Old Story: Same Song, Second Verse
Dear Margo: One of my best friends is dating this complete jerk. He is manipulative, condescending, emotionally abusive, and let’s not skip over the time he told me to bleep-off, unprovoked and without an apology afterward. I feel like my friend is brainwashed. She used to be so confident, and now she has changed the way she acts and even eats! He’s told her she’s gained weight, guilted her about cheeseburgers and scolded her for her spending habits.
We’re in our early 20s, so naturally, we like to hit up the bars every now and then and get a little tipsy. We’re young! It’s allowed. If she gets drunk with her girlfriends, he gets mad. Then he says, “It’s not that I don’t trust you; it’s that I don’t trust other people. I don’t want anyone taking advantage of you.” Then she tells me, “I understand why he’s upset.”
Am I nuts, or does this sound like the precursor to “I understand why he beats me”? When I first met him, I did not get good vibes, and every time I’ve gotten bad vibes from someone, I’ve been right. (Call it a gift.) What can I do to help her realize this guy is bad for her? She knows he is a jerk. She’s even said it. But then she says she “loves him” and wants to marry him. She deserves much better. — Worried Best Friend
Dear Wor: Your friend sounds desperate and masochistic in the bargain. The only thing I can say for this chap is that his unhappiness with his girlfriend getting smashed is understandable. (Some people find drunks loathsome, and I am one of them.) The rest of it doesn’t sound good — especially her making excuses for him and subjecting herself to his remodeling program. From what you report, he is a controlling hothead, but as is usually the case, your friend will have to arrive at that realization herself. Stop trying to change her mind — because you can’t. These situations are do-it-yourself projects. And I suspect your record for being right about bad vibes will remain unblemished. — Margo, historically
People Tend To Do What They Want To Do
Dear Margo: My son was married four years ago and was fortunate enough to have a beautiful wedding. They received many lovely gifts. Well, now he is marrying again, this time to a gal who has never been married before. My question is: How do I handle the gift situation with my friends who already gave him gifts the first time around? Do I handwrite on the invitations that go to my friends “no gifts please”? — Wanting To Be Correct
Dear Want: You are nice to try to spare your friends a second trip to Crate and Barrel, but I am never in favor of gift instructions on wedding invitations, unless they are to contribute to a charity of the couple’s choosing (which is happening more and more with the previously married). And I will tell you something else. Some of your friends will want to send a little something in honor of your son’s new marriage. (And the ones who feel once is enough will act accordingly.)
I still remember with fondness three couples of my parents’ friends who sent me wedding gifts three times! The Humphreys, the Heinemans and the Levys. How sweet is that? And because my wonderful No. 4 and I did it very quietly, there was no chance to break what is surely a world’s record. — Margo, graciously
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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