OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS 

OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS

Listen: One of my old fraternity brothers is dating this girl named Katarina. When they met, all of his friends immediately hated her. We were pretty vocal near the beginning, but we stopped saying anything about it after he started talking about marrying her and everything. Right now he’s in med school in Florida and this girl works here, where all the rest of us live. We try not to see her if we can help it, but every three months or so he comes in town to visit her and we’ll all get together. I don’t think she’s ever gone to visit him. A few nights ago, another friend of mine pulled me aside one night at a bar and asked if I had heard anything about Katarina being with this guy Paul, who we also know from school. After I heard that, I remembered I had seen them at Memphis in May together and Paul was sort of leading her through the crowd. I didn’t think anything about it then ... but now I’m wondering if they’re together. And what should I tell my boy? He didn’t go to school in California because Florida was closer and we told him she was holding him back. I just think he’d be so much better off without her. Signed, Time to Tattle Tell? Okay: Tell, you might be right. Your frat brother might be better off without Katarina. She might be holding him back. And she might be cheating on him. But, no matter how much you care about him and his future, you aren’t him. And you can’t go around making careless decisions for him. It’s good you came to me. I think everyone has the right to know if their current is cheating on them. It’s a hard conversation to have with a friend, and sometimes it gets you into trouble, but in the end, it’s not fair if they don’t know. Keep reading, though, because I don’t want you stopping now and speed dialing up your boy to blab. From the number of times I’ve been part of that particular conversation -- on either side, mind you -- I can tell you that there are probably a number of questions your frat brother will be asking: One ... What? Two ... Are you sure? Three ... How do you know? Four ... How long have your known? And five ... Are you sure? Question one is more shock than anything else, but question two through five, especially five, are very important (three can actually get the messenger in trouble if they’ve waited years and years to disclose what they know, but we won’t get into that here). And from what I can tell, you don’t have the answers. It’s like buying a copy of last year’s biology 101 test; you might have all the information you’ll need in the palm of your hand. Or you might just have a useless piece of paper. What I’m saying is that you don’t know if anything is really going on. You saw a guy help a girl through the crowd at Memphis in May. Heck, I love it if total strangers help me through crowds like that one last year. It’s not like you saw them having sex behind one of the stages. If you go to your friend now with the info, he’ll run through one through five, you’ll give it your best shot, and he’ll probably bring up the fact that you never liked Katarina and how sad it is that after all this time you would try to break them up. I’m just guessing that’s what he’ll say, of course. So for now, keep your concerns to yourself but your ear to the ground. If she is sleeping around, you’ll probably hear more about it. Heck, you could even ask Paul about it -- not “Are you sleeping with Katarina?” but “Are you seeing anyone? I know someone who’d be perfect for you?” -- and try to find out that way. Then, when you can answer question five with a definitive “yes” or at least an “I’m pretty sure,” and only then, is it time to tell. Listen: My boyfriend thinks I’m trying to steal his mojo and I need your advice. Rufus and I have been dating for a year and half and lately he keeps accusing me of trying to control him. Honestly I have no desire to “control” him -- though it’d be nice if he’d occasionally wash my car, change a light bulb, or something. Anyway, every time I ask him to attend an event with me he says, “You can’t control me,” or something similar to that. The other day he actually told some of my friends (with me present) that I wanted to cut off his balls -- then he turned to me and said, “You can’t have them, the balls are mine!” I don’t think I have to say this, but I will anyway: I do not want his balls, nor do I want to cut them off. I think they’re fine right where they are. I’m at my wits end. I love him and I want to be with him, but the constant accusations are driving me crazy. How can I let him know that I love him -- stubborn, independent, wonderful him -- just the way he is? Signed, Don’t want his balls Okay: Is he crazy? I mean, really, does he need some sort of lithium cocktail? Oh, how silly of me, I’m forgetting. He’s a guy. Guys are crazy, especially when they get into one of these relationships that’s fastly on its way to being LONG TERM and they’re not comfortable with it yet. Now there are a couple of ways for going about fixing this. One is to make sure your question marks are so loud they can be seen. As in, “????Honey, do you think you could possibly make some time to go to this event with me????” Make sure he sees it’s really all about choice. His choice. Of course, he’ll probably still say no, but at least he won’t say that you want to cut off his balls. I think, though, that what you want is for him to do these things and not say that you’re trying to control him. This is a trickier proposition. He needs to understand that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to, because the person you’re with does want to do them. Now personally for this, I like the idea of turning the whole thing around on him. Such as: Him: “Do you want to go get breakfast?” You: “You can’t control me, mister. I’ll eat breakfast when I want and where I want.” or Him: “Let’s watch Nascar on television. It’ll be three hours of mind-numbing boredom.” You: “There you go, trying to rob me of my breasts again. Why can’t you just leave me be?” Unfortunately, if he doesn’t catch on, this might make your relationship a little contentious. So, this is what I would suggest, the ol’ it-would-be-really-sexy line. As in, “It would be really sexy if you would change the oil in my car.” Or, “it would be really manly if you would just put on a tux and take me to this charity event.” This way you can show him that he’s a stud (is there anything sexier than a man changing your oil, really?) and that there are things you’d really like him to do. And if that doesn’t work, I’d try lithium. (Gotta problem? Wanna make it my business? Write cashiola@memphisflyer.com.)

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