Reality Steve

Dr. Reality Steve

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Hi Dr. Reality Steve,

I’ve been happily married for 5 years. Most of the time, things are pretty great. He’s a wonderful guy in almost every way.

When we do fight, it feels like the end of the world. My husband has a tendency to fall for scams in the mail or online, and blows up at me when I try to protect us. This has happened several times but the latest was pretty awful.

We got a paper in the mail saying we were eligible for some sort of “government refund” of a thousand dollars, but it wasn’t sent by a government entity, just some random scam company. I knew it was a scam right away, but he wouldn’t let it go even though I told him 5 times it’s not legit and asked him not to please not contact them.

Turns out he called them anyway behind my back. They wanted to come to our house and get a copy of our drivers licenses and other personal information but he told them he’d meet them at a nearby restaurant instead.

I was really upset and tried to explain why this is a bad idea and he just kept yelling and said I treat him like he’s stupid. (I have a higher level of education, but that shouldn’t matter because he is smarter than me in many different areas and I try to build him up and tell him. He’s always trying to prove me wrong on lots of little things. I just don’t get it.)

After this latest blowup he did eventually agree to cancel the meeting and not give out our information. Then I got the silent treatment all night and much of the following day. After doing some research I did find out it was a huge scam, but I didn’t explain much because he doesn’t want to hear it and I just want to let it go and have some peace. I really don’t care about being right or wrong, as long as our identities and personal information are safe.

I don’t want to fight about these things after a long day of work, I just want us to come home and hang out and be happy. But I feel like I have to protect us. I’m tired of being the “nag” when he throws these situations in my lap unexpectedly.

A while back I did some research and signed up for that “do not mail” list so we wouldn’t get things like that, and it helped for a while, but lately things will slip through. This problem doesn’t seem like it will go away.

What should I do or say in these situations to avoid a major fight, and still protect us?

-Stressed Out Wife

Comment: Geez. Is he on a first name basis with the people that are stranded in Ghana and need you to wire them $10,000 immediately? He falls for that stuff? That’s gotta be frustrating.

I think your best bet at this point is to just monitor it privately and make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. If he gets something, never tells you about it, gives out your info, and you guys get scammed, well, there’s really nothing you can do at that point other than to have a talk and tell him anything he thinks is real he needs to run that by you first. If he thinks you’re treating him as an idiot, well, maybe that’s because he’s BEING an idiot for believing this stuff. How does a grown man not understand that no email/mail you get offering you money is legit? Good luck and I hope he doesn’t fall for anything in the future.

Hi RS,

First I wanna start off by saying I love your site and love all the spoilers and inside info – keep it coming – it makes watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette a lot more enjoyable!

So I am writing to you today because I would like your advice and input on my current dating situation. I have been out of the dating game for a while so I am sorta struggling with how I should act and what to do…

I’ve been seeing this guy for about 5-6 weeks now. We met on Tinder and hit it off right away. Things have been going pretty well, although they have been moving at a slow pace, it has been really good. He had recently got out of an 8 month long relationship just before we met so I understand he is probably not looking to rush into anything at the moment.

For the first month of us talking and seeing each other things were super good, and he was giving me signs that maybe he wanted to take things further eventually, i.e. kissing me in public, saying he missed me and couldn’t wait to see me, making plans to do things in the future, I met his friends, etc. But then these past two weeks I have sort of noticed a slight change in the way he’s been acting. He’s been a bit less touchy/feely with me, hasn’t been making a lot of plans, cancelled one of our dates, etc,… maybe it is all in my head, but it just feels like we took five steps forward and now we have taken ten steps back.

I also noticed that he is still on Tinder, and when I brought up the fact that I was no longer on Tinder, he sort of got weird and didn’t really want to talk about it and avoided the subject.

I know he is not wanting a serious relationship right now and that is obvious. But he still continues to text me all the time, makes plans once or twice a week, etc… So I am just confused and not sure what he wants from me or what I should do at this point. I obviously like him and want to continue to see where it goes, but how long do I wait? I don’t want to waste my time on someone who does not want the same things that I want, however, I do not have a problem taking things slow because I myself am not quite sure what I even want, and this is not holding me back from doing anything else. I wasn’t talking to any guys before this anyways.

Just looking for your feedback and how/where I should go from here?

Thanks in advance.

Comment: Ugh, the second I see Tinder, I start to roll my eyes.

Basically, you need to set your expectation level extremely low when dealing with Tinder. Yes, I’ve heard stories of people who’ve met great guys off Tinder, but those are few and far between. Know what you’re getting into with Tinder. Despite what people say, it’s a hookup app. It’s a convenience app. I’m pretty sure this guy did enjoy his time with you and would like to see you in the future – when it fits his schedule. You are an option to him, not a priority.

