It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss a boyfriend whose still in love with his ex, dealing with inappropriate comments, and how to handle a gossipy mom.
You’ve been with this man for 2 1/2 years, during which he’s been pining after his ex the whole time and you’re only now beginning to wonder if he’s only with you because he can’t be with her? Girl, RUN, run, run and hope he doesn’t chase after you, because the last thing anyone needs is to feel like someone’s condolence prize in the game of life. And as a general reminder to everyone: staying with someone and hoping he changes is a recipe for heartache.
It sounds like he was trying to diffuse a painful situation (you feeling rejected/ignored by a good friend) by telling a joke and it bombed. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t offensive, but it could mean you’re putting a little more stock in his remark that it really warrants. Just tell him his comment hurt you, and if he’s a gentleman he’ll feel embarrassed, apologize, and reassure you that you mean a lot to him (even if he isn’t necessarily ready to walk down the aisle with you tomorrow).
When I was 13-14 my dad had a year long affair with a coworker that almost caused my parents to end up divorcing. It was a tough time, and I spent a lot of it cooking meals for my two siblings and keeping them away from our yelling/crying parents. However that was a while ago and things since then have been relatively smooth.
My mom, however, whom I love to pieces, now sees me more as a friend than a child and she uses every opportunity we are alone to complain about my dad. I have my own personal opinions on my dad and what he did, but I feel it is not my personal place to agree with her or even talk about it. She also has been spending a lot of time commenting on my relationship and how she “Doesn’t want me to have any regrets.” I am so caught off guard by her not trusting my choices and judgment, as well as her expecting me to gossip about my dad. What’s the correct way to draw boundaries and make it crystal clear without damaging our relationship permanently? — Tired of TMI From Mom
I wouldn’t wait until your mother brings up these conversations on her own; I’d sit her down and tell her you love her, but you’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with her bad-mouthing your father and questioning your life choices. Tell her that you’re willing to discuss almost anything else with her, but those topics are now off-limits and if she brings them up, you’ll have to respectfully change the subject immediately. It may take several “reminders” before she gets the hint, but as long as you don’t engage her at all, she’ll eventually get bored having a one-sided conversation (hopefully).
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.