Carolyn Hax: She says it’s complicated, but his choice is pretty simple

I know I want to be with her. She admitted she likes me. The problem is that she is all freaked out about it and keeps saying it is comp...



I know I want to be with her. She admitted she likes me. The problem is that she is all freaked out about it and keeps saying it is complicated. I believe our friendship and her ex are getting in the way of her letting herself fall for me.

She wants to keep doing what we are doing for now and “figure it out later.” If I keep this up and things don’t work out, I am setting myself up to be hurt.

I am upset with the situation, but I enjoy our nights together and want them to continue. Should I just back off?

— Trying Not to Get Burned

Trying Not to Get Burned: When you say “hello” to someone, you set yourself up to get hurt. Being social, to any degree, means investing a little of yourself in hopes of getting a pleasant return. Some investments are just bigger and shakier than others.

This is just for the record. It doesn’t really affect your answer. Which is:

Imagine she’s the guy here, refusing to give you, his secret sex girl, a commitment. How many times do you think you’d have been warned by now you’re being used? Point this out to her. Not to insist she commit — you can’t make her, after all, and have no business trying, and who’d want a mate who’s there against her will anyway? (Okay — who of sound mind.)

Instead, say it to demonstrate that she’s making an unfair demand. If she’s going to set terms for your relationship that deny you something so important to you, she owes you a better explanation than, “It’s commmmmplicated.”

Or, if she can’t explain herself, she owes it to you to spend the night somewhere else.

Obviously, you can draw the line yourself for your own self-respect. Doing something that feels good now but you know will upset you tomorrow — i.e., trading your feelings for feels — is about as shaky as investments get.

Dear Carolyn: My mother-in-law smokes when she visits us, inside the house, despite our request that she not. Since our child was a newborn, she has smoked in the guest room when, I suppose, she thinks we are asleep.

The house reeks of smoke in the morning and I do not want my child around the smoke.

Last time it took months for the bedroom to air out. For the record, my husband did ask her not to smoke in the house four years ago but refuses to bring it up again.

Smoked Out: Like mother, like son, it seems, in the respect department — which is even harder than cigarette stench to get out of the drapes.

Three years ago, your husband should have reeducated his mom about house rules and secondhand smoke, and two years ago he should have started booking hotels. But since they carved his head out of the same piece of granite as his mom’s, and since for four years now you’ve essentially said you’d rather air out the guest room than force your husband’s hand, you have three far less appealing choices: Keep putting up with the smoke; force your husband’s hand anyway and tell him you’re going to remind your mother-in-law yourself; or install a smoke alarm in your guest room that’ll scream two blocks of neighbors awake. I won’t say which I prefer.

Hi, Carolyn: I’ve been dating this amazing guy for two months and I can tell he’s crazy for me, too. Things were wonderful until one night after drinking too much I made some comments about his appearance that hurt his feelings.

Last night we made up and, after much groveling on my part, he is still seeing me. He says he can’t easily forget my comments and that I broke his heart. He doesn’t believe me when I say I’m head over heels for him.

Carolyn, how can I ever make it up to him and make him see that I’m so crazy for him?

J.R.: You can’t. At a certain point, words stop having value, and in fact, too many of them can discredit your message completely. They’re kind of like drinks that way.

Groveling, meanwhile, only serves to deflate you while inflating the foot in your mouth.

So: “Wow, that was an awful thing to say, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.” Done. You’re either nuts about him or you aren’t. He can either see that for himself or he can’t. He’ll either get past your remarks or he won’t. Drop it and let it play out.

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Newsrust: Carolyn Hax: She says it’s complicated, but his choice is pretty simple
Carolyn Hax: She says it’s complicated, but his choice is pretty simple
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