Brenda on Jackholes and Boundaries – Lying men and broken promises.

Dear Brenda,

I’m writing to you because I want to get another opinion on the situation going on with my daughter.

She met a guy and was dating him for 3 months, he told her that he would give her a truck and that he sold his house and the money he got from the sale of his house was going to be put down on another house. He has taken money out of her purse, and because he said he was buying a house for them to live in she didn’t pay the rent on her apartment. She also sold her van, believing that he was going to give her his vehicle. He disappears for a day or two with no communication with her.

Now she has no vehicle, cause she sold it and has an eviction notice on her apartment, she has two young children that are now without a vehicle or a home, he also didn’t pay the cell phone bill like he said he did and it got shut off, so my daughter was left without any communication, transportation and is now homeless.

She said she was done with him, but now I find out that she is talking to him and letting him come over her house, I tried to tell her that she can’t believe anything he says and she should just cut her losses and not have anything to do with him. I told her I would not be helping her with rides unless she totally ends it with him. now she is angry with me, she just never seems to learn by her mistakes. I just wanted to know what you thought of the situation.

Thanks for listening.

Dear Mama Lion,

What amazes me about women is that some of us still believe in the knight in shining armor, who will give us a “trusty steed,” pay our phone bills and provide shelter for us and our children. We love so fiercely, and can become so blinded by happily ever after that we ignore the red flags, we don’t question, we forgive too quickly when boundaries are ignored or crossed.

For the record, this man is a jackhole, who is undeserving of the love and devotion that your daughter has shown him. Yes, she should cut her losses, lose his phone number, move and leave no forwarding address.

Still, I wonder if your daughter loves herself to see that she deserves more than someone who takes money from her purse, or promises to take care of a bill and then doesn’t keep that promise, and lies. Doesn’t she believe that she deserves more?

While Mamas will have the sex talk with their daughters, equally important is the discussion about boundaries. Boundaries will help our daughters make better decisions about acceptable behavior in regards to their body, how they are treated and their space. I hope you will talk with your daughter about boundaries, and how important it is to set them in the beginning of a friendship or relationship.

Your daughter needs to know her worth, and that she deserves better than a lying jackhole, she deserves someone who respects her as a woman and a mother and she must learn to demand no less than that.

Best of luck,


Brenda Breaks Down The May-September Romance: When he’s just a bit younger than you.

Hi Brenda,

I’m 30 and dating a 23-year-old. No one believes I’m 30. I practically look like I’m 22. He doesn’t have a problem dating me. He likes it to be known that we date.

I’ve never dated someone that much younger than me. But the problem is that I’m catching major feelings for him, and scared if I tell him it will shoo him away. I know he likes me a lot. We spend a great deal of time together. I met his mother, father, brother and just about all his friends and they all like and accept me.

But am I stupid for trying to make the relationship more, or should I just take it for what it is? Thank you.



Dear Confused,

Well let’s get some clarity here darlin’. The phrase, “I’m catching major feelings” sounds like a confession of love (Yes I said it!) And maybe it isn’t the age that bothers you as much as these deeper feelings for him and having expectations of the relationship moving toward something more serious or permanent.

So what will happen if you tell him and why are you scared? Is this a relationship or is this just a hyped up booty call? If this is just about sex and you have feelings you need to say it. If it’s not just sex, your confession of “love” or “feelings” shouldn’t come as a surprise to him if you are spending so much time together.

Let me just put this out there Confused, in a relationship you get to say what your needs are and be listened to. You get to say what your feelings are. If that doesn’t happen or can’t happen, then perhaps you need to move on.

And no, Brenda doesn’t think you’re stupid for “trying to make it more.” I do think you should take the risk, say what you feel and listen to what he says. At that point you will be at a place of clarity and you will know what to do next.

What do you think readers? Any cougar pups in the house? Is the age difference a big deal? I don’t think so. What do you think?

– Brenda

Divorce. Handle it!

Dear Brenda,

I’ve been separated from my husband for about two years. One day he picked up his things and left. We’re now going through the divorce process. I have three children with him. He doesn’t help me with them. He doesn’t pay child support or ever see them. He was physically abusive, but now he is just mentally abusive and verbally abusive.

