Tag Archives: Romance

February 26, 2014

“Dear Daddy Kenneth, while I feel that I made the right decision to walk away from a bad relationship for the past year, I feel lost and keep wondering what is wrong with me that I didn’t deserve love and respect. I gave it my all including financial and emotional support. I was never enough. He has jumped right into another relationship and I’m still angry at what he has done to me. I feel like I can’t move on. We don’t speak period so the questions will never be answered. How do I let this go? Sincerely, a hurt soul”

It is very hard to let something go when you’ve held on for a long time. If you thought that you were losing it, and held tighter at the end then letting go is even more difficult. What you have to remember is that even though you walked away rather than sink any more emotional and financial resources into this relationship, you already contributed those resources and you’re going to feel their loss. That’s not even to mention the fact that you are going to feel the loss of the stability you thought you had with this person. Allow yourself to feel, and mourn, that loss. I have a theory that a person is in mourning for their past relationship for half as long as the relationship lasted. This means that your ex-boyfriend is rebounding with his new beau, or he emotionally ended the relationship with you much sooner than you did, and has already mourned its loss.

I find that when relationships end, it’s usually because the people in the relationships want different things out of them. When relationships end badly, it’s because the people in them did not know how to communicate properly about those differences, or they didn’t even try. Most of the time, people assume that their partner knows what they want, and their partner wants the same thing. This is not always the case. Not wanting the same things does not mean that you are not deserving of love and respect, it just means that you partner may not know how to give you love and respect in a way that you can appreciate it. A failure to communicate can leave both partners feeling like they “gave it their all” and just “weren’t good enough.”

The question of what you did wrong, from his point of view, will never be answered completely. What you did was fail to give him what he needed, and fail to tell him what you needed. What he did was fail to give you what you needed, and fail to tell you what he needed. Beyond that, the specifics of his needs and your needs cannot be articulated unless you both drastically change your method of communication with each other. The chances of that happening at this point are negligible.

How do you get over it, and move on? You have to grieve. It sounds to me like you’re already in Anger, which is the second stage of grief, and next you’ll move into Bargaining, followed by Depression and Acceptance. You won’t be able force these, you won’t be able fake any of them; all you can do is let yourself experience them as they come. I recommend that you stay in acceptance as long as you can before you try moving into another relationship yourself. There’s no need to compete with your ex to show who is doing better post-breakup. Surround yourself with friends who love and support you, and work on letting go, one step at a time. You may also want to use your anger to motivate you to block your ex on social media, and remove him from your phone.

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February 17, 2014

“So I have a question: if you love someone, have been through hell, and tried to work on trust, how then can you ignore that his reputation both in the relationship and outside are always on your mind? I have a guy that refuses to take responsibility for his side dealings, and while the evidence is clear we are lost in translation. I’ve dated escorts, dealers and even bankers, but never loved like I do now but the trust and honesty are gone. How do you get it back when they think the truth will hurt you more than the lies?”

Trust takes years to build and seconds to break. Once broken it is very rare that it can ever be fully repaired, and repairing it takes monumental effort on the part of the person doing the trusting. What kinds of efforts can you make? A friend of mine once told me that they found inner peace with their trust issues by trusting everyone to be themselves, nothing more, nothing less. If you can do that with your partner, you can start to build trust again. Instead of fighting his reputation, try embracing it. Don’t force him to pretend to be something he’s not in order to please you, but allow him to be himself and love him for all of that self.

Show him that the truth doesn’t hurt you, because you love him. Don’t pull “ah ha, gotcha” moments on him, when you have all the evidence, just let him know gently and non-judgmentally that you know what’s going on. If his “other man” was at your house and left his undies, wash them, fold them, and tell your boyfriend where they are and mention that he should make sure the other man gets them back. If they leave a used condom in the bathroom trash can, ask him nicely to take it out.

The more he knows you know, and the more he sees you can handle it without confrontation, the more likely he is to tell you things, and trust you not to freak out. You will be opening the door for communication without trying to force him through it. It’s one thing to tell your partner that he doesn’t have to sneak around, it’s another thing to show him you mean it.

