Dieting and an engagement disaster.

I lost ten pounds late last year, but I haven’t lost anymore since, I don’t think. I’m fine with this. I have to go through periods of losing and then periods of maintaining, during which I take a deep breath and get ready to lose more.

I’m not interested in starvation, but it takes extreme discipline to not let myself eat any snack food. I’ve gone a bit downhill with the snack food, but I haven’t gone off the deep end. This is good. The deep end would be pints of ice cream, huge slices of cake, an entire box of Wheat Thins, etc. The “middle ground” consists of snacking on breakfast cereal, Lara bars, and small bags of baked potato chips. That’s where I find myself at present.

I’m fully committed to losing all (or most) of the weight I need to lose this year. So if I go through periods of middle ground, I think that’s okay. Maybe even after I lose the weight, I can maintain it by going back and forth from the middle ground to all-out calorie counting.

I feel sort of fat, but I haven’t been to the gym. This time of year, I’d almost rather have my teeth pulled. (No, I wouldn’t.) But I hate exercise. I wish I could ride my bike, but the weather needs to be a little bit nicer. I think I might talk myself into it soon.

The self-help book I was reading about our shadow sides says that we rationalize and justify unhealthy eating instead of facing our needy inner child, or something like that. I think the author’s onto something, but not quite enough to be helpful. I mean, with me, anyway, I feel like I have bad habits, and I feel as if eating healthy requires constant mental vigilance which I don’t always have the energy for. Eating healthy also requires regular planning and preparedness. I feel like the issue on my end is one of habits and preferences. There aren’t many  healthy foods that I like, so I have to eat the ones I do like often enough to get sick to death of them. You can only eat brown rice so often before it becomes the enemy. And don’t even try to feed me an apple. (I’m picturing comedian Chris Kattan as Mr. Peepers.)

But I think that if I try to make it a lifestyle to keep going from healthy to middle ground, I might be onto something. For one thing, it takes away the fear of having to make a lifelong commitment to healthy eating. That’s hard. I mean, we should all be able to eat some cake every now and again, no matter what. So I’m looking at it as a majority-of-the-time lifestyle, but not as a death sentence. I think I need to keep exerting effort, and then relaxing a bit, and repeat.

In other news, I’ve been doing hours and hours of unpaid data entry, i.e., I’ve been trying to find a literary agent. It takes colossal effort, and it’s rendering me braindead. (It doesn’t take much.) And I have no idea if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. But I’m hopeful that The Enervation of Eve will be the book that makes my career appear.

I miss writing. Aside from the short story I wrote for my contest last week, I haven’t written any fiction in ages. I have some ideas for a new novel, but I don’t want to start writing it until I’m waiting to hear from agents. But in a few days, I’ll be able to share my story both here… and on the forum, which is where all hell broke loose this time last year. They’d better behave themselves this year, or else.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: My fiancée and I are supposed to get married next month; I’m eight months pregnant. Everything was good until he started acting weird about his Facebook. He always gave me his password, and out of nowhere decided to change it and didn’t want me on his Facebook. Red flag. And we said we’d only add family, but he started adding all these female friends. It made me feel uncomfortable and I thought to myself, “Well I guess I can have friends too.” But he got upset about that, so we both decided to remove friends. I did, he didn’t. I noticed a girl hearting and reacting to his posts, which hurt my feelings. I brought it up, he got upset with me. I went to my parents to give us some space. I came back home because I couldn’t sleep. He was giving me an attitude, but once he went to sleep, I checked his phone to see that he’s download this textapp just to try to get ahold of his ex a day before his birthday, which was this month. I left. He called me, pissed, asking where the f*** I was. Anyways cut to the point. He acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about. Now today, he’s trying to be all sweet talking about our wedding. I don’t know what to do. Part of me just wants to detach myself and leave, but I don’t know what to do… I feel numb and hurt.

Kind querent: He’s gaslighting you, and I’m so sorry. All the signs are there–the fact that he’s using a double standard, the way he’s blaming you for his actions, and his unjustifiable anger at you for speaking up. This is not your pregnancy hormones at play. Don’t let him convince you that it is.

I sort of wish you weren’t eight months pregnant with his baby. Just sayin’. But please don’t marry him next month (or ever). He’s not marriage material, nor is he someone you and your coming child should be living with. I’d consult an attorney regarding collecting child support from him. You’ll also have to work out a custody agreement.

