Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
I’m a single mom and presently working here in Manila. I wanted to seek your advice regarding my situation now.
I have a friend, a special friend 10 years younger than me, a single guy. He is pursuing me and said he likes me so much. Every day he calls me and chats with me every single time. I feel happy that a guy younger than me is interested in me.
But things changed when I ignored his request to see me in a sexy pic. I told him I couldn’t. After that happened, he was so cold, and now sometimes ignores me.
I feel bad that just because I did not do what he wants eh hindi na niya minsan kausapin. (He sometimes no longer talks to me)
My friend told me I’m boring because I am too serious. I should say I feel that I am really boring – because I don’t want such issue to talk about sex or have a sexy pic.
Please advise me if I’m really a boring person.
Thank you for your email.
I am not a child of the Internet but it seems to me that this is a potential case of cyber sleight of hand. Your friend (let’s call him Chris) meets you on the Internet, gets close to you, pays you attention and then wants you to send him sexy pictures. Who knows how many other women he is having similar conversations with, how many are actually willing to provide him with free porn?
For all you know he is not 10 years younger than you and perhaps not even a guy. And what is he going to do with these pictures? At best they are for his own enjoyment but they could also be used for blackmail or you could simply wake up one day and be revealed in all your glory on monitors all over the world.
As for whether you are boring or not, this is an entirely subjective matter and depends on who is doing the judging. It is an insult commonly hurled at those who fail to agree with a proposal e.g. if your friends want to go out and get drunk and you don’t, you are ‘boring’; if they want to play strip poker and you don’t, you are ‘boring.’
One of the joys of humankind is the sheer variety of the species – in looks, thoughts, emotions, every possible aspect. We all have a chance to meet like-minded people and there lies the joy of every new day.
If you merely want to be pursued by a younger man, by all means continue your relationship with Chris. If however you actually want to be with someone who also likes and respects you, say goodbye to Chris and look elsewhere.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. I am very glad that Mr Baer said all he has, because that means I can concentrate on the two things I think are important to be aware of. One is about your cyberfriend, the other is about your judgmental friend.
You said of your cyber friend: “When I ignored his request to see me in a sexy pic. I told him I can’t. After that happened he was so cold, and sometimes ignores me.
“I feel bad that just because I did not do what he wants eh hindi na niya minsan kausapin. (He sometimes no longer talks to me).”
Like a spoiled brat, just because he didn’t get what he wanted from you, he immediately punished you. Because that is, after all, what punishment is: directly applying an unpleasant stimulus like a shock after a response or removing a potentially rewarding stimulus. For instance, deducting someone’s pocket money to punish undesirable behavior.
Someone with more finesse would have tried using something that has been proven to be more successful in similar cases, perhaps mainly because it is not so halata (obvious), and that is successive approximation. Successive approximation would have been to ask you to send him a picture of yourself, any picture, then ask for another picture but asking if it could be one with you in a sleeveless blouse, and so on and so forth until he reached the goal of the sexy picture he wanted in the first place.
But spoiled impatient brat that he is, he used a ploy that he thought would immediately get you to do what he wanted.
Who wants to continue being a friend of someone who punishes you simply because you do not acquiesce with his request? This may be ok to do to your pet dog – not giving him a biscuit when he doesn’t sit when you ask (command) him to, but to stop calling and/or being friendly simply because you don’t send him a picture when he asks?!!? Ridiculous.
As for your judgmental friend who said you were boring because“you are ‘too serious’ or simply because you “don’t want such issue to talk about sex or have a sexy pic,” forget about her. She is incapable of distinguishing dogs and swine from people with a sense of ethics/morality/propriety.
You don’t want to talk about sex or send sexy pictures to just anyone? Brilliant! Makes perfect sense to me.
Not sending sexy pictures to someone you haven’t met in real time and thus hardly know doesn’t make you boring; it makes you discerning. Same with talking about sex.
Even Jesus, in Matthew 7:6, says: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet and tear you to pieces.”
That is all you are doing, Ida, not throwing your pearls before swine. After all, it isn’t that you don’t talk about sex with anyone. Perfect example: the letter above that you sent to us.
I suggest, therefore, that you drop both these people, so you have the time and energy to spend on people who really matter.
All the best,
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