"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained." - Marie Curie
Life is not easy. It's full of challenges, and things can be difficult in many areas of your life, sometimes all at once. Each month, I review a few questions that listeners and community members send my way and choose some to air on my podcast, "See the Way with Panney Wei" which you can listen on my site or Itunes and some questions to be answered here. If you have a question about something that's on your heart and mind, please feel free to email me and send me an inquiry through my contact page. You will hopefully find your answers here by connecting with me, and if anything, I promise to give you a positive message each week to uplift your soul. Love and blessings to you all. ~ Panney
Dear Panney: I've dropped almost 20 pounds in the last few months and I should feel good about it. The problem is, my best girlfriend doesn't seem as thrilled as I am as she was always the skinnier one and I was always the 'fun, chubby' girl in the group. I wouldn't care if we weren't so close. She makes snide comments about my little belly pouch I still have and about me trying too hard when I try more sexy clothes. What should I do? Thanks, Ana
Dear Ana: Wow, welcome to the world of haters. Looks like your friend has a mild case of the “jealousies” and doesn’t want you to be as happy as she is or the center of attention. But let’s look at it from her perspective for a second, perhaps she’s not used to change, especially when the change involves your looking and feeling great! Change is difficult for most people, and when you’re moving forward in life and changing, it might take some time for those you care about to catch up with you. Family members may treat you this way and your closest friends. So I would say, have a heart to heart with her, staying calm and grounded the entire time, and mention that your losing weight is mostly for your health and that you don’t understand where her comments are coming from. If she wants to improve your relationship, she’ll stop the snide comments; if she can’t, ignore them, and you might want to consider hanging out with people who make you feel as good on the inside as you look on the outside! Warmly, Panney
Dear Panney: I have a feeling my boyfriend is cheating, call it a hunch. He wants less sex lately and just seems more distant. Even little things like him kissing me the minute he makes it in the door from work have stopped almost completely and when he does, it seems more like a hassle. Should I do some snooping or confront him? Thanks, Snooping
Dear Snooping: I always veer on the side of doing what’s right so back off the snooping for now, and try some good old fashioned communication. Good communication is an important ingredient for any relationship so perhaps try approaching him first in a calm manner and speak from the heart. Mention that you value intimacy in your relationship and you noticed that some things have changed in that department. Is there anything wrong or is he stressed at work? Give him a chance to answer. If your hunch tells you that he might be cheating, and you accuse him of it and you’re wrong, then you’ll have another issue to deal with, which is your insecurity. Some guys may never admit to it as well. Most men need sex unless they have a serious Madonna-whore complex and don’t see you in a sexual way. So if you’re having less sex, I agree with you, it’s a red flag, and definitely something to look at. If all signs point in the direction of infidelity and you do have some confirmation that he is cheating, then it’s time to get out! Warmly, Panney
Dear Panney: My daughter and I are only 16 years apart in age as I had her when I was a teenager. I am a single mother and we have always been more like girlfriends. Lately she is getting out of control, constantly breaking curfew and being generally defiant. I put it down to her being a teenager but I don't feel I can just ignore it anymore. Where is the line between being a mother and a friend and what can I do? Thanks, Jenny
Dear Jenny: A parent’s job is to be a parent, not your child’s best friend. Your child has plenty of friends and best friends at school already, and what they really need from you is to be a mom. I understand how tough parenting can be especially when you’re so close in age. You practically grew up together and therefore, there is a blurred line right now about how much she should respect you. There are plenty of teenagers who keep curfew and respect their parents so this is not just a phase or a teenager thing. It’s time to set some ground rules and if your daughter crosses the line, grounding her. The most important thing is to stick with your own rules. If you don’t, your child will learn to not take you seriously. For instance, if she breaks curfew, she is grounded (you decide the punishment). Some parents take away their car, don’t allow them to go out the next weekend, or gives them more chores. The key is to stick with it and if you need to, get angry. Don’t let her rebellious nature take over your normally peaceful home. If you allow her to do that, both of you will be unhappy in the long run. Children need boundaries and discipline and that’s your job as a mother to provide that. Go for it! Warmly, Panney
