Dr. Reality Steve

The Final “Dr. Reality Steve” Column of the Calendar Year

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I wanna say that all of you are loyal readers and have come here every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday since the beginning of JoJo’s season on May 23rd and read everything I’ve had to say, but alas, I know that’s not true. How do I know? The inordinate amount of “Reader Emails” I received after yesterday’s column went up. I honestly can’t remember a time where I had that many “Reader Emails” sent to me right after that day’s column went up. Especially when that column, along with my last few, have referenced the fact there’s no more “Reader Emails” for the rest of the calendar year, and also today is the last “Dr. Reality Steve” of the year. So to set the schedule again, next Tuesday will begin “Daily Links,” then once Nick’s filming for the “Bachelor” starts at the end of the month, I will be giving you contestants, information, and any spoilers that pop up either exclusively from my sources, or, social media sightings – which there will be plenty of. We see it every season, so I don’t expect this to be any different. So thank you all for a great year of “Reader Emails” and “Dr. Reality Steve,” as we go out with a bang today. 11 emails, which is easily our biggest batch of the season. If you have any pressing “Dr. Reality Steve” questions that you’d want to be answered privately, you can email me those. But just know I’m not the greatest at answering those timely. Sometimes I’ll answer them within the same hour you send them, or sometimes it’ll take me two weeks. Those that did send “Reader Emails” in yesterday, I’ll try and answer them at some point, but just know there isn’t a “Reader Emails” column again til next calendar year.

So here we go, our last “Dr. Reality Steve” of the year. Enjoy…

Hey Steve,

I love your site! Thank you for making the Bachelor franchise a little more interesting.

My boyfriend and I have been together for about 4 years now and things between us are wonderful. Unfortunately, his sister is an awful person. My boyfriend has a terrible relationship with her, she has always been rude and disrespectful to him and they are polar opposites. For the past 4 years his sister has done nothing but treat me with disrespect, talked trash behind my back, and just overall been an a**hole to me (even her grandfather tells me she’s an asshole). Recently she asked me if I have a problem with her and I told her the situation. I told her how I do not appreciate how she has been treating me, how I am fed up with her rude comments, and how I just don’t feel comfortable around her (she knew all this before because my boyfriend tried to have a conversation with her to make her take accountability). Instead of owning up to what she does, she turns it on me and says that she has done nothing wrong, that I am being dramatic, seeking a fight, holding on to a grudge, etc. All I truly want is an apology and for her to treat me with respect, which is something she is apparently incapable of doing. I have forgiven her (even without an apology) but I have so much going on in my life that is stressful that I do not want to put myself in a situation to be around her without an attitude change. His parents always take her side because she is the youngest and she also is the type of person who, in the past has cut them out of her life entirely because she didn’t get her way.

So right now I am in a situation where my boyfriend’s mom will always take her daughters side and has been chewing out her son and pretty much blaming him and I for causing a situation. Family has always been incredibly important to me, my family absolutely loves my boyfriend and have always welcomed him with open arms. His entire family, with the exception of his sister, loves me though.

I am writing because I need advice. My boyfriend and I are finishing graduate school and are planning on getting engaged soon after we graduate. I love him, and cannot imagine my life without him, but I just cannot deal with his sister anymore. He tells me he does not want her in his life and that I will always come first and I believe him. The one problem is he also does not want to disrespect his parents and to do that he will have to be in her life. Family will always be there. Is a bitchy sister who is obviously not going to change a reason to break up? These past few months we’ve discussed it so much and I just do not know what to do.

Thank you!!

Comment: Well you’ve said what you needed to say, and she responded accordingly. She blamed it on you, which judging by how you described her, I expected. You can’t do any more than you’ve already done. You’ve explained to her you feel uncomfortable around her, you don’t appreciate her comments, etc and she dismissed you. So there’s nothing you can do.

