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Haunted by the past
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* August 11, 2006, 10:05:23 PM
­I am presently enjoying a wonderful relationship with a guy whom I genuinely care for, and who genuinely cares for me too. He cherishes the honesty in our relationship and tells me almost everything in his life. The honesty strengthens the mutual trust in each other and I feel very secure with him. However, I have not been completely honest and have been hiding from him about a past which I wish I never have, even though I truthfully share with him the rest part of myself.

You see, I came from a relationship two years ago, which was largely physical – too physical for my liking. And I regret for having submitted myself too easily to someone who didn’t respect me at all. He would ask for making-out sessions which I didn’t like because I preferred doing something together that was un-physical. I hate myself for not daring to voice my dislike and acceding to his requests. There was once he suggested going to his house for another making-out session, which I was totally and fiercely against. I resisted but he snapped at me, saying that if we didn’t seize the opportunities, there wouldn’t be any opportunities. This making-out session led to something as far as heavy petting and left me feeling like I had lost my virginity.

I still feel that way. And perhaps, the only thing that makes me slightly better is that we didn’t go all the way because of my resistance. But it didn’t erase the pain of feeling of dirty and impure because of that experience. To me, virginity transcends the mere physical act of making love, a kind of sexual innocence. And that experience ruined that kind of innocence.

The regret and agony worsened recently after a discussion with my present boyfriend on virginity. He said that he probably doesn’t want a girl who is not a virgin and when I heard that, I felt terrible. Because my ex, my boyfriend and I in the same school, seeing my ex around reminds of that horrible past and makes me worry that the truth of what we did would spill out and I shall lose the guy whom I so dearly love.

I am my guy’s first girl and I know telling him this would hurt him a lot and I risk losing such a wonderful guy. My guy says he hates people not telling him things but they say one needn’t reveal everything about his/her past because the present self is what matters. I hang on this very firmly but am I wrong in hiding this from him? How can I move on and heal my pain that is deeply anchored in that ugly past? How can I protect the relationship from my ex, my past?

Please help. God bless.

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August 17, 2006, 12:45:53 AM
#1
­ Hi Eleanor:

