Make us your home page

Tell Me About It: Ex's behavior shows how childish he is

Q: At church or other public functions, my ex-boyfriend greets my friends with kisses and hugs when I am standing right there. He gives me a nod. This causes me no end of grief. My question is about my friends' behavior. I think out of loyalty to me, they should not allow him to greet them so effusively. I spoke to one friend about it and she said she would "try to remember," but I don't think that's good enough.


A: When someone does such a clumsy, obvious job of insulting you, it's actually a backhanded compliment. He's trying to deliver a scathing put-down, right? But the message he's actually sending is this: "I am a graceless dork." As put-downs go, he's brandishing a crayon scribble as if it's the Mona Lisa.

You have a range of appropriate responses, all of which will serve their purpose as long as you treat his behavior as the crayon scribble it is. A pointed "Hello, Ralph" would do it. Or a gently teasing, "Really?" Or, ideally, nothing except the laugh this slapstick performance deserves.

No appropriate response, by the way, involves trying to control your friends. Cut that out.

How to deal with parents who are unpleasant? Don't

My parents are terribly negative, back-biting people. A year ago Husband overheard them talking viciously about us and our children. Understandably upset, he confronted them. They fled but have since concocted a story about how he threatened them (I was there, didn't happen). They now refuse to discuss it with us but try to contact our elementary-age kids directly.

My siblings have all learned never to confront our parents and are telling me now that's just how they are, plenty of blame to go around, just reconcile for the kids' sake, etc. It bothers me that they can't at least stand up for my kids. How do I deal with siblings who want peace at all costs?


Q: "You deal with them. I'm done." Contacting your kids directly? Yikes.

Tell Me About It: Ex's behavior shows how childish he is 04/28/14 [Last modified: Monday, April 28, 2014 7:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post Writers Group.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours