Make Him Fall For You In 10 Easy Steps

Couple on steps in rain, man carrying young woman, eyes closed

Sometimes it can be difficult to find that perfect man you’ve always wanted to share your life with. If you’re in love with a man and you want him to have the same feelings, there are things you can do to increase his fascination for you. You should not change your personality just to make a guy you’re attracted to feel comfortable. If you really want to make him fall head over heels, you must try to understand him and his way of being, and use that to your advantage. But keep in mind that the feeling must be mutual. How to make your love life better without getting hurt? These 10 strategies can help.

1. Be attractive

When you’re in the company of the man you love, dress attractive so that you can grab his attention. If you see him smiling or not taking his eyes off of you, you have an advantage. If he sees those around admiring you, it will make him want you even more. Men can be very competitive when it comes to women. Try to make yourself noticed and he will be all yours.

2. Appreciate and respect him

Men are looking for appreciation and respect. When he organizes something special – be it something small or big – let him know that you notice and greatly admire him for his effort. If he sees that his gestures make you happy, he will never stop adoring you and you’ll have everything you ever wanted – love in marriage and in a relationship.

3. Make eye contact

Passionate eye contact can make people fall in love in a second. When you’re talking with him, gaze into his eyes; he’ll know that he caught your attention. It will flatter him for sure and he will desire you with all his being.

4. Soft touches

Girl sitting on boyfriends lap.

If there’s a way to make a man fall in love with you, this is it! Men can’t resist a woman’s soft touch. When you are with him, make simple gestures like hold his hand, hug, or just flip your hand through his hair; let your soft touch persist for a moment and he’ll inevitably be wowed by you. A warm touch can be extremely exciting for the man you love, and you’ll spark a dreamy attraction in no time.

5. Don’t let him see you’re in love

Men love to divide and conquer. They need some time to admit their feelings, but when they do, there’s no way of going back. To make someone fall for you, let them know that you’re attracted to them; but don’t become too clingy – men hate persistent women. Always make him feel uncertain about how serious you are, and let him make the first step into a real relationship.

6. Don’t approve him all the time

A perfect relationship is based on compatibility; this doesn’t mean that you have to accept everything he does or says. Sometimes, a petty disagreement can make him see your strong personality and respect your point of view. Don’t let common relationship problems others have get in the way of your happiness.

7. Have intellectual conversations

Couple on Yacht

Flirty discussions are cute and delightful, and he will adore the fact that he can make you blush. On your romantic dates, connect with him on an intellectual level. Talk with him about career opportunities, aspirations and ambitions, and let him taste the feeling of sheer happiness. Exploring intimacy in relationships is also fundamental to building a strong, unbreakable bond.

8. Showcase your talents

If you want to make a man fall in love with you, surprise him! He certainly likes you for who you are; but to completely impress him, let him know that you have many hidden talents waiting to be discovered. Amaze him with things you like to do – be it dancing, cooking, singing, or any other foolish things you’ve never showed anyone. Give him an opportunity to discover the real you.

9. Be charming

Men can’t resist a charming smile. Be warm, loving and sweet when you’re around him, and he’ll end up adoring you. If you want to win a man over, blush when he compliments you or flirt discreetly by flipping your hair and smiling. If he is attracted to you, he will want to wow you with his sense of humor and epic stories. Don’t forget about communication in relationships; this is key if you want him to commit and be happy.

10. Don’t be offensive

Men don’t like arrogant, proud women. They certainly love a woman who can have an opinion, but if she wants to exude her arrogance and superiority, for sure he’ll refuse to fall in love with her.

Are you ready for a long-lasting relationship? Are you ready for love and marriage? Then you should put yourself out there. Make him fall head over heels with the tips we’ve mentioned above, and you have the highest chances of attaining genuine happiness.

By Sylvia Smith at Never Liked It Anyway

(From Never Liked It Anyway, the number one destination for all things break-ups and bounce-back! It’s the place to buy, sell and tell all things ex! Sell your breakup baggage, tell your story and join the community of rock stars bouncing back better than ever! )

Starstruck Romance

As her Second Acts Dating Service truly takes off, Cynthia Amas discovers that in the heady world of high-end Hollywood romance, with success comes complexity. In this wildly seductive romp through the lush canyons and lavish neighborhoods of Los Angeles, the line between business and pleasure quickly blurs in a dizzying rush of sex and celebrity.

Just as our heroine’s uncanny genius for matching up her growing roster of exclusive love seekers continues to deepen, her own love life reaches a fever pitch.

Things get complicated. And funny. And excruciatingly sensual.

Read More

Reviews:

From Kirkus: An intrepid young matchmaker in Hollywood sparks chemistry with an old flame, an ex-flame and an A-list actor, all while finding love for her clients in this engaging romance. Cynthia Amas has no trouble juggling her new dating service and a slew of fresh clients from among the Hollywood elite. Her best friend, the outspoken Lolita, has her hands full running a dog-grooming business catering to the stars and managing her three dogs of varying sizes and temperaments, who bring her juicy gossip (at least she hears them talking!) Read More

News

Love, Lies & Dating: Will This Relationship Go Up in Smoke?

Dear Second Acts;
I have been seeing a gorgeous guy for a while. He’s a trial lawyer and a good one. He is passionate about his work and about me. There’s really just one problem, but it’s a big, fat, stinky one. He smokes cigars. Now I know there are lots of women who like cigars, or at least pretend to. I know they’re supposed to make a man look powerful and sexy and all that, but I find them unbelievably disgusting. Read More

7 Reasons Some Women Think They Won’t Find Love

Sad girl is holding heart symbol by her finger

No one should ever give up on finding love, it doesn’t matter if you are sixteen or one hundred and sixteen there is still the possibility of finding love and embracing it. Sadly, many women have been hurt and are afraid of falling in love again; they may have been searching for love with no success and have now reached the conclusion that they will never find lasting love again, these are the reasons why this can occur:

1. Hurt

When you are in a relationship you put your all into it and expect it to last forever. If the romance in marriage or in a relationship fails you are left disenchanted and emotionally hurt. You may well blame yourself for the failure of the relationship and even feel that you do not deserve to find love again. All of these factors are simply a way of dealing with the failure of the relationship and the hurt which goes with it. By deciding you will never find lasting love, you are protecting yourself from the hurt of a future failed relationship.

2. The Real Issue

In fact, falling in love is easy, what really worries the women who think they will never find love again is the idea of falling in love with the wrong man, again. Unfortunately they do not know of any other way to fall in love or even meet men; instead of trying an alternative solution they simply give up on the concept of love in marriage.

3. Awareness

Couples Dancing And Drinking At Evening Party

Sometimes a relationship ends because your partner has changed and they have moved on; other times it is simply because you were an incompatible match. It is often the case that women are attracted to the classic bad boy and this kind of relationship is not good for them. However, it is natural to repeat the cycle and you keep having failed relationships because you always go for the same type of guy. This can lead anyone to giving up on love. The end of a relationship is a perfect opportunity to take stock of yourself, your personality, your likes and dislikes and, most importantly, what you want and need from a relationship. You will then be able to work out the right type of man for you and chase the right bloke.

4. The Lesson

Many women feel that they are failures after their relationship has broken down, particularly if it was a long term one. However, the lesson to learn is not that other women are more attractive and worthy. It is better to realize that something was wrong with the bond and welcome some relationship advice; review your past relationships and you will realize there are one or two factors which are responsible for the breakdown of all these relationships. If these factors relate to you and the way you deal with a relationship then you can do something about it!

5. Giving Up

It is easy to try a new relationship and then give up, bemoaning the fact that you will never have a lasting relationship again. However, it is normal and helpful to sample different relationships and learn what works for you. You will never have the same relationship which you had with your old partner, but you can have a better one! The trick is to keep trying; no matter how many times you fail you will learn something each time and, eventually, find the right one to stand up for unforeseen relationship problems and work with you to fix them.

6. Sending Out a Message

If you have given up on men you will, unknowingly, send a message out which tells men to stay away. This means the majority of men will do that, the only ones who will approach are those who see you as a challenge; a way to build their ego. These men are after the chase and not love and marriage; it provides another opportunity to engage in the wrong relationship and believe you will never find love.

7. Believing they don’t want to love again

Couple fun in the city

Many women give up on love because they think they do not need it and will never find it again. This is actually a reaction to the break-up and not something that will last long term. At some point you will want to love again and you must believe that this is a possibility. Instead of believing it is not possible you should look to how you can make it better next time.

Women don’t believe in long-lasting love because they don’t want to get hurt. They’re afraid to open up. Truth be told, if there’s communication in relationships, we can all be happy. We just have to dare and take that leap of faith.

(From Never Liked It Anyway, the number one destination for all things break-ups and bounce-back! It’s the place to buy, sell and tell all things ex! Sell your breakup baggage, tell your story and join the community of rock stars bouncing back better than ever! )

It’s Me Or Your Junk—One of Us Has Got To Go!