Your boyfriend will continue to exhibit the same patterns of behavior that have “worked” for him in the past, and will fall into the same lies and deflections he’s used before. Don’t rise to his bait, and don’t call out his lies. Just let him have his way, and drop the subject. The more you accept him the way he is, the more he’ll accept that he can be himself around you. Eventually the lies will become unnecessary and stop; you’ll get to the point where you can tell your boyfriend that you’re out of milk and he should ask his fuck bud to pick some up on the way over.

As for the “reputation” outside the relationship, ignore it. If someone tries to hurt you with it, don’t be hurt by it. Say, “I know all about it, why are you gossiping about my boyfriend?”

I am not saying you need to be a pushover or a doormat; by all means, get what you need out of the relationship or get out. At the same time, accept that he’s getting his needs met too, and if you love him, you should be happy that he is. If he’s 15 minutes late for dinner, eat without him and serve him up some cold leftovers, and let him know you missed him at dinner and wished he was there. If he isn’t there to watch your tv show together, watch it without him; tell him you did, and he needs to catch up on his own. You know by now when his excuses are legitimate and when they’re bullshit. Reward the legitimate excuses by waiting longer, and ignore the bullshit ones. He’ll figure out the pattern quickly enough: “tell the truth, I wait; lie to me and eat alone.”

Do you have an question for “Ask Daddy”? Send it to me, for a chance to have it answered in a future column.

Do you like what you see on Ask Daddy Kenneth? Ask Daddy is a public blog, so you can share your favorite columns on your social media to introduce your friends to the column!

December 20, 2013

“Daddy Kenneth, I’ve seen a lot of discussions recently on Facebook regarding open relationships and poly relationships. In many of those discussions it ends up coming down to two sides, one saying it can’t work and one saying it can, though usually there’s some cross over and more details.

“My question, what would you call a relationship that ‘works’? I’ve been in 3 relationships, my first was only a month long when I was 16 and ended badly, my second was almost two years and ended very badly, my third and current is poly and semi-open and has lasted 7 years. None of these relationships do I consider to have ‘Failed’ even though two of them ended and not on good terms. I feel like the fact that I learned and grew from them, and the joy I had from them even in a short time, makes them a success. I guess what I’m asking, do you really have to be with someone forever for it to have been a ‘working’ relationship? Because that seems to be the definition I see used in these discussions.”

Most of the time when people are talking about open and poly relationships, their standard of what “works” is whether or not the relationship lasts. If there is any break up or end to any of the relationships involved, the detractors state that the relationship “failed” and use the break up as evidence that these types of relationships don’t work. If the same standard was applied to monogamous relationships, no one would ever enter into one. The failure rate of monogamous relationships is astronomical. A conservative guess is that 80% of monogamous pairings “fail” to produce life-long committed relationships. Personally, I do not know anyone who is still with their first boyfriend or girlfriend. I’ve had several girlfriends and boyfriends, and in spite of trying to be be in monogamous relationships with them, the relationships didn’t last.

I am coming up on my eighth anniversary with my husband. It is the longest relationship I’ve ever had in my life, the most stable relationship I’ve ever had, a relationship that my friends tell me they envy, and we are about as open as we can be. Of course, if we break up people will say it’s because we were open and those relationships never work out. They fail to realize that it has worked for us for eight years and counting. Is there a chance that we will encounter irreconcilable differences at year 12, yes. Is it likely? No, because we like to reconcile issues as they occur. (Or at least once a year we have a blow up screaming match that brings everything out into the open; afterwards, since we can’t put the genies back in the bottle, we talk about the issues we’re having and work through them.)

In today’s culture of immediate gratification, and in society’s “Cinderella Syndrome” take on relationships, people want to meet, fall madly in love, and live happily ever after. Anything less than that is “failure.” They don’t want to waste time with all the things that make a relationship fun: dating, getting to know each other, learning the things that are unique and different about your partner, exploring your similarities and differences, things like that. They also don’t want to deal with the work that comes with making a relationship work. They think if you want it and I want it, then the rest is easy. It’s not easy. Something as simple as what you want for dinner can turn into an argument about you never listening to me. It really isn’t about dinner, or necessarily you. It’s about the fact that I’m not feeling heard. If you’re my partner, you need to acknowledge that I’m having those feelings. I need to discover what it is that is making me feel that way and, if I need something from you, ask for it.

