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Dear John: My Best Friend’s Visiting and My Boyfriend Can’t Wait

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


What’s your problem? Write to John at [email protected].

Dear John,

I have my best friend coming to stay with me from California in a month and I should be looking forward it (and I am) but I am dreading it too. Why? Because my boyfriend is probably looking forward to it even more than I am! Ever since he first saw her picture and asked me, “Who’s THAT??” he’s been jokingly obsessed with her – asking me how she’s doing, what she’s been up to, and so forth. Like I said, he’s joking – he’s really a great guy – but now that she’s planning a visit, that gets brought up probably every time we talk or spend time together. And it doesn’t help that she’s the kind of girl that every guy falls instantly in love with – drop dead gorgeous, funny, smart, nice, everything – and I’m ok, but I know I’m not in her league. And now the closer we get to the time when she’ll be here and the more my boyfriend wants to talk about fun things we’ll all do while she’s here, the more insecure I’m getting and the less funny the comments get. I’m not going to, but I’ve actually thought about making up an excuse to cancel the whole thing. I’m not going to, like I said, but I bring it up only to explain how much anxiety this is causing me. She’s my best friend – help!


Third Wheel

Dear Third Wheel,

Your problem isn’t your perfect friend, it’s your passive aggressive jerk of a boyfriend. Or maybe he’s not passive aggressive. Maybe he’s just completely oblivious. I can’t really tell. Either way, though, it’s a shame that he is ruining a trip that you should be eagerly anticipating – and it’s still a month away!

I find it hard to believe he is completely unaware of the fact that he’s stoking your insecurities where your friend is concerned. The next time he brings up all the fun the three of you will have – and from the sound of things, that will be within the hour – let him know he may think he’s being funny (passive aggressive people often attempt to disguise their hurtful words as jokes), but there’s really nothing all that hilarious in being made to feel like your boyfriend can’t wait to hang out with your beautiful friend. And since spending most of her visit feeling hurt and/or humiliated wasn’t really what you had in mind, it would probably be best if he found something else to occupy his time while she’s here visiting you. If he pouts about that, claims you’re over-reacting, can’t take a joke, etc., you should at least think about whether he should find something else to occupy his time permanently.


Dear John,

I’m a single guy in his late 30s. My entire adult life I have had a hard time finding women that I was all that interested in. To be completely blunt, a lot of people, men and women, bore me.

When I was in college (quite a while ago now), I learned after graduation that a woman in our circle of friends had been very interested in me without my knowledge. She was kind of on the periphery of my social circle and I guess I just never gave her much thought.

So here we are today and our paths have crossed again – we’re both involved in the same community organization. I hadn’t seen her since our college days, but we recognized each other immediately, and we had a nice getting-reacquainted conversation. I will certainly continue to see her through the meetings of this organization.

All I know about her personal life is that she is married. I have no idea if she’s happily married, if she has a family or what. But I do find her intelligent, attractive and interesting. And she obviously likes me as well, although, it could be due to our shared past and nothing more. So my question is, should I ask her out for a coffee or something so we can really catch up? Because I would like to ask her out for real if she’s not happily married. As I re-read this letter, I know the whole thing sounds kind of rash, I guess, but it’s really not. I’m simply thinking of how infrequently I meet women I’m interested in and I don’t want to miss an opportunity just because she’s married if there’s even a chance her marriage isn’t making her happy.


When You Least Expect It

Dear When You Least Expect It,

You have a hard time meeting girls you’re attracted to. I get it. But this one’s married, so she’s not available. That’s kind of what being married means – one of the things, anyway. Find someone else. Even if her marriage is faltering, all that means is she is in the middle of something that needs her undivided attention to either fix it or end it. If she thought it might be a good idea to date you because, heck, her marriage is falling apart anyway, that’s a bad sign right there. Try not to allow your loneliness to undermine your ability to see clearly. This is a bad idea. Forget it.

Note: A couple of weeks ago, we featured a letter from a woman wondering if it’s wise for a social drinker (her) to be in a serious relationship with a man who is a recovering alcoholic. I encouraged readers who have been in these kinds of relationships to share their perspectives, and I received the following letter in response.


Dear John,

Since you asked, I wanted to respond with my experience regarding this matter. I am a recovering alcoholic and celebrated my 29th year of sobriety earlier this month. My decision to stop drinking is the best decision I've made, but I could not have done it without the support of 12-step programs and my friends like the person who wrote the letter.

In early sobriety, the time period the writer mentions, when I would go out to dinner or socialize with friends, many times that friend wouldn't drink or would ask me if it would be OK if they did. If I had any thoughts about their having a drink, it was more along the lines of why they didn't finish the drink if the glass wasn't empty. To me, that was a concept I couldn't fathom!

If my friends wanted to know about what I was like when I was drinking, I would tell them. With time, my decision to not drink was something that I didn't want to impose on others. The only time I would ask them not to drink was if I was going through a rough time. Most times, however, I would not have to ask – they knew and would not drink. When I celebrated my 20th anniversary of sobriety, I invited my friends to come to Providence and hear me speak and tell my story. It was a moving experience for me and those who had never heard me talk about my past.

In my early sobriety, I did have a brief period of trying to change everyone who drank. With wise advice from my sponsor and friends, I was reminded it's none of my business, my focus should be on me, and if someone asked questions or talked about their drinking, only then should I talk to them about it. That lesson has stayed with me.

I'm not sure of the age of the writer and the guy in question. In my early 20s, my life revolved around bars and parties for socializing, so alcohol was very prevalent. I was 28 when I stopped drinking. Many of the people I socialize with now are social drinkers. If they want to have a drink at dinner or a party, they do. If I'm dating and plan on being intimate, I ask if they could brush their teeth first as I don't want to be exposed to the taste of alcohol. Whether the relationship succeeds or not often depends on issues other than drinking.

I commend the writer for asking some tough questions, and I think the advice given was spot on. I might suggest that the writer attend some Al-Anon meetings and talk to people who are in similar situations. I think that would be helpful and will give the writer people to talk to as the relationship grows and changes, should it continue.


Been There And Still There

Dear Been There And Still There,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your point of view. I forwarded your response to the woman who wrote the original letter, and I’m sure she will appreciate hearing from someone who has first-hand experience with the issues she raised.

John is a middle-aged family man from Providence. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at [email protected].


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St. Pat’s 5K: Rhode Island State House, Smith Street, Providence, RI, 02908

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St. Patrick’s Day Parade: 43 Broadway, Newport, RI, 02840

St. Patrick’s Day Family Celebration: The “Hut,” Golden Hill Street, Newport, RI, 02840 (Behind Newport Public Library)

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Faneuil Hall is not the only place to enjoy some traditional Irish cuisine, RiRa is a popular Irish pub in Providence that serves some great Irish food including a Guinness stew and house brined corn beef. Make sure to check their website for events, they often feature trivia nights and live music. For more information, visit RiRa online.

RiRa: 50 Exchange Terrace, Providence, RI, 02903 


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