a Man

Dr. Dennis W. Neder is the author of Being a Man in a Woman's World. Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? He'll answer all letters. Write E-Mail for answers or visit:

Already Committed
Am I Sabotaging My Relationship?
The Art of Selling
Being a Coward and Taking It Slow
Breaking Up
The Cheating Girlfriend
Compliments and "Metacompliments"
Communication and "Sexual Conversion" Part II
Could These Balls Be Yours, By Chance?
Creating A Void To Be Filled
Dating Two (or More) Women At The Same Time
Dating While Still Being In a Relationship
Dating With A.D.D.
Don’t Trust Myself!
Fear, As a Motivator
Financial Accounting in Relationships
First Date Checklist
Get Over It Already!
Giving a Great Massage
The Harsh Reality
How Do I "Divorce The Ex"?
How to Keep it "Just Sex"
How to Manage The Costs of Dating
I Can’t Get Him To Leave!
The "Independent Woman" - A Recipe for Disaster
The “Inter-Dependent” Relationship
Interracial Dating
Is He Jerking Me By Jerking Off?
Is She Just a Habit?
Knowledge *IS* Power - When You Have It!
Learning to Be A Man
Learning To Be A Sexual Person!
Living Together Before Marriage
Making the First Move
Moving In Together
My Flaky Girl Problem
My Unfaithful Girlfriend
Notes on Working Bars and Clubs
The “Owned Woman”
"Right-Sizing" Your Relationship
The “Selfish Woman” Syndrome
The Test" and "The Challenge
What Do Men Really Want?
What’s the Likelihood of Finding Your "Soul Mate"?
Why are Beautiful Women Crazy?
Why are Men So ... Infuriating?
Why Aren’t Women Better Lovers?
It’s Really About Your Goals
Who is REALLY the Problem Here?

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Is She Just a Habit?

You and she are a couple and have been dating for awhile. You've fallen into a pattern that seems comfortable and even safe. Sure, you fight once in a while, but you have fun too.

The only problem is that you're bored and you're wondering what else you're missing out there.

It's easy to fall into dating someone out of habit, especially when you consider what you have to do in order to meet someone new. You have to meet someone, learn about them, go through all the courting rituals, handle problems, spend time, money and emotional energy and rebuild a new habit.

Do you and she have the same goals? Do you both enjoy the same activities? Are you sexually compatible? There are a thousand and one considerations with each new person you meet!

The end of the year is a good time to start reconsidering your goals and direction. You might create "New Year's resolutions", but I suggest you build goals instead. Resolutions tend to be vague. For instance; "I'm finally going to lose that 30 pounds, and have the hernia fixed." It doesn't mention when you're going to do these things.

Goals on the other hand are very specific and have a timeframe for their accomplishment. By looking at your goals before New Year's day, you're pro-actively crafting next year to fit your needs, not simply hoping for something better.

So, how do you decide if she's just a habit?

First, sit down and think about what you want in your relationship life. What are you looking for and how will you feel, think, act and be when you get it? How does that image apply to your current relationship?

If it's substantially different, you might very well be in a habit with her. This may be a good time to re-evaluate that relationship and consider breaking out to find a new one. You're going to have to determine if you have the skills you need to do this and again, the first of the year is a great time to begin the work of gaining these skills.

The real key to this however is to have clear, written goals of what and whom you're looking for and to craft this into a plan. Be sure to include a timeframe for this plan too! Otherwise it's simply a dream and you'll never get started on accomplishing it.

Best regards

My Flaky Girl Problem

Hi Dennis,

I got together with this girl almost two months ago. She seemed really shy and nervous, but she was gorgeous. I am really good looking and have a lot going for myself career wise. We seemed to really have a good time. Anyway, we've made plans multiple times; she stood me up once, and cancelled three other times. We talk on the phone maybe once a week for minutes at a time.

