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Relationships

Mar17, Q6
Mar17Q5
Mar 17, Q1

The guy I’m seeing lied about the date of his grandmother’s death and I don’t know what to do.

When we began seeing each other (6 m ago)  my bf told me he had to return home because of his grandmother’s death. I didn’t hear from him for a month, so I did some snooping around and found out that the grandmother had been dead for three years. I want to tell him about it but at the same time I don’t want to come across as a stalker.

 

I wouldn’t bring this up to him for two reasons: a) it doesn’t seem like you’re in an exclusive relationship, and b) you telling him would make it seem like you’re a bit possessive.  Instead, I’d make a mental note of it and see if this is a pattern of his. Having said that, I’d be cautious if I were you. It could be that he has another relationship and this is why he vanished the way he did.  So before you get any closer I suggest you use some of those detective skills on him.

 

 

 

My girlfriend’s sister lives in the same apartment complex as me. My GF visits her sister every day but doesn’t visit me. I’ve tried to talk to her about it but she’s acting dismissive. What should I do? 
 

You’ve tried to communicate with her and she continues to communicate with you in her own sweet way. I think you have your answer. And I’m so sorry! Now let’s just hope her sister lives far enough away from you so that you don’t have to run into her after you break up with her. 
 

 

 

 

My girlfriend gained 30 lbs and she doesn't want me to talk to her about it. What should I do? I love her but I'm not attracted to her anymore.

 

Your gf is dealing with some weight gain. It either bothers her a lot or she might actually like the way she looks now. Either way, it's her body and her decision on how to approach it. The best thing for your relationship would be for you to stay neutral, meaning don't bring it up but listen if she wants to talk. Tell her you love her and tell her why but don't mention her weight. This approach will reward you when you will become bald and grey, when you're struggling with your hearing aids, and you stumble and fall because of your poor balance. And when you will struggle with ED or prostate problems.

And about you struggling with feeling attracted to her: That's something you'll have to deal with. But keep it to yourself. Maybe this is a good time to explore what attracted you to her in the first place. Was it the way she looked only or can you find it inside you to want to be near her for the person she is inside?

A friend of mine told me that she’s falling in love with me. I really like her as a friend but doesn’t feel the same way. I’ve always been kind of insecure and always think people are with me because they feel sorry for me, so it’s hard for me to move forward from here. What do I do?

You mention that you have a tendency to feel insecure, and that you always wonder if people are with you because they feel sorry for you. See this as a sign that there’s a strong possibility that you’re wrong about that. People are not with you because they feel sorry for you. Your friend is proof of that. Then do your best to act normal around her. And whatever you do, don't avoid her. That would hurt her feelings and would make it so much harder for you to act like nothing happened down the line. It might be a good idea to plan some fun activities together until things kind of go back to normal. That way you can enjoy each other's company without having to discuss her feelings for you. And things will get easier as you go along. If you feel embarrassed seeing her again, imagine how she feels!

 

 

 

What do you do if your friends and family want you to break up with your girlfriend?

 

If your friends and family are all in agreement it might be a good idea to listen to their reasons for wanting you to break up. Maybe they see something that you don’t see. Maybe they see changes in you that they don’t like. Or maybe they don’t like the way she treats you.

I’m not saying you should necessarily do what they say, but it wouldn’t be bad to consider their opinions. What you decide to do with the information is, of course, up to you. But at least you move forward more aware than before. They either opened your eyes to the person she is, the person you have become, or to the fact that you might want to continue to rely on your own ability to judge for yourself. If that is the case, and they’re all wrong, thank them for their input but defend your relationship and your girlfriend. And if they continue, excuse yourself and leave the room.

 

 

 

A guy I’m dating invites me to a trip but I couldn’t go because of work. Later on he decided to go to the trip with another woman and ended up sending me a picture of her in her bathing suit. He said it was to “test” me. Should I continue dating him?

He sent you a picture of another woman to test you while you stayed behind to work. He tested you but the way I look at it, it was he who failed the test. Big time.

 

 

 

What makes having a relationship today so difficult?

You are right in that relationships are more challenging today than they used to be. Some of the reasons for this might be that our expectations are different.  Take marriage for instance: What used to be a way to secure one’s financial future now carries with it a desire and expectations of living happily ever after, and having our partner fulfill our every need. All that while our life spans have increased. Marriages used to last twenty years tops before one partner passed away. Nowadays a forever relationship means staying together for close to sixty years. That’s a long time and a lot of pressure.

But even with all those challenges it seems like people are doing okay. In the US, divorce rates are down slightly. People marry later in life which has a big influence on maintaining a successful long-term relationship. And although the expectations on relationships seem higher, many young couples also seem more flexible and more willing to adjust as they go. The relationship roles seem less rigid. I, myself, have great hope for the next generation.

 

Having said that, today’s challenges are difficult to deal with. There’s the money issue. And the parenting challenges, if you have kids. Then there’s the problem with either having the extended family so far away that they can’t be there to offer support, or having them so close that they all become intrusive.

 

Add to that pressure of finding love in the first place and making it all last. Yes, relationships are challenging. Maybe it’s good to realign our expectations once in a while. To reset our priorities and ask ourselves what kind of relationship we want. Maybe it’s time to stop looking at, and comparing ourselves to others. It’s that comparison thing that gets us every time.

