Ask Amy: Back tattoo spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E
Dear Amy: Four months ago, I started dating a guy. We clicked really well.
We live three hours apart, so our relationship was mostly played out through texting and emails. We had so much fun getting to know each other, but I started to see little red flags: He’d get very angry if I didn’t text him frequently, he seemed possessive, and he was pressuring me to push the relationship along faster than I wanted.
Because of this, I broke up with him. At first, he did not take it well and said a few hurtful things. After a few weeks he asked if we could be friends and keep in touch via text.
Since I did enjoy the texting banter, I agreed but made it clear that we are just friends.
He has asked several times if I would forgive him and move to an intimate relationship with him. Again, I told him that I was not interested in that but hoped that we could stay friends.
Amy, he just sent me a picture of his new tattoo. The tattoo is my name (with hearts) on his back!
I vacillate between being furious and just shrugging it off.
I have two questions for you. Can you offer any insight on what would make a man do such a ridiculous thing? After breaking up with someone, it is even possible to remain friends, or must I just always make a clean break? — Don’t Ink My Name
Dear Don’t Ink: I find myself hoping that this is a photoshop prank of some kind. Regardless, a man would only do this sort of ridiculous thing in order to manipulate and control you.
In my opinion, you should be furious — and also “shrug it off.” What I mean is that you should not convey any particular strong emotion in response, but back away definitively from this person — disengaging from him via all channels — phone, email and social media.
No, you cannot be friends with this man. You should not have any contact with him at all, and if he continues to leap over boundaries in order to be in touch with you (showing up in person at your house or workplace), you should gather all the evidence and consider getting a restraining order.
I believe it is possible in some cases to transition into friendship when a romance doesn’t click, but it is only possible with rational, reasonable, emotionally healthy people. In short: NOT this guy.
Dear Amy: During the current pandemic, my wife and I have been hosting a family member in our home. This person, “Pam,” is a cousin in her late-20s. She is pretty easy to live with, and we don’t mind having her with us (two of our children, also in their 20s, are currently with us too).
Pam pitches in and has learned to cook, sharing many household duties with the rest of the us.
One thing bothers me. My wife and I are not pushy Christians, but we are churchgoers. We and our kids have been saying “grace” together every night for the entirety of their lives. We say a very simple blessing that is easy to learn and say.
Every night, we say the blessing together and Pam just sits there. It is as if she is refusing to do this one thing that the rest of us feel is an important ritual.
Am I asking too much to ask or expect her to say this blessing along with the rest of us? — Blessed Dad
Dear Blessed: Yes, asking or expecting “Pam” to say grace along with you is asking too much. She seems to be sitting quietly and respectfully while the rest of the family speaks the prayer aloud. Do not impose your faith practice onto her.
Dear Amy: “About to Explode!” was sick of being interrupted by their friend and housemate.
As a former interrupter, we don’t always realize we are doing this.
I, for one, used to get too excited about a subject and would inappropriately cut off someone so I could add to the conversation.
My friends asked if there was something they could do to help me correct this communication error. We decided to use visual cues.
When I would interrupt, my friends would hold up a hand like a “stop” sign, but in a nice way (not an annoyed way). After using this method for a bit, I curbed my jump-start on conversations. — No Longer Interrupting
Dear Interrupting: Communication — it works! Well done.