Direct Answers – Mr. Hyde, A Fine Line

Mr. Hyde

I was going through some of Ann Landers' old columns when I found the one attached below. I was so stunned by her advice I could not help but send this to you.

Have a wonderful day!

~ Kathy

Kathy, in the column you sent, a woman wrote Ann Landers after a New Year's Eve party she let her 15-year-old daughter host for her friends. The woman was tending to the refreshments when she turned around to see her 40-year-old boyfriend kissing one of the daughter's 16-year-old friends.

It was more than a kiss on the lips. The man's hands were planted firmly on the girl's behind and the girl had her arms around his neck. Ann's advice? Consider it a one-time lapse, because "alcohol can do strange things," and tell your boyfriend to stick to soft drinks from now on.

Ann Landers simply didn't want to go there.

The letter writer wasn't defending her boyfriend by saying, I knew he had too much to drink. She merely quoted his excuse. She wanted to be factual and objective. Probably she had thought he was the one, so she muted her feelings.

But her internal mom and woman thing told her, "I just wasted my time with him. Being 40 and groping a girl in her mid-teens is wrong."

What did the writer know? "I have a teenager in my house. He's going out with me but attracted to my daughter. He's interested in my child and my child's friends, not me." She had to be thinking, "If I stay with him, will I be serving up my daughter or her friends to him on a platter? Am I one of those stories in the news?"

The writer couldn't get it out of her mind. She didn't feel it was one slip. Like Paul Harvey, she wanted to know the rest of the story.

But Ann served up the don't-make-waves nonsense. Sweep it under the rug. It's just a little mole. Don't bother to see your doctor.

It didn't answer the woman's questions. Does this man use alcohol as an excuse? Does he have a problem of inappropriate behavior with girls? Didn't I just glimpse what, in fact, is on his mind?

The typical Mr. Wrong is benign. He golfs all weekend. Or spends too much, won't help around the house, and isn't affectionate. None of that is hidden. The bad Mr. Wrongs—liars, addicts, abusers—act another way around regular people. They pretend. They don't show their true colors until it is too late.

With the truly bad guys, it's boiling the toad. They slowly bring you along until you are cooked.

The writer was lucky her boyfriend slipped up and she saw it. Our advice would be don't unsee what you saw. Act on it.

~ Wayne & Tamara

A Fine Line

Is it considered disrespectful to speak to a stranger, who is a member of the opposite sex, while in the presence of your boyfriend? Is it OK if that person speaks first and you respond?

What if it's at work? Or a bar? Or does that even matter? Is this an unwritten rule every woman knows, except for me that is?

~Taylor

Taylor, it is not disrespectful to speak to a stranger of either sex while in the presence of your boyfriend, as long as you include him. For example, a gentleman asks, "Did you see the football game?" You reply, "No, I didn't, but my boyfriend did," and bring him into the conversation.

You are concerned about your boyfriend's feelings. That's excellent. But if your boyfriend is telling you that you can't speak to others, he is overly jealous. That is not excellent. In relationships, trust and honesty are paramount and jealousy is poison.

The only place for a jealous boyfriend is in your past, as a reminder of what you don't want.

Wayne & Tamara

Week of December 2, 2013

Send letters to: [email protected] , or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.

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