Philip Galanes Offers Relationship Advice

Monday, February 13, 2012

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Philip Galanes is here to offer advice on relationships and romance. He's the author of the “Social Q’s” advice column for the Sunday Styles section of The New York Times. His latest book is Social Q's: How to Survive the Quirks, Quandaries and Quagmires of Today. He joins us to discuss your issues on how to admit your feelings and start a relationship, how to break up and how not to break up, and the most polite, reasoned ways to deal with romantic troubles.

Let us know your questions about navigating relationships. Leave a comment!


Philip Galanes

Comments [38]

Kay Rinko

My daughter is getting married for the second time and would prefer to receive monetary gifts, because she and her fiance have all the material things they need. Is there a way to gracefully get this message across as they do not plan to use a bridal registry?

Jul. 15 2012 04:16 PM

you guys are really great as a team! What a treat! :)

Feb. 14 2012 12:37 PM

Yes, saying that a twenty $ gift was cheap definitely rubbed some people the wrong way. Way to sound elitist...

I do like the "experiential" gifts but then again doing things on a holiday just makes it more expensive or annoying (V-day prix fix menus-- going anywhere in late December). Why not just do things when you want?

If Megan K is still looking for answers... Both my partner and myself are quite introverted-- but I would say I am a little less so. When I feel that he doesn't want to get out of the house or do things, I will either try to plan something in advance with him (one time a week - date night, etc) or do something on my own or with a friend. In the end, we spend time together within the home most nights. If your partner does not want to do things within the home with you,like eat dinner or talk, I think that might be a problem.

If you are really extroverted and would always enjoy the company of others over being alone, I also think that you might not be compatible. I know many very extroverted people and they just have different natures. I could keep myself busy for hours and hours with no need for company and some extroverts might not get that.

Feb. 13 2012 01:01 PM

Hey! You said the dating event was for people in there 30's and 40's and I just sent my single 43 year old friend to the site and it says under 40 singles event. I think its a shame to leave the hot, smart people in their 40's out.

Feb. 13 2012 01:00 PM
Lauren T from Brooklyn, NY

Dobie, that is very sad. Good for you for speaking up to your friend about her abusive marriage. Deep down, she knows that you have her best interest at heart, but for complex reasons, she can't act on her own best interest. It can be very risky to comment on another person's relationship, especially be giving unsolicited advice, but in some cases, like this one, it's worth the risk. I hope your pain, and her pain, lessen soon.

Feb. 13 2012 12:50 PM
rich k

Divvying up the costs? Proportion is everything. When I made 60% of the household income, that's what I kicked into everything. When those numbers reversed, so did the share. If there is a discretionary expense only one of us really wants to spend money on, it comes out of the pocket of the desiree, and the household ante doesn't change. The most important part? Don't get crazy about accounting every penny.

Feb. 13 2012 12:49 PM
janet capron from West Village

Mr. Galanes sounds reasonable and sane; however, he misses the point in one important instance: The reason the man must pay for dinner is that by the time his date has finished getting ready for that dinner, chances are she has spent hundreds on dress, shoes, bag, stockings, make-up, and hair. Phew! The least the poor slob could do is spring for the meal.
Janet Capron

Feb. 13 2012 12:43 PM

Philip, "A woman wants to feel like a woman. A woman feels like a woman when she is" taken care of...

(not when she gets free food)

Feb. 13 2012 12:43 PM


Feb. 13 2012 12:42 PM
Chase from NYC

My partner and I have been together for over 4 years. We moved in together about a year ago and while I dont regret it, it hasn't been easy. As our lease comes up soon for renewal, I find that we are not only feeling the pressure of whether we should stay in our current place, but if we should even stay together. I feel as though we are avoiding talking about it until the time comes closer to our lease expiring and its making me feel overwhelmed - this sense of uncertainty and limbo in our relationship. Do you have any advice?

Feb. 13 2012 12:39 PM

...if she doesn't at least offer to pitch-in - no second date.


Feb. 13 2012 12:39 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Becky -- you hit the nail on the head for a lot of the problems -- women are waaay to quick to judge and dismiss men and carry a double standard. For example, what they are talking about this right now.

And that is how easily women dismiss the man as "cheap" if he is less than eager to spend a small fortune on a first date... and how many times have these women bought dinner for a near-total stranger? Yet, they have no hesitation in calling someone else a name for something THEY'VE never done.

And that doesn't take into account what the man's financial situation may be -- to quick to think he's a deadbeat.