I spoke to her last Tuesday and got really annoyed at her, and basically told her she needs to have fun with her life. She stays at home working on her business and school and hasn't been out since. That day I called her three times, and just unloaded the meaning of life speech on her. I was confident and carefree in my approach and even told her, look if you're not interested that's fine. And she came back saying she was. She called me that night and thanked me profusely for my speech telling me I was AMAZING! She said she really wanted to get to know me, and Friday was worked for her. I called her Friday and no answer, left a message and she stood me up.

I know she is interested; otherwise I would have walked away in a sec. She did say something about having commitment issues. She has been single for 2 years after a 6 year relationship (She's 26 and I am 28). I think she is scared. And when it comes time to meet me she freaks. How do I get through to her? Does your Blitzkrieg theory apply in this case?



First of all, the "Blitzkrieg" technique ( ) isn't going to work with this girl until you can actually get to see her and spend some time with her. This is where you're making your mistakes - in setting these dates. Why would you agree to see her on a Friday and then call to confirm? All that does is give her a way out - and prove that you don't have the game she hopes you do.

I can't give you all the details here as they are many, and I strongly encourage you to read "Being a Man in a Woman's World I & II" for the whole story, but let me give you some information on setting dates with flakes:

First, when you're on the phone set the date and be absolutely clear and firm about it. No "I'll see you around 8 or so..." or "Let's meet at the mall..." etc. You have to be absolutely specific and clear. "I'll meet you at 8:10pm sharp." Likewise, with a flake, NEVER accept meeting her anywhere except her own front door. It's far too easy to "forget" or to claim that you meant "...the OTHER mall..." etc. She knows exactly where she lives and there's no confusion about it. In addition, this gives you the ability to convert your date into more later ( and ).

You also need to be much more specific on your expectations of her. Right now, her actions have no cost! If she's interested in you (which she appears to be - when you stand up to her and stop taking her crap!) she's going to be afraid of losing you through her bad behavior. If you let her slide on this, she'll start to see you and your interest in her as worth exactly what she has to put into it - nothing.

You probably don't even call her on any of this! Instead, you put up with it and make excuses for her ("Well, she's really busy..." or "She's really scared.") That's really screwed up. I don't care how beautiful she is ( ), this type of behavior is unacceptable. Your time and interest is worth a tremendous amount, and frankly, there are far too many great, beautiful women out there to both with this sort of game.

Best regards...

Knowledge *IS* Power - When You Have It!

Dr. Neder,

I feel like I'm in a nose-dive trying to pull the nose of the plane up. In reality, I think it already crashed but I'm denying it.

My girlfriend and I had been together 3 years. We had our ups and downs and broke up once for a few weeks. In August of this year, I was going to propose to her when she told me she had cheated on me the night before. She told me I didn't deserve it, but that she was going to again that night. I broke up with her. Her fling last a few weeks.

We were at odds from August through October. I should also tell you that we are both under contract to sing with the with the city opera company through February, so we are working with each other almost every night. A few weeks ago, at a pre-determined time we got together to re-evaluate. I've been in love with her the whole time. We mutually decided to work, slowly and steadily, towards getting back together.

That was great for about 9 days when she suddenly cooled, said she felt trapped after talking about it with her counselor and wanted to only have contact at rehearsal. 2 days later she says she still loves me, but that one of the soloists from out of town asked her out. She accepted. I went out with my friends after rehearsal, and when I went home (we live next door to each other) I saw his car outside her front door --at 2:30am. The front window was open so I looked in to see her naked on top of him give him a bj! I knocked on the door until she came out and confronted her, she was defensive and told me to leave or she'd call the police.

We're not together, obviously, and I am trying to move on. But how the hell can I do it having to see her each night--now with him? I run into her, and him, and rehearsals each night, and then go home and it's the same. I feel trapped and surrounded. And at the same time she still says she loves me. She's acting like a whore and doing it front of the rest of the opera company, some of which ask me about it. The production we're doing right now is Pagliacci--if you're not familiar with it it's kind of the same story as what I just wrote. The guy she hooked up with is the character in the opera that splits up the other two....I'm living it and having to watch it. Last night I almost didn't think I was going to make it through rehearsal.

