Own needs take pri­or­ity over friend’s

Cape Breton Post - - Advice/ Games - El­lie Tesher Read El­lie Mon­day to Satur­day. Email el­lie@thes­tar.ca. Fol­low @el­liead­vice. Copy­right 2017: El­lie Tesher Dis­trib­uted by: Torstar Syn­di­ca­tion Ser­vices

Q : Re­cently, a guy friend showed up act­ing like we’re start­ing a re­la­tion­ship af­ter years of min­i­mal con­tact.

When we met ten years ago, we were both mar­ried and in a sim­i­lar field. I sensed he had a crush on me but I never saw him in that way.

We both di­vorced and had very dif­fer­ent, life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ences (my mother’s sud­den death, his trau­matic health ex­pe­ri­ence). We had other part­ners and break-ups. We’re now late-30s.

As soon as his lat­est re­la­tion­ship ended, he reached out and im­me­di­ately as­sumed we’d be to­gether reg­u­larly.

I told him he was afraid of be­ing on his own and should learn how to do that. He’s ig­nored that ad­vice.

His text mes­sages are like a con­ver­sa­tion in his own head - that we’re meant to be to­gether, that he al­ways felt this way about me.

I don’t al­ways re­spond. Or, I change the sub­ject.

I’m try­ing to heal from my own loss of some­one I still love, but I’m not go­ing down that old path of rush­ing to some­one else.

I need to find strength in my­self. How do I con­vince this guy that he needs to do the same, with­out me? — Pur­sued

A: Heed your own ad­vice: Af­ter a break-up, it’s time to take care of you.

State clearly, I don’t want a re­la­tion­ship with you. Not now, not later.

If he per­sists af­ter that, close it down.

His delu­sion that you’re in­ter­ested can turn ag­gres­sive, and will end the friend­ship any­way.

Q : My teenage daugh­ter and I live in our own home to­gether. I re­cently rented an un­used bed­room to a friend. She pays rent, does her fair share of the chores, and is very tidy.

How­ever, she uses the com­mon ar­eas as her own (fair enough), but NEVER LEAVES THEM. She gets up when she hears me down­stairs, and sits at the kitchen ta­ble read­ing for hours at a time.

I was an­noyed, but tried to work around it as she’ll be start­ing a job soon. But I have the most trou­ble with her in­tru­sions into our lives.

She over­heard and com­mented on my pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion with my daugh­ter. She ques­tions her about her so­cial life.

She wants to be in­tro­duced to ev­ery­one who vis­its me. She treats my mother like her own. When I did try to dis­cuss it, she be­came de­fen­sive.

She in­sists that I’m look­ing for some­thing to be an­gry about, and uses pas­siveag­gres­sive tac­tics, e.g. “I guess I won’t talk to her at all, then.”

What will it take for her to get it that my per­sonal life is my own?

— An­noy­ing Ren­ter

A: Check the law on your lo­cal land­lord-tenant rules, you may be fac­ing big­ger trou­bles.

Un­less you have a con­tract, you have a ca­sual tenant re­la­tion­ship that’s glar­ingly un­clear, though she may have rights to refuse to leave.

And since she’s adept at pas­sive-ag­gres­sive moves, you need to be pre­pared for her re­ac­tion if/when you try to make changes.

Frankly, I think the ar­range­ment just doesn’t work. You wanted the rent money and felt you were “help­ing” her. She, on the other hand, bought into your pri­vacy.

You should’ve ini­tially de­fined any rules about “com­mon ar­eas,” and about the per­sonal pri­vacy of your mother-daugh­ter re­la­tion­ship.

You left the sit­u­a­tion open and it’s go­ing to be tough, in­sult­ing, and hurt­ful to dial it back.

I sug­gest you say it’s not work­ing, un­less, even af­ter she’s em­ployed, you agree on a sched­ule of house­hold use, and also in­sist on zero in­tru­sion in your re­la­tion­ship with your daugh­ter.

Q : I come from a large fam­ily, some of the sib­lings are es­tranged. Re­cently, I was in­formed by a sib­lings with whom I’ve had no con­tact since our par­ents’ death, that another sib­ling had died.

I’d also had no con­tact with the now-de­ceased sib­ling since our par­ents’ death.

I feel some re­sponse is re­quired, but am at a loss as to what that should be. I’ve checked Miss Man­ner’s and Emily Post’s books to no avail. — Lost For Words

A: If a sib­ling’s death brings no thoughts of your own, then any pat sen­tences will sound truly empty.

If there’s noth­ing pos­i­tive from your fam­ily his­tory that you can use, e.g. a pleas­ant mem­ory, or com­ment about that sib­ling’s par­tic­u­lar tal­ent, then send a sim­ply worded con­do­lence card to the per­son’s clos­est kin.

Or, make a do­na­tion to a re­lated char­ity, such as the Can­cer So­ci­ety.

You’re try­ing to ac­knowl­edge the per­son’s pass­ing, not make up for years of es­trange­ment.

TIP OF THE DAY: Af­ter a break-up, heal­ing trumps friends’ need­i­ness.

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