Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Be careful of boyfriend's views on dealing with exes

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Be careful of boyfriend's views on how you deal with your exes

Q: I have cordial relationships with my ex-husband and my boyfriend from high school — the occasional phone call and seeing each other once or twice a year in a group setting. My boyfriend thinks this is really, really, really weird. So weird. And he says all his friends agree with him. Am I crazy?

Hanging Out With the Ex

A: You do know my history, right? That my kids from remarriage call my ex-husband "Uncle Nick"?

Of course you're not crazy. It's also not crazy to be suspicious of people who treat you like you're crazy just because your choices differ from theirs.

Your boyfriend wants nothing to do with exes. But please take very seriously his unwillingness to believe there's more than one right way to handle exes — or anything else.

You want someone who trusts you enough to trust that you're both headed toward the same goals, even when you take different paths to get there.

Two things to examine before committing to relationship

Q: I had a lot of problems stemming from a very hard childhood. If I had entered into a relationship right away, then I would have been a "hot mess." However, after years of therapy and some serious soul-searching (including very lonely moments of realizing how much I needed help), I am now about to get married.

I worry, because I am not completely healed from my childhood — but I am getting there. Is it okay to get married and move on while healing at the same time? My gut tells me to go with it — and take it one step at a time.

To Be or Not to Be ... Insecure)

A: I can't know whether you're ready for marriage, but I also don't believe there's a magic point where people become "well" or "fully healed" or whatever else we shoot for. Growth is lifelong if you're doing it right.

That said, here are two things to look for before committing to anyone: the strength to live honestly, and the ability to take good care of yourself and the people you love.

The latter is straightforward, since a "hot mess" by definition can barely manage one or the other, much less both — and, too, meeting your needs and your partner's tends to be mutually exclusive in unhealthy relationships. Very useful as a DON'T DO IT alarm.

Living honestly is more complicated: If it were easy to spot when we lie to ourselves, we wouldn't do it so much, right? But, generally, we're excellent at identifying in hindsight the ways we rationalized doing stupid things.

So we can take the memory of those rationalizations — the constant explaining and justifying — and compare that sensation to what we're feeling now. Since the whole point of rationalizations is to avoid an unwelcome truth, discarding them is no fun. But it still beats the slow agony of living with choices that don't fit.

Why just honesty and good care? They're key to preserving your sense of yourself within a relationship — allowing you to maintain good relationships and escape bad ones. That's really all anyone needs.

Comments
Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Pride weekend kicks off in St. Petersburg Friday with a free concert hosted by a RuPaul’s Drag Race star, a parade along the downtown waterfront on Saturday and an expanded expo of vendors and art on Sunday in the Grand Central District that ga...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Mom/daughter dynamic feels controlling

Q: I am afraid I may be a controlling mom of my young adult daughter, but we have a dynamic in which she seeks me out often, solicits my advice, and makes me too important in her life. I admit to offering that advice because it is hard for me to draw...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Regretting staying too long in bad romance

Q: I recently broke up with someone after two years. Even though there were things that bothered me while we were together, I would convince myself I was overreacting, he didnít really mean it, etc.Now that itís over, I feel like a fool for not havin...
Published: 06/18/18

Tell Me About It: After years of depression, a diagnosis

Q: Iím 33 and have dealt with depression on and off since my adolescence. I grew up in a household with every kind of abuse you can think of, but I didnít start seeking help until my early 20s via talk therapy, and cut ties entirely with my abusers. ...
Published: 06/17/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

St. Pete Pride: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coco Montrese of RuPaul’s Drag Race...
Published: 06/15/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy news confirms estrangement

Q: I just found out my son and his wife are going to be parents. Iím very excited and somewhat confused and a little hurt: Sheís seven months along. I donít know why the long wait to tell me. They live in another state, and I havenít seen them in abo...
Published: 06/15/18

Tell Me About It: Sister must face her poor choices in men

Q: Last night, I received my umpteenth call from my sobbing, devastated sister (mid-20s) over yet another semi-hookup-flirty-thing guy that didnít work out. He is moving away and she found out via an announcement at work, not from him.This is a years...
Published: 06/15/18
High-tech nighttime lagoon show coming to Universal Orlando this summer

High-tech nighttime lagoon show coming to Universal Orlando this summer

A gliding, wraith-like figure of a Dementor from the Harry Potter films enters Central Park, and the exteriors of the surrounding buildings immediately are covered in a layer of ice, a sign of their power to drain happiness out of the air around them...
Published: 06/14/18
Things to do this weekend: Fatherís Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

Things to do this weekend: Fatherís Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

HolidayFatherís Day: Sunday brings us a day to honor the guy who cheered us on, called us down and blamed us for his bald spot. Itís Fatherís Day! A number of local attractions are offering free admission for dads if at least one ungrateful progeny t...
Published: 06/14/18

Tell Me About It: Group resists suggestion of sober vacation

Q: I have a friend I have known since high school who has recently been in recovery for drinking. He is about six weeks into an outpatient system and has been doing well. A group of friends including my friend in recovery have been going on two campi...
Published: 06/14/18