My boyfriend and I have been dating seriously for two years now. He was previously married 25 years; he and his ex-wife divorced nine years ago and have two grown children. They have a great relationship. But I hate his frequent social media posts that reminisce about falling in love with her — what she wore when he first saw her, for example — and how much he still loves her. These messages often contain hearts and kissing emojis. I told him they hurt me, but he says he is free to post whatever he wants on social media. He also says he loves me and that’s all that matters. Thoughts?
You definitely have a social media problem. But it dwarfs, I think, more troubling issues: Your boyfriend rejects your hurt feelings even after you tell him he hurt you, and he remains powerfully (and publicly) connected to his ex-wife. Does he make lovey-dovey posts about you too?
His bond with his ex is understandable. They spent decades together. His feelings for her (especially as the mother of their children) can outlive any desire to marry her. My bigger concern here is your involvement with a man who believes his social media freedoms are more important than your reasonable feelings.
I know you have already raised this matter with him. However, it may be worth trying again, if the conditions were not right before. Find a quiet moment when you can discuss this calmly. The benefits to you from this relationship may outweigh your boyfriend’s messages or his affection for his ex-wife. No relationship is perfect. I just want to make sure you feel safe and loved in yours. will you?
My 16-year-old daughter often said hello to an older boy with a learning disability at school. He graduated and she hasn’t seen him in over a year. Somehow he got her phone number and now calls her many times a day. His mother just passed away unexpectedly and he is in pain. I can see my daughter is torn by this, but she’s never met him more than casually. I’ve told her she can have a chat with him every few days, but I can see this is getting stressful for her. How should I handle this?
A few observations: The term “intellectual disability” describes a wide range of limitations in a person’s cognition. We know nothing about this young man; so let’s be careful to avoid recliner diagnoses. You also wrote “I can tell you” twice when describing your daughter’s feelings. However, it may be more helpful for your daughter to invite her to talk about her feelings than for you to guess.
I understand that several phone calls a day from a former acquaintance can be annoying. But I’m more concerned about this young man’s grief at the death of his mother. I suggest calling his father now to express your condolences and – most importantly – your concern about his son’s emotional state. He may need help! You can also ask how he would like to handle his son’s unwanted phone calls to your daughter.
Invite or… Don’t invite
Several homes in our block have recently been sold. My husband and I would love to meet our new neighbors and have some block spirit. We’re planning a dessert meeting in our backyard. Unfortunately, one of our neighbors is a vicious bully. He has alienated the wonderful people who live on both sides of him in episodes that are entirely his fault. Can we invite anyone but him?
We all behave badly from time to time. Still, I am skeptical of characterizations of people as purely evil. You didn’t share the specifics of your neighbor’s meanness and bullying, or how you considered these episodes “entirely his fault.”
Banning him from being banned from your block party doesn’t seem to improve things. (It’s like proposing to bully the bully.) Why not be generous and invite him? It’s just dessert in your backyard. Who knows? Your kind gesture can turn the tide and awaken his better self.
Day care for dogs?
My boyfriend takes care of a dog from an animal shelter where I volunteer. We are both in our twenties juggling several part time gigs. So our life is chaotic. The problem: I never see her walking the dog or in the park nearby. I’m afraid the dog she’s raising (a breed that needs a lot of exercise) isn’t getting enough. Can I ask about this?
Be careful not to accuse your friend of doing a bad job raising the dog simply because you don’t see them on the street. Supposedly there are many hours each day that you are inside or out. Instead, ask how the dog is doing and what their daily routine is like.
If you’re still concerned, feel sorry for how much exercise healthy dogs need. You can even offer to help with walks. I know you mean well, but the evidence of neglect is meager. And tracking your friend’s behavior probably isn’t your business.
For help with your difficult situation, send an inquiry to SocialQ., to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.