Crossing Paths With An Ex…Wife Won’t Go Wireless…A Fat Fiancé

Q: My girlfriend and I broke up recently after two years together, but we’re still neighbors and still have similar routes on our morning commutes. Now I keep running into her at what used to be “our” Starbucks, which is a crappy way to start my day. She’s the one who decided she wanted to end things—so shouldn’t she have to change her routine?

A: Sure she should. But while her manners could be better, you shouldn’t use this little turf war as an excuse to stay mad (or, worse, as a sly way to continue laying eyes on her). Since you’re the one who’s suffering, the onus is on you to set things right, but if you confront her—if you force the issue into a full-fledged breakfast-blend brew-ha-ha—you’ll just be keeping yourself from moving on. So until you can see her without ruining your day, take the high road to one of the other nine Starbucks between your apartment and your office.

Q: My wife is one of those people who refuse to get a cell phone. Cell phones, to her and her ilk, are “annoying,” “invasive,” and “impersonal”—not to mention “carcinogenic”—and “people did fine without them,” blah blah blah. I can’t call to let her know I’m running late, can’t find her in crowded places or between work and home, can’t enjoy any of the other conveniences to which the rest of us droning wired masses have become accustomed. It’s a constant battle. Who should win?

A: People also “did fine,” your wife would surely agree, without cars and trains. Does she walk everywhere? But that’s a maddeningly reductive line of reasoning, and one that she’s unlikely to respond well to. The truth is, she’s within her rights not to use any gadget that offends her Luddite-ish sensibilities. There’s not much you can do: If she “happened” to get a cell phone as a present—even an AT&T Wireless model, which has that cool new song-I.D. feature that would bring any normal 21st-century person endless hours of amusement—she probably wouldn’t use it. So try to make the best of it. If the problem is really mostly a matter of little logistical here-I-am’s, set up a system where you know to check your home voice mail if one of you is going to be late. Which has an added bonus: The more she’s forced to hunt for a working New York City pay phone, the sooner she’ll come around on her own.

Q: My fiancé has gained an incredible amount of weight since we got engaged. I have spoken to him several times about losing it, which I’d love to see him do before our wedding day. I have offered to help him, suggested that he try a workout regimen, jogging, tennis, anything. He hasn’t tried a thing and continues to gain weight. Should I become more threatening?

A: If your fiancé’s stubborn insistence on transforming himself into someone unappealing to you seems like a panicked ploy to manipulate you into breaking it off, then break it off. If his weight gain stems from some unfortunate gene you couldn’t possibly tolerate that’s suddenly caught up with him, break it off. And if neither of these explanations applies, heed the immortal words of Adelaide in Guys and Dolls: “At Wanamaker’s and Saks and Klein’s / A lesson I’ve been taught / You can’t get alterations on a dress you haven’t bought / Marry the man today / Rather than sigh in sorrow / Marry the man today / And change his ways tomorrow.”

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