Sorry it took me a few days to get back with you. It seems world wide when school gets ready to start all breaks lose and I get flooded. I try to give as much time as it takes to each person that writes so that I can be there totally for each of you. So patience is needed but I think giving you less than my best isn't worth it I hope you understand.
OK, now, unfortunately your guilt is not new. I get more letters than I would like to see from girls having the same experience as you. I don't get this from guys. Why is it that girls put so much more pressure on themselves to live up to a male's standards? We also fall way behind guys in forgiving ourselves. I have found girls to be so much harder on themselves than guys. I am bringing this up because I don't feel you have anything to feel dirty or guilty about. At the time you were with the other guy your feelings for him were honest and you truly cared for him and thought he was the one. I mean you were not brought up in a cave you had a life before your current b/f and guys need to get use to the idea that girls have lives before and after them. To expect you to be pure as the white driven snow is a little unrealistic don't you think? What happens if you break up with this guy and let's say you stay single until you are 25. Are you supposed to have never had a b/f or an intimate relationship if you so choose? Then you meet someone you want to be special with and he says he wants a girl who has never been with someone. Are you the one who is being unrealistic or is the guy? Just because you happen to be his first everything, what happens if you and he don't make it? Then he goes to his next g/f does he change his expectations because he is no longer a "bonafide" virgin or does he still expect it from the girl but not from himself? Does he lie about his past so he can meet his ego need to be "the only one" who has been with his current g/f? These are questions I am posing to any of you who let guys pressure you into sex and guys who make you feel less than equal to their expectations by wanting you to never have had a relationship before them????
You will drive yourself crazy because how do you ever know when it is "the one" and it is ok to give in. This seems to be a real problem that I see growing in your generation just among girls. Why is it that it is the girl who takes the reputation for either saying yes too soon or saying no and loses the guy and then feels guilty about it. If you lose someone because of your past then is that real love?
I would like to see girls set their own standards and decide before they get in to deep with any guy just what the consequences are going to be and decide if you can live with them for the rest of your life. Girls are way too confused today and are not making wise decisions about their bodies because they want to please the guy. Then they lose the guy either because they didn't give in or because they did and then the next guy expects the same thing one way or the other. How do you know when it is the right time and the right guy???
OK, let's look at this since I am seeing it over and over. I am going to write about it in Mar-Anne's Monologe because it is a very real and messing up way too many girls to not address.
For here and your letter though, let's look at it. You didn't go all the way. That makes you a virgin so why do you feel so guilty and dirty?? Again you really will never know what your b/f has really done before you. It is all a matter of trust. So why do you feel the need to purge yourself of what you did before you even knew this guy? You were being true to yourself and that is what is important. Now if you feel guilty that is between you and you. You need to learn from the past and not make the same mistake with this guy. You don’t know that he is going to be Mr. Forever. I have been in this business way too long to ever believe that people are exactly what they proclaim. It is more what they wish they were on some level or what they want from another to fill their needs and expectations. But you need to sit down with yourself and decide what your values and morals are no matter who you are with and live by them. Then you can avoid what you are going through again. If you get quiet with yourself and reach deep into your heart you will find out what you really believe to be right and wrong for you as far as sex, what you can live with and be true to, face yourself every morning with and live with the consequences to your actions. Then you never have to feel guilty or lie or make excuses for yourself. You are living according to your beliefs and that is as honorable and true to yourself as you can get. We don't do this and everyone should before they do anything that has negative consequences or anything that you could not do in front of the whole world without feeling bad. Anything that comes in these categories we really need to sit ourselves down and make peace with ourselves so that we can always lives with ourselves with honor and dignity and face whatever comes our way without guilt or regret. If you decide the most important values for yourself and not base them on what anyone else is going to think then you can stand up in front of God and everyone with your own identity and not apologize or feel guilt. If you do this and you are clear with yourself on where you stand on important issues about yourself then you are never put in a situation that can take you down or make you compromise yourself and later regret.
Doing this can save a lifetime of heartaches, mistakes, losses and big major mistakes that could really cost you personally and professionally. This is what I did and do. What you see is what you get. My life is an open book and I stand behind it. If I make a mistake I go to my God and ask for forgiveness. If I hurt someone else by my “direct” actions I go to them if possible and ask for their forgiveness. If my actions don't please someone else that is their problem not mine. I went nuts like you are with trying to please every guy I dated or every girlfriend who we would get into it over something until I decided I could not be all things to all people. But at least if I were what I expected and honored I was at least pleased. It works. Think about it Eleanor. You are torturing yourself for something that is private between you and the guy you were with at the time. If you feel it was wrong forgive yourself and move on and learn from it. But you never have to confess your past to anyone but yourself and what ever you believe in spiritually. You do not owe this to anyone that was not involved at the time. It serves no beneficial purpose. Ask yourself what good would it do, what purpose would it serve and who is he to be your confessor? You truly need to get one with yourself and if you make peace with her then you can let your past go and start from today living the way you believe. As I say if you feel it was a mistake, learn from it, forgive yourself and move on. That is what life’s lessons are about not to be what is impossible for anyone to be “without mistakes” or “misdirection.” This is your lesson take it and learn from it but you don’t owe your new b/f or anyone else to confess your life in any way if it does not directly concern them or affect them in a harmful way.
Just think about it before you go confessing something that is a perspective and someone else’s expectations of you. When they become perfect then they can start setting the standards for someone else and that day will never come.
Choose wisely this time as you will have consequences and make sure you can live with them. This is what taking the high road is all about in growing up.
Hope this helps, let me know what you think,
Mary-Anne

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* August 18, 2006, 11:59:50 PM
#2
­ Mary-anne,
thank you so much for your advice. It's certainly helped to set things back in perspective and I feel much better. It helps when I am in relationship with alot of respect and we both have a common agreement on keeping the physical stuff at a healthy minimum because we don't want to ruin the relationship. However, I would like to know what I should do if he asks about the level of physicial intimacy I had with my ex. He once asked me and I lied that my ex and I never went beyond kissing. I was dishonest and I know honesty is crucial for any relationship to work. I feel that I need to eventually tell him about this since he once asked and I lied. How can I tackle this difficult subject?

