The Relationship Judge: Why Won’t She Marry Me?

This Relationship Judge entry comes from a close friend of mine who happens to be a guy.  We’ve got to help him!  “Jeremy” is a kind, smart, hard working, funny and insightful man who also happens to be adorable.  Just had to give this background before you hear what he’s going through.  And once we help him, we’ve got to check back in periodically with him and make sure he’s doing okay.

The Facts:  Straight from Jeremy’s email:

 I was in a relationship with the wrong person for many years.  When I finally decided to move on from said relationship I was the happiest I had been in my life.  She was a wonderful person, just not the one for me.  After a “fallow period,” when I wasn’t looking to meet anyone, I met the most stunning woman I had ever met.  Smart, funny, gorgeous with the most out-of-this-world personality.  She had moved to NYC to pursue higher education and  I was working at an investment bank trying to figure out up from down.  From the word, “go” we spent every waking hour together.  She would come over and study while I watched TV or I would crash in her grad school single bed while she wrote papers all night.  The perfect match. I had never felt this way about someone and was head over heels for her.

I proposed to this wonderful person after 3 years of dating and she said yes.  Shortly after that I lost my job (found a new one 3 weeks later) and life started to come at us fast. We lost track of being engaged.  Fast forward 5 years, we are still engaged.  I have begged, pleaded, cried, rinsed and repeated, trying to figure out why she won’t marry me…nothing. To further complicate things, I was recently offered a very good position in NYC.  We had been talking about moving out of the city and I told her I wouldn’t take the job if it meant losing her.  The response was, “I am leaving…you should stay.”

After 8 years together. 5 years of engagement.  The rubber had met the road.  She is leaving.

The Question: Jeremy wants to know the following: (1) Was he wrong to pressure her? (2) Should he follow her in the hopes that it’s NYC that’s holding them back and (3) What if being unhappily unmarried is all he wishes for after she leaves?

The Relationship Judge Says: JEREMY! Take that job and run, my friend.  Before I can begin to answer your specific questions, let’s start with some basic facts:

First – you are a good looking, employed, smart guy who wants nothing else but to be in a committed relationship with the love of your life, get married and start a family.  I bet that if you looked around New York City (or anywhere, really), you’ll find women by the thousands who are looking for someone EXACTLY like you.  Women who want exactly the things you are anxious to give – right at this exact moment – not some day down the road.

Second – There is absolutely nothing that your fiance will come to learn about you 6 months, a year or 5 years from now that will suddenly make her realize that she’s finally ready to have a wedding and be married.  For whatever reason, she’s having difficulty fully committing yet she is not ready to set you free.  Pretty selfish, if you ask me. If she doesn’t see you as a her husband, she has no right to keep you waiting around in the hopes that it will happen.

Third – just an observation, but it does sound like at least part of your relationship has been about you sacrificing for her.  Taking a backseat to what she wants.  Now I happen to know your fiance and grew to love her like you did because she does have a wonderful personality. She IS a lovely, great person.  But even lovely, great people make big mistakes and fall into situations that they can’t even explain. It no longer seems like this person and you are on the same page about what you both currently want.  You want to get married. Have kids. Settle down.  She seems to want these things, but perhaps not at this time, perhaps not ever or perhaps not with you?? You’ve given this 8 years and you’re no closer to finding out what the story is. This is a MAJOR red flag.

Now, to address your specific questions.

(1) No, you were not wrong to pressure her. It would be one thing if you proposed to her to keep her in NYC.  This did not happen.  You proposed 5 years ago.  You have a right to know what the heck is going on.  If she’s not telling you to move with her (in fact, TELLING you to stay in NYC and take the job) – THAT IS YOUR ANSWER.  She may not want to say it. She may not even want to admit it. But she knows in her mind that she can’t move forward with you.  She may not be strong enough to tell you.  She may never be strong enough to tell you.  Her willingness to let you go is your clear answer, Jeremy.  It sucks. But it’s clear.  It’s not really that confusing.  You love someone, you don’t move away from them.  You’re engaged to someone you love? You marry that person.  End of story.

