Hax: Relationship shouldn’t be a battle

The Washington PostJanuary 21, 2014 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn: I’m in a nearly four-year relationship that, while sometimes tumultuous, I am unlikely to leave. I’ve sacrificed a lot for this relationship, including moving into the exurbs — the ultimate sacrifice, to me!

Lately we’ve had some heated debate about changing my name when we get married (not engaged yet, but saving for a wedding). I’ve built my career on my name and want to keep it professionally, which he objects to, even though I’ve said I’ll change it legally and in every other sense except for work. How do I win this battle? I hate acrimony between us, but this one, I think, is just too important.

ANONYMOUS

What have you “sacrificed” that wasn’t “too important”? Besides where you live, that is. Your whole question is a red flag.

That’s because the way to “win this battle” in a healthy relationship is to say that it’s important to you and that changing your name legally is as much of a compromise as you’re willing to consider — at which point the person who loves you says, “Of course — all that really matters is that we’re together. And you don’t even have to change your name legally if that would upset you, though I appreciate your willingness to do that for me.” No battle, no winning, just two people working together to take care of themselves and each other.

Dear Carolyn: A friend and I were close but drifted apart. We still socialize together within group settings, but we haven’t spent time together one-on-one in probably three years.

She is getting married soon and I am not invited, though all of our mutual friends are. Recently, I ran into her by chance and I realized I missed being her friend. Now I am wondering if I should tell her that I miss her or if I should accept the non-invitation as her closing the book on our friendship.

RECOVERABLE FRIENDSHIP?

Just talk to her. “After I ran into you the other day, I realized I missed being your friend. Is what came between us anything I can repair?”

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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