I forwarded an email joke to dear friends without realizing that the content might be too close to a sensitive point. It had to do with trying a different partner in the case of infertility.
These folks have a daughter, 28, whom they adopted as an infant, and a biological daughter, who’s a year younger. I’ve never thought of either daughter being other than their daughter which is why I made a stupid mistake which I now regret and don't know how to handle.
I could say nothing and hope it went unnoticed. Or, I could raise the subject and apologize for my insensitivity, but that might stir up something that I’d prefer just go away.
I fear that my friends might harbour a wound that I inflicted, and believe that I’m cruel, insensitive or both. Worse, they’d have no way of knowing whether it was me or my wife who forwarded the dreaded joke, so I’m feeling even guiltier for implicating my wife in this.
Welcome to the world of Computer Un-Think.
I regularly hear horror stories of emails that people have dashed off in hasty, emotional outbursts – and later realized that they’d gone too far. Some have inadvertently destroyed a romance or close friendship permanently, this way.
Your “Send” was thoughtless but not mean-spirited. Yes, you should apologize to the couple, since by the time you learn whether they’re upset, it could be too late.
Phone - don’t email - and introduce the topic thusly: Say that you regret sending “jokes” to them and to others, and want to apologize if any have offended them. Explain that you recently realized that the so-called humour often has an edge you don’t intend, such as racist, “fat” or infertility jokes.
From now on, count to 10 and read again, before sending anything you think is “funny” or “constructive criticism” – two areas that can easily cause trouble.
My husband of 25 years and I love each other, but our intimacy has understandably changed as we progressed from lovers to spouses, parents and grandparents.
My only complaint? I miss the way he used to kiss me. When we dated, he could kiss me into a trance. NO KIDDING. Our first kiss was at the train station. It was wild and wonderful and intense, yet it was warm and so true. Every thing stood still. He missed his train, I missed my bus, and neither of us seemed to mind.
Afterwards, we stood there in that cold station, he counted the freckles on my face and I got lost in his blue eyes. We married six months later.
- Missing His Kissing
Grandparents can still be lovers, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. So, get to a train station! NO KIDDING. Plan to have a coffee there, and stand, even for a moment, in that spot of lovely memory. If that’s not possible, stop your guy in a quiet moment and ask him to count your freckles, just one more time. And gaze into his baby blues as if you’re seeing them for the first time. There’s no need to give up on those expressions of intimacy that convey so much in so little time.
I'm in my late-teens and have low self-esteem. I do well in school, have close friends and family, I feel okay about my looks, yet I have no confidence. I also have problems about my ethnic culture. I broke up with my boyfriend and am having a hard time getting past it, though I initiated the split. Do I need professional help?
- Sinking Feelings
Your first need is to find some forgiveness – for yourself.
The teenage years are a learning curve, and it's commonly not smooth. Most people your age have some self-doubts even when things are going well; most find the emotional swings of a break-up hard to handle. So stop beating up on yourself for having these thoughts.
Your attitude towards your culture may be being influenced by others' narrow-mindedness and stereotyping, but don't let their ignorance hold sway. Your background is a part of your essence: explore its values; be proud of its heroes and accomplishments. Get to know people of other cultures to appreciate the great advantages of living in a diverse society.
However, if you become too self-critical to function comfortably in school or socially, then seeing a therapist to boost your self-esteem is a wise move.
Tip of the day:
Email slip-ups can create havoc in relationships. Think first.