(2) No, you should not follow her.  NYC is not your problem. Wherever you go, your problems will come with you.  But let’s play devil’s advocate. Let’s say you did move there and gave up the job.  What would you do in the new city? Would she be willing to get married then? Or would she come up with more reasons why she’s not ready?  Getting married is very easy to do, by the way.  You go to the town hall and apply for a marriage license.  A wedding can happen later.  If she’s not willing to do either (and hasn’t been willing to do so for 5 years), I don’t think that moving to a new city will help.

(3) Once you make the decision to end it, it will never be as bad as you imagine. Yes, you will miss her. Being single after being with the same person for 8 years is a huge change.  You will have plenty of moments of self-doubt.  You may try to contact her in a time of weakness. She may contact you.  The sooner you put this all behind you, the sooner you will be able to heal, move on and find someone who is ready to give you everything you’ve ever wanted.  Stay busy. Keep working out. Make tons of plans with lots of different people. It’s summer – the best time to go out and meet new people – use that to your advantage.  But whatever you do, be firm about it.  You have the ability to end this heartache once and for all and start fresh.  It’s scary out there, but what’s the alternative?  This could go on for another few years and the torture will continue. Don’t let that happen.


Your Turn: Can you please tell Jeremy that he needs to move on?  That this relationship is not going to get him anywhere good? That he’s spent enough time being patient and needs to cut his losses and move on?

Wishing you all (and Jeremy) a wonderful weekend.  Until next time, please “Like” my Facebook page ( or “Follow” me on Twitter (@OfficeStace).


The Relationship Judge: The Loud, Inconsiderate Co-Worker

With so many offices moving to open floor plans these days to save on space/costs and encouraging open communication amongst teams, a whole new office culture has emerged.  Suddenly you’re in everyone’s business and everyone around you is in yours.  You know what everybody eats, their favorite TV shows, what they do over the weekends, their family members, kids, the fights they have and sometimes even their sex life.

When Alexis wrote in to talk about her company’s floor plan and the one colleague she is desperate to find a solution about, I couldn’t help but smile.  This must be happening in offices everywhere.  A definite ripe judgment is in order from The Relationship Judge.

The Facts:  Alexis works in a consulting office with about 25 colleagues sitting in an open floor environment.  There are no cubicles, no offices, just 2 conference rooms at the end of a small hallway to be used for group meetings only.  Her manager, her manager’s manager and two of her direct reports all sit within 10 feet of her.  She has daily, intensive conference calls where she provides business updates to multiple people on the phone and answers questions.  The other part of her job involves typing up narratives of the feedback she receives on these calls.

Listening to the chit chat around her is extremely distracting by itself, but Alexis notes one particular nuisance.  “Max,” a Senior Vice President on a different team in the consulting department, shows up to work about 30 minutes later than everyone else.  He then personally greets each and every one of the 25 colleagues with a loud, “Good Mooorning!” and chats for at least another 30 minutes with anyone who will listen on anything and everything – often while Alexis is on these conference calls.  Max also has these extremely irritable sounds that come out of his mouth.  Sometimes it’s repeated sighing.  Other times it’s throat-clearing.  Yawning.  It’s always drawn out, seemingly unnecessary and overly dramatic.

When confronted, he blames it on allergies, but it is persistent.  The worst part of Max’s open floor plan behavior is that he talks extremely loud on the phone, particularly when he gets excited about something.  Several members of the team, including Alexis, have asked him to tone it down a bit, but if anything, it’s gotten worse.  Alexis has tried noise-canceling ear phones, listening to music and a bunch of other tricks to block out the noise but it hasn’t gotten any better.   She’s mentioned the issue to her manager, who is friends with Max, and got laughed off.  She also was annoyed enough to mention it to the outsourced Human Resources department who claim to have spoken to Max, to no avail.

