Dr. Andrew

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Whats the best way to tell a guy its over? I dont want to hurt him.

No matter what you do or how gentle you are, it's going to hurt. It's the nature of break-ups. You just have to be honest, understanding that he may not understand or accept your decision. The only thing that might soften the blow is to let him know that you still think he's a good person -- if he is. If he's done some bad things, you can let him know how these affected you without shaming and blaming him.

I am devastated my girlfriend broke up with me. How do I get over it?

I know you've probably heard this from your friends, but life will get better with time. But just hearing, "Just move on," does not work. If you were in a serious relationship, you have suffered a loss. If you could just walk away from the relationship without being upset, it wasn't a deep relationship to begin with. Most likely you are going through the stages of loss: denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and acceptance. It will take time to heal your emotional wound in much the same fashion it takes time to heal a physical wound. There is no way to speed up the process.

Will casual sex hurt future relationships?

It all depends upon the person. In 2013 many people experience sexual relations prior to any really serious relationships. A lot depends on how you handle these casual encounters. Serious relationships involve intimacy. While sex is part of intimacy, it is only one part. Often the problem with casual sex is that the person comes to believe that the sex part is the same as intimacy, and that will definitely screw up future relationships. Having sex is a very personal decision that should not be taken lightly. Whatever decision you make, please make sure it involves safe sex.

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What is the right amount of time to be engaged before getting married?

The right amount of time is what you and your partner think is the right amount of time. There are those who say that an engagement should be between one and two years, but that's probably more of an average than it is about being "right." I've seen couples who have long engagements that didn't stay married, and I've seen couples who have had short engagements, and it lasts. I proposed 2 1/2 months after going out with my wife. We were engaged for a bit under eleven months, and we will be celebrating forty-four years this coming January. There is no right other than what is right for the two of you. It's not about the quantity of the engagement. It's about the quality.

I want to introduce my partner to my parents but they are evangelical. What should I say to them?

I can only assume from the way your question is worded that your partner is of the same sex as you. This is a difficult situation because many evangelicals are of the opinion that homosexuality is a sin. It also sounds like your parents are not aware of your sexual preference. It would be advisable to tell them about you before bringing your partner into the line of fire. It almost sounds like you want your partner there as support for telling your parents about your sexual preference. I assume you really care for your partner, so don't do that to him/her. If you need help in how to talk to your parents, a local organization dealing with LGBT issues will be able to provide you with information and educational materials. However, you need to understand they may still be very upset even to the point of initially not wanting you around or telling you they will pray for you. Either of these discounts who you are as a person. You have a journey to embark upon, but you don't need to do this alone.

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My bf says I’m too picky about him. I don’t know what to say.

Believe it or not, the first thing to examine is your family of origin. If your parents were critical, you will have a tendency to be critical, too. On the other hand, if you are finding lots of things wrong, he may not be meeting your needs. Take a look at the things about which you are being picky and see if they are really important to you. If they aren't then you have to let them go. If they are, you have to address them with him. There's an interesting expression about male and female needs. Men get married hoping women won't change. Women get married hoping men will. You have to have an open and honest discussion with your bf about your concerns -- and his -- to see if things can be worked out so both of you are happy.

Is it true that certain personality types are not good for each other?

It' not that they are not good for each other. It's that the chemistry may not lend itself to having everything smooth. As an example, if one person is extremely laid back while the other person is extremely rigid, it can present problems. You've heard the expression that opposites attract, and this is an example. But it can work. It just takes a bit more energy. Sometimes when people are too alike it's not interesting. It all comes down to what people need and how much work they are willing to put into the relationship. Along with this explanation is the fact that there really are different personality types, and they have even been identified in brain scans. It's not just a theory.

I accidentally walked in on my sister with my girlfriend...naked! WTF??? My buddies say its all good but I'm really uncomfortable about this.

I think you need to sit down with the two of them and ask them WTF. Your buddies are just blowing this off and joking about it, but it is obviously upsetting you. Try not being angry, judgmental, or accusing. Just let them know you felt very uncomfortable and you'd like to discuss it. Experimenting is normal, but not with someone close. It makes everyone too uncomfortable.

I think my girlfriend is becoming a scarf and barf princess. How do I help her?

If you have seriously observed this, you need to seek help. She is in serous trouble, and you can not handle this on your own. Eating disorders are very difficult to treat but more importantly are deadly. Depending on your age, you can talk to her parents, a school counselor, or some authority figure she respects. Eating disorders are best handled by a highly trained professional.

My wife tries to control everything me and our kids do. Even the kids have asked me to stop her. Does she need counseling?

Several times in the past I've discussed "I' statements. It's a description of the event followed by a feeling followed by a call to action. When you ... It makes me feel ... I need you to ... If your children are old enough, teach this to them, then sit down with your wife and do a mini intervention. She needs to know how everyone feels about her being overcontrolling, but it needs to be done respectfully and without anger and blame.

Why does my gf get bent if I just chill with my homies?

There can be two sides to this. First, you could spending too much time with your homies, and are neglecting your relationship. She is not some pet that you call when you want her. Second, she could be really needy. Of course, it can be a combination of both. Most of the time if you make a woman feel really secure, your life will be much easier. If it's a serious relationship, she should be made to feel like she is your priority. This is not to say that each of you give up your individuality, but there's a difference between a single mindset and a couples mindset.

I’m 23 and divorced with one kid. When do I tell a guy who might want to date me?

