Unethical thoughts, Fear of Rejection and Hepeating

Dear Irene,

Hey girl. I really like this guy in my Physics class but I recently found out that he's married through Facebook.....
But we've been messaging since the first day of school. I confronted him and he told me that he's married because they have a kid together. But he also confessed he didn't love her. So.... my question is, Should I keep talking to him even though he's a married man but doesn't love his wife? I'm so confused because I really want more then just friends. My lady parts want him.. What should I do??? or should I stop talking to married men? Please help this confused lover.


Hannah Montana

Dear Hannah,

You should immediately stop messaging and flirting with this married man. I would like you to take a long walk in his wife’s shoes for a day. Imagine yourself being married to this man and he meets another woman. He tells this woman that he doesn’t love you, he’s only married to you for the sake of the children and that he wants to have an affair. Wouldn’t you be devastated if your husband behaved in this manner? Also, have you considered what you might say to his wife if she confronted you about y’all’s exchange of messages on Facebook. Especially, after the fact that you found out he is married. You must realize that if you pursue this man to satisfy your need for sexual gratification that it is not a relationship. It’s just sex. He’s not your boyfriend. He’s not your significant other. He most certainly cannot be your husband because he’s already married. He cannot be a partner because he already has one. Remember, if he will cheat with you then he will cheat on you. This man has already shown you that he is incapable of having a committed relationship if he is willing to cheat on his wife. I understand that you want more from this man but he doesn’t have anything other than sex to give. Don’t throw away your dignity for a stolen moment with another woman's husband. You’re worth more.


Hi Irene,

Sometimes I feel like a doormat for others wants and needs. It’s like everytime someone wants something I always say yes. How can I say no more often without feeling bad about it. I hate feeling guilty but holy crap I can’t stand it anymore.

Sincerely, Captain Doormat

Dear Captain Doormat,

The feeling bad, guilt and allowing others to treat you disrespectfully are birthed out of a fear of rejection. You allow yourself to be used and walked over because you perceive that being agreeable is a form of acceptance. It’s not. I’ll let you in on a little secret. The people that genuinely value you as a person can and will accept no for an answer. Especially, when forcing you to say yes puts you in a compromising situation. It’s natural for you to feel fed up and unable to withstand such pressure. You are a limited resource and constantly allowing others to use you can be draining. At this point it’s not about saying no more often. It’s time to change the narrative of your life. I know it may seem cliche but you truly are the captain of your own fate. My advice is quite simple. Choose YOU first and make yourself a priority as opposed to being someone else's option.


Greetings Irene

At my work, I am constantly being “hepeated”. I hate when I suggest an idea during a meeting and it's ignored, but then a guy says same thing and everyone loves it. How can I stop this because it is really driving me crazy.

All the best, W

Dear Casting Your Pearls before Swine aka W,

Stop. If your great ideas are being stolen, repackaged and presented by a colleague then stop presenting them with the goods. Honor your creativity like the valuables in your home. You wouldn’t leave your house with the door wide open so stop leaving your creativity on the table for others to take ownership. If you’re really seeking to change your workplace and improve processes then I would suggest that you submit your ideas in a formal business plan and copyright your work, if needed. The moment you formalize your plan is when it becomes more than just an idea. It becomes a document of reference and quite possibly a legal point of reference. Maintain your sanity. Stop making spontaneous moves and start drafting your playbook.


Dragon Breath, Cohabitation, Dating Apps and more

Hey Irene,

Currently, I'm debating whether or not to sign up for some of those dating apps. A few of my friends have them but I'm a little on the opposition side of it for various reasons. However, I'm not a fan of being single anymore as I've spent the last 8 years focusing on my studies and I feel as though I am ready to jump into that scene but besides the dating apps, I don't know know how to go about it.

Do you have any advice on what I should do?

Sincerely, Unfortunately Single

Dear Unfortunately Single,

I completely understand your opposition to using a dating app. After all, it may seem a bit strange meeting someone online. In the back of your mind you can’t help but wonder if the picture in their profile is the person they are now or them from 10 years ago. You may even wonder if it is really them at all. Certainly, anyone can be anything they choose to be online. However, that can also be said for meeting someone in person. My advice is to take it slow when it comes to any form of dating. Keep the conversation light and basic. Talk about common interests, hobbies or a relevant topic. Don’t share anything too personal too soon. I know dating can be challenging but treat it like an onion. Slowly peel away the layers by asking questions and if the responses are not clear then ask again. Start where you are comfortable. It’s okay if online dating isn’t for you. You may want to consider speed dating, a singles group or a new interest that involves meeting new people. Dating is supposed to be fun. Keep it that way.


Hi Irene,

My roommates breath smells awful, how do I go about telling them that? I don’t want to be a b*tch but I also don’t want to smell dragon breath all day. Please help!

