Friend of a friend is fair game

By Ellie Tesher, For The Calgary Herald

Q: My best friend introduced me to his friend; when we were all hanging out, his friend kissed me. My friend said he'd rather not have anything happen between us, so that it wouldn't be awkward for him -- based on a similar situation that happened to him.

However, I've developed feelings for his friend. I'd like to think that he's attracted to me too, but we both don't acknowledge that kiss.

My friend hinted that he knows I like his friend, but I don't want to say so, in case his friend is just a flirt. My friend's request is holding me back from pursuing anything, and I find it selfish that his friend and I may have to put our feelings aside. Yet I don't even know if his friend is interested!

-- Confused

A: Act naturally, despite your friend's request. Once he introduced you two, he has no hold over what happens between you.

However, one kiss is no signal to build huge expectations. Pursuing him openly could end up far more awkward for you than for your mutual friend.

You need to find out -- hopefully through him -- whether he's interested.

Next time you see the guy, tell him you've decided that the "request" was really a challenge: you're not about to let your friend control whom you get closer to. Leave it at that, and see if he takes up the challenge with you.

Q: My husband's father doesn't like me and blames me for my husband not seeing his divorced mother or his sister.

His father has even said he didn't consider me part of the family. The disagreement between us occurred because I didn't want to put in a garden at my house. He kept at me about it.

I said I didn't appreciate his telling us what we should do, especially in regard to having kids. He told my husband that I have an agenda to get him (hubby) all to myself.

My husband has repeatedly explained to him that I've encouraged him to see his mother and sister, and didn't influence his decision not to.

Recently, his father told my husband to get me to paint the garage door and get a screen for the front door.

My husband has frequently said he's overstepping boundaries; his father will apologize, then does it again. My husband said that he feels less stress the longer he goes without seeing or talking to his father.

-- Not Guilty

A: Your husband's solution to family problems appears to be to shut them out by stopping contact. This is certainly not a mature response, nor does it bode well for his other relationships. And it's a poor behaviour model for any children you may have.

He needs to talk to his father like the adult son he is, and insist that boundaries be observed, such as not criticizing how you live. Also, clear consequences need to be aired.

In this case, Dad is the third relative your hubby can't handle.

Of course, you're not to blame for this, but you can support a turnaround by saying you'd be happy to have his family in your life together, if he can learn how to deal with them. He may need counselling for this.

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© The Calgary Herald 2007