Friday, July 30, 2010

Insights on Relationships from a Nutritional Consultant

(NOTE: Jim's blog is now devoted to answering relationship questions posed by readers. Please send any questions you may have to

DEAR JIM: I am a professional nutritional consultant. I think it's important for your readers to know that some of the behaviors that can negatively affect relationships can be the result of hormonal imbalances and compromised immune systems. I was speaking on the phone yesterday to a computer consultant about some website matters. I could tell from his tone of voice that he was tense and probably dealing with some issues in his life. He eventually opened up and told me that his wife has been behaving erratically and is threatening to leave him. From what he told me about his wife, it seems likely that she has hormonal imbalances that have affected her immune system and caused her to frequently lose control and become enraged. I urged him to go to my website and learn about nutrition in general, and specifically how his wife can rebuild her immune system and restore her hormones to their proper balance through nutritional means, such as juicing and taking kale.

I hope you can share this story, because so many people are dealing with problems that they don't realize are nutritionally-related. Typically, their doctors are not trained in nutrition, and thus often fail to diagnose the underlying conditions, leaving the patients frustrated and desperate for a solution. Doctors might unfairly label such patients as hypochondriacs, which only increases the frustration. The good news is that many of these problems can be addressed easily and effectively by preventative nutritional care. I would be happy to discuss any of these issues in greater detail with your readers. Thanks for helping me get the word out!
Andrea Yvonne Lee
Palm Harbor, Florida
(727) 449-0944

DEAR ANDREA: Until I received your e-mail, I confess that I had never given much thought to the role that nutrition plays in human behavior and interpersonal relationships. But now, when I think back on some of the "difficult" clients I used to deal with (and some difficult people I'm still dealing with), it seems quite plausible that they were struggling with hormonal imbalances of one sort or another. I'm glad you're so concerned about people and their well-being, and I urge anyone reading this to go to your website or contact you directly. Thanks for your insights.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

She's Sick of Being Called "Stupid"

(NOTE: Jim's blog is now devoted to answering relationship questions submitted by readers. Please send any questions you may have to

DEAR JIM: I'm 26 and have been going with a guy for about a year. There's one thing about him that bothers me. He is always either saying that I'm stupid, or that something I'm doing (like watching certain TV shows or reading People magazine) is stupid. I've told him plenty of times that I don't appreciate being called stupid, and he always replies that it's only because he knows I'm a smart person that he's being tough on me. In other words, he's holding me to a higher standard than he'd hold someone else. Because of this, he thinks it's sort of a compliment when he criticizes me. Am I being too sensitive? ("Kim" in Oklahoma)

DEAR KIM: No, you're not being too sensitive. Your boyfriend is trying to put a good spin on his obnoxious and insulting remarks, but, to your credit, you're not buying it.

When a man habitually calls a woman stupid, it's a red flag. It's often a sign that he's trying to control the woman or bully her into becoming something other than what she is. It can also mean he's contemptuous of her, or that he's contemptuous of himself for not having a "smarter" woman in his life. At the very least, it's a sign that he's arrogant and tactless.

I'm not necessarily saying your relationship is hopeless, but it will be if your boyfriend doesn't make some big changes in a hurry. You've got to keep standing up for yourself whenever he utters the word "stupid," and you've got to cut him off the minute he goes into the bogus
explanation that he's really complimenting you. Tell him politely but firmly that that's not the kind of compliment you appreciate.

You could also tell your boyfriend---in a lighthearted but serious way---that you're going to fine him five dollars each time he calls you or something you do "stupid." And then do it. As soon as he utters the word, stop him dead in his tracks and say, with a smile, "Five dollars, please." If he can smile back, then maybe there's hope for him. But if it just makes him rant all the more about your "stupid" fines and your "stupid" sensitivity to his words, then you should throw in the towel on this relationship, because the situation will only get worse.

Good luck, Kim, and please let me know what happens.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Do They Have an "Exclusive" Relationship?