Sincerely, whyme

Dear whyme,

Having a roommate with bad breath or body odor is awful. I’ve had to deal with unpleasant smelling roommates several times throughout my life. Many would not agree with  my approach on this subject because telling someone about a hygiene issue is never easy. I’ve always been very direct in my approach. I consider feedback to be a gift and I’m a gift giver. Personally, I purchase gift bags and fill them with toothpaste, a toothbrush, mouthwash, breath mints, gum and a bottled water. When the opportunity presents itself I have a very private and discreet conversation with my roommate. I let them know that I’m concerned and I’d much rather tell them about the issue than a stranger. If there is an underlying health issue that caused their bad breath, I would want to know about it and offer my support in any way that I could. I would reassure my roommate that I’m coming from a place of concern and care. I would let them know that I understand how embarrassing bad breath can be and that the travel size gift bag is for them freshen up whenever they are on the go.


Hey there Irene,

I want to know how I can ask my girlfriend to move in with me. We’ve been together for at least 2 years nows so I think we’re ready but I don’t want to sound pushy. This wouldn’t be an issue if she didn’t already reject the idea the first time. I don’t want to scare her away but I also think we’re ready for that next step.

Love, Mr. Unsure

Dear Mr. Unsure,

Taking that next step in a relationship is a big decision and I’m sure there are many things you both have considered since the last discussion about cohabitation. I would encourage you both to revisit the last conversation and ask yourself what has changed in the relationship to warrant a “yes” from your girlfriend. Are you asking her to move in under the conditions that she will not have to contribute anything financially to the household bills? If not, are you both in a good place financially to afford the move and added expense of living under the same roof? Have you discussed the topic of marriage or long term cohabitation? How does your girlfriend feel about premarital living arrangements or residential partnership? Is your living situation a step up from where she currently resides. I would suggest that if you really feel strongly about taking your relationship to the next level, then having an open and honest discussion with your girlfriend would be ideal. Hopefully, having an in depth discussion with your girlfriend about how you truly feel will allow you both to feel a bit more secure. Who knows? Maybe this time you’ll get your “yes.”


Hi Irene,

How can I deal with a cultural class that essentially makes me feel like I can’t participate in discussion because I don’t have the same experience as everyone else?




Dear Anonymous,

 First, I would like to offer my sincere apology on behalf of anyone that has made you feel like your life experience is not valued because you are of a different cultural background. Please know that you and your experiences are not less than anyone else's. While you may be of a different cultural background, it should not make a difference in an institutional setting. Please don’t remain silent or suppress who you are because others cannot relate. Your experiences are what has shaped you and they add perspective to an otherwise closed conversation. You are absolutely extraordinary and everything about you is unique. The best way to deal with those who choose to isolate others is to never allow yourself to be put in a box. Stand confident when you stand out and be unafraid to speak your mind.




Emotional Abuse, Coming Out and Other Concerns

Hello Irene,

Everytime I try to break up with my girlfriend she threatens to harm herself. I feel trapped and stuck in this relationship and she is making no effort what so ever to change so it’s like why the hell am I in this. And now i can’t leave? PLEASE tell me what to do because this is just not healthy.

-Caged bird

Dear Caged Bird,

It’s never okay to feel like you have to be in a relationship or stay with an emotionally unstable person. You have every right to end it and you should not feel obligated to stay. If your girlfriend threatens to harm herself, contact 911 immediately and provide emergency dispatch with her name, age, description, location and the exact threat. When she is threatening to harm herself, it’s no longer about the death of a relationship. Their life and safety become paramount. Make the call and allow the trained professionals to sort out her mental health issues. You can leave. It is not your responsibility to counsel her and monitor her behavior. Being threatened with “I can’t live without you” or “If you leave me, I’m going to harm myself” is abusive and emotionally manipulative. Safety is the key word. You need to feel safe in any relationship and have a sense of well-being. The Suicide Prevention Hotline is an excellent resource. Please give them a call at 1-800-273-8255.


Dear Irene,

I know I might be gay but i don’t know how to tell my mom. There has gotta be an easier way to this because my biggest fear is that if i tell her she’ll look at me and say “no you aren’t” and that’ll be it. That’s obviously worst case scenario because i also think she could take it well but the uncertainty with this is just too overwhelming for me and everytime i think about doing it, I chicken out.

Love, IM GAY

Dear I’M GAY,

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to come out. I understand your coming out can be a big deal. It’s understandable that you’re concerned about how your mother may handle that information. However, there are a few things you should consider before making the decision to tell your mother that you might be gay. You may want to consider how it will affect your overall relationship or living situation if you live with her Also, consider if your mother would share this information with others. Would you would rather tell them on your own terms? Is there a new person in your life that she needs to meet? Questions like these will allow you to make a well informed decision. Your mother should love you regardless and respect your decision. At the end of the day you should be accepted for who you are.


Hi Irene,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for several years and we have been living together for 3 years. I like to go out and attend concerts and fun events around San Antonio. He enjoys hanging out with his friends and family. Which is not a problem at all but i feel like when it comes to the things i want to do he never wants to join. I find myself attending events or concerts without him. How can I encourage him to go out and enjoy some of the activities that I like to do?

