We’re a group of four mid-30s guys. We met through our wives when they found each other through prenatal groups and became a mommy group. We four hit it off, thank goodness, as our wives became very close and did everything together.
We have four different careers but we have similar schedules and interests, so we spend a lot of time together. But actually, one of the guys often bows out. We all really like him – he’s fun, funny, kind, and generous. And when he’s with us, he fits right in.
The three of us have talked about it once or twice, but I guess it just bothers me the most. I can’t tell if we’ve done something to upset him, or what?
What do you think?
There are two parts to my answer. First of all, have you tried talking to him? Does he always say no to specific activities? For example, those involving water, like fishing? Maybe he can’t swim and doesn’t want you to know. Or, activities that involve drinking? Maybe he has addiction issues, and again doesn’t want to talk about it. I’m only speculating…
Invite him out, just the two of you. Do something you know he enjoys and then talk to him. But if he chooses not to discuss, don’t push him or you’ll lose the times he does say yes.
The second part of my answer is more self-reflective. Why does it bother you? The answer doesn’t really matter; I just want you to think about it.
I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “You can’t change how people act, but what you can change is how you react.”
If you don’t get the answer you want from him, just let it go. Enjoy his company when he’s with you, and enjoy the other guys when he’s not. It’s not about you; it’s about him.
I just found out that my 16-year-old daughter had sex with her boyfriend. He’s 17, and it was consensual. She’s not upset, and nothing untoward happened. In fact, she’s on cloud nine and floating through the house.
He’s a sweet kid and they’ve been together for a year. I’m happy for her that her first experience was loving and with someone she trusts.
I just can’t seem to stop thinking about it. My baby girl is no longer a baby. I’m having trouble moving into this new phase of parenting and I’m not sure how to cross this bridge.
Do you have any wise words?
Missing my baby
Little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems. So true. And those years when they’re little fly by, while parents focus on the constant rituals of building habits, schedules, and basic life lessons. All of a sudden, those babies don’t need our help brushing their teeth; or those endless hours of bedtime reading.
Sadly, the teenage years aren’t easy for adolescents and parents alike. It’s a real push-me pull-you time of ‘I love you and I need you; but I hate you and I don’t want you.’ And parents have to learn to navigate this era of confusion as much as their children.
My advice is to love your daughter where she is at in her life. Make sure she has the information she needs about consent, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, privacy, and social media. Then trust her. You raised her and taught her everything so she can make good choices and be safe.
Check in with her. Ask the right questions and hopefully she’ll feel comfortable answering you. Tell her all the things you wish your mom had told you; and all the things you wish she hadn’t. Build your relationship. She will always be your little girl, but she’s growing up. You need to let her.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who finds her brother-in-law “dumb.” (July 23):
Reader – “I gasped reading her letter! What unbelievable snobbery! So how does this "dumb" brother-in-law feel spending an evening with these "intelligent" people? Humiliated? Unhappy? Ashamed? I feel sorry for him, not this arrogant woman.
“This sister doesn't say how long the couple have been married, but obviously they get along fine. A couple don't have to be ‘intellectually equal’ to have a perfectly happy life. Stop! Just stop! Make an effort to get along, even ‘read loads of books’. You're the one with the problem of a stuck-up attitude, Sister.”
Lisi – You are too right! I was trying to be helpful and kind, but you’ve hit the nail on the head. She does sound like a snob.