I'm Just Say'n

Carolyn Magner
[email protected]

Dear Carolyn,

I’m cursed with the “nice guy” label. The last three relationships I had ended with the girl telling me I was just “too nice.” I don’t get it. Do they want me to be a jerk? I hang out with guys who treat their girlfriends like dirt, and I’m not like them. I don’t want to act like them in order to keep a girl happy either. It occurs to me that maybe I’m doing too many nice things to keep their attention. It’s almost like I can’t help myself. I offer to paint their kitchen, which leads to building a deck, which leads to tuning up their car, and on and on it goes. I don’t mind doing any of those things but now, as I sit here, alone, in my own house without a nice deck, I’m wondering what the heck I am doing so wrong.


Dear Jack,

It’s not what you are doing wrong; it’s what you are not doing right. First, knock the thought out of your dense head that women want jerks. We don’t. But we are attracted to men with a lot of self-confidence, which can look jerky at times. We also like nice guys, just not ones who are too nice. Alas, you’ve fallen into the murky zone between nice and too nice. Too nice is when the whiff of desperation hovers over the building of the deck or the painting of the kitchen. Too nice is also when you are doing the nice things and expecting that they will bind the girl to you. Too nice can be nice things, just too many of them. Do less, but do what you do with confidence. If you don’t have confidence, fake it for a while. It will catch up with you.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

I’m pretty sure my husband is an alcoholic. He won’t admit it and refuses to consider getting help. His whole family is sick of his drunken rages, and nobody wants to even hear about it anymore. I’m stuck holding the bag. When he’s not drunk, he’s a great guy, but those times are few and far between. The weird thing is that I’m financially able to walk away; our kids are grown, and I’ve got a good group of supportive friends. There’s nothing really keeping me in this marriage.

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I’ve gone to the meetings and know that I fall into the classic “enabler” category. Even though I know all this, it’s still killing me to put him out. I don’t think he’ll survive without me to pick up after him.

I guess what I’m looking for is for you to give me that final nudge. He needs to go, right?


Dear Barbara,

Well, you don’t really need my nudge, do you? You’ve already decided to leave him, you just want to know if I approve. And I do. I mean, I’m all for making a marriage work out. I’m for thick/thin/better/worse/richer/poorer and till death do us part. But he dropped his end of the arrangement long ago. Just pack up and do what needs to be done. He’ll be fine or he won’t. But it sounds like it’s time he starts being in charge of that.

Good luck. It’s not easy, but it sounds like it’s necessary. There’s a certain dignity in doing necessary things.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

Can you give me a list of signs that my girlfriend is cheating on me?

Just so ya know, I’m petrified to read them.


Dear Pete,

Oh, there’s a long list of signs, but I am very sorry to tell you what’s at the top of the list. Number one sign you are being cheated on? Looking up the signs of cheating.

If you are asking, she probably is. That’s not what you wanted to hear. I’m sorry.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

I’m older than most guys who write to you. In fact, I’m retired from driving and live in a retirement community. My wife passed away five years ago, my kids are grown with kids of their own. Life is good, even though getting old is not for the faint of heart. My problem is that I’m dating two women at the same time. I know, I ought to be old enough to know better by now. I’ve not told either one about the other, and I’m always afraid that they’ll find me out. It’s hard because I like both of them, and it’s fun to have a little variety at my stage of life. Still, the guilt is getting to me, and I think I should make a choice and stick with it.

What do you think?

Still alive at 85

Dear 85,

Oh, it must seem like the statute of limitations on good behavior ought to have expired by time you get to the golden years. Unfortunately, doing the right thing is still the best way to live your life – at any age. Pick the lady you like the best, who makes you laugh, who brings out the best in you, who listens to your old stories, and then cut the other one loose.

I’m just say’n.

Carolyn Magner is not a professional therapist, shrink or even a very nice person. Her advice is meant to entertain you, not solve your terrible, desperate problems. Nothing shocks her. If you are really in trouble, please call someone who has gone to school for a long time. E-mail Carolyn at [email protected].

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