a Man
Archive 01


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:

Just Can't Forget The Abusive Ex
My Man Doesn't Want Sex!
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, Books

More 1


Just Can't Forget The Abusive Ex


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 started dating.

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.

Any suggestions?

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 shouldn't!

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 YOUR responsibility!

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 Hoops

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 to!

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 divorce.

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 into something.

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 her?


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 problems otherwise.

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 important.

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 at once.

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 paragraph.

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 do!

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

Hello Dazed!

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 tremendously.

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 for less!

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 opposite.

Ok, that's enough science - so, what do you do?

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 physical either.

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 do.

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 exceptions.

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

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Relationship is a pervading and changing mystery...brutal or lovely, the mystery waits for people wherever they go, whatever extreme they run to. - Euroda Welty

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