Dear Ms. Behaved: Jonna Ivin Answers It For You

Dear Ms. Behaved,

Every birthday and Christmas, my husband receives an expensive designer gift from his ex-girlfriend. They are impersonal (think an umbrella or wallet), but they arrive like clockwork. He does not reciprocate, and he insists she sends them for cultural reasons (she is Japanese) rather than romantic ones. The amount of money spent on these presents coupled with the effort it takes to ship them internationally gets to me. I feel like while he is done with the relationship, it might be her way of keeping a foot in the door. I don’t have a problem with him being in touch or being friends with her. She was an important part of his life for many years. Should I let it go, or insist that he explain to her that these gifts are appreciated but inappropriate?

– Addled Audrey

Dear Audrey,

The first thing that jumped out at me when I read your letter was, “the effort to ship them internationally.” Let’s look at this as a good thing! This woman is already no threat to you, and knowing she is in another country gives you even more security. I don’t think I buy the whole “cultural reasons” excuse for sending the gifts though. It sounds to me like she might be stuck in the past, which is sad and like you said, the gifts are her way of keeping her foot in the door. Some day she will realize that the door is closed tightly and that she is the only one feeling the pain. If you can muster it, try and have a little compassion for her. You got the man. She’s got only her memories (and apparently a great line of credit).

I don’t think there’s any reason to insist that your husband have an awkward conversation with her. The fact the he doesn’t reciprocate makes it pretty clear he’s moved on. If you really want to drive home the point that she is out of the picture, start sending her thank you cards for each gift signed by both of you. Make a special point to write her a personal note about how much your husband loved the gift and how happy you are that he has such a good friend.

-Jonna

Dear Ms. Behaved,

Help me! I am so in love with this guy but don’t know if he feels the same way about me. We are in the same social circle and spend a lot of time together. He always flirts with me, but he never asks me out. How do I get his attention?
– Jenn

Dear Jenn,

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you already have his attention. Unfortunately, it sounds like you are firmly planted in the friend category. If he wanted to ask you out, he would. Men aren’t that complicated. We women try to make men complicated so we can fool ourselves into thinking that deep down they have feelings for us. They just don’t know it yet, and so it’s our job to dig up those feelings for them. Um…no. Men pretty much know how they feel, just like we do. The flirting is just flirting, so take it with a grain of salt. Especially if you notice he’s one of those guys who flirts with everyone.

There are some women’s magazines out there that would tell you to find out what his interests are and connect with him on that level. Get an extra ticket to his favorite sporting event and ask if he wants to go. Take up skeet shooting  or golf lessons…blah blah blah. Sounds like a big fat waste of your valuable time to me.

But maybe I’m wrong. Just in case, I thought I’d get some outside help. I posed this question to my friend Blue, asking him what he would do if he had a female friend who suddenly started taking an interest in his hobbies. Would that change his feelings for her? His response was, “I think I would know she didn’t really care about fishing. I would just think she was looking to get laid. If she’s cool I might fuck her, but it wouldn’t change my feelings. I usually know when I first meet a woman if I’m into her romantically or not.”

Ouch! Doesn’t get much clearer than that. To be fair, Blue did add, “It’s not that my feelings would never change for a friend. I suppose it’s possible. It just hasn’t happened to me.”

My advice for you is don’t do anything to try to get his attention or change his mind. Just do your own thing. Go on dates with other guys. Put time and energy into your own hobbies and dreams. Live your life. Will you suddenly stop loving him? No, but at least you won’t be pining away. And should his feelings change one day, you’ll know it’s you he’s really into and not your new-found love of fishing.

-Jonna

###

Jonna will be helping you over the mid-week hump every Wednesday.  Send your questions about  love, relationships, life, and grabbing life by the balls to jonna@msbehaved.com. Find out what else she is up to here.

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Comments

  1. I agree, Jonna, pursuing your interests puts you in a position to meet people you have things in common with. Much better long-term solution.

  2. It’s never a good idea to change your interests or hobbies to get a guy’s attention. Trying out a hobby of a boyfriend or husband is one thing, but pretending to be into something you aren’t just to get a guy’s attention isn’t going to make him be into YOU, because you wouldn’t be you!

    Re: Addled Audrey, love the thank you note idea. Go for it, Audrey! Great advice, Jonna.

  3. shannonhumphreys says:

    Your answer to Addled Audrey was absolutely brilliant on all counts.

  4. Great answer to Addled Audrey… this ex-girlfriend obviously has not gotten the message; time for the wife to step in… let’s get that door closed!. Two things I would tell Audrey… one – I’ve asked a few of my male friends about this – a wallet IS personal; it is nothing like an umbrella or bookends, for example. Two… hubby is being a bit… disingenuous, shall we say? I’m not sure that I agree that hubby has moved on, at least not completely. Men have huge egos and I would bet my signed Sammy Sosa rookie card that hubby gets more than a little thrill that this woman from his past is still lavishing this attention on him. Expensive gifts? “Cultural reasons”? Please!

    Great advice to Jenn!

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