Reality Steve

Dr. Reality Steve

“Reader Emails,” “Dr. Reality Steve,” and a Special Guest on the Live Blog Tonight

Dr. Reality Steve

I think this is our biggest Dr. Reality Steve section in at least a month. A whole 7 questions. The Dr. is busy this week. Your bills will be sent in the mail. Thank you.

Hello Dr. Steve,

This is a bit difficult to write because I am usually the one giving relationship advice to my friends, not ever the other way around. So here goes, I just started dating this guy that I’ve known since junior high (I am in my mid-40’s). We were set up through a mutual high school friend because we flirted on Facebook constantly. He lives three hours away, which I actually like. I was married to my “high school sweetheart” for 14 years (together 20) and have been divorced for 9 years now. I spent the last 9 years raising my kids and now that they are almost all out of the house and on their own, I kinda like my space so I’m good with the distance.

Here’s my concern….I pretty much stopped all dating about a year ago. I swore I wasn’t going to get into any type of a relationship unless it had great potential to be very long term. We both have a kid in school for a couple more years. Neither of us can move to be closer right now, but we have managed to see each other once a week since that fateful match-making date. He told me from the beginning he is “transferable” and has all but come right out and said he will move closer to me once his son is out of high school. He is pretty much everything I could ever want in a guy, my best friend, blah, blah, blah. I keep over analyzing the potential downfall of the relationship and getting hurt. He says all the right things and is as into me as I am into him. He has told me even before we started dating that he always liked me in school but we didn’t run in the same crowd so he never asked me out.

Should I just put my “big girl panties” on and take the risk that comes with all relationships, trust that this is just a temporary, two-year-long long distance thing or jump the ship now and realize that, while I can have fun right now, it’s probably not going to end the way I would like it to?

Love reading your blog. Thanks in advance!

Comment: Sure, why not? What’s the worst that can happen? You try it and it doesn’t work out. But you seem to like each other, and the distance isn’t THAT unbearable being only three hours. Plus you say you like your space so it seems to be something you can handle. Cutting it off now when it seems like you like the guy just doesn’t seem like something you should do if it’s someone you’re interested in. Give it a try.

Dr. Steve,

I need an honest opinion. I know you make fun of teenage dating, but I do actually take it pretty seriously. I’m 18 years old, and I avoided dating all through middle and highschool because I just saw no point in it. Instead, I spent the time getting ahead academically, and I’m now going into my junior year at a University for Physician Assistant. I met a guy who was a freshman last year, but he’s 19, because he did things the traditional way. He had a serious ex, they dated for two years, so we came from very different backgrounds. I really liked him, and we started dating in May. My family adores him, and his family loves me. At first, I was really into it. After about a month, something changed. I’m not sure what it was, whether he got too serious, but he started talking about the future, and I figured that I was supposed to as well (having never been in a relationship before). I felt like I changed my own personality which tends to be non-committal, just to please him. I realized my mistake and we had a huge discussion about how I wanted to be less serious and things got a lot better.

Because we live in different states, I only see him during the school year. We’ve been apart all summer with a few visits here and there. When I’m with him, I feel fine. I’m happy, everything’s good. But when we’re apart, I almost don’t know how to describe it, I just feel distant. I don’t NEED to talk to him all the time, and I just feel funny. He notices it and asks, but I don’t even know what to tell him. He’s really a great guy, and I don’t want to hurt him. He’s supportive, and has been here for my two surgeries this summer. Is this normal, should I just wait it out and see?

Comment: Wait til he comes back to school and then re-assess things. However, I don’t think it’s a good sign that when he’s away, you don’t really seem to care all that much about him. If you were truly into him, I would think the time away would make you want him more and miss him. Doesn’t seem to be the case. Sounds like because you’re inexperienced in dating, you don’t know how you’re supposed to act and feel. Then again, you’re only 18. It’s been 19 years since I was 18 (shoot me now), so it’s hard to tell you what you should be feeling. But usually at your age, kids are giddy that a boy likes them and when they’re away they miss them. For you, not so much. I’d just wait til he gets back to school and figure out if you just wanna hang out with this guy or if you really want to date him. He seems to have already noticed you’re kinda distant, which means you’re giving off that vibe. You’re gonna have to make a decision soon after he comes back. Just don’t drag it out.

Steve, I have to comment on the letter to which the last sentence of your response is “maybe he’s gay.”

