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Parallax - Advice

October 7, 2002

He likes family ties

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I have been seeing a girl for seven months. During this time, I have asked for pictures of us together or one of her to keep on my desk, but the answer is always no. I was told to inform my parents that they could not take pictures of us at a family outing. She called my best friend's wife a b*#ch even though she never met her and she won't participate in things that are important to me. My frustration continues to mount. She makes comments about me not being able to be alone (mind you, she isn't there—I'm just supposed to be alone.) She accuses me of spending too much time with family and friends. These are people who are important in my life, and the two of us have only been to two family get-togethers in seven months. Do you have to spend ninety-five percent of your time one-on-one with the person you love? I thought couples did things with other couples and family. Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Controlled,

Well the photo thing is rather strange, I must say. My first reaction is that she cannot be seen with you because she is married or with someone else, but perhaps that is just some kind of strangeness. The disconnect comes with her wanting ninety-five percent of your time, because she couldn't possibly balance two, and still give you ninety-five percent. If we remove the photo issue from the context, then basically she likes you, but not your friends or your family. And she does not want to spend time with them—plain and simple.

You've got to have a little discussion about you and your world, which might include things like your parents and a few friends. Then work it out from that starting point.

You'll need to meet her half-way, though. You should embrace her friends and family as well. Eventually a compromise must be struck, or the two of you will live on your own little island and drive each other batty. She will calm down a bit, eventually. People are usually more time-demanding in the beginning of relationships, when things are uncertain and they are still building comfort and security.

Third thought—how much do you really like this one?

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His view:

Dear Controlled,

Well, it all depends on whether you want to be a normal couple or a special 'different' couple.

Normal couples do family outings. They double date. They take pictures of each other and the two of them together. They stick them in frames and litter their houses with them.

Special 'different' couples live on the edge. They pretend they are secret agents for nefarious governments and thus forbid any kind of picture taking. They also want to minimize contact with other people, especially nosy families, lest their carefully concocted cover be blown. They, of course, have more important things to do than hang out and go to the movies and dinners and other inane everyday activities. Calling your friend's wife a b*#ch may have been taking it a little too far, but hey, spies are not like us.

If you were a normal couple I'd suggest you try to talk to her and find out what the hell makes her so goddamned special. But, given the circumstances, you may need to sequester her in a sterile interrogation room and apply the screws. See if you can wring a confession—or better yet, an explanation—from her.

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