Q: Enjoyed page on controlling people. I am one and I am dating a woman who is also. I just ended a marriage with a passive-aggressive person. I really resent Ms. New giving me advice, and I work to limit my own advice giving. Is there any hope for this new relationship?

A: Well, since relationships in which both people are controlling are so common in our culture, there is plenty of hope that the relationship will survive. The question is how good of a relationship will it be eve if it does survive.

You and the woman you are dating both need to learn to overcome your fears of abandonment (focusing on if the relationship will last…) and instead learn to focus on caring about what the other person wants, communicating your own wants clearly, and effective problem-solving. All of these factors are more about how good the relationship is while it lasts, and that’s far more important than how the relationship will end.

I’d suggest that you attend some of the excellent couple’s workshops offered by social service agencies, individual therapists, and some churches. They usually focus on communication and cooperation. If she isn’t willing to attend, contact the leaders of these programs and ask them about attending on your own or acquiring the same skills in some other way.

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