Dear Carolyn: My girlfriend and I have been together for a year, and, as time goes on, I’m developing more and more questions about whether we’re a good fit. The bottom line is that we’re very different personalities, and I’m not sure she’s the one for me. She, on the other hand, seems completely committed, and we haven’t yet spoken about my increasing doubts.
For months, she’s been eager for us to spend Christmas together, where I get to meet her parents for the first time. She’s a big holiday person, and there’s no doubt it means a lot to her, both practically and symbolically.
Over our relationship, our work schedules have never really allowed us a long block of time to be together, so I think Christmas could be really helpful to me in making a decision. But, since Christmas and being with her family are so important to her, I want to be sure I understand what it really means to accept an invitation to the holidays with prospective in-laws. Should I be more sure about the relationship before agreeing to go?
It sounds as if you should, but I’d phrase it differently: You don’t need certainty about your relationship so much as confidence in your doubts.
You’ve been together a year. Over that time, apparently, you’ve grown less interested in her, versus more. How would a “long block of time” remedy this, besides temporarily clear daily-life obstacles?
There’s a logic gap here reminiscent of the old joke: “The food here is terrible!” “Yes, and such small portions!” If you’re not eager for more of her companionship given what you already know, then it’s hard to see what spending more time with her would solve.
I can see, however, like you, the potential harm in spending Christmas with her only to hit the streets by New Year’s.
Bailing out on the trip will hurt terribly. So will bailing out after it. What you need to decide is whether the girlfriend you know, practically and symbolically, will be further saddened by this memory: of proudly presenting to her family a husband candidate who, unbeknownst to her — but known to all shortly thereafter — had one eye on the door all along. Ho-ho-harsh.
If everything you’ve learned up to now points to her not being right for you, then trust it, don’t postpone it. Her family can help her regroup.
Dear Carolyn: My roommate’s boyfriend is here most nights of the week. He’s not overly rude. He doesn’t make a mess. He’s just not my favorite person and he’s just always there. Compound that by the fact that he comes from a wealthy family, lives with his parents and doesn’t have a job, so he sleeps in and stays in the place while my roommate and I go to work. He doesn’t have a key (and I don’t plan on giving him one) so he can’t lock up properly behind himself, if he ever does leave.
Here’s the issue: I’m in a long-distance relationship. When my boyfriend comes to visit, he full-on lives with us for the two or so weeks he stays. How can I express to my roommate my frustrations with her boyfriend without looking like a total hypocrite?
I suppose you could distinguish between extended visitor and virtual third roommate. But here’s why that will sound trumped up: You don’t like her boyfriend so you want him to leave. You like your boyfriend so you want him to stay.
I’m sympathetic to your feelings but not to the impulse to game the system in your favor. Having a roommate + wanting your boyfriend to stay for weeks = sucking it up when your roommate’s boyfriend stays over. I’m sorry.
Charging him some rent/utilities would be fair, though — and you do need to talk about those locks.
Dear Carolyn: I gave a wedding gift to my niece and her new husband. I misspelled his name on the personalized gift. I got a text from my brother (her father) saying, “They really liked it, except for the typo of his name. How can it be fixed?”
It is a wood cutting board and it cannot be fixed!
What should I do? Pay for a whole new wedding gift? Or apologize and figure they can still use it. The ironic part of this is my brother and
his wife have misspelled by daughter’s name for all of her 19 years!
Well, then you know how irritating it would be to see a misspelling every time you chop.
Besides, there are only two possible outcomes of the oh-gee-sorry route: They don’t use the board, making yours a non-gift, or they do use it — and Auntie Honestmistake gets mentioned every time someone sees it.
I get that you’re annoyed by the fix-it text from a recidivist name-botcher, but replace the gift anyway. Think of it as money graciously spent.
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