I’ve become involved with a man who has been a family friend for years and our feelings are developing into something that I’ve longed for, for so long. I love him and my children love him, but my problem is that now that my husband knows about him, he wants to make the divorce difficult by fighting for the kids. He’s placed in the temporary divorce orders that I can’t have any one of the opposite sex in my home between certain hours. I’ve complied but how do I deal with the mental abuse he continues to give my kids and I? He’s constantly telling the kids that if they see my boyfriend at the house after a certain time to call him. He calls me and tells me things like “he’s taking advantage of you,” and “how can you do this to me and the kids.”

When he left, he was gone for 2 1/2 months and didn’t make one phone call to us. NOTHING! And now he doesn’t even pay child support or see the children. My boyfriend and I take the kids to the park, to the movies, and out to eat. I have more of a family environment now than when their dad was in the picture.

What to do to handle the situation the right way?

Dear Handle It The Right Way,

Handling it the right way means that you need to set limits and boundaries when it comes to the children especially if he is being mentally and verbally abusive. It sounds as if you have a lawyer and I hope your lawyer knows that there was physical, mental and verbal abuse in the home and if it is continuing.

Your children are not spies and should not be treated as such. This sends a negative message and is very hard on them. You can try telling your ex, but it probably won’t do any good. However, you don’t have to listen to the garbage he spews when he calls. You are not a dumping ground. Simply set the phone down and return to hang it up later.

Please remember that “you” didn’t do anything to him and kids. Remind yourself that he needs mental help. And yes, it’s easy to fall into the guilt trap around divorce and abuse and that pesky “I shoulda, coulda, woulda” crap, so yes, you chose this person and had children and now you have to dismantle this thing. Yes, divorce is hard, now let’s move forward.

How do you handle it? Handle it with compassion. Handle it by speaking up. Handle it by remembering how powerful silence is. Handle it by taking steps to make sure you and your children are safe. Handle it by remembering this isn’t war, and that after taking this relationship apart, you’re going to have to put it back together. Handle by caring for yourself and honoring your boundaries. Some days you might have to handle it with a good cry.

Now handle it!

– Brenda

Should You Stay With Your Mentally Ill Partner?

Dear Brenda,

My retired army husband has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and delusional disorders. He refuses to go the doctor or take medication. He has been hospitalized several times and arrested twice and always has the same outcome, he comes home and quits meds, starts drinking again and everything goes downhill fast.

We were separated for 6 months and he is on probation until April 11, 2011. After he came home I told him he had to have a job and stop being so out of control. So he had a job for a year and quit it last week. Now I am back where I started.

He blames everything on me, the economy, the death of his grandparents and parents, the death of my father and brother, both of whom died of cancer. When his parents died, they were in Florida and I was in Maryland… still my fault. He gets angry and starts “lecturing” or screaming at me and it will go on for 5 or 6 hours, unless I leave.

How do I make that break? My kids are grown and since this has been going on for over 10 years, they understand for the most part. I have a retainer with a lawyer; this is just a very hard decision.

– Hard to make a the break

Dear Hard To Make That Break,

Author Alice Walker once said, “Women are the mules of the world.” We take on so much, we care and nurture, and sometimes we crumble under the weight. Being the primary caregiver for a person who has a mental illness is a tremendous responsibility.

I do have some questions. Is the behavior caused by the mental illness the only reason you want to divorce him? When he takes his medication are you able to live with him, love him? Do you have any help at all from his family or your children? Obviously you’ve given this some thought; yet you don’t list them here, so I’m curious what they are. Have you thought through what your life would look without him? Will you feel guilty for leaving? Can you live with that? Can you live yourself if something unspeakable happens? Would you consider a separation? Can you live far enough away to have some peace and quality to your life while also being close enough that if you are needed to sign him into a facility you are able to do so? What about his family? Do you have any support? Quite possibly without you there he might spin out and end up in a place where he must take his medication.

Obviously I can’t answer this question for you, but I hope I’ve given you some things to think about. If you don’t do anything just yet, please do one thing, join a caregiver support group.

I must also say that just because a person has a mental illness, doesn’t give them license to treat their loved ones like crap.

Here are some links that you might find helpful.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mental Health America

Crisis Help (For support group information) 1-800-273-TALK

All the best to you.


When Love Gone, Pack Up The U-Haul and Move On

Dear Brenda,

I met my partner online, we are a gay couple and my partner has a medical condition that I knew of before, but I still love her. We’ve been in a relationship nearly four years.

I care for my partner when she is very ill and sometimes I don’t get any sleep at all. Her daughter is twenty years old and she never talks to me, just ignores me or speaks around me and my partner doesn’t say anything about her behavior.