Woman sitting on sofa surrounded by clothes.

“No! Don’t you dare take one step into this house with that—that thing!” I screeched—and after ten years of marriage to Jared, I could really screech.

“But, hon, this time I think I’ve found something—a real antique!”

I tried not to roll my eyes. I didn’t want to mention for the tenth time that the house itself needed renovations, not more junk. It would just make me sound like a nagging spouse again. I didn’t like what I was turning into when I spent time with my husband.

Today he was trying to sneak past me with some kind of “antique”, as he called his junk. This one was leaking some kind of oil and he hadn’t even bothered to wipe off the cobwebs before he got it into the car. I could actually hear my teeth grinding.

“Calm down, Sandra,” my mother would say. “In every good marriage, you have to learn to pick your battles.”

She was right, but this was one battle that I found myself battling more and more.  We had so much stuff in our two-car garage that we hadn’t been able to park even one car in there for five years now.

And it wasn’t just the normal stuff that a family accumulates, either, like bikes and skis. There were things Jared had brought home from garage and auction sales. He also picked up any old piece of furniture that his buddies wanted to take to the dump, but somehow Jared couldn’t bear to see them destroyed, so they inevitably ended up in our house.

We now had five complete sets of living room furniture cramped in the basement, the garage, and the attic. I refused to let him replace our nice set that I’d brought a few years earlier. If I didn’t watch him like a hawk he would take our good stuff to an auction house and use the money to buy more junk.

I kind of felt like that little Dutch boy who had to hold back all the water in the dam by himself. Jared just didn’t seem to realize that our home was fast becoming a junk store. Except that in junk stores at least some of the stuff disappeared out the door occasionally.

“Sandy, it’s my only hobby,” he said. “It’s not like I spend thousands of dollars on this. Look at Mark. He likes to golf, which wouldn’t be so bad, but he likes to golf on courses all around the world.”

Mark and Brenna were our neighbors. They’d worked hard all their lives and now had enough money to retire in style.

“All right, then. Why don’t you save your hobby for when we retire?” I asked.

“One day you’ll be sorry you’re not more supportive, Sandy. One day I’ll bring something home that will be worth a lot of money!”

“In my dreams.”

Most of our arguments ended with me trying to get away from Jared and his “hobby” for awhile. I’d go up to our room and read or I’d take my new car—the first car I’d ever owned—out for a long drive in the country.

I was sure that my sweet husband had crossed the line into mental illness. This wasn’t just a case of a wife not being able to put up with her husband’s junk. I couldn’t even walk through the hallways without having to dodge things laying around. There was just no other place to put them. Couldn’t he see what was happening to us?

Some people had a rule that when they brought one more thing into their home, something else would have to go. But Jared couldn’t bear to part with anything once he got it home. I’d overheard his friends offer him good money for some of the stuff, but he’d refused.

Still, I tried to understand. This was obviously something he felt strongly about—or something he couldn’t control. But I knew that he’d gone too far the day he started piling old shelving up in the corner of our bedroom.

“Jared, what are you doing? that stuff is dirty, and who knows how many insects are in that old wood? I don’t want it in our bedroom!”

He gave me a look that meant he wasn’t listening to me. His mind was on the next sale, the next “bargain”.

It didn’t stop there. The next day when I came home from work, half our bedroom was filled with old lumber and light fixtures that he’d gotten from a demolition team that had been tearing down an old office building.

“Jared, I can’t sleep in here with this mess! Please, get rid of it.”

“It’s only temporary, Sandy, just until I can bring in that used tool shed I bought from Hal. Then I can put all this lumber in there.”

“Jared, please listen to me. This is not normal. No one lives with this—this dirty old junk in their bedroom. Nobody except us.”

garage of an abandoned house

But he either wouldn’t listen or he didn’t know how. For the first time since all this had started, I was seriously considering leaving him. The thought of that nearly broke my heart, but when was he going to see reason? I was at my wit’s end.

I would have asked his mother for advice, but that poor woman was in a world of her own. Jared was devoted to her, calling and visiting her every other day. I’d learned the truth about Millie about a year into our marriage: she was an alcoholic. She could barely live on her own in her small house. She wouldn’t be any help to me in understanding her son and his bizarre behavior. Jared’s dad had died many years ago, when he was about fifteen. The two of them had been alone since then.

My heart went out to my husband. I sat on our bed staring out at the old bricks and boards stacked up around our bed and cried. How could something so good have gone so wrong?

When I met Jared, he was a sweet and vulnerable man. His jock friends would tease him constantly about his devotion to his mom and his nerdy ways. But when we started going out, he was considerate and polite, never seeming to get angry about anything. I thought he was just too good to be true.

At that time I thought it was kind of sweet that he saved things, like his leather jacket from his eight grade school basketball team. It was just something that men did, I thought. They seemed to have a need to hang onto things that women would typically consider junk.

I was falling in love with him. When he asked me to marry him, the world just took on a fairy tale quality. All these good things just couldn’t be happening to me! I was the one who wasn’t supposed to make anything out of my life. I had an older brother and sister who were very successful professionals. As for me, I’d barely passed high school and had to work hard for everything in life.

But meeting Jared—that was like bringing magic into my life. He treated me like I was the most special person in the world. We loved each other so much in those early days. We didn’t need anyone. We’d take long walks and spend the whole day talking, stopping for a quiet picnic lunch and laughing over the antics of the ducks on the nearby lake.

As for his mom, she was polite to me but didn’t seem to be all there. Jared looked out for her, always asking if she remembered to take her medication, if she’d eaten. It was only later that I learned he knew she was an alcoholic and wouldn’t eat for days at a time unless he reminded her. He wasn’t honest with me in those days. He would only say that his mom had been sick for years, but he was vague about what sort of sickness it was.

I did find it strange that neither Jared nor his mom seemed to have a picture of his father anywhere. They never talked about him, either. Whenever I asked about what he was like, I’d get the same blank stare from them both.

Still, Jared was the man of my dreams. I knew from the start that he liked to collect things. He had almost every toy he’d ever owned—and in mint condition, too.

When we got married, I surprised him by having a special cabinet built to hold all of his toys. When he saw it, he was elated.

“Sandy, you don’t know how much this means to me,” he’d said. “Thank you, honey. I knew from the moment we met that you were the one for me.”

It was quite a collection, too. Not only did he have his own toys in it, but there were some of his father’s toys, too. Jared admitted that much to me, although I had already guessed that the old cast iron piggy banks, wind-up toys, and a small teddy bear were much older than Jared. But that was about the only thing he’d ever said about his dad to me.

At first, I was the envy of my friends. Imagine having a man so sweet that he still had his teddy bear! They envied me that I had the nicest guy in our little circle.

But I didn’t know that his innocent-looking hobby was the start of something that would tear us apart. At first, he wanted to add to his toy collection. He’d buy books on the history of some of the toys. I was proud that he had a hobby that he loved. Some of my friends’ husbands spent their money on beer and gambling, but not my Jared.

But the toy collection became an obsession. Instead of spending time with me, he spent more and more time poring over his books on toys. Then it gradually spilled over into other things; he went to shows and conferences, becoming interested in comic books, baseball cards, you name it.

We began arguing about the cost of his hobby. He told me that instead of buying new clothes for himself, he’d rather spent it on buying his valued collectibles.

There were no more long picnics by the lake. There was very little time together at all.

“Sandy, why don’t you and Jared come over to our place for supper on Saturday night?” Brenna would ask.

But I knew it wouldn’t do any good. Jared’s life was equally divided between work and his hobby. He didn’t spend any time with me anymore. We just coexisted, with me watching television or reading and Jared taking inventory of his growing collection. Every weekend was taken up with antique and collector shows and sales.

Someone suggested that I try to get involved in his hobby, too. I would have, but I suspected that this wasn’t just a pastime for Jared; it was a real obsession. I didn’t want to contribute to that, but to wean him away from it.

But it didn’t work. I was spending more time on my own. After all, by then we’d been married for several years. I couldn’t expect the first heady feelings of romance to last forever. Married people had separate hobbies and interests, after all.

But we weren’t spending any time together at all. At that time I decided to have a talk with his mom, even though I doubted it would help.

It was an eerie feeling, talking to Millie. She was polite, but I could have been anyone who’d just dropped by her place instead of her only daughter-in-law. She was forgetting things lately. Jared was worried about her and was spending more time with her when he wasn’t busy with his collections. I didn’t begrudge him the time he spent with his mom. After all, she needed him, and it had been one of the things that had made me fall in love with him in the first place.

Millie didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know. She did talk a little about Jared’s dad, though. “Jared’s a good boy. His father knows that, deep down.”

I frowned. She was talking about her dead husband as though he was still alive. I was beginning to worry about her. I knew that Jared came to her place each evening to turn off the breaker switch to her stove so that she wouldn’t get up at night and try to cook something. Several times he’d walked in and found something burning on the stove.