The issue now becomes how much will it affect your engagement/marriage, assuming it happens like you say it will. It’s obviously something you’ve talked about and even though he’s taking your side, looks like she’ll still be around. Can you handle it? How close do you guys live to them? How often do you think you’ll interact? These are all questions you need the answers to before determining your plan of action. If it’s someone you’re gonna see maybe once or twice a year, I would go ahead with your relationship, and don’t let it affect you. If this is something that isn’t going away because he will be heavily involved with family stuff while you’re together, I’d say you’re looking at a long road ahead. Not saying you shouldn’t marry him because of it. But you know going in what it’ll be like, so prepare accordingly. Sucks that you have an in law who drives you nuts. That’s never fun. But don’t let it affect your relationship, and it sounds like you and your boyfriend aren’t, which is good. But there will be tension, just know that.
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Hi Steve,

Thanks for your wit and snark. I love reading your blog, even though I stopped watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette regularly seasons ago. I would appreciate your advice as well as that of your readers who care to weigh in. Ok, here it goes–I am 24 and have never had a boyfriend. And no, I’m not crazy or a Kimmy Schmidt mole woman or a sideshow act. My childhood and being an anxious person to begin with have made me very guarded.

My dad was blindsidedly laid off about two months before I was born. After eight years of being underemployed and attempting to make various entrepreneurial businesses work, he filed for bankruptcy. Within the next year or so, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and my mom had a miscarriage. I know that many, many people had far worse childhoods than I did. I always felt loved and supported. However, I never felt I was “safe”–it always seemed like something bad was looming around the corner. I remember worrying my $3 allowance was putting too much of a financial strain on my parents. The constant worrying made me cling to my immediate family and keep friends at a distance.

I made normal friendships and had fun with my friends. I didn’t act weird around other people, but I never invested very deeply in friendships emotionally. My best friend said she didn’t see me cry until we were in college (we had known each other seven years by that point). I remember having day surgery at 18 and trying to keep it all under wraps; I didn’t want people to be concerned because I didn’t know how to handle non-family members caring about my wellbeing. I’ve made a lot of progress in opening up but my basic instinct to build a wall around myself is essentially why I’m at this point in my life with no current or ex boyfriends.

I’m working on allowing myself to be more vulnerable largely because I really want to find a good guy and build a relationship. A lot of my former classmates are getting engaged and married, which makes me feel light years behind my peers in this aspect of life. At this point, I think my self-consciousness about having less relationship experience than any guy I date is holding me back more than anything. Is my lack of relationship experience a red flag to guys? How would you suggest handling the topic when discussions of exes or relationship history come up in conversation? Since I don’t have exes to compare a new relationship or boyfriend to or baggage from past relationships, could my relationship inexperience ever be viewed in a positive light?

-In Texas with No Exes

Comment: Are you dating a lot, or you’re not even putting yourself out there? Is it a red flag to guys? Well, that’s not a universal yes or no answer. To some guys I’m sure it is. To others it isn’t. Those are the guys you need to seek out. You don’t want to get involved with a player or serial dater because that’s just not gonna work on someone like you who has no experience.

Good that you’re working on yourself and it’s understandable why you’re the way you are. Nothing wrong with that. Some people jump into relationships as a teen or even get impregnated/married, and their lives are a disaster afterwards. So you’ve done well for yourself in that aspect. Dating isn’t easy. Nor are there universal rules that work for everybody. I think you need to start dating around more if you aren’t already and just start testing the waters. You don’t necessarily have to bring up your lack of experience, although I’m pretty sure it’ll get brought up at some point once you get involved. But like I said, if the guy is into you and not just looking for a quick hookup, then it shouldn’t bother him. But if some guy is turned off, then that’s on him and he’s not for you anyway. So my advice would be to start dating and putting yourself out there and just see what people have to offer. Then you start making decisions once that happens.
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This is about female friendships! My husband and I have never really had mutual friends that were a couple. Well we sort of did a few years ago but then the couple broke up. Once our son was born, we wanted to find a couple that lived nearby where both of us were friends with as well as our son and their little one. I joined a local mom’s group where we moved to a few months ago and back in June, my son and I went to lunch with a mother and a little girl a few months older than my little guy that we just instantly bonded with. Since the middle of June until around the middle of August, every few days I would message the mother on Facebook about toddler stuff or life stuff. We’ve attended a few mother’s group events and 2 weeks ago Wednesday she came over with her daughter and my son and her daughter played in our playroom for about 2 hours. They had a great time. My husband came in and chatted with her and even suggested the husbands get together too and we all go out to eat. She thought it was a great idea. Two weeks ago today my son and I saw them at someone’s house. We chatted like friends and left. It’s been 2 weeks and I haven’t heard from her at all. It’s just odd because I have messaged her on Facebook messenger 4 times since then and you can tell when someone reads the messages but I just find it so odd. The first time was just a picture of my son being a menace. Usually she would comment something about her daughter but she said nothing. No big deal. I thought nothing of it.

