Direct Answers from Wayne and Tamara -- where relationship advice questions are answered.
Direct Answers from Wayne and Tamara Logo
   Home      Articles      All Advice Topics     Write A Letter                                                                                Editors & Publishers     Webmasters     Resources

   Questions and answers from the
         newspaper column Direct Answers.

         Stop The Wedding

A Bride's Worst Nightmare

I need some serious advice.  My boyfriend Jack and I met our senior year in college.  After graduation we continued our relationship even though we live an hour apart. 

Last Christmas Jack surprised me with an engagement ring.  Jack's family and I are very close.  In fact, I am the godmother of his sister's first child.  Every weekend we have all been working together to get things ready for our June wedding.  Jack and I talk about how lucky we are to have each other.

Last week I received a phone call around ten in the morning.  Jack told me he was feeling scared and didn't think he could see himself with me three years from now.  Later that night Jack called back to say he was sorry, he couldn't go through with the wedding.

As you can imagine, I freaked out.  When I asked him why, he responded with, "I don't know."  The next day we took off work and met at a hotel to talk.  The first few hours we sat at a table and talked about all the positive things in our relationship.  I kept waiting to hear something bad but nothing was ever said.

As the night progressed, we wound up in bed and he held me tighter than ever before.  Over and over he told me how much he loved me.  After we made love, he wouldn't let go of me.  He kept telling me how beautiful I am, and how much he loved me.  Next morning I woke to him putting his clothes on.  He told me he loved me once again, but he needed to be by himself.

After a few days without hearing from him, I got an email from Jack saying all the wedding plans needed to be canceled.  I was so confused and upset.  Many angry phone conversations took place after that email.

He doesn't want to see me or work on our relationship.  He wants to be phone friends, and I am sick over this.  I don't understand what happened.  His family is upset but naturally they have to stand behind their son.

I lost my best friend, a family, and the love of my life.  What do I do at this point?  Do you think he just got scared and will come back around?  How do I deal with this?


Ann, people act as if there is a single thing called "wedding day jitters."  Everyone nervous about getting married is lumped into one category.

Actually there are two groups of people.  The first group feels the excitement of something they have never done before, something which is a major permanent change in life.  It is like the butterflies actors feel before a performance.  The last thing they want to do is cancel the event. 

The second group of people doubts marriage is a good idea for them.  Many of them know they are making a mistake, but they lack the strength to stop things.  Jack knew how much turmoil this would cause, yet he still put on the brakes.  If this crash had come later, after you married, the consequences would have been much worse.

The way to handle this is by facing it directly.  Don't apologize or act embarrassed.  Contact the people you need to contact.  Make your phone calls, write your letters, cancel reservations, and take things back.  Facing things and making a clean break helps you move forward.

You had a picture of yourself as a bride, living somewhere else, doing other things.  Now you have a new future to build.  You have a right to feel angry and hurt, but in time, like many events in life, this will fade to insignificance.  This event doesn't define you.

Avoiding a disaster doesn't have a negative impact on your life.  It has a positive impact on your life.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)


Aside From Sex And Money…

Last fall I met a terrific guy.  I’m 29 and he’s four years older.  I have an exciting job and have been on my own since college.  He treats me great, is a natural comedian, and my friends and family love him.  For the last few months, we’ve been talking about marriage.

He thinks he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but I’m not so sure.  Maybe I’m just looking for problems.  Maybe not.

Money is my first apprehension.  Money runs through his hands like water.  He’ll buy new gadgets before the basis bills are paid and then grumble about being broke.  I’m not a tightwad, but I plan for the future and can make a dollar stretch a mile.  Also, I make more than twice as much money as he does, and probably always will.

I’m not too comfortable talking about this, but he’s a disappointment in the bedroom.  If I don’t push him, he’ll let weeks go by without having sex.  I’ve always envisioned myself with a man who is more commanding and direct.  The kind of man who could make me tingle.

I don’t want to make him look bad, but I need to be honest here.  I don’t expect a problem free marriage, but I don’t want a divorce before my first anniversary either.  Maybe I’m being too critical.  We’ve had some really great times together, he is funny and endearing, and everyone thinks we’d make a great couple.

I need to decide soon because we’re going to a family reunion in June, and I think he’s going to pop the question.


Gwen, it’s your wedding night.  In a negligee you’re begging him for sex, which you know will be disappointing, while he’s on the phone with the Home Shopping Network ordering gadgets with the wedding money.

You have a hunch this marriage won’t last a year.  No wonder.  You’re about to get married with marriage ending problems.  That’s a sure way to make your prediction come true.

