. Get your house in order, so that you can live safe and sane on your own, if he won't work with you.

 dear doc:
My husband and I would like help on dealing with a teenager (15 years old) who (we think) is a pathological liar. My husband and I were married just 9 months ago and I have only known his daughter for 1 year. I also have 2 daughters, both of which are very honest and so I don't have much experience in this area. My husband has been a part time father to them, most of their lives (due to divorce). Her lying is driving him crazy and he is about ready to give up on her. We need some advise on how to react to her, when we catch her in lies and what might be going on in her thoughts. She also doesn't seem to have any respect for anyone (including herself). What can we do on a part time basis? This happens at her mother's house as well, not just with us.

To be truly pathological, the person will often lie, even to their own detriment. Did she lie before you guys were together? I wonder how she feels with your daughters on the scene? This behavior can be a "notice me" sign. It may seem crazy, but it is well established that sometimes a person prefers negative attention to no attention. Of course, this can all be subconsious. For every action, their is a consequence, so let her experience undesireable outcomes when she lies. She may need you most when you want to throw in the towel. It would be great if her mom would work with both of you toward solutions. This sure sounds like a kid who could use a therapist she can relate to. The teen years can be hell, for both the child and the parents. The rushing of hormones, peer group pressure, academics, etc. can knock the whole family out of focus.

Bottom Line: Always remember that the obvious external behavior can be a disguise for inner feelings of insecurity and fear. The most dislikeable person usually has the greatest emotional needs.

 dear doc:
I would like to extend on the question below if I may. I have herd it said that children who come from fatherless homes tend to have more emotional problems which causes ‘bad kids’ that become ‘lawless Adults’ is this true? And if so wouldn’t equal parenting be better for the children? If the non-custodial parent lives only cross town and gets to see the children 65 days year and is ordered to pay up to 45% of their wages does this help in supporting the emotional needs of the children? Also on different note I want to ask 1 more question. Does the courts have right to make person sign release for the entire file (including notes) if they re seeing therapist and psychiatrist just because the person is behind in child support? I was diagnosed with mental disorder (low grade bipolar with panic attcks) and will not go to any more appointments because I can not talk to my therapist anymore because the court has access to these records. Thank you

Just because two parents divorce doesn't meant that homes have to be fatherless. If both parents are actively involved with the kids a lot of the time, the kids will be raised by both parents. When you don't have as much quantity time with the kids, you have to up the quality of the time. It's rarely about money. It's about staying close with the kids. Therapy can rarely be affective if the client feels that their privacy is being violated. Only an attorney in your particular state could answer the questions about your privacy rights.

Bottom Line: Hopefully you can find professional help, because it would not be wise to try to cope with your bipoarity without qualified guidance. And... it will probably hurt your efforts to be with your kids, if the courts believe you are staying away from the necessary treatment.

 dear doc:
Thanks for the advice , Melvyn. Your right nothing's getting better, some of my friends agreed. others said shower her and show by example. im so confused but i think im going to go by that picture for inspiration. i have seen it many times before. i even called my ex-wife for advice because she knew me the best. she gave about the same. you know when your drinking and smoking it alters your descisions and that's just what i did. im paying for it question to you is how do i stay away and give her the space if i still have to see her. im trying to understand this more but what can i do for myself to forget about her. what do you suggest? i bearly watch football, eat etc. i feel like a lost little puppy. i have never been in this situation before, im crying all the time for gosh sakes this crap hurts....let me know what i can do to get over this a little better thanks, doc. Thank You.

You will definitely handle it better if you can clear your head without so much tobacco and alcohol in you. It's not until we stop that we realize how much it was influencing us. Why do you have to see her? Where you can, avoid her, and go out and make a new and better life for yourself! Do NOT sit home too much. Get out and mingle with others. It will help you to realize that there IS life after a break-up. Maybe you should find a counselor. It can help to go over all of this with a neutral party.

Bottom Line: The good news is that it WILL pass! Now we know why so many songs are written about the heartbreak of relationships that end. It hurts like hell!

 dear doc:
Hi! Here is my brief introduction: Age: 26 yrs. Edu: Diploma In Mech Engg. Proff: QC Engineer in a Pvt Co. Resi: INDIA. I would like to share my problem with you & seek your help. Problem: About 4 yrs back I broke up from my girlfriend due to some reason.Since then I lost normalcy in my life.At present I am suffering from insomnia/nightmares,I am also facing some problem with my eye sight & memory.I got some info on the internet which matches with my symptoms:I think its POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISSORDER. Please go through it and suggest me some treatment. Thank You.

It is good that you have found some help with your internet search, but now you need to go to the next level, and get some professional help. Hopefully you can find a good local Doctor to help you.

Bottom Line: PTSD is a very real problem. The good news is that a combination of talk therapy and good medicines can usually be very helpful to people.

 dear doc:
My ADHD son has two learning disabilities. He started gr. 9 this fall. Last yr. in gr. 8 he got involved with a group of kids, the first real friends he's made on his own, but unfortunately they were smoking pot and began to make a career of it. Short version - he ended up messed up and in hospital. He still wants to see these friends and is in a different school from them, he has made no new friends in high school, his motivation is down, he is very oppositional about homework and does not try. He is taking wellbutrin for depression, risperidal for anger/aggression and adderall for focus. We love him dearly, know he has to make some mistakes in order to learn, but we are trying to discourage his involvement with this group of friends who go to bush parties, smoke pot at every opportunity, including lunch hours at school etc. How do we help without ruining our own relationship with him further. We've put a logging device on his msn messenger as he was being very dishonest and making plans that way during the summer. We have taken his cell phone away from him and don't give him money, just a little money once a week for pizza at school. His life isn't very exciting, and he should have friends, but does not, other than these kids who he doesn't see often. We have tried to encourage, and we have kids in the neighbourhood that he eats lunch with and comes home from school with, but he's blown them off. He blurts things out easily and isn't very likeable a lot of the time. Making friends is very important, but how can we, as good friends possibly let him get in deeper with kids who are bad influences. He is far too impulsive to just say no and admitted that he enjoyed smoking marijuanna. He got to know a dealer and went to his house, had pipes which we found all over his room. It was a nightmare and he became very aggressive at that time also. What advice can you give us?

He must be seeing a Doctor, in order to get his medicines. This may not be someone he relates to. Do everything you can to find a therapist who relates very well to teens. The right person can be a life-changing role-model for him. If worse comes to worse, some families send their kids off to special schools in different parts of the country. This can be amazingly expensive, and definitely doesn't always help, so hopefully you can avoid that.

Bottom Line: I'm so sorry that this is so difficult. Yours is one of the most challenging situations that parents can face. If you haven't already, try to find a support group or several friends who are going through the same thing. Some people find this on the internet. The support of like-minded parents can be a life-saver!

 dear doc:
Why does someone who hates you soo much always copy what youre doing? If i have an outfit one day..she has it the next week. If I talk about something i did over the weekend..she does it the next week. Now this girl really doesnt like me and i know this for a fact. Is she doing it to bug me? Because honestly it does.

They usually copy you because they are jealous. They hate you because they want to be you, or have what you have. I'm sure she's doing it to bug you! She's very immature. Make sure you don't stoop to her level.

Bottom Line: Rise above it. Bug the hell out of her by not letting it bug you!!

 dear doc:
Why is it often presumed that children of divorce would be better off living with one parent and limiting the other parent to visits? Is it better for the child to have the custodial parent recieve money? Or is it better for the child to have regular access to the other parent? Is it better for the child emotionally and mentally to be with just the mother, just the father or both equally?

