Dr. Andrew

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Can interracial relationships work?

Any relationship can work as long as the two parties are willing to work at it. Some cultures, including some in such countries as America, Britain, etc., still have cultural barriers against interracial relationships. Hard to believe in 2013, but true. A relationship should be between two people who genuinely care about each other and genuinely love each other. Gender, sexual preference, education, finance, political affiliation, culture, or any other "filters" should be removed from the formula.

Why are women so picky about clothes?

Oooooh! Do I detect a schlub writing this? If you are asking, that means you have been criticized for your appearance. While some people operate on the premise that, "You can't judge a book by it's cover," most people do just that. If, let say, your girlfriend is complaining about how you dress, listen to her. Most women have a much better sense of style then men (Most, not all). I learned a long time ago that when my wife says, "That shirt would go better with brown pants," it's because she genuinely cares about how I present to others. I learned this lesson when we were going together in college and another female friend of ours called her. I was wearing moccasins, white sox, plaid pants, and a striped shirt. I was given a "lesson" by both of them together. Just learn to appreciate the attention.

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What is a good age to get married?

A good age is when you and your partner are ready. Some people are ready at 20, some at 30, and some later. There is no hard and fast rule. I was married when I was 22 and my wife was 21, and we have 44 years under our belts. Today, many couples are getting married older when their careers and finances are set. You will know when you are ready.
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Is sex always painful the first time? Just asking.

It doesn't have to be, if your partner is gentle. You may have a situation that needs to be addressed by a gynecologist, and that is something you should consider anyway if you are contemplating having sexual relations. Please also ALWAYS practice safe sex, even if it's only once.

My bf slept with my bff. He says he was drunk and she came on to him so its her fault. I say bullshit. What do you say?

I say your boyfriend is a bullshitter, and your bff is NOT your friend. Both of these people have disrespected you and have also violated your trust. You need to remove both of them from your roster of friends and move on. Don't be manipulated by him or her.

My gf’s father is a real jerk to her. He puts her down about everything. I want to call him on it, but she says it will make it worse. What do I do?

First, keep being her cheerleader. She needs it, especially with a critical parent like her father. Having you say something probably won't do anything. Your girlfriend needs help with getting to the point that she can stand up to her father and let him know that what he is doing is NOT okay. Unfortunately, it sounds like he has done a really good job of destroying her self-esteem. Just keep trying to boost her up. You may not be able to overcome his putting her down, but you can try. I know you would probably like to tell him off, but she's right, it wont' do any good. It's got to come from her.

Is your Love Shopping List app really that accurate? I can’t believe my girlfriend scored that low.

Keep in mind that the chosen characteristics and their priority are yours and yours alone. That's the beauty of the app. We didn't pick what you need in a relationship, you did. So it's as accurate as you were honest with yourself. If your girlfriend really scored that low, it's because she is not meeting the needs you identified when you chose the characteristics that were most important to you. That means you really have to ask yourself why you would be going with someone who doesn't meet your needs.

My husband’s mother is insulting to me every time we see her. I am always polite and respectful. He says to ignore her but I want to say something.

I get this quite a bit with some of the families I see. It's usually one of two things. It could be that she see you as stealing her son away, If your husband blows her off, it could also be that she is just not a very nice person. Either way it needs to be addressed. Ignoring her is not the answer unless she kept his testicles locked in the freezer when he was growing up in which case he is afraid of her. Either way the two of you need to resolve the issue before it gets worse. You may need to seek professional help.

My bf’s friend is a big POS. I can’t stand being around him. What do I say to my bf?

You don't say why you are upset with this person. I think you need to know exactly why you are upset with him and then discuss this with your bf. It is curious that your bf has him as friend, and it also worries me that "birds of a feather flock together." Does your bf have some of these same traits that upset you? This is definitely an issue that the two of you need to discuss and resolve. Let your bf know what upsets you about his friend. Maybe he can help his friend to understand why others see him as a POS.

How do i get a girlfriend?

You don't just get a girlfriend. It's not like going down to the supermarket and picking one off a shelf. You get a girlfriend by being friendly and respectful. One of the previous questions tonight asked about dating. You can check that one out. If there is a girl you are interested in, try just having a conversation first. You can then ask her to an event. Whatever you do, take things very slowly.