Let’s talk basics.  Your friends and family don’t belong in the equation.  They won’t be sleeping with him or sharing a bank account.

Just because you’ve had sex, it doesn’t mean the next step is marriage, and the thought of another birthday without being a wife, won’t make this man a better husband.

When a relationship gets to the point where it’s either break up or get married, you’ve gotten to the point where you know he is not the one for you.

You’ve answered your own question.  Listen to yourself.  The guy you’ve been dating has many good qualities.  Qualities that make him a wonderful friend.  Keep him as a friend, but don’t marry him.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)


Down And Out

I’ve been in a relationship with a guy for two and a half years.  From the start he would walk out and want to end the relationship over stupid stuff, saying, “If it’s like this now, what’s it going to be like in five years?”

I tried to reason with him.  Everybody argues; it’s a fact of life.  It’s how we deal with it.  I thought over time he would settle into the relationship and make more of an effort rather than walking out each time.  Sadly, over the years these episodes have continued.  If it wasn’t down to me fighting for our relationship, we would have split up long ago.

Over time he has gone from a chilled-out, loving guy to an egotistical and sometimes aggressive person.  All of which I believe is the person he is.  He just hid it.  I am told to shut up if he doesn’t like what I’m saying.  I realize his priorities in life are not the same as mine. 

Only two months ago he proposed to me.  All my friends tell me how much he loves me, but how can that be when two months down the line he’s walked out again?  He has broken our trust in this relationship, but he never sees himself doing any wrong.  Why do I love this guy?  I’m so confused.


Colleen, when George Orwell was down and out in Paris, he washed dishes in a restaurant.  One day the proprietor said to him, “What is restaurant work?  You are carving a chicken and it falls on the floor.  You apologize, you bow, you go out;  and in five minutes you come back by another door—with the same chicken.  That is restaurant work.”

Why are you so confused about relationships?  Let us give you a few hints.  In the bestselling relationship book of the last 20 years, the author says he pretends in his mind his wife is his most important client.  He tries to give her the same attention he would give a client.  Apparently, pretense is his key to success.

Another couple, both Ph.D.s, observe quite correctly they are internationally regarded relationship experts.  They are also authors of their own relationship system.  Yet in a recent book they admit that after years of marriage they were on the verge of divorce.  Even with a huge financial and professional stake in the outcome, they couldn’t make their own system work.

As it turns out they did stay together—after reading a book on astrology and relationships!  In the same book they quote a two-page letter of praise from a man who attended their workshop with his girlfriend.  The man makes many appreciative comments, but the bottom line is he and his partner broke up anyway.

Then there’s the woman who claims expertise in preventing divorce, yet in the smallest print in a book of hers, hidden away on the copyright page, she and her publisher disclaim all legal responsibility for the claims boldly made on the front cover.  We could go on and on.  So many books and so little wisdom. 

As human beings we are easily swayed by what others say or tell us.  That is why publishers print blurbs on the back of their books.  Psychologist Lauren Slater mentions an experimenter who got others to do odd things—like touching their nose while walking backwards—simply by putting on a white lab coat.  We are very suggestible.

There comes a point when we must trust our own experience.  For three-quarters of a century experts have been telling us how to make unworkable relationships work, but it’s no more than the same dropped chicken served up on another plate.

We live in a sea of misinformation.  Trust yourself and swim against the tide of bad advice telling you there is some way to make this bad relationship work.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)


Too Late

My friend Missy is getting married this Saturday.  I am the maid of honor.  Missy's fiance has expressed deep concern about their sex life.  Basically he isn't getting any.

Missy's fiance has asked Missy's friends, including me, to talk to her about it.  So far nothing seems to work.  He has already said he will just have to suffer in that aspect of their relationship for the rest of his life.  I know this is a personal issue, but is there anything I could do to help?


Tricia, as a young man, Missy's fiance has no idea how long a lifetime can be.  He will never have more leverage than he has now, but he is marrying with a marriage-ending problem.

There is no indication in your letter that Missy is saving herself for marriage.  Rather she believes by marrying her he has accepted things as they are.  Letters like yours make us want to scream with frustration.  When will we receive his letter asking if he should cheat or divorce?

(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)


Childhood Memories

My boyfriend proposed to me last year and wants to marry next month.  I love this guy and believe he is a good person.

The problem is we come from different cultures.  He is very open-minded compared to me, and I have changed a lot since we met.  Now I am unable to decide whether I want to marry him or not.

This is killing me.  I cannot accept being married to him in my mind.  I feel scared when I imagine it.  I am afraid to get into a failing marriage after suffering in my parents' failing marriage all during my childhood.

