Life Advice



Single File: No-Fun Games

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: I agree that the timing of a phone call is just the beginning of game playing that women use with men. I'd like to expose some of the more serious games they play -- games that they may think are cute but that in reality are stupid and potentially dangerous, often with lasting effects.

There's the "I'm pregnant" game, sometimes a ruse and sometimes a faked accident. If it's a ruse (after getting the desired feedback), they proceed to fake a miscarriage or disappear for a few days to "have an abortion." Timed properly, this game can tie in with their menses, which can masquerade as miscarriage or abortion. (I saw this happen to a friend, but I was too naive at the time to realize what a miscarriage looked like.) The faked "accident" is accomplished by deliberately "forgetting" to use birth control and conceiving and then pushing the man to marry in a desire to get a baby and a license so that they can stick their hand into his pocket.

There's the mind-reading game, in which a man is supposed to know what she wants. She hasn't told him but sure will punish him for not doing or buying what she wants.

Sexually, she wants him to be a kind and considerate lover, yet she will withhold sex as punishment, deciding what is and isn't proper -- refusing to give him what he desires or, in some cases, denying it to him altogether. -- From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Speaking of bed games, you won't believe it (a friend swears it's true), but there's one I know in which the wife allows her husband 15 minutes of sex a week. No more. It's an unwritten rule between them. She puts an alarm clock on the night table and clocks his activity -- to the minute. Then there's the wife who telegraphs her willingness to have sex by lying on her back on their double bed. Not a sound is heard. It's the woman's sign language, signaling her OK to him to go ahead and do his duty. To this day, I still can't believe these situations really exist. But they seem to have stood the test of time. I'm doubtful that their marriages did.

But yes, there are game players out there, in and out of the married group. Male and female players are plotting their games as we speak. Fun they aren't. Neither are their games. I can just imagine the people who buy into this kind of lovemaking -- inhibited, afraid of their own bodily urges and restricting their partner to the tamest sort of physical expression. If you meet one of these, run for your life.


DEAR SUSAN: I've been divorced for three years and dated on and off, with many one-time dates. For the past year, I've been seeing a man very different from me in many ways. His life has been harder, and he hasn't had the opportunities that I've been fortunate to have in my life, such as education and a stable family life. During the 20 years of his marriage, he often worked two jobs to help support his wife while she completed college and they raised two children. I really enjoy this man's company; we have fun when we're together, and he always lifts my spirits. He is tender, caring and a hard worker and has values comparable to mine.

Each of my grown children (24, 22, 19) has a hard time accepting his presence in my life. He talks a lot when he's nervous, making it hard for them to carry on a conversation with him when he feels uncomfortable. His lack of social skills can sometimes be frustrating. My kids make him nervous, and he feels they are judging him. The three of them have let me know they don't care for him and think I could do better. (Their father has remarried, and I feel I'm being held to some other standard.) Sometimes I feel that no matter who it is I'm with, the man wouldn't be fully accepted by them. I understand the feelings that probably lie beneath their words, but at the same time, I would hope they'd want to see me happy. And I believe I am with this man. What can I say to my grown children when they express resentment or negative feelings about the man I'm seeing? -- From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: When you call a family council -- and I do hope it's soon -- the most important thing is that you speak from your heart. Each word isn't parsed; it's the general idea behind your words that counts. Judging by your letter, I'd say there's a good chance you'll convince your children that this man merits a closer look. He makes their mom happy, and she's pretty discerning, so the least they could do is get to know him better and not prejudge him the way they've been doing. He may have a rough exterior, but that's not the measure of a man. If he's good enough for their mom, well, they'd better take a deeper look into the heart and soul of her suitor. The important thing at this first of (I hope) several family councils is that each person feels perfectly free to say what's on his or her mind, to speak plainly and honestly about this man -- and whatever else is bugging each person. Maybe they'd like more time with their mother; maybe they resent her dating in general (an issue that I suspect is close to the surface of this issue and that needs to be talked about openly and thoroughly). Make room on the living room carpet for the group. Silence your phones; order in pizza; take notes. And fasten your seat belts, because it may be a bumpy ride. It may turn out to be the happiest ride of your life, though. I hope so.


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