Mars and Venus from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:00:30 -0700 Mars and Venus from Creators Syndicate 03ce9c7b00b9cc8e041932dfb1709941 How Much Does Hair Have to Do With a Person's Attractiveness? for 05/01/2014 Thu, 01 May 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: How does hair color and style contribute to how much a person would find a potential partner attractive? Considering the amount of money hair care companies spend on creating new products, such as dyes, relaxants, shampoos, styling gels and much more, is it your opinion these items really work in enhancing a person's appeal? &#8212; Not Into It, in Denver</p> <p>Dear Not Into It: Do I believe that beauty from a bottle increases a person's desirability? Let me put it this way: Looking good has a lot to do with feeling good about yourself, particularly in the competitive world of dating. Anything that makes someone feel more self-assured about his or her appearance has good reason for being popular. In truth, our best qualities, and those that are most important to the long-term success of a relationship, come from within, but sometimes we need a little help drawing that out. So curl, straighten, cut, gel or touch up at will. A warm smile and a confident manner can trump all that, but it can be a very big step just getting to "hello!" </p> <p>Dear John: My boyfriend "Nick" has a difficult time controlling his temper. When he gets upset with me, he pushes all my buttons until the issue turns into a fight. In the beginning, I used to tell him I was leaving the room until we could both calm down, but then Nick would just follow me around the house. Next, I tried leaving the house to go for a drive, but he would call my cell repeatedly. So now, I stay and fight. I hate it, and I don't think that I can live like this, but I don't know what else to do! &#8212; Waiting for a Truce, in Lexington, Ky.<p>Updated: Thu May 01, 2014</p> 1774c3cd06e37ed37a3a21f03e84c12a Stepson Has Problematic Girlfriend for 04/27/2014 Sun, 27 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: My 24-year-old stepson recently introduced us to his new girlfriend. She is 12 years older than him, which makes her just 10 years younger than my husband and me. She's loud and a big flirt who knows no boundaries. In fact, she has even flirted with my husband! Worse, I just found pictures she sent my husband of her breast-enhancement operation, which is totally gross! He never mentioned it, but he left the file on a desk, and I came across it. What's going on here? &#8212; Uncomfortable, in Long Beach, Calif,</p> <p>Dear Uncomfortable: Even if you have not discussed your feelings about this woman, I'm sure your husband has figured out that she makes you uncomfortable. Perhaps he didn't mention the photos because his reaction to them was the same as yours: repulsed. Just because she's 12 years older than her boyfriend does not necessarily mean she is the more mature of the two. Her actions bear this out. Eventually, your stepson may outgrow her flirting and outrageous behavior, leading her to quickly become a distant memory.</p> <p>Dear John: I saw my brother having dinner with a woman who wasn't his wife. There was no mistaking that the two of them were acting quite cozy. I am not particularly close to my sister-in-law, but I don't approve of infidelity. I don't feel comfortable keeping my mouth shut, because I know I'd want to hear about it if I were his wife. What should I do? &#8212; Watchful Sis, in Savannah, Ga.<p>Updated: Sun Apr 27, 2014</p> 6dffa7fc977ba7c5445d99fbc54a1e5a Threesome Tension for 04/24/2014 Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: Recently, my husband shared with me that he would like to have a threesome with another female. I know this is pretty much a fantasy many guys have. After stating this, he said he would leave it up to me if it happened or not. And now, I'm confused. Our sex life is great. I love my husband very much and want to make his every wish come true, but I just don't know about this! &#8212; Now What? in Phoenix</p> <p>Dear Now What?: He's trying to live out a fantasy and is hoping you'll share this fantasy with him. In this case, there are two things that you don't want to do. One, don't participate in any behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable. Two, don't make him feel guilty or distrusted for mentioning this fantasy. With those two thoughts in mind, and without rancor, have an open and honest conversation as to how this makes you feel and why you don't find it appealing. Loving relationships are about shared gratification. Keep searching for those things that you both would enjoy.