(NOTE: Jim's blog is now devoted to answering relationship questions submitted by readers. Please send any questions you may have to

DEAR JIM: I'm 36 and have been single for about a year, after a marriage that lasted six years. I don't have any kids. Not long after my divorce, I joined the Plenty of Fish dating site, and quickly met a guy I really clicked with. He lives about fifty miles away, but we talk every day and we spend most weekends together. After we had been dating a couple of months, I discontinued my membership with Plenty of Fish, but I recently found out that he's still very much an active member. (Even if you're not a member, you can search the site and find out when someone was last logged in. Every time I checked him out, it said, "Online Today"). When I asked him about it, he first got offended that I was cyber-stalking him, and then after he calmed down he said there are a couple of women on the site he still enjoys corresponding with, even though he's never met them and has no intention of meeting them. My friends think he's lying. I want to believe him but I don't really know what's considered normal behavior on dating sites. Also, was I wrong to search the site to see if he was still active on it? ("Brandi" from South Carolina)

DEAR BRANDI: I'll answer your second question first: I don't think you were wrong to check out your boyfriend's membership status. Given that your relationship is still relatively new and that you only see him on weekends, you did what a lot of people in your position would do. Until you know someone well enough to trust him instinctively, it never hurts to verify the situation. However, if you're obsessively checking his status every day, you're only going to make yourself a nervous wreck, and you'll soon cross the line and become a real stalker.

As to whether his continued presence on the site is an innocent one, there's no easy way of knowing with 100% certainty. He could be corresponding with someone a thousand miles away about their mutual interest in foreign films, or he could be lining up weeknight dates with women from his home town. I would think, though, that if his relationships with the women he mentioned are purely Platonic, he doesn't need to correspond with those women through the dating site. They could simply give each other their "real" e-mail addresses, and he could discontinue his membership and still keep up the friendship. So, I guess I'm a little skeptical of his story, even though I do believe in the possibility of men-women friendships.

I think the bigger issue here is that you seem to want a committed and exclusive relationship with someone so soon after your divorce. Maybe it would be better for everyone if you scaled back your expectations for a while and tried to meet a variety of people---or even put the dating process itself on the back burner and get to know yourself better and be comfortable with being single again. You don't necessarily have to terminate your current relationship, but maybe a bit of breathing room might be good for both of you.

Good luck, Brandi, and please let me know what happens.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Caregiver Blues---Part Two

(NOTE: Jim's blog is now devoted to answering relationship questions submitted by readers. Please direct any questions you may have to

DEAR JIM: The letter from the lady from Florida [see previous blog post, dated June 21, 2010] brought back some sad memories. When I was 50---I'm 64 now---I married for the second time. My new husband was twelve years older than me, but seemed to be in great health. Unfortunately, six months after we married he started showing symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. It didn't turn him into an invalid overnight, but slowly but surely it took over his life---and mine, too. To make a long story short, he lived another ten years. By the time I was 55, I had to give up my job in order to care for him, and, to be honest, I was pretty resentful much of the time. Unlike the lady from Florida, I wasn't tempted to have sex with anyone else, but there were times I just wanted to pack up my car and drive off into the sunset. I didn't, but I have to admit I felt a great relief when my husband finally passed away.

I find myself now in a situation where for the past nine months I've been seeing a man my age. I met him at a widows/widowers club, and he's very marriage-minded. I enjoy his company immensely, but whenever he brings up the subject of marriage all I can think about are my years as a caregiver. I hate to be morbid or selfish, but I just don't think I could go through that again. Am I destined to be alone? ("Sally" in Texas)

DEAR SALLY: You've been through one of the toughest experiences I can imagine. It's difficult enough being a caregiver to someone you've been married to for thirty or forty years. But to take on that role so soon after you've gotten married requires almost superhuman dedication.

I also admire the fact that you're honest enough to admit that the caregiver role was a difficult one for you. Many people are afraid to confront their supposed weaknesses, or are too quick to forget the lessons they learned about themselves.

I don't think you should ignore your fears. Statistically, men tend to die six or seven years younger than women do, and most of those deaths are preceded by a period of illness or disability. So there's a fairly good chance that you may be called on again to be a caregiver.

On the other hand, I don't think you should let your fears overwhelm you. The man you're seeing could beat the odds and live another twenty or thirty healthy years. Or it might turn out that you'll need him (or someone, anyway) to be a caregiver---good health, as you know, can change overnight, for a woman as well as a man.

If you haven't already, I think you should tell your gentleman friend what your fears are. It may or may not make him feel differently about you, but he has the right to know if you're reluctant to take on a caregiver role. It's possible that he may even welcome the conversation; since he's a widower himself he's no stranger to illness and death, and he may surprise you with his insights.

It's also possible, of course, that he could end the relationship and look for someone else. If it happens, it happens, but if this particular relationship doesn't lead to marriage it doesn't necessarily mean you're destined to be alone. It might only mean that---for now, at least---you might be more comfortable with men who are not so determined to remarry. Believe me: there are plenty of non-marriage-minded men out there, and one of them might offer you all that you're looking for.

Good luck, Sally, and please let me know what happens.