What he wants from you is someone to be there when he has no other plans. Obviously you don’t know exactly what else he’s doing, but the fact that he’s still on Tinder means he’s still swiping right, still carrying on conversations with chicks that are geographically desirable to him, and probably seeing them when he’s not seeing you. Hence the reason to just temper all expectations when using Tinder. Granted, you could be doing the same thing, and probably should be. But it sounds like you’re a little invested in this guy more than he is you. If he’s still on Tinder, then you go back on and date more guys. It’s not like he can say anything. Just have fun on there, if that’s what you’re looking for, and realize you aren’t a priority to this guy.

Dear Dr. Reality Steve,

This is a friend question, not a romance question, but any advice from an outside perspective would be great! I’ll try and keep this short, but I want you to have enough context so that it all makes sense. I’m 24 and in graduate school, but still keep in touch with a few of my really good friends from high school. It’s been a tradition since we graduated high school that every year we all meet up for New Years and celebrate together. We try to change the location up every year to hit everybody’s hometowns. Typically, whoever is “hosting” the NYE party in their hometown plans everything, and it’s just up to all the other people to get themselves there, and it’s worked out pretty well for the last few years.

This year, the plan had been to celebrate in Chicago, but we had to change that because my best friend out of the whole group—let’s call her Meredith—has been long-distance dating a guy who lives in New Jersey, and she put her foot down that she wouldn’t celebrate without him. He couldn’t travel anywhere for some reason (or didn’t want to), and so we decided on a plan that would be most convenient for them, which was getting an Airbnb out in Jersey and then heading into the city to party. Then, at the last second, about a week before New Year’s Eve, Meredith told us that all the Airbnbs in the area were too expensive (she and her boyfriend had supposedly been looking for a place for weeks but really left it until the last minute), and then “suggested” that we change the plan to celebrate in Philly instead. For a bunch of reasons that don’t really matter, Philly wasn’t doable for me, BUT, I have family in Jersey, and when they heard that we were scrambling for a place they offered to let us stay at their house for the night. So I suggested this to the Meredith, but she immediately texted back saying that NJ/NYC just didn’t work for her anymore because she was tied to her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s family, and so Philly was where she had to be, because she would feel bad for her boyfriend and his family (his two brothers and their girlfriends) if she changed the plan again. In the end, I figure that she was pretending that Philly was a “suggestion” when in reality she had already booked it before asking anyone else if it even worked for them, essentially picking her boyfriend over the rest of us. If it matters, this is her first serious relationship, and she and her boyfriend have been together a little less than a year, but none of us have ever met him. NYE was going to be the first chance for all of us to meet him, and we were all really excited!

Now here’s the real issue: Meredith and I have been friends since we were 11, and if it were anyone else, I’d simply say, “Yo, I get it that you and your boyfriend are long distance and seeing each other is important, but it was kind of a crummy thing to pretend to suggest Philly when you’d already gone ahead and booked it. Also, my feelings are hurt that you wouldn’t even try to compromise with my relative’s place in Jersey, but I’ll get over it.” The problem with Meredith is that she’s one of those people who absolutely cannot take any criticism and always makes herself out to be the victim. We haven’t spoken in about three weeks because of this whole situation, since at first I was too mad/hurt to want to talk to her the one time she tried to call me. Now I’m just hesitant to call her back because I know, no matter what I say, she’s gonna twist the conversation to make herself the victim and me the bad guy who just wouldn’t cooperate with her plans and didn’t try hard enough to see her/meet her boyfriend (even though no one else from our usual group was able to get to Philly either.) So what do you think? Aside from pretending like nothing ever happened, how should I deal with this going forward? Should I just suck it up and bury the hatchet, even if it means getting guilted for not being a “better friend” to her? Do I ditch a thirteen-year friendship because she’s just too high-maintenance? My feelings are really hurt, but I don’t know how to tell her that without her twisting everything to be my fault.

Thanks in advance!

Feeling Hurt in Frigid Hanover (ehhh… it’s not great, but it was the best I could do…)

Comment: The short answer would be to not bring it up, bury the hatchet, and don’t let this ruin a 13 year friendship.

