A free personal online advice column

September 29, 2006
Dear Jenn,

Well where do I begin? I guess a year ago this month. I met this guy and right away we hit it off. We had lots in common. He was so sweet. I thought I finally met "the one". Turns out though he is not "the one". He has been dishonest to me. We now live togther and have been for quite sometime. We have both been married before. Me once and him twice...or so I thought. I was unloading something out of his car the other day and found this envelope with some papers in it. Well, curiousity got the better of me and I pulled them out and read them. They were divorce papers, FROM HIS 3RD WIFE!! It didn't last long. Maybe two months according to the papers. That is not the point though. This man asked me to marry him. But to me this says that marriage doesn't mean much to him. On top of that he lied to me about how many times he was married. So here I am with this man that I don't feel is truly commited to me. Where do I go from here??

Dear Hopeless,
The fact that you feel so untrusting because you feel you've been lied to is a very valid feeling. You HAVE been misled, and your fiance should have told you these things. However, it's very possible that the sheer brevity of this third marriage does not, in his mind, constitute something even worth mentioning or explaining. He's probably more embarrassed to have to admit that he made such a hasty mistake to you, and would prefer you to think that he is smarter than that.

You certainly need to confront him about this, and explain to him why you feel disconnected from him, as if you don't even know who he is anymore! These feelings will do more damage in the long run than omission of fact itself. Your fiance needs to know and feel that you will still love him despite his faults.

I know that it may be a hard bite to swallow right now, but in the grand scheme of things, him hiding a 2-month marriage from you screams out more that he's embarrassed and ashamed of his own actions much more than he was trying to deceive you. In a nutshell, I would move to forgive this incident and make sure the lines of communication are much more open in the future.

September 15, 2006
Dear Jenn,

My father has been in prison for most my life. I have a strong connection to his mom and dad. They try to get me to write letters to him but don't know what to say to him.

He called me this past weekend. He got to visit his family for the first time in 5 years and I went to see him. He told me he's moving to another state and that he wants to keep in touch. Should I believe him? Or just end contact with him?

Dear Estranged Daughter,
You are very right in the fact that this is a difficult situation. On one hand, you have very little to no connection to your father, but on the other hand, you don't want to upset or insult your grandparents by refusing their requests to communicate with him. What to do?

Try to understand that your grandparents have a very different relationship with your father, and they are anticipating the day when he is fully released and can be a larger part of your life. In their hearts, they want your father's life to pick up where it left off, which would include a much deeper relationship with you. However, your grandparents need to understand that your father is, essentially, a stranger to you, and a meaningful relationship is something that needs to be built - not something that will happen overnight with a letter or two. If you can't discuss this with your grandparents yourself, perhaps your mother could? Or maybe you have an aunt or uncle on that side of the family you could talk to and ask them to intervene to make them understand? But you need to stress the fact that it's not that you don't love your father, it's that you don't KNOW him. How do you write a letter to someone you don't even know?

Regardless of how you make them understand, you do need to make them see your point of view. If anyone tries to force you to have a relationship with your father against your wishes, it will only make you resent the situation even more. Your relationship with your father will bloom naturally when you two have the opportunity to nurture it.

However, I don’t think you should think of this in such extremes. It doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” situation. You have a life of your own, and you certainly don’t need to relocate for him, but you don’t need to cut him completely out of your life, either. Leave your “emotional” door open, and when your father is ready to have a relationship with you, he will. And if he doesn't? You will have lost nothing.

June 15 , 2006
Dear Jenn,

I'm in a very confusing situation, and because of that I need to give you a little background... Almost 2 years ago a very good friend of mine started dating this guy - they were pretty much meant to be (hopefully). Well, he has a twin brother and I just recently met him. We have become close, very close. So close that he spends the night almost every night, and about 2 months ago moved out of his house he had with a roommate, because he was never there.

The situation gets sticky in two ways; First, my very good friend has now become very distant, to say the least (she is no longer speaking to me). She is weirded out by the situation, because they are twins, and, in her relationship, they have been talking of marriage. She now considers them to be the family in-laws. I think she is feeling invaded with me seeing her boyfriend's twin. But I don't know what to do, I do like him.

But there is more...My roomate of over a year, has now started getting short with my new guy, she came to me and asked if he could start paying 1/3 of the water bill because he has started taking showers and etc. I said no, and that I don't want him to do that, because we do not have an established commitment to each other, and I do not want one. She got upset and said that she was being nice in not asking for rent from him. I dont know what do to! These are my two friends and they both have a problem with what is going on. I don't even know how to handle it. Am I blinded by liking this guy? Am I maybe taking advantage of my roommate, or is he of me?? Suggestions??

Dear Crazed Drama,
WOW... That is some drama!

There are quite a few issues we should address here, so let's take them one at a time:

1) It bothers me that you said your friend is no longer speaking to you because you are dating her boyfriend's twin brother. You definitely need to talk to her and find out exactly WHY this bothers her so much? If one of my best friends started dating my boyfriend's brother (twin or not) I'd be elated! How cool is it that all four of you can hang out and there is so much connection going on? Is she worried that, if you and your man were to break up, that it would put tension on her relationship? Or is she worried about the whole "he said, she said" dynamic of everyone knowing everyone's business between the four of you? If you can get to what's REALLY bothering her, then you two, and the two brothers, ought to be able to work it out or waylay some of her fears.

