Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

Q. For the past year, I have been in a “flirtationship” with a guy. We talk almost every day.

I really like him, and I’m pretty sure he likes me too. We’re practically dating, but we’ve never made it official.

In two weeks he takes a trip to Europe, but he’s staying with a girl! He assures me they are not romantically involved, but I’m afraid that in a beautiful foreign country, he might lose sight of what we have here. Should I talk to him about this, or will he just think I’m being uncool? Please help!



A. You could talk to him about this, but it would be “uncool.”

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

You have a nice flirtationship going. It might lead somewhere in the future. But the cool thing would be to sit back and let him be the one to worry about what might happen in his absence.

You cannot do anything about his choices. You do not have the standing to make declarations about who he stays with or what he does while he’s away. If you two talk each day, he will miss you. Let him.

Believe it or not, this trip could be good for your relationship. Absence really can make the heart grow fonder, even when the feet go wander.

Q. A year ago, my boyfriend broke up with me, mostly because my mom comes to visit my sister and me several times a year and stays for long periods of time for each visit.


During her visits, I put doing things with them over doing things with my boyfriend, and he got fed up. So he left.

At the beginning of the breakup, my mom was goading me by telling me that she always hated him, so I told her she was a big reason for the breakup!

My boyfriend and I worked out our issues and are back together. However, my mom and my sister still hate him. How can I get everyone to get along again?


A. You need to be more in charge of your life. Discussing this with your mother invited her input and created more of a problem for you. Also learn to balance opposing parties, both of whom are trying to control you.

You could mediate this by limiting your availability for visits (if you want to); you could also let your mother know that when she visits she is welcome to step into your life — versus interrupt it. That includes folding in your boyfriend (and other friends) during these visits. Spending time with you and your boyfriend may acclimate her to accepting you as a couple.


Tell your guy that your family is your family. If he needs to be a better sport, then tell him so. Regardless, both parties need to respect the other.

If your mother has valid concerns, pay attention. But if your mother and sister are simply in a tug of war with him over you, then they’re going to have to find a way to tolerate his presence in your life. And if they aren’t able to do that, then you should let them know they can stay home.

Q. “Daughter” wrote to you about her fractured family. She did not want to associate with her father’s third wife because the woman had cheated and had a baby as a result. She said her father was staying in the marriage and helping to raise the child because “he takes his marriage vows very seriously.”

I agreed with everything you said, except the first line, where you said, “he can’t take his marriage vows all that seriously if he’s on his third marriage.” You don’t know the circumstances.

Faithful Reader

A. You are right. Others made the same comment. I apologize.

Send questions via e-mail to or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.