It is a sad presumption indeed, in that children are very adaptable. If we have an innovative approach to their single parent housing, they will usually pick up on that. The assumption has been that kids can't handle dividing themselves into two places, but there are many parents who can testify to the value and workability of 50/50 arrangements. It's always best for the kids to have full access to both parents (assuming the parents aren't a danger to the kids).

Bottom Line: The kids need to know and be loved by both parents, so divorced couples need to do everything in their power to put their differences behind them as they work toward the mutual benefit of the kids!

 dear doc:
Why do you think my exhusband does not want to see his daughters?

Many possible answers. Anywhere from he's a complete jerk and loser (which means he's psychologically troubled), to he's too hurt by your breakup to be around them (because it reminds him of how deep the pain of the relationship loss is). However, there is no excuse for him not seeing them. Their welfare needs to be placed above all else.

Bottom Line: Couples get divorced, but parents should not be divorcing their kids. Given that we had them, we have signed up for a lifetime of being there for them. It may not be easy at times, but that's what we signed up for!

 dear doc:
why does psychotherapy not work?

Unfortunately, it often doesn't. I always tell someone who is shopping for a therapist to keep looking until they find the right FIT. Like any other business, there are good and bad therapists. However, a good therapist may be a BAD therapist for you, if your style and personality don't fit there's.

Bottom Line: If someone doesn't enjoy therapy, they probably won't benefit from it. It may not be for everyone, but it is a life-saver for those who want it, and find the right shrink!

 dear doc:
Hello there, I am a 25 year old single mom of a 7 year old little girl. here is my story, I have been dating a guy for the past 4 years, he is not my daughter's father, but has been around for a while, we have been on and off several times over the last four years and then things were going good. In July I got a new job and graduated with my AA and started at a private university for my bachelor's degree , he is almsot finished his bachelors degree too. The problem is there is this guy at my company who I met in my first few weeks there. The very first time I saw him my heart stopped and fell into my stomach. Now when I see him at work functions I shiver, get butterflies and all sorts of things. I do love my boyfriend but there are things in our relationship that have been discussed and still never change. I am worried about leaving him though, because I think it might hurt my daighter. (he is pretty much "DAD" to her), I don't want to hurt either of them, but when this guy is around I am a completely different girl. I smile uncontrollably, and am giddy to see him. he reciprocates the nature of the meetings, but I don't think anything can happen between us because he is a high manager..and I wouldnt want thim to get in trouble or me either. This is so horrible isnt it? I feel like a bad girlfriend, mother and employee. HELP!

You're not bad if you keep your actions in check. Our thoughts can cover the globe, but it's our actions that can hurt others. This sounds like a fantasy with the work guy. Maybe if you really spent time with him, you wouldn't get along in the real world. I sure wouldn't leave your boyfriend over this high school crush!

Bottom Line: Give it time. Continue to work on things at home. If home doesn't get better, and there is some substance with the work guy over time, then consider a change.

 dear doc:
hi my name is melvyn i have a 2 yr old son with a girl and we have been together for 2yrs i had a problem dealing with her post pardum, never knew how to deal with considering i have two other kids. we broke up for a litlle bit and she followed me to see what i was up to. well she caught me over my ex-girlfreinds house.. ilied to her for the longest time why i was there it was four times or so..1 yr later i finally tell her the truth things were good until then. she told me a long time ago that if i was to go back to her she would not forgive me. i have done nothing but been nice and tried to get back with her in love with her and i want us to get back together she keeps telling me to giver her her space.. what could i do to recorrect the situtation and get her to love me again no matter what i say to her she gets mad i could say something nice and she gets mad i hug her goodbye when she picks up my son and she freaks out.. i would like to fix this what should i do..i dont want to lose him or this fixable .. help?

Probably not fixable. She said she wouldn't forgive. I suggest you take her at her word, and move on with your life. it's sad for your kids, but you should have thought of that before you got yourself in this mess! Whe we make certain mistakes, they can never be taken back or undone.

Bottom Line: Reminds me of that poster about the hand letting the bird go: "Let it go. If it comes back, it's yours. If it doesn't, it was never meant to be."

 dear doc:
i live with my husband, his 18 year old son and we have a toddler. am also expecting our second child. the problem is that my step son doesnt do any house work, doesnt go to college, only works once in a while in a warehouse and doesnt contribute towards anything in the house. my husband doesnt want me to complain but i feel this is a man now and should pull his weight. am i being nasty?

No nasty on your part, but plenty nasty on the part of the two older guys in your house! Sounds like your husband may not want to cross his son, so he lets you get stuck with all the work. This is definitely not a good thing! If you don't fight to change this (especially with another child on the way), it could ruin your marriage.

Bottom Line: Your husband needs to side with you and the little ones most of the time. Plus, he does his son no favors by coddling him. Maybe he should join the military, and make a difference in the world!

 dear doc:
I want to reconcile with my ex-husband, but it seems that the more I try to fix things the more he doesn't want to get back together. But, when I try to move on he makes me feel very quilty for moving on. I would love to work things out but I don't want to take the blame for everything that has gone wrong, which he makes me feel like everything is my fault. What should I do?

Run like the wind my dear!! As long as he doesn't think he's part of the problem, don't go near him! Nothing's worse than having a bad marriage twice!

Bottom Line: Change is hard, but always move toward health, and don't settle for a mediocre relationship. The price tag is simply too high in the long run!

 dear doc:
Im having a hard time dealing with jealousy...and its of the worst kind. Im jealous of a five year old. My boyfriend and his daughter live with me and we live like a family would. I do all things a mother and wife would do yet Im neither. I crave the attention that he give to his daughter, the love he has for her. Since Im an adult he figures I dont need all of that...and I do. I dont want to take it out on either one of them but I see it happening..Im starting to become resently to each of them in a different way. I cant bring this up to him because he will just see this as this, or is this a normal feeling other women have in my situation? Sincerely, Jealous of a five year old.

Your feelings are normal. Even when the child is from both parents, it's not unusual for one of them to feel that the child is receiving the most love. And in fact, the child sometimes is! This can be (and has been) destructive to the love of many couples.

Bottom Line: Your only chance is to try to get him to listen. You may have to tell him you must leave, if the issue is not addressed. If he still won't work with you on it, then you best get out of Dodge as soon as you can! Because it will hurt even deeper and further, if you stay around!

 dear doc:
my ex husband and i were married for 4 months when he had an affair with my girlfriend.this lasted about 2 months.our divorce was final nov 20 last year.since then him and i have remaned friends and have a sexual friendship,although i dont even want to be with any one else,he states that he wants me to marry him again.only i am not so sure we have this problem,when i go to his place,and he knows i am coming he doesnt even clean up or straighten the place up like he did for her after i left him.why is he such a gentleman by her and yet treats me like crap?

The bigger question is, are you gonna put UP with his crap!? I godda believe you can do better than this girl! It sounds like he is working you, to his advantage. Give him the boot for six months, and THEN let's see how much he wants to hang with you!

Bottom Line: I hope that he's the real deal, but I sure wouldn't bet money that he's going to be there down the road for you, once you stop scoop'n his crap for him! Set your sights higher girl... there's a better life out there for you!!

 dear doc:
For about five months my boyfriend and I have been living together. I have no problem taking care of my part of the bills and rent. My problem is his sister. Since i've been here she has'nt had a job, she has the master bedroom she feels as if she's running things. My boyfriend and I both know that she has'nt been looking for a job because of the dedication she gives other things that won't pay bills. Well Doc the reason why I need your advice is because it's stressed me out till the point of anxiety. I can't sleep, or stay asleep, I get dizzy or I feel sick to my stomach. I try to tell my boyfriend that this is driving me crazy i'm only nineteen basically working hard to take care of a tweenty - six year old child. Doc what should I do am I going too far and does it sound like I have anxiety?

