Problem Page Edition 30 2017

This week – should you hug your married friends when you greet them, confessing your love to a work colleague and what to do when he forgets your one year anniversary.

Woman in a bikini lying in the water on the edge of the seashore

If you would like any advice, feel free to treat me as your agony aunt. Just message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Here are this week’s questions.

Q: Whenever I like a guy, I always find out the next day that he has a girlfriend. Should I ignore him and move on?

A: How can you not know if a guy has a girlfriend? Are you meeting these guys when they’re out and about in the evening in clubs and bars?

One of the first questions I’d be asking is “are you seeing anyone at the moment” when it becomes clear the relationship has potential.

Rather than chase men who are ‘safe’ because they have girlfriends and there’s no risk of commitment, why don’t you look for love elsewhere – via friends, hobbies, sport etc and really get to know them.

That way you will know if they are single and have the chance to form a relationship that has far more potential than a quick fling after a night on the town.

Q: Women are advised to date a minimum of 3 guys at a time, otherwise she will be taken for granted. What should you do if you can’t find another 2 guys?

Women are told that if they only date 1 guy at a time, he will take her for granted and never ask for commitment because you’re not seeing anyone else anyway. If you can’t find 2 more guys you want to date, should you lower your standards?

A: Where on earth did you get that piece of advice from? I would have thought the more guys you date the more you will be taken for granted and the less likely you will be to win any kind of exclusive relationship.

Game playing in relationships rarely works. There is no ‘formula’ and playing with people’s feelings generally means you’ll end up alone.

My advice would be to find one man at a time to date and if he doesn’t show you respect and kindness, move on.

Q: How can I get him to understand that I’m trying to move past what happened to me in the past and for him to bring it up all the time doesn’t help?

A: You have to be firmer and tell him, unconditionally, that you do NOT want to discuss it any more and when he does raise it, change the subject or simply walk away.

That’s fine unless what happened to you in the past also involves your boyfriend because if it does then it may be understandable that he needs to talk about it.

In that case professional counselling for both of you might be an idea because it sounds like you both need help to move forward.

Q: I met a married lady friend and we greeted with a hug. Was it wrong of me if my hand slid from her back to her lower waist and she removed my hand?

A: It depends whether you were trying to, as the expression goes, ‘cop a feel’.

If it was an accident then you have nothing to worry about.

If you were flirting with her, she clearly didn’t like it so if you want to keep her friendship I wouldn’t do it again.

Who instigated the hug? People’s attitudes to physical contact when greeting varies of course, but I don’t usually hug my married friends – particularly not ones of the opposite sex.

Q: If you and your boyfriend agree on taking a break due to personal health reasons and he cheats on you within 3 weeks, how are you supposed to take it?

A: Why would you instigate a break for ‘personal health’ reasons? Was it you or him? People don’t usually split up because one of them is unwell – that’s all the more reason to care for one another (remember the ‘in sickness and in health’ line in marriage vows?).

If it was him then I’m afraid he was using his health as an excuse to break up.

If it was you then I don’t understand why you would ask for a break as such.

In any case, I always think ‘breaks’ of any kind are usually an excuse for the instigator of the break to go off and sleep with other people.

I’m sorry he cheated on you but I suspect you’re much better off without him.

Q: How do you tell someone you work with that you love her?

A: Love is a very strong word. Don’t you mean you find them very attractive and have a crush on them? Without knowing someone I’d hesitate to call it love.

If she is married or in a relationship I’m afraid you’ll need to keep your feelings to yourself.

Does she have any idea you feel this way? Are you friends? Do you talk to each other?

If you have no idea how she feels about you, announcing your love might freak her out a bit.

I’d also be careful if she’s senior or your boss.

I would concentrate (if she is single) on developing a friendship with her – ask her out for a coffee or something, get to know her as a person and take it from there.

Q: Is it okay to be upset at my boyfriend? It’s our one year anniversary and I got dressed up thinking we’d do something special.

It’s our one year anniversary and he went out and ate and came back. I hadn’t eaten, having dressed up thinking we’d do something special together. Is it okay to be upset about this?

A: Men don’t ascribe the same importance to birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions that we do. 

Lots of them show affection in completely different ways and HATE being made to show affection – Valentines Day is a case in point.

You don’t say whether this is a wedding anniversary or the anniversary of you being together.

If it’s the latter, it’s possible he doesn’t see it as particularly significant.

Did he know it was your anniversary? Had you discussed it in advance or did you just expect him to automatically remember?

Again, if it was a wedding anniversary I would have been a bit miffed but I would have made sure something was booked in advanced and I’d told him we were going out.

This is a tricky one because if you aren’t married and you create a hoo-hah about him missing this, then you may end up having the ‘commitment conversation’. Are you hoping the relationship will go long term? Do you know how he feels?

Are you prepared for the fact that he might not see this as a long term thing?

You know it’s not so much how we’re treated on special occasions that counts, more how we’re treated through the rest of the year and if he’s a decent, honest, faithful bloke who’s just made a bit of a cock-up, I’d forgive him and book somewhere nice for you to go next weekend.

Definitely a situation to play by ear – and make sure you take charge of next time.

How would you have responded to these questions? I’d love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page

Disclaimer: All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other health care providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom. 

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