Dear Ellie: My close friend is experiencing a serious problem in her family. Her mother, who’s now 62, is a gentle soul who helped start an Out of the Cold program for the homeless, which is held in her local church.
But recently her mother, who’s divorced, met a man through online dating. He told my friend’s mother that she’s just “wasting her time,” feeding people who “don’t even try to get work,” and just “take advantage” of every chance to get something free.
My friend’s mother was devastated. She had started to like this new man, but his belief system is entirely opposite to her own. She’s also embarrassed about the fact that she had started dating him and told her friends early on that she was “excited” about the relationship.
As a result, her friends insisted on meeting him, and they were shocked to hear his very harsh views about people who’ve had difficulties finding employment, and lived in underserved communities, who he called “society’s hangers on.”
My friend’s mother told the man she could no longer see him because she disagreed completely with his views. She’s so embarrassed about the whole situation that she’s not getting back to her friends when they call or text. My friend’s worried that her mom is now depressed and wonders what she can do to help her. Your thoughts?
Clash of Views
Your friend’s mother has nothing to be ashamed of. The man’s views were not shared by her, and she’s no longer seeing him. Being so new to online dating, she hadn’t realized how very wide a gulf can exist between two people with very different perspectives on others’ lives and especially on others’ misfortunes.
Tell your friend to bolster her mother’s sense of self-worth, for all that she’s done to help less fortunate people in her community. Those values the mother supports are who she is at her core, and there’s no doubt that her friends and family are all aware of this.
Your friend could accompany her mother to a few of the church’s Out of the Cold programs to show support for the mother’s volunteer efforts. It could restore the mother’s self-worth and pride in what she’s achieved in her community: bringing people to a place with warm sleeping quarters and hot, nourishing meals.
As for dating online, the mother’s values are so important to her, she should steer clear of open-ended dating sites and be specific about the nature of the important volunteer work that she does.
Dear Ellie: I love my husband of 18 years, but we’re arguing more than usual. We both work from home in different fields, and sometimes spend the whole day not speaking to each other due to work or just being crabby!
My husband can argue his way out of anything, while I’m emotional and need my feelings acknowledged.
But when we’re both working, he ignores me and leaves the room if he hears me sniffling. He doesn’t ask, “What’s wrong?” He’ll say he has to finish something right away. That coldness infuriates me!
I’ve even stomped out of my small office across from his, crying and slamming doors, but he still won’t ask what upset me!
Being Driven Apart
You both need fresh air and a change in your environment. Two people stuck indoors in small offices without breaks might as well be working in closets.
There’s no relationship without connection. Set your clocks, take outdoor breaks, count your steps, and chat.
FEEDBACK regarding the reader who didn’t want to read anything but Lisi’s advice (March 6):
Reader – “This person sounds like the person who complained about the Super Bowl halftime shows (Rihanna, Shakira, J. Lo) due to their dress and motions. Everyone knows these entertainers and what their shows are like. There are two functions on every TV: 1) power; 2) channel changer.
“These columns are published in public forums. If this person doesn’t want to read them, turn the page or click next web page.
“I personally find Ellie and Lisi’s columns very entertaining and informative. I especially like to read the contribution of others. Sometimes I disagree, but sometimes I appreciate an alternate perspective I may not have thought of.
“Plus, for almost every question there are generally multiple people wanting to ask the same/similar question.
“My advice to ‘Partial,’ just turn the page. Please do not inhibit my enjoyment of this column.”
Ellie’s tip of the day
When your core values are argued against, you’re with the wrong person.