I swear, I was reading her email but hadn’t scrolled to your response, and I was screaming HE’S GAY. Screaming it in my head, that is – I am at work. Then I scroll to your response and knew then and there that Dr. Reality Steve needs to go prime time.

I’m an old broad. 60. I’ve had my share of gay male friends but one, in particular (I’ll call him “H”), was involved romantically for several years with my brother. H had an ex-wife who, despite they’re having been divorced for years before H and bro hooked up, was the mother of his children and still carried a flame for him. She called me several times over the years with basically the same story this lady was telling you (substituting events, home repairs, children, etc. with class schedules), and she was sure H was in love with her and coming back to her. H had asked me not to tell her he was gay.

After many years of this, H and bro broke up; but we all remained friends. An emergency involving H required me to call his ex wife who, after dealing with the emergency called me back to say she felt like he was leading her on (the lightbulb was starting to glow) but she was so confused as to why he would want to. I’d had enough. I asked her, “Did you ever consider he might be gay?”

“Well why the hell didn’t he just come out and tell me that 20 years ago?” she responded. “Lord knows we had enough gay friends, it’s not like I would have judged him. God, I’ve been blaming myself all these years when I didn’ t need to.” She then proceeded to lose about 50 pounds and start a new life for herself.

Unfortunately, my suggestion that she entertain the idea got me a vicious tongue lashing (not the good kind) from my friend of over ten years, and that was that. We’re still acquaintances but never again close friends.

The truth is that H really DID love his ex-wife, but he just couldn’t love her the way he needed to love and the way she needed to be loved. Her knowledge changed their relationship from one where he was getting constant reassurance of her love because she wanted him back to a less sick type of relationship where she was friendly and cordial to him, and respectful of him as the father of their children. But he LOST something in her knowledge.

Anyhoo, that is who your reader’s mysterious love interest is. Not specifically, but exactly.

Comment: I got a little confused with all the initials and who was who in this email, but I think I get your point. I think.

Dear Dr. Reality Steve,

After seeing your blog about people impersonating you on Twitter, I realized that maybe you can help me with a similar situation. This story is going to be difficult to believe, but I promise every word of it is true. I know you don’t publish your reader emails until Thursday, and today is Friday, so if you can respond any earlier I would really appreciate it. If not, I understand, but I am really freaking out here and need some advice.

Just to give you my background, I’m 25 years old, have a career and a masters degree in music. I live in Southern California. My career is pretty public, as I do a lot of performing with my music and teach fitness classes which are publicized on the internet. Anyways, about a year ago, this guy I went to college with in Colorado started messaging me on Facebook and texting me. He is also a music professional, so we had a lot to talk about, even though I thought it was interesting that he messaged me so out of the blue when we hadn’t talked in years and were never really close friends (he’s a couple years older), nor did we ever date. Shortly after we started talking, I found out he was engaged. It meant nothing to me because I was not interested in him as more than a friend, and he lives in Vermont. Well then he started joking around, telling me he thought I was hot and that if things were different, he would want to get together. I’m pretty conservative (and maybe slightly naive) and haven’t really dated a lot, so I honestly just wrote it all off as his sense of humor and joking around. It started very subtle but then gradually grew into sexual talk that made me really uncomfortable, being that he was engaged. He told me he wanted me and even talked about flying out here to “see” me. But he never had any plans to leave his fiancee or anything, and I wouldn’t let that happen because I wasn’t interested anyways. I’m just a nice person, and he was fun to talk to.

In May, I told my sister the situation (she was recently married, engaged at the time), and she told me I needed to tell his fiancee what was going on. I wasn’t sure how to go about that, didn’t have her contact information, don’t know her, and figured she probably wouldn’t believe me. So I decided against telling her but told him we shouldn’t talk anymore, at least for now. Well after I spoke to my sister, a few days later he calls me freaking out that my other sister (who lives with me) emailed his fiancee and told her and that his fiancee was upset and said he couldn’t talk to me anymore, etc. For a few days he kept texting me, but then out of the blue I received a very long email from him explaining why we can’t talk anymore and asking me never to contact him again. I respected that, didn’t even respond and just let it go and moved on. I felt so terrible about the whole thing to begin with and should never have let the conversations continue knowing he was engaged and that I was just leading him on and causing hurt for myself by losing him as a friend. But over a month went by without us talking, so it was all over and done with. Or so I thought. End of story, right? Think again.

