Q: I've had one bad boyfriend after another for 10 years now, but finally landed on a good one. He's nice, he's generous, he's fun, but I'm just not physically attracted to him. The reason is he looks a lot like Alfred E. Neuman, the Mad magazine mascot. Obviously, he's not dumb or silly like Alfred, but the look makes it hard to get out of my mind. It seems crazy that good looks trump good behavior and good-looking, bad-behaving men win every time. Are there alternatives?
Mia: I'm supposed to believe you're dating a guy who looks like a cartoon character? Get outta here. Don't waste my time. Girl, bye!
Steve: Yes, but it takes some growing up to achieve. Men or women who go by looks only will lose 9 times out of 10 in relationships. Looks don't last. Kindness does. Maybe Alfred will grow on you. If not, keep dating, but focus on brains, kindness, and good behavior. I bet you find one eventually who isn't bad-looking.
Q: Frank and I have been dating for three years, and it's time to get settled, as far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem willing to commit. To make matters worse, I wonder if he's lying. His job takes him out of town quite a bit, and when I ask him about his trips, he is frequently fidgety and looks away. We mostly get along fine, but his lack of commitment and possible cheating is getting more and more disturbing. Any suggestions?
Steve: Time to dig up the truth. Not fun, but necessary. Job one is whether Frank is deeply in love with you. Tell him you love him and want to be married within six months. If he tells you he loves you, but has excuses about why he can't get married soon, he's a liar. Job two is to dig into his trips. Ask him what he does in his free time. Ask him if he ever made love to another woman on a trip. If he offers short responses, makes speech errors -- ums, ers, ahs -- blinks and fidgets more than usual, his lying is approaching 100 percent. Then it's time to cut bait and fish elsewhere.
Mia: Wrong, Steve. If that dude wanted to marry the letter writer, he would have done it already. Telling her to poke around or try to find out if he has been cheating is a waste of time. He doesn't want her. What happens next is up to her. She can either continue seeing him with the understanding that she's in a dead-end relationship, or she can find someone else. I suggest she do the latter.