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Carolyn Hax: Irked by girlfriend’s iTunes account with ex-husband’s last name

(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)
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Hi, Carolyn: I’m in a serious relationship with a woman who has been married twice before. Her iTunes account is registered in her married name from her second husband. She’s a big music lover and has hundreds of playlists with thousands of songs, but each time she connects her iPhone to her TV, Bose speakers, or car audio, it announces, “Connected to ‘Lisa Smith’s’ iPhone” — her previous married name — even though she has been divorced for 10 years and uses her maiden name in all other domains. This happens several times a day and even happened while we were having sex.

I have asked her to change the account to her maiden name, as I find it disrespectful, but she says she can’t do it because she will lose all her playlists. Am I being immature for feeling disrespected about this situation?

— Anonymous

Anonymous: Maybe. Yes. More important, though: If there were one quality I’d recommend bringing to a relationship with a woman who has two ex-husbands, thin skin wouldn’t be it.

It's enough to make a pragmatist weep.

Her approach, I actually appreciate — especially in this context. Not the playlist thing, which I know and care nothing about [so please don’t ping me with technical suggestions], but the general idea of, “This is how it is, move on,” appeals to me here.

Because that’s exactly how to proceed unoffended through a life with someone whose history is dotted with opportunities to take offense. Let. it. all. go.

All of it. You can get yourself wound up multiple times a day, or you can remind yourself once and for all, “She’s just as much Lisa Smith as she is Lisa Birthname.” Because she is. She’s Lisa Regardless.

Not to mention, she had to be Lisa Smith first (and Lisa Jones) for her to find you, because that’s just how it works — whatever history you get is the exact history you needed to create your present-day circumstances. No Smith, no you. So let it freaking drop.

If she is indeed actively connecting speakers while you’re actively having sex, then that, yes, is disrespectful. Among other things.

Hi, Carolyn: I deal with anxiety that makes it very difficult to reach out to other people. The more important the person, the harder it is for me to reach out. The specific situation I’m dealing with now has to do with my first love. We’re both women and got together decades ago when it was much harder to be queer. I ended the relationship and have regretted it. We’re still friends, and she responds warmly when I get in touch, but I end up ghosting a lot of the time because I just freeze up with fear. Any suggestions?

— Anxious

Anxious: You already figured it out. Look ^. You just explained yourself calmly, warmly, sympathetically, in writing — and if you don’t like the way you said something, then you can go back and fix it a bit before you send it to your old friend.

Once you’ve explained to her in a letter that you want to express your regret over breaking up, but freeze up with fear, she can either help you feel more comfortable starting this conversation or kindly let you know she’s not interested. Progress either way, though her prior warm responses are promising. Good luck.

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