Feb. 13 2012 12:39 PM
Dobie K. from New Jersey

I lost a best friend getting involved in giving advice about her marriage. She's in an abusive marriage, and takes it out on herself, to the point of banging her head on the wall and giving herself a concussion. She says she hates her husband, and how he forces sex on her a few times a night, even when she's asleep, and she hates his kids (not hers). I begged her to leave, but she said she chose financial stability over having a good and loving relationship. In effect, I wasn't "on her side" by advocating her leaving him, and now she won't return my calls or talk to me. It's sad. We've known each other for 30 years.

Feb. 13 2012 12:38 PM
The Truth from Becky

Singles, the person that asks for the date pays and marrieds take turns!!

Feb. 13 2012 12:38 PM

...goodness. Ccould we please move on the dogs???


Feb. 13 2012 12:37 PM
Allison from brooklyn

I tend to go a long time between boyfriends because I feel as though I get really attached to men fairly quickly, when maybe I should take more time thinking of if the relationship is right for me. Any advice?

Also, I'm curious about how family relationships/childhood experiences with parents affects adulthood dating and relationships.

Feb. 13 2012 12:36 PM

megan, i went through that for 3 years, living together etc. in the end, and yes it did end, my boyfriend and I did nothing together and I resorted to calling others up to do things which I wanted to do thinking that I was giving him his space that he needed but he never came to me to spend time with me. i recognized this, got out and am now with the love of my life. you know your situation best but make sure it's what you want.

Feb. 13 2012 12:35 PM
Bill from Putnam Valley

Really? The woman throwing a party cant't tell her good friend that she can't invite her to one particular party? Are they good friends or not?

Feb. 13 2012 12:35 PM
The Truth from Becky

Women have unrealistic expectations of Men....yesss I am a real Woman saying this.

Feb. 13 2012 12:34 PM
Rachel from new york, new york

Hi Leonard and Philip,

So V-day is approaching and I have a friend who I've had a crush on since college (this is a crush going on 7 years now). My friend has always been in relationships (and me perpetually single haha. Anywho, he has been single for 6 months now and is coming to visit soon and I'd like to express to him how I feel. How do I do this without potentially risking our friendship, since I don't know (but suspect) he feels the same way. How do you tell someone that you love them and attempt that conversation?

Feb. 13 2012 12:34 PM
Helen from Summit, NJ

Leonard and Philip, After the broadcast, I'm dashing off to Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of Philip's book as a Valentine gift for my 17 year old daughter. We read your column each Sunday; sometimes out loud to each other and other times separately over the course of the day. Then we discuss. Shock and awe!! When she heads off to college next year, I will miss this ritual along with many other wonderful things about having her around. She will always be my valentine and she will be very amused by this gift. Thanks for the weekly advice. Perhaps some preemptive advice regarding "proma-drama" would be in order. :)

Feb. 13 2012 12:33 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Following up on my earlier comment, almost every woman on these sites say that they want a nice guy, a kind man, etc.

Yet I don't understand how they can expect to get what they are unwilling to give and not replying to someone who takes the time to write a nice message speaks of something less than the wonderful way they describe themselves... wouldn't they want to be answered if THEY wrote? (The Golden Rule again!)

Since they are attractive, there is no doubt that these women get lots of contacts and aren't lacking for dates, yet they are on the sites for years and can't figure out why they can't find a "really nice guy." Perhaps as Shakespeare said, the fault lies not in the heavens, but rather in ourselves....

Feb. 13 2012 12:32 PM
The Truth from Becky

Hey caller, that guy that doesn't call you regularly is Married!!

Feb. 13 2012 12:32 PM
Lauren T from Brooklyn, NY

I have to share my Valentine's Day break-up story. My boyfriend broke up with me a week or so before V-day -- he'd already been seeing another woman, who, by the way, was gorgeous. The evening of V-day, he called me with a sob story that Gorgeous Girl wasn't available, he wondered what I was up to. We talked, but I stayed in. Later, I found out that he and GG were out later with a bunch of our mutual friends, having a great, lovey-dovey time. What a cad! This was more than 25 years ago, and I'm now happily married and well past him, but the memory still burns me up!