Then last Sunday when the power out, I messaged her asking if she had lost power too as they live 5 minutes away. She read it but never responded. Okay, still no big deal. Earlier this week I sent her a message about the Halloween party I was hosting for the mom’s group, showed it to her before it was posted and asked her to come. No response at all and she never responded to the invite with the mother’s group either. This morning it was starting to bother me because I don’t know what to think. If this was a guy a woman was dating, the answer would be so obvious. He’s not that into you anymore and move on. Women and friendships are just so different though. I know women have other reasons other than men for just talking to other women anymore. We did nothing upsetting and are smothering by just messaging a few times a week with a conversation she was always very engaged in. A few hours ago I decided to message her again asking her if anything was new, that I haven’t heard from her in 2 weeks, that my son was excited to attend her daughter’s birthday party they invited us to right around the time the ignoring started. It was like 5 sentences long, very casual. I can tell she read it via Facebook messenger and nothing, no response back. She’s a stay a home mother and I can’t in my mind believe she’s been so busy these past two weeks to even say one word to me even to say she is so busy. She’s not. She’s been posting random articles on Facebook all morning and talking about how bored she is. I am just kind of torn what to do because my son still really likes her daughter. They would be going to the same school, same grade, my husband really wants to meet her husband and have us all hang out. I don’t want to flat out ask her why I am being ignored for several reasons but if I just do nothing at all, it will be much harder to continue with a type of friendship that my husband and I so very much want with another couple and what I assumed was going so well.

Comment: You’ve put it out there, you’ve contacted her and she hasn’t responded. Numerous times. Nothing else you can do at this point. Let it go. If she wants to contact you back, she will. Maybe you’ll never get your answer why all the sudden she’s ignoring you, which she clearly is. But you can’t worry about the why when she’s not responding. I’m sure you want to know, but she’s not obligated to respond. Could be a myriad of reasons why she isn’t. But at this point, it’s not like you have a ton invested into her. Sucks, but what can you do? Nothing anymore. You’ve reached out, so now the ball is in her court. Just be prepared for her to never respond because it’s certainly a possibility. As for her daughter’s birthday, if you’re still going, maybe once you’re there she’ll pretend like nothing’s happened or apologize. Guess you’ll find out. But I wouldn’t expect much from someone who gives that little effort.
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Doctor Reality Steve (haha),

So I will keep this as short as I can, but it is just a little bit of a doozy so I apologize. Troy and I have been together for 2 1/2 years. We have had a really really awesome relationship. Except for one thing. He was unfaithful to me about a year and a half ago. He told me right away, and I chose to forgive him and we moved forward. Things were really good, it took me awhile to fully trust him. But I can without a doubt trust him. There are definitely things that make me feel insecure though. And the things that do make me insecure aren’t things that he is actually doing wrong, but just me feeling a little uneasy and needing some reassurance. And when I have those moments of insecurity, I don’t go nuclear or anything. I just let him know “Hey, I don’t quite understand this situation can you help me understand so I don’t feel insecure?” I am pretty open about how I feel. I don’t monitor what he does, or constantly check up on him. I don’t even have social media so I’m not constantly cyber stalking or anything. I just ask him to clarify and reassure sometimes so I don’t feel so insecure. We are both full grown adults in our late 20s who can handle ourselves, and I don’t need to constantly watch over him. We have talked about marriage, the future, etc. And things look REALLY promising for us. But I have one major problem that I didn’t see as a problem until it was staring me in the face today.

