Tools

She needs a mentor

By Dr. Ruth

mend finding a mentor of some sort—an older, experienced person whom you trust. In most cases, it shouldn't be your parents, because you're too close to them and they're too close to you. An aunt or grandmother might be a good person. Or a religious leader, or maybe the mother of a good friend of yours. You need to talk all this out with someone besides yourself. You need to make promises to someone, other than yourself, who will hold you accountable. So see if you can find someone with whom you can work on this.

Q: I had been dating a man for several months, but due to stress and illness, the last time we were together, he made me feel like he was using me. For some reason, I recently wrote him a nasty letter asking him why — not expecting an answer but needing to get the pain out. Well, I received a response explaining what had happened and apologising, and saying if I'd like to call him, he would like that. I wrote back, we talked and both said we'd like to get reacquainted and become friends again but that we'd go slowly. We both know there is a connection, and we both enjoy each other. We met a few nights later, and after spending hours talking and just chilling out with each other, we made love. It was as amazing as it always was, and we fell asleep in each other's arms. Waking up next to him in the morning was incredible. I have heard from him again about how much he enjoyed the other night. Both of us agreed that we would be friends first and explore one another while trying to figure it out, where we go from here. I know we will get together again, but how long before we figure it out, and how do we decide if we want to take it slowly and be boyfriend/girlfriend again? I know I would love to try again, especially since the fire has been rekindled. Any advice? I don't want to pass up an opportunity for happiness, but I also don't want to make any mistakes, because I always put my heart above my head and always give everything to a relationship.

A: It seems to me that you need to learn to be more patient. It's as if you were watching a football game, it was at the beginning of the game and you wanted to know what the final score was going to be. The problem is that you can't know — you have to watch the whole game to find out. And furthermore, you're supposed to enjoy watching the game. You told each other that you were going to take it slowly, so do just that. Stop trying to peer into the future, but just do your best to enjoy what is happening between the two of you now, and soon enough you'll know whether this game is one that you're going to ultimately win or lose, but the time to know that isn't now.

Q: I'm 22 and am not content with the way my life is going at the moment. At the age of 15, I met my first boyfriend, only to be heartbroken after about a month. I found out that my boyfriend had no interest in me but was actually using me to gain more access to my older sister. After that experience, whenever I am in a relationship, I find it very hard to trust the person, and I am faced with this problem not only in romantic relationships, but in my other relationships with family, friends and co-workers as well. From the age of 16 till now, I've had seven boyfriends. In all of these relationships, I always found some silly excuse to break up. My motto was "Leave or be left." But I can't do it anymore, because I am hurting others and in turn it's hurting me as well. Presently I'm seeing an old boyfriend, but he never calls me or texts unless I reach out to him, though he does all the right things when we're together. I keep trying to contact the boyfriend I just left, who is older than me, which is why I think things didn't work out, but now he wants nothing to do with me. I already know what the problem is: It's me! I need to change in order to make my relationships work. But I do not know how to! What should I do? A: Sometimes you know that you need to change, but for whatever reasons, you're not strong enough to do it yourself. When that happens, you need help. The best solution is to find a professional therapist, but I understand that the cost may not fit every budget. In such cases I recom-

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