Sunday, January 21, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Friend complains about boyfriend but doesn't leave

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Friend who complains about boyfriend keeps seeing him

Q: What to do about a good friend who constantly complains about her boyfriend and won't make the obvious choice? I want to be there for her, but she's bringing me down.

Here We Go Again

Carolyn: "You've talked about this quite a bit lately — what do you plan to do about it?" Or, variations:

"Wow, I can see why that gets to you. What are you going to say/do about it?" "Yeah, I hear you. What comes next, do you think?" "You keep saying some version of this, yet you haven't taken what seems like the obvious next step and broken up with him. Why is that, do you think?" Or even: "Yep, that's a tough one — but I know you'll figure it out."

Or anything else your imagination conjures, as long as it steers her right back to her choices and to action(s) she plans to take. Just "being there for her" by providing her with bottomless sympathy and unending patience is actually a great disservice to a friend. You're rewarding her inaction.

Friends and Relationships: The other side of the "should I tell my friend I hate her boyfriend" question: Do you have any advice for how to sort out when your friends have a point and when you're being overly influenced by them?

My friends and my boyfriend don't get along very well, and I think the things they don't like about him are things I don't mind — but sometimes I doubt myself because generally they know me pretty well, and I wonder if they're seeing incompatibilities that I don't. (Not abuse, just personality stuff.)

Carolyn: Ask them if the boyfriend gets on their nerves, or if the person you are when you're with your boyfriend gets on their nerves. Or, in a similar vein, find out whether they see you as generally unhappy or out of touch with your former self. The former is a bummer, but the other two are problems that deserve your attention.

Prepaid vacation with family is arriving at a contentious time

Q: I am set to fly off to a weeklong vacation with my boyfriend and his family. However, we've been fighting recently (even having discussions about splitting up) that I'm now looking forward to the trip with dread rather than anticipation.

I had already made arrangements to stay separately from the family for appearances' sake, but I will still be spending a great deal of time with them and am worried about how to get through this without (a) lying through my teeth or (b) allowing my relationship problems to sap all the joy out of this. The plane tickets and hotel stay are nonrefundable, so excusing myself isn't an option. How do I manage to make this an enjoyable and memorable-for-all-the-right-reasons experience?

Morose in Maui

Carolyn: (1) You can cancel; you'll just have to pay back any part of it his family paid for you;

(2) You can leave early if you're miserable.

(3) You can also go and, in the event of bickering, excuse yourself politely to pursue solo activities. Better absent than angry. Treat it as a chance to find out whether you and he can get past your differences.

Comments
2018 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Guide and insider tips

2018 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Guide and insider tips

On Saturday, the kids get first crack at the booty from the pirates at the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza, the annual alcohol-free party on Bayshore Boulevard. To kick off the season of Jose Gaspar, the fictitious marauder whose legend has...
Published: 01/18/18
You can buy the balls from Amalie’s Beach Tampa exhibit at auction

You can buy the balls from Amalie’s Beach Tampa exhibit at auction

More than 100,000 people showed up at Amalie Arena in 2016 to frolic in a huge ball pit. It was a sea of 1.2 million white orbs so vast that grown men could belly flop and remain afloat. Almost two years after the Beach Tampa packed up, some 15,000 l...
Published: 01/18/18

Tell Me About It: FaceTime offense lands sister on the outs

FaceTime offense lands sister on the outsQ: When does FaceTime become an intrusion?My sister-in-law recently relocated to our area. We invited her to join us for our traditionally quiet New Year’s Eve celebration. About two hours before midnight, she...
Published: 01/18/18

Tell Me About It: Cousin’s husband pursues young sisters

Cousin’s husband pursues young sisters Q: I just found out that my niece’s husband has made inappropriate comments/propositions to both of my daughters, one still a minor (17). I have to tell my niece, right? I don’t want to hurt her.Broken HeartA: Y...
Published: 01/18/18
Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend   Gasparilla Children’s Parade: A week before the more raucous pirate invasion, the G-rated version hits the streets. The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza and Parade kicks off Gasparilla season with a bicycle safety...
Published: 01/17/18
Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Children’s Parade

Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Children’s Parade

PICKING AND GRINNING: Steve Martin and Martin ShortThere wasn’t a lot of bluegrass being played around Hamilton, Ontario, when Martin Short was a kid. But his decades-long friendship with Steve Martin has made him a fan, which brings An Evening With ...
Published: 01/17/18

Tell Me About It: Mom needs reassurance of their gratitude

Mom needs reassurance of their gratitudeQ: Whenever my mother gives me or my family member a gift, she ends up asking about it several times afterward. Does not matter if it was $5 or expensive.We always thank her for gifts, and these comments feel l...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Sister-in-law’s gall is of epic proportions

Sister-in-law’s gall is of epic proportionsQ: I’m a two-time, currently-Stage IV breast cancer survivor. When I was told I needed a double mastectomy, I did the research and decided to "go flat."For dressy occasions, I wear prostheses, but they’re no...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy makes move harder to bear

Pregnancy makes move harder to bearI’m 27 weeks pregnant and just moved to a new city for a great job, but I think I made a big mistake. I loved my old life and feel so homesick for it. But my husband and I bought a house, so moving is not a feasible...
Published: 01/15/18

Tell Me About It: Mom is floored by daughter’s pregnancy

Mom is floored by daughter’s pregnancyQ: I’m literally shaking as I type this. My 15-year-old daughter is pregnant. I can’t believe it. We had many good discussions about waiting until she was ready, using birth control when she was, but it all did n...
Published: 01/14/18