Dear Friends, 
I know it may seem bizarre but this advice column thing is real. For now, a once a week occurrence. Totally anonymous. By the time it gets to me, no email address or anything so I can be completely objective. Your letter does not even have to be posted if you don't want it to. A response can be sent just to you. 
I like doing this, but I need your questions. Doesn't have to be romantic stuff. Let's say affairs of the heart. Relationships! Please send your queries to 
timloveadvice@gmail.com 

sponsored by Kiam Records

Caught Looking 


Dear Tim, 
I'm having trouble dealing with how we as humans have placed such a strict limit on our natural sexuality. Why is it such a wrong thing to feel physical attractions to other people when in a relationship? If that is what i feel then who says its wrong or not? Some law? Or rule? If so many people have trouble with it then aren't we the wrong ones for placing a restriction on natural feelings? Don't you think its pretty insane to expect someone you are with to ONLY think you're attractive and ONLY want you physically. I understand being in a relationship and deciding to build and grow and take care each other that is the more important stuff than just feeling an attraction. The fact that time and effort with someone is worth more than just a feeling then people shouldn't think they are being chosen over another. Am i being a dog or is this common? 

Dear Caught Looking, 
Perhaps you are having trouble with the strict limits you or your partner, as humans, have placed on your relationship. Humans are funny things. I doubt there has ever been a relationship where no one inside the relationship was attracted to some one outside the relationship. The whole idea of monogamy is pretty radical. Yet fidelity, loyalty, and trust are important. Most of us want at least a little of these in a relationship. 
There are no rules that you must follow. There can be if you want. The thing is they have to be agreed upon by both of you (or all six, I don't want to presume) in the relationship. Most people skip the conversations necessary to define these rules and they each continue living by their own rules as if they were THE rules. And it sucks to be them. 
Communicate with kindness. That should be the rule. How one expresses one's desires and attractions to one's partner must be done with care and consideration. And that is also how they need to be received. There is a world of difference between saying, "I think Brad Pitt was hot in that gladiator movie" and "I find your boss strangely attractive" and "I would totally have sex with your sister". Any of these, with some bad timing thrown in, could hurt some one's feelings. It is true that jealousy comes from insecurity. But who, of us humans, has not felt it, at least a little, when we fear that the one we trust and love and depend on may prefer some one else? 
I'm not sure there's an actual question here. It seems more like you are railing against injustice. I corrected a lot of the spelling and punctuation, but some of the sentence structure still leaves me guessing at your exact intended meaning. This is not a criticism. I am just glad you wrote. However, it does suggest to me that you are some one who may be prone to saying things before you've really thought them over. My advice is take great care when sharing stuff about your attractions. Consider the possibility that some of these things might be private. Some of our fantasies are just for us. 
On the other side of this, it is obvious that your feelings have been hurt. I am guessing you got some shame thrown at you on top of the injustice you already felt. This is important to realize. It's not just anger you feel. It is crucial to feel like you are being seen and heard clearly in a relationship. If, when all is said and done, you feel repressed and unfulfilled, this may not be the one for you. And it is okay to leave it. But first, I suggest a few more conversations where you each drop the blame and the shame and talk about your feelings. Don't just fuck and make up. Well, do. But talk first and figure out if your rules are compatible. 

Love Yourself 
No One Else Can Do It For You 
Tim Foljahn

Hopeful Dreamer 

Dear Tim- 

So glad you've decided to branch out cause lately I've been having some very vivid and weird dreams. 

First dream I dream that I'm waking up in my home and as a walk into the living room I notice my cats have climbed up on top of my piano and seem very focused on something happening below them in the dining room. I look in the dining room and notice that there is a menagerie of wild animals streaming in and out of my kitchen and dining room. There are foxes, pigs, moles, rabbits, bobcats, deer, goats and more a veritable Noahs Ark just calmly and politely checking out my house. The cats are not alarmed and actually seem to enjoy the show. I notice that I have left the back kitchen door open and that is how the animals got in. I gently shush all the animals out the back door and close it. 

