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home : columns : dear harriette May 13, 2021

3/16/2021 8:00:00 AM
New boyfriend and ex have same name

DEAR HARRIETTE: I met a really nice guy a few weeks ago, and we've been getting along really well. We've been on a couple of dates, we text all the time and I'm starting to really like him. There's just one problem that I really cannot seem to get past: He has the same first name as my ex-boyfriend. Their name is kind of on the uncommon side, so this is a strange coincidence. I don't know how far things can really go with someone who inadvertently makes me think of my ex-boyfriend whenever I talk to him. I want to tell him what my issue is, but I don't know what to say or what he would even be able to do about it. How can I fix this problem? Am I overreacting? -- Same Names

DEAR SAME NAMES: If you truly like this new guy, tell him the truth. A lot of couples call each other by other names. Tell him you want to call him something different so that when you talk to him, it is he alone who comes to mind. If he has a nickname from his family, consider that. Or come up with a nickname together that you can call him. In time, the name thing may not matter, but in these early days, it may help to create a bridge to him and away from your ex.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My oldest son landed a great job in the same city that my parents, who are in their 70s, live in. They've been gracious enough to let him move in with them until he finds a place of his own. My concern is that my son is not being very cautious about their health. My parents are in the high-risk group for COVID and have not yet received the vaccine. My son is in his mid-20s, so I'm sure that he wants nothing more than to go out, have fun and meet new people, but I need him to take others into consideration as well. I'm scared my parents will be exposed or infected with the virus, and it will be my son's fault. I have no way to regulate what he does and where he goes. What should I do? -- High-Risk

DEAR HIGH-RISK: Talk to your son about his habits and comings and goings. Ask him directly about how often he socializes, if and when he wears a mask, and how cautious he is being around his grandparents. If your son is unwilling to delay his fun for the sake of his grandparents' health, you have a problem.

Speak to your parents. Find out from them how they feel about your son's behavior. Ask specific questions about what they are observing. Evaluate what they have said, and help them to make a decision. They may need to ask your son to leave if he is not being safe enough. If they cannot do it, step in yourself and let your son know that he has to move out immediately.

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