About these ads

Archive

Roommates

Oh Captain My Captain;

I rent a room in a house with a pretty nice family, and for the most part it’s pretty cool. They’re very friendly and open, their eldest son and I share a lot of interests, and they aren’t really judgmental, though they are very vocal about their political views and beliefs, they know I don’t get involved in that sort of stuff and seem to respect my space as far as that’s concerned.

The problem is respecting space as far as everything else – I do my part around the house, cleaning bathrooms, mopping, vacuuming, doing dishes, laundry, helping care for their 19 year old cat and doing pretty much anything I can to make myself useful. My landlords, a married couple, also have two of their adult children living with them because finances suck for everyone except the elderly rich, which we are not among. Their kids, even though they are adults, are still very close to their parents and depend on them for a lot, and basically come off as young teens in a lot of ways. The main problem seems to stem from the fact that, although I am not one of their kids, because I’m younger than their kids they seem to feel the need to parent me.

Whenever I get anything in the mail, they want to know what it is, who it’s from, if it’s a package they want to hover over me and see what it is, who I ordered it from, how much did it cost, was it made in the USA? They have come in my room without permission several times, always ask me when I will be at work, how many hours I’m getting, what I’m paid, if I go out somewhere that isn’t work related where did I go, did I buy anything there? I can’t bring home so much as a single shopping bag without being interrogated or having it pawed through and my purchases commented on, along with how I dress, where I work, basically everything I do. They do it more to me than they do it to their own children!

I’m a very private person, and I hate discussing money with anyone, particularly when it’s really none of their business, and I really don’t want my every purchase judged and pawed through. I am one of those people that doesn’t want to talk about my day, I don’t want to talk about what happened at work or if I got a raise or if I bought lunch or something. I don’t like talking to people in general, but I try my best to at least be nice. It’s started creeping me out a lot that I can’t walk anywhere near the door with my keys without getting an interrogation on where I’m going, who I’m going with if anyone, what I’m buying, et cetera. If they had to drive me places, yeah, fine, I could understand them needing to know my work schedule or if I needed to go buy stuff or something, but I have my own car and drive myself everywhere so there is no reason they need to know any of this stuff. They also try to include me in their family events, even big holiday stuff like Christmas or Thanksgiving, even when they’re super loud and generally not the kind of thing I’d go within a hundred miles of if I didn’t live here, but when I live in the same house it’s kind of hard to avoid without it being painfully obvious that I’m avoiding it, particularly since I’m not social and generally don’t go anywhere other than work.

They seem to have semi-adopted me as one of their own kids, which is kind of problematic on it’s own, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish. Do you have a way for me to politely tell them to back off and stop questioning me about everything I do? I intend to move out soon, so I’ll have my privacy again eventually, but until then I’d like to get back at least a bit of privacy while I live here, without making things tense or possibly making them angry. They are a very close-knit, openly affectionate, rather loud kind of family, so I’m not sure they can even understand that no, I don’t really want to take part in all the loud, boisterous family stuff they do because I’m just not that kind of person. I like my quiet and privacy, and I would like to get some of that back.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

Not Their Kid

Read More

About these ads
Grumpycat saying "no."

This word makes “yes” possible.

Dear Captain, my Captain,

Lately I have been very grumpy and I would like to stop. 

While I am in a very happy place right now mentally, best I’ve been in a long time, I have found that certain things irritate me more than they reasonably should. Prime examples are my flatmate coming home every day and complaining about her drive and an incompetent colleague. I love her and I know she has a right to whine, but it’s become very repetitive.(Someone in front of her was slow, someone behind her was pushy, and her colleague is useless because ‘something to do with Chemistry that I know nothing about’.) She will usually follow me to my room, lean against the doorframe, and just stay there watching me on my computer and complaining about stuff every once and again. And it irritates me.

I also have a friend who likes to talk about food. I have a history of eating disorders in my family and my circle of friends and I find the most random comments triggering – e.g. “wow I ate so much I feel sick ” after dinner, “I should really eat less/ lose weight” (while simultaneously eating a lot), and “my stomach is so full and fat *pat pat*” after food. But these are not really things I can ask her to stop doing, it’s just small comments!