Second dream starts with me putting a store bought rotisserie chicken in the oven to stay warm for lunch. I'm in an old flat style apartment. My son (I don't have one in real life) is complaining that he's hungry and can't wait for lunch so I give him one of the legs to tide him over until then. He's mad that I have to leave to take my aunt to her doctors appointment. I rush downstairs to meet my aunt. At the bottom of the stairs is an older couple talking to each across the hall. They are married but live in separate apartments. I'm waiting for my aunt but she never shows up. I call her and she asks me where I am. I tell her and wait some more but she still doesn't show. I decide to go back upstairs once again passing the older couple. When I get upstairs a credit card on the dining room table starts ringing. I answer it and it is my deceased mother calling. At the same time my cell phone rings, I tell my mother to hold on, answer the cell phone and it's my aunt telling me she's at the Doctors office. I'm mad she didn't tell me when I called her earlier. I hang up with her and continue talking to my mother on the credit card who said something to the effect that her sister (my aunt) was a bit of a scatterbrain. I hang up go to my room when an older man comes in and tells me to start packing because he is taking me, my daughter and my aunt on a private jet to Europe. I look out the window and see the jet being loaded up. 

What do you make of these Tim? 

Hopeful Dreamer 

Dear Hopeful Dreamer, 
Of course it is impossible for any one but the dreamer to accurately decode a dream. These days, I am thinking that the dreams that seem important are movies that our subconscious make for us. Their purpose is to ease us into looking at things we need to realize about ourselves that our conscious selves can't quite handle yet. I think that our subconscious makes use of all that untapped brain power we are always hearing about. That it can actually figure outcomes to some extent as well as harbor fears and desires. 
The first dream seems in a way to be about dreaming. The cats are your guide in this one. Their message is "when this happens, just observe and be interested." What is happening here, I think, is that your subconscious is entering your conscious world. We often see our subconscious as primitive or animal. It is the uncivilized thing. The wild. And in this dream you and your guides are literally looking down into the subconscious. The interesting thing is that, to some extent, you take the cats' cue and don't freak out. The gentle shushing out means that you are not ready to live with these things yet but you are not appalled by them. Some day they will come and stay and you will love their company and they will be put to work for you. You will see that their nature is yours. 
The second dream seems to be some kind of premonition. Your son is your guide or the narrator in this one. Of course, he is also you, as are all things in your dreams. He is upset that you are choosing to tend to what other people think is important over what is best for yourself. The leg you give him seems to me to be a symbol of power. The couple downstairs (the subconscious) are mysterious but my guess is that they are your divided self. Conscious/Unconscious? I don't know, but at least they are talking. Together they guard the door to your subconscious. Your aunt, in this dream, seems like she represents the shoulds and obligations of modern society. All this stuff we show up for but does not show up for us. The stuff that we put things on hold for. And it is giving you the run-around. 
The ancient notion of dead people is that they know everything. Your Mother, we must assume, is the voice of true reason, and is telling you that the course prescribed by society is not to be trusted. Plus, she is calling on a credit card. Money Calling! So a lot of this is about material concerns. The financial stability of your family and yourself. I don't know what Europe symbolizes for you but in this hemisphere it often hints at some sort of sophistication and tradition that is not usually available to us. 
The older man at the end may be the same person as your son. You, who were needy, now grown and able to provide abundance and what is best for every one, even your aunt. 
I think that this dream suggests that your financial independence is on it's way but will not come from where society is telling you to look. I think you will have some validation of this soon and it will encourage you to seek your own path. 
This all sounds very general and it is. These are just crude guesses at what may be going on. We do all share some archetypes. Some symbols are universal, but even the meaning of those change with circumstance. 