He used to share so much with me, seriously always telling me everything. I don’t really know how to give specific examples, but anyone he would even bump into at the store he would tell me all about it. If he had a hair out of place he would send me a picture because he thought that was worthy of telling me, it was cute. Not that I asked, but he would just love to gush and gush to me about all the things in his life. It was great. I didn’t realize that had come to a screeching halt, when I was texting him and let him know I was getting him a gift basket to wish him luck at a sporting event he is playing in this weekend. And he said “You are so sweet! for doing that I’ll share with you this little gem.” And it was a goofy picture of him at a company event he was at the night before. Where normally I would have gotten those things all the time. That is when I kind of thought, “huh, he doesn’t share things like he used to anymore…” So I just flat out asked him. I said something along the lines of “Hey this might be a total assumption, so correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like you really don’t share things with me like you used to anymore. I don’t know if that is out of fear of me being insecure or what, but I have just noticed this change. Is everything ok?”

Then he did let me know that there are things he is worried to constantly share, because he is worried that it is something that would be totally casual or not matter and he’s worried I’ll feel insecure or take it the wrong way. But that he’s getting back on the right track of sharing things with me. I didn’t really know what to say, and I still don’t. I didn’t realize my insecurity was something that pushed him away that much, because he has always been so sweet if I ever have questions. And it isn’t something that is so constant that I feel like I’ve driven him into the ground with it. Maybe every few weeks or so I’ll feel insecure about something. So maybe that is excessive.

I miss him sharing things with me. I don’t know how to get it through his head that by not telling me things which is a normal part of his behavior, makes me feel MORE insecure then I ever did before. Before I had no worries ever because he would literally tell me everything. Not in an unhealthy way, just that he really liked to talk to me about everything. He said he would like it to be that way again, just doesn’t want me being insecure.

I feel bad that I’ve made him feel that way where he can’t share things with me because he’s afraid how I’m going to react. But I also am a little hurt he didn’t tell me that before. Since now it is a built up problem that I don’t know how to fix. Do you have any advice? How can I show him he can really share things with me.

Thanks so much!!

Insecure-ish in Idaho

Comment: Seems like a real simple problem to solve. If this is the biggest problem in your relationship, be thankful. He just needs to go back to doing what he was doing before and not hold things back for fear of you feeling insecure. I don’t get why he’d feel sending a picture of him at a work event would all the sudden make you freak out or start thinking things. Sounds like he’s starting to overthink things.

The cheating thing is obviously something that’s never fun to deal with, and yeah, you have every right to be skeptical about that. But if what you’re telling me is the truth and you truly aren’t watching him like a hawk at his every move or being a helicopter girlfriend, then it seems like he’s the one feeling a little insecure now. But I don’t think it’s something that’s all that big of a deal if everything else is great. You’ll get through it, no doubt.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. rob22

    September 8, 2016 at 8:56 AM

    To the woman with a disrespectful Boyfriend’s sister: This is not an uncommon problem. There’s always someone in the family that’s not well liked & adds to the drama factor. But it’s an easy problem to solve. In short, minimize contact. When you have to be around her at holidays, be polite but keep conversations to a minimum. Do not seek apologies, explanations, etc. Do not tell her parents what they should/should not do with their daughter. Do not talk with them at all about it. That just adds to the drama. If she brings up anything to your boyfriend, he should just tell her he’s not interested in talking to her about his girlfriend. If his parents bring anything up, just tell them you’ve moved on & are not concerned with what the sister says/doesn’t say, etc. There cannot be drama and a fight without two participants. Stop participating. Most likely the family will eventually move in the same direction, but if not, just keep your distance, stay polite and life should be fine.

  2. maddie17

    September 8, 2016 at 9:51 AM

    Hi Rob! I sent the question on page 2 about an ex coming back into my life and if he’s really changed. You always seem to have great insight, it’d be great to hear your thoughts on the situation.

  3. rob22

    September 8, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    @maddie17- I’ll take a crack. I’m not sure that I’m going to be too far off what RS already noted. Right now you have some statements that your ex has made and that’s it. There is no info presented in terms of him actually acting different, so to guess how he’s going to behave is speculative. But, past behavior does tend to predict future behavior. So, the odds are that you will see many of the same behaviors repeated. I deal with change for a living. And the number one takeaway is that people don’t change unless they are highly motivated to do so.

    So, in the past, I did take back some exes. Most times, especially when you’re talking about jerky behavior, that didn’t change.

    So, putting on my fortune teller hat. I could see the level of commitment changing. People grow up and want different things. However, I find it highly unlikely that the self centered, disrespectful, d**k behavior will change.

