Gambling – Hobby or Addiction_Answer

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 9:48 pm.

It sounds like you suspect that you may have a problem with gambling that is starting to lead to overspending. Playing cards and gambling occasionally does not mean you have an addiction, but when the activity starts to impact your family’s money situation or attracts the concern of your spouse it is time to sit up and pay attention.  Even though you became defensive when confronted by your husband, it sounds like you have quietly started to ask yourself some hard and honest questions and that you are actively searching for answers.

I don’t know for certain whether you have an addiction to gambling, but it does sound like you are developing a problem that may lead to more problems and this may indicate that in fact you do have addictive tendencies.  It might be helpful to look and see whether there are other life areas in which you feel you have lost control or are losing control of your behavior.  Addictive patterns are seldom confined to only one area of life.  Look at other activities such as drinking or shopping. You may find evidence of addiction in these other areas and these can be related to each other. For example, sometimes problems with drinking can make gambling tendencies get even more out of control.

If you have determined that cards and gambling are becoming a problem, you have a couple of different choices.  One is to see if you can go for a substantial period of time without gambling at all. If you find that you aren’t able to follow through on your intention, you probably have a problem that you are not going to be able to solve alone. If you find that you are able to play or not to play for substantial periods of time (for example, a couple of months) according to your own decision to play or not, you might consider enjoying the activity and excitement of cards, but choose situations where money is not at stake. Rather, consider restructuring the activity so that you are playing for points or pennies or other minor prizes that don’t impact the finances of your family.  Then you are free to enjoy your hobby without worry or guilt.



Gambling – Hobby or Addiction_Question

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 9:44 pm.

I love playing cards and gambling. This week, my husband approached me to ask if I am developing an addiction. He noticed that our budget was a little over last month, and he was wondering if I had gambled the money away. I got really defensive, but now I feel sick inside. I am the one who spent too much. If I do have a gambling addiction, how can I turn one of my favorite pastimes into a healthy hobby?


Highschool Experience_Answer

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 8:31 pm.

It sounds as though your son is finding the positive momentum and joy of learning that you have probably wished for him for a long time.  As adolescents move into young adulthood they are also learning to navigate the tricky waters of friendship, peer pressure, and defining one’s self as an individual. The desire to belong runs deep in all of us, but the desire to be authentic and complete in one’s personhood runs even deeper.

I think your best option at this point is to continue to encourage him in his pursuits and actively reflect back to him the excitement you hear in his voice about his current activities. I also find it valuable to give your son the advantage of helping him thing through the choices he is making and the choices his friends are making in terms of where they are likely to be in 2 years, 5 years, or 10 years.

Don’t be overly dramatic or disparaging of his friends and their choices. I think the facts are convincing enough. The evidence clearly shows that boys and girls who complete high school have different levels of educational and career opportunities than those who don’t finish. Talk about what he wants for himself in his life and what he thinks it will take to get there.

Let him do his own research (the internet is a wonderful tool for these things!) to check out Department of Labor statistics about what levels of education are associated with what incomes and what income it will take for him to enjoy the quality of life that he wants for himself in the future. Still, it’s not all about money. It’s also about whether he wants to be bored in a low stimulation job or to become qualified for more stimulating, fun and challenging work opportunities. I think with the right information and your emotional support the decisions will make themselves. He’s a smart young man and I think you can best support him by giving him the tools he needs to make his own wise decisions.


Highschool Experience_Question

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 8:29 pm.

My son is a junior in high school. For the first time this year, he has found teachers he really connects with and he is starting to excel in his studies. However, several of his friends dropped out this semester, and he is feeling a lot of pressure to do the same. How can I encourage him to keep making these positive choices, especially when his friends make me so angry?


Defining Marriage_Answer

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 8:28 pm.

It sounds like your families have very similar generational patterns of power distribution in their respective marriages. This in itself is pretty interesting. I also find it interesting that the gender power balance shifted so dramatically between your grandparents’ generation and your parents’ generation. I guess this gives the two of you a lot of options.  Every pattern has its advantages and disadvantages. The same power distribution might work well and be very satisfying for one couple and not work well at all for another couple.  The form of the power arrangement is not as important as whether it meets both people’s needs and desires.

I would encourage the two of you to talk openly about how those arrangements have worked for your individual families.  My guess is that there is a mixture of positive and negative aspects to each arrangement. More important, talk openly about how you each feel about these different patterns. You might find that your feelings are very similar, or that one pattern feels better to one of you and a different pattern feels better to the other.

More common these days is the option of equitable power sharing in female-male relationships. This can look many different ways. It doesn’t necessarily mean that both people participate equally in every household duty, but rather that both participate in the responsibilities associated with their home, finances, and other aspects of living together. The assignment of duties is distributed by mutual agreement according to the interests, skills and varying levels of desire (or aversion!) each partner has to doing a given job.  Jobs are not necessarily distributed along traditional gender lines. Usually in such relationships big decisions, like the decision to move or the decision for one partner to go back to school for an advanced degree, are made jointly with honest input and negotiation by both partners.

