When Is It O.K. to Date a Friend’s Ex?

If you decide to see him, let your old friend know as soon as you have an inkling things may work out. It will be better for her to hear it from you. And if you decide to move forward — on which I pass no judgment — a note for next time: Don’t ask permission if you don’t care about receiving it. (Also, email me the second you get to quiet nights knitting cashmere socks and listening to Joni Mitchell, understood?)

Be a Child Tamer

I am the grandmother of a 2½-year-old. I take her to a park in Chicago where she loves to play. Lately, a 4-year-old boy charges at her every time we arrive, throwing his hands in the air and roaring. It frightens her, and she asks to go home. His nanny, who is not a native English speaker, seems indifferent; she just keeps chatting with the other nannies. How should I handle this?

SUSAN

Score one for the playground at Washington Square Park. That boy (and his minder) would be in shackles in 15 minutes. I’m not sure why you have written off the nanny simply because she is speaking another language with her associates. This is her job. Say: “Excuse me. Your boy is scaring my granddaughter. Please have him stop screaming and running at her. She’s just a toddler.”

The nanny may surprise you and handle this brilliantly. If she doesn’t, speak to the boy yourself. While remaining mindful that you are speaking with a child, say: “Stop it! You’re frightening her. And that’s mean.” Or escort the boy to his nanny and work out an agreement. What may seem like blowing off steam to them is playground bullying to you (and me). You’re an adult; shut it down.

It Pays to Talk

My husband and I are in our early 30s. We work hard, in tech and finance, and we’re saving to expand our family someday. Recently, we declined an event invitation from his relative because of its cost. Shortly after, we accepted another invitation from him, assuming it…

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