Live Your Dreams 
No One Else Can Do It For You 
Tim Foljahn

MFA 


Dear Tim, 
Maybe more of a life question than a love question. I’m a part-time musician but have always had a full-time job because I’ve never wanted to risk relying on music to make money. This has always left me feeling sort of like a music hobbyist, as opposed to a “real” musician who commit themselves to music all or nothing. At the same time, though, I’ve always sort of felt half-in with my career, even though it takes up a lot of my time. I like my job but don’t love it, and it’s never become soul-crushing and it’s allowed me to stay busy with music on the side without worrying about finances. I’ve always kicked around with the prospect of ditching the actual playing of music, hustling for gigs, etc and committing myself to some kind of course of graduate study that might get me a more satisfying job/ career but never done it. In my heart, I just like playing music. Sometime around a year ago, I decided to take a break from worrying about my career, and committed, in my head, to telling myself I was a “real” musician, and just see what happened. What happened, is at least I’ve grown to feel a lot better about how music fits in my life…the practicing and incremental improvements, the finding opportunities to play, the seeking out new music, all makes more sense and feels like fun, even though not a lot has practically changed. My overall mood is vastly improved and I just generally feel better about things. 
A few months ago, on a total whim, I applied to a MFA program, not in music, just to see what would happen. I ended up getting accepted and now am facing a decision. The MFA would require a lot of my time for about 2 years and doesn’t relate to my career in any way. I’m very excited by the prospect of doing it, but worried that music would be totally back-burnered for a few years. I need to keep my job, so dropping that isn’t really an option, so the time spent on music would be what goes out the door because that time will get spent on the degree. Deferring the program isn’t an option, though reapplying next year is. Struggling with what to do…I love music, and love the feeling I get from making it a big part of my life. But trying something new could be a lot of fun and be rewarding, also. Thank you in advance for your thoughts. 

Dear MFA (Mother Fu**ing Artist), 
It seems like this is a problem for most of the people I know these days. So many of us feel like we are giving our all to our Art and really worried about paying rent or working our asses off at some job and not having time for our muse. That's how it seems. In reality most of us are getting a hell of a lot done and very few of us are homeless. There are a million ideas out there on "work/life balance". The truth is it is all Life. How do you want your life to be? We all want more time, but it's pretty much common knowledge that time is just a construct that has little use except being able to meet you for coffee at an appointed time. We have all seen it collapse when we are doing something we love. And how it grows exponentially when we are doing something we don't. It is flexible. It contracts and expands with our mood and attention. And, besides, we are all actually living in eternity anyway. 
So there is this notion that there is only so much time and we can either do this or do that but we can't do both. That's not what I see. I see my friends raising children, getting married or divorced, working, going to grad school, weathering disasters and putting out a new record, finishing a book or having an art show all at the same time. Of course, they are always saying,"Something's gotta go. I can't keep doing all this." But they are doing it. 
You have already decided you are going to grad school. You are stoked! That's great. Do It! I love this on a whim stuff. Whims are where it's at. It seems like nothing but it's really a great big deal. It's how we trick ourselves into jumping. But it's not like you are going to just stop thinking about music. At this stage, thinking is most of the work. Contrary to mythology, the muses (music among them) will never abandon you. You can try to shoo them out like cats but they just hang around. Sooner or later you have to feed them. I think it is comforting for us to think,"Well, I can do these six things, but I couldn't possibly do seven. That would be crazy." The idea of limitless potential is downright scary. We will find time in the funniest places. A half hour of focused, absorbing work can accomplish almost anything. And the good news is, again, there is no hurry. 
I am really glad you got over that "real musician or not" crap. What a bunch of baloney that was, Right? Music gets a bad rap in this culture. It is often confused with some product or other. What you pay to get it. Or don't pay. The disks and chips. The devices. The venues. The stage. It is only when it gets out of these things and into your soul that it actually happens. Music and Art and Dance are actually integral parts of life. This idea of a pro musician is murky. If one of your jobs is being a parent and you sing to your kid, you are a pro musician. 
Congratulations! You are having an adventure! You will know this new thing is working if you get from it some of what you get from music. Your music may change. Your relationship with it may change, but it's not going away. It is too important. For you, it is part of life and your other work will suffer without it. Be generous with yourself and allow yourself to have it all. 

Love Yourself 
Nobody Can Do It For You, 
Tim Foljahn

Flowers 


Dear Tim, 
I don't even know where to start. I got 99 problems, and most of them are "affairs of the heart". I'll just have to narrow 'em down. Well, to start, I believe I'm in love with two women, but I'm not sure. We all attend the same small college, so I'm in the vicinity of both of them daily. One of them, I'll call her "Daisy," is sort of an ex that I was seeing for awhile, before she broke up with me for being too emotionally unavailable. The other one, my current flame, "Peony," I've been seeing for the past few months and steadily falling in love with her. "Peony" and I talked about being monogamous and decided against it, because we felt that we loved each other and were close enough friends with each other that we could see other people without jealousy. For the most part, this has been true. But it seems very different to be sexually monogamous versus being emotionally monogamous. Being emotionally attached to multiple people seems very tough. Is love a zero-sum game? It seems difficult to love many people and sometimes I find myself rationing my love. But I don't know who I love, and I don't know if I want to choose. 
One thing I've noticed is that my love can be strangely pragmatic. For example, I was living with "Peony" for awhile and therefore I feel a lot closer to her recently, whereas when I was visiting "Daisy" I suddenly realized I wasn't over her. I've been really busy with work and I just end up loving whichever person shows me love, and don't seem to have the energy to pursue my true feelings. Is this a good reason to take some acid, mescaline, shrooms, or MDMA? To figure this stuff out? 
--Neurotic in Nebraska 

