Girl­friend drama brings on ‘Three-Thanks­giv­ing’ rule

Simcoe Reformer - - SPORTS - AMY Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: My brother was mar­ried to my sis­ter-in-law for 29 years. Out of the blue, he an­nounced to my hus­band and me that he had left his wife and was now liv­ing with “Kelly,” a girl­friend that he had met on­line.

I told him that I will still main­tain a friend­ship with my sis­ter-in­law. He said he was fine with that.

Soon af­ter his an­nounce­ment, he said he wanted to bring the new girl­friend to visit us. He said she was up­set that no one in our fam­ily wanted to meet her.

We sug­gested that we should go on an out­ing to­gether, and we all set a date.

Just be­fore­hand, my brother said she couldn’t make it. The next thing we know, he’s tex­ting that they’ve bro­ken up and that she threw him out.

My hus­band and I went on the out­ing our­selves and had a good time.

Al­most im­me­di­ately, I got a pic­ture from my brother stat­ing that he and his girl­friend had ac­tu­ally taken this same out­ing a few days be­fore we did.

I re­ally don’t en­joy my brother’s drama, but he’s still my brother and I imag­ine this woman will be in his life.

He’s a nice guy, but makes some bad, im­pul­sive de­ci­sions. I am not ready to in­vest in an iffy, on/ off re­la­tion­ship at this point.

What do I say to my brother with­out hurt­ing him? He seems to have no di­rec­tion lately.

— Dazed and Con­fused

Dear Dazed and Con­fused:

Your mid­dle-aged brother seems to be dat­ing in mid­dle school. The good news is that you don’t have to do any­thing about it. You don’t need to re­spond to your brother’s strange be­hav­ior; you don’t need to in­vest, or di­vest, in his on-or-off girl­friend. You don’t need to pro­vide shel­ter, money or ad­vice.

You should carry on, liv­ing your own life. The only thing you re­ally need to do is to treat your brother’s choices and dec­la­ra­tions with the ap­pro­pri­ate amount of skep­ti­cism. As­sume that he will be bounc­ing around un­til he gets his act to­gether, and hope that he does.

In terms of “Kelly,” you should ap­ply the Three-thanks­giv­ing rule. She may or may not be in his life, and if she is and you fi­nally meet her, you need only be po­lite and re­spect­ful. No re­la­tion­ship in­vest­ment is nec­es­sary un­til they set­tle down and show up for three Thanks­giv­ings in a row. Af­ter po­lite con­ver­sa­tion at three Thanks­giv­ings, you should as­sume that she will be around for a while, and build your re­la­tion­ship from there.

Don’t let your brother gaslight or guilt you into be­liev­ing that your own be­hav­ior is in ques­tion, be­cause it’s not.

Dear Amy: I have an un­usual name. I have to spell or pro­nounce it (or both) on just about a daily ba­sis as I in­ter­act with lots of new peo­ple via my job.

You would think that I would know what to do about peo­ple who mis­pro­nounce the name that I’ve had for over 40 years, but I don’t!

Specif­i­cally, what should I do about ac­quain­tances and (so­called) friends of sev­eral years who say my name wrong?

Af­ter the first two times of cor­rect­ing peo­ple, I get stumped. Are they just stupid? Are they gaslight­ing me?

I can­not think of a po­lite way of say­ing, “Oh, my God! I’ve told you three times how to pro­nounce my name! What is wrong with you?!”

In­stead, I say noth­ing, and seethe. There isn’t al­ways some­one else around who is car­ing enough to cor­rect them for me. Please ad­vise!

— Blamed for the Name

Dear Blamed: If there is an­other word or phrase that rhymes with your name, use it: “Kyrie, rhymes with ‘weary’”— or “Mi­lada,” rhymes with ‘de nada’.”

Tell your friends or oth­ers who ha­bit­u­ally mis­pro­nounce it: “Can I be hon­est with you? You al­ways mis­pro­nounce my name, and it re­ally both­ers me! Here’s how to pro­nounce it...”

Af­ter one hon­est, calm and pa­tient cor­rec­tion, then yes, if this hap­pens again, def­i­nitely ask them what is wrong with them.

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