Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend is a very athletic, CrossFit, off-road-biking, jock kind of guy. He also sometimes likes to wear ladies’ lingerie, which is completely fine with me.
The other day he was wearing a satiny bra under a T-shirt and a friend of ours happened to see the strap. The friend is kind of freaked out and has been pestering me about “what this means” and if it is some weird fetish I have. (It is not. It’s the boyfriend’s thing. And he does not otherwise wear women’s garments.)
I think it’s none of this friend’s business and I’m under no obligation to answer, but my non-answering has convinced the friend I am hiding something unseemly.
How to deal with this? It’s no big deal, but it’s irritating. Friend is not otherwise nosy or judgmental.
What Lies Beneath
An unambiguous “Drop it, because this isn’t even remotely your business” is all you need, as long as you have the proper enforcement of a zero-further-discussion policy.
Nice to know someone’s sustaining the satiny-skivvies industry. Most women I know are so thoroughly done with it.
Dear Carolyn: Do you know of any good books on fighting fair in a marriage? After a drag-out fight the other day, my husband said explicitly he cares more about “getting to the truth” than my feelings. This has shown up in our fights as a lot of contempt when I say something incorrect – as small as mixing up dates or names – and it is clearly not going to work for us long-term.
On the positive side, data and studies about how mutual respect and kindness are essential for healthy fights (even more so than being right?) might win him over. Thanks in advance.
Do some research on “nonviolent communication.” It’s a revelation. Also, John Gottman has done standard-setting work for years on marital communication, identifying productive versus non-.
I don’t know that you can fix, however, a person’s fundamental comfort with causing you pain just to get a pedantic win.
Dear Carolyn: I have several lovely adult daughters, ranging from their late teens to early 20s. I am concerned about the weight gain (30-plus pounds each) over the past year or two, but I am not sure how to approach them. I do not want them to feel body-shamed by anyone, never mind their dad.
But I worry about future health concerns. We have healthy meals whenever they visit, and I make an effort to have them join me in outside activities … but, in the end, these are their choices.
Should I express my concerns – once and only once? What are the right words? I would rather they be a bit upset with me than to have to deal with bigger issues in their mid-40s.
No one on our part of earth needs help noticing weight gain.
And it’s not either-or, that you either upset them or they deal with bigger issues. You will upset them or not, and they will deal with bigger issues or not, each process independent of the other. If a concerned talk could turn weight gain around, America would be thin.
Love them and lay off the health-coaching idea, no matter how tempting it gets.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.