The Question: What do you do about a senior manager or any colleague who is beyond inconsiderate when it comes to office etiquette in an open floor plan?  What should Alexis to do block out the noise when on a conference call or needing some quiet to concentrate?

The Relationship Judge Says: What a pain in the ass, Alexis!  There’s no way to sugar coat what a jerk this Max guy is.  Every office has a Max, by the way.  Someone just completely in their own world who marches to the beat of their own drum.  That’s what every office based comedy has ever been written about.  It sounds like you tried doing all the right things – going to Max, going to your manager, engaging HR.  If repeating these routes doesn’t yield anything, you may need to explore your options.  Can you ask HR for a different open floor location and would that help?  Can you make your conference calls from one of those conference rooms or a different floor?

I have no idea if something like this could ever be implemented, but I’ll tell you a story which may give you an idea.  In 4th grade, my best friend, Jaime Margolin, sat in front of this girl, Heather, who hummed constantly.   Heather hummed all morning and afternoon no matter what the subject they were being taught, no matter if the teacher was giving a lesson at the front of the classroom, if a movie was being shown or a test being taken.  The humming drove Jaime insane.  At last, Jaime could take no more.  She told Heather the humming MUST stop and Heather responded that she didn’t know what Jaime was talking about.  The humming continued.

Jaime pulled our teacher, Mrs. Krueger, aside and revealed the problem.  Mrs. Krueger pulled out a piece of construction paper and in big magic marker colors made Jaime a sign that read, “HEATHER, PLEASE STOP HUMMING!”  She asked Jaime to put this sign on the back of her chair whenever she heard Heather humming.  This actually worked.  I don’t think Heather even realized that what was coming out of her was actually a sound. Maybe she thought it was only in her brain.  Bottom line – it was more of a self awareness issue. Perhaps Max needs a serious intervention.  Can a couple of colleagues, who may be equally annoyed collectively, say something?  Can you make a sign that says, “Shhhhh, I’m on a conference call!” and hold it up during your meetings?  I hate to think that 4th grade rules may apply again in the office world, but this could help you out.

iPod headphones may do the trick and there are lots of great Apps now that deliver “white noise.”  I downloaded one a few months ago to drown out the annoying people who talk on their cell phones on the commuter trains.  So cool to listen to a crackling fire, beach waves or a rainstorm while smushed in against 75 other people in a train.

If you’d like to try the passive-aggressive approach (which is always self satisfying, even if momentary), the next time you’re on a call and Max is acting up again, press “Mute” and say something really loud like, “Sorry what?  I’m sorry I still can’t hear you – what did you say?  Oh yeah, I apologize, that (voice / sound / sigh) you hear is a colleague in our office.  Yeah, I’m sorry it’s so loud, I will ask him to be quieter.”

If he doesn’t hear you give this dramatic monologue, somebody should, and at least you’ll have a reason (even if fake) to approach him after the call.  Overall, I think you’ve got to get your manager to do something or find a way to adapt.  If these don’t work, I highly recommend that you buy a Powerball ticket and keeping your fingers crossed.

Your Turn: Do you guys work with an inconsiderate colleague?  How do you cope?  Do you have any effective tricks of the trade to either quiet the person or block out the noise?

Have a great weekend.  I think The Husband and I might attempt some holiday shopping at some point.  Wish us luck.  Until next time, please “Like” my Facebook page ( or “Follow” me on Twitter (@OfficeStace).


