Carolyn Hax: Ex tries to have cake, keep cupcake

The Washington PostApril 16, 2014 

Carolyn: I met a man who was a year out of a decades-long marriage, and we became seriously, passionately involved, and discussed marriage.

After almost two years, he broke up with me rather than work on our problems, and immediately started dating others, settling in with one quickly.

Now, seven months later, he says he is still in love with me and wants to talk about getting back together. The problem is he won't break up with his current girlfriend or tell her he's talking to me. I feel it's unethical to talk behind her back. Is there a way forward for us?

GETTING BACK TOGETHER

Ethical shmethical. This guy is using his current girlfriend as a bedwarmer.

If he'll dehumanize one person to serve his own selfish desires, then he'll dehumanize you - if not in this exact way, then in some other way that serves his needs at the time. Tell him stringing people along is despicable and stop taking his calls.

Dear Carolyn: My sister told me that she thought my co-workers were Taiwanese and Korean based on X and Y behaviors. They were actually from Vietnam and Hong Kong, respectively. She told me my friend who did an Ironman race must have obsessive compulsive disorder because all people who participate in Ironmans do. And she just commented about a friend Matt who has a speech impediment. He doesn't. What can I say to let her know that her perceptions do not translate to universal truths?

ANNOYED SISTER

I realize your sister's labeling habit inevitably veers into one -ist or another, with side trips into "judgmental" and "cuckoo bird."

But seeing it as your responsibility to break her of this habit risks turning you into a milder version of her. Instead, stick to case-by-case responses to opinions you find problematic. "You do realize how bonkers that sounds, right?" Otherwise, play it straight: "If someone tagged my ethnicity based on X behavior, I'd find that offensive."

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

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