Waiting for That Elusive Apology

‘Socially Awkward’ or Just Plain Rude?

I have been dating an old friend of my brother for a few years. His mother was immediately welcoming, but his father made several remarks about my coming from “bad stock.” I ignored him, but when I raised the issue with my boyfriend, he told me his father is just socially awkward. Last year, we broke up for a while. Since reconciling, we’ve spent time together with my family, but none with his. When he sees his parents, he goes alone. Is it my job to make this better?

ANONYMOUS

Would you get a load of that? “Bad stock,” as if you were a decommissioned heifer from the county fair. Talk to your boyfriend again. Early in relationships, we may be inclined to cover for our parents, as your boyfriend did, to smooth things over. But his father’s comments weren’t “socially awkward.” They were superior and hurtful.

Say: “Honey, if we’re going to keep dating, don’t you think we should handle this weirdness with your father?” Your boyfriend can raise the issue with his mom and dad privately, and the next time you see them — with any luck — they will be warmer, and you may even get an apology from the old goat. (Note: Not all goats will apologize.) But if your beau is unwilling to stand up for you or is unresponsive to your beef, beware. Plenty of romances survive bad relationships among in-laws. But we have to know our mates have our backs.

My Own Dr. McDreamy

I’ve had a crush on my dermatologist for two years. And it’s not going away. When I visit his office, we just seem to connect. We talk about everything. His assistant often has to come in and pull him away. Last time, he complimented me on my “great hair” and “beautiful arms.” We’re both divorced and in our 50s. What should I do?

SCARLET, LOS ANGELES

Sadly for those of us crushing on our doctors, the American Medical Association prohibits them from dating patients. (And that’s a good thing: The unequal power dynamic makes true consent tricky.) But if you terminate your medical relationship with your doctor, all bets are off. (The A.M.A. still frowns on it, but it’s not forbidden.) Call him up, fire him and invite him to dinner. So, what’s it going to be, Scarlet: collagen or Dr. Feelgood?

Traveling Reservations

I am an avid traveler. Friends often say, “I’d love to come along on your next trip!” I would hesitate to travel with many of them: different budgets, different travel styles. But I don’t think…

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