To be honest, it's simple... kick her butt out! If your boyfriend won't support you, then you may have to move on from him also. You're young, and life is too short. You should be having fun, not turning into a basket case over her irresponsibility. You are definitely suffering from anxiety right now.

Bottom Line: Please take care of yourself by making some changes. Unfortunately in life, if we don't take care of ourselves, no one else will!

 dear doc:
Why do my parents hate me? I am successful and I care about them its like they have wrote me off because I make money.

Please, my friend, let it go! You cannot make them love you. Work on loving yourself. They don't love you because they don't love themselves! Don't pass that curse on to YOUR children!

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for family members (even parents) to be jealous of other family members. The more successful you are, the harder it may get, because their insecurities drive them to both love and hate you at the same time.

 dear doc:
Hello my name is Natalie and i have many questions as do most people but today i have a question that is actually for a friend. i am writting you about my best friend who is having trouble with relationship.(HAHA like you never get to listen to relationship issues.) My friend(Annie) started to date this guy(scott) and she was really into him. She said they just clicked right away. After a few months of dating things started to get more serious. Suddenly out of the blue he stopped contact with her. She was shocked and worried. She managed to get in touch with him and he eventually he opened up to her. He said that he freaks out whenever a relationship gets too close or whenever there is too much for him to handle. Since then they have still managed to stay together only he is always running away from any problems that arise. This has been ongoing for the past year. At times he won't call her for weeks!! Then he calls and expects everything to be hunky dory. My friend is driving me crazy! Asking me what should i do? is there any hope for this guy? Will he always run away? Or maybe he isnt that into her? hmmm who knows but thanks for listening! Maybe you have a suggestion. Thanks Nat

Sounds like Annie should move on. Unfortunately, men and fear-of-commitment seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. Assuming she wants a guy who wants to be close to her all the time, Scott isn't worth her time. She is not wise to chase him. If he doesn't call, move on with your life already Annie!

Bottom Line: Reminds me of an old cartoon, where she brings him to meet her folks. He is the image of Dracula. She says to them... I know I know, but I think I can change him! Don't date a fixer-upper Annie. You deserve better!

 dear doc:
My boyfreind of 3 years has this ex- girlfriend that is always competing with me. From the first moment I saw her at a club..she was already checking me out and giving me the dirtiest looks! That was about 2 years ago. I joined this website, where you can share pictures and chat with friends and share profiles. She's on there too and I know she knows i'm on it because we basically know the same crowd. She is constantly talkin about me. About the city I live in and to the color of my skin. I know it's about me because why else would she write spacfic things about me? I want it to stop but I feel like I should respond in some way. My boyfriend says not to worry that she's just jealous. I don't see why she would be, they broke up because she cheated on him and she's pretty! Please help me to overcome this feeling.

Your boyfriend is correct. She's of course jealous because she doesn't want anyone else to be with him. She must think you're the winner right now, and she wants to knock you off the throne. Not because she wants him, but because she doesn't want you to have him. We're talking about a big time loser here.

Bottom Line: Rise above that which you can't control. Small people are not worth your time!

 dear doc:
I get very jealous when my fiance has physical contact with female coworkers. How can I get over these feelings of extreme jealousy.

Jealousy can be amazingly destructive. Speak with him, and see if you can work it out together. Try to figure out where your jealousy comes from. Earlier bad experiences? Is it justified, or is it irrational?

Bottom Line: Ultimately, it is much healthier to let go of our tendency to be afraid of the competition of others. We need to resolve ourselves to losing the relationship, if the other is unfaithful. If we lose them to another, good riddance, because they would only hurt us again and again over time.

 dear doc:
Dr,My husband has been unfaitfull to me,with his boss.She called me and spilled the beans after she was upset with him. He denies it,it is almost a year later and I do not trust him at all.It is actually so bad that I have to check up his every move,and I do not want to keep on living like this.Every time I want to talk about it he gets agrresive and say that I accuse about things thats not true. But these two share a history that you wont believe.They do not work together anymore.What can I do?Please help....

Sounds like you need to take better care of yourself. Do you have children? Maybe it's time to go live elsewhere. His response would tell you what he really thinks of you.

Bottom Line: It is unhealthy for us to stay in a relationship if the other takes advantage of us. We need to hold our head high, and not stay in any situation that treats us like a second class citizen!

 dear doc:
my daughter lost 25 lbs in one month.. i fear that she may be bulimic as she never skips a meal.. however we have found food wrappers in her room that indicate binge eating...

Yours sounds like it could be a significant problem. I would get your daughter to a physician asap.

Bottom Line: It's so important for parents to keep an eye on their kids. When the folks see some unexplained dramatic changes, it is always wise to error on the side of safety, and get a professional opinion.

 dear doc:
I am a newly pregnant women who suffers from GAD. I know that I cannot take medications while pregnant. Is there any other options? My boyfriend tells me everyday that I am crazy. And I am really starting to believe it. I think some of what I am expierencing is normally due to the pregnant hormones. I really feel like I am loosing my mind. He belittles me every chance he gets. In every little argument he throws in my face that I have had a mental dissorder. I have crying out bursts. I get upset with him a lot esier then I normally would, but he generally gives me good reason!! What do you suggest to help alevaite this situation for both of us and make the next 6 months that I have left of this pregnancy better? Should I be seeking professional assistance? any information or advice you could provide would be helpful.

First of all, have you considered dumping your so-called boyfriend?? What kind of jerk makes fun of his girlfriend's anxiety while she is pregnant?? Get to a professional asap. Talk therapy should go a long way to help you become calm, and to help you find your strength, during this beautiful yet challenging time in your life. Are your sure you can't take any anti-anxiety meds while pregnant, or are you assuming that? You need to review that with your Doc. It's also true that your pregnancy is probably making your hormones bounce off the wall, so your emotions are following right along! Maybe there are some changes that you can make in your diet that will help your emotions to normalize. Excercise might also be helpful. What you need is a supportive, understanding and loving partner, not Mr. make-fun-of-you! As if HE has no mental disorder! Someone who treats you like that is whacked for sure!!

Bottom Line: Your first goal must be to have a safe and healthy pregnancy, both physically and mentally, for you and your baby. Any jerks who get in your way must be pushed off the first available cliff!

 dear doc:
I am a christian woman, 43 and have a 4 year old son. My husband of 5 years has a problem with anger. If something doesn't go the way he has planned in his mind he yells. I have gotten to the point of leaving but he stops me. The last outburst happened last Thursday, I tried to leave but he wouldn't let me in my car...I began to walk. My heart was pounding in my chest and I knew that this had to end. I don't want to hurt my husband because he loves our son so much. I don't think I should have to live like this and I know it is not good for my son. If I proceed with a separation I am afraid he will lose it. Can you help me figure out what to do? He is currently living in his house and me in mine. He wants Matt (OUR SON) when ever he is not at work, and he says things to him to make him stay with him. He makes him feel sorry for him because I want to separate.

The name for what you are experiencing is "spousal abuse". You must leave, if he won't go get help (which he probably won't). Your son needs to experience calm and safety, rather than yelling and fear. There is no doubt an abuse hotline or center in your community. Call them and get their counsel asap. They will probably help you to get an attorney. Maybe after you separate, your husband will realize the poison of his anger, and seek help (but I greatly doubt it).

