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DEAR HARRIETTE: I just reconnected with my high school sweetheart after 25 years. There’s still a spark there, and he keeps me laughing, which is refreshing. He wants to try dating again, but I find myself annoyed by how much he hangs out, gambles and complains about money. When I brought this to his attention, he said he’s just enjoying life; then told me he was short $100 for something. Am I overreacting to be extremely annoyed? — Annoyed
DEAR ANNOYED: It’s time to pump the breaks. Pause for a moment and reflect on why you broke up with your high school sweetheart in the first place. Though you were kids, what happened? Do your best to remember. You can also recall what you enjoyed about him back then.
Fast-forward to today. What do you like about spending time with him? And what annoys you? Make a list so that you can assess this relationship clearly. Most glaring is your boyfriend’s recklessness. That should be a red flag for you. He has shown his cards. Is this the type of person you want to entangle yourself with at this point in your life? Weigh the pros and cons. If you can keep it light and fun and uncommitted, it may be worth it. But beware: Most people can’t do that. Over time, bonds deepen. Are you ready to be involved with someone who is so irresponsible?
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve recently had some health issues that have prevented me from going to work for the past week. This isn’t the first time I’ve been out due to my health, but it has been the longest. When I spoke to our office administrator, she asked me if I was just saying I was sick to be off work; this really offended me, and it is not the first time they’ve done that. I have my doctor’s note, but I don’t appreciate my integrity being questioned after working over 10 years for this company. How should I address this with them? — Sick Leave
DEAR SICK LEAVE: Take a deep breath and calm yourself. Do your best not to take your office administrator’s comments personally. Instead, schedule a meeting to discuss your situation. Remind the administrator of your track record with the company, including how long you have worked there and any accomplishments you can highlight. Then share that recently you have experienced a few health concerns. Unfortunately, this means that you have missed a few days of work. Assure her that this is out of the norm, and you hope to be back and fully healthy soon. While you do not need to go into detail about your health, looping her in to your situation may help her to see you for the employee and person that you are — not as an annoyance. Personalizing your connection to the company may help her to remember you in the best possible way.