Pretty soon Jared and I would have to talk. Should we bring her to live with us? If we did we’d have to get rid of some of his junk to make room for her and make renovations. Truthfully, I couldn’t see her living alone for much longer. The good thing was that Millie wasn’t drinking so much nowadays. Maybe she was even forgetting to do that.

In any case, I knew I was alone with my problem. In fact, his mother’s condition only made Jared worse. I hardly ever saw him now. He spent much of his time with Millie, and the rest of the time he was furiously collecting everything that he thought might be valuable in the future. From toys he’d jumped to furniture to glassware to postcards, all in the space of a few months.

But it was all still collectible items, things that other people considered to be valuable. The day he started to stack newspapers on the kitchen table, I knew that there was something really wrong.

“Sandy, these will be worth something. If we can just keep saving—”

“Jared, I’ve heard that before. We just can’t save everything for thirty years or so until it’s valuable! What do you think this house is? A museum? We have to live here, too.”

Later that week I noticed a box full of used paper cups in the hallway. This time I didn’t even bother to confront him about it.

But the old, molding lumber in our bedroom—that was the final straw.

“Jared, I want us to go for counseling. We need to talk about this obsession of yours. And we need to talk about your mom, too.”

“What about my mom, Sandy?”

“Jared, can’t you see that she’s a danger to herself living on her own?”

“No counseling, Sandy, please. We can sort out our differences by ourselves.”

“No, we can’t. You don’t seem to think you have a problem.”

“No counseling,” he repeated. “A shrink would only bring up bad memories, anyway.”

“What bad memories?” I asked, but by this time Jared had stopped talking to me.

I didn’t know where else to turn. What do you do when there’s a serious problem in your marriage and your spouse refuses to acknowledge it? How were we going to start to make it right?”

I had no choice. One day, when Jared was at work, I wrote a note and left it on his pillow. By this time I had to tiptoe over old boards with rusty nails sticking out just to get to his side of the bed. I had to leave, if only to shock him into seeing that we were in crisis.

My worst fear was that he wouldn’t even know that I was gone. I spent that first night at a hotel. I didn’t want to stay with friends and admit that my marriage was crumbling, especially when they all thought I had the ideal husband. I thought of all the times I’d been so happy that my husband didn’t fool around our stay out to all hours with his buddies. I’d thought our marriage was as solid as granite.

The second day I found myself a small bachelor apartment near my work. I called Jared to tell him that I was okay and where I was staying, but I had to leave the message on the answering machine. I realized that if I went through with the divorce, it would no longer be my business to know where my husband was.

I was abandoning him when he needed me most. But the thing was, he didn’t see that he needed my help—or anyone else’s.

I didn’t know what to do about Millie. Jared and I had both looked after her. She didn’t have anyone else in the world. Did I continue to check up on her, or would he think that I no longer had the right to do that? I didn’t know what to do.

Millie hardly ever answered her phone anymore. A few years ago we had put our number on her speed dial so it would be easier for her to call us if she needed anything. I phoned several times, but she didn’t answer. I considered going over there and giving her my new number, but I thought it was likely that Jared hadn’t told her that we’d split up.

It took a long time for me to get into a new pattern of living. Most days my mind was more on Jared than it was on work. Then I seemed to cross a line where I didn’t want to think of him at all, concentrating instead on work.

But my friends at the office knew that something was wrong. I confided in a couple of them that I’d left my husband. They took me under their wing, inviting me out after work and on weekends, which was the worst time for me. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

I finally got up the courage to go and talk to Jared a few months later. There were things I wanted to know if I should go ahead and press for divorce. Surely any judge would clearly see that we had irreconcilable differences.

“Jared? Jared, are you here?” I called out. The front door was open so I’d gone in.

What I saw nearly knocked me to the floor.

The house was spotless. There was no junk around anywhere.

I must be dreaming, I thought. I went into the kitchen and saw a man working on the kitchen counter, laying down new Arborite—something I’d been begging Jared to do for years.

“Hello,” I greeted the contractor.

Kitchen

He turned and smiled at me. “Hello. You must be looking for Jared. He should be right back. He said he had to take some more things to the dump.”

To the dump?” I repeated, laughing. Maybe I’d walked into the wrong house!

I went to the living room to wait, still amazed that Jared had hired someone to redo the kitchen. What was going on here?

My curiosity got the better of me. I went upstairs. The first thing I noticed was that there was no more junk blocking the way. Jared had a habit of even putting stuff on the stairs. At first he would set things down on the very edge, but soon there would be hardly enough space to put your feet. Now the stairs were clear.

The upstairs hallway was empty, too. I crossed my fingers and sighed as I went to our bedroom, now Jared’s bedroom.

The whole room had been redone. It was beautiful. I’d shared my dreams for this room a few years ago with Jared. I wanted soft, relaxing colors, and here they were. There was a sage green carpet, off-white gauzy curtains, a twig chair in one corner. And a new bed! My hands went over my mouth in shock.

What had gotten into my husband? Or was this his way of starting a new life without me?

“Do you like it?”

I whirled around to see Jared standing in the doorway.

“Troy told me you were here. So what do you think?”

I stared at him, wanting to know if there was hope for us. “Jared, what’s going on?”

There was stress in his face, stress that hadn’t been there a few months ago. Had I caused all that?

“The day you left me was the worst day of my life, Sandy,” he said softly.

The guilt rushed in. I couldn’t talk right then. He looked at me for a long moment. “It wasn’t the best night for me, either,” he said. “That night, Mom set fire to her kitchen.”

Fire raging in domestic kitchen at night

“Oh, Jared, no! Why didn’t you call me?” But then I remembered that he didn’t know where I’d gone. I didn’t call to tell him for a couple of days.

“I didn’t go to see her that night.” He didn’t have to tell me that it was because of me. “The police called me. There had been a fire.”

“How is she?”

“She was fine. She was trying to cook dinner for all of us. For some reason she thought we were going to her place for dinner. She left a pot on the stove and it boiled over and started the fire. When I got there, I couldn’t find her, Sandy. I couldn’t find her. There were cops and firefighters all over the place. Finally, a neighbor approached me. Mom had gone over there as soon as she saw all the smoke.”

“Thank God,” I said, letting out the breath I’d been holding in.

“Yes, thank God.”

“So what about the house . . . destroyed?”

“The kitchen was gutted. I decided it was as good a time as any for Mom to try out a nursing home. I found a private place for her where she has some independence, but she has supervision, too.”

“Jared, I’m sorry. So sorry. For everything.”

“I’ve had time to think since you’ve been gone, Sandy. I never really thanked you for what you’ve been doing for Mom over the years. I thought I was the one who looked after her all by myself. But I was wrong.”

“I’m just sorry that this had to happen, Jared.”

“No, don’t apologize. There’s more—much more. Sandy, remember that I was always telling you that one day one of the things I brought home would make us rich? Well, it happened.”

“It . . . did?” That explained the renovations.

“Do you remember my toy collection, especially the older toys?”

I nodded. How could I forget? When we were first married, I’d been proud of Jared’s collection—until all the craziness started.

“I hit pay dirt. Almost every one of my dad’s old toys was worth a lot of money. He had those old piggy banks, remember? And all those tin toys, some from his own father. I even had a couple of dolls from his mother. But it was the teddy bear. Remember that bear? It was worth the most.”

I looked around. I could hardly believe it. Even so, I wondered how Jared could bring himself to part with his treasured toys.

“But you loved those toys, Jared. It was the only thing you had to remember your father by.”

His face twisted in a bitter smile. “Oh, no, Sandy. You’re wrong about that. I have memories from my father. Hateful memories. Do you know what drove Mom to booze? It was him. He beat her, and when she couldn’t prevent it, he beat me, too.”

He lifted his shirt. There was an old scar on his ribs. I remembered when I’d asked him about it years ago he’d said it was a childhood injury.

“This is where he burned me, when I couldn’t recite my tables fast enough,” he said quietly, pulling down his shirt again. “That’s the truth about that.”

“Oh, Jared.” The tears were coming fast and furious. I couldn’t help it.

“There’s more, but it doesn’t matter. Mom’s got a lot more scars than me. Every day with that man was a day of terror. Thank God he left us when I was about fourteen.”

“He left? Then he might still be alive?”

“If the booze hasn’t got him by now. I don’t care, Sandy. He’s out of our lives.”

“Jared, why didn’t you ever tell me any of this before?”

“I didn’t figure you’d understand. When we started dating, I could see that you came from a nice family. You lived in a good neighborhood and your parents cared about you. I envied you, Sandy.”

I could hardly take this all in. There was so much about my husband that I didn’t know. No wonder he couldn’t talk to me about his past! And no wonder he had such a bond with his mother. The two of them had survived that misery together.

Jared told me that most of the money from his father’s toy collection went to pay for his mother’s care.