The Relationship Judge – What To Do About a Bad Childhood Friend

I  nearly fell out of my desk chair when I read the email that came in to me from Tracy earlier this week.    She wrote such an eloquent, detailed account of the trouble she’s been going through with an old childhood friend.  It broke my heart to hear some of the painful things that transpired between the two of them, but the worst part is that Tracy’s been hurt so badly by this friend that she is now questioning whether her anger and hurt is even rational (IT IS, Tracy!).  So let’s sit back on this lovely crisp Friday, take in Tracy’s story and give her some honest, objective feedback.  Then let’s show her some love and friendship because more than anything, that’s what this girl needs right now.  Grab your pumpkin lattes and dig in…

The Facts:

“Tracy” is having a problem with a female friend she grew up with (let’s call her “Courtney” mostly because I’m still annoyed that Courtney Robertson is dating Arie the Racecar driver so soon after breaking up with Ben Flajnik).  By way of background, Tracy is happily engaged and Courtney was just married.  They have shared many milestones together over the years and have overcome a good many fights.  Tracy has always known that Courtney has selfish tendencies, but tries to always look past them and focus on her other qualities as a friend.  Recently,  she finds herself unable to find any positive qualities in Courtney.  Tracy is losing patience with her and believes that she has grown up a lot while Courtney’s stayed the same girl she was in high school – which is why Tracy is having a hard time “brushing off” the things she does that bother her lately.

An example of Courtney’s unbecoming behavior (FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS, PEOPLE):

2-3 months before Courtney’s wedding, she sat Tracy down and said, “I have to tell you something, but you have to promise not to get mad. When we were living together and ___ broke up with you, I drove to see him and we slept together.”

At first, Tracy thought she was okay with this because she is engaged and happier than ever.  Tracy responded that this was “okay.”   But then she got to thinking (if I had a penny for every time I got to thinking about something after the fact…) and the more Tracy thought of how Courtney had betrayed her by sleeping with someone  who broke her heart, she began to lose her cool on the inside.  Still, Tracy tried to be okay with it and decided to forgive Courtney.

In additon to this incident, Courtney engages in other negative behaviors – talking behind Tracy’s back, making fun of the way Tracy organizes her life, telling people that Tracy says mean things about them that are false, always trying to one-up her on even the most trivial things.  Oh and my (Stacey B’s) favorite: Courtney asked Tracy to “completely stop talking about her engagement until Courtney was married.”  No this is not a joke.  Courtney said that Tracy was taking the spotlight from her and it wasn’t fair of Tracy to “beg” for attention.   Tracy understood that Courtney was just feeling insecure, so she tried to stop talking about her engagement, but once again, she eventually grew resentful / angry and even hurt.  Separately, Tracy had an argument with a mutual friend who complained to Courtney about the argument.  Courtney’s response was to contact Tracy and say that she “doesn’t think she can forgive (Tracy) for causing drama before her wedding.”  Tracy did not intentionally cause drama or want to steal attention, but she points out that even if she had, why wouldn’t Courtney forgive her?  Afterall, Tracy had forgiven Courtney for sleeping with someone that she loved.

Now What?

After this fight, Tracy was hopeful that their friendship would fizzle out and she’d get a much needed break.  But after Courtney’s wedding, Courtney asked if they could move past this.  Tracy has tried to turn the other cheek for the sake of their mutual friendships, but feels she always seems to be angry no matter what.  It doesn’t help that she’s still hearing from people that Courtney continues to talk about Tracy behind her back, spreading rumors and belitting her.  Tracy says, “I feel like because we have such a nostalgic relationship, I should be able to to overlook the things that aren’t perfect, but my patience runs thin.”

The Question:

Tracy wants to know if she is being irrational.  Does she have a fair reason for feeling like she wants out of this friendship?  In order for them to go their separate ways, she would need to remove Courtney from her wedding party and she’s afraid it would cause rifts in other friendships.  At the same time, does she want someone like this in her wedding anyway?  She can’t tell whether her anger has made her unreasonable or if other people may see where she is coming from.   Tracy says, “Any feedback would be wonderful.  I feels like most of the time I want to break up (with Courtney) but am afraid to do so.”