However, just know you’re in the right here and she isn’t. It’s obvious what she did, it’s sh**ty, but she’s in her first real serious relationship, and unfortunately, you’re gonna have to deal with that now. With New Year’s passed, maybe when you call her tell her how excited you are to meet her boyfriend, which then puts all the focus back on her and her relationship, which is what she’s completely enamored with right now. AND it’ll earn you points. Unfortunately, this happens in life. Your best friend for however long will always get to a point where their new relationship comes before their friends. Everyone’s gone through it. So to appease her, just let her know you’re excited for her and want to meet her new man.

Let the New Year’s thing pass, it sucks, she totally ruined it for you guys, but it’s part of being in a “new” relationship – especially one that’s the first serious one she’s ever had. You’re just gonna have to deal with it for the time being knowing you were right, but let her be in La La Land with her new boyfriend. Hey, maybe it’ll work out and they’ll end up getting married. But on the chance that they don’t, I guarantee the two of you will end up looking back on this debacle and she’ll end up apologizing and admitting she was wrong.

Send all links and emails to: To follow me on Twitter, it’s: Instagram name is “RealitySteve,” or join my Reality Steve Facebook Fan Page. Talk to you tonight.

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  1. xnuzboss

    January 14, 2016 at 11:01 AM

    For Stressed Out: Your husband’s reaction when criticized is so over-the-top that it suggests something deep and unrelated to the issue. Anger like that is often a cover for some BIG fear, like rejection or abandonment. Just sayin…

  2. rob22

    January 14, 2016 at 12:18 PM

    Ironic that this issue of falling for scams comes just as a bunch of people are shelling out big bucks for the PowerBall $1B jackpot, with a 1 in 300M chance of winning.

    What this is, is a poor person mentality. Poor people play the lottery. Poor people look for get rich quick schemes. Poor people fall for scams. I don’t mean “poor” in the sense of not having any money or living with very modest means. That’s just being broke. Being broke is usually temporary & most of us were broke at one point or another. Poor is a state of mind with people that constantly do things that put them farther and farther behind financially. These types of people are incapable of coming up with a plan to improve their finances & execute on the plan. Instead they grab for any pie in the sky comes along. This is what you’re dealing with and it’s extremely hard to change. AND it’s a very serious problem for him, for you, and for your marriage.

    Start with education on finances. I recommend Dave Ramsey Financial Peace. Both of you take it together. Work on changing not only the finances, but also the poor person mindset AND get the two of you on the same page financially…. with a plan. Right now, speaking of your marriage and your finances, you’re on the road to ruin. You’re only 5 years in, but it will get a lot worse over time and eventually it will take your marriage if it is not addressed. I must stress this last fact. If YOU don’t do something to get it turned around, and I’ve given you my suggestion on what to do, it will not get better. It will get much worse & you’ll end up heavily resenting each other. You’ll either be divorced or you’ll be in a loveless relationship, barely tolerating one another, if it’s not turned around.

  3. rob22

    January 14, 2016 at 12:24 PM

    Should I comment on the Tinder email? Do some women really not understand why guys get on Tinder? Ya know, guys motivations for getting on Tinder are not the same as yours might be. I know we tend to think others have the same motivations as we have, but I assure you, that’s not the case here. And if they’re nice to you, that doesn’t mean they plan on going ring shopping and introducing you to their parents sometime soon. RS covered it, so I guess I’ll leave it at that.

  4. walker

    January 14, 2016 at 12:51 PM

    I have a handsome male friend in his 30s (prime marriage material age) who is on Tinder and boy do I have stories…. I have had to meet a string of “girlfriends” over the last 2 years and each one thinks they are “the one” during the few weeks that he spends lots of time with them. Thing is, he is always dating more than one woman at a time throughout the week. He has sports watching dates, bar night dates, late night hook ups last minute, dates to friend’s houses etc each girl he maintains regular texting with. I do not think he is completely upfront with each of the women that he is not exclusive – he just assumes since they are on Tinder that they are aware of how the game is played and that Tinder is for dating around. Unless a person specifically has a conversation directly concerning dating status and intention, do not assume that just because the guy is texting you a lot that you are in an exclusive dating relationship. I have seen first hand women get hurt by thinking that a hook-up that lasted more than a few times was the beginning of a relationship with the goal being marriage – um, no. Have the conversation people, it really is all there is to it.

  5. rob22

    January 14, 2016 at 2:10 PM

    @Walker, you’re exactly right. Guys are not necessarily honest about their intentions (probably not) because they understand what women are thinking and what they want…. and they don’t want to ruin their good time with honesty. I know, pretty slimy. But there it is.

    And then they give themselves cover if they’re called on it to say…. well, we met on Tinder, so she should just know the deal. Women, you’re being played. Tinder is a medium that plays by the guy’s rules. The deck is stacked against you.

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