Sept. 21 2011 12:00 AM

That witch does not kill us & Can't twin 'em all


Q: I am 19 and have been dating a wonderful
24-year-old guy for about a month. Some of his family members wish he
were still with the fiancee he broke up with six months ago and aren’t
too happy about him seeing me. His 19-year-old half sister actually
contacted me on Facebook, told me to “watch my back,” and made some
mean assumptions about me. Next, his mother Facebooked me and said that
she’s also sorry her son’s with me and that I should watch what I say
to her daughter. (I just told her daughter that it wasn’t cool to judge
me, because she doesn’t know me.) I told my boyfriend, who immediately
called them, told them I’m in his life, and said a lot of nice things
about me. I’d really love for his family to like me, but they don’t
even want to meet me. How do I get them to? If they don’t like me after
that, fine. 


A: The wonderful thing about social networking is
how easy it’s become for people to get in touch with one other. As
you’ve discovered, this is also the really awful thing about it. That’s
why my boyfriend, who’s not exactly a people person, claims he’s
starting a nihilistic social network called “Quitter.” (Posts are zero
characters, and you’re asked not to join.)

Speaking of anti-social networking, that’s an interesting
family your boyfriend’s got there. In many families, there’s some Voice
of Maturity who steps in when a squabble gets out of hand. In your
boyfriend’s family, they apparently leave that to the parrot: “Hello!
Hello? CRAAAACKER!” Now, maybe his 19-year-old half sister was
plastered when she Facebooked you or typically seems one Ding Dong
short of a valu-pak, but probably the last thing you’d expect from
somebody’s mother is for her to come in and bat cleanup in the psycho
family division. 

As hard as it is to feel misrepresented, misunderstood,
and unheard, you’re unlikely to change that by clamoring for a part in
his family’s trashy reality show, “Don’t You Be Goin’ Near My Son!”
Beyond that, prematurely going through the steps of an already-serious
relationship, such as meeting somebody’s family, can lead you to decide
somebody’s right for you instead of looking to see whether he actually
is. Consider why you feel compelled to try to win these two nasties
over. Perhaps, like many women, you have a mental photo album of your
life upon meeting the man for you, perhaps with some sunkissed
snapshots of a Sunday family barbecue. Well, you may be in this guy’s
future, and there may be family barbecues, but there’s a good chance
his mom and half sister will be picturing you on the spit.

If you two start getting serious, make sure you can both
handle whatever relationship or lack of one you have with the Wicked
Witch of the Wherever and her buzzard daughter. Contact with them now
is sure to be very uncomfortable. But, who knows…you and his half
sister may end up sitting there on your wedding day, laughing at how
she came after you on Facebook — which should
give his mother just enough time to dump the laxatives into your drink.
The music starts: “Here comes the bride…” and wow…there goes the
bride…and at quite a clip!

Q: My last boyfriend lied and cheated so much that
I am wary of all guys now. My best friend keeps telling me that not all
guys are like him and that I just have to put myself back out there. 


A: You didn’t end up with a cheater because he
fell down your chimney, pulled a gun on you, and said, “Ho-ho-ho, let’s
date!” You chose the guy and then neglected to un-choose the guy when
there were indications of more than a few ho-ho-hos in his life. But,
like many people exiting a bad relationship, the last thing you seem
interested in is taking responsibility for sticking with a partner who
treated you like a gymnast in the Humiliation Olympics. In other words,
the answer isn’t just putting yourself back out there, but putting
yourself out there with what was missing the last time around: a little
discernment. As I wrote recently, boyfriends who are liars and cheaters
go for girlfriends who put up with lying and cheating. And if you’re
like a lot of women who’ve been romantically duped, you’ll say you want
a man who’s ethical if you’re asked, but you don’t make that an actual
requirement in men you date. Now would be an excellent time to start.
It beats being wary of all men because your last man cheated on you,
which is kind of like being wary of people in pants because the last
person who mugged you was wearing pants (as opposed to a stylish summer