What are your thoughts? What can I do to help ease this?


How ironic. Actually, I'm a big opera fan from years back and Pagliacci is one of my favorites.

There have been a number of mistakes made here on your part, starting with the intent to propose. It's pretty obvious that she didn't see things the same way and in my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World II" I talk about how to know when to propose - and when not too. This was an obvious case of when not too.

Likewise, as soon as she flat-out told you her plan to sleep with someone else (and of course that it had already happened without your knowledge), you should have dumped her sorry ass right then, right there. Frankly, much of your pain now is simply because you haven't taken the initiative to do what you need to do in the first place. You even feel humiliation at being mistreated by her (perhaps rightfully so), only to try to hang on rather than making her own up to her responsibilities to you as her partner. You even went so far as to give her freedom to do whatever the hell she damn well pleases to do!

So, with that, let's talk about the recovery aspect.

First off, I hope to hell that you're not ever planning on taking this self-centered, using, cheating bitch back! If you are, you can just reading stop right here. There's nothing more I can do for you.

On the other hand, your healing will come from taking back control of your life and deciding that you will never give it up again to a woman. Putting that much faith in a woman seems like a romantic idea and in fact, so much of our popular culture and media depict this very act! How cute. The problem with it is that women are by far better at these things than men are. They spend their entire lives studying relationships and all their nuances. It seems chivalras to give them these freedoms until they use them against us as did your ex.

What I suggest you do is to first sit down and work through your relationship goals. Take that control back by crafting your future and how your relationships are going to work from now on. Decide exactly what you want, and in doing so, why this woman isn't worthy of your consideration. That will feel very good!

Then, set about crafting a plan to begin building those relationships! Don't worry or even consider her in any way. She's creating her own hell; you just don't have to be a part of it any longer. Get to work on all of this right now. If you need some help here, I strongly urge you to consult my books, as they will lead you right through the process.

This is a case where knowledge really IS power.

Best regards...

How Do I "Divorce The Ex"?

Dear Doctor:

I live in New Jersey and got engaged 7 months ago. My fiancé lives in Colorado and his ex-wife lives in Las Vegas with his 6 year old daughter. My fiancé divorced his ex-wife 5 years ago due to her infidelity. I am having a real hard time accepting his ex-wife coming over to his home in Colorado to bring his daughter. It's ok to bring his daughter but his ex-wife should sleep over in a hotel not his home. He assures me it's only a friendship but he is has his ex to stay at his home because of his daughter.

It really bothers me since last summer his ex asked him if they can work things out since they have a child together. Of course he told her “no”. I even asked if they’ve been intimate since the divorce, and he says that they have not. She knows we are engaged but he has not told her about our wedding date next February 2005.

Next Saturday I will go to visit my fiancée for 5 days and will meet his ex and his daughter who arrive on Tuesday. I have to come back to Jersey on Thanksgiving morning to have dinner with my son (17 years old).

I can not understand why his ex- has to stay for Thanksgiving at my fiancé's home. I really don't know how I am going to deal with this. My fiancé's neighbor told me it was odd the first time she saw his ex-wife back at home but after meeting her, she saw only a friendship between them. It is extremely difficult to have a long distance relationship and this issue doesn't help.

I feel that my fiancé is not being respectful of my feelings. He insisted I will change my opinion as soon as I meet his ex. He did say, “Please do no became her friend because his ex-wife is a liar and a manipulator…” and that I should keep my distance from her. I keep telling him, how can I keep my distance while she will stay in the same home?

Have you ever heard anything like this before? I know my fiancé loves me and I love him too but it is very awkward situation.


In fact, I've heard this rather often. This is the problem with people in divorces, with kids, and long-distance relationships - of which you have them all!

