Dennie Hughes Answers Your Relationship Questions
On today's show, Dennie Hughes helps a couple stop the nagging and start communicating.
Now she's answering your questions! From dating to nagging, communication to consideration, see what she has to say!
The views and opinions expressed by Dennie Hughes are those of the individual speaker and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Rachael Ray, the television series Rachael Ray, King World Productions Studios Inc. or any of their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates or employees.
Q. My fiance and I have been long-distance for three years now. Two months ago we moved to the same city, into the same apartment, and we're both having some trouble adjusting. We both thought this would be the honeymoon part, but it's been pretty terrible at times. We've had three really bad fights. Is this normal or should I be worried? Is there anything I can do to speed up the adjustment period?
A. The fact that you both have survived the long-distance relationship -- something that tears apart a lot of couples -- is good news. There's no way you could've done three years without having a really good foundation of love and trust between you. The bad news? Being long distance means you both have established separate lives that now have to blend together. Living together after seeing each other all the time is hard enough -- you guys have entered into a real relationship challenge. Think about it... the times you've seen each other? SOMEONE had to travel a long distance; SOMEONE had to play host and make this GUEST feel special and have a good time. Long-distance love means when someone comes over, you give the best of... you plan time/take off work around.... you miss and long for each other, and it's hideously ROMANTICALLY wonderful... But now... you are both plunged into a day to day REAL WORLD, where you don't feel you have to set aside special time for each other because you come home every night... Bottom line? You cannot speed up the adjustment period -- you are both in a new adventure and have to learn not only how to make it work... but whether or not you feel it's worth working on.
That said, here's a few ideas to consider.
*You say you've had "three really bad fights." Were they about things like cleaning, chores, bills? I say, totally normal and you CAN work this out -- it's all about discussing when you are NOT fighting. However, if the fights have been about respect... being faithful... not being a priority... dishonesty... well, this is way more serious and you both need to cut to the chase and be real about your relationship feelings.
*Living together doesn't mean not taking time out to have play nights. That's right -- I said PLAY night, not date nights, which I think are overrated and can be stressful due to over-expectations. I mean, don't just both go to work, come home, watch a movie, eat a frozen... I mean, work on a night the way you used to work on the stolen, long weekends together -- go bowling. To the zoo. A cooking class. Do something that resembles the activities you used to plan for each other just because you never saw each other! I'm betting you can make this work -- with work. If you love this guy -- and feel he loves you -- get the ball rolling on making this new intimate "getting to know you" situation exciting.
Q. I feel that my husband spends too much time on computers. We do have a computer repair business in addition to his full time job, but he only spends about 50% of the time on business and the other 50% on who knows what. I have told him that it bothers me and he doesn't understand why. I feel like they are #1 and I am #2. We have only been married eight months and I am four months pregnant so I know that my hormones are a little crazy right now. He doesn't see this as an issue at all but it's driving me crazy. I would just like him to spend as much time with me as he does with computers. Is that too much to ask?
A. Here's the RelationTip for ya: Your husband is not listening to you. That's either your fault (you feel like you've told him as direct as you can about your concerns but maybe you haven't) or his (he is not invested in the relationship enough to care). Whew! Harsh stuff. But things you need to think about.
SO. Here's how to proceed: I want you to document how much time he's spending on work and then, on computer nonsense. It sounds like you already know what he's doing... but I want you to be SURE. I want you to be able to say, "honey... you spend so much personal time pursuing your own thing" and be able to prove it. Easy way to start: Tell him that you want to start documenting "business hours spent on research" as billing time -- I'm betting he'll be truthful and tell you what he's doing, and who he's doing it with that's billable hours. THEN... I want you to calculate how many hours after billable ones that he spends online... and THAT'S what you need to attack... okay, not ATTACK, but use as your guideline for spending time with you, not online. Next: I want you to start trying to schedule date nights with him during those "off online hours." Suggest a walk. A movie. Shopping for a friend. Whatever. See if you can get him to get away from his computer to do more fun things with you. If he won't? It may be time to see if his non-work computer time is of a sexual nature... which is a whole 'nother ball of wax to discuss. I'm hoping... and betting, given your particular circumstances... he's still doing his bachelor thing, and may be moved by YOUR making the effort to do more fun things... trust me on this: soon-to-be dads always feel like their wives/girlfriends are FFFFRAGILE... and they don't want to bother them about issues that are sexual in nature....Don't let the computer come between you and your honey -- I know, I know, you're tired and at this point, verrrry resentful... but take a step up and let him know you're looking for interesting couples things to do, and I'm betting, he'd rather be doing fun activities with you than being online if you show him confidence. Love. Am I saying he's a catch? UH...... I don't know from what you told me. But... I know... we women tend to hang back from being fabulous sexual beings once we're in a committed relationship.... and we need to change that up. MEN FOLLOW OUR LEAD...
