Dear Miss Manners: As someone who was present at a mass shooting (I fled and avoided injury), how should I approach this with the person I’m dating?
He lets me speak about the shooting when I need to — just rattle off everything I’m thinking without any judgment. We went to the memorials, and he gave me space while also being present. I couldn’t ask for more from him! But I worry that I will become “too needy to love” as I come to terms with it all.
Yes, I have a therapist to speak with, and have done so twice so far. That’s all well and good for my mental health, but I worry about how this pertains to our relationship. I fear accidentally overwhelming him, since we’re still in what I would consider the honeymoon phase.
How do I show that I trust him with the hard stuff and value his thoughts, while processing my own trauma and not withdrawing to protect him? What would Miss Manners do?
Treasure him. He sounds like someone mature and caring enough to respond to you fully, including the aftermath of your tragic experience. And Miss Manners would keep in mind, as you do, that he also has issues that deserve support.
Mind you, she understands your feeling that although committed partners should be able to deal with whatever comes along, trauma is not the best way to begin a relationship.
There are those who see a new romance as the opportunity to unload their accumulated grievances. An adult with a repetitious refrain of grudges from childhood is a tedious companion, which a new person might well be wary of taking on.
But you are not “needy” in the sense of being a constant whiner with a backlog of grievances. Mass shootings are national tragedies that affect not just the direct victims, but all citizens. Decent people feel that — and offer you support and sympathy.
Dear Miss Manners: Are cowboy boots appropriate for a barn wedding? Attire is “cocktail dress,” and I’m wearing a below-the-knee dress.
Go right ahead. What would be out of place in a barn, for reasons Miss Manners does not care to mention, would be satin heels.
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.
©2022, by Judith Martin