I work part-time as a waitress at a nice restaurant – I started doing it recently to supplement my income. The restaurant is a popular place, but it’s quite a distance from my house. (I have a friend who works there, and besides, I didn’t want to find myself waiting tables of people I knew, which I think would definitely happen if I worked close to home.)
Anyway, it was only my second or third week there when, surprise, I saw a neighbor of mine having a nice, seemingly romantic dinner with a woman who wasn’t his wife. The impression I got was that this was definitely not a business dinner, let’s put it that way. I managed to go unseen by him (as far as I know), but it has bugged me since it happened. (This was a month or so ago.) I’m wondering if I should tell his wife what I saw. I am not friendly with this couple, but we exchange neighborly pleasantries when we see each other. They both seem nice, although I’m not so sure about him any more. What makes it complicated for me is that I was the clueless wife in this scenario not all that long ago, and when everything blew up on my ex-husband, I found myself wondering, “Why didn’t anyone TELL me?” A lot of people knew what was going on and I felt so humiliated that I was, cliché though it is, the “last to know.” If I could spare someone else that feeling, I would. I’m so unsure if this is the right thing to do, though. Thoughts?
Dear Been There,
I can understand your desire to spare someone what you went through, but you should stay out of this one. I think your own experience is blinding you to the fact that there are any number of explanations for what you saw, and even if you saw what you THINK you saw, you don’t know enough about your neighbors to draw any conclusions. For all you know, they could have an open marriage. I can certainly imagine circumstances in which it would be right to tell a friend his or her partner is cheating, but this is not one of those times.
My mother passed away a couple of years ago. We have a large family and everyone adored her. She was truly a wonderful woman, and she left a lot of different things to various family members in her will.
One of the things she left to a cousin of mine has a lot of sentimental value to me. (It is a piece of needlepoint I remember her working on when I was a very young girl. A mental image of her hunched over her embroidery hoop as she worked on it in her favorite chair is one of my earliest memories.) I am fairly sure it doesn’t mean nearly as much to my cousin because it hangs in the bathroom of her summer house, and I know she uses her summer house as a repository for things she doesn’t really want but can’t bear to throw away for whatever reason. In fact, seeing it consigned to this less-than-desirable location makes me a bit sad. I am not especially close to my cousin, but every summer she chooses a week and hosts any family members who want to stay at the beach for a few days. I usually stay for a night or two and intend to do so this summer. I know I will see this piece of needlepoint and wish I had it. So I guess my question is, would I be totally out of line asking if she would be willing to give it to me? Offering to buy it seems crass and I think my cousin would be insulted by that. I’m not quite sure how I would ask her, but I’ll think of something – that is, if it’s not totally out of line to ask in the first place?
Dear Covetous Cousin,
I don’t think it’s totally out of line, but I think there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. You’re assuming this needlepoint has no particular meaning for your cousin, but you could be mistaken – after all, your mother probably bequeathed it to her for a reason. Your misgivings about its placement may not reflect your cousin’s feelings at all.
Having said that, when you visit your cousin this summer, mention how much you like that piece and how you can remember your mother working on it. Your cousin may enlighten as to why your mother thought she would like to have it. You might even ask if you could borrow it to have a high-resolution scan made so you have something tangible to remember it by. This will give her the chance to say, “If it means that much to you, I’d like you to have it” if she is so inclined. I think giving her the opportunity to make a generous gesture without putting her on the spot is the way to go. If she chooses not to, though, accept that it probably does mean more to her than you realize.
I’m a female college student. I’ve been dating a great guy for close to a year now. The only issue that has come up at all in our relationship is his discomfort over my close friendship with another guy. I’ve been friends with guy #2 since I was a little girl and we were both kind of kindred misfits in grade school. I do love him, but my boyfriend has nothing to worry about: among the many secrets we’ve shared over the years is the fact that he is gay but no one knows. I’ve talked to him for hours and hours about coming out, accepting and loving himself, but without digressing into another letter altogether, he isn’t ready to do that and I would never betray his trust. So I have a jealous boyfriend with nothing whatsoever to worry about, but I can’t tell him why. How can I get him to see that his jealousy is completely unjustified?
Just Friends – Seriously!
Dear Just Friends,
You shouldn’t have to get him to see that. It doesn’t matter. If your friend were straight, would it be okay that your boyfriend’s insecurity was dictating who you can and can’t be friends with? Tell your boyfriend in no uncertain terms that you’ve been friends with this guy for years, you have no romantic feelings for him, and if he’s jealous that’s his problem. You can certainly talk with him about the underlying issues that may explain his jealousy, but by no means should you be influenced or manipulated by it. This is a bad sign for his prospects for an emotionally healthy relationship, and if you’re really serious about him, you may want to consider therapy – him for help understanding his insecurity, and you for help understanding why you’re willing to indulge it.
Originally appeared at GoLocalProv.com.