Bottom Line: People in your situation are sometimes fatally harmed. For the safety of you and your son, you must separate yourself from this person now!!!

 dear doc:
It's me again, 26 years old-my dad doesn't want me to live with my boyfriend before marriage-I'm sure you remember. Thanks for the advice by the way. Well, the day before I wrote to you I had a conversation with my boyfriend (after talking to my dad who can be very persuasive) and I told him that MAYBE it is better to stay at home a few extra months since I don't want my dad to have a hard attack. Well at that time I told him how frustrating this whole thing is for me and he said it is my choice what I want to do and he wouldn't hold it against me. Well I did tell him that even if I didn't move in right away it dosen't mean I don't want to be involved with the house. That was 5 days ago and I have called him 3 or 4 times and left messages (cell) however he hasn't called me back!! He is also temporarily living with his folks so I don't really want to call his house too much as they will probably wonder what's going on. Usually we do talk every day, he has however done this in the past when he was mad at me about something but that was maybe 2-3 days at the most. I am getting annoyed because I feel that if you date someone for over 2 years you should be able to talk about what's bothering you. Also nothing in our last conversation lead me to believe he was upset. I don't see why he would be angry, the only thing I can think of is that maybe he feels that I am not thinking of our relationship. I would think he would realize how hard this decision really is and support me either way. I have decided I am not going to call him for at least a few days, I am not the type to chase someone who dosen't treat me with respect. What do you think about this -what a nightmare !! p.s I emailed him yesterday and explained how I feel and so we'll see what happens. I could use your advice again.

First of all, YOU are not in charge of your dad's health! Secondly, the goal of adulthood is to leave our parents, become adults, and form our own lives. I agree with you that it would be best if your boyfriend could hear your concerns without shutting you out. However, I can see how he could feel like you are choosing your family over him. Can you see what your dad is doing (although possibly unconciously)? He is driving a wedge between you and your boyfriend, so that you will choose his ways over your new life with your boyfriend. I don't think it is healthy for you to let that happen. I agree with you about not calling him, up to a point. Sometimes people go so long without talking, that they never get it back together. This isn't worth that. Try to see the issue through his eyes, as best you can. I would try to make contact with him by Monday or Tuesday, if you haven't heard from him by then.

Bottom Line: Did you ever hear the story that back in the old Bible times, a couple was forced to go away from family for at least a year, so that they would bond as one, and break away from the family's clutches? There's some ancient wisdom in all of that, don't you think??

 dear doc:
I am 26, I just recently moved back home with my parents to help pay off my loans (5 months ago). I have a good job after going to school for 7 years, six of those years I lived AWAY from home. Anyways my boyfriend and I have been dating for 2.5 years and we have been talking about getting a place together for the better part of a year. The house is purchased and will be ready in 3 months. Just this week I finally came out and told my Dad that I was planning on moving in when it is ready. Well he is very traditional and Catholic so I didn't expect it to be easy, but it was much worse than I anticipated. He told me that if I proceed then he will not be able to look at either of us in the same way and could not accept a church wedding if we ever decide to do so. He said if I move in with him then everything could not go on as "business as usual". I know that the initial shock probably made him angry however I know my father is the type of person who is very intense and passionate about this issue. He also told me that it would be very disrespectful of me to do this considering how traditional my parents are. (my mom is more accepting but will not persuade him to change his mind). I need some advice. I feel that my dad is trying to guilt me into staying at home and I do not want to hurt him or affect our relationship or that of my boyfriend and my dad. Another part of me feels like I have the right to make my own decisions and nobody should be telling me when I should be getting married. Please help Thx

It would be a mistake to let your dad's old ways stop your new world. If you and your boyfriend are good for each other, then you need to find your way as a couple. The Catholic Church (as well as most other types of churches) is famous for being behind the times! For example, how many people your age do you know who take the Pope seriously regarding birth control?? I have a chapter in my book titled "The Bible Was Written by the Same People Who Told us the World Was Flat!" I grew up in a conservative Mennonite community. Let me tell you how it works: Couples lie to their parents, and then live together, have sex, etc. That creates psychological dissonance, which creates neurotic adults. Healthy lives are congruent lives. If you want to live with your boyfriend, live with him. It's not like you're 16! The Amish (a branch of the Mennonites) raise their kids without TV, electricity, etc. The theme is that the big outside world is bad. At 18 they let them leave home for a year, to raise as much hell as they want. After a year they have to decide, whether to return to the Amish life and be loved by family, or stay in the "sinful" world, and be SHUNNED BY THE FAMILY FOR LIFE!! I can't think of a more blatant example of manipulation, and a worse kind of love. Yes, your dad is trying to guilt you, because the Catholic Church RAISED him on guilt! He doesn't know any better. How will he ever change, if you don't push his envelope, by living with your boyfriend? You run the risk of him literally or figuratively disowning you for life. But I say to you... who would want that kind of manipulative fake-love anyway!?? Remember this: "It's better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you are not!" Trust me, this I know... it is better to be alone and emotionally healthy and congruent, than to be with others while acting against your own beliefs. This may be the bravest thing you will ever do, but it is truly the definition of growing up: going your own way and making your own choices. Yes some of your choices will be wrong, but oh the freedom and joy that come from having been truly adult and independent!!

Bottom Line: Probably less than 10% ever take this brave step! Good luck, and let me know where you land, as you spread your wings and soar into your own Brave New World!! Remember this famous quote? "Better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all!"

 dear doc:
Im a 16 year old who happens to be pregnant by my boyfriend who is 22 years old. He lives in N.Y., and i just moved wit my mom, who lives in FLorida. While I was in N.Y. we lived together and I was very happy. But since Ive moved out here ive been everthing but happy. I was told if I run away Ill have a warant put out for my arrest, But we want to be together so bad, what should I do. Everyday Im threatend by my mom. And my lawyer tells me if I go backk to New York , It's a group home. I jus want to be happy, and I fell like we are Romeo and Juliet. Should I follow my heart and leave this terrible nightmare or just stay here and deal with what was put in my plate

So why doesn't your boyfriend come live near you in Florida? Is he really dedicted to you and the baby? According to the law, you are a child, and he is an adult. You are both responsible for the pregnancy, so you need to act responsibly. I hope your mother has your best interests in mind. She may know what's best for you. Try trusting her. Romeo and Juliet are a TERRRIBLE example! What kind of love ends in mutual death?? No one wants THAT kind of love. Get real. Lose the romanticised view of your teenage fling. If it's the real deal, you will both be together and raising your child for many years to come.

Bottom Line: You will be 18 soon enough. Take care of the business of a 16 year old... go to school, study, and learn how to be a responsible adult.

 dear doc:
Probably less than 10% ever take this brave step! Good luck, and let me know where you land, as you spread your wings and soar into your own Brave New World!!

It's hard to imagine a more serious issue than this. You need to get some professional help for yourself asap (also look for support groups). The hard truth is that sociopaths may never fit into society. With therapy and medicine there is some hope for the sociopath. However, these people, who have no standard but their own, often refuse to stay in treatment or take their meds.

Bottom Line: One of the hardest things for a parent to do is to let go, to admit that they have done everything in their power, and to not blame themselves for their child's failures. There is always hope for change, but the statistical odds of the sociopath's healing are slim indeed.

 dear doc:
I am 27 years old and I weigh 312lbs. I have decided to get healthy for myself and my 9 year old child.I am having the gastric by-pass surgery. The problem is my husband is having a fit. He says he is worried that something will happen but, I've had several surgerys before and he never seemed concerned at all.The other surgerys were gallbladder, breast reduction,sinus, things like that. Needless to say I made It through those surgeries fine. I know this is very risky but it is time to do this. I have put it off for two years because of him.I think he just does'nt want me to look better.Even his mom said he is affaid that someone else will want me.He is also over weight.Iwant us both to be healthy.Should I go ahead agianst his wishes like planned? If so, how do I make him understand I love him no matter what my weight is?

