This week Dear John addresses half of a threesome, grad party anxiety, and swearing in front of children.
This post originally appeared at GoLocalProv.com.
My girlfriend and I have been together for about two years. During that time, she has wrestled with whether she could be bisexual. Most of the time, we’ll be together and everything is great, but then she’ll become obsessed with the idea of being in a relationship with another woman. She’s in one of these phases right now. She says I’m it as far as men are concerned, she loves me and never thinks about us not being together, but what draws her towards other women is not something I can give her, as she puts it. She wants me to be patient while she figures this out, and she’s asked me if I could picture sharing her with a woman—not sexually at the same time, she just means could our relationship be open enough to accommodate another woman. I don’t know. I’m not a possessive or controlling boyfriend so I guess it’s not the thought of “sharing” her that bothers me, it’s how this disrupts the nice thing we have every few months. I can’t get that through to her, though, because when I mention maybe we should break up, she thinks it’s because she’s bi. It’s really not. I’m just tired of the uncertainty. What do you think? Could it work with me, her, and … her?
Half Of A Threesome
Dear Half Of A Threesome,
You’re involved with a woman who’s still figuring out her sexuality. That’s a big deal for her and for you. So the question you end your letter with is premature. The real question is, can you be supportive while she works her way through all the confusion and upheaval that attends such self-examination? And more importantly, do you even want to?
Judging by your letter, it sounds to me like you’re looking for someone a little more predictable. That’s your prerogative. And I can’t imagine your girlfriend finds much comfort or reassurance in being with someone who’s exasperated when she shares her innermost feelings. You say you’re tired of the uncertainty, but she’s nothing if not uncertain. So what do you do? Looks pretty clear to me.
I am about to graduate from college and move back home until I find a job and start my career. My parents have been very supportive of me, but they are also the kind of parents who will forever see me as their little girl. One of the things that results from that is they don’t take what I say seriously—I try to tell them how I feel about things that are important to me, but they are very quick to dismiss what I think. The reason I am writing is that they intend to throw a huge graduation party for me to celebrate all my hard work or to use me to brag, depending on your point of view. The thought of this party fills me with anxiety. I am naturally a very introverted person who will go to great lengths not to call attention to myself. On top of that, and there’s no other way to say it, I hate these big family gatherings. My father and his siblings have a weird competitive thing and I know this is all about showing off. I want no part of it! I have told them so many times I do not want this party, but they refuse to even discuss it with me. What kind of celebration is it if the guest of honor attends against her wishes! Is there any way I can get them to take my objections to this seriously?
B.S. Is Right
Dear B.S. Is Right,
Well, I suppose you could try talking with them about this one last time, but I don’t see any reason to expect the outcome of this conversation to be any different. You’re at a difficult stage of your life: you’re an adult, yet you live at home and have to abide by your parents rules and, frequently, wishes of theirs that are in opposition to yours. If they refuse to forego the graduation bash in favor of, say, a nice family dinner, I’m afraid you have to go along with it graciously. In the long run, though, you can avoid these frustrating predicaments by moving out and getting a place of your own. Consider this your first post-college learning experience: as adults, we frequently have to do things we’d rather not do, all the while smiling and pretending otherwise.
I have a thirteen-year-old son who spends a lot of time at a particular friend’s house. It came to my attention that my son’s friend’s father makes no attempt to avoid using foul language around my son. I don’t mean this language is directed towards my son, of course; I just mean that if the father is home, say, watching a sporting event, what he thinks of the referees is shouted for everyone to hear, including people who may be in an adjoining yard. When I first learned of this, I called him up to talk to him about it – I knew him casually, he seems like a nice guy, and I assumed I’d hear his side of the story and this would all be cleared up. Turns out his side of the story was pretty much what I had already heard. He said he feels like there’s a lot of hypocrisy that he didn’t really understand as far as swearing is concerned, and he made a parenting choice that when his son was a teenager, he would drop the pretense. He explained that he doesn’t allow his son to speak that way, but there are a lot of things adults can do that kids can’t, so he didn’t feel as if that were a double standard. He told me that was how things were at his house and he wasn’t going to lie: if my son is to visit, that’s what he can expect to hear occasionally. He wasn’t the least bit defensive, nor was he apologetic; he was just very frank. He concluded the conversation by saying he hopes my son is still a frequent presence at his house. Now I’m not sure what to do. I hate to think of my child subjected to this kind of language, but I don’t want to keep him from spending time with his best friend, either. Do you have any suggestions?
It’s Called Adult Language For A Reason
Dear Adult Language,
I can kind of see this guy’s point, though I don’t necessarily agree with how he’s handling it. Coarse language has become virtually impossible to ignore, so it’s pointless to clamp your hands (metaphorically speaking) over your son’s ears as he makes his way in the world. I don’t think merely being exposed to these words is in any way harmful (and I can guarantee you what he hears at his friend’s house is no different—unless it’s milder—than what he hears at school), so I would talk to him about it. Tell him that you’ve spoken with his friend’s dad and convey this guy’s position to your son. Explain that you feel the benefits of spending time with his friend outweigh the negatives of hearing a few coarse words, so you’ve decided to let the visits continue. You might add that you don’t agree with how this father is handling this and you wish he would set a better example of politeness and self-restraint, but he chooses not to, and in the grown-up world, people often do things you wish they wouldn’t do.
Photo credit: Flickr / rolands.lakis