Down To Kokomo

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Dear Auntie Mame – I’m seeing the most wonderful man for four months. I met him at a fundraiser & he was attentive charming and communicative. He let me know right then and there that he was interested and actually called me the very next day! Since then we’ve spent as much time together as possible. He travels a lot for work and commutes a long distance to work. But we manage to find time when he’s in the city and always enjoy each other thoroughly. The thing is, I’d like to start making my summer vacation plans & I’m not sure how to handle it. Is it presumptuous to ask him (after only 4 months) to spend his vacation with me? Am I to invite him with me on my annual family getaway? Surely there are some guidelines.

Dear Reader – Oh if only all of life’s moments had corresponding guidelines! There was a time they did of course, and life held little confusion (or interest.) But we live in a more loosey- goosey time, a time of rule making and breaking, a time that calls for Auntie Mame.

The good news is that there is very little pressure when it comes to vacations. The whole idea of taking a break is to take a break. Planning or going on holiday should not be stressful. If you’d like company, ask for it. If you’d like to vacation as a couple, simply ask. Auntie Mame wants nothing less than to be the one to rain on your parade, but she must ask; have you considered that your beau may be someone’s husband? Auntie Mame does not mean to cast disparagement on your judgments or his character, nor dismiss that in fact he is and you know and you’re fine with that. But in case you haven’t considered it…You don’t mention ever seeing where he lives or being integrated into his life. It is also not unusual for a married person to be purposeful and communicative in their courting (they know what they want and how it ends.) Your Auntie Mame encourages you to have a (face-to-face) conversation about vacationing, and ask the important questions. No matter what the outcome, you will know more than you do  right now, and that is good.

Can’t get enough of your Auntie Mame? Pick up her eBook – Dear Auntie Mame:The Romance Guide at Barnes & Noble or Amazon

Power of Connection

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Dating After Divorce can bring up some tricky issues, and how to deal with children is one of the more delicate. Parenting styles, ages of the children, relationship with the ex-spouse, and issues around sexuality can make dating with children a wee bit complicated.

Auntie Mame co-hosted a ‘Dating After Divorce’ Power of Connection (#PoCchat) Twitter chat with Bobby Umar in which some of the more intriguing exchanges were about children. Some examples are here:

I would keep the children away from new relationships until it is something serious.

You’re a parent the rest of your life and with the same special people. They must take priority.

Parenting is for life, but so is being a fulfilled and happy adult. It’s all about balance.

The “rules” don’t change – whenever you feel ready & willing. Just keep the kids out of it.

If there are children it’s important to keep your private/sex life private. They shouldn’t have to think about such things.

To view the entire #PoCchat (which reached 828,534 followers w/ 504 tweets within 24 hours) visit Storify

Can’t get enough of your Auntie Mame? Pick up her eBook – Dear Auntie Mame:The Romance Guide at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com

Dating After Divorce

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Dear Auntie Mame – I’m a 40 (something) newly divorced woman. It’s been over a year since it was finalized and I’m finally feeling (mostly) healed. I feel as if I don’t take the leap and start dating now it will become way too easy for me to forgo it all together. I have friends whom I enjoy, a relatively enjoyable job, and lots of interests. But there’s a little voice in my head (that sounds a lot like my mother) that says it’s not enough. Where do I go? What do I do?

Dear Reader – Your Auntie Mame gives a damn. It’s entirely natural to be just a bit reluctant to tread into the dating scene. If your marriage lasted longer than that of the average celebrity, it’s been a few years since you’ve been ‘out there.’ You may feel anxious about trusting and/or being intimate with someone new. That too is to be expected. It does sounds as if you are back on your own two feet and have grieved and are moving on. Part of moving on is to connect (romantically) with new people. Having a vibrant social life, enjoyable work and a rich life is the perfect place to be in when dating.

The first step on the journey is to banish all film images you may have. First attempts at dating, at any stage of life, are rarely accompanied by a Harry Connick Jr soundtrack or lush autumnal footage of Central Park.  It’s more like slicing a pie. It gets easier and the slices more appealing, as you progress. To that end Auntie Mame recommends reentering the dating sphere with gusto. Power dating is in your best interest. The only way to learn how to do something well is to practice. And dating is worth doing well. It is how we gather information and hopefully have some fun. Almost anyone deserves a first date and most are worthy of a second date. A ‘date’ can be coffee, a walk, or an activity. Avoid any activity that precludes you from talking to each other.

Now where do you find these people? Chances are your friends have been (impatiently) waiting for you to give the all clear. They know people, and those people know people, and everyone loves to play matchmaker. Start there and remember that with each new person you meet you’re potentially meeting everyone else they know (which is why we practice safe sex). The more you date the more your dating pool will expand. Make sure everyone you know knows you’re ready. Tell your dental assistant, your cousin, your accountant. Troll your social networks (former classmates come with a built-in familiarity.) Research dating sites and see if any appeal to you. If you sign-up remember the two rules: use a flattering photo of you & only you (no children, pets, cropped out husband) and texts/messages/emails should be minimal, move as quickly as possible to a face-to-face meeting.

The important thing is to have fun. No really. Your Auntie Mame wouldn’t joke about such a thing. Yes, you’ll be a bit nervous at times, but that’s always part of great expectations.

