Dear Amy: Last night, my girlfriend and I were in a pub enjoying some Irish music. A man came over and asked if he could “borrow” my girlfriend. I told him that I didn’t own her, and it was up to her.
He proceeded to lead her to the band area (where no one else was dancing).
She didn’t want to dance with him, pulled away from his grip, and came back to where I was standing.
He followed her and got a little too close to us for my liking.
I told him to buzz off. I had to raise my voice and get in his face.
My better half proceeded out the door (we were getting ready to go home, anyway).
Then we had an argument. She told me that I didn’t have to react this way, because she had it under control.
I realize the guy was drinking, but it gets my goat that he didn’t ask any of the many single women there to dance and instead went up to a woman who was obviously with someone.
I apologized to my girlfriend, and within a short time we were passionate with each other!
Now, I’m totally confused.
She assured me that in the future she would let me know if she felt threatened.
I don’t understand women, and I’m no kid.
Should I have let all of this go?
Dear Confused: People are complicated.
When it comes to physical encroachment from someone larger than they are, most women have an instinct for how to extract themselves, in ways that will avoid further unwanted contact — or an actual assault.
Your girlfriend’s behavior was textbook — and smart. She pulled away and returned to the area where there were more people (also where you were).
People who are subject to unwanted attention/harassment can also — always — go directly to the bar and ask waitstaff to get security.
Your girlfriend did not necessarily return to you in order for you to leap in and “protect” her.
And you did not interfere until Drunk Man returned to the scene of the crime.
In my opinion, both of you handled things well. Remaining passive while Drunk Man encroached upon both of you didn’t seem to be an option.
She argued with you because of the frustration of being harassed and because your behavior reminded her that men stereotypically handle their confrontations in ways that women don’t always have access to.
And she was passionate with you later because — while she didn’t like your behavior, she also did like it.
Like I said — people are complicated.
Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for 20 years. He had a vasectomy after our son was born 19 years ago because he had two older children from a previous marriage.
During our marriage, he has cheated twice, but I always forgave him.
Surprisingly, at the age of 45, I found out I was pregnant, and he accused me of cheating — which I NEVER did.
A DNA test proved he’s the father of our child.
I’m so mad at him for thinking that, and we haven’t spoken in weeks.
He’s apologized profusely, and has asked for forgiveness, but I can’t seem to forgive him.
Help, what should I do?
Dear Expecting: The tension now is actually a vestige of his previous infidelities.
People tend to assuage their guilt by accusing others of their own transgressions.
It’s yet another way to let yourself off the hook.
You could break the silence in your household by telling your husband that you are struggling to forgive him for his extremely unfair assumption about you.
Solicit his help — and challenge him — by asking him to provide you with reasons to forgive him. In addition to asking for forgiveness now, he may need to fold in a sincere apology for his previous transgressions.
Dear Amy: “Torn” was conflicted about telling their sister about an early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis. You advised Torn to not tell.
I disagree. Alzheimer’s is genetic, and big sister needs to know about the diagnosis, so she and her doctor can watch for symptoms.
The earlier it is caught, the better.
A better response would be, “I’m telling you this for your sake, not for mine. I have everything handled, and all I need from you is your continued love.”
— A Better Take
Dear Better: “Torn” was trying to protect herself from her sister’s overwhelming personality. But you make an excellent point. Thank you.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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