Autonomy Even in Relationships
Dear Margo: I’ve been seeing “Chip” off and on for a year and a half. We’ve had lots of problems lately and broke up for three weeks. During that time, I was depressed and reconnected with old friends to boost my morale. I ended up talking with an old friend who lives across the country. He mentioned he had an extra ticket to an event that was coming up and suggested I fly there to get out of town for a weekend. It sounded like a great time, so I said yes.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks. Chip and I are back together trying to work things out. As soon as we resumed, I told him about my plans. The event is coming up next weekend, and I still plan to go — except Chip is livid. (It doesn’t help that he’s always had trust issues, even though I’ve never cheated on him.) He says if I care about his feelings, I won’t go, and he assumes I am going to sleep with this friend. He also thinks it’s weird that I reconnected with an old friend he says I barely know.
I was very much looking forward to this trip and have no intention whatsoever of hooking up with this guy. I trust this old friend and don’t view him as the stranger Chip is making him out to be. I have money invested in a flight, plus I would feel horrible if I bailed on my friend, especially for a relationship that is off and on and has so many problems. What do you think? Should I still go on this trip, or abandon a fun time for a possibly sinking ship? — Undecided in Florida
Dear Un: I would go. You are a free agent, and capitulating would not send the right message. If he is so insecure that he thinks visiting a male friend indicates a fling, you need to establish that his lack of trust in you does not bode well. Jealousy, for no reason, is never a good sign. Let the chips fall where they may, no pun intended. — Margo, self-sufficiently
Interpreting Differing Opinions
Dear Margo: I was struck by the letter from the woman whose husband doesn’t care where they eat or what movies they see. I have the reverse problem. I like documentaries, and my significant other likes escapism. I like spicy food; she likes bland. We alternate each week on who does which household chores. I like cleared and clean kitchen counters; she likes to defer washing dishes until we run out of clean ones.
I’ve learned that the movies I express interest in seeing somehow conflict with our schedules, while hers don’t. The question becomes whether the situation is sufficiently good to justify sacrificing my values, or is it sufficiently demeaning to warrant abandoning ship? The problem isn’t not having an opinion; it is in having learned that it is the wrong one. — Jay
Dear Jay: Your problem is quite different from the good-natured guy with few preferences. What’s going on in your life is that you are made to feel insignificant — or demeaned, in your words. Only you can decide whether how your S.O. makes you feel is a deal breaker.
My own opinion is that no one should have to sacrifice their values or always be made to feel “wrong.” Looking down at your relationship from my satellite of neutrality, I would say you two are not compatible in ways that really count. This woman sounds bossy and not at all concerned with your feelings. Over to you. — Margo, interpretively
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2012 MARGO HOWARD DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
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