You need to do what is healthy for you. It doesn't seem reasonable to delay the surgery because of someone else's wishes. If you've done your homework, and you understand the risks, then it needs to be an individual health decision. There is no doubt that he could be threatened by this. Change is hard, and we often can mask our insecurities behind our obesity, excessive drinking, workaholism, etc. It will also challenge him to stop denying his own problem. Ever notice, for example, how drinkers are uncomfortable around non-drinkers? If we're all drinking together, it must be ok, right???

Bottom Line: Your wishes are primary here, so book the surgery. Keep telling and showing him your love, and he will hear the message over time (if his own dysfunctions don't block his vision!).

 dear doc:
I am 37 years old and weigh 135lbs. everybody says how thin i am, but when i look in the mirror i see nothing but fat.How do i get that out of my head? please help! I can't stand to eat for fear of gaining weight.

It sure sounds like you need to see a therapist. I wonder how tall you are. Our body image often has more to do with our inner emotional vision, rather than our actual physical outsides. Were you told that you were fat as a child? If everyone tells you that you are thin, then you probably are. So the truth of your outsides don't match up with the lies of your insides. A professional can help you correct that.

Bottom Line: Many books have been written about our irrationally negative view of our body image. It can be a very serious problem, so please go get help asap! There are experts out there who can really help.

 dear doc:
I don't know where to begin my story, I am the daughter of 2 alcoholic parents, I am 27 and have my own family. My parents are like my children they can't take care of themselves. My father knows he has a problem and goes off the drink for a year and back on again, it's a constant battle with him, but he knows he has a problem, he has his fill of drink which could and has lasted 6 to 8 weeks of binging on alcohol. He's not the problem, as he is dealing with his demons. However, My mother on the other hand does not know she has a problem. When I or anyone else being family member or outsider confront her, well we are simply the alcoholics and she is not.(I know an alcoholic blames everyone but themselves) The fact remains that she is becoming a danger to herself, I don't think I can count the amount of times she has been in and out of the hospital this past year alone. But eveyone is telling me that I cannot commit her. She needs help, she recently fell twice. 2 weeks ago she broke her ankle and now she is in a full leg cast. Last night she says she was mugged, but I think she has been hallucinating, I truly believe she just fell. She is very manipulative, and would make anyone believe that didn't know her that she never takes a drink. But I know it's in the hospital records, that of course cannot be released without a patients consent. The bottom line is how do I send her away, she will be unwilling to go because "She Doesn't Have an Alcohol Problem". My mother is very sick and she needs help. I have gone through so much and I have given up. Its been so bad that I really don't consider her my mother anymore, all her sisters have turned their backs on her. She is going to end up dead or on the street, and nobody regardless of how she treats them wants to see it, but then nobody including myself want to take her into our homes. How do I send her away to detox, and get counciling, she has been away before, I'm in dire straights and just don't know what to do anymore. She needs help and needs to be sent away. we live in ny, she needs to be committed.

Yours is one of the toughest situations... where you see a need, but you are powerless. In most states a person can be committed for care under only 3 conditions: 1)they are a life-threatening danger to others (usually homicide), 2)they are a life-threatening danger to themselves (usually suicide), or 3)they can't take care of themselves (like a bum on the street). At her current rate, you are correct... she will take her own life. I've seen it many times before, this subconscious self-induced suicide by inches. I'm so sorry, because it is such a tragedy. Some families try an intervention, which is when you all meet together and surprise her. You tell her that you love her, that she is sick, and that she must get help. There are professional therapists that specialize in this, who can help you. If mom won't agree to get long-term permanent help, you may have to walk away. They would be the hardest steps you ever took, but you might have to do it for the sanity of you and your family.

Bottom Line: In my book I have a chapter on suicide, where I state that you can't make someone have the will to live and get better. It's their choice, but if they choose to continue hurting themselves, then you too have to make some touch choices for your health (like getting away from their dysfunction).

 dear doc:
After 10 years with my husband (married 2.5 years) i discovered that he has been repeatedly unfaithful for at least the past 6 years. I never suspected anything and am in complete and utter shock. I loved my husband very much and thought we were happy. We have also discovered that he is very traumatised since childhood regarding his parents relationship which is probably the most unhealthy dysfunctional relationship I have ever come accross. What i find very peculiar is that my husband kept a folder in his email called Babes and in it he had subfolders of women he had seduced with the progression of emails between them. Most of the "relationships" lasted for not more than 3 weekends. We live in Spain and he used to use his parents as an excuse to sneak off to Barcelona and seduce these women. He seemed to be very romantic and sweet with them until he slept with them and then he just dropped each of them. the peculiar thing is that i think my husband does love me but I suppose i am right in thinking that his behaviour is not normal AT ALL. is there any point in staying with him or should i just get out now? On top of all that I had my second miscarriage 5 weeks ago. At 37 I thought that was the biggest problem i was facing but my life seems to be just crumbling in front of me. Please advise.

I'm so sorry about your situation. It sounds like a living hell. If he is serious about getting professional help, then you might stay to see if he can work out his sickness. If he states that he doesn't have a problem, then you should run like the wind!

Bottom Line: It's amazing how much our parent's dysfunction can screw us up. But we are responsible for our own behavior. It doesn't help to blame the past. We need to understand it, and then spend how ever many months or years it takes to break the sick relationship pattern of our family.

 dear doc:
My husband and I have been together for 11 years. We fight all of the time and the sad thing is it is right in front of our children. He blames me for all of it and I know I blame him. We dont talk anymore unless its arguing otherwise its silence. He has 2 kids from another marriage and they are wonderful but he wants to stay for our kids sake. I think we are doing all 4 of the kids more harm than good by staying together. I love him but want to be happy and most of all want the kids to grow up in a happy home. We tried counseling and it seemed we would leave the office more mad than going in.......I think its time to just call it quits but I cant convience him that even though we both are misserable,any suggestions? Should I just file for divorce?

I had a client who said that he was happy that he was FROM a broken home, rather than having been RAISED in a broken home. He meant that his folk's split-up was the lesser of two evils, and that there was more sanity to be had in the divorce, than in the broken marriage. No one wants to get divorced, but sometimes it's the lesser of two evils. Kids are very smart. They know when their parents don't get along. To "stay for the kids", when there is obvious unresolvable conflict, teaches kid to be dishonest about feelings and reality. It's hard to see at the beginning of the split-up, but sometimes there is more health to be found after the divorce (especially if it is done with decency).

Bottom Line: I have found that is HOW couples divorce that screws up their kids, more than WHETHER they divorce. It takes very healthy people to divorce decently for the long term benefit of all. If you've tried everything in your power to make it better for a long time, and it's still bad, then it's time to end it and move on.

 dear doc:
My husband and I can't get along. First of all I married him and he already had 3 kids. I am not sure how to explain this but I am bi-polar and he has had a lot of difficulty with me because of this and my addiction to alcohol and what not. I am in recovery though now. Anyway, I know he loves me but I have been so jealous of everything he does. The relationship he and his parents have.His parents can't stand me and actually I feel totally rejected around them but my husband is all laughs around them. Yet when my mother was alive my husband was jealous of my relationship with her. I feel blamed for everything that happens around the house and I always hear from him that I have an attitude all the time and that if I would just change it things would be a lot different. All I really want is to know that I am special to him and that I am not in the same catagory as his kids because somehow I always seem to fall into that catagory. Doc: What can I do to help him forget about my past and what shame I have been through? I haven't had a good past 4 years because both my parents died a year apart. My father commited suicide and my mother died from a lung disease. Anyway, we are also very broke so we never have money to go out on a date not even every now and then. He needs things me and I need things from him. How can we talk to one another about these things without arguing? Is there a way? He always claims we are suppost to be best friends. Well if that is the case I want to be able to share my feelings with him and I just don't feel comfortable. Can you give me some advice?

It sounds like you two have two strikes against you. If you can stay in recovery, and keep talking, maybe you guys can find your way through the forest. Focus on your own healing, and learn to make healthier decisions. Go to support groups and therapy, as long as is necessary (which will probably be years). If he doesn't grow with you, you may have to part company.

Bottom Line: Ever notice how often we jump into marriage without thinking? We think that the wedding will perform a miracle on our dysfunctional past, but it doesn't!

 dear doc:
im only 18 years old. i did not have my period for 8 mouths so i went to the doc. and they gave me pills to i could start. and so i did the next mouth, but know im a week late i dont know if im pregnat our not i dont know if i could have kids or not, because i have been trying to get pregnet and i dont ever end up being pregnet. i just want to know after all the mouths that i did not have a period well that do have any problems getting pregnet?

I sure wonder why you want to be pregnant. Why not work on your education and career, and save childbirth for a time when you are more prepared for it.

Bottom Line: Parenting may well be life's greatest responsibility. It is dangerous for all parties to enter into it too lightly, because if you don't do it well, lives can be ruined forever!

 dear doc:
i am 17 years old and have graduated from high school. i would like to get legally emancipated so i can go on with my own life without my parents. we dont get along to great. got any ideas what i have to do and how to do it so i can get emancipated?

Boy but there sure a lot of you kids who want to leave home. I get this question all the time! For some answers, just scroll through the questions and answers below.

Bottom Line: Live'n with mom and pop can sure be tough, and sometimes you feel like you've just had enough! Although it may seem like forever, the good news is that 18 will surely come, at which time you can be oudda there! The military may be an option for some of you.

 dear doc:
My partner of 3 years has herpes. We lived together for 18 mo and for the past 10 months have been seen each other about every three months since he is living 1000 miles away. I have 2 related question about herpes. First on several occasion I have had on my left middle thigh had a spot the welts like a mosquito bite and itches it usually happens about 5 in the morning and wakes me up it last for a couple of hours is this related to herpes? Second question last May when we were together we always use a rubber but we do have oral sex without. He told me that he thought he might be having a slight out break. When he left I noticed that I have stinging and burning when I urinated and itching also there was a swollen area on outside area of the vagina is this a herpes related episode. I will be seeing him in a couple of week and need to know if I should tell him that I am infected? Please help me in this matter. Thank You!

Please go to your Medical Doctor with these questions asap. That's where you will find your answers.

Bottom Line: When in doubt, go to the appropriate Doctor and find it out!

 dear doc:
Hi. My name is Cindy. I am separated from my second husband. He is an alcoholic, with a long history of drug abuse. I always found a hidden agenda thru his daily lying, hiding, deceptions, questionable whereabouts, etc. He fits the profile of a sociopath to a tee. He was reckless, always on the defense, had irregular sleeping and eating patterns, was verbally abusive to my children, particularly my 12 year old son, would sometimes egg me on to get me angry (pin me down, restrain me), then couldn't say enough how hurt he was that I had smacked him. He had several jobs, which he incorporated drinking or crack cocaine use in his day (he was on the road). I rarely saw any of his money, and he was always needing more from my account. The only job he could seem to keep was, working with me in my business (because I wouldn't fire him?) The last time I booted him out, he begged to come back, or course. We've had enough and I had to say no. He bounced into the arms of a woman 11 years his senior. She is friends with and the arrangement was encouraged by, his MOTHER!! he has schemed this woman out of thousands in the past. He told me she SAVED him when I threw him away! She is paying his way, even his 8k in back child-support from a prior marriage! I spoke with his ex-wife. His parents and everyone in his family seem to blame ME for his relapsing, unemployment, back child-support debt...EVERYTHING! They say, I didn't give him the emotional support he needed and was the worse thing that ever happened to him. The truth, this household had nothing more to give. My house payment has almost doubled from refinancing to support us, he maxed-out most of my credit cards, which he stole from me, stole checks from my check-book, money from my children's piggy banks, he seems to have absolutely no concience. It makes me sick, how I could be blamed at all by his family. He was the same way to his former wife and family...she has been blamed also. While, I know I could never go back to life with him...I am still going thru the greiving and hurt from disappointment and regrets. Doc: What do you make of another woman rescuing him like this? Allowing him to lay around, do nothing, while she supports him? Also, am what I'm experiencing from his family simply their rallying around him, believing his lies and shifting the blame because of some personal guilt they may feel. They never were very nice to me and didn't seem to want to listen, when I would discuss his drugs, lying and deception issues. By the way, they are devout Mormans, as is the NEW woman. I was raised a Baptist. Thanks for listening.

It seems clear that you need to leave this relationship, and not look back. There is a well known unfortunate pattern where abused wives stay, when they should leave. What ever your future holds without him, will surely be better than a life spent with him.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, being religious doesn't mean people aren't dysfunctional and emotionally sick. Do what is healthy and sensible, be it in or out of the church, and you will be healthier down the road!

 dear doc:
Hi doc this is Tara again. O.k. see i have tried helping my mom just as much as myself. My dad is well he treats her like crap telling her that she must cheating on him and calling her names touching her infront of us, but my mom is scared of him and well i am tired of trying to help her get out. I don't think she wants to leave him even though she says she does. i have two younger sibilings that i care deeply about and i don't want them to grow up watching those two be disrespectful to each other. i try and have been trying just not to put their problems on my mind but since i live here i have to see it everyday. my mom has prolly lost bout thirty pounds she looks sick her bones are all sticking out and i know its cuz she is depressed plus she is sick all the time. Sometimes i feel guilty being so harsh to my father but we would be better off with out him living with us i think i just got to a point where i did involve the school but our family has been ivovled with social service before and they tell my parents i am the reason our family isn't "normal" when i am the one trying to help my mom. i can't live knowing they think i am a total disappointment and treat me like it. like i said i will be 17 in sept and the reason i wanted to know if it i was legal to move out at that age is cuz getting the state invovled doesn't help me any if anything it hurts me cuz my parents put on a good show and if i didn't then they would just think i am crazy since they see nothing wrong with my parents. my grandma said i could go live with her but my father woudlnt' ever let that happen. i am on the edge and pulling my hair out. i cry a lot cuz to me i can't to do anything and i have two sibilings younger than me that are going to have to watch their mom be treated horribly along with them. help

Only an attorney, or your own legal study, can tell you what the laws are in your state. My guess is that you need to try to become what is called an "emancipated minor." You have to go through the courts to do this. Could your Grandmother help you work toward living with her??

