I have been in a relationship for going on two years now. Going into it I knew that my boyfriend was friends with his wife who he is separated from for over 10 years. He goes over there and visits, has had dinner on holidays, has taken a shower there when his bathroom was out of commission, used her car while his was in the shop. He takes and makes phone calls to her. He called her and confided in her about a surgery while I was wondering where he was and why I didn’t know about it. Later, he said he did not want to worry me. He states he has a studio at the house they used to live in together and they have insurance bills together. I have never met her. I have relationships with my ex’s but nothing like this--we have children together and it is strictly business. He passionately disagrees on ending his friendship—they have no children—with her saying he would not ask me to do that. I disagree with the whole thing. Am I being irrational in wanting his “friendship” with her to end?
—Struggling to the point of leaving
The Straight Perspective: It really doesn’t matter whether you’re being irrational, right? This isn’t just musing; it’s your real life. And if you can’t deal with the ex-wife, you need to get out of the situation—just as you would need to do in any other circumstance that drove you as crazy as this clearly does.
That said, if you can control your emotions or redirect your fears enough to stay, you should. I think it’s good that he’s so close to her, and that they have not bought into the poisonous idea that one should treat one’s ex with the rancor normally reserved for mass murderers.
I recently adopted a young dog from the City of Buffalo Animal shelter. He is very friendly, gets along well with my two cats. The problem is, I think he is either very dumb or very stubborn.
I take him out fanatically, and he still pees in the house. I have tried to teach him basic commands (sit, stay, lay down), with no luck. I have had dogs in the past, and even the little puppies caught on quicker than my current canine. Do you have any advice, or should I just give up and take him to obedience school?
—How Much Does that Doggy Do?
Ruthless says: It’s possible your dog is suffering from Previous Owner Syndrome. Was he formerly kept by a mentally unstable individual? An alcoholic? A chronic drug user? Someone with anger issues? Someone who hates humanity and uses animals as a substitute for a lasting, viable relationship with another actual person? I suspect so.
Sadly, time will only heal the wounds your dog has suffered. If he is stubborn, it may have been his coping mechanism, designed to deal with the irrationality of his previous owner. Your patience and understanding will go a long way—he will realize he is not constantly being challenged or manipulated, or used as a living, breathing prop in order to attract attention on the street. Then he will stop needing to challenge and manipulate you.
Or maybe he is just dumb. Either way, you’re gonna be cleaning up pee for a little while longer.
Dr. Strange says: There are lots of dog training videos on YouTube, including several by a burly guy who bills himself as “The Amazing Dog Training Man.” You might want to check these out. The one you’d probably care for the most is “Training Your Dog to Pee and Poop on Command.” Imagine the sense of power you’ll feel when you can look that pup in the eye and command it to immediately take a dump. I don’t have a dog so I don’t know if it works, but if it does, you might try it with friends and family, as well.
Just for fun, of course.
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