Dear Panney: I know this is a silly question but my boyfriend wants me to give him more closet space and I don't see why I should. We live in a small one bedroom so space is limited as it is and I have lots more clothes anyway. He says I am being selfish but I think I am just being practical. What do you think? Thanks, Alondra
Dear Alondra: Girl, what are you thinking? If your boyfriend asks for more closet space, there’s a reason why he’s asking. He probably needs it. If you want a big fight to ensue about fairness and sharing, then keep doing what you’re doing. But if you want harmony and a feeling that your boyfriend’s needs are also being acknowledged, then offer to give her more space. You can always get a dresser to store your extra clothes or buy him one if you want to keep your space in the closet. Bottom line is, he needs the extra space and so do you, so the key is to work together and find a solution that everyone agrees upon. Warmly, Panney
Dear Panney: I'm a 27 year old render technician and only a few months into my marriage. I love my husband dearly but am finding it hard to deal with his close female friendships, some college friends and others business associates. I've always played it cool in the past even though it bothered me when he would go to dinner with them one-on-one or text them at all hours. I figured things would change after we got married or that I would feel more secure about it because we are married but it bothers me more now. Should I confront him about it or be the bigger person and just trust him? Thanks, Worried
Dear Worried: This situation is a double-edged sword. If you show your insecurities about his female friends, then you give those women your power and make yourself less attractive to your spouse. But if it’s bothering you a lot, just tell him, and remember to speak in a calm manner. Don’t accuse him of anything, just voice your concerns from an “I am” place, expressing your feelings. On the other side, you should trust him because you are his wife. He is married to you and not those other girlfriends of his so you should feel happy about that. Perhaps you can reach out to his girlfriends and become friends with them? Truth is, he really should be spending more time with you rather than texting his friends at all hours of the night. ‘Three’s a crowd” right now, but don’t worry, this situation can be solved. He just needs to make you feel like you’re his number one girl no matter what! Warmly, Panney
Dear Panney: My boyfriend insists on singing, actually belting out whatever song comes into his head, especially when we are with company and he's pretty much tone deaf. It's really embarrassing and I suppose I could have bigger problems but I just want him to stop. It is funny sometimes but other times I can tell even the people we are with wished he would just shut up. Should we all just get earplugs or should I say something to him? Thanks, Candice
Dear Candice:Oh my! Your boyfriend sounds like a very happy person! I think the best thing to do is to say something to him when it comes to having company over. Rather than rain on his parade by telling him that his singing sucks, why not re-frame the situation as an opportunity to teach him about proper etiquette when it comes to having company over? At all other times, it’s OK for him to bust out the karaoke and start belting tunes him in the privacy of his own home. It’s his home after all too!
Dear Panney: My boyfriend and I have been fighting a lot lately but he expects things to be just as hot and heavy in the bedroom. When we fight, I feel sad and disconnected and sex is the last thing on my mind but I do it anyway to keep the peace. What should I do?
Dear Sexed out:
We all know men and women are wired differently but I think you need a little reminder. I completely understand your position but here are some tips to understand men so you can create more peace in your relationship and definitely in the bedroom. Men sometimes decompress after a long day’s work or from stressful situations like fighting in different ways than women do. Men don’t really go racing to the phone to call their best friend to vent. So sex sometimes becomes an outlet to vent out these negative emotions and transform them into something positive, and it’s definitely a way to also feel close to you again after a bad fight. Women are different in the way they process negativity as well. if you’re feeling bad, you may express it outwardly, verbally, and you know your best friend is always a phone call away to listen to you vent and gossip about your lover and all the bad things that happened that day. But when it comes to sex, women generally need to feel connected to their significant other in order to even begin to have sex. For women, sex really begins in the mind. For men, the need for sex may stem from the mind but it may generate its spark from other areas.