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August 25, 2006, 01:49:55 AM
#3
­This is a very complex issue and I truly want to get some very important lessons to all of you that read this response because almost all of us have or will go through what Eleanor is facing. I want you to understand the dynamics here because it truly hides many things that will challenge you in your life. If I can put it together right you can learn some very valuable insight that can help you avoid some very major problems in your life personal and professional. So I wrote Eleanor and told her to give me a bit more time as her question is really packed full of conflict that will come to almost if not all of us.
I will post as soon as I get it right :).
Mary-Anne

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August 27, 2006, 11:31:54 PM
#4
­ Eleanor:

OK good point sticking with this subject, again you are in with the rest of us. I know I have been in your situation and many many girls who write me write the same thing so let’s work this next step out and several issues surrounding why it is even an issue.
Now I don’t claim to have the answers that will make you get what you want back. See that is where we have to learn to think ahead and make decisions that we can live with the consequence down the line for OR change how we view something and stand up for it because no matter what there are “always” consequences. If we truly believe in what we stand for then when the consequences come if they turn out to be against us we are able to stand strong behind our decisions and it doesn’t devastate us. Sure it always hurts not to get what you want. But believe me through using this formula when I make a thought out decision and then someone comes back at me in a totally unexpected way that truly could mess me up, I able to take it and even walk away knowing I believe in what I said or did and tell myself “it is their problem not mine.” Because the truth of it Eleanor is this, throughout our lives people will react to us, sometimes in ways we never expected and that can really mess with our head and/or our feelings. I have done things with the most honorable intentions and have them backfire and someone or several people come down on me. It hurts but since I made my decision based on pre-thinking and validating myself so when this sort of thing occurs I am able to walk away from their misunderstanding what I did. I obviously have to think about what happened because their reaction was so unexpected. But when I do re-evaluate what the heck just happened, I can think clearly without my feelings being involved or doubting myself. I am able to realize that I have no idea what is really going on in the situation or with the person and give the problem to who it belongs to “them.” I can then go on with my life uninterrupted and not have all these doubts and bad feelings hanging on to me as I try to move on with my life. It works sooooooo much better and I don’t waste needless energy, I have much greater self esteem and self confidence. I think that is one of the biggest things I try to teach all of you, because even adults don’t think about consequences since it is human nature to “react” instead of “act.” If you “react” you are making decisions based on your emotions. If you “act” you are thinking something through and making decisions based on your thinking. Of course making decisions based on your thinking is a much healthier and wiser way to make decisions because we stop and think through the consequences before hand and know what our options are. Then we can “think” through what we want to say and do and are more prepared to take the consequences. If we just react and make decisions and act on them with our emotions we don’t even include consequences because our emotions say “I want what I want and that is all I can see.” This just doesn’t get it unless you are 4 years old and then you still get consequences #61514;. But none of us is perfect right? Soooooooo we have to take things from where they are and realize that we may pay for our lack of thinking things through before hand and that is where you are. You feel you now did something in the past you regret and you also lied to keep from losing what you thought you could lose if you told the truth.
First things first, you have to decide what your boundaries are. You need to ask yourself these questions. Does he have the right to even ask you about your past when he was not a reality in your life? If you believe he does then you have to decide how much he has the right to know. Then if he asks, you don’t have to lie you just say your belief and tell him as much as you think needs to be told. Think about it Eleanor, why is he even going there? As I said before none of us is pure once we start thinking much less once we become teenagers, that is unrealistic thinking. It is his ego that is at stake here otherwise there is no logical reason for him to know about your private past in several areas that are intimate that is why they are known as intimate. This is not a healthy realistic test for him to test your love from him or to judge who you are as a person. We are all more than a few actions we have made. He didn’t exist, only the other guy existed and you responded as you believed at the time which is all any of us can do and that was to share your love for him with some intimacy, “normal.”
Second, it is not realistic to think there is such a thing as a totally honest relationship.
Let me stop here and talk HONESTY. Many of you write and tell me that you have a problem surrounding the expectation that the only relationships that work are those where both people are “totally honest” with each other. First off even if you are asked you are not bound nor should you tell everything you think, feel, have done or believe, to anyone but yourself and your higher power. That is why what goes on inside of you is done in “silence” and then it is up to you what you divulge to someone else. Honesty kids is this, when you are confronted with a situation what ever you “decide” to disclose should always be the “TRUTH” as you believe it to be. Honesty does not mean to spill your guts to someone or rather anyone just because they ask. This is not even realistic and definitely not healthy. Honesty is also living what you say you believe. My life is my signature. What I do and say is exactly who and what I am. But I do not reveal everything about myself to anyone except to my God and myself. Those are the only two entities that I owe total discloser about Mary-Anne to because there is where my consequences will come and where I will have to pay for them in full at some point.
So please learn this I would not say it if it were not true. But to put the expectation on yourself or anyone else that to have a trusting and solid relationship you must tell whatever you are asked or confess whatever you have done to another equally fallible human being is just so unrealistic and not healthy. It will come back to haunt you. You do not ever really know someone else no matter what they say, you don’t know for sure if they are who and what they say they are and you will never know. Believe me people around the world are shocked many times to find out how little they did know about who their partner really was even after 25 years. You also never know who they will tell, if you do not spend the rest of your life with that person. You don’t know what they will do with the information and from experience I have found people will use your mistakes or faults against you as a weapon if and when they need to. So think about this and as always I give you the information and you decide what you do with it as you are the ones who have to live with what you decide.