It was great for the first few months, since then I’ve been trying to fix things in this relationship trying to make it work. She has a Facebook account and in her profile I found out she put “single” but she’s with me?! She hasn’t told her family about me, which I find strange and for some time now we have stopped having sex because she didn’t want to anymore. I’ve tried to talk about working on our relationship and she keeps saying, “It’s all good.”

I love her and have been there through all her illness and hospital stays. I’m not by nature mistrusting but something made me peek at her emails and she has been chatting to a guy saying she was single. Am I trying to hold onto something that isn’t there anymore or have I been a fool all along? What do I do? Honestly I love her very much and I wonder if she loves me or has she ever.

Dear Honestly-I-Love-Her,

I believe you love this woman and you do it admirably. Taking care of her while she’s ill and putting up with her bratty daughter requires a generosity of time and spirit that her daughter has yet to understand.

That’s quite a commitment you took on and I just don’t think from your letter that she is as committed as you are. She doesn’t set a boundary for her daughter to respect you as an adult and she hasn’t told her family about you. So I wonder if she is still closeted or if she is clear about her sexuality preferences. Also, the response of, “it’s all good” to your bringing up concerns in the relationship is dismissive and diminishing. Mature love doesn’t do that. And of course in the Internet age, social media and email come into play. Her online persona seems to that of a single straight woman. The lack of physical intimacy backs that up. Like you, I wonder what gives here?

Here’s the deal HILH, being in love doesn’t mean someone gets to treat you disrespectfully. You deserve to be acknowledged, respected and loved. My advice is to move on. This was over after the first few months. She will be okay, and so will you. It will hurt for a moment, it always hurts when it’s real, but keep looking ahead, for someone who can love you openly and respectfully, it’s what you deserve. Good luck.

– Brenda



My wife had an ovary removed six months ago and now her sex drive is non-existent. She won’t even kiss me. She said if she kisses me it might lead to sex and that she doesn’t want to have to reject me, so it’s just easier to keep me at a distance.

We don’t even sleep together. There’s nothing to our relationship. If I sneeze she won’t even bless me.

I asked if she wanted a divorce and she said no.


Dear She-Won’t-Even-Bless-Me,

Bless you for this question!

Ovary removal or oophorectomy can make women less inclined to have to have sex. Here’s why, the ovaries produce testosterone and testosterone contributes to sexual desire. You don’t say how old your wife is, but if she’s also going through menopause naturally too, then she might have an even greater reduction in her sex drive. Leaving you out in the cold. Uhmm… so to speak.

I hear Peggy Lee and you humming the melody of “Is That All There Is?” The answer is no.

While there are couples that are quite happy not having sex, you don’t sound like one of them. For some lack of intimacy is a deal breaker. My advice to you is, if you don’t wish to live this way, you need to tell her, not dance around the issue, not give ultimatums, just put it on the table. Having sexual needs by the way, is normal, so don’t go around feeling like some big ol’ perv for having them.

You can also gently suggest that she speak to her doctor about her lowered desire. Some women take testosterone supplements after ovary removal with positive results, one of them being an increased sex drive.

Finally, you don’t say whether this is the only problem, or whether or not you enjoyed a satisfying sex life before the surgery. Check in with your partner, if there are other issues, you need to address them.

– Brenda

No! I’m First!


Is there an actual psychological disorder for someone who wants and needs to be first all of the time? My husband has to be first no matter what. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, he needs to be first or the entire day is spoiled.

– Wife-of-He-Who-Has-to-Be-First

Dear Wife-of-He-Who-Has-to-Be-First

I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t definitively say if there actually is a disorder with the “I-have-to-come-first” symptoms you described (I’m sure you’ve read the disclaimer Mama put on this site).

What I can say is that for some folk, being first is actually kind of sparkly and maybe somewhere in your husband’s life he’s not feeling as special as he needs to feel so now he insists on being first. I’ll bet he was at the back of the line once too many times or the recipient of too many hand me downs, whatever it was it didn’t feel good.

You didn’t say whether or not you’ve brought this up to him or how it impacts your relationship or your family. You did say if he isn’t first the “entire day is spoiled” which leads to believe that his behavior is worth a conversation.

Using “I” statements, tell him how his behavior makes you feel, how it spoils the day. Is it possible to be playful about it? As a family, can each of you have an “I go first” day?

Open the door to the conversation, and of course, let him go first.

– Brenda