Relationship with friend of opposite sex is endangered
Q: I am perpetually struggling to retain a relationship with my (male) best friend while in a monogamous relationship with my fiance.
My man has no female best friend. So I put myself in his shoes and I begin to feel sympathetic. My friend has a fiancee, too. Ultimately I don't want to jeopardize my relationship with my fiance. My gut tells me the choice is obvious, but then I say, why must I dismiss my best friend of seven years?
We went to college together so we have a large network of mutual friends and acquaintances, which inevitably keeps us in contact. So is it possible to maintain both relationships?
A: If your fiance is mature, sure of himself and noncontrolling, and if your relationship with your best friend is completely free of attraction or ulterior motives, and if your best-friendship doesn't siphon intimacy away from your relationship that a fiance would have a right to expect, then, yes, it is possible and even healthy to maintain both relationships. (These conditions apply regardless of the sexes of the three parties, by the way.)
Whether your situation satisfies these conditions is something only you know. I have a hunch the truth, whatever it is, will require a little more honesty with yourself than you would normally care to take on; neither insecurity nor lurking attraction is easy to admit. But either one will be easier to face now than to clean up after later.
Fight pain by giving up being a doormat
Q: My boyfriend is giving me a silent treatment as a result of a disagreement. I've called, e-mailed and texted, but he did not respond. Twice, while I was at work, he stopped by my place to drop off stuff I left at his house. I feel sad, lonely and lost. What should I do to make this pain subside?
A: Make the decision, now, that this relationship is over; even if he comes around, even if he's contrite, you're done.
Deciding that you'll never stand to be treated this way again would be restorative in itself. But if you go beyond that and take deliberate steps to restart your life as a single person — as opposed to waiting around for him to make it all okay again — then you're acting on that decision. And rising to that (admittedly) formidable challenge taps into the most reliable pain-relief available: proof that you don't live at the end of anybody's leash.
When gift-giving is thankless, must it continue?
Q: I want to stop giving birthday gifts to grown nieces and nephews who never acknowledge the gift. For the few who do acknowledge, I have no problem continuing this. My husband feels we are being unfair to the others. I say if they can't spend two minutes via e-mail, phone or note, then why waste my hard-earned cash on them? What do you think?
A: The purpose of a gift is to please the giver and the recipient. If you're resentful about giving, and you have no indication that the recipient is happy to receive, then there's no purpose in continuing to give these gifts.