Q. As a woman, I like to hear about how people's days went, and hear about their day to day experiences. So every day when I get home, I'll ask him how his day was and what happened, and all I get is good, and nothing much. I want to hear all about his day -- who came into his office, what they talked about, what he had for lunch, that sort of thing. I don't necessarily want a play-by-play of his day, but more than I did this and this and this and then I did nothing" would be greatly appreciated. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!
A. Heavy sigh.... to all you ladies out there.... behold one of the great truths in life: men will never, EVER have the girlfriend gift of gab. Blame it on evolution. Back in the caveman days men hunted together in silence so that they wouldn't scare off their prey. Women, however, stayed home in the cave, watching the kids, or gathering food and with absolutely no reason to be quiet, they bonded over conversation. Where to find the best berries. How scandalous that new cave girl was in her too-short fur mini. And the result of all that yada yada yada was that women's brains became highy evolved in speech and language functions... studies show that women have a verbal output of around 7,000 words a day; men? A mere 3000. Meaning, at the end of the day when he has become verbally vacant, YOU will still have 4,000 words left... enough to ask plenty of questions to which he will do nothing but grunt a one or two word response.
SOOOooooo... now that you know it's not you... it's HIM... here's the plan: when he comes home from work, don't ask "How was your day?" (To men, it's the equivalent of being a kid and coming home to mom saying, "How was school?" How was SCHOOL? Are you kidding -- it's SCHOOL!) Instead, say, "I'm so glad you're home. Come help me get some stuff together in the kitchen and let's sit down and eat." RELATIONTIP: Men tend to talk when TALK is not the actual activity. Food prep and eating gives him something else to focus on, and is relaxing, and he'll talk without realizing he's DOING it.
Give it a shot -- let me know how it goes!
Q. My husband and myself are newlyweds....but the problem I have is getting him to clean up anything in the house, he just takes out the trash..then thats when the nagging starts. He is an only child and I remind him that im not his mom and housework is 50/50...he was used to his mom doing everything for him and he never had to do housework. How do I get him to do housework and or show him with out him feeling like im reprimanding him as a child? Please help....
A. Here's the RelationTip: The time to chat about chores is not when the chores have to be done; it's when you are both in a good mood and you can talk about dividing them up without -- as I mentioned during the show -- COMPLAIN-A-TUDE (that's complaining with attitude). Then, when you're discussing how to divide the chores... and here's the big one to remember, one that even I had trouble putting into practice immediately.... DON'T INSIST HE DO THE CHORES EXACTLY WHEN AND HOW YOU WANT IT DONE. Ever hear that old saying, if you want something done correctly, do it yourself? WHow it really should read is... if you want something done YOUR WAY, do it yourself.... and try to point out when he DOES do the chores instead of only pointing out when he doesn't. Guys... AND GIRLS ... really like to be recognized for doing the right thing... it makes them want to do it often. It's a shame that you two didn't have that chore talk before getting married (you did know before you walked down the aisle that mommy did everything for him) but it's never too late. Remember how the husband on the show said he did chores because he got an allowance? Getting your husband to feel like contributing makes YOU kinder and sexier and kissier.... you know what I mean... WILL get him into the chore habit.
Q: Hi Dennie! I always love your advice on the show and was wondering if you could help me. I want to try online dating and needed some help getting started. I have no idea how to describe myself and don't want to come off like I'm bragging. Any thoughts on how you do that?
A: Thanks for the big thumbs up! I'm glad you're considering dipping your toe in the online dating pool -- dating successfully is all about getting out and meeting people, and you should definitely include this great dating tool in addition to things like fix-ups, singles events, volunteering (yup, volunteering -- I did some research and discovered a lot of couples meet and marry while helping others!) and classes (cooking classes, by the way -- LOADED with men). Okay -- now for the profile. First, get someone to take a great SMILING pic of you (take lots of pictures so that you have several greats to choose from) -- stats show that profiles without pics don't get hits; smile shots generate the most interest). Then, have a PROFILE PARTY: invite trusted good friends for a night of wine and food, tell them all they have to bring is a list that highlights the 5 qualities they love about you, AND the 5 things they wish you would look for in a guy (trust me on this: they will have opinions and you may be surprised to hear how many of your exes were huge losers). Then, put them all together keeping these tips in mind:
- Be clear about your Non-Negotiables: if you absolutely hate smokers and won't date guys who haven't had a job since a paper route at 12, make that preference known -- the clearer you are about what you absolutely won't tolerate, the better. Be sure your preferences, however, are reasonable: cutting out a guy because he can't dance or is a Republican shrinks your options.
