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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Help! I'm attracting the wrong men!

Original email to me: Dear Mama Em,
How can I stop loving my lying, compulsively cheating bastard ex and move on with my life? And, on a related note, how do I stop attracting similar men, other liars (who I suspect are cheaters as well)? How can I ever trust anyone again?
-Hung up

Dear Hung Up,
In my experience, if you can't stay angry with someone, you can't STOP loving them either. It's something that has to wear off naturally, as you start to move forward with your life and leave that relationship behind you, or when you start to love someone new. Without knowing how long ago you and your ex split, it's hard to judge which stage of grief you are in at this point. It sounds like somewhere between denial and anger (LOL). I would suggest an evening alone, in a quiet room where you can meditate and reflect on your feelings about the relationship and come to terms with the reasons you broke up, and why you're better off without him. It may sound strange, but if you can get yourself good and angry with him, you'll get over him faster. And then one day you'll wake up and realize you don't hate him, you wish him well, and you'll finally be over it. The fact that you refer to him as your "lying, compulsively cheating bastard ex" tells me that whether you love him or not, you know that the idea of getting back into a relationship with him is dangerous and will more than likely leave you miserable all over again. So don't let the what if feelings sneak into the equation. Get mad. That bastard cheated, and lied! To a dear, trusting soul like you! How dare he! Mama Em would love to kick his ass!

On the other note, re-evaluate your "type" of men. Are you attracted to the bad boys, who you know will give you the same heartache? WHY? Are you feeling like you need to be a part of a relationship, and taking what you can easily get, in order to acheive that? WHY? I strongly suggest that you sit back a while, enjoy life with your friends, and see who approaches you. Don't be quick to dismiss anyone because they don't meet your type. People can surprise you. We all grew up hearing "don't judge a book by its cover", yet we all secretly still do. Upon first sight, I come across as frightening to some (ha ha!) and too made-up, or I've even been told by friends that when they first saw me, they just assumed I was a bitch. Once people get to know me, they learn all kinds of things about me that don't show from the outside. Like the fact that I am the one everyone goes to for advice, or that I love my friends and family so much that I sometimes lay awake at night trying to figure out how I can better help them with the things they are struggling with, or that I may wear a lot of makeup and have long nails, but I can change a flat tire, change my own oil, and decipher some common issues with a car's performance just by listening and sometimes even smelling (LOL) under the hood. So the next time a man approaches you and you get that first "oh, this guy is SO not my type" thought, stop! Let him take you out for drinks or dinner. He could be the one!

As for trust, there is no answer. I recently said to a very dear friend of mine, that we are not "standing outside the fire" kind of people. If you want to find out what life and love are truely about, you have to be willing to dance within the flame and sometimes that means getting burned. All we can do is give people the chance to earn our trust, and know that sometimes, it's going to be broken and we're going to get a little scar from it. But those scars remind us that we are brave, and that life is about taking chances. How boring it would be without our scars. I adore you, loyal reader, and I hope I have helped in some way. All of my love, Mama

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Love Bank

Email to me: Dear Mama Em, Do you agree with the theory of the "love bank"? And if so, do you think those rules should apply to sex?

My response: Dear Banker, I must admit, I had to research the concept of the love bank, as I had never heard of it. For my readers who are as confused as I was, the basic idea is that each person in your life has a jar that you keep in your heart. When that person shows positive actions, you put a coin into their jar. When that person shows negative actions, you take a coin out. So at any given time, people can have an overflowing love bank account with you, or be overdrawn. So if I am reading your question correctly, you're asking me if I think it's okay for you to use the state of your significant other's love bank account with you as grounds to reward them with a bonus (sex), or reversely, to charge them an overdraft fee (denial of sex). - Yeah I'm pretty awesome with word play. LOL

Here's what I think... as a female, if I'm pissed at my partner, I'm not going to want to have sex with him. It's not a punishment for him, it's just me being angry, and in turn, not having the desire. I don't think sex should be used as any kind of leverage. I'd say most relationships that perceive and use it that way, will end in disaster. It's one thing to joke around, and occasionally use sex as a reward for painting the bathroom or washing your car without being asked. But that can't be the ONLY time you give it up. If you see sex as being a chore that you are required by marriage to deliver on, there's a bigger issue. Could be hormonal if you just don't have the desire (see your doc), could be mental/emotional (see a therapist), or it could be something disfunctional in your relationship that causes you not to have the sexual attraction to your mate that would create the desire to have sex with them. (sit down, figure it out, and talk about it.) If you only want to have sex if your partner does something that you think makes them "earn" it, you may want to rethink your strategy. Sex in turn for favors is just a fine line away from sex for money when you really think about it. If you're going to try to use the love bank concept for sex, my suggestion is that you put an actual jar on your dresser in your bedroom. Make an agreement that each time one of you goes above and beyond the norm to do something nice for the other person, you'll put a quarter in the jar. So the jar is a joined-account so to speak, and you're both depositing money into it. Make a chart, indicating which dollar amounts will get you to different levels of "wild" sex. For example, if there's $2.00 in the jar, maybe you put on some lacy lingerie , and if there's $20.00 in the jar, you bring out the leather whips and chains! LOL Use your own teamwork and comfort levels to decide your chart. Go about your week as you normally would, and whenever you have the desire to have sex, do it! Sex is GOOD for your relationship, so don't hold back! Pick a day that both of you regularly have the same time frame free (after the kids go to sleep, or before they wake up even!) and each week at that time, count up the money, check where you're at on the chart, and have FUN! Then take the money and do something creative with it, or dump it into a bigger jar that you can turn into your vacation savings! This would be a really awesome way to keep things fresh and hot for you both. and quite frankly, this is the ONLY way I can see this concept working when it comes to sex. I hope that helps! Happy saving! - Mama

Friday, April 22, 2011

My ex girlfriend is a psycho!

