Ask Amy: My husband’s mom doesn’t believe our story about how we met


Dear Amy, I met my husband when I was a part-time sex worker and he was a client. We have been happily married for 30 years (I found a new career when we started dating).

We made up a story about meeting at a concert, but my mother-in-law doesn’t believe it.

Twice he’s asked me to tell him the “real way we met” and for obvious reasons I’ve stuck to our story.

She is a great mother and mother-in-law, and I know her feelings are hurt because I won’t tell her how we met.

What can I tell her to make her feel good about never knowing the truth?

Holding

Dear Holding: You make sure your mother-in-law’s feelings are hurt because you won’t tell her how you met her son. But you told him.

I’d say your mother-in-law asking twice in 30 years doesn’t convey a burning need to meet or catch you, unless the two times she’s asked about it happened in the past week.

If your mother-in-law seems exceptionally upset and you think it might help to try to explain, you can start with a few questions (always wait patiently for the answer): “She seems very curious about this. We told you that we met at a concert. What do you expect to learn, other than what we’ve told you?”

Maybe he heard a rumor and wants to confirm it.

But this is your life and your story, and you should convey your own version of, “This is our story, and we’re sticking to it.”

Dear Amy, I am a single woman in my 30s. I have a Ph.D. and currently has a successful business.

I recently reconnected with an old friend. Early in the friendship, he revealed that he had a highly contagious STD. Because of this, we never crossed the “friendship” line.

Recently, we’ve had more time to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company. We’ve already established that we like each other beyond friendship, but we haven’t discussed whether a physical relationship is possible.

I have questions, but I don’t know how to ask them.

Given the fact that he has been celibate since his diagnosis, I’m not sure he would know how to answer my questions.

I don’t think I can be in a love relationship without sex.

Do you know if couples can be happy without sex?

Given the sensitivity of your diagnosis, how would you begin the conversation about intimacy?

Right now, our friendship is parked in the “friend zone” because I don’t know what to do from here.

We need some courage to talk about this.

Your advice?

Friend zone

Dear local friend: You and your friend have already discussed his STD. He obviously felt comfortable enough to share this information with you prior to your friendship.

The whole issue has taken on more urgency now that you’re looking for safe ways to get out of the friend zone.

Talking honestly is the most intimate act adults can engage in. That’s why the prospect of having a deep, searching, honest conversation can be terrifying.

I think it’s possible to be in a happy and fulfilling relationship without having sex, but that’s not what you want. It is vital that you recognize the importance of your needs and wants, and communicate them honestly.

The way to have a difficult conversation is to commit to it and then do your best to communicate clearly.

I think it helps to set aside time and start by saying, “This is hard for me to talk about, so please bear with me.”

Aside from discussing the various possibilities of a relationship, if the two of you decide to move forward, you and he should get accurate medical information from a doctor.

I think you should also prepare for the possibility that your friend would prefer to keep your friendship exactly where it is.

Dear Amy, Thank you for standing up for children! The “J in NY” question made me very emotional. This was an uncle who took offense when his 3-year-old nephew refused to hug him, and the parents didn’t make the boy do it.

When children are taught that they have the right to say no to unwanted touching, it protects them later.

I’ve been there, he said no

Dear been there: I have received many answers to this question, they all agree that children have a right to autonomy over their own bodies and parents should protect that right.

You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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