Ask Amy: Girlfriend worries when parents start to date

August 17, 2012

DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years. We plan on getting married some day.

Yesterday we found out that his mom and my dad have been secretly dating for about three weeks.

Neither his mom nor my father seems to see our problem with this. But if they continue dating and decide they want to get married, doesn’t that mean my boyfriend and I would now be brother and sister? Is there any way I can talk some sense into them? -- Betrayed

DEAR BETRAYED: If you truly believe that your boyfriend’s mother and your father marrying would magically turn you two into siblings, then — please — do not get married and procreate.

If your respective parents are single and available, then there is no reason they can’t (or shouldn’t) date.

However, while there is nothing you can (or should) do to prevent these two adults from dating, you do have a right to express yourselves. Mainly, you should do your best to communicate your discomfort to both parents. They should do their best to be open with you. But if they’ve been dating for only three weeks, they may not have much to report.

If these two got married and you also got married, you and your guy would become both step-siblings and spouses — otherwise known as “lucky people who can double up on step-parents and in-laws.”

DEAR AMY: I have a co-worker who has a severe stutter to the point where he sometimes struggles to get his words out. What is the appropriate way to handle a conversation with this person so as to not make him feel embarrassed or self-conscious?

Should I help by finishing the word he is stuck on or just let him finish on his own?

I want to do the right thing. -- Office Mate

DEAR OFFICE MATE: Do not finish his sentences. He knows what he intends to say (and you may not) — he just needs more time to say it. Give him the time he needs to finish his thought.

Make eye contact and appear relaxed and neutral. Do your best to manage your own discomfort. Don’t ask him to relax or slow down; instead, you should relax and slow down your own racing thoughts. Don’t bob your head, fidget, cross your arms or look away.

When it is your turn to speak, you do not need to slow down or speak loudly. You should speak using your own natural voice and rhythm.

Conversing with someone who stutters can actually be a gift — it will teach you how to listen patiently, actively and without judgment.

DEAR AMY: “Conflicted” said she was uncomfortable with the fact that her friend took self-serve soda without paying for it. She described this friend of 10-plus years as “an affluent money manager.”

Wow. I would not want to be this person’s client.

As a financial planner for 20-plus years, I would not put my client’s money with a money manager who took as much as a paper clip! If this woman thinks skimming soda is acceptable, it would follow that she may be skimming elsewhere.

There have been a multitude of hedge fund managers, bankers and money managers in hot water recently for unethical and criminal behavior. Perhaps this woman’s name will be on that list soon. As Conflicted said, stealing is stealing. -- A Watcher

DEAR WATCHER: Dishonesty always starts small. And it’s a dangerous trait in someone who handles other people’s money.

DEAR AMY: Your response to “Rudderless Father” was excellent (as usual).

This active dad was looking to meet other adults.

After my wife died, my salvation was with Parents Without Partners. My two boys were early teens. The organization sponsored beach outings, picnic outings, campouts and dances.

Eventually I found my second wife through this organization, and we are both enjoying our retirement together. -- Husband, Dad and Granddad

DEAR HUSBAND: Parents Without Partners is an organization dedicated to providing a social outlet and support for single parents and their children. Thank you for the recommendation. Readers can find a local chapter by checking parentswithoutpartners.org.

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

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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