</p> <p>Dear John: I am a 40-year-old woman married eight months to a 28-year-old man. We dated for four months prior to our marriage. When we argue, it always devolves to his yelling and sometimes name-calling. He becomes very detached and cold, sometimes even cruel. I end up crying and feeling like a failure. I don't know if this all points to ending the relationship or trying harder to make it work. He tells me at times that I try too hard. When we met, I thought he was so wonderful, so full of passion, emotion, thoughts and feelings. Now I find that I am walking on eggshells most of the time. &#8212; Not Happy, in Nashville<p>Updated: Thu Apr 24, 2014</p> 76f65f3b16728808235eddd99165fdac Unhealthy Attraction for 04/20/2014 Sun, 20 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: I have a crush on a woman at my work. She is several years older than I am, and is married with two kids. I know that this is an unhealthy attraction. The trouble is, I don't know how to fall out of love with her. I'm extremely shy around her. She walks past me and my knees go weak. Needless to say, she doesn't speak much to me and leaves me wondering what she thinks of me. For weeks, we'll walk past each other without any open acknowledgement. I get so nervous around her that I close up. Certain days, few and far between, she acknowledges me with a broad smile! But the very next day, she is back to being reserved. My heart and my head are having a major conflict. &#8212; Uncertain Admirer, in Wilmington, Del.</p> <p>Dear Uncertain Admirer: It sounds like you have developed an attraction for a substitute mother: She is older and has children of her own. You feel an attraction for her, but you know it can't go beyond that, and your world seems to revolve around her approval and recognition. Often in life, unresolved issues from our past appear in ways we would have never thought possible. There's a good chance that a part of you is trying to resolve issues that have gone unresolved for far too long. Explore these issues with a therapist. Don't be scared of that process. We each have unique issues. If there is a deeper meaning to all this, you owe it to yourself to find out.</p> <p>Dear John: You've probably heard this story many times. My husband is having an affair. He's 52 and seeing a 37-year-old. I think he feels I would have never known about this if someone had not told me. Little does he know! I knew something was going on because he was hiding his cellphone bills and abruptly ending phone conversations upon my entering the room. Plus, Mr. Homebody suddenly has to go on "errands" two evenings a week. Still, I love the guy, and I'm willing to forgive him if he ends the affair. But what do I do if he goes back to her? Right now, he won't talk about it. Do I finally faceoff with the girlfriend to see what's going on and what he has told her? &#8212; Losing Him, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.<p>Updated: Sun Apr 20, 2014</p> a63a909e63c139a6816c06d3d6776339 Temper Problems Causing Tiffs With Girlfriend for 04/17/2014 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: My girlfriend claims I am very argumentative &#8212; which I am. Needless to say, we fight constantly. Sometimes, though, I feel as if she is picking on me and that I have to defend myself. She says it's no use arguing with her, because she is not going to change her opinion. Trying to control my temper is something that has plagued me since I was young and has had an impact on all my relationships and friendships. I don't like this characteristic and want to contain or change it before I lose the love of my life. &#8212; Angry Andy, in Sacramento, Calif.</p> <p>Dear Andy: Change is admitting you have a problem, so you have taken that important first step. Now it's important you devise an alternate behavior for when you feel a fight coming on. For example, if your girlfriend brings up a concern, listen to what she says, but don't answer. Instead, in a calm voice, ask her for some time to think about what she has said, perhaps two hours. This allows you a cooling-off period. In the meantime, take a walk or work out to relieve your anger. Then write down what you want to say to her. Remember, the goal is to find a compromise that works for both of you, so use words that will win her over. When you're ready to meet, speak and act with respect. This sets the tone for her as well. Soon your arguments will turn into win-win discussions.</p> <p>Dear John: I have been with "George" for eight months. He went through a bad breakup a couple of years before we met. His ex-girlfriend left him. Because of his behavior with her, he felt her decision was justified. At the time, he had suicidal thoughts because he believed he'd lost "the best thing in his life."