I don’t know if it’s because of stress at uni lately, or because of some other thing, but I hate being so irritated all the time and I never know how to react to them both without being impolite.

So I guess my question is: do you have any scripts for me to opt out of those kinds of one-sided conversations?

Best wishes,
Grumpycat

Dear Grumpycat:

I’m glad you asked, because I DO have scripts.

First, let’s talk about the idea that these events are annoying you “more than they should.” When you are feeling less overall stress from school, you might in fact be able to better put up with the constant doorlurking from your roommate and the constant diet-talk from your friend. But that doesn’t mean something has to be wrong with you, or overwhelming in other parts of your life, for you to want to set and enforce boundaries in your living space and your relationships. Somehow, many of us have inherited the fallacy that listening to someone endlessly, way past our own comfort level, or listening to talk that is actively harmful to us, without interruption or protest, is the only polite thing to do. I suspect a lot of it is socialization (esp. if one is a female-raised person) and another big bunch of it is mistranslation or misunderstanding of Emily Post’s adage that it is bad manners to point out someone else’s bad manners.

Read More

Dear Captain Awkward,

I have a slightly complicated situation that I don’t know how to talk (or better yet, avoid talking) about with my parents.

Recently, I’ve met a guy and had a couple dates with him. We hit it off and would like to continue seeing each other. Fortunately, he has his own place; unfortunately, I still live with my parents (yay poorly paying retail jobs), and my mother in particular feels like she needs to know everything going on in my life. It’s impossible for me to just say that I’ll be home late from work, or going out in the evening on my day off without her wanting to know exactly why and where I’m going. I’d be willing to tell her that I’m going on a date, except:

I have a wonderful boyfriend of several years that the parents have met and like. Sadly we live in different countries and only manage to see each other about once or twice a year. This is not a cheating letter! We have an open d/s relationship in which we both are switches, and we’ve both encouraged each other to find other people to play with, although neither of us has taken advantage of it until now. My boyfriend has known about this play partner since I met him, is aware of the play dates, and finds it sweet and very hot.

So if I tell my mom that I’m going on a date, she’ll be wanting to know if I’ve broken up with boyfriend, or think I’m cheating on him, and I don’t really feel comfortable trying to explain an open relationship or that it’s strictly a kink thing to her. (Even more complicated to explain since it’s not sex, either.) >.< Using generic excuses or saying I have work only works for certain times of day, and will no doubt be discovered at some point by calling work when I’m not there. I can’t even say that I’m going out with friends because … well I don’t have any local ones. I don’t really want to get too tangled up in maintaining a lie – this isn’t something I’m ashamed of or feel a strong need to hide, but I really don’t feel comfortable trying to explain it to my MOM.

I guess basically I need some help putting together scripts to either try and explain this or politely tell her it’s none of her beeswax without provoking a tantrum. She has no real sense of privacy, and when I’ve asked her to not do things I find invasive before (like ignoring my closed bedroom door/refusing to knock, or going through my trash) she’s acted offended that it bothers me and then hurt because ‘I never tell her anything’, so I don’t really see a way to set up strong boundaries that isn’t going to result in disaster and endless fights, which I’d love to avoid.

Thanks!

I know people want to be open and honest in all of their relationships, but you get to hold certain things close to the vest if you want to, especially with nosy/judgy parents who go through your trash and can’t knock before entering your room.

Read More

A children's book "Feelings and how to destroy them."

Reminder, Chicago people, Story Club South Side is tonight at 7:30 pm. It will be awkward in the best possible ways.

Hi Captain and Crew,

My partner and I have been together about eight years, and living together for most of that time. I think we’ve learnt a lot about working with each other’s boundaries and habits, and it’s generally going well.

I’m easily socially stressed and like a lot of space away from everyone. Currently Partner is working full time and I’m studying part time with a lot of working from home, so I get a lot of time to myself through the day and that works out really well.

Recently Partner has needed to take some time off so he’s been at home more than usual. It’s a temporary situation and it’s basically okay, but does leave me more drained than usual. He’s aware of the issue and makes an effort to leave me in peace, but just having another person in the house has an impact on me. I’m a lot more comfortable than I would have been even a year or two ago but it’s an ongoing process.

