Cat The Cupid

February 23, 2017

He wants to save for a house together but won’t talk about the possibility of getting married. How do I know we’re on the same page?

I’ve heard this type of thing many times – and timing is a major factor in the marriage discussion. Have either of you been married before? What about both of your parents – are they still together? (if they’re alive). Your history in both cases is very likely to affect your approach, and it might be that he doesn’t view marriage as necessary, but feels that saving for a house is his way of showing commitment.

But let’s think about you for a moment… What do you want? Are you prepared to buy a house together without having the marriage piece of paper? What does marriage mean to you? Do you have concerns about making this financial commitment without an emotional one? Is there anything about his rejection of marriage that hits you at a deeper level? Deeply reflect on the idea of making the decision to go down his preferred road, rather than your own… what does that bring up for you?

There are so many questions I’d love to explore here – and it really comes down to your own values, what you’re prepared to compromise on, and how it will feel if you do – one, five, ten years down the track. No matter how hard we try, we can’t change others. It’s possible he’ll buy the house with you but never want to get married. Where would that leave you, and is that something you could live with?

My boyfriend’s sister does not like me making it very hard to relax and be myself when we all get together. She detests anyone who smokes (even if it is only socially) and as a result thinks I am bad news also. Sometimes she is nice which makes it confusing as to whether I should confront her or not.  I don’t want to cause issues so should I just bite my tongue?

This is tough, because how we get on with our partner’s family can be really important – depending on how strongly they factor into your life. I feel for you in trying to decide how to deal with this.

I’m curious to know if she has actually said she doesn’t like you or that she thinks you’re ‘bad news’? … or is it possible that whenever she’s having an off day or is being quiet/introspective, you’re imagining what we call in coaching a ‘cause-effect’ relationship that her behaviour is directly related to not liking you (because you smoke)? As a second tangent on this line of thinking – how do you feel about your own smoking? Could you have any negative thoughts or feelings about your smoking habit, and you’re projecting them onto her to avoid dealing with them yourself?

Given that she is nice to you sometimes, please know that it’s possible she has her own issues going on and just isn’t great at keeping them under control sometimes – you just happen to be in the firing line on occasion. It’s not a great way of interacting, but none of us are perfect, and many a relationship has been ruined by one person’s inability to check their behaviour.

If your relationship with your boyfriend is serious enough that you need to get this sorted – my advice would be take the compassionate and loving approach. You could invite her for a coffee on her own and be kind but honest… Give her what my old mediation colleague called a ‘shit sandwich’, like “I love it when we catch up and have great chats (or whatever)… but sometimes when we talk, I can’t help but feel that something negative is getting in the way because I don’t feel that normal friendliness from you. I really respect you and my relationship with you is so important, and I’m wondering if there’s anything I could be doing to help us have those good interactions all the time?”

Now, if your smoking is an issue to her, but you’re happy to continue, please know that you tried to smooth things over, but that really is her issue and not her place to judge. You will deal with that if and when you choose.

For valentines day I received a card from a friend, who is a girl. I do not have romantic feelings for her but still want to be friends. How can I let her down gently?

Eek, I’m not going to lie, this could be an awkward one to get past. We’ve all had friends who have wanted more, and in fact, I’ve heard a (probably made up) factoid that most male-female friendships start off with one person wanting more – and I guess it would follow that the same could apply in a female-female friendship where one or both of the girls are same-sex attracted. So, based on the wording of your question, I’m assuming you are generally attracted to guys… so have you been in this situation with a guy? What happened?

If your friendship with her is important, I would take the same approach I’ve taken to a guy friend who wanted more – make it into a very light-hearted bit of banter over a casual drink, game of Monopoly or episode of The Bachelor… “Mate, I know I’m gorgeous but you and I are never going to happen and I like you much too much as a friend to let it get in the way of our friendship. Can we agree to never discuss this again?!” and then make a toast, change the subject, and hope like hell she never mentions it again.

The alternative is to have a serious discussion – and either way, there’s a risk she’ll always feel rejected and awkward, and it will never be the same.

I’m sending you all the good vibes that it will turn out well, and if you go into it with the belief that everything will work out, then it probably will. Good luck!

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