Your fiancé has every right to maintain a relationship with his daughter. Since she's so young, it doesn't make sense to put her on a plane by herself and it obviously doesn't make sense for him to fly to pick her up and then fly to return her. Having mom come out with her is the logical answer, (other than him flying to see them, of course) and frankly, I'm pleasantly surprised that she is willing to do this! That's a good mom for whatever her reasons, as she's insuring that her daughter and her daughter's father keep their relationship going.

As to your situation, the real problem here is the distance. Since you're getting married in February, my question is where are you both going to live? This is a temporary separation, and if you're so concerned about it, why don't you move in together - or at least move close to each other. That way you'd instantly relieve the problem of the long-distance issue. Most of your mistrust of the situation is from the distance. When she's there, you obviously have no way of knowing what's going on, so instead, you make up all sorts of scenarios in your mind.

Frankly, you have no reason to mistrust him or the situation here. It sounds like everyone is giving you every reason to believe that he's telling you the truth. He's even committed to marry you! You're going to meet her and the daughter in a few weeks as well, and it sounds like that is going to help to put your mind at ease.

I suggest you relax and see what is really going on when you're there. Don't create problems that don't already exist. Instead, deal with real problems, as these will always be there.

Best regards...

The “Owned Woman”

Dear Dr. Neder:

I began a relationship with a married man on the internet over 2 1/2 years ago. I appreciated his ideas of family and relationships. He told me his marriage was over and subsequently we had a meeting face to face within three months. The first time he made love to me he told me he loved me and I said I love you to him. I love him very much, after four days we left California where I resided and I moved to New York where he resides to live with him.

We are very close, he knows me like no other man has ever known me. I love him very much, the infatuation has worn off and now it is a real relationship. He asked me to marry him and I took him seriously but now I see it is never going to happen. I am devastated by it. He is still married and has done nothing to obtain a divorce, even though he says he wants one, he has many excuses; financial obligation, mortgage, insurance, groceries, all utility bills, cable, gasoline medical and dental bills, the list is endless, so he would pay less if he were divorced but he says his wife won't take care of the bills so he has to anyway.

Okay I understand but why not get a divorce and continue to do what he is doing? He has contacted an attorney friend to prepare documents, but he has not filed for divorce with the paperwork he has completed.

I have cried, pleaded, begged, argued, and my efforts are useless. I am beginning to realize it isn't that he doesn't want a divorce; he doesn't want to marry me.

I cannot express to you the heartache I feel over all of this I don't know what to do, my only option is one day to just leave but at this time I cannot bring myself to do this, Im not a perfect woman but I want to be able to prevent this kind of heartache in the future.

What is wrong with me? I do everything for him, I take care of him, help him in his office, make his breakfast and dinner every day during the week, if he comes home late I make dinner at 10:00pm at night, I take care of his children on the weekends while he and his wife work at separate places of course, but I feel she works on the weekend to get away from her children while I am there all day Saturday to care for them. He has seven children four at home, ages 7-15years, the youngest is Autistic and he is difficult to care for but I do it. I have recently told him I can no longer baby-sit on the weekend because I have to get out and get a life, I have been here for 2 1/2 years and I don't have any friends which is not typical behavior for me, part of the reason is I am tied down every weekend by his children and because I am so ashamed of my lifestyle I don't want anyone to know that I am a mistress, even though he insists I am not I know what I am.

In any event, when I told him I could not longer baby-sit on the weekend he told me we would have to break up. I felt my world crashing in and I have come to the reality that he has no intention of marrying me. At first I was angry with him, now I have accepted it knowing the truth I have no intention of harassing him anymore to get a divorce.

I have an eleven year old son, who is very unhappy that we are in this position.

Please tell me what you think.


I think you've created one hell of a mess for yourself.

