Don't worry, be happy :)

Focus on life issues.
Ask Arlene MD is to focus on anything that has to do with mental health. In the past I've written about relationships but now I would like to focus more on mental health and try to be educational and entertaining. Life is always about relationships. These are either male, female, parent, child, neighbors, teachers, and the list is infinite. How we interact with others define us. If we are angry, we can develop toxic relationships. If we have a better attitude, then we will be happy. Happiness is really a state of mind. You chose to feel happy. You chose to be sad. You choose to be angry. You chose to be mean. Hopefully if you read this blog you will use it for insight, not to attack others. The purpose is to try to make people have a better and positive look at life. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The guy who is a stringer.

There is this lady I know who started dating this man 14 years older than her. She was 38 years old when she met him and he was in his fifties. They both were married and started having an affair. The affair has lasted more than 20 years and they’re still dating.  She had younger children when she met him, so they decided to stay with their respective spouses till her children grew up. His children were already in their twenties and out of his house.  Time went by and her children grew up, so she decided to get a divorce. Since she was dating this older, financially stable man, she went for a quick divorce and did not bother to get alimony nor half of the marital assets. She figured that her lover would take care of her. To her surprise, he did not get a divorce. Years went by and she started calling his wife and grown children, showing unannounced to his office and making scenes. These worsen the strain in their relationship. Eventually he did get a divorce but refused to marry her. He started dating younger women than her. She was now in her mid fifties and he was over 65 years old. He started dating women in their early forties. To her shock, he continued with this behavior! She works in real estate and does not have a steady income. The home she lives in is her lover’s and ex wife’s rental property and she may be kicked out any moment. Her lover makes her pay rent and utilities. She has no savings, does not own a house and has neither steady job nor health insurance. What is sad is that if he dies, she will be kicked out of the house she lives in by his children. It’s unbelievable that she continues with this man. She used to be a very attractive woman but she has aged. She still could have a chance to find someone who cared for her but she feels that she has “invested” too many years waiting for her lover that she just refuses to give up. Sometimes women should cut their losses and move on. Think about this like a bad stock or mutual fund that you may have bought in the past. Sometimes it’s better to sell at a loss then continue to lose more money. Think about your love life like a money investment. Don't get strung along by a stringer.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The lover who lives out of town.

I know this woman who is pushing forty, and wants to get married and have children. She has never been married and has a successful career. She met this man who lives in another city and has been dating him in a long distance relationship for 4 years. He is supposedly separated and planing on divorcing his wife. He is very rich and tells this woman that he needs to split the assets and that is the reason the divorce is taking so long. Last December, she gave him an ultimatum, either we marry and have children or we are done. It's been almost nine months, and he hasn't budged. She still travels one weekend a month to whatever city he pays her airline ticket to. He wines and dines her. He buys her gifts and takes her out to fancy restaurants. She has fallen in love with this man and she believes he loves her back. One day I asked her why was she not dating anyone local the other three weeks that she was not with her "boyfriend". Her answer was simple. "I am not a slut". She was faithful to her boyfriend. However, does she honestly think that he is "faithful" to her? Last Christmas, he refused to spend any time with her. He needed time for his kids. His kids are all over thirty years old! She didn't see him from Thanksgiving holiday throughout the New Year. I ask myself, why doesn't she keep her options open? If you are stuck in this type of relationship, isn't the smart thing to do is to go out with friends and meet people that are more available? Even if you don't find Mr. Right, at least you won't be so lonely three weeks out of the month.

It took you 10 years to find out he's married?