- Get to the Point: think, max, 135 words in print; no one wants to feel like they have to wade through a long-winded dissertation.
- Make Your Qualities sound fun: Laundry lists like "I am funny, I like dogs, I am a good cook, I am a nice person" -- snooze-ville. Replace "I'm smart and into martial arts" with something like.... "I'm less Jessica Simpson and more Buffy!"
- Watch What You Call Yourself: Giving yourself a name like "2Hot2Handle" or "Nutcracker" can and will make a first impression you may not intend. Stick to a first or middle name with some numbers (the number of your gym locker; your birthday) so that it doesn't distract from the rest of your profile.
- SPELLCHECK: Typos are a turnoff!
Alrighty then -- get posted! FYI: most dating sites will let you POST a profile for free; costs come in only if you want to respond to somebody -- or approach someone. Good luck!
Q: I've been in a relationship for eight years with my high school sweetheart. Everything is wonderful! We have fun together, share the same values, and love experiencing new things. I know he is the person I am supposed to be with; however, I can't help but have this feeling lurk in the back of my mind saying, "What if this doesn't work out?" I can't help but feel that being in love and investing your all into a relationship leaves you vulnerable for heartbreak. My question is: How do I live for the moment and enjoy my relationship without the worry of "What Ifs"?
A: You are not alone -- we ALL have the little voice in the back of our brains that drives us mad with "what ifs" -- what if he's NOT the one? What if he cheats on me? What if he breaks up with me? Those doubts can be especially loud if you've been hurt very badly... or in your case, you've been dating so long and started off so young, you may actually have seen signs that you are outgrowing each other. Say, sit down and write out a list of reasons why you feel this way lately -- has he been less attentive? Coming home late, or spending too much time with the boys? What's changed? I'm a big believer in writing out bad feelings -- RELATIONTIP: YOU CAN ONLY EDIT IT IF YOU SEE IT IN WRITING.
Then, I want you to address these concerns with your boyfriend. Let him know you love him, but lately you're worried that things aren't the way they used to be. Having the list in front of you will help you be specific. Then see how he responds -- if he's apologetic, has a reasonable excuse why things have been a little off (things at work, a friend or relative who is sick) and promises things will get better -- terrific. However, if he gets mad, unreasonable, tells you that you are being ridiculous -- you really should start re-evaluating this relationship -- any person who dismisses your feelings and doesn't care enough to respect them.... isn't a person you want to spend your life with.
Q: My fiance and I still live with our parents. We are getting married May 2008 and I am ready to move in together. On the other hand my fiance is not motivated at all. He is content to live at home for as long as possible. His mother still does his wash, packs his lunch and cooks dinner for him. How can I get him to be excited about us living together?
A: Talk about a red flag! Bottom line: be prepared to become his mother. Trust me on this: any man who commits to getting married but doesn't want to take on adult responsibilities and make his own way is a man who YOU will have to take care of. I'm concerned that you both still live with your parents -- do either of you have jobs? A paycheck that can support a rent, utilities, taking care of yourselves without having to run to Mom and Dad every time a bill is due? You've got a year before you get married -- I say, take that year not to plan a wedding, but to prove to yourselves you are READY to get married and start a new life together. If you are still in the same place 6 months from now, I suggest moving the wedding date until you both are standing on your own two feet.... and HE proves he can do his own lunch and laundry!
Q: I am a junior in high school and 16 years old. All the guys my age are either too involved in themselves or infatuated with younger girls. Guys don't make any sense. What is the deal with guys? There are plenty of lovely girls my age that would like to have a steady relationship with a guy who isn't in it to find more women. I also would like to find a guy who loves me no matter what I look like or anything. Guys make no sense because we can't understand you. What is going on in the brain of yours?
A: Guess what? GUYS FEEL THE SAME WAY YOU DO: they wish they understood why girls do what they do. And get prepared.... THAT NEVER CHANGES!__ That said, I find it interesting that you say you want a guy who loves you "no matter what I look like or anything." Do you know what that says to me? That deep down, you're feeling a little unpretty and unsure of yourself... and believe it or not, it's the lack of self-confidence that just may be keeping you from finding a boyfriend. Guys like a girl who looks like she's got something going on and DOESN'T NEED THEM. The busier you are being involved with other things -- school activities, an after school job -- and the more guy friends you have -- the more guys will think you're a catch. And here's a little secret: the busier you are, and the more fulfilled you feel, the more confident you'll feel. I like your letter -- you definitely sound like a girl with huge potential. Stop obsessing about a boyfriend, do your own thing that makes you smile and be happy... and I promise you, your next letter to me will be that you are beating off the boys with a stick!
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