Dr. Dennis W. Neder is the author of Being
a Man in a Woman's World. Got a love,
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Just Can't Forget The Abusive
My Man Doesn't Want
Speak Up! - Getting What You
Want in Bed (for Women)
What To Do When You Just Can't
Seem To Let Go
Other Relationship Issues,
Just Can't Forget The
I'm a 19 year old girl that's having one hell of
a time with guys. I was with my ex for three years.
He was controlling and possesive. Everyone else saw
it, but I was a moron and stuck with him. Then
after we went on vacation he got weird and said he
needed space. He wouldn't return my calls or
anything. Then one night a few friends came over,
one was this guy that I used to be interested in
before my ex. I felt that both of us wanted
something to happen that night. So after a few
drinks I wasnt my usual shy self (I'm shy due to my
ex constant undermining of my self-comfidence) and
started cuddling with him. We started to kiss and
make-out on the couch. During the past month, I
have gone and visited him at school and he has came
and stayed at my house. And about a week ago we
My problem is, everytime I'm with this new guy I
feel I have to lie to my ex about where I'm going.
I dont want to tell my ex I've been seeing someone
else. I really like the new guy and I'm interested
in seeing where it will go. But then I think to
myself why am I not telling my ex these things. I
do know that if my ex ever found out he would go
after my new boyfriend.
It sounds like your ex may have "issues" that
need to be addressed by someone in a professional
vein - specifically in anger management and with
insecurity issues. Let me say that, if this is the
case, you don't have the skills necessary to help
him and shouldn't try.
Since we're on the subject, let's talk about
mental health. First, everyone is at least a little
crazy sometimes. Some people are down-right
lunatics! However, when these bouts of the
"crazies" start affecting a person's (or someone
else's) life, it's time to get "a check-up from the
neck-up"! Problems like these are probably beyond
your expertise, and I strongly recommend that you
help your ex seek some counceling.
How about your mental health? You've been
through some challenges with him, but remember -
once you turn 18, you can no longer blame anyone
else for your mental health issues. You have the
ultimate responsibility for your own health.
It seems that deep-down; you're trying to
re-establish a relationship with your ex - perhaps
you feel that you have unfinished business, or are
still in love with him. Either way, you have no
need to protect him, unless you wanted to try to
get back together with him. Now, I have to ask, is
this really healthy? As you've mentioned, you feel
your shyness is a direct result of his abuse. If
you're going to take responsibility for your own
mental health, you don't want to put yourself back
in an abusive situation.
In fact, it seems to me that the best thing you
can do is to drop your association with this guy
entirely. Just like cutting off a dog's tail you
don't do it piece by piece - you do it all at once.
Further, if I were your new boyfriend, I'd put my
foot down and demand that you stop associating with
him. Why should he (a presumably nice guy) have to
deal with this competition? Answer: he
I hope all this helps. Just remember - you are
not responsible for anyone's behavior (or
misbehavior), but your own. You have a new, growing
relationship that deserves your attention, and your
abusive ex has set you free to explore it. Why not
take advantage of this last gift of his?
Speak Up! - Getting What You
Want in Bed (for Women)
I get a lot of reader mail. Much of it from women,
complains about how men don't know how to please
thier girlfriends. I always have the same response
- what have YOU done about it?
Too many women feel that men should "just know"
how to please a woman in bed. This is just plain
rediculous! I'm convinced that there is no such
thing as a "natural born lover". Making love is a
skill that is learned (for both men AND women by
the way - very few women are really good lovers -
men just happen to be less picky about most of it!)
Further, every woman is a brand new classroom.
Often, the things that worked for one woman don't
work for another.
Here's the reality: if you aren't getting what
you want from your partner - it's YOUR fault and
Why Women Don't Tell
Many women feel that "coaching" their partners
would hurt their egos; and for some this may be
true. If so, you may have to be more careful, but
you don't have to put up with a lousy lover! You
can broach the subject easily by first asking him
what HE wants. As he's telling you, make mental
notes - you can use the help too, believe me! Women
are NOT natural lovers either. Many, many women
just lay there waiting to have things done to them
and then claim that they really know how to please
a man. Sorry sister - it ain't necessarily so!
After he's given you the litany of things he
likes, feel free to tell him that you have things
you want too. He'll understand and probably want to
know more - much more! If he doesn't, what are you
doing with him in the first place?
Other women feel that he "should just know."
