Thursday, December 9, 2010

Long Distance Crush: Pursue or Pass?

Dear Dr. Naidich,

I like this guy, but he lives about 900 miles away. I knew him a long time ago and always thought he was hot. Anyhow, not sure what to do...if I cant be with the one I want, should I introduce him to a friend who lives closer? At least that will get him off of my radar. Right? I mean, why let a hottie get away...right..I might as well let one of my friends benefit. lol...What do you think?
I cant relocate right now since I have a couple kids and their dad would never agree to a move. If I cant be with the one I want, should I be with someone else closer? If there appears to be a "glass ceiling" getting in my way, should I just forget about him, or should I try to beat the odds and break through like catwoman? Advice?

Dear Catwoman, 

For starters, you said that "you like this guy who lives about 900 miles away, that you knew him a long time ago and always thought he was hot". When was the last time you saw him? What type of contact do you have with him now? Was the only thing you liked about him was that he was a "hottie"? How well do you know him now and how serious are you about him? Only you can answer these questions...

That being said, let's assume that you like him for more than his good looks and that you cannot re-locate now. Do you really want him off your radar? Sounds to me like you don't. So how do you know for sure that you can't be with the one you want?

Why not plan a trip to see if you still have the same feelings you did in the past? If you don't then you have an easy solution. But, if you do and the feelings are mutual, and there is a solid basis for a partnership based on real love and commitment, there may be other options. Perhaps he would re-locate to be with you, for example. 

Why settle if you don't have to? Like you said, there "appears to be a 'glass ceiling' getting in your way". That's just it! It's glass--not concrete! Why not try to beat the odds and break through like "catwoman"? Where there is a will there is usually a way. After all, you only live once. This is not a dress rehearsal. I say go for it an see what'll never know until you try!

Let me know how it works out!

Best of luck,

Dr. Naidich 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Love: An Art or A Science

Dr. Naidich,

How much of love is art and how much of it is science? And, can you explain the philosophy of "love by degrees"?


Hi Pete,

I think love is both an art and a science. The art of love involves chemistry, passion, an open heart, and generosity of spirit. But there is also a science or practical approach to love which involves how we go about maintaining love over time. This includes how we choose to communicate, remain intimate, honest, faithful, and committed partners. For lasting love, there needs to be a balance between the two.

Love by degrees seeks to address issues that arise in relationships at all stages, including dating (on-line dating), long-term relationships, marriages, families, and parenting. The general philosophy is to advise people at varying "love by degrees" on how to improve their current situation or to answer questions regarding dilemmas relating to one of the most important areas of our lives: LOVE.

Thanks for writing!

Dr. Naidich

Problems at Home/Work? When Facebook and Gaming Makes Things Worse

Dr. Naidich,

After 5 years of marriage, I have had it with my husband. He is always in the basement playing interactive video games on the Internet or surfing on facebook. BTW I hate facebook. He works once in a while as an electrician but work has been slow. We have difficulty paying our bills and creditors call regularly.

The other night after our kids went to bed, I went down into the basement in my lingerie to try to re-connect with my husband. He looked up from the computer and told me he'd meet me in the bedroom as soon as he finished the game. I told him he would have to wait a lot longer than that!!!! I am now thinking about getting any divorce. Do you blame me?

I understand how you must be feeling, but I think this may be more complicated than you think...and it is not a matter of blame...

I wonder about a few things. For example, how old are you and your husband, do you work outside of the home, was your husband the primary bread-earner, was he so focused on facebook, Internet surfing and gaming when you met him and when he was working full-time (did he ever work full-time)???

Anyway, without that information I will respond to your question with the information at hand. It sounds like both of you are under extreme pressure right now. While social networking can be very positive and gaming can be a stress reliever, your husband seems to be using both as a way to avoid the reality of coping with his family responsibilities, career difficulties, and financial hardship. 

He is most likely experiencing anxiety and feeling emasculated, as he is "losing" in life right now. So he is retreating to the basement and immersing himself in virtual reality where he can connect and feel like a "winner". He may also be experiencing depression which may account for his low sex drive. 

Your attempt to engage him with sexy lingerie was a good idea, but when a man is down on his luck and on himself, he just might not be interested in sex. It has nothing to do with YOU!

Having difficulties paying the bills and having creditors calling regularly is only adding to the stress on your marriage. Your husband does not seem to posses the coping skills that would propel him to take constructive steps toward changing his (and your family's) current situation. Or his depression and anxiety are interfering with him putting those skills into action. As a result, he is withdrawing instead of finding ways to find more work or make more money. Plus, we need to keep in mind that with the economy as it is, many people are either unemployed, underemployed, and/or suffering financially. You are not alone!