Regardless of what the two of you decide, there is one thing I would strongly encourage you to do: tell your parents and grandparents that this is your decision as a couple and that their well-meaning advice is appreciated but not needed. Best wishes in joining your households and your lives!


Defining Marriage_Question

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 8:27 pm.

My fiancé and I are working towards combining our households. In the process, we are determining what we want our marriage to look like. Both of our grandparents have very man-authoritative centered marriages, and our parents seem to have woman dominated relationships. How do we find the balance, especially when everyone wants to give us advice?


Alone on Valentine’s Day – How to start dating_Answer

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 12:57 am.

Well that is the $64,000 dollar question. We have control over lots of aspects of our lives, but love doesn’t seem to be one of them. Valentine’s Day just happens to be a day that is symbolic of romantic love to many people. In real life, most Valentine’s Days don’t live up to people’s expectations. People’s boyfriends, girlfriends, lovers, and spouses, seldom live up to one another’s expectations, even in basically happy relationships. In less healthy relationships Valentine’s Day has actually been known to be deadly to the relationship. Valentine’s Day probably accounts for a disproportionate number of breakups.

You have been lonely on the past several Valentine’s Days, but you are far from alone. The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, reveals some interesting historical facts about Valentine’s Day and devotes considerable space to describing some of its irreverent alternatives. First, there is “antivalentinism.” Antivalentinism is a loosely defined movement of people who oppose the consumerist approach to the day of “love” and those who object to the requirement that romantic love be expressed in a certain way on a certain day. Other antivalentinists object to Valentine’s Day because it causes distress to romantically unattached people, bringing greater attention to the fact that they are single and making them feel worse about their singlenessl. There are even anti-Valentine Cards that you can purchase on line!

Fortunately, Wikipedia also suggests alternatives for the disenfranchised. You can get together with friends—both single and coupled–and celebrate Singles Awareness Day, an increasingly popular alternative holiday also celebrated on February 14th. Probably the most powerful thing we can do is redefine the Valentine’s festival in a more inclusive and expanded way.  I know many, many people who celebrate by sending notes of appreciation and chocolate to many of the people they care about: grandparents, best friends, sisters and brothers, teachers, nephews and nieces, even their favorite postal carrier! Brightening the day for others also brightens your day by helping you focus on those whose lives help you feel whole. As for the problem of love, I’ll save that for another column—maybe in March.






Alone on Valentine’s Day – How to start dating_Question

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 12:53 am.

I was alone on Valentine’s for the third year in a row this year. I have great friends and family, but I’m just not good at meeting people. How does a single girl find love in Loveland?


Public Speaking – How to improve skills_Answer

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 12:51 am.

It sounds like the main issue is about communication. As young children we learn how to talk long before we are even able to remember learning how to talk. We think of communication as entirely natural, not as a skill we need to learn or polish.  Some people are natural communicators, but many people feel stuck and ineffective just like you do.  There are several reasons why this happens to people.

Shyness and lack of self-confidence are certainly the main culprits for most people in these situations.  This factor can be made worse if the situation is one in which you want to express disagreement with the opinions of other people in the group.  Expressing a difference of opinion can lead to conflict with others and most people want to avoid conflict at almost any cost.

Conflict is tricky and can lead to hard feelings and disrupted friendships. It may seem like it isn’t worth taking the risk. If this is part of the problem, it is important to learn how to handle conflict in a self-caring and tactful way. There are books, classes, and counselors who can help you learn this skill. Learning how to manage and resolve conflict will give you more confidence and make you an asset in any group situation.

The other issues you talk about seem to be about losing your focus when listening to other people talk and your worry that others are not hearing what you have to say.  Getting sidetracked by what others are saying can also be called “actually listening” and is a strength, not a weakness. Still, you might have a brief written or digital note to yourself that you can refer to that helps you come back to the points you want to make after listening to other people’s points of view.

Finally, keep in mind that you can only control how you deliver the message, not whether other people hear it.  It is also possible that they are hearing you, but disagree, or just are quiet types who don’t actively express their feelings about what you are saying, even if they agree with you. In other words, they might be listening and it could be your perception that is not correct. Either way, consider taking a communication class or reading the old standard guide to successful communication “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. If you are a little braver, join your local Toastmasters group and get lots of experience speaking your mind in front of others.


Public Speaking – How to improve skills_Question

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 12:49 am.

I sometimes have trouble speaking my mind in certain social and business situations. Although I know what I want to say, I often get sidetracked by what other people are saying, or I feel like my viewpoints might be falling on deaf ears, and I’m unable to convey myself the way I need to. Is there anything I can do to be better at this?


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