When & How to Speak Up

Man and Woman smiling at each other

Lives of Style’s DatingSpeak ™ ©2016 addresses questions about dating, relationships and communication.

Our Lives of Style authority–Laura Pugliese, shares must-know dating “Do’s and Don’ts” that will help you find success in your relationships.

Lives of Style: My husband wants me to deposit every cent of my paycheck into our joint account, when he promised me that he would “take care of me” and pay bills for our marriage. He says I can take out a certain amount without discussing with him, but he wants us to agree on anything spent beyond $250. He goes food shopping with me, and we have to “bargain” about prices of vegetables, fruit, meat, etc. I don’t like this. What can I say to him about this?

Laura: Based on what you are sharing with me, I suspect the issues are more complex than a simple answer I could give you here. On the surface it appears that he is not keeping his agreement to you about taking care of you, and now he is wanting to require conditions for you that he didn’t discuss with you prior to your marriage, but as I previously stated, I do not view this as a simple Q AND A. I think that ultimately it would be best for the two of you to seek some relationship counseling to both be heard and have a trained professional to assist you in each expressing your wants, thoughts and feelings to assist you in making the best agreements for your relationship with consideration to your current circumstances.


Having stated that as my ultimate professional opinion, here is a conversation you could have with your husband first.
You can say, “Honey, I want to talk with you about our finances and our agreements in regards to them. Is now a good time?” Wait for him to say, “yes.” Then you can say, “I love you. I believe you love me too, but I am struggling with some things that are different than what we agreed to before you asked me, and I agreed to marry you. It really felt good to me that you were clear that you wanted to take care of me financially, and I do believe you had the best intentions when you told me that. Since we have been married, not only am I not experiencing you taking care of me the way you said you would, you are now also asking for me to contribute every cent I make into a joint account and penny pinching over the price of groceries. None of this feels good to me. It is not that I am unwilling to contribute, but I am not comfortable with all of these new requirements you want of me in addition to the loss of your agreement to take care of me. I will think about what I am comfortable with agreeing to contribute to our household and let you know, but I also want to know that you will do your best to work on doing more to do your best to fulfill your agreement to me to take care of me. I don’t feel comfortable just dismissing it and accepting all of your wants under these new and unexpected circumstances. What are your thoughts about what you will do to best honor your agreement to take care of me?”

Lives of Style: I had a date with a man who found out I am a vegan on our first date. He texted me with, “A vegan. Interesting!” What can I say in response?

Laura: “Yes. I am a vegan. Thank you for letting me know you find that interesting. I would love to know your thoughts about it. Would you be more specific and share with me your thoughts about what you mean when you say interesting, please?”

Lives of Style: My old next-door neighbor when I was a kid is now grown-up (as am I) and I met him again when I visited my parents across the country (he was visiting his at the same time). We saw each other and hung out for a week and it felt so right. When we said goodbye he said, “We have to do this again!” Should I take this as an invite? Should I respond or text or email him now that I am back home?

Laura: The best thing would be to have responded to him in the moment. Since it appears that you didn’t, here is what you could text him now. Hi (Insert his name), “I wanted to let you know that it was so good to see you, and I would love to hear from you to do it again as you suggested.” (Insert your name). Then he will know for sure you are interested, and the ball will be in his court to take the lead on getting together again.

Lives of Style: I’m afraid to date. I’ve been single for 22 years and raised three kids from infancy to adulthood alone. Now, I’m in my mid-50′s and my friends are encouraging me to “get a life” and date. I’ve met several men at a tennis club I belong to, and they seem to “flirt” with me–but they haven’t made a move. How can I show/tell them I’m interested?

Laura: The best way to show a man you are interested is to respond to him when he flirts and flirt back. Smile, make eye contact, and hold it beyond a few-second glance. Another thing that shows a man you are attracted to him is twirling your hair or gently touching his arm while talking with him. You will feel uncomfortable and vulnerable doing this, but it is important to open the space and create the energy for a man to think that he has a chance of you saying “Yes,” if he asks you out. Men have feelings too, and it helps them to know they wouldn’t be rejected.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind while you are doing this. Some men will repeatedly flirt with you because they just enjoy flirting. It can be confusing, especially if you have more traditional values and flirt only when you are single and directly interested in a man. Although I believe strongly in being warm and kind to everyone, I personally am not a fan of flirting behavior between men and women unless both people are single and have an interest in each other because it can lead to misunderstandings and confusion. There may be no intention to inflict discomfort, but if one person is flirting for fun and one person is flirting with interest, then feelings can be hurt and interests can be developed on someone who was either not available or not interested in pursuing a dating possibility.

Lives of Style: Help! My older sisters are such bullies. They tell me what to do all the time–from cleaning my room to what to wear to how to talk. I’m 14 now and I want to tell them to back off. What can I say?

Laura: You can say “I know you love me and probably tell me what to do thinking that you are helping me, but it doesn’t feel good to me and has the exact opposite affect on me because I am resenting it. I love you, and I am asking you to back off and let me make my own choices. If there is something I think I need your help with, then I will ask you for your suggestion. Will you stop telling me what to do unless I ask, please?”
If they don’t respond and back off, then I suggest you go to your parents, tell them how you feel, and ask them to assist you.

Lives of Style and Lives of Style’s DatingSpeak ™ ©2016 want to facilitate answers to questions. While authorities such as Laura may not be able to email each of you individually, select questions will be answered.

Remember, log onto http://www.livesofstyle.com/the_last_word/ and email Laura at Laura@livesofstyle.com.

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