Sunday, December 17, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Remain friends with males who respect the relationship you're in

Remain friends with men who respect your relationship

Q: I'm dating someone who recently admitted being uncomfortable with some of my friendships with other men, because some have an interest in me romantically and some I had dated previously.

I always felt that, as long as boundaries were in place and I didn't return those feelings anymore, I was being true, but because my current beau was badly burned by a cheating ex and is not as trusting as he once was, this is causing a rift. What can I do to reassure him?

S.

A: You can choose to be faithful to him, and choose not to insult his intelligence by maintaining friendships that crackle with sexual tension, and choose not to play the game of remaining "faithful" while auditioning your boyfriend's replacement — but "reassure him"? No, you can't.

If this were just about exes, then I'd say anyone too traumatized to trust an honest person to be honest has more healing to do before s/he has any business starting a new relationship. The burden of your boyfriend's past is on him. And I'd say that if he's putting the onus on you to the point where it's time to break up, then don't let either of you guilt you into backing down.

However, your story includes men who may well be hanging around waiting for their big chance. Remain friends with men who are respectful of your current love, not with circling sharks.

Don't direct anger toward your loved ones

Q: My wife of 40 years passed away in April of cancer. The local hospice was very involved.

I informed everyone, and put in the obituary, that I did not want flowers or gifts, but rather a donation to hospice.

Only one of my wife's sisters made a donation — $20. Nothing from any other family members. Are these people cheap or just plain heartless?

Mad in Wisconsin

A: I'm very sorry for your loss.

I am also sorry you don't have the source of solace that so many people depend on. Donations to a meaningful charity can help people feel their loved one's suffering wasn't for naught, and I can see why you've pegged your personal feelings to the hospice's receipts.

However, I'm still going to urge you stop doing that. These relatives are entitled to give, and grieve, as they deem appropriate.

Another reason to let this go: Your anger is misdirected, no? You're really (and understandably) angry at death? It's a devastating opponent. It never hears your objections. So, there's no satisfying place to put the anger you feel.

Relatives, on the other hand, are satisfying places to send anger. They'd hear you. They bleed.

I wonder, though, what you hope to accomplish.

If what you're after is some show of support, then I suggest you open your mind to other ways people may have expressed concern and affection.

And, too, don't discount the simplicity of asking for something else. To the family members who mean most to you, say: "I'd love some company, if you have time in the next few weeks." It's hard to do, yes, but if anecdotes are evidence, it's harder still for others to resist the urge to beat an awkward retreat from someone reeling from a loss. Making it easier for them by spelling out different options will likely come out better for you.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Fianceís abrupt breakup feels like a death

Fianceís abrupt breakup feels like a deathQ: Arriving from a work trip, I texted my fiance that I had would be home soon. He responded with, "I love you. Iíll bring home pizza for dinner." Thirty minutes later: "Actually, I canít be in a relationship...
Published: 12/17/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 18-24.

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

Gasparilla Bowl: The postseason college football game at Tropicana Field on Thursday brings Florida International University from Conference USA to play the Temple Owls from the American Athletic Conference. ($40-$80). gasparillabowl.com. The 8 p.m....
Updated: 3 hours ago

Tell Me About It: Thrown off by sudden, no-gift Christmas

Thrown off by sudden, no-gift ChristmasI am meeting part of my family for an early Christmas celebration. Five days out, my cousin e-mails everyone to say she will only be giving a present to her mom and our grandparents. She is skipping our aunt, my...
Published: 12/14/17
Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Plan your weekend Dec. 15-17: Katy Perry, boat parades, Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Superstar Katy Perry: In the ever-escalating arms race to be the most eye-popping pop star on the planet, sometimes you have to call in for backup. Even if you’re Katy Perry. When plotting her lavishly spectacular Witness Tour, which arrives i...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

Top things to do this week: Star Wars parties, comics Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Carbonaro

NEW HOPE: Star Wars partiesWith the opening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the force of fan excitement is strong, so of course there are Star Wars parties this weekend. The giant movie complex Riverview 14 GDX is having celebration with characters from...
Published: 12/13/17
5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

5 things to do under $5: Gasparilla Bowl beach day, Hanukkah on Ice, boat parades

1 Battle at the Beach: The Gasparilla Bowl is coming to Tropicana Field on Dec. 21, but before that the bands, cheerleaders and dance teams from Florida International University and Temple University will have a day of beach-related games and competi...
Published: 12/13/17
6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

6 gift ideas for grandparents and grandchildren to spend more time together

A grandparent can be a tough person to buy a Christmas gift for. Likewise, many grandparents are stumped on what to get the kids besides some cash. Why not make your Christmas gift something you both want more of: more time together making memories. ...
Published: 12/13/17

Tell Me About It: Leave gender out of division of housework

Leave gender out of division of houseworkWhy is it that when a woman cares about the division of labor at home ó like her home being a decent level of clean ó she is considered to be overreacting?OK, Iíll get down from my soap box now. (Iíll also bre...
Published: 12/13/17

Tell Me About It: Overwhelmed parent weighs out options

Overwhelmed parent weighs out optionsQ: Since my kids were born, my job basically covered the cost of day care. The kids came home overtired and overstimulated.As they became preschool age, I restructured my work to freelance so I could drop off and ...
Published: 12/12/17

Tell Me About It: Identity of biological father is revealed

Identity of biological father is revealedQ: When I was 18, my mother revealed that the father I grew up with was not my biological father. She claimed she didnít even know my bio father, and never contacted him again after their brief weekend fling a...
Published: 12/11/17