An additional problem is that facebook, Internet surfing and gaming can have an addictive quality to them, making it harder for him to pull himself away and act in his own best interest. Again, while they do have some beneficial effects, they can be a way to escape from reality. 

I do not think divorce is the answer here. At least not at this point.

Have you calmly spoken with him about how you feel in a loving way while seeing it from this perspective yet? If not, I suggest that you do.

Your husband might need some professional support to help him cope with his anxiety/depression and coping skills. While you might need some help with your stress, anxiety, and anger/resentment. Since finances are an issue, I recommend seeking a cognitive-behavioral therapist from your insurance plan (low co-pay), a local university or a mental health clinic where they have a sliding scale or do pro-bono therapy.  

The goals would be to address the issues I already mentioned, to work on your marriage, and to make sure you are sheltering your children from the negative emotional climate in the home. With the right help, the hope would be that your husband will be able to address his problems proactively instead of facebooking, Internet surfing and gaming, get back to work, regain his sex drive, and re-engage with the family.

In the meantime you also have to generate some practical solutions to your financial problems, and you may need an advisor to help you with that. Some possible options are debt consolidation, re-financing and filing for bankruptcy.

Let me know how it goes!

I wish you the best!

Dr. Naidich

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Viagra or Divorce? A Third Option

Dr. Naidich,

I desperately need your help! I have been happily married to my wife for 31 years. We have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. My wife is threatening to divorce since I can no longer meet her "needs". I am 60 years old and have tried viagra a couple times. But I wont use it anymore! The last time I used it, I had to go to the emergency room due an erection that lasted almost two days and a rash on my legs. I am too old for this "sh-t." I spoke to my doctor and he said I should try to satisfy my wife in some other ways. I spoke to her about my doctor's advice, but she told me that she was still in her "prime" and that the other ways were not the same thing. I dont understand my wife's priorities. Please help me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Internet Intimacy

Dear Dr. Naidich,

“I recently started dating on-line and it seems to me that people seem go back and forth with endless e-mails, instant messages and phone calls before they even meet which conveys a false sense of intimacy. You feel close to this person before you ever meet them through technology. Then you develop expectations and fantasies. When you finally meet very often the person does not live up to the image you had in your head or they misrepresented themselves and this can be quite distressing. What do you think about this type of situation?”


Dear Jessica,

Well, I hear this a lot in my practice, and from friends and family. I believe people spend way too much time chatting on-line and on the phone before setting up a first meeting. This creates, as you said perfectly, a false sense of intimacy. You feel like you know and are connected to this person before you even meet and this can be deceiving. Sometimes there is nothing left to talk about when you meet. Other times the person misrepresented themselves-either in terms of looks or personality. And while you might have felt that ‘special connection on-line’, there might in fact be no chemistry in person. This person might not come close to meeting all the unrealistic expectations you have conjured up in your head. So I recommend moving quickly from an e-mail or two to a brief phone call to scheduling a meeting in a public place that doesn’t involve too much alcohol (as it impairs your judgment). That way you do not feel overly ‘connected’ before you meet and can use the Internet as a tool and then get to know someone the old fashioned way- by talking to them face to face. Try that approach and let me know how it goes. 
Best of luck!

Dr. Jennifer B. Naidich

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Will a Pre-Nup Ruin a Second Chance at Love?

Dr. Naidich,

If I ever get re-married, I will ask for a pre-nup. Some of my friends say that they will also get a pre-nup if they get (re)married. While others say that if you are in love why ask for a pre-nup because it sends the wrong message to your future spouse and may jinx the marriage. Not to be pessimistic, but I think that getting re-married without a pre-nup is naive. Any advice?

Asking for a pre-nuptial agreement is a personal decision and can be a touchy one. I do not believe that it may “jinx” a marriage. That fact is that with today’s divorce rate in America hovering around 50% it is not unreasonable for each individual to protect their assets when entering a marriage. I don’t believe it is pessimistic, rather realistic. Couples enter into marriage in love- hoping and wishing for the best, with an optimistic attitude. They walk down the isle believing that they will beat the odds and go the distance. While I am a romantic at heart, I believe a pre-nuptial agreement in today’s world is a practical option. That way in the worst-case scenario you are both protected. The trick is presenting it in an amicable manner, rather than in a pessimistic or non-loving way. The best approach is to introduce the idea by telling your potential mate that you have every intention in the world of never having to rely on the agreement, but that that in the event that you do, you want BOTH of you to have an equitable outcome.

Best of luck,

Dr. Naidich 

Phases of Love

Dr. Naidich,

Do you believe that it is possible to love more than one person at the same time? I had been dating several women for a while, then narrowed it down to two. It ended up getting complicated and I eventually decided to date just one of friends said that I couldn't have really loved either one of them..What's your opinion

Yes, I believe that it is possible to love more than one person at the same time. We all do. For example, we may love our partners, families, and friends.

