I'm a military veteran who always seems to attract the wrong kind of guys. Before I joined the military, I had a healthy, four-year relationship. We only broke up because we were on different paths at the time.
Since I joined, I’ve had trouble finding a guy who’s not only someone I can see myself with for a lifetime, but also someone who’s loyal and monogamous.
I've nearly sworn off guys altogether just to save my heart from yet another one taking it and deceiving me.
The lies, the cheating, their sneaking around, makes me paranoid towards a potential future partner.
I'm feeling like my judgement’s horrible when it comes to a potential partner, and about knowing when - and when not to - entrust the person with my heart.
I'm so tired of being in this situation repeatedly.
Over Being the Victim
You’re already on the right path for questioning your selection process.
Look at whom you’ve been dating in this recent bad phase, and check off some details in your mind: How you met them, what attracted you, how the initial connection started.
Say, for example, that you’d been attracted to a man’s buff physique and strength, and felt lucky to be out with him.
These feelings may’ve drawn you to a person who can get women easily, and recognized that you were smitten.
In other words, you may’ve gone fishing where too many sharks were swimming.
Now think through what you really want in a man – honesty, loyalty, and respect for your feelings. Take time to know someone and settle for nothing less in a guy, no matter his surface attributes.
My husband’s driving me crazy. He thinks he knows what he’s doing when it comes to gardening, cleaning, etc., but he’s made everything worse.
The grass is burned from too much fertilizer, he’s ripped out wonderful plants, transplanted them, and they’ve all died.
He won't listen or take my advice, and gets very angry and defensive.
He painted our living room and there are paint spots on the hardwood floors and on the trim work.
He just retired after working 30 years behind a desk and now he thinks he can become a super handyman.
I just want to cry when I look at the mess he’s made. He also tried to seal our driveway and I don't have the words to describe the end result.
How do I handle this without him getting angry? He doesn’t take criticism well. We are financially very secure.
In a Mess
Use compassion to help him get through this difficult transition to an entirely different life.
He’s been trying to be useful and productive but doesn’t have the appropriate skills or patience for household tasks.
Use your financial resources to get some third party (neutral) help. Talk to him, gently, not about what he’s done wrong in the house, but about thinking through what opportunities active retirement can provide him.
Talk about the things that have always interested him but he had no time to pursue. About the excellent skills that he does have that can be useful in new areas.
Then suggest that he meet with a professional retirement counsellor (search Google for your area) to brainstorm some ideas.
This will take time. You may have to live with some paint on the floor for awhile. But when he’s showing some enthusiasm for his new life routines, call in an experienced gardener and house repair person to fix things.
FEEDBACK Regarding the aunt’s disappointment in her sister’s choices (June 29):
Reader – “I was one of the daughters in a similar situation.
“My mother also left my father after an affair with a manipulative (and abusive) man. Alcohol and drugs were involved.
“We moved in with this man.
“My aunts began distancing from the situation. By the time I was 10 or 11, contact stopped.
“No visits, no cards, no phone calls. This was painful. Almost no adults in our lives took an interest or made us feel loved.
“The relationship with your sister should be irrelevant to the relationship you have with those girls.
“They need you to be there for them. To love them. To give them some kind of a stable relationship with someone who cares and nurtures them.
“Don't agree with your sister's decision, but do whatever you can to be an active part, and role model, in your nieces' lives.”
Tip of the day:
If you keep dating men who deceive you, change your selection pattern and pool.