The Relationship Judge Says:

Holy cow, Tracy, what an incredibly annoying and mentally stressful situation you have found yourself in.  It’s such a shame too, because this engagement period should be filled with happiness about your future, filled with excitement and mutual well wishes from family and friends around you.  How awful to have to spend so much time and brain power worried about someone who sounds like such a negative force in your life.   You probably know this already, but “Courtney” does not sound like the type of person you can call a “friend.”  History aside, if you met her today, would you really be friends with her?  I’m guessing the answer is a resounding, “no.”  Too much drama. Too much pain.  Her actions are inexcusable.  If Courtney was a boyfriend and pulled some of the same stuff, you’d dump this person in a heartbeat right?  Why tolerate this type of behavior just because she’s a friend?  For me personally, finding out that she slept with someone you loved right after a breakup is unforgivable.  Forget her pulling the, “don’t me mad, ok?” she’s only saying that because she knows you have every right to be mad.  Friends don’t do that sort of thing.  What horrible judgment she has shown.  If it was a mistake, that’s one thing, but based on her history she must have gotten some sort of cheap “thrill” to go after someone who rejected you and “conquer” him.  She can’t even blame a weak moment.  She had to get in her car, turn it on, drive towards his place and get it on.  She had plenty of time to think about what she was doing.  She did think – and decided to hurt you anyway. Deliberately.

You’ll also find that the older you get, the less time you’ll have to deal with nonsense like the kind Courtney is pulling.  Right now everyone around you may be in wedding mode, engagement mode, etc. But soon enough it’ll be babies and jobs and moving to a bigger home, etc.  Your free time should be spent with supportive, healthy and stable people – Courtney is not that person.  And just because you were friends in the past doesn’t mean she is suited to be a lifelong friend.  Yes, people can change, but she’s done some pretty awful stuff to you whether you choose to forgive her or not.

Courtney sounds like an extremely jealous, selfish and insecure person.  She’s extremely immature and will always be unhappy.  I picture her as one of those actresses in “Mean Girls,” but that’s probably being a bit too cliche.  She’s a one-upper which is typical behavior of an insecure person.  But worse than all of these qualities, her insecurities have made her destructive to those she sees as a threat and for whatever reason, that is how she sees you.  It may not make sense – she found someone she loves and has gotten married.  This still hasn’t solved her deep rooted problems and I fear that she will continue to drag you down.

I was happy to hear that you thought about taking a break from her and phasing her out.  I certainly would have recommended doing so immediately.  But I also understand that when a long time friend comes to you, asking to start fresh and seeming all innocent, etc.,  it’s hard to just shut the door on such a long standing friendship, especially for someone who so obviously needs a good friend like you in their life.  And then there’s the issue of wedding parties and wedding stress and do you really need one more thing to worry about?

Here’s what I think about the wedding stuff – if the wedding is far enough out that you haven’t ordered dresses or had your bridesmaid start planning anything yet (flights booked for showers, bachelorette parties, etc.), I think you have every right to cut her out of the wedding – no doubt about it.  Here’s why:

(1) This is NOT someone you need in your life.  She is a negative force that has consistently made you feel bad.  A friend is supposed to make tough times better and be a source of fun, support and companionship.  Courtney is NOT and will not be this person – ever.  She will continue to hurt and disappoint you.  I would not trust her.  She does not have your best interests at heart.

(2) Your true friends will understand your need to cut ties with Courtney.  Even if they don’t agree, you can ask them to respect your decision – and keep them out of it.  As hard as it may be, don’t bad talk Courtney to mutual friends.  If you hear she is saying stuff, just smile and complain to someone else who doesn’t know her.  Make it clear that you are cutting ties and wish not to hear any negative gossip that Courtney may have said about you.

(3) Start looking to spend time with non-Courtney related friends and make some new couple friends with your fiance.  That should be where your focus is right now anyhow.

(4) Think about whether you can signifcantly reduce the size of your wedding party (family only) or that you decided to have a wedding party be only the  “best man” and “maid of honor.”   This will be a good way to keep her out of things without completely slighting her / mutual friends.

(5) Elope?

