Hax: Your feelings, not others’, are vital

The Washington PostFebruary 27, 2014 

Carolyn: After a year-and-a-half relationship that many expected was going to be long-term, we broke up, and I was surprised to find that many of our friends were not surprised, claiming that they “supported our relationship” but thought we were too different, and they didn’t want to say anything while we were in the relationship.

Now, four months later, I’m in a wonderful relationship that has the potential of being very long-term. I understand it’s the “honeymoon” phase, but I know when I’ve found something really good.

Everyone thinks he is an amazing guy, but I don’t get any sort of enthusiastic reaction from friends and family, which I believe could be because of my past relationship. Is there anything I could say to these people that would help them understand that I would prefer they would be as happy and supportive as they were for my previous relationship?

THE REACTION FACTOR

Nope. It’s not worth it, nor is it your place. It’s possible they think it’s too soon after your breakup, it’s possible they think it’s another mistake, it’s possible this is what approval actually looks like (since, remember, the last approval you experienced was fake). None of this matters now.

What does matter is that you proceed with this relationship at a pace that reflects good judgment and incorporates your experience, recent and otherwise. If you and he progress to the point where friends and family (and you) can reasonably expect to know this guy well and you’re still getting a lukewarm reception, then ask one or two particularly trustworthy people what they think.

Otherwise, please stop scanning the crowd for reactions. Check out how many times you look outside your relationship for opinions: “that many expected”; “many of our friends were not surprised”; “Everyone thinks he is an amazing guy”; “I don’t get any sort of enthusiastic reaction”; “I would prefer they would be as happy and supportive.”

One could speculate (not I, pshhh) that you’re dating not to please yourself, but your audience, which all but assures a mismatch.

Forget what they think — how do you feel?

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

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