Ask Grandma Anything

Ask Grandma Anything: Disapproving Parents

Good evening, Miss Cutie!

I received your book for Christmas, and I must say that I absolutely LOVE it! Thank you very much for all of your wisdom. I enjoy your YouTube channel and the "Ask Cutie" section. You're a very wise lady.

So, if you don't mind, I need some grandmotherly advice (I lost my grandma three years ago).

According to your book, one of your tips is to find someone who your respected loved ones accept. Here's my dilemma: my family denies everyone that I bring home.

I currently have someone (who lives with me) who I've been with for a while now. My family does not like him at all. He's the only guy I've ever had who's been good to me and loves me and takes great care of me. I have learned to ignore his slight flaws, but my family cannot look past them as I have.

What am I supposed to do? I feel like I am forced to choose my family or my future husband. My heart is torn.

signed,
In a Pickle

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Dear In a Pickle,

I'm so glad that you liked my book.

I'm sorry to hear that you lost your grandmother recently. It is my honor to step in and offer some surrogate grandmotherly wisdom. Thank you for thinking of me.

You ask a question that many of us can relate to: how do you handle your family's opinion about the way you live your life? In this case, how do you navigate your family's opinions as they relate to a romantic relationship?

It sounds like you have a healthy attitude about your partner. No one is perfect, and in my opinion it is a great quality to be able to appreciate and accept someone despite their flaws.

That being said, I think there may be some value in considering your family's concerns about this person. It can be very easy to disregard their opinions, especially if they are usually generous about sharing them, but they might be able to help you see something about your partner that you need to look at. It might help to pretend that it is not your family saying these things, but a good friend who has no agenda and only wants the best for you.

I'm not saying that your family is right about your partner. It is possible that they are very much off base. But I think when selecting something as significant as a future life partner that it would be worth your while to seriously consider their opinion before moving into such a serious commitment.

Let's say you have honestly considered their concerns about your partner, and still feel that they are off base. In that case, I would encourage you to think about your dynamic with your family. I understand you feel that you have to make a choice between him and them, but it is possible that they may not see it that way. They might disapprove, but still want to have you (and even him) in their lives. It is hard to say because each family and each relationship is different, but there may be room to negotiate.

At the end of the day, it is your life and you get to do decide how you want to live it. But that also means that you get to live with the consequences of the choices that you make, and consequences can have a big impact.

I know that you did not me ask this question, but as your surrogate grandmother, I wanted to also mention that it is perfectly okay if you do have some reservations about your partner. You can love him and also feel that it is not right for you two to get married right now, or ever. You are entirely within your rights to ask for more time to make your decision, to make sure you are making the right one.

Looking back on my nearly 97 years of living, I can tell you that it is incredibly difficult to to break free from expectations, our own and those of other people. It is worth fighting through the discomfort to live the life that you know you should be living. The best way I know to be able to do that is to create judgment free zones in your life where you can start to figure this out. It may seem like there is a rush and that you have to make a decision today, but this is the rest of your life we are talking about. You have every right to proceed cautiously.

Good luck to you, my dear. I'm wishing you every happiness.

Love,
Cutie

Ask Grandma Anything: Is Love Worth Looking For?

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Dear Cutie,

I am 44, have been married twice, and I have a dilemma.

My first marriage was to my high school sweetheart, from age 21 to 28. I divorced him because he had an affair. I re-married at 30, and divorced at 36. Husband number two had a horrible temper and was physically abusive to the kids (my daughter and our son together). He suffered from depression. After my second divorce, I had a three-year relationship with a man who I broke up with over his alcoholism. My daughter is now 20, in college. My son, 13, lives with me.

I have tried dating websites to meet a man. I don't like this, because I feel super uncomfortable when it is time to meet for the first time, it is very time-consuming, and I am quite skeptical and distrustful of what men tell me online. So I decided to just give up "looking" and trust that God will send me someone when the time is right.

Here is my dilemma: I actually LIKE being alone. I am not unhappy at all. Most of my married friends are extremely unhappy, and the thought of going back into a marriage or relationship where the guy will end up being a jerk just turns me off from even wanting to try to find someone new. But, on the other hand, I do miss cuddling, hugging, kissing and sex. And although I like being alone, I don't want to spend the rest of my life that way.

What should I do? If I am not actively "looking" (on a dating website) I just do not meet any men. I am a a pre-school teacher with no male friends, and homebody who does not like to go out much, nor do I have the money to do so.

Thank you for any advice you can give me. You and your hubby are adorable!

Signed,
Third Time Around

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Dear Third Time Around,

Thank you for writing to me. Considering your relationship history, I can understand your frustration and hesitation surrounding men. I want to commend you for making the difficult choice to protect your children by getting yourself and them out of the abusive situation.

In my opinion, it is possible for you to have healthy, positive romantic relationships. The thing that you may not want to hear is that it will require work on your part. You need to work on the part of yourself that was willing to accept abusive treatment from your partners, or that saw such people as acceptable partners in the first place.

I encourage you to seek out support, because you don't have to do this alone. Even though you are not currently in a relationship, I think it might be helpful for you to consider joining a support group for battered women, or even a group like Al-Anon, which exists to support loved ones of addicts or alcoholics.

Then, I would advise you to find some hobbies where men and women socialize. There are ways to meet nice people without spending a lot of money, but they require effort and creativity to find.

If you make an effort to support and heal yourself, I promise you that good things will follow. There are strong, caring men out there who are ready to be part of a healthy relationship, one in which both partners are free to enjoy their time alone as well as their time together. The best thing you can do to be ready for that kind of a relationship is take care of yourself and see where the new you takes you.

Wishing you all the best.

Love,
Cutie

Ask Grandma Anything: High School Sweethearts Acting Old

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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?

Sincerely,
Miss Worry Wart

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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.

Love,
Cutie

Ask Grandma Anything: Lost My Way

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Dear Cutie,

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.

signed,

Lost My Way

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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.

Love,
Cutie

Ask Grandma Anything: American Girl

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Dear Cutie:

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?

Signed,
American Girl

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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.

Love,
Cutie

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