The real issue comes when I try to express how I’m doing, intended as something like “Heads up I’m starting to feel a bit stressed out and flakey”. I know they aren’t really feelings he can do anything about and I don’t expect him to. I just think check-ins are important and not doing them causes other problems. But I can’t seem to say something like that without triggering a large guilt response for all the trouble he’s causing me, and that’s even more draining.

It’s difficult to talk about what’s going on with me if it’s always going to result in an emotional outpouring about what it brings up for him. His stuff is important too but I can’t always be dealing with that on top of (instead of?) my own feelings.

I’ve tried to express this to him before — including bringing it up at calmer moments — but so far it hasn’t gone anywhere constructive. I suppose it’s difficult to work through being both a source of stress and a source of comfort, and that the stress part isn’t really his fault. Any scripts or advice for finding better ways to check in and support each other in ways we can both work with?

Read More

Dear Captain,

I have a dilemma. I’ve been having a terrible year in 2014 (and 2013 was pretty shit also!) My husband and I have been having a rocky year in our marriage, I have just started an antidepressant to deal with my ongoing and dangerous depression, we have a $25,000 fee to pay to our condo I still don’t know how we’ll finance, and I have been balancing full-time work and full-time school schedule for nine months. Basically, I’m tired to the bone physically and emotionally.

My husband, Jack*, and I are currently in the process of going through some counseling and things on that front seem positive and hopeful. The problem is, he recently asked me if his brother can come stay with us from June to August to work in our town. Jack’s brother, Bill*, along with the rest of his family members, live in a faraway province with little economic action. We live in a booming economy with many jobs, especially in Bill’s area of interest.

I had not been planning to take any courses over the summer and was looking forward to some rare downtime and the chance to recover and feel like myself again. With an air mattress in the basement serving as a “spare room” and only one shower, living area and kitchen, it’s inevitable that Bill would end up encroaching on our space. Although he’s in college now he’s still a teenager, so I’m also concerned about his cleaning ability or lack thereof. Plus, frankly, I just don’t want to deal with a houseguest for the whole summer!

Jack misses his family a great deal. This would be a great chance for him to catch up with his brother and bond, to say nothing of the opportunity for Bill to build work experience in his field. I can’t help but feel like the bad guy if I say no, but I’m already mourning my lost, private summer full of reconnecting with Jack and having plenty of alone time. Should I kibosh the trip and live with the guilt? Say yes and quietly resent every moment? PLEASE SEND HELP.

Yours,
Houseguest versus Hag

*all names changed

Read More

Every month(ish) I answer the questions people typed into search engines to find this blog. Except for adding punctuation, I don’t change the wording. Enjoy!

1. “Mother-in-law hates me. How do I tell her I’m pregnant?”

That sounds like a job for your spouse, her (presumably) son, who should be doing all or most of any communicating with his mom that needs doing.

2. “How to get a passive-aggressive man to talk to you?”

Pretend you don’t want to talk to him but make weird backhanded insults in his presence about how he shouldn’t talk to you, creating an endless loop of passive-aggression. He will be unable to resist your gambit.

"Relativity" by MC Escher

“Your endless staircase of insinuation and feigned dislike reminds me of the much nicer one I have at Pemberley.”

Or try “Hey Steve, nice to see you. How are you today?” like you would with anyone else.

3. “My boyfriend passed away 7 months ago. When is it okay to date again?”

I am so very sorry for your loss. This is actually an easy question to answer in short form:

You are 100% the boss of when you start dating again. If you’re ready now, now is the time. If you need more time to grieve, take all the time you need. Don’t let anyone pressure you, don’t let anyone guilt you, either.

4. “These little old ladies want to be fucked in my phone number 530.”

Image from old "Where's the Beef?" Wendy's commercial. Three little old ladies yell "Where's the beef?" into a phone.

How extremely specific, yet vague. We need details, son!

5. “He never read my Facebook message.”

He probably did, tho.

6. “My housemates complain about me having sex what can I do?”

Be quieter, is my guess, if it’s a noise complaint. Do it at your partner(s)’s house(s) more, if it’s a “but they’re always AROUND and using the shower when we need it and watching our TV and eating our food” complaint. Plan to move if it’s a “we are judgmental of the fact that you have sex at all or who you have sex with” complaint.

