Dear John looks at all stages of relationships — unrequited love, about to be married, married but questioning. And John has advice for all.
Recently, my wife took a lot of old wedding pictures out of storage and displayed them in prominent spots in our home. Problem is, they are not of our wedding! We have been married over 25 years, but before that, she was married briefly to a guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since we met. I asked her why she was taking these out all of a sudden and she said she likes how young and happy she looks in them. She will be the first to admit that she does not like what the years have done to her appearance (although she is a strikingly beautiful woman). Maybe I’m being petty, but I just do not like having these pictures around and have told her so, but she refuses to put them back into whatever box she took them out of. Am I being unreasonable here?
Not In The Picture
Dear Not In The Picture,
No, I don’t think you’re being unreasonable, but your wife isn’t the only one who’s being a bit insensitive here.
Your letter doesn’t say much about what your marriage is like, but it seems pretty clear that she is unhappy about something. Maybe she’s having problems aging gracefully; maybe she’s disappointed with how her life has turned out; maybe it’s something else altogether. But wistfully noting how “young and happy” she looks in those photos is telling, don’t you think? And it doesn’t matter that you think she’s “strikingly beautiful.” That’s not how she sees herself.
To get back to your question, yes, I think your wife should put her old wedding pictures back wherever they were. But that will solve nothing if she doesn’t address the underlying issues that caused her to take them out in the first place.
My fiancé and I are getting married in a little under a year. We are both ardent lovers of the planet and try to live simply and with as little consumption of resources as possible. We both come from big, traditional families who don’t put too much thought into these things, though. For our wedding, we don’t want them to give us a lot of gifts we don’t need or want – instead, we want to use this as an opportunity to explain our values to them and maybe, ideally, get one or two of them to consider their own patterns of consumption and relationship to the planet. We want to explicitly state that we don’t want any gifts but instead would like people to make a contribution to an organization we support that deals with issues of sustainable use of resources. Reaction to this idea has been mixed at best. We would like your opinion. Thanks.
Don’t Need Much
Dear Don’t Need Much,
If you want to discourage people from giving you gifts you neither need nor want, I think you should simply (pardon the pun) tell them that their friendship and good wishes are gifts enough and leave it at that. Your motives seem beyond reproach, but to be completely honest, it strikes me as slightly unseemly to request that your guests make a contribution to an organization they may or may not support in order to enlighten them. As you and your husband embark on your life together, the best way you can share your passion for living simply is to do so by example.
My ex broke up with me almost five months ago because he couldn’t handle the fact that we argued occasionally. Since then we’ve gotten back together on an off about four times and it kills me each time. I hate being the type of girl that let’s this boy back into my life, but I’m still not over him and we were best friends before we dated, so being apart is too hard. He knows I don’t want to get back with him for occasional flings and he claims he doesn’t want to hurt me but he’s resorted to flat out ignoring me and not coming out with groups of friends anymore unless he has decided he wants to get back with me for one night. What can I do? I don’t want to cut him out of my life because he was a part of it for so long but I can’t deal emotionally with his constant rejection and trashy treatment of me. I’m normally not this type of girl. I’m becoming someone I hate, and I’m lost on advice.
Dear Becoming Ugly,
I know you used to be friends, I know you care about this guy, and I know it’s very, very painful to accept that a relationship that was once so positive and fulfilling is finished – it’s human nature to think that what we had once, we can have again if only we try hard enough. But your relationship with him is over, and it’s not coming back. In an attempt to avoid the pain of accepting this, you’re experiencing the worse pain of doing something you know is wrong and is not the “real” you.
Breaking up with a guy with whom you share a whole social circle is difficult (beyond the emotions involved) because you keep running into each other. The wound is continuously reopened. So you have to work very hard to keep yourself out of these situations. Let your friends know you have to avoid get-togethers where he might be present, and make sure they know you’re not suggesting he be excluded from anything; it’s just that if he’s going to be there, you can’t be…for a while at least. Ask them to be supportive as you grapple with this.
Believe me, I know well how painful it will be. You’re grieving the loss of something that meant so much to you. But there’s no shortcut or way around it. If you simply try to avoid feeling it, whether through getting back together for a night, drinking or partying, or doing any of the other things people do to numb themselves, bad things happen. You have to feel the pain for it to go away.
Originally published on GoLocalProv.com
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