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Q. My boyfriend does everything slooowly. Getting ready to leave the apartment, preparing dinner (we take turns), driving, shopping. We are on two different wavelengths. His friends tease him about it, and I do too, but he doesn’t care. We have been dating for two years, and now that we live together it feels more annoying than before. Is this something that will eventually stop bothering me? —In A Relationship With Molasses
Perhaps. Or perhaps by the time you’re walking your future child to his or her first day of kindergarten, you’ll have your 45th knock-down, drag-out fight about it, right in front of everyone. The variables are many: how strong your relationship is otherwise, how flexible you are with accommodating each other’s traits, how much this matters in your day-to-day lifestyle, how well you can communicate about it without letting resentment fester, how much you can compartmentalize it as one part of him that doesn’t have to be perfect in order to still be perfectly happy together. So, how much does it mean to you, and can you use this transition period as an opportunity to practice adjusting to it?
It’s not good to hear from you
Q. My husband’s distant cousin was a little “different” and had a hard time making friends. He came to our home a few times — held our baby, chatted and finally brought a girl over to introduce us; he invited us to the wedding. They moved away and we lost touch. Forty years later, we’ve moved far away in retirement. He suddenly has been emailing with a new wife, new life, new location. All of his primary family has passed away, and he and his wife are in poor health. He is still socially weird and depressing. My husband and I have no desire to rekindle this relationship; my husband continues to ignore the calls and emails. Do we need to make any explanation, or is it adequate to ignore the attempts until he gets discouraged? —Wondering
You know it’s not really adequate, or you wouldn’t be writing to me. I think you and your husband are adding to the discomfort rather than lessening it. I see no evidence this guy was cruel or manipulative, or that you lost touch because of bad behavior on his part. Would it be that hard to have a basic and occasional correspondence with him? You have history together, and he doesn’t have it easy in life. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, then yes, your husband needs to be more clear. Continuing to let someone try to connect when they aren’t capable of reading the silence just isn’t good human-ing. How about: “I appreciate that you got in touch and I wish you the best, but our lives are in such a different place now, we’re just not able to pick up where we left off.” Sound cruel? Maybe. But silence seems even crueler.
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