As I began to read your letter, I started to think you were putting your emphasis in the wrong place - being married. As I constantly tell people, there aren't too many divorces, there are too many marriages! In fact, women often push for marriage even if the relationship isn't perfect - or isn't even good for that matter. Then, they wind up married and unhappy and lives start getting damaged all over the place; the man's, the woman's, kids, families, etc. In fact, what is important isn't the "format" of the relationship at all - it's the quality.

As I finished reading your letter, I began to realize the problem here is simply you. You threw away the life you had in California for some dream without any background for it. You moved after 4 days? Doesn't your son and your own life deserve better consideration than that? It obviously didn't when you made the decision.

Now, you're available for sex and companionship, to cook and clean for him, and you're his kid's nanny. Let me guess - you also don't work. He supports you and pays your bills too. That's a pretty good deal for this guy (and his wife, by the way!) But you're not happy with it now. I don't blame him for threatening to break up with you if you don't stay status quo. He's got everything he wants! Why would he want to lose that?

The real question is this: what do you want? Do you want to be a person that is owned by this guy, or do you want to finally have a life? You made this decision once before and you choose poorly. I suggest you make the decision again and choose wisely this time. You have a choice, but it's not about what he does or doesn't do at all. It's about you.

Best regards...

First Date Checklist

First dates sometimes offer a range of emotion from thrilling to terrifying!

Here are some tips that will help things go smoothly:

  • Be on time! Timeliness is expected, but being late (or too early) makes a bad impression. If you can't help being a little late, call before the expected arrival time.
  • (for men) Do a "personal check" before the date - are your fingernails clean, hair neat, clothes ironed, shoes polished, and any odors under control (including breath)? Women look at these things and are aware if they aren't in check. You should be too!
  • (for women) Don't overdo the make-up or perfume! In most cases, a little goes a long way.
  • Don't go to the movies, the theatre, or a concert on your first date - you want to be able to talk and get to know this person.
  • Don't "pull out all the stops" - keep it simple. The first date is more of an interview than an event.
  • (for men) Listen! Don't spend all your time talking about things you already know. Your goal here is to find out about your date.
  • Have something to talk about - read a newspaper or magazine of general interest. Try to find common things you both share.
  • Keep an open mind and don't argue. You don't have to agree with everything your date says, but where you differ, offer an alternative idea rather than discounting it, and if you don't know something ask!
  • Remind yourself that your not nervous, you're just excited. Calm confidence is very appealing!
  • Have fun! That's the idea of the first date.

How to Manage The Costs of Dating

Hey Doc,

I am really interested in paying protocols and dating. I went on two dates this past weekend and I spent nearly half my paycheck. I'm not kidding! The cost of living where I am is EXPENSIVE. I'm not looking for high maintenance women, but I also don't want to be cheap. 

Help me out here.

"Big Spender"

Hello "Big Spender"! 

This is the most insidious part of dating! Women complain all the time about the "wage gap", but never consider that men pay 92% of all dating costs! You're also quite correct - if you don't pay for the date, you're going to look cheap. For this same reason, you don't want to use coupons or 1/2 off deals, etc. This is definitely grounds for denying a second (or third, forth, etc.) date! So, what do you do? 

In my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World" I talk about this specific issue (and tons more!) and recommend that you pick up a copy of it. Consider what you're going out with a woman for in the first place - you're trying to get to know her. You're trying to see if this is a woman you want to get to know better. Thus, taking her to an expensive restaurant and a concert negates the effect you're trying to achieve. It also sends the wrong message. For example, if you drop $100 on a single date, what are you going to do the next time? Drop $200, then $300, etc.? 

