Guess who else was a carpenter?

Joey Garcia

I just ended it with my boyfriend of four years. He lives in San Francisco and promised to move to Sacramento after his son left for college. That was eight months ago. My ex works as a carpenter and has lived with his parents for as long as I’ve known him. He’s brought a few things to my house from his storage unit but has not committed to move here. He has talked about marriage many times, but nothing has happened yet. I wonder if he was just telling me what I wanted to hear. He still calls and texts me. When we were together, I was confused about where he wanted to go with the relationship, so I asked him. He couldn’t answer. If he keeps phoning me and calling me “babe” and “honey,” why can’t he answer the question? Does he want a relationship or not?

Uh huh, he wants the relationship he had: living in The City with his parents, his girlfriend residing far enough away that intimacy requirements—emotional, physical, mental, spiritual—are manageable, and he wants the freedom to imagine a different life when he’s in a romantic mood. Of course, you want the relationship you didn’t have: a boyfriend who (abracadabra!) lives in town and (poof!) transforms into a fiancé who (poof!) becomes a husband. You want magic, a happily ever after and a return on your four-year investment. But should every long-term relationship lead to marriage? No. Real love is much more than a business transaction or a Disney fairy tale. All romantic relationships are avenues into self-awareness—opportunities to become better acquainted with yourself and your motivations. Relationships teach us why we love poorly so we can clean out our selfishness and learn to love more generously. When a couple establishes emotional intimacy and shares similar values, goals and lifestyles, they begin to build the committed love necessary for marriage.

Instead of interrogating your man (“Do you love me? Well, when are you going to move to Sactown?”), it’s time you faced an important question: What is the vocation you are truly called into? If you believe it is marriage and your boyfriend is clearly not committed to that vision, end the relationship completely. Tell him it’s really over and that you won’t respond to his texts, phone calls or any other form of communication for three to six months. That time frame allows you to grieve and heal as you release the hopes you had for the relationship. After that, you will be open to meet a man who understands the value of marriage.

If you are called to a single life but feel judged by others about your choice, confront your fears and accept your life as it is. But above all, do not criticize your boyfriend for his willingness to lead his life as he pleases. Be grateful that this relationship served to clarify what is really important to you.

Why do men use pick-up lines? Don’t they know it’s cheesy?

People (hey, women use them, too!) use pick-up lines to solicit a laugh or score attention. Or because they want to chat with you but prefer to reduce the risk associated with a self-directed introduction. If you laugh, the person who approached you feels like he or she has broken into your social circle. That gives them confidence to initiate real conversation. So take the pick-up line as a compliment, as long as it’s not inappropriate. After all, at least people think you’re interesting enough to talk to!

Meditation of the week
“If you don't find a teacher soon, you'll live this life in vain. You have the Buddha nature, but
without the help of a teacher, you'll never know it,” said Bodhidharma, the Buddhist monk credited with taking Zen Buddhism to China. Would you recognize a teacher if you met one?

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