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Dear John: Is He Creepy? Or Just Determined?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

 

What’s your problem? Write to John at dearjohn@golocalprov.com.

Dear John,

I was in a bar last week and there was a small group there having their company’s holiday party. I was waiting in line at the bar at one point and one of the women from the company party was waiting there with me and we talked for a bit. It was quick, we were just waiting for our drinks, but she was really funny and just had a great way about her. I kind of got the impression she dug me a little bit – definitely didn’t get a “stay away from me vibe,” at least. I want to see if we can get together for a drink. I found out her name in a kind of convoluted way, first asking the bartender (who I know a little bit) what group that was having a party, then looking at their website and boom, there she was. From there I found her on Facebook and I can get in touch with her there. I don’t want to come off creepy, though. Is it ok to contact her that way and explain how I tracked her down, do you think? Or just message her on FB, explain that we met briefly at such-and-such bar last week and see if she wants to get together some time? She might not even remember that she didn’t tell me her name. I don’t want to over think this and I definitely don’t want to make her uncomfortable. What do you think?

Signed,

Not A Stalker, Honest

Dear Not A Stalker,

I think it’s fine to message her on Facebook, but I think you should keep it simple. The more convoluted your explanation of how you got her name becomes, the weirder you’re going to sound. Just say something like, “You might not remember me, but we met at (wherever it was) last week and I was hoping maybe,” etc. You might want to take a quick picture of yourself with whatever device you’re using to contact her just to help her remember who you are. The photo offers another opportunity to come across as a weirdo best avoided, so if you include one, just make it something casual you’re sending strictly for purposes of identification, not to make an impression of any kind. And if her answer is still no for whatever reason, accept it and move on.

Dear John,

I get along great with my girlfriend. We’ve been together about four months. The only time we argue, though, is when she accuses me of cheating on her, being interested in other girls including her sister, when she doesn’t believe my story about where I was or what I was doing if she couldn’t get in touch with me, etc. She is extremely jealous and suspicious even though I have never given her any reason to be and never would. I’m glad she values me and our relationship enough to care so much, but I thought by now she would realize she has nothing to worry about with me. How do I make her see that, or will she just come to realize that she has no reason for all her suspicions?

Sincerely,

Trustworthy

Dear Trustworthy,

Your girlfriend’s suspicions have nothing to do with your actions and everything to do with her own insecurities. At some point in her life, she was made to believe that she’s not worthy of being treated with love and respect, so when someone does treat her that way, she assumes that they’re hiding something. And unfortunately, her beliefs are less an indication that she values you and more that she doesn’t value herself very much. Because her jealousy arises from her feelings about herself, there’s little you can do to change it, at least quickly. Yes, in time, she may come to trust you as much as she’s capable of trusting any partner, but it will be a slow process and it will be a fragile trust. If you’re both interested in exploring the source of her feelings and to learn strategies to prevent her suspicions from completely undermining your relationship, couples counseling may be of help.

Dear John,

Ugh, I am dreading going to my parents house for the holidays. I am planning on bringing my boyfriend to meet everyone for the first time, and I know what the reaction will be. My boyfriend is a sweet guy, but he’s a little rough around the edges. I’m a college student; he is a bike mechanic who never had any interest in school. He’s very bright, but you wouldn’t know it if you heard him speak (unless you bothered to actually listen to what he’s saying, in which case you would realize he’s very sensitive and insightful). And worst of all (from their point of view), he’s heavily tattooed. I love all his ink (all professionally done and beautiful if you like tattoos), but I know my mother especially will find that intolerable. I need to find a way to make this day enjoyable, or at least less stressful. All my relatives will be there and I know we’re going to be the topic of every discussion we’re not participating in. I know what they’re all like. Uptight doesn’t begin to describe it. What’s the best way to handle a situation like this?

Signed,

Relatively Miserable

Dear Relatively Miserable,

Spending the day with a knot in your stomach because you’re convinced everyone is badmouthing you as soon as you’re out of earshot – what a wonderful way to celebrate Jesus’ birth! Have you discussed all this with your boyfriend? Part of your anxiety may be due to the fact that you’re bearing this burden by yourself, possibly in an attempt to spare his feelings. But if you haven’t done so already, let him know everything that you’re thinking. I’d be surprised if being judged based solely on his appearance were something he’s entirely unfamiliar with.

Once you’ve shared your worries with him, I think you’ll find it a relief that the two of you can face this together. And that’s the best way to handle it: together. You can’t control how your relatives respond; you can only control your own reaction to it. So your relatives are scandalized that your boyfriend says “ain’t” and has tattoos while completely missing the fact that he’s bright, sensitive and insightful. They sound more like they should be pitied than stressed over. There’s nothing you can do to make them non-judgmental, so try not to care what they think. Don’t apologize for your boyfriend’s appearance or demeanor or for the choice you’ve made to be with him. Maybe by the end of the day, at least a couple of these people will realize they’re the ones who should change.

John is a middle-aged family man from Providence, Rhode Island. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at dearjohn@golocalprov.com.


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