Ask Amy: Goal setting spells trouble for relationship

February 12, 2013

DEAR AMY: I am a 21-year-old female and I’ve been dating my 25-year-old boyfriend for over a year. It’s a very healthy relationship. We get along very well. We haven’t discussed marriage or children because we both feel we’re too young.

My parents raised me to be an extremely hard worker. They taught me to set goals and to achieve them. My parents taught me that I could do anything I wanted to, as long as I worked hard enough. With that mind-set, I’m extremely successful. My parents are proud of me, my boyfriend is proud of me, and I am proud of me.

My boyfriend is not as goal-oriented as I am. He does not care to work hard to achieve his goals. In fact, he no longer sets goals. I’ve tried to talk to him about setting goals and achieving them, but he seems to think that his goals will not be met, and so he doesn’t set them.

I truly love him. However, his lack of drive is something that will be an issue if we decide to stay together. I can’t change my views on working hard because it is extremely important to me. Can this issue be mended? -- Worried

DEAR WORRIED: This can be mended, but only if you change. There is nothing “wrong” with operating as your boyfriend does. Not everyone is driven, a goal setter and achievement-oriented.

You and your guy have very different temperaments. You two might be perfect complements to each other just as you are, except for the fact that you don’t want him to be the way he is. You want him to be the way you (and your parents) are.

The way to mend this would be for you to respect your differences. Even though ultimately this might be very good for you as a person, you declare that you can’t do this (nor do you want to), and so for long-term success you’ll probably have to find someone else who is more like you.

DEAR AMY: My spouse and I want to know: Is it socially appropriate for two adults (married to each other and in their 50s and 60s) to sit on each other’s laps in a social gathering in a family member’s home?

At a recent birthday party for a young family member, my spouse’s stepmother decided to take a seat on her husband’s lap while he was seated on a breakfast stool. Hands were held and placed on knees/thighs in a relatively innocent manner; there was no additional kissing, groping, etc.

My spouse and I disagree on whether or not this was acceptable behavior for adults.

One of us thinks that it is a clear instance of a teenage-style public display of affection, and the other thinks that it was not a big deal because the two people involved were married adults and that there were only family members and close friends present at the time. What is your opinion? -- Touchy-Feely in Chicago

DEAR TOUCHY-FEELY: In a casual setting at a family member’s home, I think it’s fine — sweet, really. But is it “socially appropriate”? No. It’s also potentially chair-breaking behavior.

However, you ask about the propriety of these two older people sitting “on each other’s laps.” The man taking his turn sitting on the woman’s lap makes this much more interesting. I’m all for it.

DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from “Wedding Food Blues,” I am also a gluten intolerant vegetarian. I try not to arrive hungry to such events if I feel at all uneasy about what I am to be served. I may also have some gluten-free bars tucked away in a pocket or purse that I could slip away to eat if I think it will be a lengthy affair.

These days more and more caterers are better aware of how to handle guests with different allergies and food issues. Usually they come up with creative workable solutions.

Of course, the main point of coming to the wedding is to share in the joy of the couple getting married. You can always eat when you get home! -- Fellow Traveler

DEAR TRAVELER: Caterers have told me that they can usually accommodate reasonable last-minute food requests. The idea is not to trouble the hosts too much with special requests -- and to enjoy the day!

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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