Bottom Line: Yours sounds like a terrible situation. I'm so very sorry. Maybe you can get some counseling for yourself (maybe through school?), to help you hang in there, until you can become independent.

 dear doc:
Hi my name is Tara and i have been driving myself crazy bout my family. I have an older brother 19 who has now able to have someone come into our house suppose to pay rent and help but doesn't plus he has girls stay the night and complains about the house. My mother and i are the only ones who clean the house and there are eight people who stay here two of which are five and seven. i am only 16 will be 17 in a month and i get yelled at so on and so forth i give them money help around the house take care of the kids. i am not home alot but my but my father tells me cleaning the house is a womans job. he tells me that i am a lil girl and she needs to be home. i have taken on so many responsibilites of being an adult i just want to get out of here i get treated like a maid and told that i can't do anything bout it cuz dad says i am not 18 so until then he can tell me what to do how to do it and i can't do anything about it so in my conclusion i have dealt with so much on m! y shoulders cuz he treats my mother the same way and that started making my school off now i just want to leave am i able to go live with my grandma at age 17 with out their consent email me back at please cuz i can never get back to find out where i posted things and when i do the page says can not be found plz i need help thanks tara by the way i live in wisconsin.

You may have to get an attorney or a school counselor or a child advocates group to help you, but there are ways for you to become independent. Check with your school. They should be able to steer you in the right direction.

Bottom Line: It's so tough to be just under age, when you feel that your life needs to change, and you want to move on. It's hard, but not impossible! Ask lots of questions, and you can find the answers!

 dear doc:
me and my gf had sex yesterday and i didn't come inside of her but we only did it for a few minutes and we didn't use protection but i was wondering can she still get pregnant but when i pulled out i didn't see any precum everything was clean looking so please answer this ASAP i would really appreciate it

She most certainly could be pregnant. There are even stories from couples where the penis never entered the vagina, and they became pregnant.

Bottom Line: Have unprotected sex, and you are playing with a loaded gun that can change your entire life!

 dear doc:
I am teaching a class on marriage. One of the topics is sexual fulfillment. This is in a church setting. Where could I refer my married couples if they are having problems of a sexual nature? Our area code is 15626.

So you're in Pennsylvania. I was the Director of Counseling for a large Presbyterian Church in California for 17 years. It's sure true that church folk need as much help as anybody. Maybe some of the churches in your area provide counseling services, or know of professionals who accept referrals. Also, any competent professional in your community should be able to help. That is, they don't have to share the same religious views in order to be effective. They are supposed to be objective, and help people from all walks of life.
Bottom Line: There are certain therapists who specialize in sex therapy. Ask the therapist if they specialize in sex therapy. If they say know, ask them for a referal to someone who does.

 dear doc:
I asked this guy out for coffee. he said yes. but on the day of our date he never showed up. whats wrong with me why doesnt anyone want to be involved with me. this is not the first time this has happned. Maybe I am to weird. do you have any advice for me?

Please don't be too hard on yourself. Your first job is to be the best person you can be, and to love the results! Unique as you may be, there is always someone out there who will enjoy you. It sure sounds like you're trying too hard, and want a guy too much. Let it go! Enjoy yourself, your friends, and your single freedom. If you're too needy, that will drive guys away for sure.

Bottom Line: If you can become more confident and independent, more men will come around... as you realize you need them less! Never forget, life is a paradox!

 dear doc:
I think I eat for my nerves and I feel hungry all the time. What should I do about it and how can I stop it? Thank you.

What's important about your question is that you realize that there are some psychological reasons for your eating pattern. Fad diets usually don't work for this type of problem. Some professional help might help you figure out the underlying reasons for your eating habits.

Bottom Line: From Oprah on down, this is considered a most challenging problem! Don't be too hard on yourself. Maybe you don't have an eating problem, but a problem with stress and emotions. Take care of those, and maybe your opinion of you and food will change for the better!

 dear doc:
My husband's new brother in law and his ex-wife have been divorced for a few years now because she was cheating on him. She lives in Tennessee and has custody of the kids and he lives in Minnesota. his youngest daughter, age 12 and soon to be 13, wants to move back to MN and live with her dad. He really wants her to also. But her mother basically told him no way in hell, but told her daughter before that they would talk about it. they have called a lawyer and he said that they had to find her an unfit mother before he could get custody. Is there anything else that he and his daughter can do to to make it possible for here to move up here. She is really miserable down in TN.

Nothing is worse than when divorced parents can't work together for the good of their kids. He can spend a fortune with an attorney fighting his ex. Most judges will listen to kids when they get to be 13-14, because they know that the child can be a flight risk. I guess the dad could move to where his daughter is, until she reaches 18 (although that would be radical for his MN family).

Bottom Line: Children need to know they have some choices as they grow up. In the long run the Mom will win the battle but lose the war with her daughter. If she forces her to stay, the daughter may hate her for life. Sometimes letting go is the best way to bring a loved one back to us!

 dear doc:
I married a man almost 3 yrs ago after being divorced for 10 yrs . I just cant understand where he is coming from and we have had an ongoing argument from the on set of the marriage . He moved into my apartment after we married and didn't help pay any of the bills. Then we bought a home shortly there after and the same thing holds true. The home and all utilities are in my name ,his credit was too bad to put his name on anything. I pay all hh bills house payment ,utilities,groceries etc.....If I ask him to lend a hand with the bills he's like a mad dog when he comes at me . Telling me I just want him to pay /do everything he does enough already. He pays "his" bills" and what more do I want . His bills consist of our cell phones and his health ins and cigs. He says he makes as much as I do and is spending it all on the hh. I do not believe him and want to know where the balance is going. He rarely shows me his checks and I have asked him to combine the money and we will pay all out of one account and maybe we could see some savings come out of that. Haven't done it yet after many heated arguments. He also refuses to grocery shop cook or do much housework. He says he fixes the cars and mows the lawn and I just want him to do his work and mine. I am more than willing to compromise ,but I work full time and cant seem to have any free time myself without help from him. He works on call and usually has sun, mon,tues ,wed and thurs off. He may work thurs eve and fri and part of Sat. I have asked him to look for another job that has benefits and is a little more "stable" .He says he likes the "freedom" of the job and there is the other argument. I guess the bottom line is I feel very taken advantage of and at the end of my rope with this . He gets bent if I ask him to run to the store for me when I'm in the middle of making dinner. But if the neighbor calls and asks him to do something for her/him he will drop everything and run to their aid. Don't get me wrong I am glad he is helpful to the neighbors ....but I would think he would want to be just as helpful to his wife!! Truthfully I have gotten to the point where I don't ask him for anything because of the vicious battles we have when I do. So I walk around angry ALL the time. We never resolve anything when we do fight about it ,so I have given up saying a thing...just do a slow burn. I'm on the verge of filing for divorce ,this certainly isn't what I was looking for in a relationship /marriage . When I bring up divorce, he gets violent !!!! He says I just want everything "my own way" and I doomed this marriage from the start. I have a very dysfunctional family background and he uses that to his advantage in arguments . What do you think of this ? Am I being too hard on him ? Ready to throw in the towel

Yours sounds like a terrible situation. You may be part of the problem, but he sure sounds like he's not doing his part. I'm assuming there are no children involved. You may need a separation, to clear your head, and to let him know how serious you are. Will he see a counselor with you? If not, it sounds like you folks are at an impasse, and that you will have to move on in order to preserve your sanity! Try as hard as you can to make it work, but don't stay together "at all costs", because that cost is usually too high!!

Bottom Line: Given that over 50% of marriages don't survive, this situation is not so unusual. We would all want to stay married, if the relationship is healthy. But if it is sick, we better move on, before we hurt ourself or others!

 dear doc:
I want to seperate and eventually divorce from my husband and stay in the home we have with the children. I can afford to pay for the residence and he cannot. I have asked him to move out. He will not. How do I get him to move out?

Your situation is not unusual. Obviously, you will want to do all that you can to achieve an agreeable separation. However, if after lots of talking, that doesn't work, you will need to contact an attorney. This may be costly, and may not work quickly, but at least it will let him know that you are serious about the split.