“Then how did you pay for all this?” I asked.

“We had saved for it, remember? You forgot about the account you started years ago. Then each month I’d been putting some cash aside, adding to it. It’s grown quite a lot over time.”

“But, Jared, why now? I mean, I’d left you.”

“I know, Sandy. But I wanted to get you back.”

“Jared, you didn’t have to do this to get me back. What really impressed me was the fact that all the junk is gone! How did you part with it?”

“I thought about what you’d said. Here I was, sitting alone in a house full of junk. It wasn’t an investment, it was just trash. I knew that I’d either have to get a handle on this obsession or I’d lose you for good. And I don’t want to lose you, Sandy.”

He came to me and gave me a hug. It felt so good. We just held each other tightly for a long time. I missed his scent, the way he felt in my arms. I’d missed him with my whole heart.

“The bed is empty now,” he whispered softly.

“I can see that.”

“Lots of room for . . . whatever you might have in mind.”

“Oh, I have a lot on my mind right now,” I told him.

Just then we felt another presence in the room. We looked around and saw the contractor standing in the doorway.

“I—er, just wanted to tell you that you had a phone call, Jared,” Troy said. “Some lady from the nursing home? She says to get over there right away.”

Jared and I stared at each other. Something must have happened to his mom!

“I’ll go, Sandy. You stay here.”

“Are you kidding? I’m going, too.”

It was a good thing there were no cops around, because we must have broken every speeding record getting to the home. As Jared pulled up in front I noticed that it was a very nice place. I told myself that nothing bad could happen to her in a place like that.

“I’m Jared Spencer. Someone called about my mother,” Jared told the woman at the front desk.

The receptionist said she’d page the nurse in charge. It seemed like forever until a petite woman in a uniform came out to us.

“Let’s talk in here, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer,” she said, leading us to a quiet room.

I could tell that Jared was just barely keeping control. I knew he wanted to shake the truth out of that nurse. What had happened to his mother?

“Mr. Spencer, you mother is missing,” she began.

Missing? What are you talking about?”

“She’s missing. We think she’s been gone for a couple of hours.”

“A couple of hours! Why didn’t you call me before?”

“We did, but no one answered,” the woman explained.

“I know what happened, Jared,” I said. “Troy was working on the kitchen counter, there was a lot of noise. He probably didn’t hear the phone ringing at first.”

Jared turned to the nurse. “That doesn’t matter now. Where’s my mother?”

“The police are out searching for her. Do you know where she might have gone?”

“Maybe to the old house. She might have gone there. I was having it fixed after the fire so we could sell it.”

He took me by the arm. “Come on, Sandy. I have a feeling she might have tried to get back there.”

We drove to the old house. Along the way was the river. I didn’t want to look down as we drove over the bridge. I didn’t want to think of my mother-in-law trying to cross the bridge on her own—or worse still, coming to the riverbank and trying to wade across. From what Jared was saying, she was no longer thinking clearly anymore. But when we got to Millie’s old house, there was no one there.

We went inside. The workers were almost done with the repairs to the kitchen. There was no sign of the fire anymore. We walked through the rooms, thinking that somehow she might have climbed in through a window and was hiding somewhere.

It broke my heart to think of her yearning for her old home. I knew that Jared had to put her in some kind of home, especially after I’d left him. Who would have looked after her when he was at work? She was obviously a danger to herself when she was alone.

I made a vow then. If we found her I would find a way to work this out with Jared. I didn’t want to think of her living among strangers all day long. I could cut back on my hours at work so that she could come live with us.

I didn’t know how it was all going to work out. But judging by the look on Jared’s face as he searched the house, I knew I had to try something. We were a family, the three of us.

“Honey, we’ll find her. We will,” I assured him, drawing him into my arms. I could feel his back convulse with sobs. He really loved his mother. “And when we find her, I want to bring her home with us. What would you say, having both your favorite women under the same roof?”

He nodded, but I could tell that his mind was on finding her.

“Let’s call the police. Maybe we could help in their search,” I told him.

The hardest thing to face was the night. The police kept looking on city streets then, but they didn’t look in wooded areas until dawn, when it was lighter out. We had a very long, sleepless night.

“We wanted to know how this happened. How, when she was supposed to be in a secure place, could she just walk away without anyone knowing?

“It happens,” the nursing home director told me. “Your mother-in-law didn’t look sick; she didn’t look like she had dementia. We suspect that she just walked up to a visitor and left at the same time. The other person likely had no idea that she was one of our patients.”

It seemed incredible to me that it could happen. Another family might be thinking of a lawsuit, but we just wanted Mom back. I knew that my husband wouldn’t eat or sleep until she was found.

The next day, Jared opened up to me. He told me that he loved me, and he held me so tight I wondered if I’d have bruises afterward. But I’d been waiting for this moment all of our married lives. We were close again.

“I can’t lose you again, Sandy. When we find Mom, I want to hire a companion for her. I’ll build an apartment onto the house—there’s still enough money for that. And Sandy, I want you to follow your dream, the one you’ve been holding inside ever since I met you, and even before.”

“My dream? You’re not talking about that little design business I wanted once?”

“Yes. Why not? Haven’t we got proof, right here and now, that life is too short to pack away for dreams?”

“But I don’t even know if I could do that now.”

“Just think about it, honey,” he insisted.

“All right. I’ll think about it later. After we bring Mom home.”

We talked far into the night. Neither of us could sleep, and we wanted to be right by the phone in case the police called to say they’d found her. Jared told me that he’d started counseling right after I’d left. The counselor told him that his junk addiction had something to do with his father’s abuse. It was like he hadn’t been able to let go either of his father or of the “priceless treasures” that he’d started to hoard.

Jared himself wasn’t sure how it all blended together, but he was finding that the more junk he threw away, the freer he felt. He found he could think about his father now without all the terrible emotions.

“It’s like I feel numb, almost like all of that happened to someone else. But it happened to me. I have the scars to prove it, both physical scars and emotional. But now I know that my obsession was driving you away, Sandy, and I don’t ever want to do that again. You’re the best thing in my life.”

He told me that he realized how much it must have hurt me, someone who loved interior design, to see my house go from a lovely place to a makeshift junkyard.

“I think I’m ready to be a good husband now. But you’ll have to help me. The only role model I had for a husband wasn’t the greatest,” he said.

“I’ll give you all the time you need, babe,” I said, smiling and holding his hand tightly.

Suddenly, the phone rang. I waited while Jared spoke to the police. His face lit up.

“They found her! Sandy—they found her!”

We rushed to the hospital where they’d taken my mother-in-law. I still held Jared’s hand on the drive there and when we rushed to the emergency entrance. We found her laying on one of the curtained beds.

“Mom!” Jared cried as he hugged her.

“She’s broken her hip,” the doctor told me. “We’re just calling the surgeon now to repair it. We’ll give you a few moments alone.”

Millie looked confused and pale, but other than her broken hip, she seemed to be all right. I was right about my premonition on the river: The police had found her trying to cross it. She’d fallen down the bank and was half in and half out of the water. No one knew how long she’d been there, but thank God they’d found her.

Jared blamed himself for putting her in the home; I blamed myself for not being there for him. In the end, we both agreed blame was useless. We brought her home, where she recovered from her hip surgery. When she was well enough we hired a part-time companion for her as a respite to me while I worked on my new home business of interior design. That summer she was well enough to travel, so we rented a beach cottage and had the best time of our lives.

She lived for a year and a half after her fall by the river. We had some good times, the three of us. I comforted Jared at her funeral, and by that time Millie and I had grown so close that he needed to comfort me, too.

I think about the time I left him and I wonder what would have happened if I’d gone through with the divorce. Not having Jared in my life would have been the biggest mistake I’d ever made. But these days we’re joyfully talking about growing old together.

I’m certainly looking forward to it.

3 Stories from Losing It For Love: TruLove Collection

Always there to motivate each othrer

All of us long for true love. Unfortunately, however, some of us despair of ever finding it. Often it’s because we live with a gripping sense of defeat brought on by some unwanted feature. Usually our nemesis is our weight, although sometimes it’s a particular part of our body, like a nose or a chin that is undeniably out of proportion to the rest of our face.

There are more than enough thoughtless or shallow people in the world who may insist upon defining us by our single most troubling physical feature. We’re fat, we’re ugly, we’re not sexy.

Here are three stories from Losing It For Love:

Read Stories

I’m In Love With My Married Patient

Male Doctor Examining Female Patient In Emergency Room

Stephanie was seething. “If you think for even one minute that you’re going to put that thing in me, then you’ve got another thing coming, Randall Scott.”

I stopped dead in my tracks and made a vain attempt to hide the smirk tugging at the corners of my mouth. She was a sight, but even under extreme duress her emerald green eyes hadn’t lost their spark or challenge, intriguing me. I approached her gurney cautiously and held up the catheter in mock surrender. Her long, fiery hair lay tangled all around her with soft tendrils clinging to her sweaty forehead. Beads of perspiration formed along her temples and began a slow descent down the side of her freckled cheeks.