Signed, Taken but lonely

Dear Taken but lonely,

You have been in a long term relationship with your boyfriend for quite some time. It’s okay to have different interests in a relationship. Although, there must be a common bond that keeps you both together. I would encourage you both to rediscover that common bond. Plan an evening together. Go to a favorite restaurant, see a band you both enjoy or maybe take an evening stroll down the River Walk. If you really want your boyfriend to try new things and become an active participant in the things that you enjoy, start meeting in the middle. I hope this helps. Please write back and provide an update.


Bad Roommates, Uncertainties and more...

1. Dear Irene,

How do I tell my roommate to start picking up after herself. I feel like I made the mistake of being nice one too many times and now it’s expected of me. She’ll even go and tell me that she put her plate in the sink for me to wash. I feel like if I don’t say anything to her soon that it may lead to a larger confrontation and I don’t want that. I also don’t want our relationship to be weird afterwards. Please help.

- Frustrated Room-mate

I understand it can be difficult living with someone who doesn’t share your mindset of cleanliness and the importance of a clean home, but it sounds like the problem is more than your roommate not cleaning up after herself. Your roommate is crossing the line of decency and you might feel like you’re being disrespected in your own home. After all, you’ve stated she’s putting dishes in the sink and expecting you to wash them. I know you don’t want the relationship to become awkward or further strained, but, unfortunately, the entire situation is already awkward and strained. You’re uncomfortable in your own home at the expense of making someone else feel comfortable. I encourage you to find your chalk or borrow mine. Draw the line and do it today. Set your boundaries and do not allow them to be crossed any longer. Let your roommate know that the state of the home from a cleanliness and mental health perspective has become quite bothersome. Tell your roommate that you will no longer clean up her mess and if it continues, other living arrangements will be made. I would also suggest that you be very specific when addressing this issue so there will be no misunderstanding. If there has been a habit of leaving dirty dishes in the sink, tell her you will no longer wash her dishes. If it’s a dirty clothes problem, tell her that you will no longer pick up her dirty clothes or do her laundry. If she’s nasty in the bathroom then it’s a deal breaker. You don’t live with someone that keeps a nasty bathroom. No ma’am. Bye Felicia.


2. Hi Irene,

Do you have any advice for someone who is graduating this year and still doesn't know what to do with the degree they are about to get because they feel as if they are not good or experienced enough as the graduating class they are in and feels like they are going crazy and about to lose it.



Dear Jag Senior,

I encourage you to sit down and take a long breath. Calm down. You should take this time to reflect and recall all the reasons that you chose your major. It might have been an easy choice. It might have been the sensible choice. It might have been what someone thought you would be good at. Regardless, you pursued the interest and prevailed. What you have accomplished is no easy task and it’s perfectly fine to feel a unsure and anxious. After all, you’re taking a big step and short walk across a very important stage. Embrace your new season and be fearless. You may not feel like you’re experienced enough or have obtained all the knowledge needed for your new journey, but most employers hiring new college graduates are well aware of that learning curve. Remember, they are hiring you because you have proven to be someone that can think critically, overcome challenges, complete tasks in a timely manner, handle projects and finish what you’ve started. Be cool, man. Don’t go crazy. You’ve come too far. Hold your head up. Be confident in the things that you do know and never let them see you sweat. Remember, Superman was really Clarke Kent but he didn’t go around telling people that shit. You got this.


3. Dear Irene,

I don't think I'm very happy with myself because over the course of the past three weeks Ive been spending all of my time inside my dorm. The only times I ever leave are when I'm hungry or when I have class. I feel embarrassed to leave my dorm and it feels like anything based in a public setting will give me anxiety. Im not sure if its because I am unhappy with myself or because I'm worried about what other people will think of me. How do change this because i want to eat outside in public without feeling like people are judging me for the way I open my bag or chew my food? I don't want to feel nervous when I wait in line at the bookstore or when I'm in a room with people I dont know. I hate that feeling.


Dear Anxiety Sucks,

The fact that you’re writing me this letter tells me a lot about you. You care about the impression you make and how others perceive you. I want to personally thank you for possessing a quality that is becoming harder to find in this generation, empathy. You have the ability to understand and feel for others. Don’t be ashamed of such a gift. It’s a treasure. You’re mindful of how loudly you eat and conduct yourself during meals because you’re a respectful person. Hell, with all this twerking going on and loud talking I would stay in my room too. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. If you truly want to change and practice being a bit more outgoing, I would suggest that you find a group of like minded people that share your common interest. They will understand you far better than anyone who has ever made you feel “different” or as if you don’t fit in. True friends don’t care about the way you eat because they don’t want to see you hungry. True friends want to hang out with you because you genuinely care about how they feel. At the end of the day it’s not about the public, it’s how you conduct yourself in public. Send me a follow up email and we’ll have lunch. My treat.