You may as well be upfront and honest at the beginning. That way you will find out a lot about the person. Your child and you are a packaged deal. Are you subconsciously resentful that you have a child? You are a mom first ahead of any other relationship. Anyone you date has to respect that.

When is a good time to introduce my boyfriend to my parents?

It really depends on your relationship with your parents. In our house our kids always brought everybody home right away. Is there something about your relationship that you would not like your parents to know? Is your father and/or mother overprotective to the point it embarrasses you? Also, in some cultures introducing someone to your parents is a giant step in being a very serious relationship. All of these have to be factored in to making your decision as to when to have him meet them. The fewer secrets there are, the healthier the family.

My bf says a bj isnt really sex. Is this right?

Our former president, Mr. Bill Clinton, had a very slippery answer when asked if oral sex is sex. His answer was, "It depends on what the definition of "is" is." Your boyfriend is trying to manipulate you into doing something he wants you to do and make it seem like it's really okay. In other words he doesn't think you are smart enough to figure it out. So the only real question to be answered is, "Is he right?"

My bf is bangin. He don’t listen to me that he gonna get killed. How do I make him listen? IK he got to do it himself but I wanna help.

You only have control over you, not both of you. All you can do is express how you feel and how worried and concerned you are about him. If there's someone he looks up to and respects, try involving them. You are a wonderful girlfriend for caring so much, but you also need to protect yourself. Ultimately, you may have to end the relationship because of what he is doing. That's called setting a firm boundary. If you mean as much to him as he seems to you, he will listen and respect what you are saying.

When do I know its time to end a relationship?

The best time to let go of a relationship is when you come to the realization that the person with whom you are in the relationship no longer meets your needs. How will you know that? By clearly defining your needs. Our app, Love Shopping List, was designed to do exactly that, help you define AND prioritize you needs. If you are unhappy more than you are happy, the light should go on.

My brother is gay but doesn’t want to tell my parents. He asked me to pretend his boyfriend is mine so my parents will be cool. I don’t know what to do.

Unfortunately, your brother is ashamed of himself. He really needs your support. You should not agree to pull the fake boyfriend. Instead, offer to sit with him with your parents. He needs to know that he will be loved unconditionally by his family. You can get great support from the LGBT community center closest to you. They are a wonderful resource to help you, your brother, and your family navigate through this difficult time.

My wife is an alcoholic. We have kids. I’d like to see her get help but I don’t want to be married to her anymore. Is this wrong?

You need support. the best place to get this kind of help is from Alanon, from other people who are in similar situations. Your wife needs help, but she may not be ready to listen. You do need to protect your children if she is drinking while they are in her care or she is driving. This may mean you have to take legal steps. This isn't an issue of being wrong. It's an issue of being a parent first. You don't want to be married to the alcoholic, but what if that changes. Take a big breath and step back for a bit. You can always make whatever decisions you need later.

My bff is going with a black guy. I’m trying to convince her she is making a mistake. Any suggestions? I’m not a racist but it’ll get ugly.

While I respect that you are trying to help your friend, you need to examine your own belief system. You are the worst kind of racist because you don't even realize you are a racist. If this is really your bff, you should be supportive of whatever decision she makes about whom she dates and not judge her. I know this sounds harsh to you, but my intent is not to be harsh but to be real. Celebrate her relationship with her. If it gets ugly, be there to support her. But don't judge her or her relationship. It's a biracial relationship, and this is 2013. There's nothing she's doing wrong. Again, you need to look inward.

What should I do? I think my girlfriend is falling for another guy. She is constantly texting and says its her girlfriends. Plus, she is always busy lately.

When there is no trust, there is really no relationship. All you can do is express how you feel. As hard as it may be, tell her that if she is really interested in someone else, that's okay, but please just let you know, and you will respect that. You need to bring it out into the open.

My GF wants to talk to me on Twitter like its private even though I keep telling her its not. What should I do?

You are answering her on Twitter, aren't you. DUUHH! Just don't respond if you want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

its not bad idea if things go wrong sexual herassment and get paid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow! Really?? Is that what you'd like your relationships to be about? If it doesn't work out, I'll just file for sexual harassment. When you find that no one really wants to be close to you in a relationship, ask yourself why. Let me know how all your failed relationships feel. All of us would be interested in knowing.

Why do so many relationships fail?

Relationships fail for many different reasons: cheating, lying, dishonesty, poor communication, financial stress, lack of commitment, etc. It's unfortunate, but many people are not willing to put in the time and effort to make a relationship work, and it take a lot of work. Almost anyone can be in a relationship when things are good, but it's really how two people work out the problems when the going gets tough that determines the future of the relationship.

My boyfriend smokes a lot of weed. Is there anyway to get him to stop? I don’t want to break up because of this.

People only change behaviors when they are uncomfortable. If your boyfriend knows that your bottom line does not involve you breaking up with him, he will continue to do the same thing. It doesn't make any difference whether someone thinks there is nothing wrong with pot or not. The point is that you said he is doing "a lot of weed," and that's not good for anyone, and certainly not for your relationship. You can only tell him how you feel. You only have control over you, but that includes making decisions about what you will and what you won't tolerate in a relationship.

I’m divorced. Whenever I go out on a date men think that I should just jump in bed with them. Do other divorced women have the same problems?

It really depends on which divorced women you ask. It also depends on the caliber of men you are dating. Men can be pigs, and, yes, I really just said that. If you establish boundaries, then there shouldn't be any problems. You can actually practice things to say so that you are not caught off guard when one of them puts a move on you. You should only go to bed with someone when you are ready. Being divorced, you are particularly vulnerable, and you need to look out for yourself.


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