Feb. 13 2012 12:31 PM
Stephen from Brooklyn

I reject the idea that love and affection can be tied to a dollar amount or a purchase of any kind. Tomorrow my wife and I will be celebrating Valentine's Day by joining other couples in Times Sq for a public make-out session, to remind people that love is more powerful than money. All the loving couples in NYC are invited to join us. And it's free!! -Times Sq Kiss-In: Make Love, Not Profit []

Feb. 13 2012 12:29 PM

Megan, I think your first step is to make a decision to do the stuff you want to do, regardless of whether he wants to join you. That part actually sounds like part of the problem; you're feeling resentful about his keeping you from doing things!
After a few months of this, you might find out more about the relationship itself. Maybe he's boring. Maybe you don't have much in common. Or, maybe he just needed a swift kick in the butt!
Good luck!!!

Feb. 13 2012 12:28 PM
D from nyc/brooklyn

My husband and I are expecting our first baby this summer. Any special advice for our last Val Day as a "duo" before we become a trio?

Feb. 13 2012 12:28 PM
Alyson from Brooklyn

I am 27 I have never dated a romantic man. Last year, my boyfriend gave a whole argument as to why he doesn't believe in Valentines Day, a materialistic holiday. And thats why he did not call me last year on 2/14. Needless to say hes no longer my boyfriend. This is a long pattern of meeting men who have not gone further than taking me to a movie or going to Applebees (this was before Brooklyn). I've never gotten roses or anything. How do you get a man to be romantic? Or even committed?

Feb. 13 2012 12:27 PM
Susy from Manhattan

This over-analysis is infuriating!

It's ridiculous to expect your mate/boyfriend to give you an expensive gift if he is making six figures. In fact, if you like the person, they should be able to pull a flower out of the ground, with dirt still clinging to it, and you would think it was great.

If you're not happy with your partner and you talk to them about it, and your request is reasonable, and they make no effort to help you out, they are not the one for you. Period. And it's time to dump them and let them move on.

Your partner should want the best for you. They should defend you when you cannot defend yourself, root for you and be happy for you when something good happens for you, and just plain give you the love you need.

You should do the same for them, not keep a scorecard of how much they spend when/where they are able to help you, and what you're "owed." Being in a relationship is not about IOU's.

If you approach being in a relationship that way, I guarantee you, you'll meet someone who will give you a lasting love, a true friend, and a lot of fun.

Feb. 13 2012 12:25 PM
JD from NY

One can make "six figures" and still be on a budget.

Feb. 13 2012 12:22 PM
Megan K

We live together. I'd love more quality togetherness - my partner communicates that he feels pressure to do things together. I'm not certain how to create enough space for him to get the alone time that he desires. At the same time, I feel like I'm not doing all the things I want to do, because I'm waiting for him to have the energy for it.

Feb. 13 2012 12:19 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Phillip, it's not only the men who "run" at the slightest thing because they have a "million" other women to date... Attractive women (at least those from the NYC area!) on dating sites don't answer even perfectly nice messages (initial contacts.)

As documented in probably hundreds of self-help books such as Lori Gottlieb's "Marry Him" -- women are too damned picky!

"Kiss a lot of frogs" indeed!

Feb. 13 2012 12:18 PM

I don't think that $ matters in buying presents. It seems that you think setting a 20$ limit means you think poorly about someone. I find gift giving can often be a superficial way of buying someone's affection. I would rather spend quality time with an individual and see their care for me.

Feb. 13 2012 12:15 PM
The Truth from Becky

From a woman, usually no means no - don't ask a second time!

Feb. 13 2012 12:14 PM
Valentine's Day Surgery from Manhattan

If I have been dating a good man for 6 months and I am having invasive, painful surgery tomorrow (2/14), is it unreasonable for me to want or need or expect him to pick me up from the hospital when I am ready to be discharged? He says he can't because of his job (trader/finance), although I know he can leave his job to do this because he is taking the morning of 2/15 off for his own doctor's appointment. Also, he is under the impression that relationships are not work and should not be difficult. True?

Feb. 13 2012 12:14 PM
Megan K

What is the best way for a couple to thrive when one partner is an extrovert, and the other an introvert, without developing resentment? One partner needs more alone time, and the other wants more togetherness?

Feb. 13 2012 12:11 PM
dave from manhattan

so not New Years Eve, but isn't it just as wrong if it's when you wake up on New Years Day?

Feb. 13 2012 12:10 PM

What to do with a gentleman who gives a dozen red roses each V-Day, even though the lady has often expressed (at other times, not to be rude), that she really dislikes roses (and in fact, is mildly allergic to them?

Feb. 13 2012 11:53 AM

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