The Walking Dead

Hi.

I was recently in attendance at the funeral of a close relative. Normally, I try to avoid funerals whenever possible but, because this was my uncle, I had to be there.

My problem is not that I attended the funeral but that I had to be around my family. I hate to be in the same room with them. Whenever we all get together, you feel the tension in the air. It’s very uncomfortable. Everyone’s interaction seems forced. Literally, the only time we get together is when someone dies.

Sometimes, I feel bad because I have a child that doesn’t even know his own cousins but I don’t have the desire to engage in conversation with their parents to allow them to bond.

Do you think I’m being petty?

***************

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes you are. What type of disaster of astronomical proportions occurred that turned the whole family against one another?

Is there some sort of family feud? Did someone take the last donut or run over the family pet? Man, I feel like I have more questions than answers.

Whatever it is, you can’t be mad for the rest of your life. Well, you can be but what do you gain from it and what type of example are you setting for the future of your bloodline?

It’s a shame that the children in the family are being forced to miss out on the bonds that normally form between cousins. Is there a matriarch or patriarch in your family that you can speak with and work with to discover what’s wrong and try to mend it?

Honestly, it makes no sense nor does it prove beneficial to carry on a long running feud especially if it’s of unknown origins.

That’s my opinion.

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The Grass Looks Greener

Hey there!

Okay, here’s my dilemma. I’ve been in a relationship for the past 8 years with my boyfriend. We decided early on in the relationship that neither of us wanted to get married or have children and that has not changed but I think I am getting bored. I’m beginning to feel like this isn’t the type of relationship for me. The funny thing is I think he feels the same way.

He’s a great guy. He’s polite, respectful, has a good job and is responsible. He’s just not fun or romantic. When he tries to be romantic it seems really awkward and almost comical. I don’t really have any complaints on his performance but I wish there was more to it.

We do have friends that we go out with on occasion but I get tired of the same old routine. They always want to go to the same places. Dinner and a movie (blah).

I say he’s bored because, when we are home, we barely talk. There’s no anger; there’s just no conversation. We usually just end up going to our respective corners and doing our own thing – him with the TV and me with social media.

I see the type of relationships my friends have and sometimes I wish I could have or even do half of the things they do. I’m beginning to think that maybe we should both start considering other options when it comes to dating other people. What do you think?

Here’s my opinion:

8 years is a lot of time to spend in a relationship with someone. I’ve seen people leave their relationship for issues so much more serious than yours and so much less serious than yours. The question I think you should ask yourself is how much you really want to make this relationship work.

The number one problem that I have with what I read in your situation is that you compare your relationship to those of others. Just because it has wings doesn’t make it a butterfly and even butterflies go through a very hairy phase before they become the beauty that you see fluttering by.

You’re making a big mistake by thinking you can live the life of a neighbor or friend based on their cosmetic look. If only it were that easy to have exactly what you want placed at your feet in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Relationships require work. As you transition from one stage to the next – when one year becomes two becomes three – you still have to work to make it what you want it to be not what your friends and neighbors want it to be.

Hmmm… I wonder if you would be willing to accept this notion if you found out your boyfriend wished this relationship was more like the relationship his friends had. I wonder if you would be willing to accept being compared to someone else. Somehow, I don’t think so. I know I wouldn’t like it.

Next, instead of assuming how you think he feels, why don’t you just ask? That would be a great conversational piece to fill in the gaps of non-communication time you have. Talk about what’s bothering you and what you would like to see change. It would also be beneficial to have some ideas on what you think will work.

If, on the other hand, you are done and ready to wash your hands of this relationship, bow out gracefully. Don’t try to find fault and play the blame game. Be honest. There’s no need to waste anymore of your or his time.

That’s my opinion.

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Is It Just My Imagination?

Hi Liz,

I just want to get your take on this situation. I work in an office where I am 1 of 5 African Americans. My co-workers are pretty cool and they include me in on everything but sometimes I feel like our interactions are inappropriate.  I wear my hair natural and they always want to touch it or they comment about how difficult it must be to wash it (it’s very thick and kinky). When we have our potluck lunches, they always volunteer me to bring fried chicken.

I feel like I’m always on the ready to defend myself against their ignorant comments. We do joke around sometimes about the difference between black and white people but sometimes I think they go to far. If they think I’m angry or frustrated about something, they’ll say things like Here comes diary of a mad black woman part 2 or Madea’s about to reach into her purse or her baby daddy better watch out (I’m married). I laugh it off but on the inside it pisses me off. Even during small talk, I find myself looking for racial undertones and it makes it impossible to really enjoy participating.