He’s going to keep piling on the charm, but I hope you can see past it. I’d research gaslighting if I were you. Also, if you can’t bring yourself to break up with him, don’t drop the issue of his social media secrecy. Keep bringing it back up. Make him be answerable for it. If you can’t have male friends on social media, then he doesn’t get to have female friends. Don’t buckle on the double-standard stuff. Eventually, you’ll see that he’s being flagrantly manipulative.

 

 

 

Forever is a long time!

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: My ex has a new boyfriend and hates me, do I have any sort of chance? We were together for a year, during which she lived with her previous ex as she had nowhere to go. This caused a lot of paranoia from me and eventually by the end of a year together we had fallen out over stupid things, said and done horrible things to each other… however always coming back together and the love felt electric again. This time its different. we broke up just before Christmas, we ended up spending Christmas together and had a lovely time, spent new years together too. Now, a week or two since we’ve seen each other, she has rapidly gotten into a fresh relationship with some guy she has just met and moved out to immediately live with him and his family! Talk about rushing! (Possible rebound, but now she lives with him?) I’m now blocked on all social media and she says she doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. I’ve heard this before and we have come back from this, but this time, with her having a new partner I’m not so sure. What would you do? i appreciate the sensible response is to move on, forget, etc, but it’s eating me up. I’m open to all opinions, however harsh they may be.

Kind querent: I’m glad you’re open to harsh opinions.

Might I postulate that you’re addicted to this relationship? The highs, the  lows, the who-knows? It’s like a drug. I’ve been in similar situations, and this is what I recommend: spend a month (mark it on your calendar) going cold-turkey off your ex-girlfriend. Don’t let yourself try to contact her (or her new boyfriend) for an entire month.

Every time you get the urge to connect with her, look at the calendar. Has it been a month yet? No? Then distract yourself and do something else. Anything else.

This is where things get tricky, because I suspect she will be coming back at some point. No, quit celebrating. This isn’t good news, kind querent. You need to realize that she’ll never be back for good. The on-again, off-again pattern will continue forever.

Forever.

The pain, the agony, the highs, the lows, it will never end. Unless you walk away and stay away. You don’t like letting her yank your chain, so rise above it and walk away. If you don’t, I can promise you that you’ll feel this level of misery into the foreseeable future.

Look at this objectively: she enjoyed you for the holidays and then jumped into someone else’s bed (and his house!). Yes, it will require a great deal of inner strength to walk away, but it’s your responsibility to quit being her plaything. One month. You can do it!

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I’m experiencing this strange mental phenomenon and I don’t know what it’s called. It’s difficult to explain, so here’s an example: I tell myself: “If I don’t climb up that tree, I’m not gonna get my dream job two years from now. If I do climb up that tree, I’ll get my dream job two years from now.” Or while I’m doing math I tell myself: “If I don’t get this question right, I have terrible luck for the next 5 years.” “If I don’t get to 40 pushups in this one go, I’ll be tortured in the afterlife and suffer for an eternity.” Completely unrelated things pop into my mind… Some people say it’s a good way for self-motivation but it really scares me and makes me anguished on a daily basis. And I get really anxious, worried, and start to physically tremble when I screw my own deal up. It’s ridiculous. We should all know that we’re not gonna have bad luck for five years just for not climbing up a tree or doing one math problem correctly, but it really affects me. And, I don’t want to keep doing this to myself, but it causes me to act impulsively. Does anyone know the name for this condition? Is anyone else experiencing it?

Kind querent: You’re giving power to superstitious thoughts, and you’ve got to quit. It could lead to more OCD behaviors, so if I were you, I’d nip it in the bud now. Here’s how you can “cancel” it:

Inner thoughts: If I climb the tree, I’ll be lucky for three weeks. If I don’t climb the tree, I’ll be unlucky for three weeks.

Add this thought on:

Inner thoughts: If I ignore this silly superstition, my life will continue as it’s meant to. I think that’s the best choice.

And then reorient yourself toward something else.

If that doesn’t work, then you should consider seeing a counselor. You seem to have OCD tendencies, and in the absense of professional help, your best bet is going to be to discourage that sort of thinking.