    If you decide to take him back, I would have him on a very short leash as far as behavior goes. Things can spiral very quickly & there is no need to prolong the agony.

  4. rob22

    September 8, 2016 at 2:22 PM

    In Texas with no Exes. So, you don’t date, at all. And your main concern is that your not dating will be a red flag? Presumably to people you never speak with or actually meet because… well…. you don’t date anyone…. at least not to the point of them actually being a boyfriend.

    Let’s stay on point. The issue is getting you on the horse, not what people might think because you’ve never been on a horse. I’m not a psychotherapist, but there is a lot of fear in your commentary. You had fears of lack of money growing up, and some trauma around your Dad’s illness that obviously impacted you. Dad and money are things that, if they are right, make you feel secure in life. You’ve never felt secure because Dad was sick and money was a big problem. So, somehow that lack of security has led to the fear of dating and, no doubt, other things as well.

    It seems like you need some counseling to get a grip on your fears. Otherwise, fears can really put a crimp in personal growth, which includes dating, marriage, etc. I’d say that’s the place to start. Work on your fears & security issues & then work on getting dates. With your current level of fear and anxiety, even if you get dates, my concern would be that healthy men would not be drawn to you. You’d get the “other” types of guys. All that will do is feed your fears and make dating & long term healthy relationships nearly impossible. It feels like you’ve got too much going on in your psyche to just tell you to “go do it”. Get some counseling first, and then go from there.

  5. rob22

    September 8, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    Insecure-ish in Idaho: So, cheating is a big deal. Some people never get over it, so I can understand feeling insecure with this guy. And, it’s not really normal to feel insecure every couple of weeks. Normal, healthy people, in healthy relationships don’t feel insecure very often. Maybe never. So, your insecurities are an issue. I’m not saying there is no reason for your insecurities. The guy cheated. And now, things have changed. He’s walking on egg shells around you while (he hopes) trust is rebuilt. So, I disagree with RS. This is a very big deal.

    When someone decides to forgive someone for cheating, it is a herculean act. Because to really forgive someone means letting go. Letting go of what he did, letting go of the anxiety that he might do it again, and letting go of the distrust. That’s not easy and most people can’t do it. This is not a snap your fingers thing. It takes time. But you’re either going to get all the way there… and no longer be feeling insecure every few weeks. Or, you’re just never going to totally trust him ever again. It’s a process and you’re not there yet. The question is whether you ever will get there.

    You do have to talk to one another & discuss things that are on your mind. But you have to also reassure him that you are working on the trust, have made progress, still love him and want things to work. I suspect that some couples counseling would help surface the issues more quickly and a good counselor could help you work through them. I’m just not sure you’re going to get there without some help. You’re acting like you’ve forgiven him totally, but you haven’t. That says to me that you have unresolved issues you need to get to. Cheating is a tough one to get through. Good luck!

  6. RaRa

    September 11, 2016 at 5:49 PM

    To “In Texas with no Exes”: I was in a similar situation as yours although for a different reason. I have some caveats for you, for whatever they are worth. First of all, you need to be aware that if you have not started dating until your 20s, it can be difficult to spot a “pick-up line” and you will quite likely find yourself in some situations in which the guy (especially if he is in his twneties) expects relationships to progress more quickly than you are comfortable with.

    My advice to you is to become active in some sort of mixed-gender social group which meets and goes out together for the purpose of engaging in an activity or hobby. It could be a church singles group, signing up for a ballroom dancing class, joining a sports booster fan club, working for a charity, etc., or joining friends at work who get together after work. Fraternizing in a small, intimate group setting allows you to practice your social skills with the both women and men, in a no-pressure situation, and to learn by observing how other, more experienced women and women interact with each other and among themselves. Also, you can take things as slowly as you like if you meet a guy in the group you like, since it is a group and not a date. And as you make friends in the group, you can have female friends bring guys to the group get-togethers for you to meet. Good luck!

  7. maddie17

    September 12, 2016 at 11:37 AM

    Thank you! And you were right! He basically immediately went back to being a jerk. He was consistent and communicating regularly, when I believe he thought it was a done deal, he went right back to being the person he used to be (or always was). It’s weird to me the concept of getting back with someone only to hurt them again. He thought posting on social media was better than just saying a quick hi during the day. I learned my lesson!

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