If people were totally revealing about their lives to another no one would ever get together. We all have what is called in psychology a “dark side” and have done or will do things that we later are sorry we did but at the time we just didn’t think, or thought it was ok and then felt bad afterwards. That is all part of growing up. Even adults continue to respond to their dark side. I work with this in adults all the time. Part of what we teach is how to recognize your dark side, feel it, but not to act on it. Everything in life and everything about us has two sides so if you have a good side you must have a bad side it is just a common law of nature. If there is a front there is a back, light and dark, laughter, tears, life, death and so on. This is science and proven so we try to teach people if they see their good side then they must also become aware and make friends with their dark side and learn how to control it. I go ahead and try to teach you kids this so you won’t have to have as many regrets as adults as my generation and the generations before have. Anyway, I digress, but I wanted to explain this.
Back to b/f’s ego driven question, your private past, this makes me wonder if you will always have to live up to an unrealistic set of expectations if you decide to spend the rest of your life with him or someone like him. If so you will never become Eleanor as she was meant to be, because you are human and we are all under construction. You will make misjudgments, mistakes or just thoughtlessness and all of that is OK. The key is to learn from each one. It only becomes a problem if you become repetitive. If you don’t learn from your actions and keep repeating them. Then is when we have a problem and our lives become out of control and we need to get help or live a very miserable existence, which a lot of people do because they think there is no other choice.
Here is the real key Eleanor and anyone else who reads this so please listen up, all problems we continue to have in our lives come from “US” never from someone or something else. Now this may be hard to believe and you may be thinking oh no Mary-Anne, I can give you plenty of examples where the problem is someone else’s and I have to deal with it. Well I can prove that what I have written is beyond doubt. Eleanor’s situation is a perfect example. She is allowing her b/f to put conditions on her and his relationship and she is letting him define love for them in an unrealistic and unhealthy manner. He could not do this without her permission. She has to give him permission to let his reality and she has to let what he defines as love rule for him and for her. These are choices we make, no one can make us do, believe or say anything without our permission.
No matter what the “reality” of the situation is, Eleanor is letting her b/f’s words define to her what is right and wrong, good and bad and what may actually make or break their relationship. His words have absolutely no power or meaning unless Eleanor accepts her b/f’s definitions and conditions right? So who has the problem? He is fine because if she falls short of his definitions she could lose him and that won’t bother him because he is more interested in having his terms fulfilled than being in love with Eleanor as she is, accepting her and thinking she is great just as she is, no questions asked. But he couldn’t or he wouldn’t be asking her to fulfill any requirements, he would just love her. In fact that is why Eleanor felt she had to lie because she knows in the back of her mind she can lose this guy because he puts more value on his need to be “the only one” or why else would she feel that she had to lie?
Real love, healthy love is made up of two independent people who become “interdependent” meaning “sharing” themselves with the other and being validated through loving each other for who they are unconditionally.
I have covered many important aspects of healthy and unhealthy relationships. Probably more than Eleanor or any one wanted to know. But I feel it is important to give all of you as much empowerment over yourselves and your lives as I can. Empowerment comes from Knowledge. If you know and understand how things work you can then make your own decisions equipped with more knowledge than any average adult much less any teen.
Eleanor, I know I have probably haven’t given you the direct answer you want. I won’t do that because it would be my answer and that answer only works for my life. I have given you all the tools you need to make your decision for your life. I have given you much to think about, to decide about and then to decide what you do about this situation with your b/f. Not just the lie but the whole issue as it is so important for you to figure out what is best for Eleanor not what will keep your b/f happy and betray yourself. The person will sooner or later leave you anyway.
Think about and make your own morals, your own standards, your own “honor code” live by it and don’t betray it for anyone.
In a nutshell here are your options:
If you feel you need to address this issue with your b/f because it is such an issue to him and you decide you would rather compromise yourself than lose him let me tell you because of his expectation and what you have done either way he may leave you. If you confess about lying he may think more happened or why did you lie to begin with. It may break his trust in you because you lied. If you tell him what you did with your previous b/f he may decide you are not pure enough for his standards.
The last option, which you still could lose him, is that you do not confess to lying and “IF” he ever brings it up again and directly asks you, you tell him you have already answered that question and you don’t understand why it keeps being an issue and that bothers you. Put it back on him and say it makes you wonder if he sees and loves you as the person you are or if he is trying to make you live up to an illusion. Give him something to think about tell him that you want someone who sees and loves you for you as you are without bringing unfounded doubts in for you to disprove and that you do not want to have to compete with an image. You want someone who loves you for who you are unconditionally as you love him. Put it back on him.
I hope this letter helps a lot of you find some answers to your relationships and self issues. I felt it was important to address these issues as I get so many letters from “girls” who are going through one or more of these as Eleanor is. So I thought I would take the forum to address them and I wanted to word it so correctly and empower you with the knowledge that can really change your life in so many ways.
Eleanor, let me know what you decide to do as I care or I wouldn’t invest all this time and hours of thinking and writing of my own free will if I didn’t care.
In return I ask each of you to let me know what you decide.
You are my reward for what I do.
Mary-Anne

