The Washington Post

A reader isn’t ‘crazy in love’ and is worried she might be settling

- Ask Amy AMY DICKINSON © 2022 by Amy Dickinson distribute­d by Tribune Content Agency

Dear Amy: I met “John,” who I thought was an evolved, caring and understand­ing human.

We’ve been dating for nine months. We do not tell each other that we love each other, or talk about the future.

John is divorced going on two years, so it is understand­able that he’s not in a place to commit and he doesn’t want to marry again.

John has a 9-year-old son, “Caleb,” whom I’ve spent time with. Caleb ignores me, doesn’t answer questions and lacks manners.

John says he’s shy and takes time to warm up, which is fair. I had a similar upbringing so I can empathize to a degree.

Lately, I find that I don’t enjoy spending time with them. Are these signs that this is a casual relationsh­ip and works for now, or do I need to cut the cord and move on?

I want a partner. I hope to find my person, be crazy in love, have a healthy relationsh­ip and possibly get married again someday (I’ve been divorced for 11 years).

I’m either settling, or I’m learning how to not be so attached. What are your thoughts? — Casual?

Casual?: First, “Caleb.” He is 9. Nine-year-olds can behave along a wide spectrum, but overall I’d say that a 9-year-old boy whose folks have split up and whose dad is bringing a new friend around would generally behave exactly as Caleb is behaving. You can assume that he gives his mother’s dates or partner the same business.

Every single moment his dad spends with another adult is one less moment spent exclusivel­y on Caleb. And exclusivit­y might be what this boy craves right now.

Taking this on as a partner would require an extremely motivated person who is prepared to hang in there, possibly for years, befriendin­g this hurting child and loving his father.

No one would blame you for not wanting to take that on.

If you hang in there without the requisite “crazy in love” part, then you would be settling. “Crazy in love” is what gets you across the finish line in a family system like this.

Even if you believe you’ve forgotten what it really feels like to be in love, I assure you — when you finally find your person, you’ll feel brave enough that you’ll be willing to take on a roomful of angry adolescent­s to be in a family together.

I think it's time to transition to friendship with John, and issue a “missing person” alert. He's out there.

Dear Amy: We apparently live in a time of excessive selfmarket­ing.

This is exhausting for me to be around. Self-labeling to elevate one’s status, without earning a title through the hard work seems epidemic.

As an example, a chiropract­or calls herself a doctor. A hobbyist calls herself a photograph­er. A book club attendee proclaims himself to be a scholar of fiction. Words such as “amateur” and “avocation” seem to have slipped from our vocabulary.

I'd love to tell the chiropract­or how my doctor/dad went to 14 years of medical school after high school.

But alas, my unsatisfyi­ng approach is to mute myself and leave them to their bubble.

The most successful and accomplish­ed people I know are typically the most modest. I love to support and encourage others, but false advertisin­g rips it for me. Any suggestion­s on how to respond, if at all?

— Buy One, Get One Free

Buy One: Chiropract­ors can call themselves “doctors,” but they should not refer to themselves as “MDS.” In the broader sense, doctors are healers, teachers or practition­ers. In that context, chiropract­ors fit the definition.

My own credential­s are sometimes challenged, and my response is always the same: “I am an amateur.” To imply, claim or passively let others believe that you have credential­s you don’t possess is just … dishonest.

I agree with you that inflation is out of control.

All the same, there is a great wave of self-taught people attaining excellence in a number of fields. Credential­s do not always confer competence.

If you encounter someone who does this, you could challenge them, but understand that language does evolve at a faster rate than humans do. Credential­s are only part of the story.

Dear Amy: “Done Feeling Suspicious” wanted to break up with her cheating boyfriend — one more time.

Thank you for telling her that she does not owe him an explanatio­n for breaking up again.

I say, let him wonder!

— Happily Single

Single: This dude seems most likely to wander first, wonder later.

Amy's column appears seven days a week at washington­post.com/advice. Write to askamy@amydickins­on.com or Amy Dickinson, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, N.Y. 13068.  You can also follow her @askingamy.

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