The evening before my sister’s wedding (June 30, which was also the day of this guy’s wedding), my sister and now brother-in-law told me they needed to talk to me. They explained that after my sister sent the email to this guy’s fiancee, he actually intercepted it and she never read it. Instead, he contacted my sister and threatened her and told her to stay out of his business. She of course, told my now brother-in-law who stepped in to defend her. They said they didn’t want me to get hurt and knew I thought he was a friend, so without my knowledge, they actually forged the long “break up” email I had received from him by spoofing his email account. They said they also sent him a similar email from “me” but that he didn’t listen and kept emailing “me,” but they were intercepting all the emails so I never even received them. I guess at one point my sister even spoke to him on the phone pretending to be me, and he didn’t know the difference. It was all with the intention of getting him to stop talking to me and convincing him it was wrong for him to be pursuing me weeks before his wedding, which I agree with that point. They said he seemed fine with cheating and didn’t seem to care. So he was shady in intercepting my sister’s email to his fiancee, but they were also shady in impersonating me behind my back. I haven’t seen any of these emails – they said they’ve all been deleted. Right.

Out of shock, I emailed him the next day simply to say that I hoped he had a great wedding, and that he should know that my sister and her now husband had been impersonating me. No questions, no attempt to rekindle anything or continue talking. Just apologizing. I was really upset about it because I had no idea what exactly they said to him, and also I think he got married without her ever finding out about our “affair” even though the whole time I thought she knew about it! He covered it up after all and lied to me about it, I assume to keep me quiet. But I was kind of hoping he’d respond so we could at least clear things up. To this day, I’m very confused as to what happened with my sister/brother-in-law and him.

Well needless to say, he didn’t respond to my email. This is what he DID do. He sent me a Jib Jab stripper video with my face in it (I’m sure you’re familiar with those) where the message said, “This is all you were ever worth to me, and since this is never gonna happen now, f**k off.” Then the day after the shootings, he tweeted a bunch of hurtful things about me and my family, wishing bad upon my sister and brother-in-law who live in Aurora. He said he wished they were in the theater! It’s literally hard to believe anyone would say such a thing. Then a fake Twitter account tweeted to me warning me that he’s plotting against me and that if I ever contact him again, he’ll come after me. It’s almost too ridiculous to be true, and I’m suspicious about the whole thing.

So I guess my question for you is, what should I do? He was a really chill guy before all this, so it seems super weird that he’s acting so crazy now, especially now that he’s married and it’s all said and done with. Should I be scared and report his craziness to someone? Or should I call him at work or get in touch with him somehow in person to clear things up? Or I can ignore it, but when he’s posting harassing public statements about me on my website and Twitter, it’s difficult to ignore. Or deep down, I kind of wonder…what if it’s my brother-in-law now impersonating him to get me to stop talking to him? It sounds terrible, but that’s what they did to me, and they were pretty vague with their explanation of what happened. I’m confused and scared, and I need some advice! I don’t know who to trust or believe.

Comment: See if he keeps it up. If he does, report it to authorities. You have to. Even though it may seem ridiculous to you, we’ve seen how crazy people can get, so better to be safe than sorry. I’m not sure what local authorities can even do at this point, but maybe you should at least alert them if he doesn’t stop bothering you.

I’d have a talk with your brother-in-law and sister and find if in fact it IS them who’s doing this. If it is, then less worries for you. But you should at least tell them what’s going on so they are aware as well in case this kook tries to contact them again.

There are some sick, sick people in this world.

Dr. Reality Steve,

I don’t actually need any advice, but I heard a story recently that was such Dr. Reality Steve material that I had to share. Maybe it can be used as advice/warning for those asking about trying out long distance relationships, or giving up their life to be with someone?

I was making idle chit chat with someone when she mentioned this horrible story about her friend. The friend, I’ll call her Sally because I have no idea what her real name is, had a very successful marketing job with a company in New York City that she loved. About a year ago, her boyfriend proposed to her and she accepted – life couldn’t be better. A very short time later, her company offered her a year-long position in Singapore and she jumped on it. She’s a very career-oriented individual and couldn’t pass the opportunity up. The couple decided a year wasn’t too long and they would just get married when she returned. Well, about 9 months in to the contract, the fiance started begging her to come home, saying that he just couldn’t wait to start their life together. Sally gave in and made the arrangements to return home. Since she broke the contract she had with her company, she had to quit her job AND pay them $20,000 to make up for the expenses the company had already spent to relocate her. But it was all worth it for love, right? About 3 days before she was to get on a plan back to the US, the fiance called and said he had met someone else and was ending the engagement. Now Sally is out $20,000, jobless, homeless and single. She just had to move back in with her mother.