Adultery and boxes.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: My husband cheated on me numerous times with numerous different women. I know he has demons he’s fighting with drugs and infidelity, and it got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore and moved out. I haven’t spoken to him and he hasn’t contacted me. I want him back but I realize that I need to love him unconditionally. I have realized he may never change, but I made a vow to him and I want to honor that even though he wouldn’t do it for me. How do I stay and be the support he needs to change, without being disrespected. I have been thinking about going over to the house to cook, set his clothes out, clean and pack his lunch while he’s at work. I know that sounds silly because he doesn’t deserve it, but I’m hoping he will see that I still care and start to think about his behavior. Is this a good idea or should I just go no contact?

A little background: we’ve been married two years, he’s had a baby on me, and he’s cheated our entire marriage. He also has impulse and substance abuse issues. We are both 29. Why am I deciding to stay (but leave)? Because I want him to love me. I want to be there for him. I want to be the type of woman that doesn’t leave when things get rough but that also stands her ground. He’s made mistakes but I love him and although now I don’t really feel like he loves me I’m hoping he does.

Kind Querent: You’ve got some false virtues going on. A false virtue is when you think it’s noble or good to do something, but in reality, it’s not. You want to support him so he can make changes. But he’s given no indication that he wants to change, so he probably won’t. The fact that you want to honor your wedding vows seems virtuous, but he doesn’t deserve your honor. He’s shown that he doesn’t take wedding vows seriously, so you’re essentially off the hook to uphold your vows. Don’t be there for him. Don’t care about him. Don’t excuse his behavior. Don’t tolerate his sins. It’s a false virtue to be forgiving with the hopes of changing someone who doesn’t want to change. If you want to forgive him for your own peace of mind, then feel free. But don’t forgive him and then continue to let him hurt you in the same ways over and over again. At this point, it would even be helpful for you to be (and stay) mad at him; that would protect you better from his cheating ways than your urge toward forgiveness and tolerance, neither of which he deserves. Put yourself first and write him off.

And please, no matter what happens, don’t have unprotected sex with him, like, ever.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: My boyfriend and I were not on good terms and had put distance between one another. My close friend needed to move ASAP. She had found movers, but I wanted to still support my boyfriend, so I reached out to him for the job. (He’s a mover.) So, he gave me a quote based on the square feet of her apartment. His quote was just about the amount she had budgeted. He asked about boxes? I told him she doesn’t have any. He said he could provide them, but it would cost. I told him since I know she doesn’t have enough for it, I can come up with the money for the boxes for her.

I went to his job to go pick them up a week later and found out his workplace actually has new and used boxes in their warehouse. The used boxes are available to anyone who wants them. I felt hurt and used that someone who knows my money is already tight, would make me pay for something that I could have gotten for free but wanted to profit off me. I barely had it to help my friend get them but I wanted to help her and support him. Am I overreacting by feeling taking advantage of? 

Kind querent: You’re not overreacting, but you might be jumping to conclusions. It’s possible that your boyfriend, as an employee of the company, isn’t supposed to take the used boxes. It’s also possible that he already took many boxes for another friend and was then told to not take so many boxes. Or perhaps he knew the used boxes wouldn’t be enough for your friend. Or maybe the warehouse was out of used boxes at the time.

Since he stepped in and got her moved, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. He didn’t have to accept the job.

Anxiety is the theme.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: How can I cope with anxiety during a conflict? During any conflict I have an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, especially when arguing with my partner. He is able to go about his life, laugh and enjoy stuff (even when he’s in the wrong) but I’m stuck in a dark place, not knowing what to do with myself, with my thoughts running around, shortness of breath and being alert. I know I depend heavily on the emotional wellbeing of those close to me and I can’t seem to function at times of a conflict or when there is an unhealed wound that the other side chooses to dismiss. Any tips?

Kind Querent: It sounds like you have a fear of conflict. Perhaps you’re afraid that disagreeing with someone equals the death of your relationship. In some cases, this is true, but usually over major things, like whether you want to have kids or which city you want to live in. And even then, it’s not the conflict itself that’s ending the relationship, but rather the inability to have similar priorities.

In your case, there’s an episode of Friends I’d like you to watch. It’s called “The One With the Kips.” (And no, I have no idea what the kips are.) In it, Chandler and Monica argue over something, which leads Chandler to assume their relationship is over. Monica then realizes why none of his previous relationships have lasted, and she lets him know that it’s not the end of the world to disagree.