Living with housemates requires a certain amount of “I will just choose not to ever notice anything that happens in your room when your door is closed” attitude to make the social contract work. But housemates do actually have the right to say “I signed up to live with you, not you + another person who is always here” and ask you to pitch a road game once in a while if you have overnight guests more than 3-4 nights/week, and they do have a right to ask you to keep it down between certain hours.

7. “I had fight with mybf bcoz of short dress help.” and 8.”Why is he so mean to me?”

Read Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft and get yourself to a safe place that’s Away From That Guy. I’m so sorry.

I’m reading this now (for blog discussion reasons, not personal ones, though it was pretty funny to have my boyfriend buy it for me from the bookstore where he works with “It’s for my girlfriend!”). It is very, very good and will help you see controlling & mean behaviors as part of an overall pattern of deliberate behavior, not anything that is your fault.

9. “Making letter for a friend that you cares about at the same time you mad at him somehow.”

If you don’t want to end or take a break from the friendship, keep the letter (or whatever communication you use) focused on the behavior that bugged you. And try, if you can, to keep it focused on the most recent instance of that behavior. “When you asked me to be your date to the party but were reading your phone/texting all night it really hurt my feelings” is better than “You are always on your phone when we hang out!

10. “How to impress a teacher you have a crush on.”

Do your best work for the class, learn what you came to learn, and move on when the semester is over without confessing your feelings or putting your teacher in an extremely awkward position. Crushes can be motivating personally without ever having to be acted on or expressed, this is one of those kinds of crushes.

11. “Is being tipsy attractive?”

To other tipsy folks, at closing time. Is that who you want to attract?

12. “Do people with Aspergers hate being interrupted?”

While it varies from individual to individual, in my limited experience, they hate this somewhat less than many neurotypical folks do. If you can’t reliably depend on social cues or body language to know when someone wants to tune out from what you’re saying, and a function of your personality is that you can and want to talk for a long time about things that interest you, having a friend or a coworker say “Thank you for that info, but I have all I need now” or “Hey, can we talk about X instead of Y for a minute?” is actually helpful if done kindly. We’ve got a lot of readers who can shed more light on this for you.

I don’t have Aspergers, but I am a geek and a college teacher and can definitely natter on about things, and when I’m in The Talking Zone I definitely appreciate a kind redirection as well.

13. ” How to avoid being the rebound girl?”

Easy. Just make sure that you date someone only after they’ve dated at least one other person since their last breakup.

Waterfall by MC Escher

Only date people if they’ve dated someone else since their last breakup and you will guarantee that you will never be the rebound!

Sorry for the impossible logic problem. It’s because I’d like the idea of the “rebound” to go the way of the “friend zone”: AWAY.

These can be true statements:

“I was dating someone but it didn’t really go anywhere because they were just too hung up on their ex/not looking for anything serious right now/the timing was wrong.” 

This is the truer statement:

“I was dating someone but it didn’t really go anywhere because they didn’t want it to.” 

You can meet someone right after getting out of a serious relationship and, if you like them enough and everything clicks well enough, go right into another one. Or you can be a person who needs a lot of time to regroup after a breakup and doesn’t even want to think about dating anyone seriously…but some makeouts that remind you that you have a body can be nice, or going on a dating site to “see what happens” can be a nice reminder that you have options. These are the On The Rebound people you are keen to avoid, and you will know them by their avoidance of any talk about feelings or the future.

But you can think you are that second kind of person and intend to date casually, until meeting a person you really love shakes you out of that mode. And you can think you are that first kind of person….ready for loooooooooooove!!!!!!….but not get into anything serious because it takes a while for you to meet the right person. Which leaves us with: There are two kinds of people and they are both just…people.

If the other person is really into you, and you are really into them, the timing won’t matter so much. So risk it like you would any other potential love relationship, but also listen to what the other person is saying and pay attention to their actions like you would in pursuing any other potential love relationship. Believe them when they say stuff like  “I like you but I’m just not ready for another serious relationship right now” “Let’s keep this really casual” etc. and don’t try spackle those things over with your awesome chemistry or how well you *should* work on paper. Those statements translate as I don’t want that kind of relationship with you.

