Cmtemom: Join Suzanne Lopez, author of Get Smart with Your Heart, for approaches to find and keep Mr.Right, rather than settling for Mr.Right Now.
MsSmartHeart: Does someone have a question?
Lakedogz: I have been in a destructive relationship for 1 year -- I have moved on -- the question is: I am a little scared I won't want a man again. I am really enjoying being by myself; I am 42, never married, but have a wonderful dog and for the first time in my life, I don't want a relationship.
MsSmartHeart: Congratulations for caring about yourself and ending the destructive relationship. Even though you may be fearful, it's just a fear, it doesn't necessarily have to be a fact. One of the things you may consider doing is learning what some of your old ideas and thoughts were that created the bad relationship. The goal is to get better, not bitter. Once you've had a chance to lick your wounds you will be ready to love again. This doesn't mean you HAVE to get married, unless you really want that. At 42 you may just be looking for a loving companion with common interests who is a good sexual partner.
Lakedogz: I like my home, but when I meet someone new now, I weed them out pretty fast -- you are right in your comments.
MsSmartHeart: You should use the Smart Heart Partnering Process to determine what you want for yourself and to help support you through the next chapter of your life. Decide very clearly what you want and tell them up front. It only takes one, so keep looking till you find him.
ohh_donna: Suzanne, I am single mother of six and I met a man online. So far we are getting along great, but this is a long distance relationship. Do you have any tips on how to proceed? We haven't met yet.
MsSmartHeart: Don't waste anymore time talking to him online, you're creating a fantasy relationship that doesn't make you available for a real one. Meet him and find out if he wants to be involved with someone with six children. There is a chapter in my book about single parents and what to look for in a partner. Does he want to help you co-parent? That has to be a major consideration for you.
ohh_donna: Don't you think that getting to know each other without the physical aspect getting in the way is better?
MsSmartHeart: The sooner you can meet him and qualify him the better -- if not, you can move on. I suggest to women using the Net, if you're interested in not having a fantasy relationship, don't send anymore than three or four emails before you talk on the phone, and after you talk on the phone meet right away. If a man is interested he will fly to meet you. If he's interested you'll know in the first few minutes.
ohh_donna: We are 1800 miles away and he has his own life.
MsSmartHeart: There is a chapter in my book on how to end relationships. You deserve a relationship with someone who is available.
ohh_donna: So you think we should rush to meet to see if we are physically attracted?
MsSmartHeart:If he's interested he'll be wanting to meet you, otherwise move on -- you're wasting your time and letting him suck your energy. Good luck to you!
courts99: My question is similar to lakedogz'. I was involved with someone for five years and I guess I'm kind of still involved with him, but that will come to an end soon. I'm afraid and have had thoughts of the time that this comes to an end. I've done nothing but think about how I'll be without him. I have not dated or slept with anyone else in the five years. I actually feel a piece of me is dying as well. How do I get over this fear of not having him in my life? I don't desire anyone else but him.
MsSmartHeart: Your fear of not having one is just that -- a fear, not a fact. That feeling of not wanting anyone else will pass, if it's unhealthy and destructive you need to end it now and create the space for someone who's right for you. You may feel bad for three or four months, but it will pass and change like the weather and you will get over it.
courts99: I have tried to meet other men, but my mind, heart, soul and body always come back to him ... it's not destructive ... I think just incompatible or impossible? We started off as friends and progressed. I still see him and consider him my best friend.
MsSmartHeart: What you're choosing to do is wasting the most important thing you have, your time. Give it to someone who deserves it, you'll never get those five years back! The sooner you let go the better. Get support from a women's support group. And it is destructive because your needs aren't being met. The thing about relationships that we can't change is that it takes two to make it work and only one to make it not work. Change your mind and keep it changed -- sounds like you need support to do that.
courts99: So I can expect to be miserable for a while then?
MsSmartHeart: Yes, when you love someone and let them go, you go through grieving -- like death -- but the good news is ... it's only for a while and not five years.
courts99: Ok ... uh ... guess it's time to make up my mind then. Thanks mssmartheart.
newstart99: Ms Smart, I'm recently divorced after a 15-year marriage ... just now planning to go back out into the dating scene, and it's kind of scary. Any advice on how to ease into the search for Mr. Right?