How's he going to know what you want if you don't
tell him? Should he just try everything until he
happens upon the thing you really want? That's just
stupid. What man is going to spend all that time
trying everything, getting shot down on most of it
to try to find what you want? If you take this
approach, don't be hurt or surprised if he brings
home another woman to try a threesome - just in
case that's what you want!
Many times, I've asked lovers what they do and
don't like in bed. The most common answer is, "oh,
I like just about everything!" Hogwash! When a man
asks you this, he isn't interested in your "range"
of sexual interest - he really wants to know what
things you enjoy. You should be thrilled if your
lover askes. Many don't know that they should! If
you don't know the answer to this question
yourself, you've got some work to do.
If You Don't Say It, Don't Expect It!
If he hasn't found your hot button(s) and you
haven't told him about them he isn't going to know.
Period. You've got to speak up! Women's sexual
response is rather more complicated than men's.
Sure, it's easy for YOU to know what YOU want - but
not for him. You've got to drop your guard a little
and let him in on the secret.
Again, you don't need to be concerned by what
you say - he's probably going to be really into
anything you come up with. Men are almost always
willing to try new things. As one of my female
friends says, "That's why I like men - my fantasies
are their playground!"
Don't Be Ashamed or Afraid
Women, you'd be surprised by how open your man
probably is to new ideas. Want to be tied up and
ravished? Most men would jump at the chance! Would
you like to get better oral sex? Most men are very
willing to help. Is he too fast or too slow? Why
not say so - but do it in a sensitive, caring way
with the goal of improving your sex life.
I have a friend that that had a fantasy about
being a slave girl on a ship. She told her
boyfriend who, a few months later rented a sailboat
(he was an avid sailor), and, on a warm summer day,
sailed her to the middle of nowhere, lashed her to
the mast, stripped her and ravished her - more than
fullfilling her fantasy (and starting a bunch
more!) In fact, it was so good for her, she still
can't stop telling the story to just about anyone
that will listen!
Your man is probably very interested in what
turns you on, so frankly, you have very little (if
any!) risk in telling him.
Don't Expect Him to Jump Through
When you tell him about yours, don't set the bar
too high. Some women's fantasies are quite complex,
involving props, sets, lighting, etc. For example,
if you've always wanted to join the "mile-high
club", don't expect him to rush out and get his
pilot's license so that he can fulfill your
fantasy. If you really want this fantasy to come
true, and the bathrooms on those commercial flights
are just too cramped, YOU may have to get YOUR
pilot's license, or be more creative!
You may have to help him along. Oral sex is a
good example. Simply telling him you like it isn't
going to get you oral the way you want it. He's
likely to just dive right in. He probably doesn't
understand the kind of build-up you need before
getting that most inimate of kisses. Take some time
and make him understand. This is the time to be
specific about things - after all, it's your
satisfaction we're talking about here!
If You Don't Know, You Can't Tell It
Do you fantasize? Almost every women asked this
question by her man say's "no", as though it would
make her a slut or something if she did. The fact
is, almost everyone fantasizes - and does so
regularly. Whether it's while having sex or
masturbating, sitting in class or at work, driving
in your car, or whatever - fantasizing is common -
very, very common. So, drop the embarrassment and
fear! There is nothing wrong with fantasizing - in
fact most psychologist feel that it is a normal,
healthy way of exploring your own sexuality.
One of the reasons why women are reluctant to
discuss they needs in bed is that many of them
simply don't know themselves. Whether through
repression, embarrassement, fear, bad experiences,
or whatever, many women never allow themselves to
explore their sexual side. I have to wonder what
these women are waiting for! There is little that
makes a person feel so alive as sex. You are as
deeply "inside" as you can get as well as outside
at the same time. Why waste this tremendous gift? I
can tell you that your lover doesn't want you
What To Do When You Just
Can't Seem To Let Go
Hi Dr. Neder:
I hope you have some good advice besides telling
me to get over this woman. I'm doing my best on
that (primarily by dating other women), but I
really want this woman back if possible.
Here's the story - it's pretty bizarre:
I was with a woman for a number years. It was on
again/off again, mostly because she would deal with
problems by breaking up. (I never initiated a break
up). Eventually, she would come back again. She
wanted marriage and children and I admit I was
afraid of marriage. She would get very emotional
and raise her voice; we lost the ability to
communicate about important issues, especially the
topics of marriage and children.
