DR. WALLACE: About a month ago, I met a lady at a holiday party at my job and asked her out on a date. We've both tested negative for COVID-19, so I felt safe being in each other's presence.
We've now gone out together for the past month, and I enjoy her company very much. However, yesterday, a really good, honorable friend of mine told me that he knows of this girl. He asked if I was going out with her, so I answered him that indeed I was dating her and had been doing so for a few weeks. He asked me if I had kissed her yet! I told him that was a personal question that I was not comfortable discussing, but he persisted in asking me and told me he was asking me this only for a really good reason. So, I finally relented and told him yes, she and I had shared a goodnight kiss on each of our last three dates, and that the kisses have gotten longer and more romantic with each date.
My friend let out an audible gasp, and he then told me that she is married! I was shocked to hear this. In fact, once I gathered myself, I told him he was wrong. My friend said that he had information from an extremely reliable source.
As soon as my friend left, I called her and asked her directly if it was true, and to my utter surprise, she said she was married and that she has a 2-year-old child also. I really like this girl, but I don't think I'm ready for this situation, since I just turned 18. I like her a lot, and there's a part of me that wants to keep dating her, but I also have this voice in the back of my mind telling me to run away from this situation immediately. Why would she agree to go out on a date with me when she's still married to someone else? - Shocked and Stunned, via email
SHOCKED AND STUNNED: I agree with that voice in the back of your mind. You were deceived and should end seeing her on principle alone. She's married, and she accepted your offer for a date despite that fact. You've made no mention of her husband or where he is, so my advice is to withdraw from this situation entirely.
Now that you have all the information, I have to agree with your initial reaction that you are not ready for this relationship. This young lady is married and has a child, and she needs to resolve her current relationship before starting another with anyone at all, especially you.
Furthermore, she owed you the truth when you first asked her out. If she wasn't willing to tell you the truth back then, what makes you think she would be truthful with you in the future? Remember, it was you who confronted her and found out the truth. She did not come forward to come clean with you.
DRAMA KING FRIEND
DR. WALLACE: I have a close friend who has constant drama in his life. I've suggested that he get therapy so he can deal with his problems with the counsel of a professional in this field. I won't go into the specific details here, other than to say he has a "truckload" full of issues.
And to top it off, this friend of mine is entirely unsupportive when I need him to listen to the occasional problem or challenge I encounter from time to time in my own life. I needed help with something somewhat minor last week, and he literally said: "We don't have time to address that now. My hair is on fire right now with my current issue, as you well know. We haven't come close to sorting out my problem yet!"
I would hate to walk away from a guy who has been a friend for a while, but his actions are getting harder and harder to deal with. He's truly a "drama king," and sadly, he seems to enjoy it that way. I often think he likes having a whirlwind of drama around his life to make his issues seem important and urgent.
My question is, when should a person stay around and continue to support a friend, and when should a person say, "Enough is enough" and finally walk away from the friendship? — At the End of my Rope, via email
END OF MY ROPE: A key is to establish ground rules for this friendship and to explain them clearly. Let your friend know in advance what you are willing to do and not willing to do in terms of your personal interactions with him. Let him know that you value his friendship and care about him but that he needs to pull his weight in the friendship, too.
A true friendship is a two-way street, not a one-way street. A relationship that focuses on the needs, desires and issues of each individual is a healthy friendship, whereas one that remains static and one-sided over a long period of time is often unhealthy, unless an urgent medical issue is driving the focus and attention of both individuals.
Having a friend who enjoys to be constantly in a state of crisis can cause you to take on unnecessary chaos in your life. I suggest you think long and hard about the reasons this individual is always so self-absorbed in his drama and how serious his problems truly are.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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