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Reader Q&A;

I receive numerous emails each month from readers like you, asking me for insight into their relationship issues. While I am unable to answer every question, I do occasionally devote a whole newsletter to answering some of your questions. That is what I am doing this week.

Q. Dear Rinatta,
Your articles on boundary setting are interesting, and I want more information in order to apply it in my real life. What can I do about people who don't take boundary setting seriously? What should I do if someone continues to ignore my boundaries? This person is also someone I can't simply cast out of my life (i.e. mother, mother-in-law, step-child, longtime friend).

A. Dear Emily,
Great questions. You can't force someone to change their behavior, so if they refuse to respect your boundaries it is up to you to take care of yourself around them. Depending on the situation or the relationship, you could begin to remove your attention or presence when your boundaries are crossed. For example, if the boundary being crossed is a conversation you don't want to have, you could change the subject. The key is to take responsibility for taking care of yourself to make sure your boundaries are being respected.

Q. Dear Rinatta,
What are your thoughts on relationships where both partners work together? I've always wanted to find a partner to work with side-by-side in our own business. I recently met a fantastic woman who fits so many of my criteria for what I want in a partner, plus I feel a very strong physical, mental and emotional attraction to her (and the signals I get from her is that the feeling is mutual). We're working on a project together right now, and the synergy is real love and work mix?

A. Dear D,
Love and work mix sometimes. I think it takes a particular kind of temperament, excellent couple communication skills, and the ability to delegate and take direction from one another in order to successfully blend love and work together. Since this is the kind of a relationship you aspire to, I suggest you not only look for attractiveness and attraction in your potential partner, but also for above average relationship communication skills and the joint ability to work well together.

Q. Dear Rinatta,
I have been single for years. I haven't even gone out on a date in years. I have been asked out a few times by friends I meet online, but I never am attracted to them so I turn them down politely. A few times (rare!) someone I know in real life will ask me out, but again, I am not attracted to these people. When going out with friends, or even out on my own, I will sometimes get looks from men who appear to be attracted to me but they never approach me. I am extremely shy, and I can't maintain eye contact with a man who is looking at me, and I have never gone up to a man and asked him out or even initiated a conversation. All the men I have been involved with have pursued me. It is disheartening that the only people who are interested in me lately are men I'm not in the least bit attracted to. Is there anything I can do to change these ugly patterns?

A. Dear Anonymous,
There are many things you can do to change these patterns, beginning with understanding that you are not alone. Plenty of men and women experience the same thing all of the time. I believe in the power of attraction. You are attracting men you are not attracted to, not interested in. You need to look at why this may be happening, and the why will be internal, rather then external. Look at attitudes and beliefs you have adapted lately, look at your life and how happy or unhappy you are with it. Examine what kind of internal conversation may be causing this to show up in your life. For more help, schedule a session with me, or take a look at the True Love MagnetTM Quiz on my site, at

Q. Dear Rinatta,
After 20 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart, my husband hit mid life and decided his assistant had the greener grass. We've been divorced for nearly two years and I can truly say I am the better for it all and wouldn't trade the journey for anything. Problem is, I met a man just a month before the divorce was final and got hooked on him. We dated for 3 or 4 months until he decided that was enough. He has drifted in and out of my life for the past year-and-a-half. I know he is not good for me and I want to let go and stop yearning for him. I have dated several other people since he and I broke up. I am attractive and not desperate for a relationship. I reject those who are available and honest. I am afraid to trust again and feel like I am hiding behind this infatuation with someone unavailable in order to keep myself safe. What to do?

A. Dear Kandis,
I think you know your answer is in your question. As you work on being less afraid to trust and having less need to hide, you will be able to let go of this unhealthy relationship. The question is how do you do this, right? You either need to do some deep work by yourself or you need to hire a therapist or a relationship coach to recover from your past relationship and to discover what you want in your next relationship and how to get it.

Q. Dear Rinatta,
There is a guy that likes me and I like him very much, but it seems he is too shy and afraid of relationships! He is nice but when we get closer he just turns away. I don't know what to do.