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* August 29, 2006, 12:56:29 AM
#5
­ Mary-anne
thank you so much for the advice. It really prompted me to sit down and reflect on what I truly want out of my life. And I realised, actually, for most part of my life, I have been struggling unnecessarily to live up to other people's expectations. And more often than not, my emotions are controlled by how people react to me, instead of what I think. That was a very saddening realisation that I couldn't be myself because what I care too much for how people think of me. Thus, I can only be free and happy if I start to appreciate myself more so that whatever I do, all I ever need to do is to seek within myself.

And on the part of my relationship, I recognise that I have been the one creating the problems for myself. For I have realised, without what happened, I wouldn't have been the person I am today. ALthough I have regret for I did in a past relationship, that mistake undoubtedly has made me more mature and wiser - a better person on the whole. On the issue of the lie, I do agree that it must have been an ego-driven motivation for him to ask. Not wanting to lose him, I lied. On hindsight, I prefer to tell him that, yes, I was once very physically intimate with my bf. At least, he would have the option, the freedom to choose whether he still wants me and I would have the freedom of the mind knowing that he still loves me for who I am if he still chooses to stay with me. But now that I have lied, I examine my motivation for doing so and I realise although a huge part of it stemmed from a fear of losing him, I cannot kick in my ass because it was an instinct to protect myself. What I can do now, is to live with the lie and not repeat the mistake which I made with my ex.

It makes things much easier when I reflect on the motivation behind every action or word I say. Because I realise that if I bother to think twice about my motivation for doing something, I think I am only acting on what I feel is right. Therefore, honesty cannot be measured by how much one reveals to her/his partner, but can only be judged based on the motivation behind what she/he says. Sometimes, certain truths are better left unknown if we know it would create more harm than good in the long run. It is up to our own judgement to decide whether we want to reveal or not, and if we do, under what circumstance and how we want to say it.