I stood next to the gurney looking down into her eyes and calmly stated, “You know you can’t undergo a Cesarean Section without a catheter.”

She started to protest, but again I held up my hand. “I could nick your bladder, Stephanie. Please don’t be unreasonable. As soon as the baby is born and you can get out of bed, I will have it removed . . . I promise.”

Tears formed in her eyes, enhancing the depth of their color even more. Seeing her like that tore me in two. I wanted to hold her and soothe her fears, but I knew I had to remain professional. The situation clearly outweighed any personal desires. The bottom line I had to force myself to remember was that I was still her doctor. Regardless, it didn’t stop me from wishing I could relinquish her care to another colleague.

So much had happened since we’d first met. I felt as though we had known each other forever. I couldn’t imagine not having her in my life. She had to be the one to act first. I’d laid all my cards out for her a month earlier. Now it was her turn to make the next move, and I vowed to accept whatever decision she would make.

Handing the catheter to the nurse, I took Stephanie’s hand. It was the most I could offer her at that moment. She squeezed it tightly as a contraction hit her. Once it subsided, the nurse placed the catheter and wheeled her into the operating room. A few minutes later I joined her once more.

Throughout the operation, I hummed softly in an effort to ease her anxiety. Slowly and calmly, I explained each step. Her only acknowledgment was an occasional nod. Never before had I been so acutely aware of the size and location of the incision, my patient’s anxiety, or my own abilities.

“All right, Stephanie, you’re going to feel a lot of pressure right now . . . here we go,” I recalled telling her.

A low grunt emerged from her throat, followed by the piercing wail of a newborn infant. I handed the newborn to Dr. Richardson, Stephanie’s pediatrician, announcing, “You’ve got a beautiful baby girl, Stephanie—shocking red hair and all!”

“Thank you, Randy . . . thank you so much.” She quietly sobbed in relief.

Her voice and words filled me with more satisfaction and happiness than I’d ever felt in my entire career. It wasn’t until Dr. Walsh, who was assisting, cleared his throat and brought me back to the present that I realized our level of intimacy was evident to everyone in the room.

I went to work removing the placenta and closing the wound. Occasionally I would glance up at Dr. Walsh, catching the disapproving scowl on his face. I was relieved when the procedure was finished and Stephanie was in recovery. My relief was to be short-lived, because my colleague wasted no time in interrogating me.

“I wasn’t aware that you and your patients are on a first-name basis.”

“Most of us are not,” I offered casually.

Dr. Walsh removed his surgical scrub cap and adjusted his glasses. I couldn’t help but think that the old man should leave the cap on. I’ve always detested the way some balding men grow the sides of their hair long, just so they can stretch it across the rest of their scalp. At least when he wore his cap, no one could tell the difference.

“So . . . Mrs. Adler is different?” he asked.

“Yes, we’re neighbors.” When Walsh continued to stare, I reluctantly continued. “She and her husband purchased the Victorian house, two houses over from mine, about a year ago. It’s customary on our block to welcome new neighbors to a barbecue. Introductions were made, and when she became pregnant, she and her husband chose me as her obstetrician.” I shrugged my shoulders with indifference, secretly hoping he would drop the subject.

Dr. Walsh seemed somewhat placated. “What does her husband do for a living?”

“He’s a police detective.”

“Ah. And where is Mr. Adler today? I’d like to meet him.”

That was exactly what I was afraid would happen. Averting my eyes, I continued to clean up. “He isn’t here today. In fact, he left her about seven months ago.”

“Perhaps I should speak with her.”

“No,” I nearly shouted. “I mean—that won’t be necessary, Ken. Things have been rather difficult for her, but they’re getting better. I think it’d be best if you didn’t mention her husband right now.”

“I see.” Clearly, he didn’t understand at all.

“Thank you.”

Dr. Walsh continued to change in silence, warily eyeing me. He must have come to the conclusion that it really wasn’t any of his business and dropped the issue altogether.

As soon as Stephanie was settled in her room, I went to join her. I stood in the doorway, watching her quietly for a moment before entering. The nurse was in the bathroom prepping her toiletries when Stephanie’s eyes caught mine.

I recalled when we first met at our neighborhood barbecue. She was standing next to the picnic table, spooning potato salad onto a plate when I arrived. As I picked up my own plate, Charlotte Taylor quickly made introductions.

When told I was a doctor, Stephanie chuckled. She said I looked more like a logger or a bouncer than a doctor because of my size and broad shoulders. She’d blushed after the admission. She was so beautiful, with her long hair flowing freely down her back, gently swaying in the breeze. She wore a soft rose print summer dress revealing long, shapely legs and soft, creamy skin.

I was instantly captivated. Then, like a bad dream, her husband approached, introduced himself and held out his hand. Quickly, I regained my composure. Within minutes I’d determined that I disliked the man immensely. He talked down to his wife, eyed all the other women openly, and was boring.

Stephanie’s eyes shifted back to the nurse as she returned to the room. The nurse brought me up to date on her vitals, and I nodded appropriately. Only after the nurse left did I pull up a chair next to the bed, took Steph’s hand in mine, and kiss it gently.

“You did fine in there,” I whispered, “and the baby will be moved into your room as soon as you recover from the anesthesia.”

She smiled. “How did you know I wanted the baby in my room?”

“I just knew.”

“Thank you.” Fresh tears pooled in her eyes once more. “She’s beautiful, isn’t she?”

“Just like her mom,” I agreed, brandishing a silly grin from ear to ear.

Always Together

She raised her hand and stroked my cheek. “I love it when you smile. It lights up your whole face and adds humor to your blue eyes.” She proceeded to run her fingers through my hair. “Your hair is getting long, I need to give it a trim.” Before I could reply, she giggled, “And it’s getting more silver.”

“You think so?”

“I’m afraid so. I think I’ve done this to you over the last few months. I haven’t exactly been a calming entity in your life.”

“That’s all right. I wouldn’t have traded these last few months for anything in the world. By the way, have you chosen a name for her?”

“Yes—Tabitha.”

I stood up and squeezed her hand gently. Only once in passing did I ever mention I liked the name. “Tabitha. I think that’s a wonderful name.”

“I know.”

I walked to the foot of her bed to make a notation on her chart. “They’re waiting for me in the OR again, but I’ll be back in a couple of hours. If you need anything, ring the buzzer, all right?”

Stephanie smiled bravely, feigning calmness. “Randy?”

“Yes?”

“How am I ever going to thank you?”

Emotions running as high as they were, I was moved beyond words. With great difficulty, I swallowed past a huge lump in my throat and murmured, “Love me forever.” Then I left the room.

The next few days passed by quickly, and soon Stephanie was preparing for her discharge. Tabitha was dressed in a delicate pink dress and a white knit sweater and bonnet when I arrived to sign her discharge orders.

“I really do wish you’d reconsider,” I admitted.

“I can’t. It wouldn’t be right, Randy—and you know it wouldn’t. Everyone in the neighborhood would be talking.”

“Yes, they would, but I really don’t care. All I care about is making sure you and Tabitha are cared for. You shouldn’t be going home with no one to help you care for a newborn. If you stayed with me, I’d be able to cook and clean for you.”

She looked up into my eyes. “Thank you, Randy, for everything. Tabitha and I will be fine, I promise. And if we do need anything, you’ll be the first one I call.”

I sighed heavily. “All right. You have my beeper number?”

“Yes.”

“Who’s coming to pick you up?”

“I called a taxi.” She grimaced when she tried to tug on her sweater.

I helped her into it. Only then did I notice her braid in disarray. “Cancel the cab, Stephanie. I’ll give you a ride.”

I thought she’d protest, but instead she smiled and thanked me. When she hung up the phone, I turned her by the shoulders to face me. She looked up in anticipation, perhaps thinking I was going to kiss her. When I didn’t, she appeared somewhat dejected.

“Why don’t you let me fix your braid for you?” I offered.

She was temporarily stunned, then slowly grinned. That was the beautiful smile I’d come to adore.

“I wondered if you’d notice. I can’t lift my arms over my head to braid it properly.”

I chuckled. “I can see that.”

“How did you learn how to braid hair?”

“I’m fifteen years older than my little sister. Sometimes she’d stay with me at my place, and I’d have to braid her hair for her. It took some practice, but eventually I became quite good at it. She’s in college now, and if I’m guessing correctly, she’s probably learned how to braid it herself.”

Stephanie giggled, then turned around to hug me. I wished she was mine to hug forever.

We drove home in silence, apparently worrying about the same thing. She was the one to bring it up first. “Do you think he’ll call?”

“Yes . . . or worse. He may show up. She’s his daughter, too.”

“I was worried he’d show up at the hospital.”

