Hippo Manchester
September 1, 2005

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Dear Sherry,

I have been divorced for about two years (my ex had a girlfriend) and have just started dating recently. I donít have much experience dating and am kind of naive and trusting of men. I met a guy at my gym who I really liked. He took me out to dinner, for a ride on his Harley and I totally fell for him. Then one day, his (live-in) girlfriend called me up. She had found my number in his cell phone. I didnít even know he had a girlfriend! Apparently she is his financial support. The money he used to take me out was money she had given him!

She said she thought the three of us should meet to show him she knew about his cheating, and she wanted me to meet her at a gas station and come to his house in her truck to surprise him. Stupidly, I agreed. He heaped so much verbal abuse on me, because I was evidence of his lies to her, and he couldnít afford to lose her financially. Now I am even more afraid to trust a guy.

How do I not get suckered into believing a lying man again? How do you know when a man is telling the truth?

- Suckered

Dear Suckered,

To be fair, itís not just men who lie. People, in general, sometimes have a difficult time telling the truth. Iíve been in the place you are at and itís not pleasant.

I suspect, however, that you had some inkling, some small clue that your guy wasnít being entirely up front with you. Had you been to his house? Did he give you a phone number at his house or just his cell phone? Did he take you anywhere in public where you might be seen?

There are a number of clues to whether or not someone is being honest. The best thing to do is take your time and really get to know someone. See if what they say is the truth. Watch for the follow-up. Before you get emotionally involved, be sure that they are who they say they are: single ó and that means unattached, not just not married ó and available emotionally.  Donít just listen to what they say, but watch what they do as well. Often, actions speak louder than words.

Another thing you might want to find out is just how the last relationship ended. An old friend of mine told me that often the way someone left their last relationship is the way they will leave you. If there was dishonesty or infidelity involved in the last relationship, there just might be in the next one too.

Iím sorry things are tough for you. Dating can be a really uncomfortable thing to do for someone who has been in a relationship for a while and itís especially daunting if you have trust issues. Try to stay positive. There are nice, trustworthy guys out there. If you get a feeling in your gut, pay attention to it. Introduce new guys to friends and get their opinions. Above all, take your time. The right guy will come along in time ó maybe not when you want him to ó but when heís supposed to.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers. Contact her via e-mail at sah103@hotmail.com.