Adapted from a recent online discussion.
DEAR CAROLYN: So I am having a tummy tuck, the date is set and I am getting geared up and excited about the impending surgery. How do I deal with those who have a negative and/or rude response to my advising them of my upcoming procedure? I haven’t told that many folks, but I do want to advise folks about what is going on with me.
I understand that everyone has their own ideas, philosophies, etc., but to comment that I am being selfish and vain, it is a waste of money, what if you die, etc.? I feel that is rude and sometimes hurtful. I was raised to believe that if you have nothing nice to say, just don’t say it.
I have done my research, acknowledged the risks, etc. I just don’t want to hear any negative comments about what I do with my life or my body.
DEAR TUCKER: “I do want to advise folks,” and, “I just don’t want to hear any negative comments”?
That would be a nice combination, wouldn’t it. It’s an either-or deal, though, I’m afraid – you either keep the details to yourself and enjoy your freedom from negative opinions, or you share the details and invite the rude to opine.
In your place, I’d probably say only that I’m having surgery, and only to the people who need to know – “nothingseriousdon’tworry!” – and leave it at that. If you want to say more, then have a quick judgment-deflector handy, such as, “Thanks for your concern.”
DEAR CAROLYN: My boyfriend and I want to get engaged. He is 15 years older than me. We met when he was a professor at my college. He was never my professor though. We met on campus.
Because my parents were so strict when I was growing up (e.g., no sleepovers, no dating until I was 18, no hanging out with male friends) and are conservative and have made comments about relationships with big age gaps, I introduced him as a grad student about seven years older.
Now I want to come clean before we get married. Should I do it now? Or after we are engaged so they know we’re serious given their conservative beliefs? For what it is worth, we have been dating for seven years. I don’t feel good about lying, but wanted them to give him a chance and really get to know him.
DEAR CLEAN: So, the age of your date mattered more than your honesty? Interesting values there.
The bed’s made; when you choose to lie in it is not going to make a whole lot of difference.
Plus, you both want to get engaged, so by my calculations you already are engaged, since you’ve decided to marry each other. Plus, if my math is right, the range of your possible ages is 25/40 and 29/44, which means truly impressive age gaps look at yours and just roll their eyes.
Announce the engagement, tell the parents the truth and own the fallout as the consequence you rightly prefer to maintaining your lie. Good luck.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.