“I was too. That’s one reason I consented to having Tabitha stay in your room so soon after surgery. I knew it would bring you peace of mind to know she was where you could see her at all times.”

She reached over and patted my hand. “Thank you.”

I looked over to find fresh tears running down her cheeks. I was at a loss for words.

I pulled into her driveway, pleased to find a strange car parked in the middle of it. I opened her car door and helped her out. Seeing her confused glance at the unfamiliar green Honda parked in her driveway, I explained, “I hired a housekeeper to come in for a few hours each day to help you out. I told her she was to take all orders from you, and you could terminate her at any point you felt ready.”

“Oh, Randy. I don’t know how to thank you. You just keep amazing me at every turn.”

I left once she was settled in. Respecting her need for privacy, I left her alone for the next couple of weeks, only paying her the occasional visit or phone call. Each time I found her cheerful and happy.

But I was shocked when I received the housekeeping agency’s bill, which stated that Stephanie had let Mrs. Emery go after only three weeks. Only three days had passed since I’d last seen Stephanie, and she hadn’t said a word about letting the housekeeper go. I was about to call her from my office when my secretary announced she was there to see me for her routine postpartum checkup.

“She’s here?” I asked in confusion. “Isn’t she scheduled two weeks from now?

“Yes, but her husband called and asked that we move it up, so I changed her appointment. I knew you’d want to see her.”

I wasn’t prepared for that news. “Her husband?”

“Yes, her husband. He’s with her. I was surprised, too.”

I sank back heavily into my chair, stunned. After digesting the information for a few minutes, I went to see the Adlers.

Stephanie sat quietly on the exam table in a johnny. With her head hung, she stared at her feet when I entered the room. Her husband stood across the room like a bulldog, with his arms folded across his chest and his feet slightly apart in a menacing stance.

I shut the door behind me. It didn’t take long for Gary to take the lead.

“Good morning, Dr. Scott. We’re here to find out how Stephanie’s doing.”

“You’re a bit early,” I said, avoiding his eyes. “I wasn’t expecting you for another two weeks.”

“Yes, but we’re anxious to have another child.”

I turned to him. “Mr. Adler, your wife has just undergone major surgery. She cannot conceive for a minimum of six months. The pressure of another fetus against the incision could make the uterus burst open, endangering the life of the baby as well as her own.”

Gary waved my words away as if they were a bothersome insect buzzing around his head. “I don’t think you realize the situation here.”

“Apparently, I don’t. Why don’t you explain?”

“Well, we didn’t want a girl—we wanted a boy. I won’t play games with you, Dr. Scott. I know you’re aware that I left my wife, but I’m back now. And I intend to correct the things she’s done wrong. I only left because I didn’t believe the child was mine. I’m sure you can understand . . . being a man and all.”

Though I fought for self-control, I wanted to pummel his face with my fists. I continued to watch Stephanie for some reaction, but she was void of all emotion, obviously deeply troubled.

Slowly, I picked up her chart. In mock reference I told him, “According to my records, you left your wife because you didn’t want any children. I also don’t see where any paternity testing has been ordered. Why are you convinced the baby is yours now?”

Gary’s face flamed with embarrassment. “The paternity testing will be done next week. I’ve already spoken to Dr. Richardson about it. We’re only here today to see about my wife’s condition, and her ability to produce a son.”

“Mr. Adler, I think it would be best if I spoke to your wife alone.”

“Really? Well, my wife has nothing to say in my absence—and I’m not leaving.”

I was fearful for Stephanie and didn’t want to create a situation that could put her in any further jeopardy, so I merely approached her gently. “Could you lie back, please?”

I called my nurse in and performed an exam. Stephanie openly wept throughout, apologizing and blaming it on postpartum depression. Her husband ordered her to knock it off, but clearly it was beyond her control.

Once finished, I announced she was healing well but that she still needed several weeks to fully heal. I reiterated firmly that she couldn’t conceive again for a minimum of six months. I was relieved to find no evidence of her having been raped.

Gary ignored the latter of my statements, inquiring, “What do you mean she isn’t finished healing? How long does that take?”

“It’ll be another four to six weeks before she can engage in relations.”

Annoyed, he paced the room, ordering his wife to dress. Stephanie never raised her eyes or looked in my direction. I made a notation in her chart regarding spousal abuse, and the minute they left I phoned in the report, despite Gary’s position on the police force.

The next few days crawled by in a haze. Stephanie never left my mind. She’d appeared so frail and scared that I couldn’t help but worry about her. Throughout the months we’d spent getting to know each other, she’d confided to me how happy she was since Gary had left. Her marriage had been horrible for quite some time; he was always cheating on her and openly bragging about his conquests to his buddies, even in front of her. He insulted her and resorted to threats if everything wasn’t done precisely his way.

I knew I wasn’t the only neighbor who watched out for her. Most of the neighborhood didn’t care for Gary’s boisterous ways. His flaring temperament didn’t sit well with the majority of us in our quiet little suburb. I must admit I was overjoyed when the Andersons, who live in the house between ours, befriended Stephanie, as well as the Taylors across the street. Those good people never failed to include Stephanie and me to any get-together, regardless how small.

I hadn’t intended to become so attached to her, but soon we were taking evening walks or sitting on her front porch and sipping drinks in the evening. Within just a few short months I knew I was in over my head. My love for her consumed me in a powerful yet helpless way, and being her doctor only complicated matters. I suggested at one point that perhaps I should turn her care over to a fellow colleague, but she adamantly refused. She insisted that our feelings for one another shouldn’t get in the way.

Technically, we were only friends. After all, she was a married woman. We certainly hadn’t broken any rules of propriety. For that very same reason I reluctantly agreed to stay on as her doctor.

A week after the incident in my office, I knew I needed to take a short vacation. Stephanie and Tabitha were all I could think about. I hadn’t been able to sleep or eat in days. I made several attempts to call, but each time Gary either answered and refused to let me speak to her or the phone would ring on and on. I telephoned the police station and was transferred so many times that I lost count.

Finally, a lieutenant came on the phone and told me that the complaint was under investigation. Despite my further questioning, he insisted that he couldn’t disclose any information. All I could do was to pray for their safety.

I hoped that a few days at my cabin at the lake would clear my head. Without a second thought, I packed and left that evening. Still, I was haunted by memories of Stephanie. Would I ever be free from her? I was tormented with recollections of her—like the day she told me she was pregnant and her husband had left her.

It was a gloomy, overcast day, and I’d been up all night dealing with a difficult birth. I had just arrived at my office when Stephanie appeared for an appointment. I should have recognized the name instantly on my schedule, but it didn’t connect until I saw her. There she sat in my private office, bravely facing a pregnancy alone. She announced that her husband had threatened her with an abortion or separation.

Apparently, he had a daughter with his first wife and rarely saw his child. He had never discussed with Stephanie his desire not to have children. She was left reeling when he made his proclamation. As a devout Catholic, she couldn’t bring herself to terminate the pregnancy. Consequently her husband left, but not without first making it clear that he’d be staying at his partner’s house . . . his female partner.

Many times I asked her if she intended to file for divorce. But she’d explain that her husband was the type of man who needed to make the first move or there would be hell to pay.

“In the meantime, I’ll just sit back and wait to see what he does,” she’d said. “Although Gary allowed me to work as a hairdresser, I was never allowed to use that money to contribute to the household expenses, so I have quite a bit in savings to fall back on. As long as I’m thrifty, I think I can manage financially for about a year. After that, I guess I’ll have to return to work. Regardless, I won’t file for divorce. Gary is going to have to be the one to act on that.”

I was uneasy with her approach. “Do you want him back?”

“No, I don’t ever want him to come back. At first I thought I missed him, but I really just missed the routine. I’ve never felt happier or more at peace.” After a long pause, she added in a whisper, “Besides, I think I’m in love with you.”

Her admission startled me, but once spoken, I was ecstatic. “I love you, too, Stephanie.”

The embrace that followed would stay in my mind forever. The child she carried would be raised as mine if she consented, but I knew I couldn’t broach that subject yet. I finally did, however, in her eighth month. She wept with joy in my arms, but she said she couldn’t make that decision yet. I understood and agreed to give her all the time she needed.

After a week of fishing, swimming, and canoeing at the lake, I began to relax. When I packed up to return home I knew what I had to do: Despite Gary’s attempts to keep me from Stephanie, I was determined to see her. He’d already spent two weeks at home and I knew his own vacation time was running out. He had to leave the house at some point, and I intended to be there the minute he did. If Stephanie wanted me out of her life, then she would have to tell me herself. I intuitively knew he was holding her prisoner. Regardless of my calls to the police station, no intervention had been done on Stephanie or Tabitha’s behalf.

As I drove home, I gave careful consideration to my approach. I had to make her realize that I’d do whatever it took to keep her and the baby safe, even if she didn’t want to pursue a relationship with me.

