Dear Charles:

My husband left me 18 months ago after admitting to having an affair, and his new baby (with his mistress) was born last November. I've been very angry, but I have made every effort to move past my hurt feelings. I've redecorated my house and made new friends. I even had a short fling (which didn't work out). My family keeps telling me I should just move on and forget the past. I'm not sure how I should be showing them I'm doing this and completely fed up of being judged. I thought I was moving on and doing well. I just haven't entered another relationship for the time being. I’m happy on my own. Am I doing something wrong? How can I show them I’m trying?

—N

Hi N:

I'm sorry for your experience. So... with no disrespect to your family, I think they need to butt out. You aren't describing yourself as wallowing in misery, disconnected and depressed, or sitting crying and not living. You are healing and moving on in your own time, and that is your right! If your family is expecting you to get into another relationship to "prove" that you are over your ex, you might want to tell them they are not only pushy, they might be disappointed.

It’s your life to live… so live it how you choose! What if you never want to be in another relationship, and you just want to date forever? What if you get married tomorrow? It's your decision, and so long as you are making healthy decisions that are based on your own sense of self-worth and value, I'LL butt out, too!

My advice: Keep going and tell them to back off. And — don't look for love. Look for happiness... love will be there waiting.


Dear Charles:

My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. At the beginning, I got along very well with his mother and grandmother but I started to see that they are constantly blackmailing him. Ever since his father died, they always telling him that he should be spending more time with them, constantly guilting him into taking his brother with him (including on dates with me!). I used to see him on weekends, but now that has been really cut back, and his mom is making him spend all his time with her. What can I do to stop this?

—S

Hi S:

It sounds like he needs to do some work on himself. Many times, sons can end up in the role of "husband" for a mother who doesn't have a man in her life. And if the son feels guilty or obligated, he will do what she wants. Unfortunately, HE has to be the one to change the pattern. You can't make him.

My advice: Tell him the truth, but in a kind way. Be his friend, or you will risk alienating him. If he refuses to change things, you might have some hard decisions to make.


Dear Charles:

I’ve had a boyfriend for the last three years. I know I love him, but I am attracted to somebody and that somebody says that he likes me. I feel like I'm cheating. My boyfriend is an old-fashioned man. He used to be fun, but now things are just…boring! I just don't know what to do! What should I do?

—J

Hi J:

If you are in a committed relationship and chatting up other men, then you are on the road to cheating. Infidelity is usually because something is missing in the relationship... or missing for the person as an individual. To find out why you think you are now interested in another man, you need discover what's missing for you.

From what you have said, you are bored. Things are predictable. You’ve lost that passion… and that is one of the top reasons why people cheat. They don’t feel wanted anymore. And while you haven’t crossed the line physically, cheating can encompass lots of behaviors: finances, sex, emotions. Bottom line: If you are doing something that you wouldn't do in front of your partner (or wouldn't tell them about it), it's most likely cheating.

Attraction is normal... but you said that you are aware that the other person "likes you, too" — which mean you have had interactions with them. My advice: Get honest with your boyfriend. He can't address your needs if you haven't told him. And if he *doesn't want to* address your needs, then you know where you stand with him and can make some choices from there.