Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Grandma says 2-year-old needs a nose job
Mom: I have 2-year-old daughter (almost 3). My mother lives several states away, but we Skype fairly regularly; she rarely visits in person. My mom has always been very focused on looks — I grew up feeling unattractive — and now she has turned her attention to my daughter, saying things during our Skyping discussions like, "She's too fat. She needs to exercise every day. And she needs plastic surgery on her nose."
My daughter is an adorable and perfectly normal girl. I'm afraid she might start understanding these things soon, and I want to protect her. I've tried telling my mother that it's not acceptable, and I cut short the call when she starts in, but what else can I do?
Carolyn: You can kill the video and go back to the phone. Your mother can't be trusted to handle appearances in a healthy way, so deny her access to the topic. Don't shield her from the consequences of her words, either: "Ma, you said a 2-year-old needs a nose job. Are you kidding? No more Skype."
And no more Grandma if she persists — which you'll know because all phone and in-person contact must be supervised from now on, no exceptions. Wow.
Incident while not quite broken up erodes her trust
Fool me once: Last summer, Boyfriend and I broke up 95 percent. We were going to wait a week or so to make the decision final, but it was more or less done. He finalized the breakup after the waiting period.
Recently, we started spending time together again. I asked a question on a weird hunch about what went on during that "waiting period." He admitted that he hooked up with, but didn't sleep with, someone else. He said that if we were going to move forward he didn't want that lie between us. I had asked him the same question the night we broke up, and he denied it.
He said there was no excuse and apologized, but also said he thinks he did it because he subconsciously wanted to do something that would prevent us from staying together after the waiting period.
Where does that leave me? Part of me thinks, "He's human, he made a mistake." I've lied before, and even cheated, and learned from it, and it doesn't make me a horrible person. The other part of me wonders if I can ever trust him again. Would I be an idiot to trust this guy again?
Carolyn: Oh no, I was busy at my job and suddenly I woke up in a Friends rerun.
You were effectively broken up at the time, and his argument for sharing suggests it's his only dark secret. Just from the crumbs you gave me here, he seems pretty trustworthy — at least worth another shot. His denying the fling back on your Breakup Effective Date wasn't honest, of course, but arguably the truth then would have hurt you a lot and helped little, so maybe in a strange way he was covering you, and not just his own butt.
If there's anything to take away from the whole episode, maybe it's that postdating a breakup is about as wise as postdating a check.