Part two 
I wanted to send an addendum-- I realized the last sentence could sound flip, but I take your advice column very seriously and would love serious feedback on this and other problems. Publishing it is fine, but if u can't get around to publishing it, any advice helps. 

Part three 
Things have changed, "Peony" and I might be breaking up, she's seemed distant for awhile, but we were so in love, and also swore we'd be lifelong friends and lovers. 

Dear Neurotic, 
First of all, you are very lucky to have two flowers that you are so attracted to. The joy of loving someone is it's own reward. Unfortunately it comes with a whole bunch of other feelings. It is important that you were told by Daisy that you were being emotionally unavailable. Perhaps you were being that way but that does not mean you are that way. It seems to upset you that you don't know who you love or if you even want to choose. It is totally okay to not know and the truth is no one would choose if they didn't have to. You are rationing your love. I like that because it suggests that you are saving some for yourself. In time, after tripping and meditating and vision questing and guruing and rebirthing and past-lifing you may find that you have a limitless sea of love for the universe, etc. But for now I think it is wise to spend your love like the precious coin that it is. And there is no wiser path than loving the one that shows you love. 
I am just going to say it. You are young. It probably doesn't often feel that way but it's true. Try to remember it. A lot is happening very fast and many adventures await you. Some you have to go on alone and they can be lonely. They can also be some of the most satisfying. Study yourself. It's a fascinating subject. The answers are there. I'm not saying your situation is because of your age. You could easily be in the same situation in your 50's, believe you me. 
Is love a zero-sum game? A really good question. What is love? Is it just a mass of neuroses combined with some sort of physical need for intimate contact? I have often wondered. To call it a game is not necessarily to belittle it. It is perhaps the greatest game ever. One to be played with someone rather than against them. A game where the goal is not to overwhelm or get something from each other. It is to expand and evolve our souls. 
Monogamous. Not a very pretty word. Sounds like a bad guy in a Dickens novel. The incidents of you and Peony deciding against monogamy and her distance now are probably connected. You could rack your brain trying to figure the angles on it but the important thing is you did not want it. I think that sometimes you just love someone so much that there just isn't much room for anybody else. Sometimes that lasts a while. Sometimes forever. You will know when that is happening. I think it is easier to attain if it has already been happening on it's own for awhile. Otherwise, swearing to be lifelong friends and lovers is just absurd. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. We've most of us done it. It's very exciting. I will probably do it tomorrow. But it's crazy. 
As far as psychedelics go, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend them for figuring things out. Listen, I've done enough tripping for both of us and I have to admit that pretty much none of the truly profound and useful things I have learned about myself and how to navigate life came from taking drugs. I believe you can only get good at something by doing it. No shortcuts. So keep living and loving. You are doing great. 

Love Yourself 
Nobody Can Do It For You, 
Tim Foljahn

Sam the Lion 



Dear Tim, 
I went through a horrible divorce and then encountered serious financial and health problems. I am wondering if I encountered everything at once for a reason. I feel somewhat defeated and not at all interested in 'trying' to make anything work. I am so much better now, but exhausted by the look of my garden which is ravaged and barren at the moment. I think of Sam the Lion from that wonderful movie with Sybil Sheppard- The Last Picture Show, and wonder will I ever meet Sam the Lion? I am not worried about the future but do find myself surprised at how totally and completely cynical I have become. Perhaps it is better to watch from the sidelines. The view is nice. I hope you can help me to rearrange my thinking. To make matters worse I find myself crushed by winter depression. Will it ever end? 

Scorpio in Trouble. 