To answer your specific questions – no, you are not irrational.  You’re dealing with a pretty damaged person for whatever reason.  She’s sneaky – cheating and lying and hurting those who she is close with.  I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that she is having issues with her husband and may seek to jeopardize your relationship somehow.  As for you being “allowed to speak about your engagement” – give me a break.  A wedding lasts one day.  That’s her time.  Every other second of every other day is fair game.  She needs to get over herself, Bridezilla!  Perhaps it’s that she can’t stand to hear how happy you are when she very clearly is not happy with herself.

As for post wedding – absolutely, without a doubt – DITCH THIS FRIEND.  No other way around it.  Don’t become her punching bag.  She’ll apologize.  You’ll feel guilty and BAM – it’ll happen over and over.  If the wedding is in the next couple of months – it may be more trouble than it’s worth to strike up an Operation DITCH at this particular time.  Try to keep her role in any wedding activities to a minimum.  If you have a relative or a close friend that can take charge, make sure this person is aware of Courtney’s behavior, so they can run interference on any potential attempts to sabotage your happiness.

Please keep us posted, Tracy.  We are all thinking of you.


What should Tracy do?  Get rid of Courtney from her wedding party?  Try to talk to her about things before the wedding? After? Have you ever been in a situation like this and how did you handle it? Nostalgia only goes so far…

On that note, have a GREAT weekend.  We are off to Maryland tomorrow morning to hang with The Husband’s parents for Thanksgiving week.  Until next time, please “Like” my Office Stace page at and”Follow” me on Twitter: @OfficeStace  Go to the “Contact” page and shoot me an email if you have an issue for The Relationship Judge.


The Relationship Judge: My Friend is Dating My Ex – Should I Be Mad?

Today’s Relationship Judge submission is a good one.  I think this is an issue that most of us have had to deal with or hear about at some point, so hopefully you can help offer some good advice.  Kristen wrote in from Chicago and without further ado, let’s dig right in:

The Facts: Kristen’s been happily married for several years and has a baby on the way.  She  is very content with her life – loves her hubby, has lots of great family and friends around and has a part time job at a local radio station which keeps her busy.  She is so excited to become a first time mom.  But Kristen wasn’t always so happy.  Six years earlier, she was in a serious relationship with someone else.  Kristen was going into her senior year of college, doing a summer internship in New York City at a radio station when she started dating another intern.  Things got serious very quickly mostly because they were together pretty much 24/7 for an entire summer.  When the summer ended, Kristen moved back to Chicago to finish off college and her boyfriend stayed in New York to do the same.  They visited each other for a few months after the summer, but the following spring, Kristen’s boyfriend told her that he had gotten a job in New York after graduation, while Kristen planned to stay in Chicago to take some graduate classes and find a job locally (which she eventually did and still works at).  Soon after these decisions were made, Kristen’s boyfriend ended things abruptly, saying he loved Kristen, but was so sad all the time not being with her and he didn’t want to be in an indefinite long distance relationship.  Kristen was heartbroken.  She had applied for jobs in New York, but the economy was pretty bad and she was lucky to find something in Chicago. Kristen tried emailing and calling her now ex-boyfriend to convince him that they should at least try to be together, but she soon stopped hearing from him.

A couple years later, Kristen met someone else and the rest was history.  BUT.  She recently received a phone call from a college roommate who she considers a close friend.  “Eve” moved to New York after college for law school and a few weeks  earlier, had run into Kristen’s ex boyfriend at a party.  Eve remembered him from one of his visits to Chicago during senior year of college.  Eve and Kristen’s ex completely hit it off and as Eve told Kristen were now “seeing each other.”  Eve’s phone call to Kristen was to “let her know some news,” and was presented as a “isn’t it a small world?” rather than a “Hey, I hope it’s ok…”   It had only been a few weeks, but Kristen got the feeling that the relationship was somewhat serious.  She was surprised at how hurt she felt when hearing that her friend was dating someone she had been so heartbroken about.  She remembers even crying to Eve about it when they broke up.  Yes, Kristen knows she’s in a better place now, but she wonders if she has any right to be upset and if Eve should just know better than to date the ex of a good friend.