You want your dates (especially the first few) to be casual. Don't bring flowers or candy, in fact, I recommend that you give her no gifts until you've been naked together! And then, perhaps a card might be nice. There actually are many inexpensive dating ideas; here are just a few of them:  

  • "Quarter" Date - cost: $10 - Buy a roll of quarters and spend the day trying to spend them all. 
  • Exacta Date - cost: $30 - Go to the local track (free or inexpensive entrance), get a couple of hot dogs and sodas ($10), pick up a betting paper ($2) and bet on 9 $2 exactas ($18). If you win, go spend it on dessert! 
  • Sitcom Date - Cost: $0 - If you're in an area where the shoot TV programs (like LA, Canada, etc.) you can get tickets to the taping of a show. 
  • Picnic Date - Cost: $20 - Pick up a bunch of snacks (cheese, crackers, cookies, etc.) and a bottle of wine. Find a nice quiet beach or hillside somewhere. 
  • City Tour - Cost: some gas - get a map of your local cities and find some places you've never been. Then - go visit them. 

Frankly, there are a ton more. Being creative helps enormously. Keep in mind that you're trying to accomplish two things: 1) Have some "face time" with the girl - just to get to know her; and 2) keep your costs down. You can do all of this just over coffee (about $5!) 

Although you're going to have to pay for your dates with these girls, as you get to know them, they should return something back to you. If everything is one-way - find someone else! That doesn't mean that they have to match you dollar for dollar, but you should be getting some benefit from dating them. For example, having a meal cooked for you once in a while is great. You can also have them help you pick out your wardrobe - women are really good at this, AND will help you look better in OTHER women's eyes! They can help you decorate your place, etc. 

Some of my female readers get this wrong. I've had a number of them write, "Of course he should pay for things - he's getting ME!" Wrong! She's getting HIM too! If you meet someone that thinks like this - dump her and move on. Any woman with this attitude isn't worth your time - let some other poor sucker pick up that check. 

Bottom line, any relationship you set up should deliver you as much benefit to you as it gives her!

Good luck, much love...

The “Inter-Dependent” Relationship

Hello Dr. Neder,

I have been reading some of your online advice and enjoy your practical and no-nonsense approach. I am hoping you can help me out with a problem I have.

I am a 40 year old woman, with wonderful and supportive family and friends, my own successful business, as well as many varied hobbies and interests. I am blessed with a rich and rewarding life.

Now I am at a wonderful point in my life. I have more than many dare dream of, except someone to share it with. I don't lack for interested men but it always turns out the same. Things start off well and then after two to three months, they back off and just want to be friends. I am on friendly terms with almost all my former boyfriends. A couple of them are among my closest friends. What is frustrating to me is the fact that I was able to maintain several long term relationships over the years that I was struggling with my self esteem issues but am unable to even get one off the ground since I have resolved them.

With every break-up I have been told over and over that I am wonderful person, I haven't done anything wrong, and they think the world of me. I don't know if they are trying not to hurt my feelings but common sense says that if you repeatedly have the same outcome from different scenarios... look for the common denominator. In this case, that would be me.

Recently, I had a rather candid conversation with a friend (who is also an ex) and what he had to say was that I am “perfect”. He said that between my personality, intelligence, emotional and financial stability, humor, looks, and sexuality, he thought he had hit the dating jackpot. On paper, I was everything he could dream of in a woman but ultimately it was what broke us up.

After several months he began to feel that I didn't need him. He felt that I had it so "together" that there really wasn't anything he could add to my life. This wasn't true from my perspective. There was a lot that he added to my life and I did my best to let him know how wanted and appreciated he was. He said that I was too good at everything and while on one hand he really admired that, on the other hand, in spite of being very feminine, it made me seem more like "one of the guys" than a girlfriend.

It's a little hard for me to grasp. I am attentive and affectionate. I have no problem expressing my appreciation of my partners both physically and verbally. Still, I don't seem to be getting the message through to them or perhaps I am misunderstanding what message they are hoping for. Clearly, there is something I am just not "getting".

If you have some advice on how I can resolve this problem, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you,


Obviously, I don't know you or your situation. However, I've got a very good feeling about the problem here as I see it quite often. It's something I've written about extensively in my new book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World II" - the "Independent Woman" syndrome. Let me explain.