Dear Scorpio, 
I am sorry you are having a hard time lately. I am not quite of the opinion that everything happens for a reason, because it is usually taken to mean that everything happens for a "good" reason. I am very much of the opinion, however, that everything that has happened, has indeed happened, no matter how much we wish it hadn't. I think it is worthwhile to think about what has happened and why; What happened because of choices we made and what was totally out of our control. Some of the choices we made have resulted in pain and we would actually make them again, knowing everything, because they accomplished what we could not otherwise have accomplished. The price was just a lot higher than we thought it would be. It's good to look at everything. Choosing to not look at something, hoping it will change or go away, has disastrous results. We know this but we do it anyway because whatever it is just does not fit in our vision, our plan, our world view. Looking back we tend to go, "How could I have been so blind/stupid?!?" A more useful approach might be, "Wow! I wanted that so much that I was willing to ignore all this other junk." It is interesting how we have lived our lives so far. 
My experience has been that when a lot of bad things happen at once it is time for a change. You can think of it as,"the world telling you something" if you want to but I think it's just the way it is. You had a system. A marriage, a money plan of some kind and your health. Then you didn't. I'm guessing that some if not all of these had been pretty shaky for a while. So when one fell it was a chain reaction. Often where we fail in these situations is in taking care of ourselves. We are so busy keeping all the plates in the air, cursing ourselves for the late rent and the leaky roof that we fail to see what's really going on. That we are not sleeping or eating well. We are not being seen or heard unless we yell. We are lonely even though we don't have enough time to ourselves and when we do get a little we just drink or eat a bunch of stuff or run our asses off or try to do anything at all to try to soothe ourselves and that's fine but that little dream we had, that passion, that project is getting harder and harder to get to. And so it all falls apart. 
Now the thing about it falling apart is that it forces change. Things are not what you thought they were anymore. Disillusionment and cynicism are the proper attitudes for this situation. You just got hammered. Watching from the sidelines is not a bad idea for now. Observe. Closely. The world has changed. You have changed. From this new perspective maybe you can drop the script. Maybe you don't want to play that part anymore. Maybe that plot seems a little corny. Maybe the whole movie was just a vehicle for some other actor. What is the part you really want? It has to be a brand new one. What would you do if you were not afraid? Who are you really? I'm serious. Without all the,"Oh! I couldn't possibly"coy bullshit that is just a way of not admitting what you want. What can you do that you've always wanted to do for yourself, that you kind of always knew would be good for you? What would clear your head and your heart? What would comfort you? The good news is you don't have to do anything right now. Just think about it. 
The Last Picture Show. Now you're talkin'! Best American movie ever? Maybe. It shows us how awful people can be. And how fragile. 
Sam the Lion is a man near death. But he is full of life. He embodies what is best in us humans. His wife went mad and he's buried at least two sons. He's the real deal. He is an island of fair, generous, ethical and moral behavior. Yet his fondest memory is of an affair with a woman stuck in a lonely marriage. It is her fondest memory as well. What if they had not bent to convention and decided to live together? Who knows? And yet they are both very grateful for the time they had together. The question is not,"Will I meet Sam the Lion?". It is, "Will you recognize him?. Perhaps you have met him and passed him by or sent him away because he did not fit with your idea of how things work. Maybe he was more than you thought you deserved. 
Of course, there is one sure way to meet Sam the Lion. Look in the mirror. The part is yours if you want it. Spring is almost here. 

Love Yourself 
Nobody Can Do It For You, 
Tim Foljahn

Dear Santa 


Hi Tim, 
So I've been meaning to write to you since this Valentines weekend. It's been a weird feeling for me lately, as words usually come pretty naturally to me but lately, well, it's just been hard to express how I feel and what I really want to say. 
I started seeing a woman since early Fall. It's been wonderful , and beautiful . She is sweet , attractive, great taste in music, beautiful voice , she is talented, and most of all she is real and authentic and down to earth! We recently agreed that we will try and be friends and what sucks is that a lot of that has to do with my distancing myself the last month or two. She seemed jealous , asking me if I spoke with other women at all or dated anyone. Also noticed a hair on my jacket which freaked me out and seemed overly possessive. I am in a transitional stage in my life and really am trying to make space to grow personally, creatively , etc. also I am learning to love myself and it is sometimes hard for me to accept someone's love. Things between me and (her name is Easter Bunny) started to seem more and more serious. As well as a sense of fear and jealousy on her end which did turn me off. I have felt emotional lows the last few weeks as we have been on and off, and this feels like a tail end in our relationship. I feel terrible because she's amazing and I feel like an asshole. Also I'm worried I let go of something beautiful and real. I don't want to hurt anyone and the whole situation scared me. I miss her and we are talking here and there but it seems things just won't be the same again. 

