I’m 18 and have been dating this great guy I met at the beginning of the summer. We were both doing an extra course for school and working simultaneously through a program in South America. We both have Hispanic heritage and this was a great way to learn more about our culture.
We live in the same city but pretty far apart, in different neighbourhoods. He came over to my house and met my parents, my older sister, and one of my grandparents who lives with us. They all really liked him, and it was relaxed.
Then it was my turn, and he invited me over to meet his family. His parents are really nice but his mother doesn’t say much at all. And he has a little brother who was driving me crazy. He kept throwing things at me all through dinner. I was very uncomfortable and faked a headache so my boyfriend would take me home.
How do I avoid any more family dinners at his house?
At 18, and at such an early stage in your relationship, it’s not necessary for you to spend much time at all with your boyfriend’s family. That’s to your advantage.
But on the occasion that you do, try to engage his mother in conversation. Maybe her English isn’t that fluent; maybe she’s very shy. Who knows? As for the little brother, ask him nicely to stop throwing things at you. If he doesn’t, ask your boyfriend to get involved. If he doesn’t, maybe there’s more to the brother’s behaviour. Be generous of spirit before you know their story.
One of my closest friends is going through menopause but won’t discuss it with me or admit to any of the symptoms she is suffering from. I had a terrible time, fairly young, due to some internal issues. I had every symptom imaginable and it was a very tough time for me. I was very open about everything because it was all very intense and short of hiding in my home, I had to let people in on what was going on.
I keep reaching out to my friend, privately, and saying things like, “I know what you’re going through; talk to me.” Or, “when I had heat that rose from my core like a furnace, I used this particular remedy that really worked for me.”
Still no response. How can I get through to her that I just want to help?
Though it sounds as though you are coming from a place of love, she’s not getting through to you that she doesn’t want your help and doesn’t want to be your menopause sister.
Not everyone is comfortable with this life stage, and clearly, she’s in that camp. Give her space. Let her have her own journey. She knows what you went through. She’ll come to you when she’s ready.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who had an affair and was fired (Aug. 5):
Reader – “I have no doubt that if the genders were reversed your response would have been quite different. You did not have any negative comment about the woman's behaviour after having an affair with a colleague while her husband stayed home and provided care for their daughters.
“Although it is not stated, it could very well be that her affair was with a man of lower position in the organization, as she was a senior executive. That could be why she was fired and had nothing to do with sexism. I have seen some situations like this where the executive was male, and it was he who was fired because of his position of authority.
“Your response was biased and did not address the issue of her affair at all. You appeared to be far more concerned about her pursuing any legal recourse about her job loss rather than about her affair and its impact on her loving husband and their daughters.
Lisi – The focus of the letter was not how to punish his wife or call her out on her affair. Ellie’s response wasn’t gender biased – it was in direct response to the letter-writer’s question, who was more focused on the imbalance of justice with regards to his ex-wife’s dismissal.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man feeling inadequate as a lover (Aug. 2):
Reader – “The writer seems to be focusing on one aspect of lovemaking. One possibility is that the writer has climaxed in a more traditional approach but the girlfriend is not quite there yet.
“Most women do not orgasm from penetration and require longer attention in other areas.”