She broke up with me again late last year. I was
told she was very upset, crying all the time. I
assumed she'd be back like always. Wrong - she met
a guy, got engaged 3 weeks later, and married 3
months after that. The man she married was also on
the rebound and it's an obvious case of two lonely
people consoling each other. They are very
incompatible; he's not her (or my) equal in any
way. It's pretty certain she married him to get a
family, to not feel lonely after breaking up with
me and to show me something -- not out of real
love. It's almost certain they will eventually
I've overcome my fear of marriage, and even
proposed to her to marry me before they married. As
I said, she is stubborn and even though it's pretty
certain to everyone she still loves me (and has
implied she "feels sorry for him"), she would
rather die than admit she made a mistake and rushed
I love the woman dearly and, though would not
break up her marriage if it were a better situation
for her. I really want her back in my life if
possible. Obviously, sitting and waiting for them
to divorce is not a healthy approach. Can you give
me any suggestions other than just trying to forget
I'm not going to lie to you just because you've
asked - you deserve better than that. Get over her.
Yes, I know that isn't what you want to hear, but
it's the right advice. I also understand that
you're still in love with her, and maybe this is
the key to your freedom from her. I'm sorry, but
this woman sounds like a real nut case. Suffice it
to say that, while crazy women are the best sex
you'll ever have, they will cause you nothing but
You've been doing the right thing by dating
other women. I just hope that you're not spending
your time with them telling them all about this
woman. They don't want to hear that. You might find
that focusing on volumes of women will help you get
over one. After all, having a supermarket to choose
from will make a single brand much less
Ok, so on to the "key". Again, you're going to
have to get over her. Get out of her life, and get
her out of yours. If you have any property of hers,
give it back - ever single bit. If she has anything
of yours, get it back. No more telephone calls,
letters, birthday cards, email, or anything else.
You've got to wash your hands of her completely.
After all, you wouldn't cut off a dog's tail piece
by piece would you? Of course not - you'd do it all
Next, spend one session (no more than 30
minutes) considering what it is about this woman
that has a hold on you. Is it the sex? Is it her
looks? Just what is it exactly. Write this down on
a piece of paper - you're going to need it later.
Be short and specific - no more than a
One final tip that will help: carry a rubber
band with you. Huh? A rubber band - why? Here's
why: You need to stop the patterns that are making
you want her. These patterns continue to get
reinforced every time you think about her with
someone else. She isn't going to leave him for you
- and if she does, you'd better run! So, every time
you slip back into thinking about her, take that
rubber band between your thumb and first finger,
place it against your thigh, pull it back and give
yourself a nice pop with it.
Does this sound stupid? Believe me - it works.
What you're trying to do here is to associate the
thoughts of her with a negative stimulus - in this
case the stinging on your leg. Be consistent -
don't stop until you stop thinking about her.
The final step is the paper. You should use this
as the beginning of a letter to yourself. Instead
of being a sad remembrance of her, it will now
become the basis for your new goal - that of
finding someone new. You should spend a few days
and describe the exact woman you want to find.
Describe her in detail and don't cut corners. There
is something magical that happens when you commit
this to paper. Describe her looks, her height, her
political affiliation, her likes and dislikes, her
family, where does she come from, what does she eat
for breakfast, lunch and dinner, how intelligent is
she, what does she read, etc., etc., etc. Remember
to keep that rubber band handy - if you fall back
to thinking of the previous woman, you know what to
My brother, you're going to have to move on with
your life and accept that she is doing the same. Be
thankful for the things you've learned in your
association with her and find someone else that
you'll love even more - and that is less crazy.
My Man Doesn't Want Sex!
I just read your article "Breaking Up", and I
found it to be very useful. It help me to
understand a little of what I am going through and
how to go about ending the relationship. My
boyfriend and I have been involved now for 4 yrs.
Our problem is sex - he is not a very affectionate
person and believes you should not make love all
the time. So we only make love once every 3 to 5
months or more depending on our schedules. We do
not kiss much unless I ask, hold hands or make any
physical contact. I myself, am a very affectionate
person and need to have that contact in order to
feel that he still loves me and wants to be with
me. Now because of this I feel very distant from
him and tend to want to venture off with other men,
to fill the void that he does not satisfy. Should I
break up our relationship and move on? I tried
talking to him about it, but he thinks I am going
thorough a phase and I will get over it soon, so he
does not listen to me or make any changes. Help!
What should I do? Is their any way I can get
through to him? Or is it just not meant to be?
Dazed & Confused
I'll let you in on a little secret about men -
some men lose interest in their partners sexually.
No, its true!