Is it okay for me to let my son (16) have his girlfriend sleep over?

You have to think about what message you want to teach your son. You also have to think about what his girlfriend's parents might say or even if they know. I assume your son played lawyer and presented a very logical argument about why this would be okay. Something like - Would you rather have us having sex in a dark car parked somewhere or here where it's safe? Please don't tell me you fell for that line. Seriously, for some parents this is okay. My function is not to pass judgement. It's to help you make your own decisions. It's not my job to say it's okay or not okay. You have to make that decision and live with it.

I agreed to marry my husband so he could get his green card. Now he treats me like shit. What do I do?

You've been played. It may not feel very good to hear that, but it's the truth. Unless there is something else going on that we should know, he will continue to treat you that way because he got what he wanted. I would definitely discuss this with a professional. You need some high level guidance on how to handle your situation. He will now continue to try to control you more and more. Stand up for yourself and don't allow this type of disrespect from anyone.

I’m divorced with one kid. When do I tell someone who wants to take me out.

You may as well get it out of the way at the beginning rather than go down a path and have to correct for it later. You are a parent first, and you come with that package. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but it's your reality. If a date is okay with that, you will be more relaxed and enjoy the time. I would think you would want to know that right away.

Why can’t guys take no for an answer?

Many guys grow up believing that no means maybe, and maybe means yes. It's an issue of education, but it's also the manner in which the "no" is said. "No" with a cute smile and a head turned sideways is not really a "no." (OK feminists. Time to continue that debate.) You have to say what you mean and mean what you say. If a guy is really pushing the limits, the "no" has to be accompanied by a louder voice and a stern look. Many males have never been taught to respect women. They are the ones who tend to not take "no" for an answer. It's all an issue of respect.

I really like this girl. Were both in a high school history class together. How do I let her know I’m interested?

The beginning of dating is hard on both parties. I can only speak from the male end, but I can share tips from both sides because my wife told me I can. You can ask her out to a non-serious place like some festival. It's as simple as, "Hey LaTrese, there's a (whatever event) on Saturday. Would you like to go?" That part is easy. The hard part is actually asking. If you are too embarrassed the first time, you can slip her a note, email, or text. We'll give you a pass the first time, but most prefer the personal touch. The first time I asked a girl out, I almost passed out because I was so nervous, and then I almost passed out again when she said yes. You'll get used to it. Have fun. It's gone on for hundreds of years.

I gave my bf a selfie to put up on his dorm room. He sent it around. Am I right to be mad?

You have every right to be mad, but your anger should be directed at yourself. As I've mentioned often, do not put anything into digital format that you would not be willing to share with the world, because you just may be doing that. Your bf is an idiot, and you can't fix stupid, but you are being really foolish to think he wasn't going to share this with his buddies. C'mon!! Please don't tell me you don't watch the news and all the people that have gotten grief from things like selfies. It doesn't make any difference whether it's a male or female. DON'T SEND THINGS YOU WOULD NOT WANT LOTS OF PEOPLE TO SEE BECAUSE THEY PROBABLY WILL!!

My best friend seems like she’s hitting on my boyfriend. How do I stop it before it gets out of hand?

You really have to be careful about being overly possessive, but it certainly may be that she is overstepping her bounds. In these situations I believe the best approach is the honest and up front one. Hey "Sally," I'm not comfortable with how much you are flirting with my boyfriend. For the sake of our friendship, I'm asking you to pull back a bit, BITCH. Oops!! Strike that last word :-)."

At what age should I let my daughter date? She’s been after me to let her. What’s normal these days?

Different parents have different standards, and different adolescents can handle different amounts of freedom. Don't compromise your standards if you believe strongly in them, but at the same time don't pull the reins too tightly or the horse will buck. Kids are exposed to a lot at an early age, but a kind of general rule is 15. No matter how mature a teenager looks, they still have a teenage brain and make teenage decisions. A 14 year old is going to make 14 year old decisions, and most parents are not comfortable with that taking place in some remote place. Also keep in mind that group dating, going places as a group, is more of an okay thing. The bottom line is that you, as a parent, have to do what is most comfortable for you and best for your daughter. As a parent, I would hope your decision making is much more reliable than hers. On the other hand, if she is middle to late teen, you might want to think about loosening up a bit. Also, culture plays a big role. In some cultures it is not acceptable to date unless it's serious. That isn't necessarily wrong. It's just different. Use common sense.