I know this woman that had been dating this man for 10 years. He lived a few hours away from her and traveled for a living. So, it didn't seem unusual that he could only spend  a few overnights with her during the week. She was a single mother and was busy raising her teenage daughter. The relationship was working fine for her. He swore he was single and she believed him. The years went by and her daughter grew up and got married. She now has a child of her own and moved to another city. So, now it seemed a good time to spend more time with her beau. He had never given her his phone number. Even though it seemed strange to her, she thought it was not necessary since he would call her several times a day every day. She liked the fact that he was pursuing her, not the other way around. One day, he didn't call for two days so she got worried. She had never met any of his friends or family, however, she did know another man who had worked with him in the past. So, she called him and asked about her boyfriend. The man, being totally honest, just told her that he was married. Can you believe how shocked she was? She got so angry that she told her boyfriend's coworker how upset she was and she could not wait till she confronted him. Apparently, his coworker called him and let him know that the truth was out. He never called her again. She never saw him again. Two years have gone by and not a glimpse of him. When I spoke with her, she told me how angry she was in the beginning. She wrote him a long letter which she had no address to mail to. A few weeks went by, the anger turn towards depression and loneliness. What bothered her the most was that she did not have "closure". Why do women need closure anyway? If he had the guts to simply walk away without a "goodbye", why can't women do the same? The worst part about this story is that she has not been able to move on with her life. She has not dated nor even gone out since this happened. Ladies, when a man leaves, don't waste your time wondering why he left, just acknowledge that it's over and move on. Remember, time waiting is time wasted.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Interview of a man

Q: Do men ever fall in love?
A: Yes, we do. When we do, we do it quickly and deeply.
Q: Then why are women always seeming to be dumped by a guy?
A: When a man falls for a woman, he commits entirely to her. However, men are usually on the prowl, searching for adventure and fun. They like a challenge. If a woman reveals her feelings too quickly and openly, this may turn a guy off because he loses the challenge. It can get boring after awhile. However, the older a man gets, the less he wants to "chase" a woman. He wants to live a peaceful life. He wants stability, just like woman wants.
Q: It seems that every weekend, there are more women hanging out with girlfriends at restaurants than men. Meanwhile, the men that are at those same restaurants usually have a date with them. Why the inequalities at these restaurants? Why does this differences exist?
A: I've noticed the same thing. There are a bunch of girls together and very few men alone. I believe most men are in their homes with their spouses. Married men tend to hang out during Happy Hour during week days after work. This should be a red flag for women when they meet a man during Happy Hour with other men. Most probably, he is married and looking for a good time.
Q: So where can a single woman meet a nice man?
A: Usually men meet their future wives while in college. After that, most probable at work or at Church. Seldom does a man meet a woman that he will take seriously at a Bar.
Q: When do men want to get married?
A: Usually, during their late twenties to early thirties. They have finished their degrees and want to settle down and have a family. The second wave of men that will marry, are usually in their late forties and early fifties. These men usually have gone through a painful divorce or are young widowers. They don't want to grow older alone. However, if a man has been single into his sixties, the chances of him remarrying will decrease significantly with age. These men tend to see women as "gold diggers" that  are after their retirement money. They usually don't want to share their wealth. This may be a misconception, but they don't see it that way. A word of advice is to stay away from these older men. A good rule of thumb would be that men who are married between 30 to 50 years old, most probably will stay married with their current spouse. The best window of opportunity would be single men younger than thirty or divorced, and widowed men older than fifty.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why did he leave me?

Sometimes we are in a relationship and we think everything is fine. Then suddenly, our boyfriend stops calling or simple tells us that they need some space. What makes this separation so difficult for most of us is the not knowing why. Why is he leaving? Most men give it some thought prior to leaving a relationship. But having spoken to so many men in my practice, they usually make up their minds and simply decide to walk away. They don't like to deal with the heart broken woman. The less contact they have with the woman, the better for them. For the rest of this blog, read on the side...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On dating older men...

