My husband and our kids live in a townhouse community with a mix of residents. For the most part, we all get along. But our immediate neighbors, an unmarried 30-something couple, seem to have many issues with folks, particularly us. Well, it’s really her with the issues, and frankly it all comes down to the fact that her other half is not that into her. From the time they moved in, he flirted with me and all the attractive females visiting me, from my niece to my sister to my kids’ baby sitter. She hates me and I think she’s envious.
My Christian upbringing prevents me from telling her to wake up. “He hasn’t put a ring on you in the three years you lived here, even though you said from the beginning it was going to happen any day. He’s just not that into you, so stop taking your frustrations out on me and my family.”
Any advice on how to get this woman to stop hating us because she hates her own life so much? UNNOSY NEIGHBOR
Dear UNNOSY NEIGHBOR,
Kill her with kindness. Flatter her shamelessly. Make her a friend. The next time you see her, compliment her on her clothes, her shoes, her hair. Anything. Then you might start mentioning how tired you are, how much the kids wear you down. Make yourself appear vulnerable and she’ll have less reason to resent you.
Invite her over for coffee. Once you get her in your house, ask her about her life and mention some of the downsides of marriage and kids. Get her to open up. She’ll begin to see you as a real person, not just an object of envy. The two of you might become friends. Or at least not enemies.
How do you know if a man is truthful when he claims he loves you? INQUIRING MIND
Dear INQUIRING MIND,
It’s not really that difficult. Look at the totality of his actions. How does he treat you when you’re vertical? How does he behave day in and day out, not just when he wants something? Is he word gold? Does he do what he says he’s going to do? Is he where he says he’ll be? Does he treat you with respect?
How does he treat your family and friends? Is he proud of you and your accomplishments? Does he share your little triumphs? Does he want you to share his life? I could go on and on, but you get the picture. If you can answer yes to these questions, it sounds like love to me.
I’m involved with a man whom I love very much. But I don’t know if I should marry him and risk losing our very special friendship. All the married couples I know argue and fight all the time. I don’t want that. PACIFIST
You can date a guy for years and never deal with anything more important than what movie to see and where to go for dinner. Married couples argue and fight because they’re dealing with real stuff — money, kids, health, family. In a good marriage — and there are plenty — arguments and fights are inevitable, but they’re not deal-breakers. A strong marriage survives them. You don’t need to be afraid of fights. Get some books on how to fight fairly and read them with your guy and get on with it.
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