I think Sally was right to take the job and pursue her career aspirations, but was a complete fool to give it all up only months from the end. If the relationship was going to work, it would’ve lasted 3 more months.

What do you think? Is this a prime example of why you should never “throw it all away” for love, or do you think there are times when it’s worth the risk?

Comment: Of course there are times where it’s worth the risk, but not knowing all the details about their relationship, it seems like she just got played and met the wrong dude. I mean, he did propose to her and they were engaged. He just wanted to speed up the marriage actually happening. The fact he couldn’t wait 3 more months sucks for her, but pretty much shows he was scum anyway. Sometimes you have to take chances. Sometimes those chances work out, and sometimes they don’t. This one didn’t. Like I said, sucks for her, but better that their wedding was called off than have her actually marry the guy and have it end inevitably how it was going to end based on this guy’s character. Seems to me he was never really that into her.

Hello Dr. Reality Steve,

Thought I’d pop you a quick dating question. To what extent should you listen to a guy’s friends advice over the guy’s own actions? I met a cute guy through a friend at one of her family barbecues, and it turns out this guy and i have a lot of friends in common. Well, we hung out a couple of times, super casually, and I always had a lot of fun and thought he did too. But I realized after a while that it seemed like I was doing all the work: I always contacted him first to meet up, and I had to choose what we were doing, etc. I figured that even though this probably wouldn’t have lasted past the summer anyway, I didn’t want to waste my time on a guy that didn’t really seem invested in whatever it was we had. Anyway, a couple of weeks after I stopped calling him to hang out, some of our mutual guy friends started telling me that making moves is hard on guys and I should give him another chance and he was really into me, and I was like huh? It’s not like he ever did anything to make me think that he saw it as something semiserious. And so they told me that while he’s not a shy person in general, he is really shy around girls and doesn’t have too much dating experience, etc. I’m just wondering, do I give this guy another chance? He never really acted shy around me when we were together, and he was perfectly nice. I just feel like to a certain extent, when you like someone you’ll go out of your comfort zone for them a little, for example calling me first for a date even once. Am I being to general or expecting too much? I’m just curious if I should listen to this guy’s friends over my gut feeling about what his actions mean.

Thanks for any insight you might be able to offer.

Comment: If a guy wants you, he’ll show interest. He can blame it on shyness all he wants, but in the end, if that’s something that turns you off, then why would you want to be with him anyway? If he’s not man enough to ask you out and you have to do all the work, I’d say let him go. But if he does finally ask you, then sure, go out with him and see what happens. But it sounds like you shouldn’t expect much from this guy. Kind of a weenie…

I’ve been dating a guy for about 9 months. We’ve taken it pretty slow as we both ended serious relationships a few months before we got together. He was in a 9 year relationship and broke off their engagement and I got divorced. Needless to say, slow has been good for both of us to ensure we don’t have a rebound relationship. I don’t see us breaking it off anytime soon. I’m happy and he is as well. The problem I’m having is he is inconsistent with the things he says especially regarding our future. In the same day, he can reference us together, owning a business in 10 years, and later that day say something about a year from now “if we’re still together.” Earlier today, we were discussing his opinion that I lack common sense, and that he can’t believe the things I do/say sometimes. I jokingly said, “Well you haven’t left me yet!” And he responded with “the key word being yet. Sometimes I can’t see how this will last long term,” referring to his difficulty dealing with my “blonde moments” for lack of a better term. We’ve talked about it before, but seriously? I swear I’m not that bad. No one has ever had a problem before. I’m not stupid by any means. He sometimes attributes my lack of knowledge in certain areas to my age (I’m 12 years younger than him, I know that’s over Dr. Steve’s age difference limit) which is often accurate. I simply have less life experiences than him. Is he just looking for a possible escape? He still wants to be with me, so should I just try to limit any conversations that might reveal my ignorance to common knowledge? Should I just ignore it and go on as normal? Am I overreacting? I would say he more often refers to his distant future with me included, but it’s not something we frequently discuss. Your opinion is appreciated, as I have little insight into the mind of 36 year old men.