 

 

My wife calls me a narcissist but I am the one who shows empathy and apologizes while she yells and gives me the silent treatment. Who is really the narcissist?

 

Calling someone a narcissist seems to be the weapon of choice nowadays of anyone who doesn’t get their way. But unless she (or you) are therapists, trained to diagnose these types of issues, I would stay away from throwing terms like that around. What I would focus on instead is the way the two of you communicate. Using negative labels, not communicating at all, or yelling as a way to express how you feel or to defend yourself doesn’t sound like a safe, productive way to communicate.

It sounds like it might be time for the two of you to rewrite the ground rules for how you allow yourselves to behave. And the good thing is that at least you are realizing this. Let’s hope you can convince your spouse that, together you can change the way you talk to each other.

Once you get used to using statements beginning with the word I rather than the word YOU, lowering your voice when the other person raises theirs, taking turns talking,  listening fully, and sticking to the issue, you might find that having these discussions will actually bring you closer rather than push you apart.

 

What should you do if your partner said he didn't cheat but you know for sure that he did?

If you know for sure that your partner cheated, the fact that he denies it wouldn't make much of a difference. You already know that you're in a relationship with someone who is unwilling to tell the truth. The question then becomes "are you prepared to stay in a relationship with someone you can't trust?" Only you can answer that question. Because if you already know for sure, it's kind of unnecessary to convince your partner of the fact that he did it. Your job is to convince yourself to do what's best for you. 

What can I do with friends who don’t easily accept that they can be wrong?

 

One thing you might want to try is to present a different way of looking at a problem but to do it in the form of a question. So instead of pointing out that your friend is wrong (which often makes people defensive and more set in their ways), try asking Have You Ever Considered… questions.  Then listen to your friend’s answer without reacting.  

 

Even if your friend were to totally reject your idea, you have at least introduced a new way of thinking, giving your friend something to consider. Your goal is not to transplant your enormous tree into your friend's private garden but rather to plant a seed.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I have used this technique only to have the person speak on the subject at a later time, using my exact approach, and my exact words. The chance that you will get credit for being the one who expanded your friend’s mind is very slim (Very stubborn people are usually not very good at giving other people credit.) But does that really matter?

How can you tell if your husband loves his girlfriend more than he loves me?

The fact that he has a girlfriend when he’s married to you tells me that he doesn’t love you (nor his girlfriend) enough. And maybe even more important: he doesn’t respect you AT ALL. So even if he still loves you just a tiny bit, the fact that he doesn't respect you should be enough for you to question his right to still be married to you.

Trust and respect are either-or-relational components. Either you trust and respect someone or you don't. Love, on the other hand, can be either all-encompassing or it can be dished out in tiny quantities. And that's why love alone is not enough to build a trusting, long-term relationship.

I’ve been driving my close friend who’s 22 yo to and from work for 9 months now. She has close to 10k saved and pays no bills. She does pay me for gas but I feel it’s time for her to get a car and when I bring it up she gets mad. How should I handle this?

Nine months is a long time. It sounds like it's time for you to start setting some boundaries. Tell your friend you’ve been happy to help her out but that you’ve decided you can only drive her for another two weeks (or whatever time period works for you). Don’t mention anything about how she ought to get a license or the status of her bank account. That is her issue to deal with and her business. Your issue is that you will no longer be able to drive her to and from work. So focus on that.

 

Given her history of getting upset with you, she will likely get angry when you tell her about your decision. Rather than thanking you for being incredibly generous with your time and the wear and tear on your car, she will probably do her best to make you feel guilty for setting some boundaries. So prepare yourself for that conversation to take place. Don’t defend yourself. There’s no reason to. If she is a true friend, she will calm down eventually.

Do you think my friend doesn’t want to be friends with me anymore? She said we were friends forever. She doesn’t really talk to me much on social media. Is she drifting away?

Friendships can be harder to figure out than romantic relationships. When you break up with a BF or GF the relationship is over and you know it. With friends, the relationship, more often than not, changes forms as one or both of you change. Especially if you met and became friends at a young age. Because of this, friendships rarely last forever. That doesn’t mean that these friendships aren’t important.

 

It seems like your friend is pulling back. Maybe she wants to be your friend but doesn't want to have the responsibility that comes with the assignment of being your BFF. And maybe she doesn't know how to tell you this. Maybe she doesn't want to hurt your feelings. So she ignores you. As if that doesn't hurt.

 

Yes, it hurts to lose a friendship. And it's almost more painful to be demoted. One day you're close and tell each other secrets. The next you're set aside.  One day you're on the prize podium. The next, there's a new race and you're not qualified to enter. Or that's what it feels like, at least. 

 

Maybe it would help to look at the issue from a different angle. Instead of looking at the end of a friendship as a broken promise, it might be helpful if we could view a fading relationship as something valuable while it lasted. Once you let some time pass you might even begin to appreciate what the friendship taught you along the way. Not only that, but now you know that you are capable of finding and making friends. And if you’ve done it once you can do it again. And the good thing in all this is that every time you make a new friend, you get the opportunity to find a friend that fits the person that you are TODAY. Because, chances are that just as the needs of your friend changed, so did yours.

 

But until you get to that stage (and you will) let yourself mourn what used to be. Cry, write about it, imagine how she'll never find another friend like you. But know that your time with your friend was not a waste for you or for her. 

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