Because my bf has since never asked me anything about my past because I asked him not to delve too much into what happened with my ex, I just want to leave everything in the past and focus on building myself up internally and start learning to stand firmly on what I believe in. So that even when we break up, I know I am gonna be ok, though of course, I do hope this relationship of mine lasts. =)

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August 29, 2006, 03:44:02 AM
#6
­ Eleanor:

You are one smart cookie and you are going to be just fine. You have what it takes inside, you have great insight and maturity. You have a very very good way of putting your thoughts in control over your emotions. You are able to see the "big picture" and put it into perspective. Please really feel what I am saying to you as I don't give out compliments easily. But you really "get it" Eleanor. You just need the knowledge and nothing can stop you. SO I am glad I took the time to go into detail and try to give you that knowledge. You will take it and run with it as you grow into yourself. I would be so proud if you ended up actually making Eleanor into who she wants to be and to get to the point where she lives for herself and turns inward for the answers to her life because they are all there just waiting for each of us to tap into and ask. I want you to have love, marriage, children if you want them, a career but for the right reasons. It is so empowering and freeing to actually know and live through our inner being. It takes so much of the fears and insecurities away to know all the answers to our lives are within us. We just let our egos which are where our emotions live rule instead of getting that part of ourselves controlled and then listening to what you have already found Eleanor your inner voice. You couldn't write back what you did if you hadn't already tapped into your inner self. You have over half of what the key to life is all about. So you are way ahead of even most adults. You got the hard part done. Now it is just learning the skills and the laws that rule this life.
I am truly impressed with you and hope you pick a career that you can use your talent with. But I think your answer about the lie with b/f is so very sound, mature and so right on target. It is the past, it would do more harm than good to try and correct it, you couldn't correct it. You would just be doing a confessional and betraying yourself. In fact you have corrected it with how you have processed it. Because in the end it is ourselves we have to answer for, no one else. You have looked at it, see it for what it is, realized why you had to do what you did and put it into perspective not letting your insecurities and self doubt rule. It is what you had to do because of what he set you up for. No matter what happens if you break up or do make it for some years to come this will only serve as a growth step for you, as it should and will have no other consequences. Now you can lay it to rest and move on. So much will happen in your life you won't even think back on that one moment that he asked for, except with wisdom and maybe when you are guiding your own child if you have one. But how you processed that and came to your conclusion is so totally mature and right on target for seeing things for what they truly are and not responding to your emotions.
You make what I do such a reward. If I had only had someone like me when I was young I have always wondered how much better my life could have been and how far I could have gone. That is why I started this 7 years ago. I had the questions but couldn't find anyone with the skills to teach me how to find my answers for my life. People say young people do not have the ability to really grasp the knowledge I teach but over the last 7 years so many of you have shown me kids are easier to teach than adults because you don't have all the hangups yet and are more open to looking at yourselves. I find it much easier to teach young people than adults.
So know you have given me something back that I am honored for. I learn as I teach each and every time so I grow too.
Just know I am here if you ever want to learn more and hopefully my book will be out someday and you can have it to refer to. All of the skills to this life are in it.
But if you ever find that you have something you need, be it to just get validation, need more life skills to work something through or you just have a question write me. I will be more than glad to give you more life skills.
I am so glad you are going to work on not needing to please other people. It seems we women are much more consumed with what other people think than men are. It is a real problem and it keeps young women down because they are so consumed with what a "guy" or others think. Our standards are set more by our outside influences than our inner selves, guys are not that way. We will sacrific our whole selves for a guy, guys don't as a whole do that. I am glad you are going to work on pleasing and living up to Eleanor's beliefs and what she decides are the rules for her life. It will make you so much more confident, less able to be hurt and taken by a guy, more attractive, more at peace with yourself and sooo empowered that you will find there are no limits to what you can be and do except the ones you set on yourself.
Stay in touch Eleanor and again as long as I can keep this site up you always have someone to turn to if you need help.
You are an exceptional young lady don't stop now.
Thank you for coming into my life,
Mary-Anne

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