On my last blog I covered the pros and cons of dating a younger guy. After thinking about this, I realized that there are some pros and cons of dating older guys. By older, I mean 10 or more years older then you. Since this blog is based on personal experiences or the experiences lived by my girlfriends, you must realize that this is not scientific facts and that each personal experience is unique. Having said that, here it goes! Another thing to keep in mind is that the experience is different at different ages. For example, when you are 18 and you date a guy, say 25, the age can make a difference that would be different then when you are 40 and the guy is 47. Even though the difference is only 7 years, it impacts you differently due to the maturity level and goals you have at different ages.  For the full blog scroll down...

On dating younger men...

I've seen quite a few "cougars" lately. These women are in their forties or older and suddenly they are starting to date younger more attractive men. Since women are maintaining their looks longer these days, this is not so uncommon anymore. However, there are some drawbacks that you should consider before you venture into those unknown territories. Younger men are attractive to slightly older more sophisticated women. However, remember that the older he gets, the older you get. By this I mean that when you are forty and he is thirty, it may be fine but when you are fifty and he is forty, then suddenly you are an "older broad". I've seen several women that marry men 10 to 20 years younger then they are. When they get older, the men tend to wander off looking for younger women. Several of these marriages have ended in divorce, leaving the fifty year old women heartbroken while the guy is dating younger, more attractive ladies. Another thing to consider is that men in their thirties may want to have children. The women in her forties most probably had their children when they where in their twenties. This means that her kids are already in college and  her new beau is wanting a baby. Think hard and strong about this one. Do you really want another baby when you are in your forties? Putting aside the medical risks of pregnancy in women over 35, consider how old you would be when your kid is a teenager. Believe me, after sixty you want to be able to do other things beside raising a teenager. I've met women who have married younger men and when the children finally leave for college, the husband leaves. Whatever you decide to do, I believe it's best to stick to someone close to your own age.

Gay friends make great girlfriends but don't go out with a gay couple.

 I remember one night when I was going out to the club with my girlfriend. When I picked her up in her house, she had a gay couple waiting to hang out with us. I thought it was a bad idea even though I liked these guys a lot. They all told me not to worry, they would be hanging out on their own and we girls could meet other guys at the club. However, once we got to the club, the guys wanted to dance and guess who they danced with? Each guy started to dance with my girlfriend and me. Obviously no other guy even spoke to us that night. Every one thought that we were "couples". I am not saying I did not have fun that night but I was wanting to meet straight guys and ended up with my girlfriend and her two gay friends. Needless to say, I don't recommend you going out with your gay guy friends. They are great for shopping but not for clubbing.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Does he love me, does he love me not?

Sometimes women ask themselves if this special guy has any feelings for her. When I was 13 years old, I recall reading an article in "Seventeen" that had a quiz that would tell a teenager if the guy she liked, liked her back. It was sort of  like this: If he looks away when you look at him, does he talk louder when you are around, does he call you and then hang up the phone, (there was no caller ID on those times, so honestly, there was no way of knowing who called and hanged up anyway) and silly questions similar to those. At the end of the quiz there was a scale that would tell you the "probability" of he liking you back. Nowadays, women still think the same way. Yesterday I was having my weekly manicure done when the girl doing the manicure told me she was going away for the weekend. I asked her if she was going alone. She said she had invited a friend and was hoping he would show up. I asked her if they where dating. She said,"no, but I think he likes me". I asked her why and she said that he had gone to her house to fix her computer and stayed for awhile. So she assumed he liked her. When I got home, I decided to ask a "guy" for his expert opinion. Of course this guy is my husband. He is a guy, rich in information so crucial for all of us girls to know. His answer was simple. "When a guy likes a woman, he just tells her, I like you". Men don't beat around the bush. They will tell you exactly how they feel right from the beginning. There is no guessing here. The problem is with us women. We girls love to read between the lines. I remember spending a whole night with a girlfriend dissecting my "relationship" with this guy that hardly ever called me. At the end of the night, we both agreed that he was truly in love with me but that he wanted to take it "slow" because he had "issues" that he needed to work on. Looking back now, I think this was so stupid. If the guy really liked me, he would have spend time with me. A few months later I met my husband. The night he met me, he immediately acted like he liked me and the next day, he told me he liked me. There was no guessing here. However, being that I am a woman, I had to "analyze" every word he said. I did this for months, not believing that he cared for me. He told me he loved me on our first date and he proposed 2 weeks after I met him. A year later we got married. That was simple. Looking back at past relationships, I recall several men proposing to me when I was younger. I never took them seriously since all of them "proposed" so early in the relationship. However,with  my first husband, I dated on and off for 7 years. He was always ambivalent about how he felt towards me. After 15 years of marriage, he told me that he had never loved me. What a shocker that was! After 15 years of marriage, 7 years of dating and three kids later, he tells me this! In retrospection, he really had been telling me all along. The problem was that I was not listening. This is similar to the all nighter I spend with my girlfriend analyzing another one of my relationships. So ladies, listen to the man. Is he telling you he loves you? Then he does. Is he not saying anything? Then thats your answer!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'd rather walk 3 miles on my high heels then listen to my husband screaming in the car!

