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Parallax - Advice            June 12, 2000

   Conversely can handle the big Talk-Show issues too!

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Sometimes we get questions that, well, might be better answered by the likes of Jenny Jones or her wondrous peers. But - our gifted SHE-HE duo doesn't shun even these challenges, and this week our third question deals with a sinister sisterly relationship. Before that, they consider the timing of an anxious man's next move on the woman he's been waiting for, and an anxious woman's concern that her man will turn out too much like his mother...

He's just like his momma!
Should she exit before history repeats itself, or is a fast retreat uncalled for?
 Date: 06/12/00

He's been waiting for her for more than a year.
Time to make his move, or does he play it cool?
 Date: 06/12/00

My sister stole my boyfriend!
Can rivalry twixt twins be purged before the damage gets really severe?
 Date: 06/12/00

More from last week...

He's just like his momma!

Dear Conversely,

Email to a Friend The man I've been going out with is for the most part a great guy. He has a few annoying ticks, or habits, but I've managed pretty well, I either ignore them or deal with them. But just recently I met his family, and especially his mother, and wow! I saw his ticks and habits magnified many times, and it wasn't pleasant. She's much more judgmental than him, and very dismissive also when she disagrees with something you say. And much moodier than him - she turns from happy to vindictive in twenty seconds. Anyway, I'm just worried that he'll become more like her as time passes, as he gets older. Do you think people do become more and more like their parents? I don't know if I could deal with it.

Her view:

Dear Tolerant,

It sounds to me like you should bail - but I'm not the one in love with him.

It is true that most people grow increasingly conscious of their partner's less-attractive qualities over time - it's just what happens when you know somebody too well. But if you're already pretty irritated, and you can see a worsening path, I'd say that's not the best setup for a happy relationship. You will expect things to grate more over time, and they will.

Once you can identify every annoying feature of a person, it becomes difficult to be around them a lot - and one strays to less irritating others. My colleague may tell you to 'suck it up, everyone can be annoying,' but I think it's a matter of degree. My vote is to bow out gracefully before you find him totally repulsive.

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His view:

Dear Tolerant,

I think that people do turn out much like their parents, but there are important nuances that you must consider before taking drastic action.

We all say we don't want to be like our parents, but when it turns out that way, we usually just shrug. It is less common to see a person vehemently exorcise an inherited personality trait... and it sounds like your boyfriend isn't too worried about changing his ticks and habits.

Still, that doesn't mean they'll get worse. Maybe he has inherited only a milder version of his mother's quirks. Unless you have seen a progression towards a more vicious manifestation of these traits, I wouldn't so easily assume that he will become as bad as her.

Also, keep in mind that aging may have certain effects on you. For example, if one of your parents is a little less tolerant than most of us, and if you have inherited that tendency... Well, it is possible that if you become more intolerant over time, you may still find that you can't 'deal with his ticks' - even if he doesn't get any worse.

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