Any feedback, advice or experience you can share with me? I need some perspective and this was hard for me to express even in writing. I feel confused and sad. 

Thanks. 
Santa Claus 

Dear Santa, 
I am here to tell you it's okay to want what you want. And to not want what you don't. 
I could not help noticing that you signed your real name (which I have slightly altered) and made a point of including the other person's name (also upgraded) as well. I suspect there was a hope of these "accidentally" being published, thereby sending a message to Easter. It's a small world. 
I think the message you'd like to send her is, 
"Easter, you are a truly wonderful person, but this relationship is killing me. Don't be mad at me. It's not my fault. And you're kind of a jealous freak. 
Love, Santa." 
Some information, however, you did not include was whether or not you were actually seeing other people at the time. And in the glowing attributes of Easter you did not mention how the sex was. I am assuming there was sex. There may not have been. But even that is worth a mention, especially less than six months in. 
The main feeling I am getting from this letter is one of guilt and the wish to avoid feeling guilty. If there was a question for me here, which there is not, but if there was I think it would be, 
"Tim, how can I get the hell out of this thing with out anybody being mad at me or even liking me any less and, oh yeah, maybe leave the door open a little so I can come back if I change my mind?" If you had asked that question, this would be my answer: 
You can't. You can't because you are not a sociopath. That's the kind of shit sociopaths do. Leave it to the professionals.You're just a guy. 
Being your own person, more often than not, is uncomfortable, uncool and inconvenient. For you and for those around you. But it is the only way forward. It is difficult for many of us to not want what some one else wants, but our way is not their way. We all have to take our own unique path through a very complicated world and the only guide is the inner compass of our own desire. 
How much of your life are you willing to spend seeking approval? Is it really practical? 
On the practical front: 
You're out, if you wanna be. You're over it. Whatever your reasons are.....like you don't want to have sex with her, or you only want to have sex with her, or you want to be alone, or you want to be with someone else, or she's more into it than you are so you feel weird, or she smells like turpentine, I don't know. Whatever your reasons are, they are your reasons and they are good enough. 
Being just friends with some one who I was just having sex with and who wanted something other than what I wanted from the relationship has never worked for me. I've not seen it work. Someone's always just pissed off or waiting. Mostly both. Or you just end up having sex all the time. But if you're into all the drama of that kind of thing, go for it. Me, I got my nose broken. She has other friends. So do you. Give it a break. Down the road, who knows? 
Guilt has no place in this relationship stuff. In this case it is just a way of punishing yourself for stating your desire. Guilty of what exactly? May I suggest there is a bit of, "How can I deprive her of my awesome excellence?" It sounds grandiose. It is. We all do it. She'll live. 
Her jealousy does seem a little out of line but I think you are using it to convince yourself it's okay to leave. As if your wish to do so was not enough. 
My experience has been that when I have honestly told someone that I was through, without giving them more information than they need in order to know where they stand, without trying to alleviate my guilt, without putting it on them in some way and without dismissing it or running away, they have generally respected me for it. And afterword, I thought it was the kindest way to treat someone. With respect. With kindness. And please don't do the, "I'm just really messed up. I must be twisted to not want to be with you, cuz you are sooooo great" thing. You'll be lucky to walk away without a fork in your eye. 
Which brings up the possibility that you are just messed up and afraid of commitment. Right? You're really screwed up. No relationships for you. Cuz you're just bad. Bad, Bad, Bad. WAKE UP, SANTA CLAUS!!! You are just a guy. Not a heart breaker, not a misanthrope. Not a tortured artist (wait, What?) Just a man learning to follow his desire. Own it, Santa! 
Now, I want you to take yourself on a nice date. Don't be cheap! You'll find your way. 

