Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Announcing a Contest!

Do you need relationship advice? Would you like to win a prize? Well, you came to the right place!

Beginning August 1, 2009, I'm going to be writing a weekly advice column. I'll be answering questions from readers struggling with issues concerning marriage, divorce, post-divorce dating, and men-women relationships in general. Time permitting, I will try to answer each question individually and privately, but I will publish the best question submitted each week, along with my response, in the column.

What constitutes the "best" question? Well, I guess I have to say I'll know it when I see it! In general, I'm looking for questions that a reader in the 35-to-65 age group would find interesting and relevant.

To jump-start the process, I'll be giving an autographed copy of my book, "Mid-Life Divorce and the Rebirth of Commitment", to the first ten people who submit questions that I use in the column.

All you need to do is to send an e-mail with your question to The more information you include, the easier it will be for me to understand your situation, but I may edit the published version for space considerations, as well as for spelling and grammar. I will not publish any identifying information about you but, if you want to be eligible for a prize, you will of course have to give me your complete mailing address, with zip code.

Initially, the questions and answers will be published in this blog space, but eventually I expect to have a separate site devoted to them.

So, if you've got an issue that's been bothering you, tell me about it. I may be able to help. And maybe reading my book will help you even more.

I look forward to hearing from you.

P.S.---Although I am an attorney (licensed in Massachusetts only), any advice I may give in connection with this column is NOT intended to be legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. If you have a specific legal question or problem, please consult a qualified attorney in your home state.

Friday, July 10, 2009

R.I.P.: Steve McNair and Sahel Kazemi

"Never go to bed with a woman who has more problems than you do."
(Nelson Algren, American novelist)

"You play around, you lose your wife,
You play too long, you lose your life."
(From the country song, "Good Time Charley's Got the Blues")

The recent murder-suicide deaths of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair and his twenty-year old girlfriend, Sahel Kazemi, have put me in a pretty depressed mood the past week. I had followed McNair's career from the early '90's, when he was compiling sensational passing records at tiny Alcorn State University, to his retirement a couple of years ago from the Tennessee Titans. Like most football fans, I admired not only his skills but also his toughness. McNair would "play hurt", as they say, unlike so many players of today who will nurse an injury forever rather than jeopardize their future earning capacity. And, from what I had heard, he always gave back to the community in ways large and small.

McNair was also known as a great family man. He married his college sweetheart, Mechelle, who became a nurse and was by all accounts a wonderful wife to McNair and wonderful mother to their four kids. Even though injuries finally forced McNair to retire from football a bit prematurely at age 34, the family was financially set for life. As a player, McNair hadn't squandered his money on Ferraris or thirty-room mansions; he and Mechelle lived an upscale, but not flamboyant, lifestyle, and their kids' needs always seemed to come first.

Or so it seemed.

It turns out that, apparently unbeknownst to Mechelle, Steve McNair was living a double life. At some point, he and a buddy of his purchased a condo in Nashville to entertain women. One of those women was Sahel Kazemi. Ms. Kazemi's friends and family members say she was outgoing and fun in public, but subject to severe mood swings. Her mother was murdered when Kazemi was nine years old, after which she lived with a variety of relatives before setting out on her own in her late teens. At the time she met McNair, she was struggling to support herself as a waitress, and she was reportedly overwhelmed by the attention, the gifts, and the romance that soon followed.

For several months, McNair and Kazemi were seeing each other three or four times a week in Nashville, and sometimes flying off together for beach vacations. He bought her a Cadillac Escalade, although, inexplicably, he put the title in both of their names. According to her close friends, he told her he was going to get divorced and marry her. She wanted to believe him---she did believe him---until the night she arrived early at McNair's condo and saw another young woman hastily leaving.

We'll never know what, if anything, she and McNair said to each other after that, but within a day or so Kazemi had managed to buy a 9 mm. pistol for $100 from a guy in a parking lot, the same pistol she used to pump four bullets into McNair before she put one into her own brain.

So, is this yet another story of a guy with money who thinks he can play around and never get caught? Maybe. And is it yet another story of an emotionally-fragile young woman who will believe what she wants to believe, and then totally freak out when she learns the truth? Maybe. But it's also a story of a loving wife who, perhaps, trusted too much. And it's a story of four little kids who once had a father and now just have some memories.

It's all so sad, and so unnecessary.