In your case, you might have loved different things about each of these women or loved them in different ways or in varying degrees.

But what you didn't mention was how long you were dating each of these women. In romantic love there are two stages of love, the infatuation stage and the attachment stage.

In the first stage, or infatuation phase of love our brains are flooded with chemicals that make our hearts beat faster, fill our stomachs with butterflies, and make it hard to focus on anything else but the object of our desire. This eventually wears off, as we cannot function very long in this state and maintain our day-to-day lives.

The next stage of romantic love is the attachment, or deeper love that comes when the infatuation wanes. You now know your partner with flaws and all and still love them unconditionally. You share a special bond together.

It is up to you to decide what stage, or in what ways you loved each of these women. But the general answer to your question is yes, I believe it is possible to love more than one person at the same time. I hope that clarifies things for you.

Best regards,

Dr. Naidich

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

excerpts from The Doctors: Sirius Radio XFM (10/19/10) - Dr. Michael Aronoff & Dr. Jennifer B. Naidich

Dr. Naidich,

I found out my husband went out on two dates last year with a woman he worked with after he had been complaining he felt "empty" after the death of his mother.  He said he was happy I found out and ended everything.  For a while everything was great.  But then he started pulling away emotionally and physically.  When I finally confronted him he said he was confused.  He listed endless complaints about me and said he didn’t know if he was in love with me anymore.  He refuses to go to couples counseling and says he need time and space to figure things out.  I am seeing a therapist on my own for the first time tomorrow.  I don’t know what to do… I am at my wits end.   I need your advice.

Your husband may be depressed and using you as a scapegoat.  Sometimes when people feel ”empty”, seek out affairs, and put all the blame on their significant other they may be suffering from chronic low-level depression.  It is too bad that he won’t go to therapy with you.  What does he have to lose?  Maybe you should tell him that you are hurt and confused and have made an appointment with a counselor for tomorrow.  Tell him that you would like to figure things out together - whatever the outcome may be - and that you’d like him to join you.  But the most important thing you do right now is to take care of yourself. Going to therapy is a great start.  You need to figure things out for yourself by exploring and dealing with your own feelings of hurt, rejection, and possibly anger.   We wish you the best.

Dr. Naidich,

My 40 year old son has Borderline Personality Disorder and he tends to get all these great women and then ruin the relationships.  He's divorced.  He's been dating a really nice woman now for the past 6 months and I’d like to warn her about my son’s problems to save her the heartache.  What do you think?

Your son is an adult and so are the women he is dating.  If you’d like to maintain a relationship with your son, then we recommend that you do not disclose this information to the woman he is dating or any woman he dates in the future.  That's between them - 2 consenting adults.  No one is perfect (that includes all of us) and maybe these women know of your son’s problems but decided to date him anyway.  They might accept him as is (unconditionally).  Either way it is for them to work out on their own.  Our advice is to stay out of it. 

Dr. Naidich,

I am married to a narcissist who is impossible to communicate with, and we have two 9 year old children together.  There is a career discrepancy with her being the major bread winner, as I am currently unemployed.  We completely disagree on how to parent our children.  We have been to therapy three times because we can’t seem to hear each other’s needs.  It's been completely useless.  I still cannot talk to her.  So I 've stopped trying.  Now I do anything to avoid conflict with her because she is always right.  I have no voice here.  I 've shut down. The only way I can cope is by drinking to take the edge off.  Please do not give me the textbook answer on how to communicate better with your spouse; believe me I’ve been there - done that.  At this point I am only here because I don’t want to leave my children.  Any creative advice?

We are sorry that you are going through such a hard time. You must be under a significant amount of stress given your martial strife and loss of your job.  But drinking is not the solution to your problems and may only make matters worse.  It's a depressant and might contribute to your feeling even worse.  Enough lecturing.  Some creative advice: You may want to re-evaluate the reasons you are staying in this marriage.  Staying for the kids is not always in their best interest.  They tend to pick up on the emotional climate in the home, meaning they are not unaware of how you and your wife feel about each other.  The tension in the home must be causing them undo stress.  Furthermore, you might want to consider what kind of role models for intimate relationships you are providing for them.  Is this really what you want them to grow up and emulate?  We know you don’t want to leave the children, but you won't necessarily be out of their lives.  You can gain joint custody and see them frequently.  Basically we're recommending that you think of what is in the best interest of the children and that might not mean staying in a marriage filled with anger, contempt, stress, tension, and major communication problems;  think about this.  You might want to seek therapy for yourself before you make a decision based on emotion rather than reason.  You're certainly in a tough situation. We hope this helped and wish you the best.