Saturday, December 16, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Trapped in an awkward situation

Don't make a bad situation any worse for yourself

Q: I just found out a semigood friend is sleeping with the husband of another semigood friend. I don't know whether to stay out of it, or whether I'm obligated to say something to the married friend (which I want to do). What do you think?

San Diego

A: I'm sorry. Your impulse is to help your friend, rightly, but you're in a bad spot yourself. Since there are boundary, presumption and disaster problems with playing affair-buster, limit your actions to those that address your awkward position.

Specifically, to the husband or husband-poacher (whoever's the closer friend), say something akin to: "I've heard this is happening, which means others have, too. That's Issue 1. Issue 2, I want no part of this — I don't even want to know what I already know. Issue 3: If Wife asks me something, I won't lie. As someone who stands to lose friends in this mess, I hope you'll clean it up."

Then butt out, knowing that if someone forces your hand, your next move has been declared in advance — and if your friend finds out you knew, you can say: "I'm sorry. I did what I felt I could."

Proposal as a 'test' fails both sides of this relationship

Q: My fiance's close friend always complains that his girlfriend picks ridiculous fights and escalates everyday issues into big dramatic episodes. This is supposedly because she's insecure about the relationship, but I find her a very cool, interesting person and him nice but neurotic.

Fiance's theory is she's erratic and craves drama and his friend is just inexperienced; my theory is they're not compatible and need to break up, end of story.

Now Fiance tells me he advised his friend to propose as a way to "test" whether she's truly insecure or just crazy (and then break off the engagement if it's established that she's just crazy). I told him I think the idea is absurd and will end badly ... they will probably get married regardless.

I genuinely like this girl, and I've seen no signs of her alleged "crazy" behavior. Obviously I can't tell her what they're planning, but do I have some obligation here, or do I just wait for the impending disaster?

Meddling

A: You've got an impending disaster of your own to wait for, since it's generally not advisable to marry the cutest guy you meet in a middle school cafeteria.

Propose to her? As a test? And if he retracts the proposal, what's he planning to say — "Psych!"?

Okay, you called the idea "absurd." But that's hardly strong enough. It's not just a juvenile thing he suggested, but also breathtaking in its cruelty.

And, pardon my pragmatism at a time like this, it won't even work. No matter what her emotional failing, be it insecurity, instability or just lousy taste in men, it won't be magically erased by a proposal. The one person cured of insecurity by engagement was last seen knocking back champagne cocktails with the Loch Ness Monster, Jimmy Hoffa and Waldo.

So. Here's one way to look at this nasty bit of business: The only one of this quartet mature enough to get married is the one who says, "Wow, anyone who could seriously entertain that idea is so not ready for marriage."

(Do the math — no one here gets married. Psych!)

Comments

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

Tell Me About It: Parentsí extreme sheltering feels creepy

Parentsí extreme sheltering feels creepyQ: My daughter, 11, has three friends from school. One girlís parents are generous hosts. "Emma" is an only child and has a pool, fun toys, great snacks.The problem is that Emmaís parents donít let Emma be a gu...
Published: 12/10/17
Top things to do for the week of Dec. 11-17

Top things to do for the week of Dec. 11-17

Katy Perry: The Teenage Dream songstress roars into Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Friday ($45.75-$195.75). amaliearena.com. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights begins Tuesday, bringing fun celebrations including Hanukkah in the City at the Sundial St. ...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/12/17