Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dear Truth Teller,

I was walking by two women I know in the hall of our children's school. I just heard a snippet of their conversation, but I couldn't miss the fact that they were talking about a group in which they both belong, that I just happen to facilitate. One was saying to the other, "Are you going Friday?" The woman said, "I hope so, I haven't been there in months." Then the first woman said, "I don't know if I'm going to go, it's gotten so BIG."

My question: Do I just pretend I never heard this exchange? Keep in mind I don't believe in accidents and I feel it's more than a coincidence I "happened" to walk by at that very moment. OR, do I contact the one that's clearly got the beef, and address it with her straight up? AND, if she says, "Yes, I'm unhappy the group has gotten so big," what do I do about THAT?


Dear Conflicted,

Since you believe in "no accidents", I think it's pretty clear how you should handle this situation. Contact the woman who clearly has the beef, and ask her why she is bothered by the bigness of the group. If you believe what she says has validity, perhaps you could split the group into two sessions, or create some other combination of groups. If you don't think what she says has merit (or you just aren't able to accommodate her issues) just say, "I'm so sorry you feel that way--and if you choose not to come, I completely understand".

Let me know how it goes. Love, TT

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dear The Truth Teller,
I'm currently in a relationship, and have been for just about 9 months. At first we were just dating commitment. But over time things got more serious, and upon the new year we decided to make it official... I've never been in a healthier relationship! This girl treats me well, she understands me, she accepts me, and she is so unbelievably patient with some of my relationship hangups (mostly sexual). She has helped me discover things about myself and about what I want/need/deserve in a relationship, and through her I have discovered my feminine side, which has been in hiding for a loooong time. At the same time, she has grown healthier by dating me, and has also discovered things about relationships that she never a good way. Yet, my feelings toward her continue to fluctuate between "she's so wonderful," and "ugh..." Hard to explain, but sometimes we connect, and things are great...and just as often I am annoyed and wish to be alone.

I have never been in a more honest relationship in my life, platonic or otherwise...and I am truly blown away by how great this girl is. No one has ever accepted me like she does, and it is so refreshing; something that was missing in my former relationships. She consistently goes out of her way to do nice and thoughtful things for me; she is so giving and so generous...but something is missing for me. I know that this is not the girl I will end up with, I have even failed to tell my family about her her (including my favorite cousin who is ordinarily the FIRST person I tell about a new relationship). I don't feel like I'm embarrassed of her, but for some reason I keep her separate for the most part.

I try to just not think about the future as much, and try to just enjoy my time with her (i.e. live in the present)...but then I struggle and wonder if I'm using her in some way, as if to just keep her around until someone better comes along. I am clearly not consciously doing this to her, but I am so fearful that I'm doing something unethical or wrong... is it wrong to be with her if I'm positive that I'm not going to end up with her in the long run?


Dear Abby,

First and foremost, please let me apologize for my extended absence.

Now, on to important issues--your relationship anxieties. I assume you have heard the expression, "Methinks thou doest protest too much"? (Gotta love Shakespeare for cutting to the bone). Every time I hear a man or woman singing the praises of their mate (without a hint of sarcasm), I suspect they are having an affair. I used to think I was just being snide, or jealous--but my intuition has all too often been correct.

Your extolling of the virtues of this healthy relationship and how well you're being treated rings a bit of a false note. Just a slight one, but there nonetheless. The fact that you haven't told your family (especially your cousin!) is another clue to the possible truth.

Remember, the beginning of the relationship is the FUN part! The part where you just get to be smitten, and wowed and blown away. If you are already rationalizing, it's just not a good sign.

I truly believe in the value of being in the present, and in enjoying whomever you are with--but it is even more important to be honest with her about your feelings. If you tell her you feel something is "missing" even though you love spending time with her, and she accepts it, then you are not doing anything unethical. But if you are keeping it to yourself, then now's the time to fess up. A relationship between two adults--where each person knows where the other is coming from and accepts the terms, is a "true" one--even if it's complicated and messy. But when one partner is hiding their feelings, it's not fair to the one who is putting it all out there.

Listen to your gut, and listen carefully to her response when you open up. You may end up smitten--or alone--but it'll be your truth. I hope you'll keep me posted.
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