Mary Jo Podgurski

Column Mary Jo Podgurski

Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski is the founder and director of the Washington Health System Teen Outreach. She responds to 68 questions from young people daily and has written 'Ask Mary Jo' since 2005.
18

Oct 2017

Comments

What’s the difference between like and love?

What is the difference between liking and loving someone?

Q:When does “like” become “love,” and how do you know when the love thing happens? I’ve been with someone for six months. We connect really well. I have fun with him. I can share things with him, even bad things, and I know he will listen. We both have lousy families, so we have that in common. His mom is in rehab for the third time. My dad just got out. Growing up in families where a parent is addicted isn’t easy, but that’s not what drew us to one another. We bonded over music at first. Neither of us has said the “I love you” thing, but we’ve talked about it. We both want to really mean it when we say it to someone for the first time. So … my original question. I know we like each other. How do we know when we love each other? We’ve both heard adults in our lives say “I love you” to people and then abandon or hurt them. He knows I’m writing you. We loved your sex ed classes. Can you help?

18-year-old


Mary Jo’s response: Your courage humbles me. Growing up with addiction is certainly not easy. You’re a survivor, and so is your partner.

Read more >>
11

Oct 2017

Comments

Men are also victims of domestic violence

Q: Will you please help me call attention to a little-known aspect of domestic and dating violence? It seems like most people assume women are the victims. I know that’s mostly true, but I’ve watched my older brother suffer at the hands of his girlfriend for over a year. He’s not allowed to see me or my sister. My parents aren’t allowed to call or text him. He’s isolated from friends, too. She checks all his texts and reads all his emails. She monitors where he goes. It’s like he’s a prisoner in his own home. She hardly works at all, just part time, but she takes his paycheck and decides how it is to be spent. Her own paycheck is hers to spend as she likes. I don’t know how to help him, and I fear he’s depressed. What if he’s becoming suicidal? I called the police and they said there was nothing they could do. Please print this and help me let others know. Anyone can be a victim.

19-year-old


Mary Jo’s Response: I selected your question for today’s column for two reasons. First, I want to reinforce your wise words – yes, anyone can be a victim. Second, October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You’re correct; men can experience intimate partner violence. Your description of your brother’s life reads like a case study for IPV. Here are some sobering 2017 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control:

Read more >>
04

Oct 2017

Comments

Don’t change to attract someone

Don’t change to attract someone

Q.Hey, it’s me! I’ve been asking you questions since sixth grade, so I’m not surprised I’m back now. I started college this year. I’m loving it. Here’s my question – and you can put it in your column. How honest should I be with new people I meet? The truth is – as you know – I haven’t done much sexually. I’m autistic. I don’t think most people know. I get by really well, unless I share. I like studying. I don’t mind social events, as long as people don’t crowd me. In high school you helped me with communication. I’m pretty good at it, I think. I know how to start and keep a conversation going. Until now, I wasn’t attracted to anyone enough to want to connect. I’m not ready for sex yet, but I think I’d like to have a partner to go to the movies and eat dinner with and maybe kiss. There’s someone in one of my classes that I think about a lot. Which surprises me, but also makes me happy. Do I owe this person the truth about my autism? Do I share how inexperienced I am? Do I tell this person I’m not into a lot of touch, just some, and I don’t know how much I’ll like? I watched that Netflix series “Atypical.” I thought it was stereotypical about people like me, but I did relate to the way the autistic character had trouble hooking up. I don’t think I’m like him. I filter way better. I am different, though. Should I try to change to attract someone?

19-year-old


Mary Jo’s response: How wonderful to hear from you! I’m thrilled you’re loving college. I knew you would!

Read more >>
27

Sep 2017

Comments

Letting someone know you like them

Q:How do you know if someone likes you? I like this person and we seem to have fun when we’re around each other. I can’t tell if I’m flirting or not. How does one flirt? How do I let this person know I’d like to be friends? How about more than friends? I feel stupid asking anyone else. How do you let a person know how much you like them?

15-year-old.


Mary Jo’s response: Your questions made my day. I like your honesty. I admire the way you moved past feeling insecure to ask your questions. I treasure the way you’re growing and developing into adulthood, one step at a time. I’m pleased you’re not rushing into a relationship.

Read more >>
LOAD MORE ARTICLES