Comment: You’re dating a jerk. Get out while you can. No guy who cares about someone else would ever say sh*t like that. “If we’re still together?” What a sh**ty thing to say. He’s a game player. And if he’s constantly harping on the fact that you’re 12 years younger with less life experience, then he’s obviously bothered by it or he wouldn’t keep bringing it up. Either don’t date guys 12 years older than you that are going to act like this, or just don’t date this particular guy that’s 12 years older than you. Sure it can work with someone older, but not when they’re condescending and mean like that. Why even put up with that?

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  1. sclark

    August 2, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    Thank you, Steve! Looking forward very much to the upcoming columns.

  2. jessica13

    August 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    to the person who asked the last question to dr steve…i gotta echo was steve said…get out! that guy sounds like a condescending douche. the things he says to you are awful and so disrespectful. ”Earlier today, we were discussing his opinion that I lack common sense, and that he can’t believe the things I do/say sometimes”???? that is so mean. no guy who is worth your time will consider anything you say stupid!

  3. khaki

    August 2, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Jessica is right. To the last Dr. Steve writer, read your question back to yourself. If you had a friend who said those things, what would you tell them? You write as somebody well educated with a good head on your shoulders. You need to step back and realize you deserve much much more in a relationship. I can understand a conversation about you being flakey if you did something really destructive like forgetting to pay all your utilities for months or locking a child in a car, but we all have our dumb blonde moments. It honestly sounds like he is grooming you to have lowered self esteem so that you bend to his every wish since he is “older and wiser.” You deserve better. You are young. You are smart. You do not have to be dependent on him. Yes you should admire qualities in your partner, but he should admire qualities in you also. If you are asking the question, you already know there is a problem. Listen to your gut. Find somebody who makes you HAPPY not MISERABLE.

  4. Dianne

    August 2, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    OMG!! That last question e-mail is a doozy! Honey, do yourself a favour, and now. Dump the guy! My gawd, I can almost hear Kalon saying things like that, and we all know what Kalon is like.

  5. elizabeth82

    August 2, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    To the person who e-mailed with suggestions for who should be on Bachelor Pad: Kacie B. a bitch? Really??!

  6. randais

    August 2, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    WOW people (other than RS) really read these emails! Who knew?

  7. jillbeau

    August 2, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    I usually skip over the Dr. Reality Steve emails, but since there a few comments about the last one, I figured I would read it. My opinion is this: your boyfriend is probably insecure. There is no reason to belittle others, especially someone you apparently care about, unless there are other issues involved. People who are insecure usually try to control whatever they can, to increase their self-esteem and sense of self worth. He is trying to keep you under his control. He wants to be in charge of the relationship. By acting as if you are having “blonde moments” or have no common sense, this causes you to question yourself which will then cause you to seek his approval. So when you mention your future together and he makes statements such as “IF we have a future”. Well look at that, he’s in control of the relationship. You’re putting all the power in his hands. When you seek his approval, he then feels better about himself. Unless you want to put up with this, I agree with the others, get out of the relationship. Otherwise, step up and stand up for yourself.

  8. jillbeau

    August 2, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    As a side note for anyone reading this, I am a social worker and I attended a seminar this past year regarding “Dealing with difficult clients”. If anyone is familiar with social work, difficult clients are a given with the occupation (although wonderful, fantastic clients are far more common). The speaker said something very intriguing during the seminar and it’s this: You are not treated the way you deserve to be treated, you are treated the way you teach others to treat you. So, in short, stand up for yourself! If you’re being disrespected, it’s because others feel as though they can get away with it. Stand up for yourself and demand respect (in a respectful way).

    *steps off soap box*

  9. Vanilla Thunder

    August 3, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    Re: the last email. I will go even further, and say that I think this dude is mentally/emotionally abusing her. It seems that he’s constantly belittling her intelligence, and though she says she’s “not that bad”, it sounds like she is at least halfway to buying into his cr@p. And going back and forth between talking about a solid future and doubting they’ll even be together in a year? That is a tactic to keep you off balance and on eggshells with him. You never know where you stand, so you do everything you can to keep him happy and not lose him. I hope the LW gets out right away, before he escalates his mental games to something worse. Find a guy who loves you the way you are, and treats you right!

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