Intense, right?

The QuestionIs it ok to date the ex of a close friend?  If you are the person interested in someone’s ex, what is the best way to approach your friend about it?  Do you need to approach your friend?  Does Kristen have any right to be upset?

The Relationship Judge Says: Ahhh, Kristen.  I want to give you and your growing belly a big hug right now because I think what you’re having is a very human (and possibly hormonal) moment.  I don’t doubt that you really are in a happy place right now.  In fact, it sounds like things couldn’t be better.  But when your past is suddenly and unexpectedly thrown into your face, it’s only natural to have the reflex reaction of feeling hurt.  And that’s what it is and should be – a quick reflex of pain.  Let’s look at this from Eve’s perspective.  She’s done with law school.  She’s out and about in the city being single and probably finding that it’s not so glamarous.  Good guys are very hard to meet and it’s even worse when everyone around you is getting married and having babies when you can’t even get a good first date.  So then your buddy Eve comes across HIM – who I’m assuming is a GOOD GUY with lots of GREAT qualities and well, is it so bad for a good friend of yours to be happy with someone you know is a good person?

Yes, it’s kind of a bummer that she will get to pursue what you were not able to, but that’s the way things go in life.  Sometimes you get to see things through and sometimes you don’t.  Perhaps you would have found that dating your ex long term might not have led anywhere.  Perhaps Eve’s relationship with him won’t make it either.  And let’s be honest, it’s not like your home still crying your eyes out over him.  If that were the case, I’d say you have a much better ammunition for calling Eve out on GIRL CODE violation.  It’s been six years, Kristen.  Six YEARS, a husband and baby on the way.  It’s ok to be temporarily surprised and even a bit hurt, but move on, Sister!  Focus on the great things before you because no good has ever come from looking back.

Don’t be bitter towards Eve either.  It’s probably a little awkward for her to even tell you what’s going on – don’t let your friendship suffer because of it.  Be happy that two people you love have found each other.  That’s called being the bigger person (and hey, with your pregnancy, you’ve got a head start!).  I’m terrible at being the bigger person, btw, but I’m working on it every day.  We will support you along the way if you try.

Your Turn: What do you all think about Kristen’s friend dating her ex?  Have you been the “Kristen” or the “Eve” in a similar scenario?  How did you handle it?   Would LOVE your input!

If YOU have a problem for The Relationship Judge, please email with the subject line “The Relationship Judge.”  Instructions for what to submit can be found here.  Please “Like” my page on Facebook: and come find me on Twitter: @OfficeStace



The Relationship Judge: A Delicately Stinky Issue

Happy Friday and congrats for making it through another week.  It’s so darn beautiful outside these days that it’s hard to justify sitting in an office all day.  I’m still sick as a dog (or perhaps because of the dog).  It is yet to be determined whether it’s allergies or just a never ending cold.  The Husband has already determined that I’m the one moving out if it’s the puppy causing my sickness.  Nice, right?  At 5 AM this morning, coughing myself into another dry throat situation, I dug through our medicine cabinet in the dark and found these Halls cough drops.  I retreated to our living room couch and closed my eyes for a few minutes, completely defeated from a restless, drug induced slumber.  An hour later, passed out with a cough drop still in my mouth (very safe, I know) The Husband woke me up and asked if I was taking the puppy out.

“If you’re up and able to ask me those words, shouldn’t you take him out?” I thought.

I couldn’t think or speak at that very moment though, so I ended up taking him out.  It’s our bonding time anyway that early in the morning.  I feel sad enough leaving him all day to come to work.

