Ask Amy: Hot-tubbing at the house tests relationship
By Amy Dickinson,
DEAR AMY: My live-in boyfriend of five years has recently rekindled a friendship with a girl he knew in grade school. Twice in the last week he has invited her to our home to play pool, have a lot of drinks and soak in our hot tub.
He hasn’t shared his plans to have her over until the last minute as I was leaving work; at that point he then extended the invite for me to join them.
I feel as if I’m in second place to him hanging out with another female in our home. I speak my mind about how it makes me feel, and the situation gets spun as if I’m crazy. He then won’t speak to me for the rest of the night. Sometimes he spins some negativity back on me so that he can be upset with me on something that is off topic.
As they spend hours hanging out, laughing, drinking, playing pool, soaking in our hot tub until past midnight, I’m sitting in my room boiling under the surface. I’m upset and sad that he doesn’t comfort me as they’re having a blast.
She has a boyfriend, and my boyfriend reassures me they would never cross the line and become intimate. I trust that.
I try to speak to him, but most of the time he has had a few drinks, or he is drinking with his friends and insults me, or he shuts me down and dismisses my feelings.
Should I give him space to be with her? Am I an idiot? I cannot speak to him rationally about this because he loses his composure and it escalates. I feel alone. -- Lonely Girlfriend
DEAR LONELY: If you are living together, then he should call you first when he wants to invite someone over. If you agree to this, then you should hang out and enjoy the company, not seethe and sulk in your room. You might change the dynamic by forcing yourself to be awesome in their presence to see if you can also enjoy this guest in your home. Also, the next time he wants to invite her over, perhaps you should extend the invitation to her boyfriend.
Do you want to live with someone who tests you and then drunkenly insults and belittles you when you express yourself? If you cannot alter the dynamic, you should reconsider your choice to be with someone who has so little regard for you.
DEAR AMY: I have a friend who likes to buy me dinner. Often I tell him that I will only eat with him if I can pay for myself, and that usually works. But there are other times when he refuses to let me pay. The reason why I don’t want him doing this is because he is struggling financially, and I don’t want him wasting his money on me. Many times I tell him that I will pay him back, and I do. But other times I feel like he might be offended if I do that. What can I do? Is there a way I can pay him back without hurting his feelings? -- Confused
DEAR CONFUSED: You should tell your friend that you always want to split the check, no matter what. If this becomes a tussle at the table, you should trade off treating. If he has treated you, you should not attempt to “pay him back” later. That just extends this awkward moment. You and he could both economize by cooking at home for each other. If you don’t know how to cook, this is a fun way to learn and share.
DEAR AMY: “Nameless” reported extreme frustration that a parent of a child in her school didn’t ever use her name. It might be a simple case of awkwardness. Many of us don’t know whether to call a teacher by her first name or as “Mrs. Smith,” so we resort to not using a name at all. -- Parent
DEAR PARENT: If you are confused, you clear up your confusion by saying, “You can call me Jane, but would you prefer to be called Mrs. Smith or by your first name?”
Write to Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.
by the Chicago Tribune
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