Do you think I’m overreacting or am I being used as a source for their entertainment?

Here’s what I think.

Your co-workers may not necessarily be racist. They may have a genuine curiosity about the African American culture that has been misrepresented through media outlets for generations.

You are in a position where you can educate them on that which they don’t know. You have the opportunity to positively counteract any aversiveness that may have been handed down to them about African Americans.

Let them know that the African American woman is a very complex but versatile human being from the many ways she is able to wear her hair to the ways she satisfies her appetite.

With that being said, you need to recognize and correct the role that you play in their, seemingly, naive banter. When you joke around with or say things to people with humorous intent, you create tangible topics. It’s on the table and they can reach out and grab it anytime they want. Laughing things off that you are secretly not comfortable with gives off the same vibe that joking about taboo-to-you topics does. It’s an invitation to continue.

If you want something to be off-limits, you have to leave it off limits too. If something makes you uncomfortable, you also need to make it known because, ironically, it may not be obvious to some people.

If they volunteer you to bring chicken and nobody ever eats it, that would raise a flag but, if you bring in the chicken and the bones barely survive, CONGRATULATIONS! You’re a damn good cook and they love!! That doesn’t mean you have to always be the KFC ambassador. Let them know you have other recipes you can throw down on and bring it to the next potluck.

Set your boundaries. Once you do, you’ll know when someone is stepping out of line.

That’s my opinion.

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Friends Come And Friends Go

Hi Liz,

I have been friends with this girl since junior high school. We have always called each other best friends, sisters or cousins and we hung out all the time. Now we are both in our 20’s and, even though we still get together, things don’t feel the same. Even our conversations feel different. Mostly boring. It seems like we talk about the same things over and over again.

We haven’t had any disagreements or anything that would make me feel this way but I just don’t really enjoy being around her anymore. Sometimes I feel bad because she asks me to do things with her or go places and I either ignore her calls and text messages or make excuses about why I can’t.

She’s a really cool girl but I don’t think we have anything in common anymore. Do I tell her or should I keep ignoring her until she gets the picture?

Here’s my thoughts:

Childhood friends are like no other! We experience so many firsts with them. They really are like family. The problem with childhood friends is that we don’t stay young. We all grow up. We develop our own individualities. We discover new, uncharted territories and things we once liked, we realize we no longer do.

What you are experiencing is normal. You may have outgrown the level of companionship your friend can provide. Listen, I know when you were younger, you probably joked about the things you two would do together as two old ladies but the reality is that, sometimes, friends grow apart. It happens.

You can and should be thankful for the friendship you had growing up because it’s a part of who you are today but who you have become just doesn’t fit into the constraints of who you were. It’s ok to walk away from it while it’s still a beautiful memory.

Lastly, don’t leave her hanging. You said yourself that she’s a cool girl. Do you want to create the type of distance you are looking for by being a douche bag? Let her know how you’ve been feeling. Her feelings may be hurt but in the end she will fall back and give you your space.

PS… If you can’t stand to part from her completely, try introducing her to some of your new interests. She’ll either like it and you’ll have that good ‘ol friendship back or she’ll hate it and reconsider the direction of your friendship. (Sounds like a win-win situation to me).

Good luck!

That’s my opinion.

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Once is enough.

Hi Liz,

I met a guy through a mutual friend and we slept together.  I only wanted it to be a one-night stand.  The problem is, I’m not looking for a relationship but he keeps asking me to go out on dates.  I always make up an excuse of why I can’t go but I haven’t really told him that I didn’t want to see him again  because I don’t want to hurt his feelings .  It was just an in the heat of the moment kind of thing and I thought he would just get over it like I did.  I asked my friend to tell him but she doesn’t want to get in the middle.  What do you think I should do?

My opinion:

Your friend has the right idea. The actions that occurred were between two consenting adults. Now is not the time to try to hide behind anyone.

As for your one-nighter, you probably shouldn’t assume that he’s looking for a relationship. He might just want a round 2. Maybe you should just try the good old fashioned truth remedy. Continuing to give the poor guy excuses just gives him hope that he’ll catch you at a good time when your not so busy. If you’re worried about feelings he may or may not have, chances are greater that they will be hurt from your continued elusiveness. In this case, I think honesty is the best policy.

That’s my opinion.

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Not in her house.

