Hon­esty shows re­spect for ev­ery­one in­volved

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­vice.com DEAR EL­LIE

Q. We’ve been dat­ing for nine months. When I’m with him I feel re­spected, beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing.

A close friend, who was then dat­ing him, in­tro­duced him to me three years ago.

They were drift­ing apart and she thought I’d be a great match for him (she was right, but it’s still odd).

I be­came his friend, but didn’t want to get in­volved with some­one who’d just left a long-term re­la­tion­ship with my dear friend.

He and I fi­nally got to­gether two years later, and she was over­joyed.

We’re still good friends, and they’re still good friends.

We of­ten catch up to­gether and have a won­der­ful time. I care about and trust both of them. I’m fall­ing for him. I know they’d never de­lib­er­ately hurt me, but some­times I feel a lit­tle jeal­ous of their past.

They un­der­stand each other so deeply it can some­times be dif­fi­cult to watch them in­ter­act. I’ve yet to raise this with him. It feels un­rea­son­able of me to feel jeal­ous.

Also, I don’t want them to feel com­pelled to change their be­hav­iour.

They’re not do­ing any­thing wrong, their friend­ship makes them happy, and mostly, it makes me happy, too. I’m un­sure how to pro­ceed.

A. Here’s the thing about hon­esty — it’s clearer than vague dis­com­fort, and it shows re­spect for ev­ery­one in­volved.

If you want a fu­ture with him, speak up now. Say you trust him, and also trust her.

But con­fess that your feel­ings for him have reached the emo­tional level that al­lows some un­com­fort­able jeal­ousy to emerge.

You want them to be friends, but you also want to know that your ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship is a pri­or­ity for both of you.

You want your time alone with him to be spe­cial and dif­fer­ent from the “catchup” get-to­geth­ers.

If a gen­tle and hon­est con­ver­sa­tion about this makes him un­com­fort­able, you bet­ter find out why, now.

Re­la­tion­ship a lost cause?

Q. I’m a fe­male, 64, with a younger brother, 58. We haven’t been on great terms due to his stand­off­ish­ness.

He’s go­ing through his sec­ond di­vorce, has mul­ti­ple health prob­lems, and re­cently sold his busi­ness. He smokes, doesn’t ex­er­cise, doesn’t eat healthy food. Not an easy life.

I tried to keep in touch to ex­press con­cern, and asked him to have a meal with me as my guest or meet to talk. He mostly doesn’t re­spond. I got a late RSVP to my wed­ding party (my sec­ond mar­riage and I’m very happy).

He had a mild heart at­tack six weeks ago. I con­tacted him, ask­ing if I could do any­thing to help, but heard noth­ing back. Re­cently, he asked me to drop in. When I did, he pro­ceeded to “di­vorce” me, claim­ing I’m the cause of all the stress in his life! I’m gob­s­macked and very hurt. I said the door to com­mu­ni­cat­ing was still open if he wanted, then left. I’ve heard noth­ing from him since. Is the sit­u­a­tion a lost cause?

A. The “sit­u­a­tion” is about him, not you. What per­sists are his health prob­lems and per­sonal stress.

If your health-ori­ented happy life, plus of­fers to help make him feel judged, even jeal­ous, that’s his choice.

It’s likely been a part of his his­tory which you didn’t re­al­ize, e.g. him feel­ing sec­ond-rate or un­favourably com­pared to you in the past.

Just check in on him oc­ca­sion­ally, ei­ther through his friends or other fam­ily, or a brief email.

Per­haps of­fer­ing “help” or ad­vice isn’t what he can ac­cept from you when he’s so low … maybe just show­ing your in­ter­est is all he can han­dle for now.

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