Ask Amy: Girlfriend keeps guy in the closet

June 8

DEAR AMY: I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary with my girlfriend. I love her, and we get along great. We are very compatible, and I thought integrating our teenage children would be our biggest challenge.

She has introduced me to all her family (even her ex’s family), but I am starting to think it’s weird that she hasn’t introduced me to any of her friends.

I did meet her best friend, but that was by accident when I went to her house at my usual time and the friend was there. She eventually introduced us.

Other than that I haven’t met any of her friends. As far as I can tell, she only vaguely speaks of me to them. When she takes their calls and I’m at her house, I usually leave the room to give her privacy. But sometimes she asks me to be quiet so they don’t know I’m with her.

After about six months of being together, I told her that it made me feel as if I were a secret, but she pointed out I’ve met her family. She says her friends don’t need to know about us.

At what point does it become weird that she continues to keep me away from her friends? Does it mean something? -- No Friends

DEAR FRIENDS: I think this definitely means something, but I’m not sure what. You don’t mention any explanation your girlfriend might offer, and so let us speculate wildly.

She is leading a double life, and her friends are part of her other life.

There is something about you specifically that makes her want to keep you a secret. Are you odious?

Actually, I suspect that your girlfriend is hedging the truth about something, and she is keeping your presence vague to protect her cover story. It could be something quite benign. (She told her friends, “After my divorce I swore I would never date again!”) But you will never know what’s behind this weirdness because she won’t tell you. And that’s the real problem.

If you two are going to continue as a couple and live an integrated life, you will both have to be open and truthful and willing to face the consequences.

DEAR AMY: I’m a mother of three children. My mom lives seven minutes away and barely sees my children. What really makes me upset is that she has been having an affair with a married man for the past 10 years and makes time to go on “dates” almost every day.

Then to make matters worse, I can’t take my children to her house because my daughter is allergic to her dog. Is it wrong of me to expect her to give the dog away if her grandchild is allergic to it?

My children can’t even stay the night at their grandparent’s house. I feel my mom is extremely selfish and doesn’t wish to have a relationship with my kids. What upsets me more than anything is that I never ask my mom to watch my children, but when my husband and I decided to go on our honeymoon, she volunteered to watch my kids but then charged me to do so!

Am I the one who’s being selfish or am I justified in my feelings that she’s the selfish one? -- Upset Mom

DEAR UPSET: Your mother is selfish, self-centered and self-oriented.

Given that, why would you want your children to spend the night at her house?

She will not give up her dog to accommodate your daughter’s allergy, and she won’t even pop by to see the kids on her way to and from assignations with her lover.

Many grandparents are less than ideal; your mom is one of them. Never count on her to fulfill any of the usual and expected grandparent roles, and you’ll be surprised when she occasionally does.

DEAR AMY: “Sad Daughter” had a mother who was dying a painful death from lung cancer. She was shocked when people asked her if her mother was a smoker.

I think the perfect reply to this is the classic: “Why would you ask me that?” -- Faithful Reader

DEAR READER: Excellent. Thank you.

Amy’s column appears seven days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2014 by the Chicago Tribune

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