Today, women are getting a barrage of messages from every form of media regarding the value and quality of women; and indeed, women are very important, capable and of value. This in itself isn't a bad thing, except for the fact that it's been taken to the extreme. Today, women are supposed to be "independent". In addition to this, men are actually viewed today as superfluous and unnecessary or even evil!

There are so many examples of this in every aspect of our lives today and results aren't good. Take a look at TV for instance. Men are constantly portrayed as bumblers, fools, dolts, incompetents, second-players, the butt of jokes, abusers, cheaters, homosexuals, etc., while women are shows as strong, achieving, primary characters. Let me ask you this: if a 30-second commercial can sell you a product with repeated viewing, what can repeated viewing, listening, reading of a 30- or 60-minute lifestyle do?

You can imagine that few men either: 1) want to be viewed this way, or 2) really are this way. However, this, (and many, many other examples I won't get into) have lead to the "Independent Woman" syndrome. This is where women tell themselves - and everyone around them, that they don't "need" men. In fact, women DO need men - just like men need women. The result has not been good for American women. In fact, there is a huge movement by men to actually boycott American women for just this reason!

I constantly warn my students away from Independent women for this and many other reasons!

Despite what the media would have you believe, here are the facts. Men and women:

  • Need each other.
  • BOTH are important to a successful society and neither is superfluous.
  • BOTH have something of importance to contribute.
  • Are different and bring different things to the table.
  • Don't compete with each other, but compliment each other in their own sexual identity.

Keep in mind that men are being fed these images as well in a steady stream. That's why men THINK they want an Independent woman, only to later realize (like about 2-3 months later?) that they aren't happy when they find them.

So, you may be asking, "What's the alternative?" It's a little thing I call the "Inter-dependent Relationship".

This is where both parties realize that the other has special, unique qualities that they bring to the relationship and they spend their time glorifying those qualities - not trying to be more of what the other person is. They believe and even state that they have needs in their lives and that they are thrilled to have found someone that helps to fill those needs. They revel in their partner's capabilities while still being proud of their own. They focus on their strengths while accepting their weaknesses because that's where they bond between them is formed; in effect, by having those weaknesses filled by another, equally-worthwhile person.

Compare your own recent relationships to this example. I'll bet you'll find that this is exactly where they fall apart. Why would a man want to be with someone that doesn't feel they need them? Why would a man want to be with someone that thinks she's fully complete within herself and sees them as superfluous? Why would a man want to be with a woman that doesn't respect or appreciate his contributions and unique, masculine abilities? Is the pattern starting to come clear?

One last point: don't confuse the Inter-dependent relationship with the co-dependent one. Co-dependent relationships are where one partner gives up their own persona and throws themselves fully into the relationship, being absorbed by it. My "model" allows a person to be powerful within themselves and still find the fulfillment that only a healthy, worthwhile relationship - between two healthy and worthwhile people - can offer.

Best regards...

Could These Balls Be Yours, By Chance?


My girlfriend and I have been together for 2 years. We fell in love right away and even moved in together (she was new in town). I'm 23 and she's 24. We had all these plans for the future and I even brought an engagement ring.

She went on a business trip 3 months ago and when she came back she told we she needed a break to figure out who she is and what she wants. I found out that before she asked for the break she met a 26 year old guy who lives 2 hours from us. I asked her if she wanted to break up and she said no, she just needs space.

Well the other guy started coming to see her and she has even gone to spend the whole weekend with him. I called this guy a couple of times because I was being stupid.

She has really hurt me but I still love her so much. I'm afraid to give her the break she wants because she may forget what we once shared. I tell her lets not talk until she figures out what she wants and she says she still wants to talk and hang out with me. I don't know what to do? Does she still love me?


I'm sorry to tell you this, no, she doesn't love you. If she did, how could she consider being with someone else while she's with you?

Frankly, this is particularly dirty - she already has another "boyfriend" even though she's living with you and doesn't want YOU to move on, but wants that freedom herself! Sure, she doesn’t want to break up – she has you at home cleaning everything and paying the bills while she gets to go out and establish a new relationship. What a self-centered, using bitch!