It might also help you to ask your partner this question: “If we’re disagreeing or arguing over something, does it mean our relationship is in jeopardy?” Just see what he says. He sounds like the kind of guy who’s very much “with it” and grounded, so he might be able to offer you some perspective.

If you’re anxious in other ways as well, you might want to seek professional help. Anxiety bites.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I am 27 years old and I get anxiety about going to the store by myself which keeps me from stocking up on food. I always have to have someone come with me. I don’t know why. How can I over come this? I don’t know why I’m scared. I just feel my ears plug and the sides of my face get warm and I just feel everyone is judging me. I know they aren’t and even if some are, who cares? But at the moment I just get so nervous. How do I overcome this?

Kind Querent: I’d recommend that you see a psychiatrist. I can’t tell if you’re paranoid, extremely self-conscious, or agoraphobic, but whatever it is, you need help. Please get help now, before you start avoiding other places. Trust me, you don’t want this to escalate to all aspects of leaving home.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: How can I become self-reliant and self-motivated? I’m living in a city without friends for the first time ever, and I’m single. I’ve only been in my job for a few months, and I live with strangers who don’t really have any similar interests, so I’m struggling to stay motivated. I guess without realizing I’ve always needed the belief and motivation from those around me to get me to do things, but now I’m on my own I’m really struggling. I have a full-time job but to succeed in my dreams (filmmaking/creative goals) I need to be working on side projects outside of work, but when I get home I have no motivation.

On the weekends, because I don’t have friends texting me to make plans, I struggle to get out of bed early or be productive. At uni I was always pushed to do more and I had that drive because I was around creative people, but I don’t really believe in myself, I’ve found. I didn’t know I was this kind of person until recently. There’s been a lot going on and I’m new to the working world having only graduated last year, but I need to find a way to rely on myself completely and just commit to my goals. I’m starting to get depressed and I need to change that.

Kind Querent: Whoa. You’re being way too hard on yourself. Think of all you’ve accomplished so far! Living on your own (and yes, living with roommates counts), working full-time, and doing it all in a new city, no less! There’s no reason for you to feel bad about your efforts. From my perspective you seem quite successful, and I’m impressed!

You can’t keep forcing yourself to pursue your filmmaking passion while adjusting to your new full-time job, so I’d recommend that you spend the next six months just getting used to your new routine and letting yourself do whatever with your free time. (My recommendations would be to find some local friends and/or get involved with fun activities, but with no pressure to pursue your passions at this point.) You’re trying too hard to do it all right now, but you don’t have to. Working full-time in and of itself is huge! To many people, that is success. You should embrace that success without expecting yourself to become super-successful by tomorrow. You’re doing great! Keep it up!

 

 

The spare bedroom beckons.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: My partner and I have been together nearly four years, which means our entire adult lives. (I’m twenty-one and he’s twenty-two.) We’ve lived together for two years, sharing a room for the last one. Lately I’ve been feeling somewhat unhappy and losing the love for him, but I’m also undergoing some mental-health treatment for depression that’s throwing my emotions all over the place for no reason. I’ve been fantasizing a lot, not about being single, but about moving into our spare room, and us having our own rooms again–sharing a bed when we want but having our own spaces again. I’m kinda scared that we’re growing up too fast as a couple and I’ve never had a chance to really live as an independent adult. Would moving into a different room be a good idea? Does anyone have any experience? Or am I delaying the inevitable (a break-up)? Also how should I approach the convo with him?

Kind Querent: You’ve been with this man since you were seventeen, and you’ve got a lot going on in your life right now. I do think you should move into the spare bedroom, but don’t make it about your relationship–make it about you. You need a place of your own.

Relationships don’t have to follow traditional patterns. For example, married couples don’t have to sleep in the same room. Often, they’ll opt not to because of snoring or incompatible sleep schedules, but there’s no bad reason to have your own space.

You might be on the verge of “outgrowing” your relationship–not because of anything you or he has done wrong, but because you haven’t had a chance to live your own life yet. If you break up, it’s not a failure on your part or his. But keep an open mind. Maybe you can move out, but still be together. Maybe you can live in the spare bedroom but come to miss his company. Keep the lines of communication open and be kind to yourself.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I’m pregnant and I want to quit my nannying job. First of all I’m fully aware that pregnancy is not a disability or a reason to not work, but let me explain my situation. I take care of twins and they are 3 years old. Lately they’ve become very disobedient and find things like kicking me, often time in my stomach and legs funny. There’s only so much I’m allowed to do to discipline them and they just don’t listen to me anymore. I’ve voiced my concerns to their parents multiple times but nothing has changed. I don’t want to leave the family on short notice but I’m going on seven months pregnant and the stress is taking a toll on me. I’ve been with the family since the children were 2 months old and I don’t want to ruin the relationship I have with them.

