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November 3, 2000


Dear Alissa

I am a 28 year old single man. About 4 years ago I
broke up with a girl-friend, who we'll call Sandra.(27)
Sandra and I have remained friends, although we don't
see eachother that often.

A couple of months ago I came back to town after being
away for 6 months, and went out with some of my friends,
including Sandra and a friend of hers, who we'll call
Trish.(25) I thought Trish was really cool right away,
and we very quickly developed a friendship, neither of us
even considering more.

After going out in groups a couple of times without
Sandra (who was invited), things developed between Trish
and I. We have seen eachother every day for the last week,
and yes we have been intimate.

We have not told Sandra anything, and it's almost like we
are having an affair, although we are both single. I am not
so young as to be swept away all that easily, but I find myself enraptured, and Trisha clearly does as well. I know
that it is probably wrong for us to see eachother, but I
refuse to lose what Trish and I are building.

Is there any way I can prevent Sandra from being hurt?
What can Trish and I do, short of parting ways, to minimize
the wound to Sandra? Is what Trish and I are doing wrong?

Please help me navigate this storm.

Oh, and let's call me John.

____________________


Dear let's-call-me-John,


May I be Frank? (note pun)

You have made a decision, and now you are trying
to find a way to justify it. This is all very human
and okay.

I don't know if what you are doing is wrong.
It doesn't matter. It's already done.

Yes, Sandra will be hurt. This is also very human and okay.
It is important to be upfront with her so you can all move
forward. As Trisha is her friend, she should be the one to
sit down with Sandra and tell her of your involvement with
eachother. You know without saying that this interaction
should be handled with sensitivity, and that you (let's-
call-me-John) should not be present. Otherwise Sandra might
get that ganged up 'two-against-one' feeling.

It also might be a good idea if Trish made plans to
spend time with Sandra for reasons other than telling her
about the affair of the century. Even the best of bosom
buddies can feel left out and neglected when their friends
fall in love.

Sandra may react to the news in anger. There is no
reason to take this personally, or respond in like. People
sometimes take time to come around.

If she decides not to forgive you and Trisha,
remember that this is her decision to make, just as
being involved with eachother was your decision to make.

Best wishes to the three of you,
Alissa

Gondolas in Venice; Actual size=240 pixels wide

Mail Me

October 29, 2000

Dear Alissa:
I met a guy on line and drove about 1100 miles one way to see him, twice. He says he loves me for the person that I am but that my face looks too hard and he is not attracted to it. I am going to get a chemical peel and a face lift and was already considering this. I guess I am just wondering why someone would feel this way and if it is natural for somebody to love everything about me except this one thing and will we make it if I do have these things done. He says he loves me and I believe him. I love him too. We just have this one obstacle. What do you think? Should I kick him to the curb or wait and see his reaction when I finally am a finished product, so to speak?

Thanks, Sherrie

_______________________________


Dear Sherrie,


I read through your letter, and alarm bells started
going off in my head. What was it though, what's wrong
with this picture?

Here's what I'm thinking:

Attraction is composed of so many little elements, but
basically it comes down to biology and chemistry. I do not
believe that your face is the problem; Not at all. It's
the man. He might care for you greatly. You two have taken
the time to get to know eachother on a mental and emotional
level, and have become close in that way. More and more
people meet over the internet nowadays, and it is something
of a reverse gamble: When you meet someone who attracts
you in person, you go forward hoping and praying that they
will be someone you can get close to emotionally and
mentally. Online, you meet someone you like emotionally
and mentally, and pray that they will be physically
attractive to you in person.

The inner person is important, I would say the most
important part of someone. But in order to have a lasting
romantic attachment, the element of physical attraction
is necessary.

This man is trying to say that it is your face, but if
this is a sticking point with him, it probably comes down
to a miss in biology and chemistry.

I may be wrong.

Don't kick him to the curb, precisely. My advice
would be to decide, on your own terms, to end the romantic
relationship, as you deserve to hold out for someone
utterly and completely gaga over you. That's the very least
that you deserve. The one who loves you *won't* find fault
with your face.