This is for all you ladies that have been caught inside the car with your husbands while they are having a fit. It doesn't matter what the argument is about. It usually starts with a small disagreement between the both of you. Suddenly, the jerk starts getting loud, too loud for your comfort. You tell him to lower his voice and then he turns up the radio, (like if he were 6 years old), and continues to scream . At this point you have to decide what is best. What is more comfortable for you? Is walking 3 miles on dirty roads with no sidewalk at 10 PM better then have to listen to this guy? I would say yes. You get out of the car and and have the pleasure of not having to hear him, you get in some good exercise, and you let out steam while you are walking. All is good until other jerks in cars stop by to offer you a ride. What do these idiots think? Do they really think that I want a ride with a loser? At this point you look at the loser straight into his eyes, pull out your cell phone and scream at him, "I will call 911 if you don't disappear buster!" It works like a charm. A few pointers here; if you decide to do this maneuver, be sure you are at walking distance to your final destination, i.e. at least 3 miles or less. Also consider how fit are you. I go to the gym 3-4 times a week and power walk on the treadmill for more then an hour. Walking is not a big deal for me. Consider your safety in the area you are to walk. Look at you shoes. Are these high heels comfortable enough to go the distance? Once you commit yourself to walking, don't get into your husbands car when he comes back to pick you up! No Way! That would be self defeating. Once you get home, don't talk to your spouse for days. Don't get into his car again, no matter how much he begs, and beg he will! Remember, first time, shame on him, the second time, shame on me. A word of advice, ladies, next time take your car! 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Listen to your spouse!

One of the things that upsets anyone is not to be listen nor acknowledge. In my practice I've seen many couples each talk a storm, while neither one is listening to the other. They look at me for validation of their feelings but are not truly interested in listening to what is bothering their partner. This is detrimental to any relationship. After years of this behavior, people just "give up" and wander away from each other. In my experience, men tend to avoid confrontation, so they will speak their piece, and if not listen, tend to shy away and let it go. However, resentment does build up. Women, usually repeat themselves endlessly. This is where the term "nagging" comes from. No good comes from this. For example, I had a couple come to my office. The wife complained her husband would scream and get loud and aggressive at home. He said that this was the only way his wife would listen to him. She had bought a dog without telling him. He didn't want a dog. She said she had told him about the dog. This was true but she failed to tell him about the dog prior to buying it. The dog was already in the house when she told him. To make things worst, she continued buying other dogs till she had eight in the house. Then she would not feed, bathe, groom nor walk them. The husband had to do all the "dog" chores. When I ask her why she wouldn't do some of the work, her answer was, "I am tired and he should work 50% of the house chores". After a whole session talking about the dogs and who should do what, I realized that this couple had little hope. Neither one was listening to what the other had to say. Worse still, she wouldn't take any responsibility on what she had done in bringing the dogs into the house. The couple left my office, angry at each other and with no intentions to listen to each other.