Photo courtesy of Peter Beste
LONG DISTANCE LOVE FADING
Dear Willie D:
I'm in a long-distance relationship with a good man, but the miles are starting to wear on my patience -- not to mention my pocketbook -- from traveling back and forth. We met at a business seminar two years ago in Miami where he is an architect for a reputable firm. Since I live and work in L.A., we don't get to spend much time together.
I've been under a lot of stress lately with my job. When I come home it would be nice to actually see, touch and talk to the man I'm in love with about my issues and how my day went. I have wonderful friends, but it's depressing when I hang out with them and everybody but me are all snuggled up and smooching on their significant others. I don't want to break up with him and neither of us wants to move. Please advise?
Like that movie starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, something's gotta give. Since you're still in love and neither of you wants to move, the obvious thing to do is hang in there and allow time to bring you closer together. When you're feeling down and vulnerable, before you start thinking negatively about your relationship you might want to reference the myriad of personal opinions from women around the world who will testify in a court of law that a good man is hard to find.
In this cold dark world where it seems that everyone is out for self, I for one would not risk searching for another good woman if I already had one. Your relationship is at a crossroads, and as always, when approaching intersecting streets you must be very cautious or you could end up in a wreck.
Spoiler alert: Long-distance relationships are extremely difficult and require a focused commitment from both sides. Been there, done that, took pictures, filmed it, got the T-shirt, the mug, the cap, and the keychain.
Dear Willie D:
Despite working hard for a number of years, I have no specific occupation and my career path is undefined. I give my work a lot of importance; however, the most apt term to describe my professional life would be confused. Most of the time I have no office, no job title and earn no money. But, this state of confusion does help to lower my barriers and the barriers of people I engage with, hence allowing me and those around me to arrive at new layers of honesty.
People I know understand and relate to this state of confusion but protect themselves from it through such measures as making sure their to-do list is lengthy and regularly meeting people or staying in contact with people through the phone or the Internet. While it's only a thin layer that separates me from being occupied rather than confused, I wonder if I have opened a can of worms by admitting to the confusion. Can I go back to being distracted or should I embrace the confusion?
The first step to solving a problem is to admit that you have one, so you're halfway home. I think you could go back to being distracted if you put it in your mind that bigger and better things will happen for you and the distractions are a bump in the road, not a roadblock.
Before I became a rapper I was a landscaper, a fast-food restaurant cook, a telemarketer, a newspaper salesman, and a security guard -- with no gun. The major difference between you and me is, by the time I reached 17 years old I knew what I wanted to do with my life. But don't trip, as long as you're breathing you got action.
All of us were blessed with talents and gifts. To be able to use your gift, something you're passionate about, to earn a living is infinitely rewarding, but often takes time and a lot of hard work to come to fruition, so most people settle for using their talents to pay the bills and end up stuck with dead-end jobs they hate.
Millions of people can cook -- that's a talent -- but people like Rachael Ray and Wolfgang Puck have a gift for it. Here's how to determine what your gift is. Figure out what comes natural and easy for you, that other people find difficult to do. That's your gift. Until you identify and chase it as if a horror-movie killer were after you, you will forever be in a state of distracted confusion.
Dear Willie D:
I'm a teacher at an inner-city high school who has been cursed out, pushed and had my life threatened by students, all in the past week. There is no accountability for unruly students, nor do incompetent teachers have to answer for underperforming.
I have tried implementing programs to assist my kids with learning and anger management but my hands end up tied again and again by the principal and those with administrative powers, such as the superintendent.
The kids have issues, but most of them really aren't bad. They're just dealing with bad situations at home. Students have come to me with stories of sexual abuse, going to bed hungry, being beaten by their mother and shot at or pistol-whipped. Many of them have never met their father and don't know what he looks like. So when I come into contact with them, I'm sympathetic and patient with the problems they face. But I'm not a pushover. I'm firm but I'm fair.
I love my students and have gone out of my way to provide money for field trips, food and senior fees. Many of them want a better life, but some of them are so beaten they seemed to have given up and lost hope. One student told me, why should he try to do the right thing when the government is building prisons with him in mind. How do I answer that, knowing he's right?
I told one boy to watch his mouth the other day and he promptly told me to kiss his you-know-what. I wrote him up, he went to the office and before the bell rang for the next period he was sitting in my class cursing again. How am I supposed to have order in my class and teach the kids who are there to learn when I don't have any authority over my own classroom?
I'm contemplating a transfer to a school where I can just go to work, collect my check and go home. I'm tired of being a counselor, a boxing referee and a punching bag. If I leave I know these kids won't have anyone in their corner fighting for them, but at this point I need someone to fight for me.
From what I understand, you had a similar experience growing up but you were able to make it through and do well for yourself. How did your educators reach you or did someone else inspire you?
Children do and say whatever you let them get away with. Growing up, if I thought I could walk into a bank, reach over the counter, take a fistful of money and get away with it, I would be the most decorated bank robber of all time. When I was growing up, it didn't matter how hard your life was at home. If an adult "thought" you were being disrespectful or heard you cursing, that was grounds for an automatic beat down.
The person whipping you could have been your uncle, your grandmother, a neighbor or a stranger. Grown folks came together and backed each other to raise children in those days, so the adults who reared my generation didn't have those problems. Kids today don't fear anything because the adults don't back each other. In my opinion, many of today's adults are just spineless cowards.
My educators reached me with consequences and repercussions. When my high school assistant principal Mr. Horn expelled me for fighting two months before graduation, the head principal backed him up. There was no grievance hearing or debate. They made an example out of me and the other would-be bad actors were put on notice and fell in line.
I'm not a proponent of beating children. I believe in setting boundaries, and when they cross those boundaries they should be penalized again and again until they get it right. That is the way it works in the real world and that is what we have better be preparing them for because the real world will not be so sympathetic.
TESTING MY BOYFRIEND FOR STDs
Dear Willie D:
My boyfriend was a bit of a player when we met. Like most girls, I wanted to be the one to conquer the guy that all the girls wanted and make him settle down. Everything was good for the first couple of years. I felt safe with him and considered him to be a faithful boyfriend.
Recently he's been acting in ways inconsistent with being in a monogamous relationship. He's been staying out late nights, he's less affectionate towards me and he has become argumentative. He also keeps his cell phone with him at all times, even when he's in the bathroom, which he never used to do.
Knowing all of this, I asked him to go with me to get tested for STDs, specifically AIDS. As expected, he was offended and told me, "If you don't trust me why are you with me?"
That's a good question. Why do us women stay in relationships with men we don't trust? I no longer feel safe sexually with him and he refuses to get tested. Should that be a dealbreaker and a sign for me to move on?
Women stay in relationships with men they don't trust for the same reasons men stay in relationships with women they don't trust: Good sex, money, the kids, familiarity, habit, etc.
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Sometimes people become moody and aloof in relationships. It could be a sign that they're being unfaithful but it could also mean a number of other things. For example, a person in a long-term relationship might feel burdened by accountability pressures in the relationship so to prove they're in charge of their own life they might purposely come home late or password protect their cellphone from their spouse.
Since getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is so important to you - and it should be - it would have been to your advantage to get tested before you had sex the first time and the relationship got serious. That way you could have gotten an understanding out of the gate and agreed to get tested together once or twice a year.
Your boyfriend's actions are questionable, but his refusal to take an AIDS test is not proof that he's cheating on you or that he no longer loves you. Your distrust of him is as conspicuous as a lion sitting on your living room sofa eating a bologna sandwich. Move on if you wish, but before you do know your status.
Ask Willie D anything at askwillied.com, and come back here soon for more of his best answers.