I think the fact that you keep the peace by having sex with your boyfriend is not a terribly bad thing. Women and men do it all the time when it comes to marriage, and it’s about respecting the other person and their needs as well. Perhaps you feel used and that’s the last thing we want you to feel. Have you tried talking to your boyfriend about how you feel sad and disconnected? If not, I would suggest starting their and having a conversation about how you feel after fighting and share everything you feel. Hopefully since he cares about you, he will honor your feelings and both of you can work together to find a new way of connecting after bad fights. You can always have great makeup sex as well! Have your cake and eat it too! It’s the blessing of being in a committed relationship!
Dear Panney: My mom and I are super close and talk 4 or 5 times a day. We do spa weekends, have a book club – you get the picture! Well, my fiancé doesn’t get it and feels I should be spending more time with him. I know most girls would love this but I feel torn. They hardly speak as it is, and I just want to get it sorted out before I walk down the aisle. Thanks, Mama's Girl
Dear Mama’s Girl:
What I’m going to tell you may not be something you want to hear, but if your fiancé is asking to spend more time with you, then you best be getting on your way and take care of your man (or else, God forbid, he might find someone else who will.) I understand that mother-daughter bonds are sacred and it’s a very special relationship in a women’s journey. But there comes a time when you have to cut the cord and learn to start a new chapter in your life. That new chapter is with your future husband. Do you know how lucky you are to find the love of your life? Most women are dying to find the one and are still waiting. But you have him already, and you’re neglecting this sacred relationship in your life. A marriage is sacred and three’s a crowd and though your mom will always be an important part of your life, you’re not marrying your mom, so you need to find ways of balancing your relationship with her as well as your fiancé. Your fiancé may feel like you have a co-dependent relationship with your mother, so pay attention to his feelings too. He’s just as important as your mother. Perhaps you can find activities that you all can do together so that your fiancé may get to know your mother better. They may never be the best of friends but at least they can love and respect each other and that’s still good.
Dear Panney: I’m 24 and my dad just got remarried. It’s been less than a year since his divorce from my mom became final and it just feels like a slap in the face, the way he moved on so quickly. I feel a lot of resentment and honestly think he is going through some kind of midlife crisis as his new wife is almost 15 years younger than he is. Basically, he traded my mom in for a younger model. As you can probably tell, I am not dealing with the situation well. I was always daddy’s little girl and we have always been close but I feel us drifting apart. Help!
Dear Daddy’s Girl:
First of all, I understand how you feel and it must be hard to see your dad with a new woman, especially someone you don’t totally approve of. But just like you have your own life to live, your dad has his life as well, and though you may not always approve of his decisions and vice versa, you have to let him live his life. The only thing you can really do is to speak from your heart and let him know that you feel like you’re drifting apart and you would like to still maintain your relationship with him despite the new spouse in his life. Chances are, he will be touched by your words (if he sounds like the loving dad you think he is) and will reassure you. As for his ability to move on so quickly from your mother into a new relationship, there may be aspects of their relationship that you aren’t privy to and they may have been emotionally or physically distant and disconnected from each other for awhile so moving on for your father may have been easier. The only way you’ll really know is if he shares these intimate details of his marriage with your mother with you. But give your father some room to make mistakes, spread his wings and be human. As your parents age, the best thing to want for them is their happiness even if you don’t approve of the details. Your mother deserves happiness in the same way and I hope she can find a way to move on without internalizing any of your father’s actions as a personal attack on her self-esteem. As for your feelings of resentment, it sounds like you might be hurt and surprised by his actions so find healthy ways of expressing them, either through work with a therapist or hypnotherapist like myself, journaling, talking with friends, or talking to your father directly in a mature manner. I’m sure everything will work out in the end. Just stay positive, be supportive, and make sure your life is happy and full as well!
Dear Panney: I’m in a great relationship, 3 years in. The thing is, I just got offered a really good job, a dream advertising position in Chicago, but we live in Westchester, NY. My boyfriend has lots of family here and a great job also. I haven’t told him about the job offer yet or the fact that I want to take it. Is it selfish of me, how should I bring it up? What’s the best way to handle it and hopefully come out of it with my relationship in tact?