Original email to me:
Dear Mama Em,
I need help. My ex and I broke up and lets just say it was messy. Now she's running all over town trashing my name and telling lies about me. My new girlfriend is pissed. My ex and I broke up like 6 months ago, SHE left ME, and she has a new boyfriend. So why is she still trying to ruin my life, and what can I do to repair all this damage?

My response:
Dear Trashed,
I'm sure it hasn't been scientifically proven, but I have this theory that the "girlier" the girl, the more psycho they really are, meaning that the psycho's connected to the.... estrogen. Sorry, broke into song there for a second. Anyhow, I have observed in my not-so-long life, that the more prissy (for lack of a better word) a girl is, the more out to get you she is when you break up with her. Most women are like this to an extent. They get super pissed when you break up, even if she's the one who wants to leave, and then they spend all of their time trying to make your life miserable. Your new girlfriend is a target, even if the two have never met, and the ex will do everything in her power to make sure you can't just live in peace. I don't know what it is, but females are nuts. Sorry ladies, but we're all a little crazy, it's just to what extent. I have seen your scenario play out time and time again. Girl breaks up with boy, boy gets new girlfriend, girl becomes insanely jealous, girl tries to ruin boy's life. I have no answer as to why she's doing this. But, I can tell you that the best thing you can do is to assure your new girlfriend that you don't want your old girlfriend back, and don't respond to any texts, calls, emails, facebook messages, etc, because that will only further fuel the fire. If you go silent and she sees that her drama isn't getting under your skin anymore, she'll stop. When you run into someone who mentions an untruth that she's told them about you, smile and say "I wish she could find her own hapiness, like I've found mine. I'm sorry she tried to pull you into her drama, and I hope you know me better than that and know that it's untrue." That's all you can do. The more time you spend worrying about what she's doing or what she's saying, and trying to run around and clean up the lies she's spreading, the more she wins. And whatever you do, don't try to retailiate! Trust me, people will be watching to see what you do. It's free entertainment to watch people try to tear each other down. So be the bigger person, move forward, and let her destroy her own good name by trying to hard to destroy yours. In the end, everybody else will see she's a nutbar, and you're the sane one. Good luck!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Help! I can't get my friend to take my advice!

Original email to me:
Dear Mama Em,
I need help. See, everybody I know comes to me for advice just like you. But I have this one friend who is always fighting with her significant other, and together they are so mismatched, and I always tell her to leave him, but she doesn't. She always goes back. How do I get her to listen to me?

Me response:
Dear fellow advice-giver, wouldn't it be so great if everyone who asked us for advice actually took it? I know the world would be a better place if everyone just did what I told them to. LOL I have a friend who is a little like yours. One of my nearest and dearest friends is married to a man who is exactly like her. They are both hot-headed, short tempered, and short fused. So when they fight, they really go at it. I'd say about once a month I get the text message from her that says she's done and she's moving out. Somehow they always get through it, and move on together as a couple. Let me tell you how I personally handle this kind of conflict. I NEVER tell her what to do. It's not MY relationship. It's hers. It's not up to me whether she should stay with him or leave him, it's up to her. And a real friend will listen, without giving advice, and offer support, regardless of that person's decision to stay or to leave. My mom used to always say "you never know what goes on behind closed doors". That can go either way. The most perfect-appearing relationship could actually be abusive and awful when nobody is watching, and the most disfunctional-appearing relationship could be loving and gentle when nobody is watching. My advice to you, and to your friend, is to not be so quick to want to tell her what to do. Instead, listen to what she has to say, let her vent, and tell her that you're there for her, to talk to, to cry on, or whatever, and that you'll support her in whatever decision she makes. Because trust me, she's got enough opinions from her other friends and family members. It's too much for one person to hear what she SHOULD be doing all the time. She's got to make the right choice for herself, and she's going to need someone who is non-judgemental and supportive. Plus, if you're always telling her to leave, and she always goes back, you will always have weirdness between you and she'll always feel like she's being judged by you, which will only lead to the demise of your friendship at some point down the road. So if you treasure your friends, only give advice when asked for it directly, and never tell someone to stay or to leave when it comes to their relationship. Unless you're a marriage counselor, you're not really helping. Good luck!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Advice on maintaining friendships

Original email to me:
Dear Mama Em,
It really pisses me off that some people can make such stupid choices, like say for example, they have no money and are always complaining about being behind on bills and having to borrow money from family, but then when they DO come into some money, instead of paying people back or catching up on bills, they piss it away on stupid crap like video games and eating fancy dinners. How do I keep from getting pissed at these people and stay friends with them? Or is it a lost cause?

