New relationship flounders on sharing of offensive video

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: A casual friend sent me a video of a comic doing a very lewd and vulgar routine. I was offended by it and forwarded it to my girlfriend to find out what she thought about it. She got very upset and told me I was being disrespectful to her by even passing it on to her. I should add that we met online and have been talking on the phone with each other for only a month during this shelter-in-place time.

This incident nearly ended our new relationship. Was I wrong to send her the video? And what should I do now to save what I think is the most wonderful relationship I have ever had in my life? -- NO LAUGHING MATTER

DEAR NO LAUGHING: Before sending the video, you should have warned your new girlfriend that it was vulgar and asked if she wanted to see it, which would have given her the opportunity to refuse. What you should do now is apologize for having offended her and tell her how much you value your relationship with her. Then cross your fingers that she still feels the same.

DEAR ABBY: My wife had some health issues over the last four years and gained 40 pounds. She keeps saying she wants to lose the weight, but doesn't do anything about it. Her blood pressure is high, so she needs to do it. When I try to bring it up, she gets mad and always mentions the health issues. But those issues are now totally behind her. What can I do or say to get her going again? -- FULL OF CONCERN IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR FULL: Tell your wife you don't mean to come across as a nag, but you are worried because of her blood pressure issue. She is far from the only person who procrastinates when faced with changing one's lifestyle.

Many folks are overindulging now because of the challenge of social isolation. Something that might benefit you both would be to encourage her to get out and start walking with you on a regular basis. And drop the subject of weight for now. Take it up again once your lives begin to normalize and she may be less defensive.

DEAR ABBY: My college-age daughter, "Dahlia," refuses to take seriously the social distancing necessary to control the spread of COVID-19, even though her college, like many others, has closed. She says it's all overblown, even though her father and I are older and she has a pregnant sister at home.

Dahlia is young, and she thinks she's invincible. I think my daughter is selfish for not caring about anyone else. What can I say to her? -- FOLLOWING THE RULES IN WEST VIRGINIA

DEAR FOLLOWING: Many people still are having trouble accepting the fact that we are all at risk because of an invisible and silent "enemy," COVID-19. Because you are unable to get through to Dahlia, assert yourself as the adult in the household and establish some rules to protect yourself, your husband, your pregnant daughter and your unborn grandchild. First among them: Dahlia must follow the government guidelines regarding social distancing, handwashing, etc. or find another place to live.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I are middle-aged. We have been together for 2 1/2 years. I love him, and I'm grateful for such a wonderful man at this point in my life. My problem is, he calls me "Sweet Baby" every single time he addresses me. ("Sweet Baby, what do you need help with?" "Sweet Baby, I am on my way." "What did you say, Sweet Baby?") Even when it comes to trying to be affectionate, he'll say, "You're my sweet baby, aren't you?" He asks this over and over and over, and then says, "You're my sweet baby."

Abby, I could probably take it occasionally, but his continuous use of it now makes me cringe. I hate it! I have told him how much I'd prefer for him to use my name, but he won't. He continues with the "Sweet Baby" in texts, calls, in person -- constantly. I'm starting to wonder if he's doing it deliberately.

He, in turn, likes being called "Big Daddy," but I won't do it. He's not my daddy, and I don't care for pet names.

How can one little thing like that be so annoying, to the point that I'm beginning to avoid him and visit him less? It breaks my heart because we can have such a good time together, but he is ruining it. I'm trying not to end a wonderful relationship. I feel that by ignoring my request, he is being rude. Your advice? -- CRINGING IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CRINGING: Your boyfriend may be following a script he has written in his head. Has it occurred to you that "Sweet Baby" may be what he has called ALL the women in his life -- which would make it less a term of endearment than rote recitation?

After two years of this, you should have made clear to him that "Sweet Baby" is not only not having the desired effect, but it's making you cringe. While you are at it, tell him plainly that you have an aversion to pet names like "Big Daddy" because one daddy was enough for you, and you neither want nor need another one.

If you can't communicate what you really feel, then indeed this romance isn't going to last, so you might as well speak up.

DEAR ABBY: My 14-year-old son and I recently went to visit family a few hours away. We stayed at my mother's home. My mother overheard him talking to his male friend about engaging in sexual activity with him. He thought everyone was asleep when she overheard the conversation.

I never suspected that my son might be gay or bi. She told me in private the next day. Should I say something to him about what she heard? I don't want to embarrass him, and my mother doesn't want him knowing what she heard. Should I keep quiet? -- CAUGHT BY SURPRISE IN TEXAS

DEAR CAUGHT: Your mother may have misinterpreted what she heard. Your son is at an age when he is trying to figure out who he is. I don't think it would be constructive to talk to him about what she told you, so bide your time. Let him know you love him and are always available to listen and talk with him about anything that might concern him. But the topic of his sexual orientation should be raised by him, not you.