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I am a single mother with two children living in Indonesia. Although we were never married, I had a very difficult separation. I chose to leave the relationship when I was pregnant with my second child as I suspected he was having an affair with a school teacher. My suspicions were confirmed when he married her and not long after they had one child of their own. Not long into the marriage he began cheating on her. They divorced, and she took him to court and received a generous amount of child support payments. I can't take him to court as we were never married, and by Indonesian law, he has no obligation. He does pay for both the children to go to school, however the cost of raising two children in Indonesia is expensive and any attempt of asking him to pay for things is always met with the same response ``If you can't look after them on your own, they are better off living with me``. His general attitude towards me is always so mean and hurtful and I feel like he is punishing me and wants to make my life hard. I'm at the point where I just want to cut him out completely as he does not add any value to my life and only brings me down. It makes it so much harder knowing that his other ex and their child is completely taken care of. I think about how my children will take it if I cut ties with him as they love their dad unconditionally, but a part of me also thinks that he should step up financially and help out more if he wants to be part of their life. What is the best way to go about this as there are children involved? (signed : Anonymous)

GUY WITH AN ANSWER:

As a parent you are blessed with two beautiful children.  It is a great responsibility.  You need to provide them with safety security, sustenance, and above all love.  It would be great if this man would step up to his responsibility and provide for his children.  It does not sound like he will, especially if the law is not on your side.  Be happy that at least he provides for their schooling.  Try to limit your interactions with him as he will always bring you down.  The children love their father, if would be harmful to them cut their access to him.  Kids are smart, a lot smarter than we often give them credit for.  They well see him for who he is as they grow and learn.  Never speak ill of him around them as this will only make you look bad. And yes you are right, he should contribute more, but accept the things you can not change.  Just be the best mother you can be.  Love your kids, take the high road, as hard as that is sometimes.  Provide them with a loving home full of positive energy and they will grow and thrive.

 

Why do men shut down when confronted with an emotionally challenging situation? (Anonymous)

GUY WITH AN ANSWER:

It’s the nature vs nurture argument. Are wired differently, or brought up differently?  I think it is a little of both.

Men skew more toward the logical side. Women, a little toward the emotional side.

As boys we are told don’t cry, it is seen as a weakness.  ‘Man-up, don’t be a sissy, put on you big boy pants.’  All these things contribute to us suppressing our emotions.  As a defense mechanism we shut down.  It is easier than dealing with things that make us uncomfortable.
If this is a relationship situation.  I think you should look at the men you are attracted to. Are they the strong macho type, or more sensitive and comforting?  Neither is right or wrong.  It is what works for you.  None of us are perfect.

So a little direction works wonders. For example you can say “Please just sit on the couch and hold me for a minute” or “Can you make me a big bowl of soup, I always feel better after soup”.  These are two total opposites, but we don’t know what you need.  We are not mind readers, but most men will step-up, with a little direction.  Give us a break, and a little direction.   We want be there there for you.