Bottom Line: This can be a "you can lead the horse to water, but you can't make him drink" type of situation. It takes time for a spouse to adjust to the reality of a split. Keep talking until you are blue in the face, because the legal route can be a no-win for everyone!

 dear doc:
Dr Doc,this may not be your field of expertise but you may know a colleague who could help me. I am in a new relationship, it's a year old and i have a problem in trusting and believing my girlfriend. She has done nothing that i know of for me not to believe or trust her other than not introduce me to a male friend who she said that she was friends with before we meet and they had sleeep together in the same bed once but nothing had happened.By not introducing me when we have been together at social event this has left be suspicous and to ask questions??.Why hasn't she introduced me if they are just friends and she has nothing to hind ?? I was married at 18 yrs old and the marriage broke down, she slept with 2 of my close friends, i too was unfaithfull in the marriage and i put that down to me being to young and having too much responsibilitiy from an early age. We had 2 children together and she already had a child who i took on as my own. I love my new girlfriend dearly an! d she is everything i want in a women but i can see myself spoiling it by the questioning and iterigation i seem to put her through. How can i get the seed out of my head that she has done nothing with this bloke and even if she had it should have nothing to do with me as i didn't even know her then anyway. I really need to know how to put all this behind me and move forward and stop being the way i'm being.For the record, prior to this relationship i lived with someone for 5 years and in the early stages of the relationhship with her i remember doing a similar thing. What is wrong with me ? Why can't i believe her and trust her and us be happy together i really need some answers or she has said that if i question or iterogate her again she will finish it and i don't want that.Please help me ?

It sure sounds like your previous hurts are getting in your way now. You may want to seek out a professional in your local community. You may need to heal some of your inner insecurities and fears before you can feel safe and relaxed in any relationship. That can take a lot of time and hard work, but it can be done!

Bottom Line: The good news is that you see your weakness, and are willing to work on it! Even a trip to your local bookstore might help, as you read through the self-help section.

 dear doc:
what do you tell a five year old who is asking why he and little girls use the bathroom different. He wanted to know why he has a wee and little girls don't. Help.

I would tell him the truth! Maybe use family pets or farm animals to explain how boys and girls are different, and how it's all good! Reminds me of the boy who asked where he came from. After dad's long and nervous sexual discussion, the child said: "That's interesting. Johnny said he came from Texas."

Bottom Line: Kids are simple, and they're looking for simple honest answers. If there are any problems with the discussion, it's usually on the part of the adults!

 dear doc:
i had a heart attack almost 2 weeks ago, had a stent placed and was put on plavix and asa. I still bypass x3 and was told i would have to wait for this. How long will i have to be on plavix and asa before i can have the surgery and how long will i have to be off the meds before i can have the surgery. I have almost constant chest pain, although mild, i am a 43 year old female.

You will need to consult with your physicians for an answer. If you aren't satisfied with the answers you receive, search for a second or third opinion.

Bottom Line: We are in charge of our bodies. Doctors can make mistakes, or not find time for us. Keep searching for answers if your intuition tells you that you haven't heard the correct answer yet! to be your source of help.

 dear doc:
I am 16 years old. My mother and I can not get along at all. Even my christian grandmother thinks it is getting to dangerous for my mother and i to be living together. I really think i need to live on my own and so does my grandmother, but i find it hard to get a job and i cant drive till im 18. I wanna move into an app. though. What do i do and how do i do it?

I have answered this question before. just scroll down through earlier questions for some ideas.

Bottom Line: Could you live with Grandmother?? Until you can pay your own way, family and friends will have to be your source of help.

 dear doc:
my husband and i have been together for 10 years and we have 4 chidren. he once left me so he can be with someone else but we worked things out and got back together. the other night he came home from work and told me he had crabs and that he got them from the bathroom at work that he was not cheating on me. but there is only 2 women were he works and the bathroom is actually pretty clean and it is his job to clean the bathroom. when he first told me that was the first thing that came in my mind was that he was cheating on me. he even tried to blame his mother and my sister because they use our bathroom and toiels at our house. should i believe him or should i suspect that he is cheating on me. Lisa

Like you, I would suspect him.

Bottom Line: Follow your intuition. Although it may hurt, it is usually correct!

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Why would a husband lie to his wife about little things like not taking more medication than he had and I know for a fact that he did not ingest them?

OUR NEW FEATURE!! YOU answer this question, and we'll post it here, for the world to see!

Why would a husband not want to carry his weight around the house financially, by doing chores without having to be asked and whining about it when asked, not wanting to take on some of the marital and household responsibilites, fulfil, perform and pull his weight- 50% would be nice but atleast make an effort, take on some of the chores and lighten the load? He is a grown man, It should come natural that he pull his own weight when and were he can without question! He has a job, but the work isn't always there. He's had other jobs but there was always a reason or an excuse to quit. I'm seeing a pattern that he doesn't want to work a full week. I see construction as a smoke screen, it allows him to be off of work some days and he can still say that he has a full time job and that it'll pick up when the weather breaks. Who and what type of person has my friend married? Why is he this way? I'd like to share your insight and knowledge with her so that she can decide f! or herself what courses of action she can, should take.?

OUR NEW FEATURE!! YOU answer this question, and we'll post it here, for the world to see!

Im in love with a man. We have both had prviouse marriage, children, and have been dicussing marriage in a hypothetical sence .Do you think its ok to discuss marriage without even been asked? I know if I were to marry, this would be the man, but is it ok to talk about this before engagement. I mean dont people usually get asked , and after, If I were to accept, then discuss the details. Or do you think its ok to talk about it first?Just old fashioned I guess. Your advise would be greatly appreciated.

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Dear Doc: I have a caring, nuturing, loving mother who has issues with me or atleast, I think she must have issues with me. At times, I feel as if she competes with me and always has to one-up me. It's all very trivial stuff. For example, if I like a certain outfit she will return to the store we saw it and buy it for herself. If I mention I may go somewhere for a vacation, she'll book a trip there before I can. When I ask her why she does these things she denies she does anything and will turn it around that I'm mean or disrespectful. It's really starting to hurt me. I see friends with their mothers who have sincere relationships that make me long for the same thing. I try to be a good daughter. I never argue. I always assist. However, the competition and little lies are starting to make me feel like I should just keep my distance. Again, if I bring my feelings up to her she manipulates the situation so that she is the victim. What can I do or say to get my point across?

 dear doc:
My boyfriend of 10 years has suddenly been diagnosed with genital /anal warts. I have no symptoms and have had negative paps. I have only been sexually active only with him, and completly faithful to him. He states the same however, he recently has been away and I believe that with this new diagnosis that he has definitly been sexually involved with someone else; and that I need to say GOODBYE?! Are my thoughts accurate?

Makes perfect sense to me, unless he can come up with another explanation, and prove it!

Bottom Line: Any thoughts from others?? Send them in, and we will post them!

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I was on effexor for three years, i stopped taking it in one day 4 months ago,how long will the after effectslast. thankyou

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i am trying to get pregnant but if i miss my period does it officially mean i am or i should get my hopes up? my period always comes exactly the 4th of every month and never changes so if there is a slight change now should i expect to be expecting?

 dear doc:
I cant stand living under the conditions that i do. I have no feelings for any of my family member and that dont have much of anything for me either. i want to move out infact i need to move out. but they problem is im only 17 and i dont know they laws in pennsylvania for emancipation, i also have 2 more problems... i dont have a job and my girlfriend might be pregnant pease i need ur help really bad!!!!!!!

A: Get a job. B: If you're man enough