Q: I'm a man in my mid-30s and none of my relationships seem to work out. I'll really fall for a woman, but then the more I get to know her, the more she seems different from how I perceived her when I first met. I always end up disappointed.
I assumed I'd meet someone and get married, but at my age, I'm beginning to wonder.
Steve: People are complicated. And relationships are fluid. As the great Mort Sahl observed, "Women marry men hoping they will change, and men marry women hoping they won't. And each is inevitably disappointed."
Marriage is about coping with all kinds of changes and accepting non-changes. If you don't like making adjustments on the fly, compromising on all sorts of issues and being surprised from time to time, marriage may not work for you.
Mia: You'll marry. Probably more than once. But the next time you meet someone, go slowly before you start making assumptions about who that someone is. Expect to be surprised because, no doubt, you will be.
Q: My girlfriend is a beautiful, sweet girl. Here's my problem. She doesn't stink, but her apartment sure does. There are always dishes in the sink and as soon as you walk in the door, you can tell that she hasn't taken out her trash even though there are diapers in there.
When I want to watch TV, I can't find her TV remote because there's always so much clutter on the coffee table. There are piles of old magazines and newspapers just sitting around. Plus big piles of laundry. Yet she's always bringing in more crap from the mall. How do I get her to stop shopping so much and clean up?
Mia: Dude, that's no way to live. It sounds to me like your girlfriend is depressed. Have you tried talking with her? Maybe she needs to see a therapist or perhaps get on antidepressants.
If she won't get professional help, you may have to break things off with hoarder-in-training. I know you said you love her, but close your eyes and think ahead 10 years. Imagine yourself living in a house packed full of trash and dirty clothes. That could be your future.
Steve: I doubt she'll change her ways, but you should have a talk about this. Mia's right - some therapy may be in order.