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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?


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.

Remain friends with males who respect the relationship you're in 08/04/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 4, 2012 4:32am]
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