But on to today’s Relationship Judge post which actually gave me a good laugh…

The Facts: Tina in Boston wrote in about a single friend of hers that is on the prowl.   The friend, a close buddy of Tina’s husband, happens to be male, very average looking but with a great personality.  He got out of a very long term relationship a couple of years ago and his confidence took a pretty big hit.  Since then, he’s been on a dating binge, but hasn’t had much luck.  One of the main problems, Tina suspects, is that “Tom” has horrible breath.  It’s so bad at times, she says, that it could cause “the roots of her hair to be bleached.”  She also observed that on several occasions, when meeting up with her husband and Tom on social occasions, Tom has had mild to moderate B.O.   She’s tried to her her husband to have a heart to heart with Tom, but a couple of mild efforts have not yielded any change. She feels sorry for Tom and wants to help, but doesn’t want to make him feel bad about himself.


The Question: What is a kind way to tell a friend that he/she smells? “Smells” means (sour or foul breath, body odor, etc.).  Is it your place to tell them? Should you let someone else get involved?

The Relationship Judge Says: Tina, that stinks (buh dum bum).  I equate this to a much more extreme version of telling someone that they have spinach in their teeth.  It’s embarrassing to the spinach infused person, but in the long run, aren’t you glad they told you?  I was once in a business meeting when a senior lawyer told me in front of a group of others that my button down shirt had come undone at the boob part.  I was mortified and greatly wished she had not done it in front of everyone else.  Surely if she had taken me aside and let me know, I would have been grateful.  It’s all in the delivery.   And who’s delivering it.  If your husband is really close with Tom, you should get him to be more direct with him.  Practice having the conversation.  Wouldn’t you want to know if you smelled?  Who would you want to tell you?  How would you want to be told?  Then let it be done quickly (preferably over drinks) and stress all the positives about Tom (his smarts, his warmth, his humor).  Ask him what kind of deodorant he uses.  How often he brushes.  If he showers after a workout or just changes clothes.  Overall, make it clear that you are telling him because you care.  Of course, doing this is a lot easier said than done, especially for an extremely sensitive guy who is a bit down on his luck with the ladies to begin with.  If all else fails: offering breath mints and squirting him with some body spray “accidentally” can go a long way – at least temporarily.

Your Turn: What is the best way to tell someone they stink?  Should you tell them?

If YOU have a problem for The Relationship Judge, please email with the subject line “The Relationship Judge.”  Instructions for what to submit can be found here.


The Relationship Judge – Any Good Pick Up Lines?

The Facts: This Friday’s Relationship Judge begs the age old question of how to break the ice when a new romantic prospect appears in sight.  Janie wrote in from Denver to ask for some good one liners.  She notes that she’s 36 years old, single and often sees attractive men at parties, happy hours, after work events or even just at the grocery store.  She never knows what to say to them and is asking for some help.

The Relationship Judge Says:  Is this not the perfect situation to starting singing the summer hit Carly Rae Jensen song, “Call Me Maybe?”  It’s been a while since I’ve tried to pick up a guy, but if offering to buy them a beer or talk fantasy football doesn’t work – you can always try a cheesy pick up line.  Some of my favorites:

“Wow, you must be tired.”  (He’ll hopefully ask “Why?”) and you’ll say, “Cause you’ve been running through my dreams all night.”

“My cell phone seems to be broken. (He’ll hopefully ask “Why?”) and you’ll say, “Cause your phone number isn’t it it.”

“Do you have a band-aid?  I just scraped my knee falling for you”

“Do you have a map? I’m getting lost in your eyes.”

“You’re father must have been a baker because you’ve got the nicest set of buns.”

Basically, anything that can make someone laugh is a good bet. If a line isn’t your style, how about a simple, “Hey, I’m Janie.  [I just met you. And this is crazy. But here’s my number, so call me maybe…]  You can always have a friend introduce you or get a wingwoman or guy friend to help with your approach.

Your Turn: What are your best pick up lines for guys?  Any guys out there ever get hit on with a great line?

If YOU have a problem for The Relationship Judge, please email me at with the subject line “The Relationship Judge.”  Instructions for what to submit can be found here.