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My boyfriend is a sloppy dresser. How do I get him to wear decent clothes?

I joke with my wife that I promise I'll come back as a clothes hound for her in my next life. The best way to change his habits is by positive reinforcement. When he wears something that is an improvement (not necessarily perfect), tell him how handsome and manly he looks. We men are suckers for that kind of thing. You can even tell him how many compliments others have given him on his good looks and dress. A man can look grungy casual and still not be sloppy. He just needs some help.

I am beginning my music career and it's very important to me. Should I hold off on dating until I have things figured out with my music first?

It's very difficult to balance a career with a relationship, especially when you are just starting out on your career. You don't necessarily have to hold off on dating, but you should definitely hold off on any serious involvements. The career becomes the classic "other woman" often times, and partners, male or female, can become really jealous of the time an energy you put into your career. There are certainly situations where someone is genuinely 100% supportive of a partner's career and understands the time demands, but that can only go so far. Deep relationships are like fruit trees. They need water and fertilizer to bear fruit. Otherwise, they just don't grow. Life is a balancing act.

I'm 16 & likeee it's these two boys (their bros) & I like them both alot & I care about them, but they're always calling me bitches & hoes but I still continue to talk to them, laugh with them, be cool with them, & still care for them. Like I love them just a little bit but not alot. What do I do?

By continuing to hang with them and be cool with them you are basically telling them that it's okay to treat you that way. Understand that I am not blaming you for their behavior. They own that. But I am suggesting that you are enabling their behavior by not setting boundaries. Why would you allow yourself to be treated that way? If someone treated, let's say, your little sister that way, you would certainly not let it continue because you love her. You need to love yourself enough to protect yourself. You deserve much better than these scumbags. Don't settle for being treated in such a manner. They obviously have little respect for women, or at least for you. A very good female friend who is an attorney once heard a male attorney say something really crude about her. She calmly walked over to him and said, "If I ever hear that again, I will tear your testicles off and wear them as earrings!" He didn't even know what to say.

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My mom and my gf’s dad are going out. This creeps us out. Should they be doing this???

I can understand why it would creep you out, but it's not all that unusual. It's sounds like you are saying that they can't see each other because you and your gf are. Think about this. What do you think of your gf's dad, and what does your gf think of your mom? If you like each other's parent, then you two may make better matchmakers than anyone else. Awkward? Yes. Workable? Yes. The four of you need to sit down and discuss things, but I don't recommend double dating.

My dad keeps telling me its “puppy love” between me & my bf. I don't believe him.

Doesn't that just piss you off? Your dad obviously doesn't remember his own feelings at an early age. Even if it is puppy love, it's still love and should not be discounted. I get very frustrated with adults who put down their children with this term. All this being said, I have my adolescent patients just simply agree with the parent. Don't debate the point, just smile. Frustrated the hell out of them!!

Should I tell my buddy his gf is cheating on him? He may think I'm just trying to break them up.

I often get asked this question, and my answer is another question. If your gf were cheating on you, and your best friend knew about it, would you want him to tell you? Most people respond that they would like to know. The real problem becomes how to tell him. You have to sit him down away from everyone else and have a serious discussion with him. Just know that it is not unusual for the other person to deny what is obvious and to defend his relationship. Nobody likes to look like a fool. You also have to understand that you risk losing your friend for a period of time until he realizes you were right. He then may be too embarrassed to get back to you, so you may have to reach out. Love often makes us act like a fool, so be patient with him.

Can you love someone but not be in love?

Absolutely you can. I've even worked with couples involved in divorce who love each other but are no longer in love with each other. They are much better friends than they are husband and wife. I've also had a number of couples who have broken up only to realize that they not only love each other but are really still in love with each other. Very few things can screw with your mind like love, but ain't it great!?!


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