All you romance questions are answered Dear Auntie Mame:The Romance Guide available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

By Nook or By Crook

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You can now curl up in your favorite nook with your handy Nook and get a big hug and some straight talking romance tips from your Auntie Mame.

Available now through Barnes & Noble is Dear Auntie Mame:The Romance Guide- Download one for yourself and anyone in your life who could use a little guidance in l’amour.

 

Ain’t Misbehavin’

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Dear Auntie Mame – My fiancé and I are getting married this summer. We’ve known each other for years and are best friends. We love spending time together, share many interests and make each other laugh. The only area in which we seem to differ is that of sex. I don’t think of myself as needing a ton of sex, but weekly would be nice. He could probably go for months (maybe longer!) without it. When we do have sex it’s usually after we’ve been drinking & I have the courage to initiate it. I’m always embarrassed after the fact. I know that no relationship is perfect and he does make me very happy. But I can’t help but wonder what our married life will be like if we’re having these problems now.

Dear Reader – You are so wise to ask yourself these questions before your wedding. Too many times we become entranced with the ‘event’ and neglect the institution of marriage. You are right that no relationship is perfect (and Auntie Mame isn’t even quite sure what a ‘perfect relationship’ would look like.) When it comes to libido there are rarely two people 100% alike. Sex is not synchronized swimming after all (but oh, if it was only as graceful!) Your letter doesn’t indicate whether your ffiancé has expressed any concern about your libido differences. So we’ll talk about you and address what may be one of your concerns; is your fiancé attracted to you?

Frequency of sex is not necessarily an indication of attraction. What’s much more of an indication is what happens out of bed. When you’re in a crowd does he only have eyes for you? Does he watch you dress & undress? Does he sneak a peak at you in the shower? Do you ever catch him gazing at you as if he can see you in your skivvies? All of these behaviors (which would be creepy in a stranger) are signs of his admiration/attraction.

If your concern goes beyond attraction and is that you’d like to have more sex and/or are concerned about his orientation; you simply must have a real conversation. Without alcohol or accusation you need to discuss your sex life. Nobody loves talking about sex (in any real and meaningful way) but if you can’t talk about it you really shouldn’t be having it. You need to share your concerns and not settle for his promises to be more sexual. It’s important to uncover what is at the core of your sexual differences. If it is a matter of incompatible libidos, can you negotiate? If it’s a matter of orientation are you both 100% comfortable and delighted with being married to each other? No matter what the outcome your relationship will be stronger for having the conversation.

Have a question for your Auntie Mame? Ask away in the comment section.

You can read more relationship questions and answers in Dear Auntie Mame:The Romance Guide

Full House

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Dear Auntie Mame – My extended family does an annual trip to the beach in June. The house is huge and it’s always a great time. Everyone brings their partners and kids and my boyfriend won’t go. He says that I should go without him but I don’t know. What should I do?

Dear Reader – Kudos for managing to include so much and so little in your letter! Auntie Mame will assume (which ordinarily she’s loathe to do) that; you do not have children, you’re the “single” sibling, you’ve been dating this fellow for a considerable (6 months) length of time. Of course you’d like to share something so important to you with someone important to you. That’s the very nature of an intimate relationship. However this particular something comes fully loaded.

Even if we ignored the fact that not everyone enjoys boisterous gatherings or even the beach; we’d still have a bit of a pickle. Inviting a boyfriend to a family gathering (let alone a week long family gathering) might feel a wee bit like an audition. That isn’t to suggest that his reluctance is based upon him having no interest in the position. But who really wants to spend a week thinking; “God I hope I get it, I hope I get it” while wearing a bathing suit and sharing a bathroom?

Now that we’ve addressed him, let’s talk about you. Auntie Mame is a bit concerned that you would consider forfeiting this experience. Why would you even consider staying put if he won’t go with you? This isn’t a Titanic lifeboat; it’s a family vacation. Could it be that perhaps you’re a little embarrassed to appear solo? If so, ask yourself if this chap makes you feel cherished and cared for every other day and week of the year. A mutually caring and respectful relationship is not synonymous with being conjoined. If there is more to your impulse to eschew the vacation and stand by your man, it’s prudent to have yourself a little think. And your Auntie Mame would remind you that it’s always nicer to have a think on the beach.

In Your Eyes

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Dear Auntie Mame – I’m married to a great guy. He’s funny and smart and wonderfully patient. But what he isn’t is romantic. When we go out with our friends I feel jealous of the way their partners treat them, and feel cheated. I’ve asked him (more times than I can count) to be more romantic but nothing ever seems to change. I do love him, I just don’t feel all that loved.

Dear Reader – You bring up an excellent point. We all want to feel loved and that means different things to different people. Some people long to be told daily or hourly that they are loved. Other people feel loved if their partner puts the seat down. The key to getting what you want is knowing what you want. Telling someone to “be more romantic” is simply not informative. There is just far too much room for misinterpretation.

Would traditional acts of chivalry make you feel cherished? Would having him plan and execute a weekly date feel romantic? Are you more the Peter Gabriel on the boom box outside your window type of person? Figure out what feels romantic to you and share that very specific information. And while you’re having that conversation ask him what would make him feel loved.

Have a question for your Auntie Mame? Ask away in the comment section.

You can read more relationship questions and answers in Dear Auntie Mame:The Romance Guide

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