14. “What does it mean when a girl says that she likes you but we just cant be in a relationship right now?”

It means she’s not interested in a romantic relationship with you and wants to let you down gently, so she’s using what she thinks is a culturally-approved script to do so. Read it as “she is not attracted to me or interested in ever being my girlfriend,” grieve for what might have been, and don’t bring the topic up again.

15. “He says he feels a deep connection.”

….but? You guys can hear the “but,” right?

16. My girlfriend asked for no contact but can I wish her happy birthday?

No contact is no contact.

My question is, do you want to be involved with someone who doesn’t want any contact with you?

17. “Men who are too intense too soon.”

Let’s reframe and rephrase this.

“Men who like you way more than you like them.”

“Men who creep you out or alarm you with their attentions.”

“Men who try too hard to lock in a relationship before you are ready.”

“Men who don’t pay attention to reciprocity and who come on way too strong.”

“Men who are controlling and needy.”

“Men whose relationship style is not compatible with yours.”

“Too intense” at the beginning of a relationship is often a red flag for someone with violent and controlling tendencies. Listen to those instincts and strongly consider breaking ties with whoever inspired you to search for this.

18. “He dumped me and got angry when I refused to be friends.”

Let’s reframe and rephrase this:

“He made me sad but then immediately made me relieved to be free of him, forever.”

“He suddenly made it much easier for me to put the entire sad business behind me.”

“He thinks that only he gets to decide the terms of our relationship.”

19. “How can you tell if someone has a mean streak?”

They do or say enough mean things to inspire you to Google that question, is my guess.

20. “How to piss off someone who has to have the last word?”

Remove their audience and replace it with sweet, cold, delicious silence.

 

 

Dear Captain Awkward:

My very best friend and roommate acquired a boyfriend and I’ve become a bitter, jealous, monster.

I never, ever thought I would be one of those jealous, possessive friends, but it turns out I am.

We are very wonderful friends and roommates and are happy and enjoy each other about 90% of the time. But I feel disproportionately sad when friends seem to have fun without me, or really any time I feel left out, which is often.

This anxiety has seriously been brought up by the new boyfriend, since my friend is now dividing funtimes with someone else, and also since my friend is having boyfriend fun that I am not having.

For the past 4 years we’ve known each other and the past 3 that we’ve lived together, we’ve both always been single. I’ve dated around much more than she has but we’ve always commiserated over shitty guys and being lonely and taken each other out on dates, etc. Our relationship has come to be somewhere between sisters and girlfriends, which sounds gross and weird, but basically there’s a lot of emotional stakes wrapped up in our relationship.

Anyway, over the summer, I was dating a new guy and she had a huge, secret, crush on our mutual friend. All four of us hung out all the time. Six months later, the guy I was dating is a shithead who I am still sleeping with occasionally and the guy my friend was secretly crushing on is her loving, caring boyfriend.

Despite my best efforts, I sometimes find myself comparing our situations and feeling pretty down on myself. This, along with losing #1 status in my best friend’s life, makes me pretty bitter and resentful. She’s adopted this guy’s hobbies (hobbies that the four of us used to do together that I’m now totally left out of) and made a mushy gushy picture of them her faceboook photo, things we swore we’d never do! Which is totally understandable, but still makes me sad and angry.

So. Here is where I cross the line into terrible person. My friend has a secret Tumblr where she posts her poetry, which she sometimes reads to me and which I know the url of but am supposed to never look at. I never ever have, until, out of nowhere the other day I got a really strong urge to look. I did. Her post that day wasn’t even a poem, it was just “Sometimes I wonder why I continue to live with/be friends with someone who puts me down and makes me feel so terrible about myself. It’s not like that with anyone else.” I instantly closed it.

First of all, I know I’ve been a shitty friend lately, but I don’t know what I said or did that made her feel that way! Second, maybe this is just a vent-y post stemming from one specific instance that I just should never have read. But it sort of sounds like a post that’s come out of some long term stuff that she’s just never told me about. But I obviously can’t bring it up.

