Dear Aunt Gabby,
I fell in love with a woman, and now, after dating her for about a year, I realize she is not a nice person. She is dishonest at work, gossips and lies about her “friends,” and is very sloppy. She drinks too much sometimes and drives home.
We are in our 40s and I am at a loss. I may not get another chance at love. What should I do?
—Looking for Love
So, you are old enough to have heard the Paul Simon song, “Fifty Ways to Leave your Lover.” Do that.
When we fall in love, the normal walls that keep people at bay fall down. You see only the good parts and ignore anything bad. Over time the walls build back up. Your sweetie didn’t just start today being dishonest, gossipy or DUI. You didn’t just notice today. You have been ignoring the red flags flapping in your face.
Sit her down and tell her that you have been noticing things that bother you. Tell her specifically what they are, unless she is screaming.
Begin sentences with, “I feel _________________.” Do not argue with her or take any bait or deals she may offer. Tell her you know she is not the right person. Expect her to be really angry and hurt. Behave yourself.
Then, drive off into the sunset. Do not answer the phone, letters, or emails. Do not go to your old haunts. Do not ask her friends how she is. Just stop. Move on.
Yes, you will be lonesome, bored, and sad. You may try talking yourself into settling for someone you don’t respect. Don’t do it. It would be mean to her, too.
Do other things. Write in a journal how grateful you are for your new life. Stay sober so you don’t make a huge mistake. Date someone else. Go to the gym. Do not believe for a second that your love life is over.(I met the love of my life at age 54, and I was 61 when we got married.)
—Your Lovable Aunt Gabby
Dear Aunt Gabby,
At holiday time, my husband’s family takes a photo of all the brothers and sisters but insists that all the spouses not be included. The first time it happened, I thought it was rude, but after 16 years, I guess I’ve gotten used to it.
However, my daughter-in-law, Jane, new to the family, was hurt by this tradition and complained of “feeling inferior.”
Are we right to be offended? Is this rude or not? Thank you.
—Sign us, Not a Kodak Moment.
Of course, you are right to feel excluded. You are being excluded. You don’t feel like part of the family-and you are right.
While I understand that for “posterity’s sake,” the family might want a picture of “blood relatives,” exclusively for the holidays. It is a family holiday, after all. My family means sister, kids, grandchildren, uncles, sisters-in-laws, cousins, my cousin’s girlfriend, the dog, and even a cherished neighbor or two. It is not my job to decide who is in your family.
Now, tell me that in the past 16 years, you have asked to be included in family pictures with everyone in them. Tell me, if no one else took pictures, that you brought a camera with you and made shots of everyone yourself.
Do not tolerate being excluded! The bottom line is as former First Lady and diplomat, Eleanor Roosevelt, said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
—Your Aunt Gabby