<p>Updated: Thu Apr 17, 2014</p> a46cc68349bddbdf770bf818525dd173 Divorce Is a Painful Experience for 04/13/2014 Sun, 13 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: I have been divorced for two years now. I did not want the divorce, so it was a particularly painful experience. My ex-husband still attends my family gatherings. And it hurts every time I see him! </p> <p>Although my children are from another marriage, my youngest daughter and my ex became particularly close during our marriage, since her biological father hasn't been at all involved in her life. Because of my daughter's closeness to my ex, I opted to miss her wedding, knowing he was going to be there. Needless to say, my daughter and I haven't spoken since. &#8212; Real Pain, in Bridgeport, Conn.</p> <p>Dear Real Pain: Divorce is truly a painful experience. Those who have gone through a divorce can tell you that it can be as devastating as the loss of a loved one. You have not yet processed your unresolved feelings regarding your breakup. Please consider having a licensed therapist work with you on removing emotional barriers that will continue to stand in the way of your future happiness. Additionally, write your daughter a note expressing your love, explaining your feelings and your regret about not being there for her on this very important day in her life. She had hoped that you could have put her happiness ahead of your anxiety. At that time, you simply could not. At this point, you can only hope that the love between you &#8212; and her ever-growing maturity &#8212; will allow her to acknowledge this, forgive you and move forward.<p>Updated: Sun Apr 13, 2014</p> c7b2c9e154d34106802caf55a7ee5c2f Physical Relationship With Co-Worker Becoming Complicated for 04/10/2014 Thu, 10 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: A couple of months after starting a new job, one of my colleagues and I got physically involved after an office party. Unfortunately, now he has informed me that he is steadily seeing someone else. Still, he'd like us to "stay friends." By this, he means he wouldn't mind periodically coming over to pursue our very hot physical connection. Of course, I'm hoping that he eventually sees more in our relationship and will drop her for me. What are my chances that this will happen? &#8212; One Cubicle Away, in Richmond, Va.</p> <p>Dear One Cubicle: To be honest, your chances are slim at best. This guy is playing the field, and he's most likely playing you. If you're in the relationship just for the sex, then acknowledge this with open eyes and a protected heart. If you want an exclusive relationship, keep looking around until you find a guy you don't have to share. </p> <p>Dear John: I am a single 37-year-old female with thoughts of marriage one day, but I am undecided about children. Recently, I met a divorced man with two children, ages 7 and 12. He has partial custody (every other weekend). He seems like a great guy, and I am definitely attracted to him. My concern is that I am unsure about how I feel dating a man who has two children. &#8212; Needing Courage, in Pasadena, Calif. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 10, 2014</p> b92d0ddc9614210b50a521ac8fb7efea Husband Trying to Make Amends for Mistakes for 04/06/2014 Sun, 06 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: I'm a 41-year-old man married for 16 years to a great woman. Unfortunately, many times during our marriage, I have lied to her regarding simple matters, because I thought they were no big deal, and I didn't want to get her angry. For example, I would stop and have a beer on the way home, and then lie to her about my whereabouts. We married young and immediately had our first child. We put sex on the backburner. </p> <p>Recently, I engaged in paid phone sex, which I lie about as well. I finally admitted this to her, and, needless to say, she is very angry. I don't know if she'll ever forgive me. I've entered counseling and have truly examined my actions as a person and have sought the advice of my priest. I am doing everything I can to make amends for my past, but I'm afraid it may just be too late. &#8212; Praying Not to Lose Her, in Jackson, Miss. </p> <p>Dear Praying: You've come to realize that your actions speak louder than words, and that is a major step toward salvaging your relationship. To reinforce these efforts, stay honest and open with her. Also, take the time to write her a letter about your actions, your regrets and your desire for her forgiveness. In that letter, outline the steps you are taking &#8212; and will continue to take &#8212; in order to be the husband she needs and deserves. Above all else, follow through on what you promise. Don't hesitate to invite her to meet with you and your counselor if you are having difficult issues that an impartial individual might help you to overcome. Most importantly, remember to take one day at a time. She may well come to forgive you, even if she does not forget the past. That is all you can ask for. Demonstrate love, passion and commitment, and eventually, she will do the same again. <p>Updated: Sun Apr 06, 2014</p> 11e9af4389ecc69ac68ad7251e96af60 Trouble Naming Unborn Child for 04/03/2014 Thu, 03 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: My new husband and I are fighting over naming our unborn child. We can't seem to compromise! These are serious fights in which we hurt each other's feelings, and we end up not talking to each other for hours. We are both very stubborn, and I'm afraid this is really hurting our relationship. Any suggestions? &#8212; Mom Should Choose, in Fort Wayne, Ind.</p> <p>Dear Mom: Naming your first child should be something you both agree on. After all, you were a team in creating this wonderful being, and you both deserve the honor of naming your baby. And remember, there is not a parent in the world that can ever say with certainty that the child you love with all your heart will love the name he or she is given! </p> <p>Here is my suggestion: Each of you should come up with three names. Rate the ones suggested by the other as a first choice, second and third choice. Then, starting with the two first choices, try them in combination as a first and middle name. If that combination doesn't work, play with the other names until a compromise combination made up of both partners' choices is reached. Remember, this isn't a competition; it is the first of many compromises you will be making for and about your child. The sooner you learn to work as a team, the happier all three of you will be. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 03, 2014</p> e8fa4a5d7f97698d55e77d325d55ceac Wife Staying With Cheating Husband for Sake of Son for 03/30/2014 Sun, 30 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: I just recently found out that my husband had two sexual encounters with a co-worker and was planning a third. The last encounter was eight months ago. The first encounter was after the birth of our first son. He was planning his third encounter as I was recovering from a miscarriage. We have only been married for two years, and he cheated on me while we were dating. He swears it is only sex, and it doesn't mean anything. What am I to believe? Should I try to save my marriage just because we have a child together? &#8212; At the Door's Edge, in Memphis, Tenn.</p> <p>Dear Door's Edge: Your husband's behavior &#8212; both before and after your marriage &#8212; indicates that he is questioning his decision to marry and perhaps to have started a family. What he did was hurtful, thoughtless and inexcusable: Whatever his concerns may be, his behavior has sabotaged the marriage and your trust in him. </p> <p>You cannot have a happy marriage without trust. Of course, you can cut your losses now and leave him. Or, you can ask him to help you regain your trust by working with you and a marriage counselor on these issues. I hope you give him this one last chance to salvage your marriage, and that he takes you up on it. However, if he cannot be faithful, it is better you know now so that you and your son can get on with your lives. <p>Updated: Sun Mar 30, 2014</p> 7876446b261feb3a15162d7d55b03329 You Should Wait for Mr. Right for 03/27/2014 Thu, 27 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: I'm a 27-year-old woman, and I can honestly say that I have not yet met anyone in my life that seems like he could be Mr. Right. Sometimes, I think I'm too picky, but at other times, I feel determined to wait until I feel sure. What are the essential ingredients that make for the right mate? What are my chances of finding that right guy? &#8212; Wishing for Happily Ever After, in Brooklyn, N.Y.</p> <p>Dear Ever After: Your instincts to wait are on target. More marriages fail because people, while in their 20s, do not take the time to wait for the people who might truly be their soul mates. To find your soul mate, you must take the time to move through what I call the five stages of dating: attraction, uncertainty, exclusivity, intimacy and engagement. Love would be easy if the two people involved could move through these stages at the same time, but this is rarely the case. You might have found the right person, but at the wrong time in his life or your own. Relationships that succeed do so because, at some stage, both partners are in sync. Finding the right match in a relationship is like hitting the center of a target in archery: It can take a lot of practice, and it's easy to shoot too far to the right or too high to the left, so you keep adjusting your expectations. Likewise, the more you date, the more likely it is you will come closer to the center of your own heart.</p> <p>Until then, enjoy your dating experiences and keep adjusting your aim.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 27, 2014</p> 5a5d0c47c1e46cbd0ae0695fcbb0a3dc Husband Fears Linked to Previous Abuse by Mother for 03/23/2014 Sun, 23 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: I'm married to a man who was beaten by his mother. She did not abuse any of her other children, only "Max." At 16, he told her, "No more." She immediately kicked him out of the house, and he survived by staying with friends. He even lived by a riverbank for a time. She has never apologized for her part in this and just explains it away as being "her way."</p> <p>He is 39 now and would like to try a different career, but he is afraid of failure. I think he has doubts stemming from his mother's cruelty. I want to help him think this through, but when I want to talk to him about it, he pulls away. He has told me that he is too stupid to get a better job. I know for a fact this is not true, as he has survived so much and has turned out to be a good husband and a wonderful father. </p> <p>My father used to list all of his regrets, and one was that he didn't try to do anything else for a living. I don't want my husband to feel this way when he is older. &#8212; Loving Wife, in Pittsburgh<p>Updated: Sun Mar 23, 2014</p> 44c3ccfa8ea8125aed102351916738d1 Should I Feel Guilty for Extramarital Attractions? for 03/20/2014 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: I met my husband "Brad" in high school. We got married when we were 20. We've had a great marriage for 17 years. Brad is the only man I have ever been intimate with. But now, all of a sudden, I've been having some strong attractions to other people. It makes me feel really guilty but also makes me feel alive and sexy. &#8212; Conflicted, in Cedarhurst, N.Y.</p> <p>Dear Conflicted: It's a common lament among those married at an early age: "What have I missed?" The answer can range from a lot to very little. Nevertheless, that question stays with you, and it needs to be addressed. The best way to do that is in an open forum through individual or couples therapy. I say this because the path you are on will likely lead to extramarital involvements that will complicate your life far more than discussing your concerns and intentions with a therapist and perhaps, in the near future, with your husband. This is not a time to leave "sleeping dogs lie." This is a time for openness and honesty in a controlled and professional setting. </p> <p>Dear John: My ex-wife is pregnant and getting married this June. This has really rocked my world. We have been divorced for over a year. I think I am over the relationship, but I have avoided any contact or thoughts of reconciliation, and I can tell that I am in for a period of pain. &#8212; Down and Out, in Cheviot Hills, Calif.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 20, 2014</p> 030652c03ac462dcb2af0b4e6896444c Fiancee Has Sudden Change of Heart for 03/16/2014 Sun, 16 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: I am a 32-year-old divorced male. I have been living for two years with my 24-year-old girlfriend. A few months ago, she began hinting at us getting married. I had been thinking along these lines, and after much thought, I proposed. She accepted and wrote all of her friends and relatives. Just a week later, she told me that the feeling has gone and that she doesn't love me anymore. She says she wants time to be by herself and to be more independent. I took it very hard. I even accused her of cheating on me with the friend she is seeing for advice, something she vehemently denies. She tells me it may be too late for us because of all of the fights we've had these last few weeks. &#8212; Hoping to Fix This, in West Chester, Pa.</p> <p>Dear Fix This: When couples go through a series of fights, trust erodes. It can be rebuilt, but it takes time and persistence. Additionally, your partner's age is relevant to the overall situation. Your 20s should be a time of personal introspection and self-discovery. It is the time during which we should be developing our senses of autonomy. Marriage works best when one has achieved a strong sense of self. My advice: Apologize and let her know you love her, leave the door open, and be patient. If she is the right one, she'll be back.</p> <p>Dear John: My husband, "Phil," and I have been married for four years and have a 2-year-old son. Our ongoing issue is that his mother thinks I'm not good enough for her son. She makes this clear all the time to both Phil and his family. This wouldn't bother me except for the fact that she is the one taking care of our son when we're both at work. Her caretaking responsibilities enable her to interfere with our lives, both as a couple and as parents. Everything I do is wrong! For example, she says that I'm crazy because I miss my son when I work and that "I don't deserve to have more children." My husband doesn't protect me in front of her, and most of our arguments are because of this. When we got married, I felt that no matter what he would always be there for me. Now I don't have confidence in him. Is having my husband's full support too much to ask? &#8212; At a Loss, in Falls Church, Va.