The Source: Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune
The Dilemma: “I have been dating my boyfriend for almost six years. Recently we decided to move in together and then he started making comments like, ‘I don’t know if I see myself with anyone later in life’ and ‘I enjoy not having to answer to anyone. I like the fact that I only have to worry about myself.’ I feel that the comments are in direct contradiction to how he acts, however… I don’t know what to believe — the words or the actions.”
The Advice: “It’s important to listen to your boyfriend’s statements, as well as to be attentive to his behavior… Tell your boyfriend you’ve been listening to him and ask him to discuss this honestly. He could be scared, confused or trying to tell you something important and profound about his life.”
The Rebuttal: “Important and profound” is shorthand for “passive-aggressive coward wishing to avoid confrontation.” I’d bet you a shiny new box of Kleenex he’s not in it for the long haul. Bare minimum, he’s having some very serious doubts. Put the move on hold. Pushing your agenda now could mean losing a security deposit and a significant other before you’ve even unpacked the first box.
The Dilemma: You’re wandering about the Internet, searching for random dating tips. Perhaps you’re wearing some crotchless sweatpants or a peek-a-boo housecoat.
The Advice: “Please don’t take dating tips from Mackenzie Phillips. Many of us are pretty open-minded when it comes to relationships. We don’t care who dates whom — be it whatever nationality, gender, religion, background or age. But we need to draw the line at incest… I also don’t care if the affair was consensual, or if she were brainwashed to think it was consensual. It’s still not right… Is this a ploy to sell more of Mackenzie’s new book High on Arrival?”
The Rebuttal: Thank you, Ryn Gargulinski. With all those incest advocates out there, we need more people like you taking a hard line. I’m sure more victims will feel compelled to come forward if we use continue using words like “disgusting” and “ruin” to describe their personal confessions. If we can hint that their horrifying experiences are part of a moneymaking endeavor, well, that’s even better.
The Source: Ian Kerner, TODAY show, MSNBC.com
The Dilemma: Your wife’s in the shower. She’s left her laptop open to her Facebook.
The Advice: “I think that Internet infidelity is one of the biggest issues that couples face today, and with digital technology increasingly playing a role in divorce, we have to be all the more vigilant… In many situations, snooping isn’t a pleasant choice, but it’s the right choice. Should you snoop? I personally believe that in a committed relationship there should be nothing to hide… As an example, I have one password for all of my various e-mail accounts and my wife knows what it is. Does she ever use it? I doubt it, but she’s welcome to sift through my e-mails anytime she likes. That’s what trust is all about: having nothing to hide and being able to respect each other’s privacy. One can’t exist without the other.”
The Rebuttal: Is this a Cold War military doctrine, or is this a relationship? Adults have private email accounts. They also have parts of their lives they don’t want to share, and it’s not because anyone’s hiding. It’s called being an autonomous person. It doesn’t end when you enter a marriage.
The Dilemma: “The girl I was dating had an 11:45 p.m. weekend curfew. Last Saturday, she arrived home at midnight because she wanted something to eat after the movie… When I walked her to the door, her father came out and blasted me verbally for bringing his daughter home after her curfew. He wouldn’t allow me to explain and told me I couldn’t take his daughter out anymore. This really surprised me. I asked the girl to tell her father it was her fault, not mine, but she didn’t say anything.”
The Advice: “If you had been an hour late, I could more easily understand his anger and unwillingness to listen to you. But fifteen minutes is within apology range… Clearly, [the daughter] should have explained what happened. It is called communication. Your mistake was being too nice of a guy and stopping for food for your hungry date when it was near her curfew.”
The Rebuttal: “Too nice of a guy?” Trying to get your girlfriend to take all the blame when the parental shitstorm blows into town doesn’t exactly scream gentleman. You’re not a put-upon victim, just a teenager who doesn’t know how to budget his time or use a cell phone to give a heads up to Mom and Dad. A fifteen-second call from her or you can buy you guys enough time for some boob-fondling on the doorstep. What were you thinking, my not-quite man?