Keep him as a friend, if he so chooses. When he finds that
you don't *need* him, or his good opinion, he might
abruptly wake up to the fact that he wants you (for you)
and he has been a first class dunderhead.

I also suggest that you proceed with the facial procedures
if and only if you want to do it for you. *Never* change
yourself for another. Compromise in a loving relationship
is the farthest you should ever have to go for another
person. But for your own pleasure in your appearance,
if you think these procedures will make you feel pretty
and put a little bounce in your step, well hell, we all
deserve that. We all deserve to feel our best.

If you don't want a face-lift, don't do it. Spend the day
at a spa instead. Have yourself a facial, and vow to love
and accept the face you have.

Oh, and one more thing-

buy yourself a big bouquet of flowers sometime in the next
couple days.

Because you deserve that.

Sincerely,
Alissa



September 9, 2000


Hey Ms. Liss,
I need some advice, so here goes:

I'm a 22 year old guy who has struck out with women by
saying the wrong things. Last week at Wal-Mart (where I
work), a young woman who also works there, came up to me
and said, "Hi Adrian." and i said, "hi". I had never seen
her before and think she knew my name only because I have
a reputation of being a hard worker. That night, and then,
a few night later, I noticed that she looked really lonely
and sad.

I really want to befriend her and help her out. My problem
is that I don't want to say the wrong things again, or get
hurt again like I have been before, by women.
What should I do?

Please help.
Signed,
Unlucky in Love

____________________________________


My Dear Unlucky in Love,


Don't you hate those people who listen to you're
heart-felt concerns, and then deliver an awful, dusty,
cliche-riddled platitude to your eagerly awaiting ears?

And yet, as some wise, all-knowing so and so said, "Nothing
ventured, nothing gained!". Gird up your loins, laddy, and
launch yourself into the department store of love!

Friendship, rather. Friendship. What struck me as
remarkable, reading your letter, was the honest tone of
concern you felt for this lonely looking girl. With this
in mind, I don't see how you can go wrong.

Don't know what to say? Start with a "How are you doing?",
"How was your day?". Then of course, the key is to listen.
Listen carefully, and consider every word from her lips
a friendly tour-guide, leading you to the next question.
Friendships blossom beautifully and gradually in this fashion.

There is every chance that this girl will
dash your heart to tiny pieces, somewhere down the road.
It's a risk we all take, a risk worth the equal and shining
possibility that this lass might make your life an
enviable wonderland. Best of luck to you.


You'll do good.
Ms. Liss

:;

September 3, 2000


I have an embarrassing situation with my husband,
and I don't know how to handle it without making
him embarrassed, and me at the same time.
I don't know why he does this, but I have caught
my husband early in the morning using our fenced
in back yard as a place to relieve himself.
Only to pee. It's not like our toilet is broken!
Maybe he's just lazy? Help!


Sincerely,
Concerned

_____________________________


Dear Concerned,


That IS an awkward situation to address, isn't it?
I have thought long and hard, and come up with a
few possible suggestions to deter your husband's
whee inclination...

I assume you have used your super-human
wifely powers of observation to make absolute certain
that your husband's behavior is not indicative of
a physiological disturbance? (In laymen's terms:
He doesn't have a bladder infection, right?)
If you aren't sure, make an appointment for him
to see the doctor. So many men won't, for whatever
reason, take that initiative on their own. But
husbands are too important to let suffer,
so get him there by whatever means possible.

Now let's take the behavioral approach:
For whatever reason, your husband has decided
that the backyard is an acceptable place to pee.
How can you rewire that concept in your husband's mind?
Why not make your back-yard a more public thorough-fare? Have a bunch of people over for a barbecue, as food and bathrooms generally don't mix.

Or, invite his mother over to plant gladiolas in that
special corner he's been watering. Sight of those bright,
maternally nurtured bulbs should give him pause,
and might end his morning ritual for good.
If nothing else works buy a dog, and position the
dog-house in such a way that he will hafta look
Rover straight in the eye before he sprinkles the garden.
A droopy-eyed basset hound would do nicely.


Good Luck!
Ms. Liss