2) You mentioned that your boyfriend moved out of his place two months ago because he was never there. Did he get another place or is he "unofficially" living with you now? The answer to that question depends heavily on how you should handle the third question:

3) Your roommate is not completely out of line asking that he help out with some of the bills. If he is spending that much time there, then he should contribute something. I realize that you may not feel that your relationship is at a point where you feel that you should be discussing finances, but he IS staying with you almost every night, as you said. He is using water, electricity, and, I would imagine, eating food, too. My mother just recently got out of a similar situation, where her roommate had her boyfriend over ALL the time, and he never helped out with any of the bills. Since she doesn't live there anymore, her former roommate and her are able to have a better relationship, but it was HIGHLY strained for a very long time, and my mother used any excuse she could just not to be there. She felt uncomfortable in her own house! That's not right, either. If you are THAT uncomfortable asking your boyfriend for help, and your roommate is only asking for the water bill to be paid... Well, water is pretty cheap. Maybe you could just pay 2/3 of it yourself until you feel comfortable asking your boyfriend that he pull his weight? But if he's spending that much time there, then he really shouldn't have a problem helping out.

4) You wanted to know if you are taking advantage of your roommate, or is your boyfriend taking advantage of you? This isn't a simple yes or no question. Obviously, your roommate FEELS she's being taken advantage of, so regardless of whether or not she is, this needs to be addressed. You obviously don't FEEL that your boyfriend is taking advantage of you, which is where the conflict is. It's all about getting to the root of what's really bothering those around you.

5) Lastly, you wanted to know if you are being blinded by your feelings for this man. Unfortunately, only you can answer that. You have to decide if he's worth fighting for. If he is, then fight for him, and fight for your relationship. I didn't hear one word in your whole letter about any tension or doubts you have about this man. All your doubts seem rooted in those around you. You can't let others dictate who you can or can't love. You can take their opinions into consideration, but, ultimately, only you can decide what's best for you. It sounds, however, that your roommate and your friend are more concerned with how your relationship with this man is affecting THEM, and not so much with whether or not it's making YOU happy. True friends are only concerned with what makes YOU happy. It won't be an easy task to remind them of this without sounding accusatory or defensive, however this is, essentially, what you need to do.


February 27 , 2006
Dear Jenn,

My girlfriend and I have been together for a few months now. We have been intimate many times, but last night, she threw me for a loop. She said she wanted to have anal sex with me. She said she's had it with some of her previous boyfriends, and wanted me to give it to her. I've never done it before, and told her I'd have to think about it. She got a little upset and told me lots of women like anal sex, it's no big deal. Is this true? Is this part of the modern woman's repetoire? I'm not really against the idea but I'm a little worried about hurting her physically as I am a bit above average size-wise. Please advise.

Dear Unsure,
Anal sex seems to be an all or nothing proposition for all people, men and women equally. Either you love it or you hate it. If your girl wants it, and you don't have any hang ups about it, then I don't see a problem. She is obviously already aware of your size, so obviously she's not worried about being hurt. My advice would be to allow her to completely take the lead as to speed and veracity, and be sure to use plenty of lubricant. Knowing that you have never tried it, and she would be "teaching" you, so to speak, may even be more of a turn on for her. But DON'T FORGET to clean up before you "switch back." If you don't, you can cause her some awful infections.


February 6, 2006
Dear Jenn,

You helped with an issue I had before and thought you might be able to help me again. A little background... I dated a woman pretty seriously for over two years and broke up last August. She has stated on several occasions that she would like to get back together. It started as a friendly split, but it's gotten rather unfriendly over the last couple of months. I feel very strongly that we should go our separate ways.

After a month of not hearing anything from her, she text messages me asking if I would like to have her cats (bought when we were together). Her reason is that she is out all the time and not giving them enough attention. She thought that I could give them a good home.

Here is my problem... I feel deep down that this might be a way she could stay connected to me... by "visiting" the cats from time to time. I am torn because I like the cats and know I could give them a good home. But I don't know if I want to put up with the possible emotional rollar coaster. Do I do what is in the best interests of the cats or myself??

Dear Missing My Cats,
First off, I want to say that I LOVE repeat visitors! Thanks for coming back!

Okay, I see several possibilities, but only you can decide what will be the best solution since you know your ex-girlfriend much better than I do, obviously. And you have to decide how much you love the cats, or if you are willing to let them go as you did when you two broke-up.

First, you could tell her that you'll take the cats, but that you no longer wish to have contact with her afterwards. She cannot have visitation, and she cannot decide to take them back when her lifestyle calms down. This will, I'm sure, cause an argument between the two of you, which I sense that you are trying to avoid.

Or, you could be sneaky about it. :-P You could tell her that you found a home for the cats through a friend of a friend (someone you don't readily keep in contact with, to avoid her asking to visit) of yours, and then just keep them.

Or, when you tell her that you are not taking them, you could inquire what shelter she plans to take them to, and then show up after and adopt them yourself.

OR, you can realize that you made the decision to give up the cats when the two of you broke up, and that you need to just walk away from the situation. If I may recommend a shelter for you to recommend to her, PAWS Atlanta is a no-kill shelter that has a wonderful facility for adopting cats.

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