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DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently dug up some pictures of the women that my fiance dated before me. I couldn’t help but notice that they look nothing like me. I’m a tall, full-figured Black woman, and every single girl he dated before me was petite and white. I’m now wondering how he could even be attracted to me if that was his type. Should I ask him about this? — Opposite Type
DEAR OPPOSITE TYPE: Digging up people’s past often leads you to uncomfortable places. First of all, stop allowing unnecessary insecurities to cloud the goodness of your relationship. Remind yourself of the reasons that you and your fiance got engaged in the first place. While there is some truth in the notion that people have a type, it doesn’t always play out. Personally, I can tell you that I learned that my husband of 28 years primarily dated white women before he met me. They didn’t look like me, have a similar background or share any commonalities with me. Yet, as a couple, we are long- haulers, so to speak. This can happen for you, too.
We did talk about it when I learned about his previous relationships. It turns out, like most people, he dated women he met along the way at school and through work. Chances are, this is true for your fiance, too. Feel free to ask him about his previous girlfriends. You can even ask why he chose you when you don’t seem to be his “type,” but don’t feel insecure about it. Just listen and learn.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend gets blackout drunk and doesn’t remember the rude things she says to me (and others) when she sobers up. She always apologizes and takes everything back, but I almost feel that the drunk words are how she really feels inside. Should I take those words seriously? — Drunk Words
DEAR DRUNK WORDS: You have to ask yourself if you want to hang out with someone who regularly gets blackout drunk. What is going on in her life that makes her get so out of control? Instead of accepting her apology, challenge her to get some help. Further, tell her that her comments about you and to you when she is drunk are offensive and consistent. Yes, if she keeps saying them, she does think them, even if she acts like she doesn’t when she comes out of her fog.
Sit with her when she’s sober, and review what she has been saying and doing over time. Be specific with her so that she understands the impact of her behavior on her reputation as well as her friendships. Make it clear that you do not want to hang out with her now. You have had enough of her hurting your feelings, and you don’t want to deal with it anymore. Point out that apologies work when they are backed up by better behavior in the future. In her case, her behavior has not changed. You will need to be crystal clear when you recount her actions to her. She will likely try to get you to stop talking. It can be extremely difficult to listen to stories of your own indiscretions. Make her listen so that she can fully understand how offensive her words have been and why you have had enough.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initia- tive to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriet- tecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)