Love Yourself 
Nobody Can Do It For You, 
Tim Foljahn

from 2/5 

Dear Tim: I’ve been dating this girl for 3 months and I really want to take it the next level and become exclusive but she doesn’t seem like she’s looking to do that anytime soon. She definitely likes me and things have been going well. Do you think it’s something I’m doing wrong or do you think she just want to keep it casual and it doesn’t have anything to do with me? 
How can I step it up? - Signed, Anonymous 
 

Dear Anonymous, if that is, indeed, your real name, 

Your inquiry has many interesting elements. You want to "step up" your relationship and "take it to the next level". This implies some dissatisfaction with where it is now. Some insecurity perhaps. Although we all understand the urge to solidify a relationship into something stable and consistent, such a relationship does not actually exist. Relationships are by their nature unpredictable and chock full of discomfort. The joy that comes from them comes with a price. They require a lot of patience and vulnerability to thrive. In any case, relationships are something you do together, decide on together, not something you get the other person to do. It's possible that while you are scheming on how to "take it to the next level" you are missing out on the actual relationship. It sounds like she's good with where it's at. You could actually discuss it with her. Sounds crazy, I know. Listen to what she has to say. 

You say things are going well. So? What's the problem? My advice is to enjoy where you're at. See what happens. 

Also, you failed to mention if you love "this girl" or even like her, only that she likes you. You may ask yourself which is more important to you. And likewise, do you want to be in an exclusive relationship with this particular girl or do you just want to be in an exclusive relationship? 

That's the longish answer. The short one is: 

3 Months ?!?! Come on !!!! There's still a pretty good chance she's a serial killer! Lighten up! 3 months..... seriously! You probably have not yet seen what she's like when she's sick or when you're sick or when you're being a jerk. You need to witness how you both handle situations where every one is not at their best. A lot. You are SEEING each other. That's why they call it that. It takes time. 

Love Yourself 
Nobody Can Do It For You, 
Tim Foljahn

from 2/9 

Dear Tim, 

If a good-looking Grecian man (with questionable English) makes out with me in bi-monthly intervals sends this text: “I hope we are always friends and more (with a smiley face) - I like you.” Does he really like me or does he just want to bone me before I leave the Mediterranean? I like him, and I made that pretty clear by replying, "Thank you! I like you too" (with a dumb smiley face). No, I wouldn't mind a ride around the boneyard but I'd prefer something more long-term. Do you suggest we draw our feelings out in the sand? 

Signed, 
Lost in Translation 
 

Dear Lost, 

You are obviously a charming person with a great sense of humor. So, I will give it to you straight: 

He definitely just wants to bone you before you leave the Mediterranean. BUT that does not mean he doesn't really like you. They are not mutually exclusive. That's as far as my mind reading powers will take us in search of the Grecian's feelings. 

However, your feelings are even more of a mystery. Not minding a ride around the boneyard does not sound like you are crazy hot for this guy to start with. So, of course, this is more about what you want than what he wants. 
It sounds like something more long term would mean something long distance. If you don't trust that he's genuine now, that's not likely to change in a long distance relationship. If you are looking for a long distance relationship, you could ask yourself just how much of a relationship you are looking for. 
And it seems like maybe you are over the just hooking up thing. You want more! That's a great place to be. The problem is nothing comes without risk. But if you cherish and obey your desires and take full responsibility for them you will reap rewards regardless of the outcome. 

Here is my suggestion: 
If you are really attracted to this guy, ( If you are not, stop here. Go get a massage and never think about it again ) arrange some time together. A good chunk of open ended time. Not the last day before you leave, either. Bring your very best self. Open. Confident. Well aware of your own innate charm. Talk. A lot. Language barriers crumble before desire. Ask anything you want. Answer honestly. Really hear what he tells you. You will know in your heart if he is just a player. ( not that there's anything wrong with that ) And you can decide if you want to play or not. He may be a very good player. Who knows? Listen to your gut. Not what you would like to believe to make a story line work out or to protect yourself from emotional risk. What you are really seeing and feeling. If you get the creeps, leave. If he gets pissy because you're not being how he wants you to be, leave. If he is rude to the waiter, leave. Stay alert. Don't get wasted. Be careful by all means. But if you find that it is a pleasure just being with this person and it appears it is the same for him, then I suggest you go to someplace private (or not, I don't wish to presume) and bring all your god given talents to bear on a ride around the boneyard. Or just being together alone and seeing what happens. Seeing what you want. With your whole and open self, unencumbered by thoughts of what it could turn into, knowing you just really wanted to be where you are. 