I turned onto our quiet street and was virtually thrown into a chaotic scene too unbelievable for words.

Just as I approached Stephanie’s house, I saw her bolting out the front door, carrying the baby like a rag doll with her. She was screaming hysterically as she ran across the front yard and into the street, in the direction of the Taylors’.

Charlotte Taylor, who was outside watering her flowers, stared in disbelief as Gary gave chase with a baseball bat in his hand. I screeched my Jeep to a halt in the middle of the street, bound from the seat, and ran after him.

Just before Gary reached Stephanie, I tackled him to the ground. Never before had I committed such an act of violence as I found myself beating his face with my fists, just as I had wished to do two weeks earlier. I rendered him nearly unconscious by the time Sam Taylor pulled me off him. Police sirens sounded in the distance. Charlotte had pulled Stephanie and Tabitha into the security of her home, locking the doors behind them.

When the police arrived, they immediately arrested Gary. The shock and disappointment on the their faces was apparent when they recognized one of their own. Regardless, they couldn’t deny Stephanie’s own blackened eyes and dislocated shoulder.

Her statement to the police made me want to brutalize Gary even more. Apparently, the fight started when Tabitha began crying and no one could settle her down. Gary was trying to get ready for a baseball game and was feeling harried. He suddenly declared, “I know how to shut the little brat up.”

He tried to pull the baby from Stephanie’s arms, but she refused to give him the baby. Her resistance infuriated him, and he punched her in the face. Even then she continued to clutch the baby to her breast like a life preserver. Gary violently grabbed at her arm repeatedly until he dislocated her shoulder. By some miracle of God, Stephanie managed to hold onto the baby. That was when Gary reached for his baseball bat. That split-second was all Stephanie needed; she leaped to her feet and ran for the door.

Stephanie and Tabitha were taken to the hospital; Gary was taken to jail. I stood in the middle of the street, not knowing what to do next. Sam clapped me on the shoulder and said, “Looks like it’s all over—for now.”

At home, I went over the events in my mind. Charlotte and Sam brought Stephanie and Tabitha home from the hospital. Later, in the early evening dusk, Stephanie appeared on my doorstep.

“May I come in?” she asked meekly. “I didn’t know if you’d ever speak to me again after my visit to your office.”

I opened the door fully for her. Tabitha, who was sleeping, stirred in her mother’s good arm. “May I take her?”

Gently, she placed the baby in my arms. I took her into my room and put her in the middle of the bed, where she could sleep quietly. I returned to the kitchen and joined Stephanie at the table.

She tried to cover her face with her hands as she cried, but her sling prevented her. I wrapped my arms around her.

“I never wanted him back, I swear!” she wailed.

Shh.”

“He showed up one day, out of the blue, and he threw the housekeeper out. He told me to stop lounging around, and he demanded to know who was paying for the services. When I told him it was you, he said he’d show you not to mess around where you didn’t belong. He didn’t want me—he just wanted to keep us apart.”

No matter how I tried to comfort her, she needed to continue. “I told him to get out. I’d changed my mind. I told him I wanted a divorce, but he said that if I tried he’d take Tabitha and I’d never see her again. He said . . . he said . . . ” She sobbed.

“None of that matters now, Stephanie.” I needed to know why everything had ended in such a mess. Why my heart had been ripped from my chest, when I was so sure I was on the brink of building a future with her and Tabitha.

As if reading my mind, she continued. “It does matter. He said that in his line of work, he knew how to disappear and never be found again—and that’s what he’d do if I didn’t take him back. Then he dropped the biggest bombshell: He said that he wanted a son immediately. He said that was the only way I could make up to him what I’d done to him by deceiving him with the first baby. I couldn’t believe it; I’d never deceived him, never. It was just an accident.”

“Hush, Stephanie. I know you didn’t.”

“He forced me to go to your office. He warned me to not say a word. I was so afraid, Randy, I didn’t know what to do. I love you so much. He has literally held me prisoner for the last two weeks. I’m not even allowed to use the phone. When you told him I still wasn’t healed, he was furious. He ranted all the way home about how his grandmother had given birth every year for fourteen years, and she’d had all boys. He couldn’t understand why I was incapable of giving birth to even one boy.”

The report of his cruelty infuriated me. I held her in my arms but realized my fists were clenched. I cursed myself for not doing more to protect her from Gary that day in my office. I should have known that reporting him to his commanding officer would accomplish nothing.

As I held her, I felt shame as well. How could I have doubted her love for me after all this time? I took her face in my hands and kissed her bruised lips tenderly.

“I promise you, Stephanie, that no one will ever harm you or Tabitha again.” She continued to weep in my arms as a horrible thought came to me. “Did he hurt you? I mean . . . ”

“No, he never raped me. He was too angry at both of us for not going through natural childbirth. If I’d been able to, he probably would have forced himself on me. I’m not sure why he even came back at all. I think it was more out of pressure from his peers than anything. I never cheated on him, Randy. It was all a lie. He had to have some reason for leaving me.

“Before I came over tonight, I called his first wife. She told me he accused her of adultery, and he actually filed for divorce the day their daughter was born. He was so angry over the sex of their child. I never even knew Gary had a daughter until after we married. Only then did he tell me, because the state had started garnishing his wages for child support.

“He told me that the child wasn’t really his. He said that was why he divorced her, and I was stupid enough to believe him. How could I have married such a monster? I keep asking myself how I could have been so blind to the real Gary. I’m a fool, Randy.”

“Stephanie, you’re an intelligent woman. What could you have done? Besides, would you have believed Gary’s first wife if she’d warned you? You told me yourself how smooth Gary was when you first met him. You told me he literally changed overnight after you married.”

She nodded in agreement. At that, she stopped questioning herself and wept silently in my arms. I held her throughout the night.

Now, a year later, we are blissfully happy as newlyweds. Stephanie’s divorce was difficult, to say the least. A lengthy trial allowed her lawyer to present evidence of Gary’s temper toward her and the baby. His first wife took the stand to tell her own story of his violence and abandonment over the birth of their daughter. The judge was clearly moved and only allowed Gary supervised visitation. It was further ordered that the house was to be sold and any profit was to be split equally. Child support was set, and Gary let out a cry of outrage.

A month later, he showed up at my office unexpectedly. He offered me the opportunity to adopt his daughter, stating he would do anything to get out of paying Stephanie any of his hard-earned money. We all returned to court and adoption papers were filed.

Now life is so much more fulfilling. At our annual summer neighborhood gathering, I realized just how truly thankful I am for the day Stephanie entered my life. My heart overflows with joy at the sight of her and our daughter. I was holding Tabitha when Stephanie came bouncing across the lawn with a grin stretched from ear to ear.

“Charlotte and Sam are going to take care of Tabitha for us while we’re away next month for your reunion,” she announced.

“Wonderful! Tabitha will be fine with them.”

I put the baby down so she could become acquainted with the Andersons’ new puppy. A large diesel engine truck coming down the road made us all look up. We watched as our new neighbors pulled into Stephanie’s old Victorian home with a large sold sign posted out front. The Greys would be a delight to the neighborhood. They already had two little girls and twins on the way. The neighborhood was coming alive once more with young children.

As soon as they parked the U-Haul, we called them over for hot dogs and hamburgers. They accepted immediately and more introductions were made.

Mature Friends Enjoying Outdoor Summer Barbeque In Garden

Later that night, after Tabitha was tucked into bed and the lights were out, Stephanie reminded me of a question she once asked me. “Do you remember when Tabitha was born and I asked you how I could ever repay you?”

I cradled her in my arms. “Yes, I do. I told you to love me forever.”

She grinned slyly up at me. “I will, you know.”

“I know.”

“I went to see a colleague of yours today,” she announced.

“You did? Who?”

“Dr. Walsh.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s against medical ethics for you to deliver your own child—and since you’ve already done that once, Dr. Walsh was only too willing to oblige me in delivering our second.”

I nearly jumped out of bed. “We’re going to have another baby?”

“Yes, we are.”

“Thank you . . . thank you so much,” I murmured in her ear.

“No need to thank me. You played a big part in it, too, you know.”

I kissed her deeply. “And you know, Steph . . . I don’t care if we have a house full of girls.”

“I already knew that.” She planted another passionate kiss on my lips. “I’ve always known . . . ”

9 Things You Should Be Saying To Her Besides ‘I Love You’

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Saying the words ‘I love you’ is important in any relationship. It is what separates a couple from simple friendship and a lifelong commitment. They are, potentially, the most powerful words and will make your heart skip a beat and even make your knees go weak. However, there are other key phrases which are important for a woman to hear. Here are 9 things you should say to her as often as possible apart from the traditional ‘I love u’.

1. You can do it!
Sometimes the most important thing you can say are these four little words which show her that you believe in her and are there to support her. It may be a case of supporting a small project or a huge business venture; whichever it is your special lady will appreciate the support.

