Ask Grandma Anything
Dear Internet Grandma Cutie,
I'm twenty years old and just got engaged two months ago. I've been dating my fiancé since I was 15. I love him very much and he is one of the best people I know.
Yet, he also drives me crazy a lot of the time. And, as much I hate it to say it, I don't think he is very physically attractive. I do not always find him touching me to be very pleasant, as I am not always very aroused. Sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with me.
But besides that, I feel like at twenty years old (and him twenty three) that we act old already. We stay at home a lot and watch television. He says that when we have money we can take trips, but there must be more of a life to be living even without money. I am usually a pretty conservative person, but I still dream of having an adventurous life and I don't know if I'll have that with him.
We broke up in the past for three months and I felt whole in myself, but then I decided to come back because I loved him. And I do. He is a protective, warm, lovable and loving, funny man. So why am I second guessing myself so much? If I ended it this time we wouldn't even be friends after I think. On top of all that, I constantly am worrying about what career path to follow! Can you please help me?
Miss Worry Wart
Dear Miss Worry Wart,
I am so glad you took the time to write to me. It is very important that you put your situation into words, because doing so helps us see the hard truths that we sometimes don't want to admit to ourselves.
I want to start by saying that it is a beautiful thing that you have had this person in your life. It is clear that he has been important to you. Nothing will change that. But it doesn't mean that you have to spend the rest of your life with him.
It is certainly possible to have wonderful adventures with very little money. In fact, in my book I recommend that couples go on "no money dates" when they are getting to know each other to test their compatibility.
But I am less concerned about your different perspectives on how to spend your time than I am about you feeling uncomfortable in his arms. You are newly engaged, yet you have many doubts. These feelings are very significant, and you need to listen to your instincts and understand what they are telling you.
Twenty is very young. You are just starting to become your own person, to figure out who you are and what kind of life you want to have. I think it was smart of you to listen to your instincts and break up with him as you did and to take some time to reflect about your situation. I also understand why you decided to reunite. It can be such a comfort to be in a relationship and to know where you stand with someone.
But just because you got back together, that doesn't mean you have to stay together forever. You have every right to change your mind. If that is what's best for you, it is what's best for both of you.
I'm not saying that you have to break up. You may do some more thinking, and talking, and negotiating, and decide that it makes sense for you to be together. I just want to encourage you to make the best choices, and not to settle for what you have known since you were 15. I encourage you to do some more writing, to talk with some trusted friends, to ask for some more time apart if needed. Allow yourself to make your best decision.
I have so much hope for you and for the very full life ahead of you. There is so much for you to experience with career, friends, relationships, family. It takes a lot of work and courage to live the kind of life we yearn for, but it is worth the effort.
Good luck to you.
Your book has been extremely inspirational. The one part that really stood out to me, was "if you have to question whether he or she is the right person, then he or she is not".
I met my boyfriend about a year ago, while he was in an abusive relationship. I knew then he was the person I would be honored to be with for the rest of my life. When his relationship ended six months ago, we started dating almost immediately. I knew there would be bumps as he learned to heal and find his way. He told me that he knew he wanted to be with me, but asked to move slowly. So we dated and grew closer.
We finally hit that first huge bump. He appears to have some lingering anger and hurt. Has withdrawn over the past two weeks. But he is open to me about his strong feelings for me and belief that I am his future. He says he knows I am everything he could ever hope for in a woman plus some, but still asks for some space while he figures things out.
I am giving him his space, however I am questioning my feelings that he is the right person now--mostly out of insecurities.
How do I get back to that feeling that we are right for each other? Is it normal for him to want this much space away from me, even when he says I am a great future? I want to be strong for him and give him my support, but feel lost on the best way to do it while I let him heal.
Lost My Way
Dear Lost My Way,
You sound like a thoughtful and supportive partner. Your boyfriend is lucky to have had a person like you in his life, especially coming out of what sounds like a very difficult period.
With that said, it sounds like he feels a need to work through his issues independently, and this is why he asks for so much space.
I think it can be very important to put more weight on what a person is doing rather than what they are saying. It is clear that he cares for you and nice that he can articulate it. However, the important thing in your situation with him is that he keeps making it clear that he wants the space to sort things out on his own.
What might be helpful for you to consider is that this separation is about him and his needs rather than any kind of failure on your part. Still, I understand why you would feel insecure about it. You have made yourself available to work through this with him, and he is asking you to go away while he works it out on his own.
In my opinion, there is nothing else for you to do with or for him at this time.
What you can do at this time is be supportive of yourself. You get to decide what is next for you. It could be a perfectly good decision to give him the space and wait for him to be ready. You can also choose to put yourself out there and meet other people. Truthfully, I worry about you waiting around for him, because you never know how long it might take him to be ready--if he ever becomes ready to work things out.
My advice is for you to detach from him. Respect your feelings, write and talk them out, do whatever you need to do to move forward. You deserve to be in a relationship where both people are ready to give, and I encourage you to keep that in your mind as you make your next decisions.
I have recently read your book "Fall in Love for Life." It's been a wonderful inspiration. I admire your love for life.