My boyfriend and I live with his mother and stepfather in a three-bedroom apartment. We’ve been dating for 2 years and have been living here for one year. Our problem is his mother will not let us sleep in the same room. We’re both in our twenties and we both work. We help pay bills and buy food. She says she won’t agree to it because we’re not married. We’re not ready for marriage but think she’s being over the top. How can we get her to understand this?

My opinion:

My question is if both of you are working and are able to pay bills why are you living in his parents home? You didn’t mention anything about his mother or stepfather needing financial assistance or how you came about to move into their home. If they are able to maintain their home on their own with their own finances, I would recommend that you and your boyfriend move into your own place that way you’ll be able to play by your own rules and live the married life of two unmarried people. It sounds like his mother is very old-fashioned which may be an inconvenience for you but it’s the rules that she sticks by and because you live in her home you must abide by.

That’s my opinion.

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Go get your own.

 I’m seeing this guy who is in his forties for 4 months now. I’m 23. He’s married but said that things are not the way they should be at home and he’s thinking about leaving but doesn’t want to hurt his wife by telling her so soon. He talked about us getting an apartment together when he gets a job. I really like him but think moving in after 4 months is too soon. Should I go for it or take it slow?

My opinion:

I really lost interest after reading that you were dating a married man- someone who’s probably old enough to be your father and jobless no less- but you asked the question and I will answer. It’s only been 4 months and this man is already talking about moving in with you? I would take that as more of a sign that he is just stringing you along to keep you where he wants you so you can provide him with whatever he wants. Because he’s unemployed I feel the need to ask, are you employed? Do you provide him with money or other materialistic things? The harsh reality of it, for you, is if this man is married the odds are highly likely that he’s not leaving his wife. I’m sure you may be a great girl-if you if you can put aside the fact that you have no respect for the marital union of others and, yeah, I get it he’s the one who’s married. He’s the one that’s cheating but if you know about his wife, where are your moral values? With all that aside I’m sure somewhere, somehow you must be a dream come true. Another question for you, is there any reason that you’re having a difficult time finding a man of your own? Usually younger girls go after older men because of their money. In your case, this particular fellow has none so do you have a confidence problem? Is your self-esteem causing you to make so many wrong decisions in your young love life? Do you have daddy issues? What could possibly make you want to settle for someone else’s husband? You really need to reevaluate yourself and raise your standards for the sake of your self-respect. I think if he really wanted out of his marriage, instead of looking for a new girlfriend he would be looking for that new job and that would be his main priority. Do you know of a perfect time to tell your spouse that you want to leave them and not have it hurt their feelings? If you believe that line you’re not ready to start dating yet.  You’re a little too gullible and his story is a little too fishy.

That’s just my opinion.

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Living Single or Ready to Mingle.

Hi!

So, I’ve been out of the loop for a while. My last relationship of 4 years ended badly and I have not had the desire to date anyone since then. It will be 2 years in May. Part of me is ok with not being booed up. The thought of having to get to know someone all over again-starting from the beginning- turns me off from wanting to date. Then there’s the other part that is a romance fanatic. Every romance movie I watch makes me wish it was me. I just wish I could get the romance without all the extra drama like the ex’s, cheating and the secrets. If you know of a way to bypass the bullcrap, please let me know; otherwise, I might be single for eternity.

Here’s my opinion.

Sorry, I don’t know of an easy route to love or relationships. If I did, it would be bottled up and in stores worldwide. There’s nothing wrong with wanting romance in your life but even in those movies the couples always have some sort of strife before things get better and even then, they have to work together to find a solution that suits the both of them. There’s nothing wrong with placing emphasis  on what you want your relationship to be like based on a movie but even true stories have some made up scenes. It seems as though you selectively remove all the life lessons that can be learned from some of these romance movies that lead to the happily ever after. The genie in the bottle is not real and a relationship based solely off the fantasy of a movie is just as non-existent. You have to work at making your relationship what you want it to be no movie can simulate that for you.

I agree that being a contender for someone else’s affection is not always fun. It’s all one big getting to know you rat race of life.  I disagree that all relationships involve cheating.

I’m not sure of the circumstances of your previous relationship but if you can still stomach a romance move, all hope may not be dead. If you really feel those are your only options and that you may be destined to live a single life, click here for some information that may help you get over that. It could just be that your relationship form is outdated.

That’s my opinion.

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Her Boyfriend’s Wife

Hi Liz,

A friend of mine had been dating a guy that she met through an on-line dating service for maybe 5 months now. She was very happy because he sent her flowers and I miss you text messages and called her almost every morning. She said he was limited in the amount of time he can spend with her because his job causes him to travel a lot. Overall, he seemed like a nice guy. We have all hung out together and he really acted like she was the only woman in the room. He had been to her house on numerous occasions BUT she had never been to his. At my annual employer Christmas party I found out why.