I fear the little doubts I have now I will have on a big scale after we marry.


Andrea, with some birds you can take an egg out of their nest and replace it with another object, and they will still try to hatch it.  The object might be a square block of wood or even a golf ball.  The birds don't have enough discrimination to know the difference.

That's how it is when you marry the wrong person.  You are sitting on a golf ball, trying to make it hatch into something it can never be.  Golf balls don't hatch into birds.

If you marry someone you have reservations about, the odds are you will recreate your parents' unfulfilled marriage.  That can only make it more difficult for your children to marry well. 

(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)


An Unintended Proposal

My wife and I have been married four years.  We dated eight years prior to marrying.  It was my first marriage and her third.  The reason it took so long to tie the knot was because I didn’t feel she was the right one.

She apparently fell in love with me on our first date, but I didn’t feel the same way.  After our second date I told her I wanted to date other women, and I broke up with her.  She was really hurt.

A couple of weeks went by, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how I had broken her heart, so I called her.  We dated six months but I still felt the same, so I broke up with her again.

For the next seven years we dated, and I broke up with her three more times.  Each time, she called me crying, and I took her back.  The last time I gave up and asked her to marry me, since I was unable to be firm and tell her we were through.  I know that was stupid.  I’d hate to know I’m the only person who has ever done that.

Now I want a divorce.  I have since moved to another city because of my job.  She seems to be content seeing me twice a year.  I am willing to help financially and be her friend, but I don’t know how to ask for a divorce.


Wolfe, you are not alone.  People rarely confess this secret openly, but we have heard your story again and again.  Babbitt, a 1922 novel by Sinclair Lewis, deals with this kind of unintended marriage.  

Many of us are raised to be polite to a fault, even at our own peril.  But false politeness is always a lie, and lies hurt and complicate our lives.  The ultimate complication is being married to the wrong person.

Use no excuses.  Simply tell her the truth, the truth which should have been told years ago.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)


Poor Odds

I’ve been dating a man for three years.  Rob is a great human being and I love him, but I come from a well-educated, “classy” family and his people are rather low class.  His family’s ideals are very different.  For example, his mother has no teeth.  When his parents go to the racetrack, she walks around like that.  I would spend my money on some dentures!

Also, Rob and his family are big gamblers.  Rob runs gambling sheets and collects bets for his bookie in football season.  Even though Rob promised me he will stop working for the bookie after we marry, he fully intends to keep gambling.

What should I do?  I’m going crazy trying to decide.


Callista, don’t expect Rob to stop collecting bets after the wedding.  The lament of men is, “After the wedding she changed.”  In this case, my bet is he won’t change.  Gambling can be an addictive and costly pursuit.  Rob may use you and your income to support his lifestyle. 

Then there’s the difference in your backgrounds.  It matters to you.  Don’t deny your feelings, they won’t go away.  If you go ahead with this wedding, I’ll wager 10 to 1 that it won’t work out, and I don’t trust Rob or his bookie to hold the money.

(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)


Gone With The Wind

I am scheduled to be married in a month.  We have a great relationship, but six months ago my fiance told me he did not know if he wanted a child.  I know I want a child.

He is 39 and likes that we can pick up and go whenever we want.  He knows children are a lot of work.  I broke up with him and told him there was no point in me, a 32-year-old woman who wants one child, spending her time with a man who doesn’t.  It is pointless.  So I drove home that night.

A week later he called and told me he was just scared.  He said he wanted a child and begged me to come back to him.  He wants to wait two years after we are married so we can spend time together.  Now about once a month, he gets into these worry spells and withdraws.  When I finally get out of him what is bothering him, it’s the kid issue. 

He says he doesn’t want one because by the time the kid is 10, he will be in his fifties.  Nonetheless he has agreed to have one child.  I have become very sad over this issue and told him last weekend I couldn’t marry him.

He doesn’t want me to cancel our wedding plans.  He says he knows in two years we are having a kid and once the kid gets here, he will be happy.  But he can’t help having fears.


Erica, your fiance is trying to talk himself into something he doesn’t want, and failing miserably.  He will have a child, but he doesn’t want one.  This issue is not settled.

Many people would play Scarlett O'Hara and "worry about this tomorrow."  That you didn't speaks to your strength of character.  Over and over we get letters from people who knew they shouldn't marry, but did anyway.  It always ends badly.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

© 1996-2015 Wayne & Tamara Mitchell
Privacy Policy / Terms of Service


  On this page :
  "Trust yourself and swim against the
    tide of bad advice