Ask Amy

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 10:05pm

DEAR AMY: For the past year, I have been in a "flirtationship" (so to speak) with a guy. We talk almost every day.

I really like him, and I'm pretty sure he likes me too. We're practically dating, but we've never made it official.

In two weeks he leaves for his trip to Europe, but he's staying with a girl! He assures me that they are not romantically involved, but I'm afraid that in a beautiful foreign country, he might lose sight of what we have here. Should I talk to him about this, or will he just think I'm being uncool? Please help! — Sleepless

DEAR SLEEPLESS: You could talk to him about this, but it would be "uncool" to do so.

You have a nice flirtationship going. It might lead somewhere in the future. But the cool thing would be to sit back a little and let him be the one to worry about what might happen in his absence.

You cannot do anything about his choices. You do not have the standing to make declarations about who he stays with or what he does while he's away. If you two talk each day, he will miss you. Let him.

Believe it or not, this trip could be good for your relationship. Absence really can make the heart grow fonder, even when the feet go wander.

DEAR AMY: A year ago, my boyfriend broke up with me, mostly because my mom comes to visit my sister and me several times a year and stays for long periods of time for each visit.

During her visits, I put doing things with them over going out and doing things with my boyfriend, and he got fed up. So he left.

At the beginning of the breakup, my mom was goading me by telling me that she always hated him, so I told her she was a big reason for the breakup!

My boyfriend and I worked out our issues and are back together. However, my mom and my sister still hate him. How can I get everyone to get along again?

— Lost

DEAR LOST: You need to be more in charge of your life. Discussing this with your mother invited her input and created more of a problem for you. You also need to learn to balance opposing parties, both of whom are trying to control you.

You could mediate this by limiting your availability for visits (if you want to); you could also let your mother know that when she visits she is welcome to step into your life — versus interrupt it. That includes folding in your boyfriend (and other friends) during these visits. Spending time with you and your boyfriend may acclimate her to accepting you as a couple.

Tell your guy that your family is your family. If he needs to suck it up and be a better sport, then tell him so. Regardless, both parties need to respect the other (even if they don't like one another).

If your mother has valid concerns about him, you should pay attention. But if your mother and sister are simply in a tug of war with him over you, then they're going to have to find a way to tolerate his presence in your life. And if they aren't able to do that, then you should let them know that they can stay home.

DEAR AMY: "Daughter" wrote to you about her fractured family. She did not want to associate with her father's third wife because the woman had cheated on the father and had a baby as a result of the affair. She said her father was staying in the marriage and helping to raise the child because "he takes his marriage vows very seriously."

Amy, I agreed with everything you said in your answer, except the first line, where you said, "he can't take his marriage vows all that seriously if he's on his third marriage." You don't know the circumstances.

— Faithful Reader

DEAR FAITHFUL: You are right. Other readers made the same comment. I apologize.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.

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