2. I’m proud of you!
Achieving anything that you have set out to do is a truly amazing feeling. However, if you show her that you have also seen her accomplishment and are impressed you will make her feel fantastic. The two factors together can help a lady to think that anything is possible and your reward will be worthwhile!

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3. You’re beautiful!
This is a comment that is often said to flatter a lady, possibly with an ulterior motive. However, if it is said, without being prompted and an appropriate moment this tiny phrase can carry a huge amount of weight. When this is said to her in an intimate moment, when she may not feel she looks her best, and, she can see you mean it she will feel truly amazing. If you’re married, she has to feel that there’s love in marriage without you telling her 10 times a day. Just make her feel beautiful! Admire her!

4. I appreciate you!
There are many tasks and chores which are split between a couple, particularly when you co-habit with each other. The majority of these tasks arise out of necessity and often get done by the same person as habits are formed. This is a normal part of a relationship. However, it is possible to pause and think about what extra tasks you would need to complete if they were not split between you. You can also appreciate which tasks she does which you would have to do and would not enjoy.

This should be enough for you to be able to tell her that you appreciate her, and mean it! This shows that you appreciate what she does for you and that she does it out of love, not a sense of duty.

5. Let me take you on a date!
Most couples will remember the time before they were living together. The relationship developed through a series of dates and a gradual process of spending more and more time together. Going on a date was a time to get out, have fun and show off your woman to the world. It also ensures you connected and kept away from a routine.

It has been said that routine is one of the best ways to kill passion and it is easy to fall into a routine when living together and enjoying the love and marriage. Throwing this phrase into the mix will show your partner just how much you still love them and want to show them off to the world. It says you want to keep the spark in your relationship.

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6. I support you!
These three little words tell your woman that you will be there for them whatever they do or need. There is no stronger motivation or force than the knowledge that your loved one has your back and will help you to succeed in any activity. Your lady will feel there is nothing she cannot do.

7. I’m sorry!
Saying this when you mean it and you understand that you have caused her hurt and that you were in the wrong is as powerful as telling your loved one that you love her. It tells her how much you value her, your relationship and that you will try not to repeat the same mistake again. It is, perhaps, an even more powerful phrase than ‘I love you’ when said with meaning.

8. You complete me!
Women want to feel safe when there’s in a relationship. They want to be cared for and protected. Tell her that she completes you; that she’s the best woman in your life. But do it randomly, when she least expect you to say it. It will make her feel the same.

9. I crave you, every day!
Women want to be desired, and there’s no secret about that. But they also want to be told that they’re amazing. You don’t need any relationship advice on this one; if you crave for her, tell her and you’ll have a beautiful love life.

By Sylvia Smith at Never Liked It Anyway

(From Never Liked It Anyway, the number one destination for all things break-ups and bounce-back! It’s the place to buy, sell and tell all things ex! Sell your breakup baggage, tell your story and join the community of rock stars bouncing back better than ever! )

20 Questions To Ask Your Guy

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By Sylvia Smith

Let’s face it—your guy is pretty amazing, but he also doesn’t like to talk about himself. Why is that? Maybe it’s his selfless attitude, or he’s just a private person. Guys aren’t usually the masters of talking. Either way, you’re lucky to have him in your life.

When you’re dating or even if you’re in a committed relationship, there is nothing you want more than to learn everything there is to know about your special guy. But trying to get him to open up is sometimes like cracking a safe. Good luck learning that lock combo.

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But you really want to know. What are his deepest fears? What does he want most in this world? If you could just tap into his brain for a day, what secrets could you unlock about him? Also, knowing him on a deeper level would help you feel even more connected. As a married couple or as partners, there is nothing better.

That’s why we’ve come up with a list of 20 questions to ask your guy in order to learn more about him, and love him more in the process. They are questions that really get into what he is all about as a person, inside and out.

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The problem may be actually getting him to answer these questions. Maybe agree to get him to answer one a day via text, if you also answer the question, too. Or make it a game—once he completes all 20 then you’ll give him a special surprise. It could also be fun to have each of you answer these questions about HIM… and then compare your answers. This may take some convincing, so make it fun and hopefully he’ll see the value in doing it.

So print these questions, text them, or email them—just get them to him so he can answer them. You could even start with the less invasive questions at first to get him warmed up.

Good luck! Here are our 20 questions to ask your guy:

1. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Why do you think so?

2. Who is your hero or the person you look up to most (dead or alive)?

3. What is the biggest thing you look for in a guy friend? A girl friend? A marriage partner?

4. What is one of your strengths (physical, mental, spiritual, etc)?

5. What is one of your weaknesses (physical, mental, spiritual, etc)?

6. If you could travel anywhere right now for free, where would you go?

7. What is your dream job? Has this always been your dream job or has that changed?

8. If you could fix one thing in the world by just wishing it to change, what would it be?

9. What are your top three favorite foods (meals, snacks, desserts)?

10. What is your most embarrassing moment?

11. If someone were to portray you in a movie about your life, which actor would it be?

12. What is one thing you have always wanted to do?

13. What is your biggest fear (real or imagined)?

14. What motivates you the most in life?

15. If you had a free day to yourself, what would you do?

16. Have you ever lost a loved one, and what did it feel like?

17. What is your favorite book of all time?

18. What three things would you bring with you to a deserted island?

19. What do you think other people think about you when they first meet you?

20. When/how do you feel most loved?

Be sure to write down his answers so that you will both remember them in a year or two. His answers are bound to change over time, so if you revisit these in the future it would be fun to see if anything has changed.

Source: Never Liked It Anyway

True Romance–Love and Laughter

Layout 1Many of the relationships in these eleven stories begin as serious tales of rejected advances, broken engagements, sexless marriages and cheating husbands, but just when a happy ending seems impossible, a little laughter brings about a positive outcome! A shallow woman fixated on meeting a handsome but oblivious stranger is charmed instead by a persistent funny guy with a winning personality. The klutzy secretary with a snobby fiancé meets an admirer who finds her clumsiness more endearing than embarrassing. A married couple attempting to rekindle their sex life is faced with the challenge of finding a time and a place for intimacy while raising their two curious little boys, only to realize how much closer they’ve become since their carefree days as newlyweds. Finding a little humor in your relationship can make all the difference! Read More

 

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real loveI Found My Man In The Classified Ads

Leaving soft candles burning, I took one last look around and, satisfied, pulled the door closed behind me. It was six o’clock. By then, I had a complete picture of P. McDougal in my head: a distinguished-looking gray-haired man, above medium height, who carried himself straight and wore his clothes like a banker in a Wall Street ad. By then, I was so curious to see him that I headed for the neighborhood Italian restaurant on the corner just across the street, planning to wait around in hopes of catching a glimpse of him. Read the Story Here

True Love Returns In My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

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Fourteen long years ago, Greek Canadian actress Nia Vardalos had a surprise hit with a sweet and harmless comedy. My Big Fat Greek Wedding plundered Ms Vardalos’ ethnic heritage for broad and affectionate stereotypes, and co-starred John Corbett as an Anglo-Saxon suitor who gets a nasty shock when he meets his fiancée’s loud and histrionic family. With the support of producers Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson (who  helped make Vardolas’ one-woman show into a feature film), the film defied expectations and became one of the highest-grossing comedies of all time. Made for a song, it earned more than $350 million, but a subsequent TV show flogged the idea to death and that, it seemed, was that.

However, the spirit of the Greeks is resilient.  Vardalos returns as the star and the writer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.  Her character Toula has been happily married to Ian (Corbett) for nearly two decades. Their daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is close to going to college and for much of the film, she’s torn between studying at Northwestern near where the family lives in Chicago and moving to New York City to become a student at New York University. Like the original film, the plot’s twists and turns are seldom surprising but it’s the cast and the characters here who keep the story entertaining. Most of the characters aren’t new (other than Paris– who briefly appeared as a child in the original– there are few new characters to speak of) but there’s a comfort and a wacky sense of fun that appears whenever this cast comes together.

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While the reviews for this sequel have been a bit mixed, there is of course a sweet humor and charm that is meant for everyone to enjoy. Why did it take 14 years to follow up the top-grossing romantic comedy of all time? “That completely my fault,” says Vardalos. In fact, the reason behind the delay is intensely personal. At the end of the first movie, Vardalos had written that her character had become a mother. But her real lifed did not stay on script. She and her real life husband had tried for years to have a child of their own, but to no avail. She couldn’t bring herself to write a film in which she was a mother. “I wouldn’t know the emotions of what to write. I just said, I can’t do it.”

But Vardalos never gave up hope of becoming a mother. In 2008, after more than nine years of struggling to become parents, Vardalos and her husband were told they’d been matched up with a beautiful 3 year old girl. “The road to my becoming a mother was long and sad,” says Vardalos. “But now that I am one, I am so grateful. I can’t imagine my life without her.”

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is now playing in theaters nationwide. Watch the trailer here: