"Agony Aunt" is a familiar term used for females
who offer advice to the lovelorn.
So, I will be one of the first men offering this kind of service.

     Another contrast with the normal run of such advice
is that my advice is based on
a coherent philosophy and psychology of loving relationships.
Most others who deal with problems of love
do so within the context of the patterns of love
as already developed within our culture.

     My approach is opposite in most respects.
I believe that the old ways of loving are essentially flawed,
which is the basic reason that people trying to live
according to the accepted traditions of love
almost certainly run into problems, sometimes very serious troubles.

     Most of the advice I offer
begins with a recognition of what traditional advisors would say.
Then I go on to criticize the old ways of loving
and to introduce (in brief form) the new ways of loving I recommend.

     I say "in brief form" because I have put
all of my extended comments into my book:
New Ways of Loving: How Authenticity Transforms Relationships:
And I will refer readers to the correct chapter for further explanation.

     Because the book is such a condensed philosophy of loving,
there are only a few illustrations, mostly from my own life.
It would have taken too many pages
to offer an illustration of every point included.
But here on the Internet, we are under no such limitations.

     And since you will be writing to me
about the actual problems with your real relationships,
there will be no need for artificial illustrations
created by the author just to make the point more forcefully.

     As I begin to offer this service,
I think of it as entirely experimental.
I do not know in which directions it might go.
But it might be like the classes I have offered based on my book on love:
People try to make sense of their own relationships
within the context of this completely new vision
of what loving relationships can become.

    And because most people who come to my classes on love
and most people who read my book on love
are steeped in the old traditions of love,
their initial response is usually to reject what I have to say.
In my experience of offering my classes on love
for over 30 years, 75-80% of the people disagree
with the new ways of loving I recommend
when they are first exposed to them.
After deeper study and experimentation in their own lives,
a few people are converted to the new ways of loving.

    I will expect the same proportion from readers on the Internet.
Actually an even larger percentage will probably disagree,
since those who attend my classes on love
are at least open enough to new ideas to take the class.
Perhaps over 90% of my Internet readers and questioners
will still be attempting to live according to the old ways of loving.

     I do not require questioners to have read my book.
Even if you know nothing of my approach to loving,
the raw data of your love-problems can still be meaningful illustrations
of the problems that most people face
when they try to love under the old rules.

     And if I give my answer in terms of what
I have already written in my book on love,
this might encourage you and other readers of this Agony Uncle Column
to consult the book for further explanation.

    People who have read my book on love
are also invited to give me their feedback and to ask questions
about themes covered in New Ways of Loving.
Your comments and questions
can help me to revise the book for the next edition.
If you have misunderstood something I said,
I will do my best to re-state it in a fool-proof way in the next edition.

    In some cases, there are free resources on the Internet
that might help you with your problems.
I welcome advice about where to find other such resources,
especially resources that support the positions taken in
New Ways of Loving: How Authenticity Transforms Relationships.

     In any case, I hope that my responses to your problems
will give you some indication that your problems can be solved.
And if your current relationship cannot be saved,
at least you can learn from this experience
so that you do not make the same mistakes in your next relationship.

     When you write to me, you may make up a funny name for yourself,
perhaps something that refers back to the problem you want me to discuss.
If you do not choose such a name,
you will be referred to by the date of your letter.
And if you write to me more than once,
we should probably use the same name
for follow-up comments and questions,
so that others who are following this correspondence
will be able to follow your progress out of the original problems.

     The Agony Uncle Library is organized by subject,
which allows newcomers to go directly to a question that interests them.
I know off the bat that JEALOUSY will be a major theme.
So I have prepared a list of resources
for all persons who are struggling with the problems of jealousy
in one way or another.

     If you have some advice to offer as well,
your comments can be added to the same shelf
in the Agony Uncle Library.

     I do not promise to post everything that people send in.
I will select what seems most interesting and appropriate.
And I may decide to respond only by private e-mail
to some people who write.

     This is how you send your questions and experiences:
Send an e-mail to me: James Park:
e-mail: PARKx032@TC.UMN.EDU
Please put Agony Uncle in the subject line
---and a short indication of the subject of your letter.

     By sending your thoughts to me,
you are giving me permission to post them on the Internet
if I so choose.
I will not include your real name, your e-mail address,
or any other identifying details.
As said above, you should make up an entertaining name for yourself.

     There is no charge for this service.

     Tell me your problems with the old ways of loving.
I may be able to point you in the directions
of new ways of loving that might work better for you.

Go to the Agony Uncle Library.

Return to the LOVE index page.

Go to the beginning of this home page:
An Existential Philosopher's Museum.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.