Kind Querent: Oh my. I’d recommend discussing maternity leave with the parents. I mean, they don’t expect you to give birth and then come right back to work, do they? If they won’t “allow” you to take maternity leave until your baby’s born, then I’d recommend that you quit the job because you need more maternity leave. Act like you’re having a hard time getting around because your unborn child weighs a ton. This will put you in a prime position to focus on yourself for a while and not be stressed. Several months from now, when you’re ready to return to work, check in with the parents and say you’re available. They probably will have hired someone new, which means you’ll be off the hook. But with no bad blood with them, they’ll probably give you a great reference to a new family.

As for wanting to give them notice, give as much as possible; but keep in mind that they haven’t worked with you to solve the problems at all. Even though you should play coy and not let them know why you’re really quitting, this is partly their fault. I wouldn’t feel guilty about leaving them in the lurch.

 

 

Announcing Ask Mesmerizing Meg!

Hi! I’ve decided to start my own advice column, mostly for entertainment purposes. I’m going to find questions submitted online that haven’t been answered yet and attempt to answer them. I just wish I could get my blog looking prettier. It’s hard to start a blog at WordPress!

I’ll edit the questions I find for grammar, but not in a way that changes the question. For the heck of it, I’m going to name my column Dear Mesmerizing Meg. I’ll pretend the letters are addressed to me.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I’m a 27-year-old guy, and I am looking for some advice. I met this girl, and she seemed really cool and down to earth. She was so easy to talk to. We have a lot of the same interests and work in the same field. The thing is, I found out today she is only 19. She works full-time as a teaching assistant, goes to school part-time, and has lived on her own for a couple years because she graduated early. She is very independent for 19. She did say on occasion she likes to smoke a Black & Mild in a bubble bath and has a vape she likes to hit, but that’s the only bad thing she does. What should I do? I can’t stop thinking about how she’s only 19 and I am looking for someone my own age? She really wants a chance, but I just don’t know what to do.

Kind Querent: I wouldn’t normally have an issue with a twenty-seven-year old dating a nineteen-year-old. However, in your case, I do take issue. The tone of your letter implies that you’re looking for someone with more vices (along the lines of smoking cigars in the bathtub and vaping, for example). You imply that she’s not yet adult enough to be engaging in even worse vices. Given that set of circumstances, I don’t think you should date her. Instead of rolling your eyes at her innocent naivete, let her find someone who appreciates her virtue. You aren’t the one.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I have a fiery and super-short-tempered wife who loses her cool the moment something doesn’t work the way she wanted. Sometimes she blurts out really nasty things which I fear is beginning to push me away. I mean literally since the weeks she found out she was pregnant, I’ve been dealing with this. Its been 7 months of verbal and emotional abuse. Ive been called every name in the book and it seem like just being in the same room as her annoys her to her core. On top of that, she has no desire for intimacy so it’s also been 7 months since we made love. But I love her very much and I want to provide and give her a happy life because, when calm, she is an amazing person to be around and we are excited to be expecting a daughter in two month. I really don’t know how to approach or calm her down without aggravating her, so I just find myself distancing away from her to give her space, which does work sometimes, but even that at times annoys her because she thinks I am sulking when I stay away and say nothing to her. She is a good person at heart.

Kind Querent: You mentioned that the problem started when the pregnancy was discovered. For that reason, I strongly suspect your wife has postpartum issues (I’d guess anxiety) which, despite its name, can begin during pregnancy. Your wife needs professional help to get through this, and quite honestly, you sound like a great guy to be so understanding and supportive of her difficult pregnancy.

Postpartum issues such as anxiety can be hormonal and/or situational. Based on how this started when the pregnancy was discovered, I’d wager anything that there are situational factors going on here. You say you and she are excited to have a daughter soon, but your wife is probably having some anxiety.

Try to get her to agree to discuss this with her doctor ASAP. You could also make an emergency therapist appointment. And if you think the problem will go away when the baby comes, it won’t. Good luck.

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