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Help! My boyfriend puts me last, after his ex-wife and children!
Dear Armchair Psychologist, I have been dating a wonderful man for two years. From the very start, it was bit overwhelming given he was recently divorced and shared his young children with his ex-wife. I have been welcoming and warm to the children (I have no children) and the ex-wife, who seems nice and gregarious. Progressively, he is spending less time with me and even sleeps over at his ex's (in the basement). We've tried counseling, but he stopped going and all communication efforts on my part have been in vain. I'm very unhappy at this point and he's made it clear our relationship is not a priority. Should I leave him? Is it cruel to break up right before the holidays?- Frustrated Stepmother
Dear Frustrated Stepmother
I am sorry to hear you're unhappy. It is common for a single person entering into a family unit to feel displaced and it is often the burden of the significant other to help ease this transition by making you feel valued and equal as a partner. As a couple, it can be tricky to navigate these dynamics. What concerns me is your boyfriend's unwillingness to communicate and listen to your feelings, which undermines your relationship. The pressing question is: Why are you still holding onto him? Is it because you have invested so much time, effort, and love? There's a term in economics called "sunk cost" which refers to a sum that can no longer be recovered. A sunk cost should not be considered when making the decision to continue investing in an ongoing project since you can't redeem the cost. In other words, it's time to walk away from your investment in your boyfriend.
- The Armchair Psychologist
Help! My Customer Stinks!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,I work in apartment leasing and we are in close proximity to our valued residents/customers. We have one customer who loves to come to the office to talk with us almost everyday. Perhaps he is lonely and I am sympathetic. He is a really nice man but comes off as a little bit creepy and he has poor hygiene. When he comes to talk it tends to take about a half hour of our time. The biggest problem is our office will smell for up to an hour after he's gone. I don't have the heart to mention this but as a professional, I really don't know how to deal with this. Once he stopped in and I told him I was busy, but I think it hurt his feelings and I felt terrible. What do I do?-Too Close For Comfort
Dear Too Close For Comfort
It is unfortunate that you're workplace can be such a reeker! Your hunch that this customer is lonely is probably correct and it's very compassionate of you to spend time speaking with him and acknowledging him. It shouldn't, however, come at the expense of your precious work. For Problem #1: The Stink — I recommend leaving an anonymous note underneath his doorstep saying "I've met you and you're a wonderful person. Everyone loves chatting with you. Some days you have a bit of an odor that should be addressed. Either way, I wanted you to know this since you're otherwise a very delightful man. Signed, Anonymous" This will absolve any awkwardness on your part. (Also, keep in mind, he may have a medical problem, like a rare metabolic disorder or a condition along those lines, which he may address once it's brought to his attention). Problem #2: Your Time — politely suggest to him which hours are best for office visits and tell him he's welcome to stop in for a brief chat during those times. Hopefully, he, and his odor, won't linger!
- The Armchair Psychologist
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WRITTEN BYUbah Bulale