<p>Updated: Sun Mar 16, 2014</p> 8d5aea220515d6d343cb3ae286f9336f Woman Has Hard Time Trusting Her Boyfriend for 03/13/2014 Thu, 13 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear John: I know I'm not supposed to distrust my significant other, but I've been lied to so many times in my life, I'm not sure I know how to trust. I recently went through my boyfriend "Mario"'s old mail. I found a few notes from an old girlfriend. He's told me about her, but there are some key things he didn't mention.</p> <p>For example, he said he hadn't been in a serious relationship for over a year prior to meeting me, yet the letters clearly indicate that he was with her two weeks before we met. I don't want to tell him I was going through his personal things, but how do I explain my concern? I thought he was a person I was willing to trust. What should I do? &#8212; On Shaky Ground, in Battle Creek, Mich.</p> <p>Dear Shaky Ground: There is a world of difference between telling the truth about feelings and telling the truth about circumstances. In Mario's mind, he feels he wasn't serious about this other woman, or anyone, for a long period of time. In order to signal his availability to you, he told what is commonly called a "little white lie" &#8212; similar to any omission you might make to him regarding your perusal of his old letters.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 13, 2014</p> ea5002ec76cf460a9b925fa2b52a090c Husband Doesn't Talk About His Worries for 03/09/2014 Sun, 09 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear John: My husband, "Max," will not talk about things that worry him. I guess he thinks if he doesn't talk about them, everything will be all right. There is no touching in our marriage, no sex, no romance. I love him, and I know he loves me. He feels as long as he works hard for his family, nothing is wrong. But I need more. How do I let him know this? &#8212; Needing More, in Evanston, Ill.</p> <p>Dear Needing: You have raised two issues: Max's inability to talk with you about problems, and the lack of passion in your relationship. In regard to the first issue, he probably does not want to worry you with problems he is facing or feeling. Has he shared problems in the past? At that time, in an attempt to seem helpful, did you give advice that he may have deemed unsolicited? Take a moment to reflect on how you've reacted to his previous concerns. Let him know that you remember these times, and that you apologize for reacting in a way that may have pushed him away, but that you cherish your connection with him and hope that he will again feel comfortable opening up to you.</p> <p>As for the passion, don't put him on the defensive by telling him that he doesn't touch you or isn't romantic enough. Instead, let him in on the secret that, for women, touching helps you to connect with a sense of well-being. Ask if he will touch you affectionately. It does not have to be sexual, but should the issue arise, go with the moment.<p>Updated: Sun Mar 09, 2014</p> 713eb33d4eee6e1d76262fcefa43a05f Boyfriend's Laziness in Academics Is Bothersome for 03/06/2014 Thu, 06 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear John: It bothers me that my boyfriend, "Austin," is having trouble finishing up his undergraduate degree. I don't care as much about the diploma as I do his lack of energy in finishing what he has already started. I know Austin is highly intelligent, and he entered college on his own free will. I don't want to nag him, but since I am a few years older and have received my degree, I feel like I should be helping him to obtain his. I also believe he should be able to provide for himself equally if he is to be my life partner. I'm afraid that these signs of irresponsibility and laziness may continue. How do I approach him without seeming pushy and patronizing? &#8212; College Counts, in Columbia, S.C.</p> <p>Dear College Counts: While a college degree may provide the key to success for some people, for others, it is not necessarily the doorway to their futures. Thousands of people have made significant accomplishments to our world without a college degree. This may be the case with Austin.</p> <p>Whether he wants to finish school is his decision alone. Don't feel that you'll be able to change or improve him. To love someone is to accept who he is. It is in the dating stage that we find out whether someone is right for us for the long run. If you are troubled by what you see today, don't reinvent the man you have; go out and find the man you really seek.