For the past 4 years, I’ve worked for a neurological department in a hospital with 4 different locations and have only attended 2 of these gatherings. One of the ladies from the other office (someone who I speak with on the phone regularly and have seen at central meetings) introduced him to me as her husband (shocked is an understatement).They have been married for 7 years and his real name and occupation is not what my friend believed it to be.

Yes, I did tell my friend about this discovery. I even backed it up with a group picture of that night. He hasn’t answered any of her calls or messages since then and his dating profile has been deleted. My question is, should I tell his wife? 

My opinion:

You are not obligated to be the informant to his wife. If they’ve been married for 7 years she probably is aware that something has been going on. The fact that he carried on a relationship for 5 months with your friend with so much ease is indicative that he has probably cheated on his wife in the past and she could be choosing to ignore the signs. For you to approach her on the subject, especially if you both work for the same company, could create some issues with your working relationship within the department. You did your part by telling your friend. That was the absolute best thing you could have done. It was also wise of you to take pictures to accompany your story when divulging the horrible truth. Your part is done.

It may seem inhumane to keep this secret from his wife but just know that these things can get blown to unrecognizable proportions leaving you in the middle looking like the bad guy. If you feel up to that challenge then, by all means, go ahead and let her know. If you have pictures and you can send them anonymously, try that. If that’s not possible and you choose to share them with her, just know that if she is not ready to face that truth she will blame you in the long run.

That’s my opinion.

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Is Online Dating and Long Distance Relationships a Long Shot in the Dark?

Do you think online dating and a long distance relationship can actually work?

My opinion:

Let me address these two situations separately. The subject of online dating has been discussed between friends and I on many occasions. When online dating first came on the scene my acceptance of it was negative. My reaction was like many –  you don’t know who you’re speaking to through a computer. After giving it some thought, it dawned on me that there really is no difference between searching for a love interest online vs. organically meeting someone in the streets. You don’t know either one of them. Everything about either meeting is purely superficial. You see the looks. You see the clothing. You hear the voice and their story  and you pretty much develop your impression based on that information. You know absolutely nothing about that person until you ‘get to know them’.  I mean, let’s be honest even if you were introduced to someone through a friend you really don’t know what that person is about. They can be the nicest person ever…as a friend…but turn out to be top-notch a–holes as you get to know them in a relationship. So to that I say, if online dating is your preferred choice for meeting people then go for it.

Long distance relationships is a whole other ball game. For some people it may work for others it’s an absolute waste of time. When considering a long distance relationship there are a lot of things that you need to take into account.

SEX

If sex is no biggie because you have no intention of giving it up to anyone other than the one you wish to marry then, of course for obvious reasons,that should be common ground. If it’s not or even if it’s up for consideration by the other party, I would probably continue my search. That sounds like a daily toss of a coin and what are the odds of it always landing on no sex today?

ATTENTION

How much of it do you need? Are you okay with just telephone calls or quick text messages to say hello? People in long-distance relationships have to have respect for the fact that the other person will not be readily available to them. You can’t just opt-in for a surprise lunch or dinner date or a random movie night. Had a rough day and need a hug? Get a dog, cat, rabbit…whatever will suffice for the moment because your significant other can’t make it. Everything about your interaction is pretty much scheduled. Also, there’s little to no space and friend sharing so you will have to respect the fact that the other person will be having fun with other people. If you thrive for attention, this won’t work for you.

MONEY

When you say long-distance how much does that cost? You will want to schedule a date to see each other. Planning is easy but how much will it be to make it happen? If the cost of travel is too high you should expect to visit about as often as your favorite holiday appears on the calendar. On the other hand you might be able to wing it if the two of you don’t expect extravagant dinners, concert tickets, flowers, and luxury hotel stays (if it’s not appropriate for the visitor to sleep under the same roof).

TRUST

Is it there? Do either of you have an overactive imagination? If, at the first unanswered call, you or your boo thang gets anxiety and starts questioning who the other person is with, please move on. I see jealous and crazy on the horizon.

To sum it up, yes, I do think it’s possible for a long distance relationship to work if boundaries and expectations are made clear early on. Distance can, definitely, be problematic so both parties need to be mentally and emotionally secure before venturing into that realm of dating if you are seeking something more than just a casual relationship.

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