My response:
Dear Pissed Off,
You have to first determine whether or not there are enough good points that make you WANT to be friends with this person or if EVERYTHING they do pisses you off. I have had this conversation many times over the years with several different people. It always seems to start off with "I don't know WHY I stay friends with ______..." I always suggest that you look at the pros and cons. Do you have fun with this person? Do you spend nice, quality time together? Is it just the simple fact of how they make poor choices that makes you angry? And do those choices affect you negatively in some way? Because at the end of the day, it's not your life to live, it's theirs. And if they choose to continuously make poor choices, that's their own business, as long as those choices don't negatively affect you. In which case, I'd say run for the hills. No REAL friend would purposefully make decisions to hurt a friend. If you can figuratively take the piece of their personality that makes you so bothered out of the equation, is there enough of a friendship left to make it worth while to keep? I know a lot of people whom I think regularly make poor choices, especially in the type of situation that you're talking about. They're always complaining about things, but they take no action to fix what they think is wrong. I have people that I have told througout the years "You know what, if you're not going to do anything to try to solve your problems, then I don't want to hear about it anymore. If you have no ambition to fix what's wrong, then you have no right to openly complain about it! If you don't want advice, don't ask for it. If you do ask for it, take it." I'm sure you've heard the old saying "You can't help those who won't help themselves" - and it rings true! So, what I'm getting at is, if you cherish the friendship and just get angry at the poor financial choices, you're going to have to find a way to ignore those choices and convince yourself that it's not your business. If you have someone in your life who is constantly complaining to you about something or asking you for advice on the same thing over and over again but they never take the advice or try to better their situation, you're going to have to tell them that if they aren't going to try to fix things, you don't want to hear about it anymore. That's a make-it-or-break-it conversation for a friendship, but a real friend will understand what you're saying and make a change. So good luck, and all the best to you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Advice for Moms (and Dads) to be

I was recently asked by a mom-to-be, what one piece of advice I would give first timers. I laughed and said I had a lot more than just one idea. First, I told her not to listen to everyone elses' advice. Every parent is different and every kid is different, so there's no right or wrong way to do any one thing. Then I told her that I had a lot of advice on poop situations, which made her laugh. Here's a few of the things I told her:

As soon as your baby can stand up on her own in the crib, pull the crib away from the wall and put a tarp under it. This will make for easy clean up the day she decides to pull her poop out of her diaper.

As you get closer to your due date, start sitting on puppy pads. Put them everywhere you sit. In the car, on the couch, under your sheets on your bed. This way if your water breaks, you don't have so much cleanup and you won't be worrying about ruining anything!

Keep a slotted spoon under the sink in the bathroom. One day, your baby WILL poop in the tub. This is the easiest way to clean it out. I can't take credit for this one. This wisdom came from a good friend of mine, whom I called and whined to when it happened to me with my daughter!

If you wind up feeding your baby formula, use the powder. It is so much easier to work with than the liquid, and it stains less. When you go to bed for the night, put the amount of powder you use into a bottle and have it ready in the baby's room. Then take a bottle of water to bed with you. Just toss it in the bed and make sure it's touching your skin while you sleep. When baby wakes up to eat, your bottle of water will be body-tempurature! No stumbling to the kitchen, turning all the lights on, trying to quietly warm up a bottle... just go pour the amount you need into the bottle you already put powder in earlier. I learned this trick with my first child, and it saved me from having to listen to my cat cry for food since he knew I was up, and waking up my husband who had to work in the morning! Now I do it with baby #2 so that I don't wake up the whole house!

Make an agreement with your partner that all decisions are made between the two of you without any outside interference. When my daughter was born, I was barely into the recovery room when a nurse came in and asked me what kind of formula I would prefer they give her, since she needed extra food to help clear up Jaundice. I looked at my mom, who said "Enfamil". So I told the nurse I'd take Enfamil. My mother in law was also in the room, and instantly was biting her hand to keep from talking. I said "What?" and was told "I gave MY kids Similac. That's why MY kids are never sick." Every part of me wanted to scream BULLSHIT because her kids are sick all the damn time... but that's a whole other story. This very first disagreement sparked what I call the "War of the Mothers Advice" - and then became a whole huge dramatic issue over every little thing for the first three months of my daughter's life. My mom was/is really good about not pushing advice on me, but freely gives it when I ask for it, and everything I did based on her advice was wrong to my mother in law. In my case, we wrote my MIL off and it's been the best decision we ever made, but my MIL is a PSYCHO BITCH so this is not the right decision for everyone, LOL. My best advice to avoid this war, is not to ask either mother. Remember also, that when they were raising their kids, things were much different! Ask a friend who recently had a baby or has young children. She'll know what's up in today's world and then you don't have the moms at each other's throats. At least not over who's winning in the baby advice war.

Stay tuned, I have emails pouring in already for more advice, so I'll be writing again soon!