“How Will I Ever Trust a Man Again?” + A Good Day for America

First of all, a massive congratulations to all Americans today for the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all fifty states. Such a breakthrough would have been unthinkable even twenty years ago.

Unfortunately, discrimination against homosexuals has been around for much longer than that. Fortunately, as Martin Luther King Jr put it so eloquently, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” In the past hundred years, we’ve gotten the vote for women and racial minorities, improved access to higher education for women and minorities, reduced violence significantly (The Better Angels of Our Nature: How Violence Has Decreased Over Time is a fantastic read on this), criminalized torture, stopped burning witches at the stake, nearly eradicated slavery, and seen democracy progressively displace hereditary tyranny all over the world.

Although I’d like to think that, “Geez, isn’t this the way things should have been all along?,” the fact is that for nearly all of human history, people have been pretty nasty to each other. So it is with a joyous heart that I say halleluuuujah, it’s about time, and I for one will not take this for granted. There will always be meanies, but the good guys eventually win. San Francisco’s already lit up in rainbow colors all over the place, but with this announcement, the whole town’s going to go certified bonkers.

In the meantime, we’ve had some interesting letters in the past week. Let’s see what the e-mailman brung:

Dear Dr. Ali,

I really need your input and valuable advice; I feel betrayed, abandoned, lost, heartbroken and devastated.

A year ago precisely at this time of June, I met a man. We had a great connection, very attracted to each other , not too many things in common other than the cultural background (I’m Armenian and he is Lebanese), but it didn’t bother me. I had a great time with him, I felt alive. He was a bit of a partier. We were in a relationship for a year, and there were talks about having a family, kids etc. I have a child from previous marriage; he was married too at a very young age but no kids. I’m 36 and he is 38. Worth mentioning that all my friends were telling me he was not a good match as he seemed to be immature but I didn’t care because I was in love.

Everything seemed great until a couple of days ago he announced that he tried to make it work because he loves me, but my situation with a child and ex husband always being in a picture bothers him and he can’t do it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so heartbroken in my life. I trusted this man with my feelings and now feel that he’s betrayed me and our love. How can someone say he loves but circumstances are an obstacle for him that he can’t overcome?! Isn’t everything possible when there is love? Or his love was not strong enough? How can I ever trust another man again? I’ve invested so much love and commitment into this relationship and I’m so afraid of staying alone for the rest of my life.

Sorry for a long rant, and thank you so much for your time reading this. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards, Karina

Dear Karina –

Hate to be so blunt, but maybe your friends had a point. They generally have your best interests in mind, and aren’t out to deprive you of the joy and fulfillment of a great relationship with a winner of a guy. So if they all think he’s a bad match, chances are that they are right and you are wrong.

Being in love is a state of acute intoxication which looks a lot like cocaine addiction in a brain scanner. This is not a good state for making big-ticket decisions, eg whom to marry. So consider this a massive favor from the universe and from this man that a) this is happening now, instead of 5yrs down the road with 2 more kids and b) you are now free to find a far better match.

Also, please re-read your letter as if a friend wrote it to you. What would you tell her? “Oh, you don’t have that much in common, he’s immature, he’s dumping you for frivolous reasons and your friends think he’s bad news, but really, you should go after him and hold on as tight as possible! He just could turn out to be a winner, someday, somehow.”

Ummm, nope. Move on, darlin’. Congratulations on your newfound freedom. It’s gonna suck for 2-4 weeks, but then it gets infinitely better.

Before I finish, I’d like to address some of the questions you asked, because they point to some potentially problematic thought processes:

How can someone say he loves you but circumstances are an obstacle for him that he can’t overcome?!

This is irrelevant. If a guy is committed to the relationship, he’ll do his best to make things work. If he’s not, he’ll take the first plausible excuse he finds to get out. This time, the excuse happened to be your child and ex-husband.

Isn’t everything possible when there is love? 

No. Pop songs are a poor guide for good life decisions. And there needs to be a good fit. Clearly, this was a poor fit.

How can I ever trust another man again?

It was one person who did this to you, not every man on earth. This is like saying, “I got food poisoning last night – how can I ever eat again?” And just as you have no choice in eating again, you have no choice in trusting men again. It may take a little bit of work, and you may have to be cautious about it, but you’ve got to make it happen. The sooner, the better. Companionship = food for the soul.

It’s also very important to acknowledge how much of this you brought upon yourself. You went out with a party boy with whom you had little in common. Now if you were just looking for a fling, perfect! But it’s not going to work if you were seeking a long-term, stable partnership. This is a little bit like looking for a super-healthy meal at an ice cream store. Still tasty, but definitely not what you set out for, and definitely not a long-term solution. The Law of Initial Conditions says: the better the choices you make at the outset of a relationship, the better those relationships tend to turn out.

Karina: Thank you so very much for taking your time to read my letter, for such a prompt response and for your wisdom! I’m so grateful! Really value every single piece of your advice. I know I will move on eventually, and maybe the time will prove that this is a big favor from the universe and this man:)

Thanks for accepting my request on Facebook! I’m your life time follower! All the best, Karina

You’re welcome. And yes, I’m subtly encouraging all y’all to join me on Facebook if you haven’t yet. In addition to being an outlet for my shorter thought-snippets, which you may or may not be curious to read, it’s a way for me to get to know you folks better.


Thanks to all of you who signed up to be the first group to try out the Project Irresistible e-course! I hope you’re getting a lot out of it. While you’re learning, I’d love to get your feedback on how to improve it. For those of you who are curious, there are a few spots left for the beta test. For your patience in willing to put up with the inevitable bumps in the road, I’m offering a 61% discount on the course (use code “BETA” at checkout). As a teaser, I’m going to share this little speech that opens the course, especially since I’m finding myself repeating it. Particularly relevant to today’s events:

Project Irresistible, Track 1 of 48: Who are you, really? The Paxson story