Now I feel terribly guilty but also deceived- like our friendship wasn’t anything like what I thought it was. I’m walking on eggshells, which I guess is maybe a good role reversal, since I feel like my friend has been walking on eggshells around me, this emotional-ogre, the entire friendship. My resentfulness definitely makes her walk on eggshells around the topic of her boyfriend, which makes me feel like she’s pitying me, which makes me even more resentful.

Help! This friendship is my Only Close Friendship. I love this person as much as I love my family. How do I fix this? How do I stop the resentful, bitter feelings without just bottling them up? How do I stop feeling like my friend doesn’t love me anymore because I’m an asshole who betrayed her trust and read her diary? Also, how do I stop hating myself for being totally emotionally and socially inept and having no boyfriend and only one close friend, who now maybe hates me, because of it?

Read More

Good news, everyone! The first issue of Story Club Magazine is out. Go read my story and others from Chicago writers & performers! I especially love this piece, from J.H. Palmer, about the tiny kindnesses from strangers that knit us back together when we’re coming apart.

And if you like stories and Live Lit readings and live in Chicago, I’ll be reading at Loose Chicks on Valentine’s Day.

Loose Chicks, Feb 14, 7:15 pm, Uncharted Books, 2620 N Milwaukee Avenue

And now, a letter.

Dear Captain Awkward:

I am an introvert/social-anxiety-haver living in a house full of extroverts and I feel like I’m going crazy.

I moved in with my (very extroverted!) boyfriend of over a year, and his 4 other roommate/friends. I would like to say that I do, for the most part, love all these people dearly and consider them my friends, in addition to the myriad other friends in the group. I love hanging out with them. But they want to hang out every night and dude, I just can’t.

If I try to stay in me and my boyfriend’s room, sometimes they’ll come upstairs and get me. (Honestly I’m really touched that everybody likes me enough to basically kidnap me out of my room; I’ve always had some trouble with the making and keeping of friends.) If my boyfriend happens to come home and it’s just us hanging out in the room, a lot of the times they’ll come upstairs and come in the room and then hang out up here, which is the opposite effect of what I was trying to do by staying in my room in the first place!

I feel bad saying no to hanging out because a lot of the time it’ll be like, “[Person] from our mutual friendgroup is here! We haven’t seen them in a month!” and then the next night it’s ANOTHER person in the friendgroup that we haven’t hung out with in a month. How am I supposed to say no? Or it’s “LW, you haven’t hung out in forever, hang out with us!” And our friendgroup is massive. So there’s almost always SOMEBODY we haven’t see in a while.

My boyfriend sort of understands the introversion/social anxiety thing, but trying to explain social anxiety to an extrovert is a lot like trying to teach a cat how to use chopsticks in Swahili. So he sort of understands when I don’t want to hang out and he supports it, but with everyone else it’s kinda tough.

Moving out is really not an option, unless I move back in with my dad, and short of kicking out one of the aforementioned roommates, I can’t just get a room to myself. I guess what I’m looking for is a script I can use with my roommates/outside members of the friendgroup and possibly also my boyfriend so I can be like “I love you dearly, but y’all need to get the heck out of my personal space and leave me the heck alone before I smack a bitch” and also “Boyfriend can you get your friends to go back downstairs I know this is your room too but I’m kinda freaking out right now”

Thanks for your time!
– Do Not Disturb

Read More

Ahoy Cap’n,

This isn’t a particularly dramatic question, but I’m stumped. I’m a dude who would like to say he’s in his mid-twenties, but probably can’t anymore. For a long time, I would have said I was straight. I was attracted to women, dated them and had relationships with them.  Then, a couple of years ago, I randomly met a guy I knew immediately was going to be a huge deal to me, and I was right: Two years later, we’re getting married, w00t! I’m lucky in that I come from a really liberal, relaxed background, so it was more of a ‘huh, that was unexpected’ situation, rather than a cause for major upheaval.