Dear Moving On UP!
Sounds like you’re moving on up in life and good for you! The decision you have to make here is what do you want in your life right now? Do you want a relationship that is fulfilling, or do you want a career that fulfills you? Or do you want both? Either way, you definitely need to have a conversation with your boyfriend about your future plans together and bring up the idea of marriage. The only time I ever advise people to move or relocate with someone is if the relationship has a future. If there is no future together and you can’t see the two of you ending in marital bliss, then it’s time to cut your losses and move on. It might sting a bit but human beings are resilient and you’ll bounce back. If you want to keep your relationship intact, then have a talk with your significant other and think of yourself as his teammate. Make the decision to move together, or strategize a way to stay together, especially if you’re going to take the new job which it sounds like you might. I’ve seen long distance relationships work out when there is a good foundation to begin with as you’ve created with your boyfriend already after three years of dating. So stay positive. There’s always a solution for everything but don’t delay the conversation. Just bring it up over a nice dinner and especially when he’s not stressed and has time to talk. Bring up the issue calmly and without dramatics and definitely don’t force your opinion on him. I hope you can both work together to make your dreams come true! And it will!
Dear Panney: I’m just back in the dating game after coming out of a 5 year relationship that went south. He was ‘the one’, the guy I thought I would spend forever with but he broke up with me. I am now ready to get back in the game after a year of healing but I don’t know where to start. I’ve lost 10 pounds and am feeling better than I have in ages. Any tips?
Dear Getting Back into the Game: You’ve come to the right person my friend. I happen to be an expert at dating and relationships and currently writing a book on attracting the love of your life. So I’m going to share some quick tidbits and nuggets with you from my book. First of all, a person may encounter many soulmates in a lifetime; some that teach you big life lessons, some that bring you the most joy, and some that challenge you till you’re bursting with tears. In your case, the ultimate love of your life that you’ll spend ‘forever’ with hasn’t appeared yet. Your previous boyfriend wasn’t ‘the one’, just a soulmate who stopped by to share his life with you, and leave you with a lesson, which I hope you’ve discovered by now. Now that you’re back in the game, I would say begin by starting slow, be open to meeting new people, don’t throw yourself at every guy that will have you, and network! I would also make a list of the qualities you desire in a person so you know what you’re looking for. How will you know when you’ve met ‘the one’ if you don’t know what you’re looking for to begin with, right? The most important thing is to be you, and to love yourself. Congratulations on also losing ten pounds which is no small feat! I bet you’re looking and feeling fabulous, and that will go far when it comes to men.
Dear Panney: My best friend Dave is about to walk off a cliff. He’s 3 months away from marrying a girl I know is all wrong for him. He met her about a year ago and none of our circle of friends ever warmed to her. He is a very successful businessman, the perfect catch, and I suspect she is with him for the money. He forks out lots of money on her and something just doesn’t feel right. Should I say something to him? I am afraid to lose his friendship and that would be devastating. What should I do?
Dear Friend of Man Walking Off a Cliff: Wow, I completely empathize with you. Sometimes in friendships, you can see the truth with more clarity than your friends can see it because they are stuck in the middle of their life and living it. Sometimes you can even see farther down the line because they may lack objectivity. You’ll learn in friendships that it’s important to pick your battles and that by speaking the truth, sometimes you might risk creating some distance between the two of you or damaging the friendship if your friend is not the type to take constructive criticism well or a truthful point of view. But if there is a part of you that still feels compelled to say something to Dave or ask him one final question in relation to his decision to marry, then I would say trust your own judgement but share what you need to with discretion, respect, and above all, from love and the best intentions towards your friend. Sometimes, people have to make mistakes in order to learn. Everyone has their own path in life to fulfill so the best thing to do is to give him the space to live it. I’m not saying that Dave is making the right decision or making a mistake but no matter what happens, the best thing you can do is to support Dave, for better or for worse, through sickness and in health, till death do you all part. That’s what friendship is for. Your only duty is to be there for him no matter what happens. Lovers may come and go, but friends are forever.