When a relationship ends badly, people often remember the “ending” and the “badly;” they don’t remember the things that were wonderful. People often don’t remember the things that “worked” so when they reflect on the relationship, they only see their “failures.” I guess what I am saying is no, you do not have to be with someone forever to consider a relationship a successful one. I’ve had many romantic relationships in my life, and don’t consider a single one of them to be a failure. The fact that I am friends with most of my ex’s is proof that our relationships, while they didn’t last forever in a romantic capacity, did not fail.

Do you have a question for “Ask Daddy”? Send me a message and I will add it to my queue.

August 5, 2013

“Daddy Kenneth: can you explain how a poly relationship is supposed to work in theory? How do you balance things so your primary does not feel left out when your secondaries cause more than their share of drama?”

Poly is a type of relationship where the participants feel that they are capable of being involved in more than one romantic relationship at a time. There are various ways to engage in poly relationships, including: Closed Poly Relationships in which the participants share love and sex with only each other, similar to a monogamous relationship but with more than two people. Primary/Secondary Relationships where the poly person will share more of their life with one person (usually this includes things like children, living spaces, shared bills etc) as well as romance and sex, and will share romance and sex with additional people. Polygamy is where one person has multiple partners, but the others in their relationship do not.

In order to work, all the partners must be “in the know” about the relationships and their statuses and functions. This requires communication, patience, and understanding on all parts. Many poly people reject the notion of “happily ever after” and subscribe instead to the ideology that relationships are by nature transient. You can share a part of your life with someone for a length of time, and then stop sharing your life with that person without your life or theirs ending. Sometimes a secondary relationship will grow into a primary relationship while a primary relationship fades back into a secondary relationship. Sometimes secondary relationships will end all together and a new one doesn’t start for many years. The key to any poly relationship is mutual love, trust, respect and communication with your partners. Also remember, it is not your place to communicate with your partner’s partners, unless they are also your partners.

A person causing drama in a relationship is attempting to communicate, but doing so in a way that is not constructive. Listen to all aspects of that communication: The timing, the preceding events, the follow up events. Determine what it is that the person is asking for. Once you are aware what their problem is, encourage them to bring that problem to you in a more constructive manner. If they feel they are not getting enough of your time, talk with your primary about adjusting the time tables. If they feel that you are disrespecting them, look at your self and determine if that’s true. It could be that they are just being selfish and childish, how would you deal with that if you were in a 1 on 1 relationship with this person and there were no other partners involved? Once you have an established protocol for constructive communication, resist the urge to give into the dramatic communication. If your primary is feeling threatened by these bursts of dramatic communication, make sure you set aside some drama free time with your primary. Disconnect your computers, turn off your phones, lock your doors, and light a scented candle, and share some quality time with your primary.

July 31, 2013

“What’s your opinion on age differences … 33 and 19 …”

I see no reason why two or more consenting adults should not engage in a mutually satisfying sexual or romantic relationship. However, that relationship must be mutually satisfying.

With that said, in relationships where there is a significant age difference, I suggest that you follow Dan Savage’s campsite rule. That is: It is the older partner’s responsibility to leave the younger partner in better shape than they were found in. This means no new scars (emotional or physical) no new diseases, and no new children.

I also recall that in my 20’s I learned a lot that made me into the man I am in my 30’s. I can’t help but wonder if my growth as a human being, and as a gay man might have been stifled if I had stayed with the older partners that I had when I was in my late teens. I know that it’s because of them that I ended up where I am today, with the experiences I had, and for that I am grateful. But the older partner in this instance should be wary about attempting to solve the younger partner’s problems for them or stifling their growth as a human being. While it would be easy for the older partner to say “Let my experience guide you” and to protect the younger partner from the worst, remember that the younger partner is likely to have recently ended this type of relationship with their parents, and they will need to have shaping and growing experiences of their own.