My question relates to my high school girlfriend, and do I tell her anything (specifically that I’m bi, as opposed to gay, which seems to be what everybody assumes)? On the one hand I think not, because we’re not in touch anymore and I wouldn’t even think to ask this question if I were marrying a woman, but on the other, we were together on and off for almost all of high school, and were each other’s ‘firsts’ in every way that I can think of. I obviously don’t want her back, and I don’t for a second think she wants me, but she/our relationship was really special to me and I still look back on it fondly. I guess what I’m thinking is that I know she’ll find out through the grapevine that I’m with a guy now, if she hasn’t already, and I don’t want her to feel like our relationship wasn’t what she thought it was, if that makes sense? Like, if she’d come out as gay, I think I might be a little sad somehow, because it would mean that we didn’t have what I’d thought we had? I’d wonder if I should have known, and helped/supported her, and I’d doubt myself and the lessons I learned through that love. Also, I’d feel guilty looking back on it happily, because how can you, if you later found out the other person wasn’t as happy as you thought? I feel like I’d want to know, but I also can’t think of a way of telling her that doesn’t come across as horribly narcissistic, basically calling someone up and going ‘hey, getting married to someone else next year, but just FYI, I was totally into you back then’.

FWIW, Fiancé is totally cool with me potentially getting in touch with her, but doesn’t want to express an opinion either way as to what I should do, since he doesn’t know her/our situation.

Thanks!

We get a lot of “should I reach out to this person from my past and tell them something” questions here at Captain Awkward Dot Com Enterprises, and I am trying to develop a working framework on how to tell whether this is actually might be a good idea.

I think the questions to ask are:

  1. Who am I really doing this for?
  2. What do I want to happen after I reach out? I.e. Is this a beginning or an ending?

If this is just a drive-by, where you say your “Hey, I need to tell you something, bye!” and then ride off into the sunset again, then who is this really serving?

If this is about you reconnecting with someone who was very important to you once upon a time, great! As long as you are open to rekindling some kind of ongoing communication or friendship (even a very loose, casual, or even ambient Facebook “friend”ship). Track down her info. Tell her your good news. Introduce her to your dude. Ask about her life. Make plans to hang out for a drink if you are both heading to your hometown for the holidays. Most importantly, assume nothing about how she will react to your news or how it might change the way she saw your relationship. The fact of your upcoming wedding will come up, and you’ll probably have an opportunity to say “Yeah, after high school I figured out I was bi.” If she has the kind of feelings you are imagining, let her be the one to bring them up. But chances are that even if the relationship was an important & positive one, she doesn’t think about you all that much these days and her response will be something like “I did not see that coming. But I’m happy for you!” The goal is coffee, not FEELINGSCOFFEE.

Because I think you’re over-thinking this a lot! When you end a relationship, you don’t have to keep working through issues of how you felt about the person…with that person. One of the reasons that I advocate taking a no-contact break after a breakup, even if you do intend to remain friends, is to give everyone time to get past the need to solve or fix or analyze the problems of a relationship that is no longer happening. There are no clean slates, but there should be a “BYGONES” slate where former partners who are now friends agree not to rehash the past.

So that’s my advice. Seek your old friend for her own sake, for the possible pleasure of her company, or not at all. And if you do, assume nothing about what she feels or needs. She has her own story about what happened between you and the years you spent apart. Let her tell it clean.

Dear Captain Awkward,

I have a wonderful fiancée.  She’s compatible with me in every single way and we’re looking forward to starting our lives together.  Save one little thing.  She’s possibly the worst driver in the world and I can’t get my license until awhile after the wedding for reasons I prefer not to get into.  

She’s had multiple accidents.  She regularly swerves into other lanes then can’t figure out how she got there.  She follows far too closely–she’s under the impression that, at highway speeds, safe following distance is ‘you can see their wheels.’  She texts, Tumblrs, checks her email, all while driving.  

I tried suggesting that we get her a dash mount for her phone so she can still use the GPS without having the distraction of phone-in-hand.  She says she likes having it in her hand and won’t put it down.

She loves to drive, loves road trips and wants me to go road tripping with her.  She’s absolutely convinced she’s an amazing driver and no amount of me trying to gently offer suggestions to correct her driving has managed to convince her she might have a problem.  I’m absolutely terrified when she’s behind the wheel.  I’m an excellent driver who took defensive driving courses before getting my full license as a proactive step, but, as stated, I cannot drive right now.

How do I get her to understand that I’m terrified she’s going to die in a fiery crash, without offending her?

Sincerely,
Ruining the interior with my fingernails

Read More

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,930 other followers