Q. Many years ago, I remember hearing that if you love someone, you should let the person know (because you never know when something can happen and you’ll never see the person again).
I’m wondering — are there exceptions to this? Let me describe the following scenario. I’d like to hear what you think.
A married man who has a good marriage to Lady A meets Lady B. Lady B is married, but the man doesn’t know what kind of marriage Lady B has. He has never met Lady B’s husband. The man falls in love with Lady B but has never told her that. The man wants to make sure his feelings for Lady B are real, and after knowing her for more than two years he realizes his feelings are genuine.
Should the man tell Lady B how he feels about her?
A. In your letter, the man — let’s call him you — doesn’t know “what kind of marriage ‘Lady B’ has.” In this particular situation you should not view marriage as an institution that lends itself to variety.
Even though we all know that no two marriages are alike, for the purposes of this discussion you should look upon marriage — your own, for instance — as an important, fragile, and delicate institution that needs to be appreciated and protected. A gentleman respects and protects not only his own marriage, but the marriages of people he cares about. Meaning: Don’t mess with someone else’s marriage.
However, you sound determined to declare your love. Keep in mind, your feelings may well be unrequited. Prepare yourself for that. But, most important, if you want to declare your love for Lady B, you’d better deal with your feelings about Lady A first.
Q. I am the father of a wonderful 22-year-old daughter. She is still living at home, working, and going to school. She has a boyfriend.
I’m worried about her weight. She has gained quite a bit over the past two years since meeting her boyfriend. She was always a slender child, but I would guess she is about 70 pounds overweight now. My wife has made comments to her about her clothes not fitting and has suggested she go to a gym. My wife told me not to say anything to her. What do you think?
A. You, your wife, and your daughter should face this together and take this weight gain seriously. Gaining 70 pounds over two years is extreme.
If she has always been slim and is now heavy, she may not understand how to modulate her eating. She could also be using birth control, which might cause some weight gain, or she might have a potentially serious underlying health condition.
Ask her to make an appointment with her health care provider for a thorough checkup.
Q. “Nice Guy” has an elderly neighbor who asks him to take out her garbage every day and never says “thank you.”
It is truly a shame that this action by an old lady would give him anxiety, but, that being said, may I suggest the following: It sounds like the old lady sits by the window waiting for the Nice Guy to come home. I suggest that when she sticks her head out the door and asks him to take her garbage out, his answer should be, “Only if you say ‘please,’ ” and see what she says. I believe he will get his “please” and will hear it in the future.
But even if she doesn’t comply, he should take the high road. It’s only garbage.