I have recently encountered some trouble in my seemingly perfect relationship. My boyfriend and I were planning on getting married next year. But once we started planning the future, there were conflicts.
One of these is where to live after we marry. We currently live in the US; he is from Canada. We have discussed this matter in the past, and a decision was made to stay in the US. But he has changed his mind and decided to return to Canada, due to family pressure.
I am not happy. We had an agreement. Among other reasons for staying, my family is here, and I have never wanted to live somewhere so cold.
I don't know if this is a good enough reason to end a relationship. Cutie, what should I do?
Dear American Girl,
Thank you for your question. I'm so pleased that you liked my book and glad you reached out for some advice.
If you ask me, your not wanting to move to Canada isn't the biggest issue here. I'm concerned about the fact that your boyfriend unilaterally made this decision about where he wants to live without considering your perspective--or worse, ignoring it.
In my world, real partners don't spring things on each other. They know and understand each other's needs. He should be as concerned as you are about where you want to live.
This conflict doesn't mean that you need to break up, but in my opinion, this is a good enough reason to put the brakes on moving forward with your wedding plans. I think you should re-evaluate your situation, and decide if this relationship is really working, for both of you.
There is no shame in having second thoughts, only in ignoring the little voice inside you that says "pay attention, something is wrong."
Good luck to you.
I have just finished reading your lovely book. It was very positive, happy and I was in awe of your simple but beautiful love story.
I am a 34 year old lady who married the boy next door nearly a year ago. I love him to bits. He is kind, gentle, warm and accepting.
But sometimes I am unsure of my feelings for him. I don't know why I get like this. I have struggled with being kind and loving to myself and have had a lots of problems growing up. Addiction to alcohol, anger issues. But I can say today I am six years sober and learning to deal with my anger on a daily basis. Breathe and watch my big mouth!
I guess I just find love not as simple as what it should be? I love cuddling my husband and I feel a lot of warmth and gentleness in our relationship. But what I am struggling to be honest with is that I don't have that passion and huge physical attraction you talked about in your book. I hate to say it, but sometimes I don't want to kiss him or for him to touch me. That isn't right, is it?
I know you can't give me the answers and I know that they will come eventually or maybe not. Can you have it all? It seems like you and Harry did.
I haven't really admitted my feelings to anyone, not even my old therapist.
Anyway I really enjoyed your story. You have a lot of wisdom. I wish you many more happy years on this exciting planet and shana tova.
Dear Confused Bride,
I am so glad that you took the time to write to me. I want to acknowledge the courage that you showed by articulating your feelings. It can be difficult to speak the truth, especially when it conflicts with ideas that we have for ourselves and that others have for us.
I want to remind you that you are resilient. By your own account you have found freedom from addiction and anger. My advice to you is to use the determination that carried you through those challenges in this situation with your marriage.
The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. That is the first step in processing any kind of challenge. Create a space where you have the freedom to explore your feelings, thoughts, frustrations, everything. That might be in a journal or with a therapist again. You will know what can provide that environment for you. Just start working and talking through all of this, honestly, with an eye to understanding yourself.
I think that is the best move, much better than making any kind of rash, significant change. Give yourself a chance to mull things over. On this side of all that, it is hard to say what will come of the process.
In my opinion, such self-reflection is the best thing that you can do for your relationship. When you have a better sense of where you are coming from and where you want to go, you can approach your husband from a position of strength. It is clear from your message that care for your husband, even if you are questioning certain aspects of your relationship. Show him the respect that he deserves as you go down this road and I promise you it will go a long way.
I would love to give you the magic answer, but you already understand that this needs to come from within. And when it does, you will have earned the outcome for yourself.
I wish you all good things and a happy life.
My boyfriend of the past five years is fifty years old and yet still grieves for his parents, who passed away twenty years ago. It's quite heart wrenching to me that his reason for not wanting to have kids is
that the loss of his parents is so great that he says he wishes he were never born. It frustrates me to constantly hear him talk about his parents as if they passed away only yesterday--then I feel bad for
feeling that way. I wish I could make it less painful for him, but I can't. Sometimes I think he should see a therapist for this complicated grief, but I know that no therapist in the world can bring
back his parents.
Cutie, how did you deal with the death of your children and then Harry's passing? I'm impressed by your positivity and adaptiveness.
Hurting for Him
This happened twenty years ago? It is not normal to still feel so devastated.
The way to deal with grief is to deal with it. It will not just go away. Your boyfriend must deal with his grief, and learn to let it go. Something has kept him from going through this natural process, and like a clogged pipe, he clearly needs some help to get things moving again.
It was incredibly difficult to lose my children and husband. But I wanted to go on living and I knew they would have wanted me to do so. So even when I was hurting, I forced myself get up, put my best face on, and live. It was hard, but it became easier with time. This is how grief works.
I am sure that your boyfriend's parents would be very sorry to know that he is not living his life to the fullest. But, it is not up to you to change how he feels. He has to make that decision for himself. If you love him, I would encourage him to get some help. A therapist cannot bring his parents back, but a good one can help him work through his pain and move on.
Good luck to you both.