A. Dear Diaga,
In my experience when someone is interested enough in checking out the possibility of a relationship, they take steps. Attraction is a powerful thing, and often helps most shy men to overcome their shyness and make a move. I find that shyness to this extreme often masks other issues, perhaps unavailability, inability to have a relationship for some reason, etc. I suggest you give this guy some time to act, and if he does not then set your sights on someone else who is more likely to take action.

Q. Dear Rinatta,
I often meet men who are married or unavailable. I tell them right away that I am looking for a committed relationship and that I do not date married men. I recently met a really nice guy who has a lot of the qualities that I like in a man and we both share similar values. He told me he is divorced and is living with someone. Their relationship is not working and he does not expect it to continue, but he does not want to date me because he is not comfortable given his present relationship. He does want to develop a friendship with me. Should I break off all communication with him or should I continue speaking with him on occasion and continue building a friendship?

A. Dear Anonymous,
It sounds like you already know that getting involved with people who are already involved with others is a bad idea. Good for you. I suggest that if you do maintain a friendship with this man that it be strictly platonic and have no strings attached -- that it truly be a friendship. If it begins to develop into something else, as I suspect it will, break it off until he is free and available.

Q. Dear Rinatta,
I would appreciate it very much if you could help me to find the words to share with someone I really love. He got divorced a few years ago and we became friends. But I really love him.

A. Dear Anonymous,
Great question. Telling someone you love him is a difficult thing, especially when it may not be mutually reciprocated. Honesty is always the best policy and so I suggest you sit him down, and tell him you have something you would like to talk about. Take a look at the last two communication articles and read about setting a context for the conversation (see and
Set a context for him by saying something like, "I would like to talk about our feelings toward each other." Then tell him in as few or as many words as would allow you to express yourself fully. If you have a preferred outcome in mind, then tell him that. Then ask him for his reactions, thoughts, etc. Let this be the most heart-to-heart, loving, close conversation you have ever had.

Q. My fianc� was in prison and I promised him I would not let anyone live with me. We have a son together who I took care of while waiting for him for a year-and-a-half. I rented a room to another guy for a week. My fianc� says he hates me for letting this man stay there for that week. He says I stabbed him in the back and feels it justifies him hitting on me and talking to me like I'm a piece of s**t. I would like your opinion.

A. Anon,
Nothing ever justifies being hit or being treated badly. Nothing, ever. I suggest you get help immediately because domestic abusers always get worse without help, never better.
Domestic abuse does not just go away, nor does it happen because the victim is causing it. If your fianc� weren't beating you up for this reason, he would be beating you up for another one, or for no reason at all. Abuse happens because of maladjustment and aggressing in the abuser. It is not your fault and you had nothing to do with it. Get help and save yourself and your child. Find a local domestic violence or a battered women's hotline on the 'net or in your phone book. Call them, they will be able to help.

Q. When I was 20, I was in love with my brother's friend. We dated for about 6 months and then he suddenly left me without a word. I never knew what happened. Then about 2 years ago we met in a caf� and talked. I am not in love with him anymore. He was married, has a son, and he now has a girlfriend. I know that if he would ask me to start everything over again, I would say no. I'm 31 years old, and I have not had a stable relationship in all these years. I study and work a lot. I understand that most likely I am afraid to have any relationship. But for how long?

A. Dear Kristine
Unfortunately, time does not heal the wounds of the heart. Some people can spend a lifetime being damaged by one love affair, never recovering, never being able to have a relationship again. Of course, it does not have to be this way. The road to recovery from fear and hurt of a relationship can be long and winding, but it is certainly -- in my opinion -- better than having life-long relationship problems. If you would like to get on the road to recovery, start reading the material on my website, , and any books on love and relationships you can get a hold of. Hire yourself a therapist or schedule a session with me, a relationship coach. You will be truly amazed at the results.

Your Relationship Coach,
Rinatta Paries

(c) Rinatta Paries, 1998-2001. This article was originally published by Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries in the Relationship Coach Newsletter, one of many relationship resources you can find at . Other resources include relationship advice, quizzes, coaching and classes. Visit and learn to become a True Love Magnet(tm)!

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