And then there's you - why in the hell would you put up with such a thing? She's going there spending weekends with him two hour away? Why would you ever tolerate such a thing? Because you "love" her? Where is your self-respect and dignity? Where are your balls? Oh, I know, they’re in her purse, right next to that love she claims to have for you. My brother, this isn’t “love”.

It's time to wake up out of this "love fog" you've got and start seeing this for what it is. You're obviously under the impression that you can't do better than her, but let me assure you, she's nothing special. When she goes out and runs around on you still hoping that you'll hang around just in case her new boyfriend doesn't work out, you're as much to blame about all of this as she is - maybe more!

Tell her that she can go have her weekend, then spend that time packing up all of her stuff and putting it on the doorstep to greet her when she comes home. Also be sure to change the locks and phone number. Then, you and your buddies can go out on Sunday night to celebrate and meet some much better women.

Best regards...

Fear, As a Motivator

Dr. Neder,

You most likely already know why I'm emailing you so I'll get to the point.

I have a problem with a girl. I've sunk so low as to looking articles up on the internet because I care about her so much that I don't want to screw it up. She's one year my junior and we are in the same music class, playing the same instrument, and are currently working together on a small ensemble with another girl.

She's really pretty and I've known her for just over a year. The problem is. I can't talk to her the way I want to. Sure, I seem cool and composed right now, but that's because I communicate easier through the keyboard than I do verbally. Unfortunately, I don’t know her email address.

I don't make friends easily, and that's part of my problem. No matter what the outcome, I truly don't want to lose her as a friend. But I'm dead scared that if I tell her that I like her she'll start avoiding me and she won’t want to be my friend. I'm really at a loss. I don't know what to do about this. It's starting to affect me negatively. I'm stressed out about many things other than this as well. But my mind keeps drifting back to her.

I care about her a lot. And I like her on more than a physical level. What it comes down to is this: what the hell can I do?

Thanks for your time...


You've "...sunk so low..."??? Remember: I WRITE those articles! I don't think its "low" at all. Where in the hell are you going to get this information if you haven't found it yet???? I think the Internet is a great place to get information if you're careful about what information you seek, and whom you get it from.

Ok, get this through your thick skull: you can either have her as a "friend" or you can have her as a "girlfriend". You can't have both. If you're afraid of losing her friendship, then you're just going to have to love her from afar and never, ever tell her about it or do anything about it ever. If you do, you're going to lose her friendship permanently. That's the way it is.

On the other hand, you might actually get her as a girlfriend.

What is it that you want? If the friendship is so important, you can stop reading this reply right here. Now you know what you to do - nothing.

On the other hand, if you DO want something more with her, you're going to have to get over this idea of the friendship. In fact, women don't make good "friends" for us guys. They never have, and they never will. That is the fact.

If you want to have something more with her, you're also going to have to get over your fears. Fear will prevent you from doing all sorts of things in your life - including having the relationships you want. If that's ok with you, be my guest and enjoy all the fear you want. You don't need my help on that one!

Being afraid, being shy, being a pussy, etc., are all ways you prevent yourself from getting what you want in life. You're either going to live the life of "quite desperation" or you're going to go out and take what you want from it. As a young man you have the luxury of choice right now, but that's not going to get you anywhere with this girl - and she knows it.

Women are pre-programmed to seek out men - not little boys. That means that as a "man" you're going to need to do the things to move this forward, such as asking her out. That may seem pretty scary at first, but how scary is the idea of not having her instead? Frankly, you may have already sunk into the "friend zone" with her. I suggest that you get moving and stop being afraid.

Just tell her that you've enjoyed getting to know her and would like to know her better on a personal level - starting with this next weekend. Tell her that you'll pick her up on Friday night to get started.

Best regards...

© 2002, Dr. Dennis W. Neder

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