Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Don't take love interest's rejection to heart

Carolyn Hax is away. The following is a past column.

Q: I was interested in my best friend last year, but she wasn't interested in me. We got that out of the way, ended up closer than before and everything's been fine since. Now, I'm happy with a great girlfriend.

The problem is, each time my friend becomes interested in someone new, I keep asking myself, "What was wrong with me?" (since she never told me, though I asked). This is especially a problem because more recently she's been interested in someone we both know. I'm quite happy with my girlfriend now, so I feel terrible about continuing to wonder about what my defect was/is. I chalk this up to being unable to grow up and get over not being good enough, but I was wondering if you had any thoughts.


A: I chalk it up to your chalking it up to things that are beside the point. Falling for people isn't about their being "good enough."

Point is, even when you have a good idea why you're attracted to someone — she's smart, she's pretty, she can belch the Ode to Joy— there will always be the intangible something(s) that made you choose her over all the other pretty, smart music lovers. Two people with little in common meet at a cocktail party and talk for an hour straight; two who are perfect for each other on paper barely get past "hello." Can you always explain the difference? For that matter, can you pinpoint why you chose your new girlfriend? Not really. Mostly we guess.

Your best friend's judgment is just as subject to unknowns, intangibles and downright-inexplicables as yours is, or anyone else's. Some people use those unknowns to keep flogging themselves, and some turn them around to flog the source of rejection (maybe she's the "defective" one!). They work best as a kind of release: You can't ever know, so you won't bother to try. Especially since all you ever needed to know was "no."


Tell Me About It: Instead of monster or martyr, try ‘Mom’

Q: My sister-in-law, "Mary," has always been a mess. She has two kids with two different men who never see them, don’t pay child support, and she doesn’t work. Mary and her children lived with my mother-in-law, "Kate," until Kate moved into a 55-plus...
Published: 08/12/18

Tell Me About It: Introverted fiancee feels trapped by family

Q: My son and his fiancee bought a condo close to us, which then flooded. They moved in with us and repairs have taken longer than anticipated.His fiancee, "Laura," is an intense introvert. For that reason, I gave up my exercise, TV and craft room fo...
Published: 08/10/18

Tell Me About It: Check in constantly with depressed friend

Q: I have this friend who lives close but I haven’t seen in months. No one in our group of friends has seen her recently. Every time we make plans, she cancels, saying she is too sad or has been crying all day.I’m really worried. She moved here more ...
Published: 08/09/18

Tell Me About It: An occasional push helps to stay on track

Q: What responsibility does a wife have to push her husband to be a decent friend? For years, my husband was close with a few guys from grad school. As they got married and started families, the frequency of their get-togethers died down and the frie...
Published: 08/07/18

Tell Me About It: Grandma finds no one wants her heirlooms

Q: My mother-in-law has spent much of her life accumulating collectibles, heirlooms and furniture with the rationale that she will give them to her children and grandchildren someday. Her four grandchildren are still in high school. She’s decided tha...
Published: 08/07/18

Tell Me About It: Couple ponders rolling the dice on a baby

Q: I mostly want to have a baby; my fiance mostly does not. I’m in my late 30s and have school-age kids; he doesn’t have and never planned to have kids. Deciding to have or not to have a baby seems like too enormous a decision for mere mortals. It’s ...
Published: 08/06/18

Tell Me About It: Boyfriend takes affection to the next level

Q: My boyfriend is responsible, thoughtful, and very very affectionate — which is great for the first four hours of hand-holding, but which makes me want to shove him away and shout, "Just leave me alone!" by hour six. Before this, I thought I was a ...
Published: 08/05/18

Tell Me About It: Boyfriend won’t stand up to cruel brother

Q: I just spent the weekend in the company of my boyfriend’s brother, who mimicked/mocked me, belittled almost all my actions, and made fun of my chronic health condition. My boyfriend says this is just "’George’s’ sense of humor," and that I should ...
Updated one month ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Aug. 6-12

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Aug. 6-12

Janet Jackson: The pop icon will be in Control when she brings her State of the World tour to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Tuesday ($29.95-499.95). amphitheatretampa.com. Fetish Con: You’ll find even more half-dressed p...
Published: 08/02/18
Updated: 08/06/18
Plan your weekend Aug. 3-5: Tampa Bay Comic Con, Kevin Hart, Miranda Lambert, Warped Tour, tax-free weekend and more

Plan your weekend Aug. 3-5: Tampa Bay Comic Con, Kevin Hart, Miranda Lambert, Warped Tour, tax-free weekend and more

MusicConcerts of note: On Friday queen of country music Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town, the hit-making vocal machine bring a strong night of country’s best female artists at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa. $34.25 and up. Live...
Published: 08/02/18