Name Your Comfort Level


I legally changed my name after suffering childhood abuse from my paternal grandfather. Recently, I got married and kept my “maiden” name. My in-laws are now wondering why my surname is different from my parents’ last name. Generally, I tell the people who ask that I changed my name for personal reasons. My husband doesn’t think this answer will be satisfactory and thinks I should disclose the whole story. -It’s Private

I’m surprised I’m the one who has to break this to your husband — I don’t even know the dude — but it’s not his mommy and daddy who get to decide whether his wife’s level of detail when discussing her private history is “satisfactory.”

This is your story. Forcing you to disclose more than you want to, much less relive trauma that could be unsettling for you to discuss, is simply not fair. If he’s so concerned with them harping about it, and it’s 1,000 percent OK with you, then you can give him permission to privately tell them that you preferred to make a clean break from your old name because of some experiences you had. If you’d rather him not say anything at all, that’s also your right. Then it becomes his duty to put his wife’s emotional health first, even if he must withstand a little harping in the process.

‘Like’ a New Guy, So Dump Old Guy

A former classmate of mine recently reconnected with me on Facebook. At first things were just friendly, but as the conversation progressed, he ended up asking me out. I was flattered by his gesture, but I failed to mention that I am currently in a long-distance relationship that seems to be at a dead end. Do I take the bait and go for it or be stuck in the mud forever? -Crossroads

My head is spinning here — which metaphor to follow up with first? Either way, I’m thinking fish or cut bait!

Figure out the status of your long-distance relationship — and solidify it — before you do anything with your old classmate. It’s not fair to either of these guys for you not to be on the up-and-up with them.

If your relationship is at a dead end, then end it. There doesn’t need to be any mud involved. And if Mr. Friendly Facebook has true potential, then he will be willing to wait until things get sorted out. It can’t come as a shock to him after all this time that you might be romantically entangled, even if you shunned the official “It’s Complicated.”

Dr. Andrea Bonior writes Express' advice column, Baggage Check.
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