My boyfriend (common law) has developed one of my biggest pet peeves over recent years - drumming. He taps his fingers on almost everything, anytime, anywhere.
He drums his fingers during dinner. He taps the remote when we're watching TV. He drums on his legs when I'm driving, taps on the steering wheel when he drives. Its every two or three minutes. He recently purchased a drum set and practices in the garage.
I've told him many times that it bothers me, but he says it shouldn't. He once said, "I'm a drummer. Asking me not to drum is like asking me not to breathe!"
I've tried ignoring it, leaving the room, tapping along, and turning up the music so I can't hear it. I wore headphones on a three-hour car ride so I didn't have to listen to it.
I've started to dread spending time with the person I once couldn't be away from.
This may be his passion but it's also become a nervous habit, like cracking knuckles and clenching teeth, which affects you because of its repetitive sound, and so also affects your relationship together.
Since it's a recent add-on, it's not just about his musical talent. However, "drumming" is not listed among more common "tics" and - for such habits that are NOT associated with Tourette's Syndrome - there's no recommended medication treatment and no known "cure."
Purchasing a drum set was wise. If he's serious about this professionally, he should join a drumming group and talk to them about the constant rhythm driving him.
But neither of you has recognized this isn't something he can easily just stop. He has to want to control the habit - at least for your sake.
And he likely needs to talk to a specialist in nervous habits, who'll help him find ways to distract himself from doing it constantly, particularly when around you.
An older, married man I work with has become interested in me. He feels trapped in his current marriage and has told me he's never been stimulated by someone like me before. I've put up a wall because he's married and I'm too afraid to see if I feel the same way.
He's gotten very depressed over his marriage and my holding back, and is now seeing a therapist. He said talking to me made him feel better, but now he's stopped.
I really do care about him and want to tell him - but with his marriage, age difference, and me not being sure about my true feelings, I don't think it's right to do so. Do you agree?
YES, I agree that there are many reasons why you should NOT get closer, not act as his listening post, and not be his comforter.
Most important, he's already found the better solution than stirring up a relationship when he's not finished with the marriage... he's seeing a therapist and has stopped confiding in you.
He's not "trapped" in his marriage.... that's a weak sympathy bid, old as the hills. He's in it for the personal, legal, and responsible reasons most people are, and can leave it if he eventually chooses but is so far avoiding the consequences.
But for a while, he preferred leaning on a young woman's responses, rather than do something about his own ambivalence. Now he's looking after himself. And you should look after yourself, and hold onto your feelings until you meet someone unattached.
FEEDBACK Regarding telling a parent with memory loss about your divorce (January 3):
Reader - "My mother has early-onset Alzheimer's and I'd be reluctant to tell her about any major, emotionally upsetting events in my life, especially while I'm going through them.
"People with short-term memory issues have difficulty turning most information into long term memories. She'll remember that there was "something" important that happened but can't remember what, so she'll ask about it over and over again, sometimes within an hour!
"I'd dread having to relive a highly emotional issue daily.
"My advice would be to plan a specific time to tell the parent, when both are calm and relaxed, in a quiet environment, without interruptions. And write a one-page letter including the major points, e.g. "I was not happy in that marriage."
"This will give the parent the most chance at remembering, and avoid having to relive the event."
Tip of the day:
A partner's annoying nervous tic needs your understanding, to encourage finding distractions.