Advice from an "Expert in Failed Relationships"

Relationship Adviceby Patricia V. Davis

Please ─ Not in Public!

Dear EFR:

I consider myself a reasonably friendly guy, but I do value my privacy and my time alone. More and more, I find that I have to justify that and apologize for it to my family and friends. They want to know why my cell phone isn’t on while I take my daily walk, why I don’t answer emails immediately, why I am not on Facebook, why I don’t ‘tweet’ (which, by the way sounds to me like a bad case of gas.)

I don’t understand why people have suddenly developed this burning desire to see photos of the kids of people they haven’t seen fit to contact in more than thirty years, give ‘status’ reports on what they’re doing every hour of the day, and spend time thinking up unique and clever 140 character commentary. Geez! How do these people find time to do anything else?

Can’t a guy have some alone time without being labeled antisocial or a technology dinosaur?


Exasperated Introvert


Dear EI:

Yes. I think a guy should be able to have alone time without being labeled ‘antisocial’ or ‘a technology dinosaur’. However, you do realize that you wrote to an online advice columnist to ask this question ─ right?


Dear EFR:

I raised my children to think about political and social issues in depth, not just follow the latest popular thought on any given current event or political happening. And now that they’re grown, I’m thankful that they’re all hardworking and good people. However, I’m shocked to discover that one of my sons harbors beliefs that are markedly at odds with mine. I don’t suppose I’d mind so much if I believed he’d thought them through, but he just seems to be spewing out stuff he hears from his buddies and from radio talk show hosts.  I don’t know where this is coming from, and it’s hard for me to listen to his rants without wanting to argue with him.  Any thoughts?


Pop of a Palin Pontificator


Dear PPP:

It is dismaying to parents who raise their children to think independently from them, to discover that they might have latched onto someone else’s ideas instead. We think to ourselves, “Hey –if my ‘kid’ has turned into a ‘sheep’, well then, at least he should follow my flock instead of Glen Beck’s or Jon Stewart’s!”

But part of being a good parent is that once you’ve done your best to instill good values in your children, and helped teach them strategic thinking skills, then it’s time to take a step back and let your grown children develop as they will. Repeat the mantra, “He is a separate person” over and over again to yourself until you can accept it. Then handle his political tirades the way you’d handle anyone else’s—if you think he’s open-minded enough to hear a challenging opinion, give it. If you think he isn’t, then simply say, “We disagree on this subject. I’m not going to change my mind, and you’re not going to change yours, so let’s not discuss it.”

I know this is hard to do in general, and even harder when it’s your own child, but unless your goal is to alienate everyone who doesn’t think exactly as you do, including your adult children, then it’s a valuable coping technique to acquire.


“Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn.”
C.S. Lewis

Do you have a question for me about failed (or failing) relationships? I’m happy to read your questions and answer them in this column. Keep in mind that I’m a writer and licensed teacher, but not a therapist or a lawyer. The only letters  I have after my last name are PMD, which stand for Post Menopausal Disorder!  However, I do consult experts to answer my letters when necessary.  Leave your questions in the comment box below, or e-mail and put “advice column” in subject line. For more information about me, visit

Please note: Questions may be edited for length and clarity.

Last 5 posts by Patricia V. Davis - an Expert in Failed Relationships