Love Yourself 
Nobody Can Do It For You, 
Tim Foljahn

from 2/14 

Dear Tim, 

I’m feeling older and fatter everyday. In some ways I feel more attractive and more myself than ever, but my nagging inner critic insists that I should constantly be in a state of self improvement. It’s exhausting!!! How does a regular gal like me let her freak flag fly and not get swallowed by self doubt? 
Sexy Chubster 

Dear Sexy, 
This letter makes me so happy! Partly because you have answered your own question. Mostly because the phrase "I feel more attractive and more myself than ever" is maybe the most excellent thing you can hear some one say. 
I know there are very real health issues involved with weight gain, but I doubt you'd be feeling attractive if you were having trouble making it up the stairs. I am also assuming you are not a hundred pound twenty year old. Plus I get the feeling you are far too exceptional to be just a regular gal. Just a guess. 
That said, here's a bit of advice. And this is good for every one. Nagging inner critics are Assholes. They would have us think that self-criticism is the only way to self improvement. Bullshit. It's the only way to stay a self critical person. It's the only way to keep yourself down. It’s exhausting!!! 
Treat yourself like you would treat some one that you really love and you will start to see yourself as some one that deserves unconditional love. As you, Sexy, are already starting to do. I know you know already. You are totally in a state of self improvement. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, But you cannot hide anymore. Be you. You are excellent. 

Love Yourself 
Nobody Can Do It For You, 
Tim Foljahn

from 2/20 

Dear Tim Love Man, 

I was in a crappy 2 year relationship and thankfully got out of it! Three months after we broke up, I met a great guy online. He and I are compatible and solve problems well and enjoy each other's company. I really love him and could see myself with him for a long time. We've been together for 1 year now and he just asked me to move in. I feel so great about it! But last night he asked about that 3 month period between breaking up with my ex and before he and I met. He asked if I had dated in that time and I was honest about it because I have nothing to hide from him. Well, he wasn't happy with the that information and decided to let me know. How was I to know the guy I would want to spend my life with was going to have an issue with the guy i slept with to get over my ex? 


Dear I Didn't Catch your Name, 

My immediate questions are "Why did Prince Charming ask a question he didn't seem to want the answer to?" and "Why did he wait until after he had already asked you to move in?". My guess is that yours is exactly the sort of answer he wanted because he needed an edge. Now he has something he can throw in your face every time he's feeling threatened. And I guarantee he will and probably has numerous times already just to make sure it works. It's purpose is to shame you. And it works even though it's not something you're really ashamed of. He is throwing some heavy Psy Ops here. My guess is he has a few other similar strategies in play as well. 
So that's him. What about you? Here are some more Questions: 
1. Have you had any serious time in your life just being by yourself? You know, just hanging out with your friends and hanging out with yourself, not in a relationship or actively seeking one. It's not a requirement, but it is a good way to learn about your real wants and desires. 
2. Do you really want to move in with a guy you've known for a year (ten months?) when from the looks of this letter the enjoying of each others problem solving compatibility is out the window in favor of hostile paranoia? 
3. Did you want to spend your life with Crappy 2 Year before you found out he was a jerk? 
4. Is this what you really want? 
Now, I know you don't know the answer to the last one. That's the point. Look, I am not saying this guy is a jerk. Well, maybe I am but that's beside the point. The point! The point is you deserve to be in a relationship with some one you can trust. First of all, trust yourself. Don't sell yourself out for a little affection. 
My advice is walk away. If you move in together before you get all this really sorted out you can expect, at best, to be feeling bad about yourself most of the time. I don't like this shame trap stuff. It is mean spirited. You deserve better. 
Of course, It's possible you could move in and he would feel more secure and his behavior will improve and your misgivings will magically fade away. Just kidding. That never happens. There is no hurry here. I think it would be good to examine your patterns in dating and relationships of all kinds. See where you have really been rewarded with Joy and where you've taken a beating. This does not include you thinking you have a "bad picker". 
If you really do love this guy, You should tell him what's bothering you. If you two can't talk about this, what can you talk about? If he cannot hear you, that's your cue to skidoo. 

Love Yourself 
Nobody Can Do It For You, 
Tim Foljahn