MsSmartHeart: First buy my book and read it. You need to know exactly what you're looking for before you go out the door -- it's going to be different than what you were looking for before. It will help you be able to determine if the men you are seeing can give you what you want. You won't waste time with men who can't give you what you want or need, you'll recognize behaviors of men who are dangerous, destructive or just a waste of time.
newstart99: I have a pretty good idea of what I feel I need in a companion
MsSmartHeart:Good. Can you say it out loud and tell the men you date? You need to be able to say it to the men and to assess and see if they can give you what you need.
newstart99: You mean actually SAY it to them?
MsSmartHeart: Yes. If you've been married for 15 years, men have moved into a different developmental stage and you need to be able to determine what stage they are in and then be able to systematically ask him questions or listen to him and watch the behaviors. If you're good at this you can do it in one conversation in three days max and not waste any time. It's the only thing you can't get any more of. The Smart Heart Partnering Process in my book really helps you make wise decisions. Good luck, have fun and take risks!
rmbl99: A relationship I was in for two and a half years was no good for me ( I know that) but it's so hard to get over, especially for the fact that I work with him. I am having a hard time with it, but he seems okay.
MsSmartHeart: The first lesson is that you shouldn't get involved with people you work with. The best thing would try to get a transfer if you can't get past it. He's obviously past it and you will continue to feel bad knowing this.
rmbl99: I learned love and work don't mix ... the hard way. I love my job and am trying to deal with situation. I don't want to quit.
MsSmartHeart: You're suffering from the side effects of oxytocin. As women we emit that until we go through menopause -- it's the crazy glue that binds. We secrete it when we have intimate relationships with men -- every time we see him, hear him, or he touches us we secrete oxytocin, and this makes us want to be with him even more and miss him even more. Most women don't know this and that is why they get themselves in trouble. I tell them don't fall in bed and then fall in love - it's like trying to make the most important decision you can make under the influence of your body's own chemical. In other words, would you make an important business decision high on a pitcher of margaritas? Good luck to you.
CHOPPIN: My fiancé has had trouble keeping an erection for the past four months -- he says when he thinks about it, it goes down. It frustrates us both. Is it me, or is it his own problem?
MsSmartHeart: Definitely his. How old is he?
CHOPPIN: He is only 22.
MsSmartHeart: He's probably suffering from performance anxiety. It might be helpful to get couples' counseling from an outside person. Does he come from a very strong religious background?
CHOPPIN: What is that? I feel bad about myself because he never had that problem before. What can I do to help him?
MsSmartHeart: First of all, realize it has nothing to do with you, it has to do with him. Quit feeling bad about yourself, and since it sounds like he is having some other issues, you need some outside help.
Mlroth: I have a friend that I grew up with, but hadn't seen in many years. When we met again, we started a romance. He still treats me like a 14-year-old.
MsSmartHeart: How old are you, mlroth?
MsSmartHeart: If he is your age (or close), you can't make it your problem that he's scared. You're not his mother -- stand for who you are, a woman who deserves to be respected and treated well. It's unlikely you can change him, it's better to care for him and remember him as the sweet boy he was when he was 14, and move on. Good luck!
mjm1010: I have been dating a guy for a year, and for the past two weeks his behavior has changed drastically. For example, he rarely ever calls anymore and I rarely see him. I am prepared to talk to him but really don't know how to address the issue.
MsSmartHeart: You need to be prepared to address the issue and to describe what you've noticed: "I've noticed you haven't called and I'm frightened and feel bad, I need to know if you are breaking up with me, etc. After a year together I feel I deserve your honesty, to know what's going on."
mjm1010: That sounds like a good suggestion. I just want to know where we stand -- I am so confused.
MsSmartHeart: You need to ask him because something may have occurred that he's not communicating, or he may be trying to find a way out. If he needs to do that, he needs to feel safe enough to say that. You can't know where you stand until you ask, and then be willing to listen to what he says, not what you think you want to hear. It seems like his behavior is screaming volumes.
mjm1010: Yes, I just wanted to make sure that I was not the crazy one here.
MsSmartHeart: It doesn't sound like it but isn't it interesting that's what we do as women? We immediately give away our power and assume it's us.
mjm1010: I completely agree and I am not like this outside of relationships. Thanks MsSmartHeart.
MsSmartHeart: Thank you so much for joining me. I know you all have busy lives and I appreciate you giving me your time.