As I discuss in my book, "Being a Man in a
Woman's World", men have a biological propensity to
seek multiple sex partners. This way (as it is with
any species that produces few offspring), he
insures that his genes are passed on to the next
generation. Up until the beginning of the 20th
century, the infant mortality rate was about 50%.
So, to counter this low birth rate with a high
death rate, nature spent 1.6 billion years building
the desire in men to have multiple partners. By
seeking multiple partners, men help to insure that
at least some of their offspring survive. For
reasons that don't deal with your question, very
few women posses this same drive.
Some men have turned this "hunting instinct"
into something else - the innate desire to find
multiple partners causes them to lose sexual
interest in their current partner. I hear this from
many of my readers, so you're not alone.
Interestingly, this doesn't seem to have much to do
with love - he probably still loves you (in his
way). Further, when you're apart for any length of
time, his interest in you probably grows
I'll bet that when you first started going out
together, you and he we're banging it out just
about every night. Then, slowly this frequency
began to drop, where now you're having sex only
about once every 3 to 5 months - and he is asking
Its obvious from your letter that you need the
physical closeness. For many people physical
closeness is absolutely necessary for mental
health! In my book, in the section under
"Communication" I discuss a number of communication
types. From your description, I'll bet you're a
"physical sexual" and your boyfriend is an
"emotional sexual". Without going into all the
details, suffice it to say that, you use your
physicalness - your body - to protect your
emotions, and you crave physical connection to
support your emotions. Your boyfriend does the
Ok, that's enough science - so, what do you
First, you need to recognize that you're not
going "get over" your need for physical expression.
That's like saying that your dog is going to "get
over" the need to be furry! On the other hand
you're probably not going to change him to be more
You're going to need to make a decision here.
You really have three choices:
1) live with things the way they are, realizing
that his interest in sex and physical closeness
will continue to wane while yours doesn't; 2) split
with him and find another partner; or 3) stay with
him and try again to discuss your needs, and, if
not met, satisfy them elsewhere.
You're already living in situation #1, so I
can't really give you any advice here. You've read
my article on breaking up, so you know about this
as well. Thus, I'll discuss the last option. If you
choose this, (and, it is wrought with problems!),
let me offer some ideas:
You're going to need to make a stand here. Find
a time when you're not interrupting something else
- you want your boyfriend's full attention. Tell
him that you're unhappy with the sexual and
physical part of your relationship with him. Tell
him you still love him, but feel compelled to
satisfy your physical needs. Explain that you're
not going to "get over it". Then, be quiet and
listen to, and watch his reactions.
Is he committed to making a difference? Is he
genuinely concerned about you and your needs? If
so, does he actually make the effort over the next
few weeks and months? If things again begin to drop
off, is he willing to discuss it with you and try
to deal with it? If not, and you choose to venture
outside your relationship here's what you need to
First - USE PROTECTION!!! Don't assume that your
new partner will handle this - you take the lead.
This is an absolute must - no excuses. It is your
responsibility. Get some condoms (hidden so that he
will NOT find them!), and use them every time - no
Second - don't tell your boyfriend, or allow him
find out about it! Let me explain this. Many people
use their straying as an excuse to inflict damage
and hurt on their non-conforming partner. Others
feel guilt and try to relieve their own guilt by
"coming clean". In either case, the unknowing
partner is always damaged and the perpetrating
partner is never cleansed. If you choose this path,
you have the absolute responsibility to protect
your primary partner. You may choose to stray
because you love yourself, but protect him because
you love him. Don't cause further harm to someone
else - if you choose this path, you must also
choose the responsibility it holds. You have much
to consider here.
Notice, that in the last paragraph, I haven't
used the word "cheat". I purposely avoid this word
because I don't believe in it. I believe that there
are circumstances that affect every relationship
beyond any outside person's understanding of it. To
judge a situation you're not directly involved with
is to assume you know everything about it and view
it with an open mind - quite arrogant. You (and
your boyfriend) are the only ones capable of
judging your relationship - not me or anyone else.
Our society preaches monogamy and curses "outside
adventures", but offers no acceptable alternative.
Further, it doesn't recognize the huge number of
dynamics involved in every relationship. By the
way, men are not the only ones who venture outside
of a primary relationship. Women explore outside
possibilities just as often as men, but they do so
for different reasons.
Even when we're in a committed, monogamous
relationship, we're still on our own. You can't own
or control another person in the long run, but you
can control your own happiness and health. In fact,
it is your responsibility to do this. I wish this
happiness for you in whatever decision you make.
Please let me know how things turn out.
© 2001, Dr. Dennis W. Neder
Other Relationship Issues,