Dear Amy: I’m a 24-year-old woman. When my guy and I were first together we had a polyamorous relationship with his girlfriend. We did that for eight months until I broke it off because I couldn’t handle the emotional drain of the relationship.
Later, he and I started to see each other again. His other girlfriend was still in the picture and agreed to the relationship, but then their relationship started to fail.
I think it’s better that the girlfriend is now single because she needs to deal with her own issues.
At the same time, I’m not sure if I’m ready to be with this guy. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in love with anyone because of past trust/daddy issues in my own life.
Should I be with him? I guess even asking means the answer is “no,” but I’m worried that maybe I’m hesitant because of my own issues, as well as his relationship history. I also think I can get a better guy than him, but it’s really hard for me to find anyone that is up to my “caliber.”
He’s a really great boyfriend. Should I just take the plunge?
Dear Confused: If you think that you can do better, then why don’t you do better? Your assertion that there aren’t many guys out there who are worthy of you is curious, because – at 24 – you don’t seem to have tested your thesis.
It is also insulting to the guy who is currently in your life. Trust me, you can (and will) settle for many things in life, but you should not settle with a romantic partner.
You’ve already invested almost a year in this relationship. Surely you know just about everything you need to know about him, including the fact that he has a high tolerance for complication (with two girlfriends at the same time, multiple breakups, and all of you with “issues”).
It is wisest to deal with your issues before you troll the waters for a new partner.
Dear Amy: First of all, I love my mother-in-law to death.
As professionals, both my wife and I are very fortunate to have her mother (who lives with us) cook for us.
For health reasons, my MIL is a vegetarian. I, too, would like to eat an all-vegetable diet.
However, after years of repeated requests to not buy or prepare meat dishes, she continues to cook meat for us.
In our culture, this is an expression of love (like in the book “Joy Luck Club,” where the mother gives the last piece of meat to the daughter before she gives her away to marriage).
My solution is to have a few bites of meat, refrigerate the rest for several days, and then throw it out as it gets old.
It seems like such a waste.
Do you have any other suggestions that wouldn’t violate her cultural norms?
Not That Hungry
Dear Hungry: I would think your mother-in-law would be flattered if you said to her, “Mom, I’d like to be a vegetarian like you; will you help me with that?”
You and your wife could go to the market with her one Saturday and look for products that look and cook like meat but aren’t.
But I know that some cultures – and some mothers-in-law – don’t easily make accommodations toward change. If she resists, let it go. Tolerate this generous action and either take the leftovers to work, or get a dog.
Dear Amy: As a psychologist with a specialization in reproductive mental health, I was very dismayed at the advice you gave to “Concerned Grandma.” Grandma was worried because her 13-year-old twin granddaughters had been told that they had been born via a surrogate mother, but had not been told that there was also an egg donor.
Her concern was ABSOLUTELY founded: a normal developmental task for teens is to discover who they are regarding their family of origin. These emerging teens have only been given part of the information they need. In the world of fertility counseling, we advise donor recipients to disclose their child’s story early and often, ideally from birth.
Dear Julie: I completely agree that children should be told the whole truth from an early age. These parents hadn’t done that. However, this grandmother emphasized the concept that the girls might not think their mother was their “real mother,” and that is what I took issue with. I let this obscure your better point, which is that they should be told now.
Email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.