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 06, 2014</p> a02ff06dc8b11ff7504cca72083cc2b3 Marriage at a Dead End for 03/02/2014 Sun, 02 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear John: My wife "Linda" and I are approaching our 19th anniversary. We are at a dead end in our relationship. We are both in our mid-40s, with high-pressure professional careers: Linda is a director of human resources, and I am a professor of music at a local college. We support each other's careers and share housework and family responsibilities, but lately, I've realized that we've been putting up with each other just to keep the home running.</p> <p>We don't really display intimacy or real love toward each other. Linda resents the fact I stand up to her on certain issues regarding our children and our relationship. She feels I have grown to hate her. On top of this, we have not had sex in the past two years. &#8212; Troubled Marriage, in Spokane, Wash.</p> <p>Dear Troubled Marriage: When a couple regularly makes love, they generate the connection needed to give meaning to their lives together. Sometimes, familiarity can put a strain on passion. If we go a while without passion, the relationship may start to feel meaningless. Your marriage has entered an emotional "winter" &#8212; when there is a distancing, both physically and emotionally.<p>Updated: Sun Mar 02, 2014</p> d6112c3a3057fe43bbbbfaf5107f1254 Ex-Husband Paying More Attention to New Family for 02/27/2014 Thu, 27 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear John: My ex-husband "Ruben" got married one year after we divorced. We have two boys ages 16 and 20. The older son doesn't have much to do with his father. Our younger son sees him about once every month. After dating this woman for two months, Ruben married her last week and did not tell his children, but talked about it with his stepchildren, who are 12 and 16. He still has not told his own kids! I do not love my ex-husband, but I am very hurt. He is painting such a wonderful picture of life with this instant family and won't pay attention to his own kids. He also is doing things with his new wife that he wouldn't do with me, like taking vacations and remodeling the house. Please let me know how I should feel about this, and how you think my kids should react. &#8212; Disappointed, in Greenville, S.C.</p> <p>Dear Disappointed: Believe me when I say I feel your pain. It comes through in almost every sentence you have written. You talk about the pain that he has caused your boys, but you have not spoken much about all the pain you are feeling. It's my sense that the deepness of this pain is making it much harder for your sons to heal from the hurt that they must be feeling as well.</p> <p>You know in your heart that you can't prevent your ex from being inconsiderate and/or cruel to you, his sons or anyone else he encounters. So focus on those things you can change. This begins with accepting the very great sense of loss and pain you feel over both the divorce and his subsequent behavior. Even if you do not grieve the loss of your ex, you do grieve the loss of love in your life, and that is OK.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 27, 2014</p> ef0468242912c8d4391ea6e67cc71c41 Great Guy Pal Needs to Come Out of His Cave for 02/23/2014 Sun, 23 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear John: Recently I reconnected with a great guy pal. Our relationship goes back about 20 years, and we are both recently divorced. We were emailing and talking for about six months. He is introverted and definitely goes into his cave periodically. I know we disagreed about moving forward with our relationship, but then, out of the blue, he just quit emailing me without a word as to why he made this decision. Is it possible he's been in his cave these past two weeks? He's really been a good friend, and even if we can't move forward in a relationship, I want to keep the friendship. What should I do now? &#8212; Kicked to the Curb, in Cincinnati</p> <p>Dear Kicked to the Curb: If you previously emailed him your desire to take the relationship to the next step, you may have pushed him away. I'm sure there are things about your relationship that he's probably missing, but he is afraid you'll scold him for being remiss these past few weeks. To let him know there are no hard feelings between you, send him an email that is upbeat, informative of what's been going on in your life, and nonaccusatory of his lapse of correspondence. Be sure not to nudge him to take the relationship to the next level, since that is obviously not his current wish. Real friends don't push; they support.</p> <p>Dear John: I recently divorced "Larry." Now our 6-year-old daughter doesn't want to go with him on the weekends. She says she misses me too much. When she cries, her father only tells her to "buck it up." I tried to talk to my ex-husband to see what we can do, but he is closed off from me. He is the kind of man who thinks he is always right and that other people have a problem. What should I do? &#8212; Kid in the Middle, in Tampa, Fla.<p>Updated: Sun Feb 23, 2014</p>