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How do I stop losing interest in my girlfriends? It is sad to keep going through the initial elation of following the chase, getting together, and then gradually tolerating them less and less until that eventually turns to resentment. What do I do to break the cycle and build a lasting relationship?

How, indeed. As an ancient sorceress I have many powers, but “fixing” the standard avoidant is beyond even my capabilities. One thing you have to realize, which it appears you have begun to do, is that what you are addicted to is the “chase.”

What appears to drive you is not the search for a mate with whom you can build a life but the period of infatuation in any new relationship during which you can project endless fantasies onto the other person. Naturally, once you actually get to know the other person, who also happens to be a flesh-and-blood human being with her own habits, idiosyncrasies, and desires, it becomes impossible to sustain those initial fantasies.

No long-term relationship can ever survive on the expectation that everything will be as it was during the infatuation stage. At some point you have to accept that there is another person if front of you, and you have to take the good with the bad. And hopefully the good far outweighs the bad.

If you can’t do that, then you will have to endure your fate as a romantic Flying Dutchman ship, doomed to sail the seas forever without ever successfully reaching port. Either way, you’re going to have to accept one version of reality or another, because by refusing to accept the first, in which you can truly love another person in spite of her imperfections, you will be accepting the second version by default. The choice is yours.

How would you deal with a spouse who has a history of hiding credit card debt? A few years ago, I discovered my wife had racked up about $2,000 of credit card debt on her new card that we opened together. She never had a credit card before, so I let it slide and paid the bill. A year later, I was again blindsided by an $8,000 credit card bill on this same credit card. I had a newborn and the marriage was relatively new still, so I paid off the debt and took total control of our finances. That seemed to work and did not cause any issues between us. I would regularly check her card like a parent checking in on a teenager. Fast-forward five years and a few children, and I almost forgot it ever happened. My grip on finances loosened to the extent that I stopped asking to see her accounts. However, I recently discovered she had a new $6,000 balance, which she had been paying off slowly, completely destroying her credit score and piling up monthly fees and interest charges in the process. She had also been going into my wallet and making purchases on our grocery credit card to make it look like she never ordered anything. I have no interest in implementing strict rules or regular checks any more, and I am tired of it all. With all that said, she is an amazing mother, wife, and friend.

That is a tough situation, and you’re not alone in this kind of conundrum. Financial infidelity affects something like 30%-40% of couples and definitely leads to damaged trust in a relationship.

Let’s start with the positives first: You mentioned that your wife is, despite her less-than-desirable financial acumen, an amazing wife, mother, and friend and that you have a few children together. That definitely counts for a lot, and I think those positive qualities are worth keeping in mind when you decide how to work through this understandably very frustrating issue.

You did not specify what exactly your wife is spending money on — is it on frivolities like collectible Stanley cups or on household needs that are simply not in the approved budget? Given that she was hiding the purchases, I will assume the former, but it is worth at least investigating the latter before implementing stricter budget measures.

If you have an agreed-upon budget and your wife is just going over because she’s an impulsive spender and truly just seems incapable of managing finances despite her best efforts, you might want to consider getting her a credit card for household expenses that has a set limit that is in line with the monthly budget. This way, you won’t feel the need to babysit her spending every month, but if she does need to go over that limit sometimes, it will force you two to have a transparent conversation about how money is being spent. This won’t magically transform your wife into a financial sage, but it will perhaps restore some peace to that area of your lives so you can focus on more positive things.

How do I massively improve my life in two years?

The best piece of wisdom I’ve come across for undertaking any sort of massive overhaul is to approach it as you would approach renovating an old house: one area at a time and never all at once.

Focus on three core areas, for example: health, relationships, and interests. Let’s say your goals are to improve your fitness, make more friends, and pick up a new hobby. You might be tempted to kill three birds with one stone and do something crazy like join a running club or get into pickleball, but this would be a terrible mistake. Two years from now, you will find yourself in slightly better shape but with many acquaintances who lack real common interests and a hobby that has now fallen out of fashion. And then you will be almost exactly where you started.

Better to approach one thing at a time in three- to six-month increments. Join a gym. Once that becomes an integrated part of your routine (and you might have even made some friends), pick up an interesting hobby like cooking or, if you have a death wish, free climbing.

In a year, you will be in better shape and have more entertaining topics to discuss than, say, someone who has only been playing pickleball. And now you can go about widening your social circle by attending events or activities in your city. If you follow this method, you will be far better off than someone who, in the midst of a crisis of meaning, just joined a running club.

My girlfriend is Russian. Any advice for establishing deeper trust with a woman whose ethnic background is not exactly known for being warm and welcoming?

The only advice I can give you is to practice sprinting fast enough to outrun her father’s shotgun. Best of luck.

How do I lose weight?

In a world of off-label semaglutide prescriptions, being overweight is a choice. I say this having happily made my choice while sitting in a cabin in Georgia, eating my second fried peach pie of the day.

If you’re someone who has struggled with being overweight much of your life due to thyroid or hormonal issues, then I’m afraid I can’t in good faith offer you easy solutions. But if, like me, you’ve just been eating too many apple cider donuts and brisket sandwiches the last few weeks, you’re just going to have to suck it up for a few months and do the work. Download a calorie-tracking app, diligently track everything you consume, and hit the gym, or at least opt for long daily walks.

And if you’re just the plain fat, lazy American that Europeans accuse you of being and you have some extra cash lying around, then call your doctor and say you want the good stuff. After you’ve cheated your way to your target weight, be sure to go on social media and tell everyone how you lost weight just from eating raw meat and cutting out carbs.

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