Now-Engaged Former Beau Reaches Out
DEAR HARRIETTE: A few years back, I went on a number of dates with a man, but it didn't turn into anything. We remained friends on social media, but we stopped communicating directly. I found out he was engaged about a year ago and congratulated him. Since that interaction, he has reached out to me a number of times to ask if we can speak on the phone or meet up for drinks. I always say no, but he's been persistent. I don't know his fiancee, but should I tell her about these interactions? I would want someone to tell me if my fiance were trying to meet up with women from his past. -- Crossing the Line
DEAR CROSSING THE LINE: Do not reach out to his fiancee. You do not want to get entangled in their business. You can warn him off, though. The next time he reaches out to you, tell him that if he doesn't stop, you will contact his fiancee and let her know that he has been badgering you to get together even though you both know he has committed to marrying her.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother has not always been (noticeably) competitive with me; it started happening when I graduated from college and moved back to my hometown. She will often compare our weight or outfits, and she makes snarky comments about how she was making more money than me when she was my age. This is hurtful, but I am wondering if this is typical of a mother-daughter relationship. Is it normal that my mother acts this way? -- Competitive Mom
DEAR COMPETITIVE MOM: Oddly, your mother sounds like she is living vicariously through you and projecting things about her past onto your life today. This is not healthy. No wonder it's uncomfortable for you. It is also likely that your mother isn't conscious of what she is doing. Your life has triggered memories, regrets, dreams and more for her.
You need to have a heart-to-heart with her where you take the lead for a moment. Tell her you need to talk. Start off by letting her know that while you are happy to be back home, you have mixed feelings. Explain to her that she has been hurting your feelings on a regular basis since you got back. Tell her that it is awkward for her, your mother, to constantly compare the two of you -- from your weight and outfits to comparing your current lifestyle with how she lived back in the day. Be direct and tell her that you need her to stop the comparisons and step back into the role of your mother. Yes, that sounds harsh, but she needs some cold water in the face to wake her up to what she is doing. Describe how much it hurts your feelings when she points out your flaws, and tell her what you need most is her support. Give her specific examples of what you mean so that she can understand what you are talking about. This is important because it is highly unlikely that she realizes she is doing this to you.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
Copyright 2022, Harriette Cole