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Did Ben And Jen Argue Before They Got Hitched?

Doc Love
New Article Every Thursday

Hey Doc,

Sofia and I have been engaged since this past August and dated for almost two and a half years before that. I'm 32 and she's 31. She was always a Flexible Giver, and I had more fun with her than with any other woman. I also treated her right, just like you said to in your books.

After about a year and a half, Sofia was ready for marriage. I eventually proposed to her on a fun trip to Cape Cod, and we were both excited by it. We also decided we could move in together since we were engaged. This is where things got tough.

Since I was living in an apartment and Sofia had just bought a condo, it made sense for me to move in with her. The problem is that I had to fight to hang onto my own stuff and carve out some space for myself. Sofia was very settled, and I pointed out that it seemed more important for her to keep HER stuff the way she wanted it rather than making me feel welcome. From that point we've been in an argumentative rut. Sofia has lived alone for six years while I've always had a roommate. To boot, her stuff is thrown everywhere in the condo. I'm kind of an organizational freak, so this arrangement stresses me.

Things finally came to a head a few weeks ago when we went shopping at the mall. We were walking along when all of a sudden my ex-girlfriend's sister walked up and said hi. I was kind of shocked to see her because I cut off all communication off with my ex (who does live nearby) four years ago.

Afterwards, Sofia got really mad at me for not introducing her as my fianc?. I tried to explain that I was caught off guard and wasn't thinking straight. I apologized, but I didn't think it was that big a deal. Another big argument.

The next morning Sofia said she felt foolish and apologized profusely. But through all of this Doc, my excitement to get married is greatly diminishing. Is this part of living together that I'd have to deal with anyway? (Many friends tell me it is.) Or do we have a real problem? I know you say a few arguments a year is okay, but we're having too many. It really bothers me that I'm not all pumped up for marriage anymore.

I still love Sofia and am willing to work on our problems. She can tell I'm more and more "out of it" lately and it makes her sad because she thinks we're on the rocks. I'm trying to be supportive of her, but I'm just numb from it all. I'd love some advice.

Val - who's not even married yet but already weary

Hi Val,

Your first big mistake was asking Sofia to marry you. You may own my book, but it's obvious you haven't actually read it. Because if you did, you'd know that in "The System" the woman always asks the man to get married. You got things all backwards, and that's why you're in trouble. You've got to be more of a Challenge. Guys, Challenge matters even when it comes to kissing.

Let me give you an example. The singer Pink met motocross racer Carey Hart at the 2001 X Games in Las Vegas and proposed to him last summer. This is what's supposed to happen when her Interest Level is through the roof. And when it does happen that way, the guy and the girl are going to argue a lot less down the road. (Pink and Carey Hart recently tied the knot in Costa Rica, by the way.)

Now this is what I don't get, Val. I always tell you guys to look at a woman's Attitude, right? So you date Sofia for two and a half years, and every time you go to her house it looks like a pigsty. You notice it because you're like Jerry Seinfeld – a "cootie freak." Then all of a sudden you move in with her without setting the ground rules first.

What were you thinking, pal? Didn't you sit down with your squeeze and establish the boundaries first? What you should have done was hashed out with Sofia exactly how you were going to carve up the territory. What's going to be your area? What's going to be her area? Who can go where and why? Which furniture are we going to keep? All that stuff should have been worked out beforehand. But like most men, instead of controlling yourself, you rushed in like Dubya invading Bagdad.

If you'd have memorized my material, buddy, you would have had the Doc Love edge – the edge that comes from knowing the Dating Dictionary inside out -- when you ran into your ex's sister. And when you have that edge, you never get rattled, because you're ready for anything. In other words you're like a paramedic – you're on duty 24 hours a day. And when that call comes in, you're able to deal effectively with whatever emergency awaits you. To you Psych majors, when you're with your girl, there are always going to be twists and turns in the road, and something tricky is always going to come up. And that's your chance to dance, show her how cool you are under pressure.

Why didn't you think you might run into your ex or her family, Val? You're in the same town, so you were probably going to bump into someone eventually. As the Blackfoot proverb goes, "It's called the geography of the mall!"

If you knew my principles, you would have realized right off what Sofia's problem with that scenario was: Kitty Kats Kompete. How else would you expect her to react when faced with even a whiff of a potential rival? And when your girl ran into your ex's sister, you were supposed to be LOYAL. LOYALTY dictates that you have to proudly announce that Sofia is your fianc?. You had to make it perfectly clear where the boundaries were. Going tongue-tied wasn't exactly taking a strong stand, buddy. But then again, you didn't memorize my materials, did you?

Nevertheless, Sofia apologized profusely anyway. Whoa! This is a big, big deal! A woman said she was sorry for throwing a hissy fit? Contact the Guinness Book of Records – right now!

But seriously, Val, your problems all stem from the fact that you didn't handle this relationship the right way from the beginning. Like my cousin Sal "The Fish" Love says, "When it comes to tying the knot, the babe should always do the begging, otherwise you ain't nothin' but a chump."

Second, you should have waited a lot longer to live in sin. Hey, man, you didn't really know the girl that well. You're telling me in one breath that she's a Flexible Giver, and in the next that she's fighting over territorial rights with the guy she wants to spend the rest of her life with? She should be saying "Honey, with you, I'd live in a tent!" Or as my other cousin Fast Eddie Love would put it, "I'd hate to see how she acts if she didn't like you!"

But in Sofia's defense, you're turning her off. You see her ex's sister and you're dumbstruck. Your behavior couldn't have gone over well in Sofia's eyes. Heck, when you run into your actual ex someday, you'll probably pass out. So if you turn a woman off, how can she have high Interest Level in you?

What I would do if I were you is go and find an apartment and continue to date Sofia. In other words, you have to start all over again. When you move out, she'll make space for your stuff the next time, I guarantee it. But you have to get out from under her nose and boost her Interest Level. Because right now it's not anywhere near the nineties.

Remember, guys: the key to women is patience.


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