DEAR HARRIETTE: I said something rude to my mother a couple of weeks ago, and I feel bad that I haven’t called her since.
She is elderly and has a poor memory. Part of me thinks if I call and act like everything is normal, she will be none the wiser.
Another part of me feels like I should apologize to her for saying something inappropriate that may have hurt her feelings.
I would feel bad, though, if I made her remember something she has totally forgotten. How should I proceed?
DEAR AVOIDING MOM: First of all, avoiding your mother for weeks after you messed up is immature and inappropriate. Especially since you may have hurt her feelings, you should have reached out the next day to apologize and move on.
Chances are, if your mother has severe memory loss, she may not recall the incident. You are right in not wanting to upset her by recalling the situation. Instead, call her now. You can let her know you are sorry that you haven’t spoken in a while. Ask her how she is doing. Find out how she feels and what’s on her mind. Listen to her and learn about her state of being.
Then call her again the next day and the next. Commit to not being rude to your mother in the future. If the issue of what you said ever comes up, apologize immediately and let her say whatever she wants about how she feels.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been making the same dumb mistakes in relationships since I was a young woman. Now I am in my 30s, and it’s getting old.
I just can’t seem to pick someone who will treat me right. It’s not for lack of trying, either. I have cast my net pretty wide, but somehow I always seem to end up with someone who doesn’t want what I want.
What can I do differently?
Want a Man
DEAR WANT A MAN: If you have been doing the same thing time and again, it’s time to do something different.
How can you figure out what to do? Start by making a written list of the character traits, goals and behaviors that you want in a partner. Be specific about everything, including fidelity, hygiene, family engagement, job or career path, credit score, home ownership, debt, desire for children and anything else that comes to mind.
Think about yourself, too. What are your interests? What makes you happy? What frustrates you?
What has worked in relationships in the past? What has not? What behaviors have been dealbreakers? What has made you smile? Again, be specific. Think of examples of moments that have made you feel good and those that have turned your stomach.
Decide what you want. Then fix your focus on meeting someone who matches many of your criteria. Don’t compromise even if you have to be alone for a while.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to ask[email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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