DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and his ex-wife (currently divorcing) still have a lot of contact because they share two dogs that go between houses. Every time they talk/exchange dogs, it turns into a fight. He still has a lot of anger toward her, and despite how much he says that he is happier now, he can't seem to move past his own anger. I am starting to think that he enjoys all the fighting and drama. His goal seems to be to get back at her, not move on. I see a forever-future with him, but I don't know how to help him get over all the hostility.
DEAR WORRIED: Your boyfriend is divorcing (but not yet divorced). Because he still seems so anchored to his ex-wife, you should consider the possibility that it is too soon for him (and you) to be engaged in a serious relationship. This is not because it is morally "wrong" to date when you are not yet divorced, but because in this case, this not-yet-divorced man is still in an active relationship with his ex. He is still "biting the hook," in that he is triggered and perhaps also seeking conflict. His hostility is his responsibility, and he needs to want to relinquish it in order to find effective ways to release it. Compassionate professional counseling would help him. The two of them could also look for ways to ease the tension when exchanging custody of their animals (thank goodness they don't have children). One obvious idea is to enlist a patient mutual friend to agree to temporarily be the drop-off point for the animals, so that these two bickering humans never actually physically encounter one another (although people can still find other ways to do battle). If the dogs are together and seem to do well at each home, another idea is to make the custody period longer (say a month at each house) in order to simply cut down on the number of personal encounters these two humans have. You should take a careful look at this dynamic and ask yourself if it is actually good for you to be with someone who doesn't seem to have finished the emotional work of his marriage.
DEAR AMY: How should I personally deal with a boss whose disorganization and lack of will to get more organized is causing me stress and annoyance? My field of work requires a certain level of OCD when it comes to organization. This assignment is a short-term gig (two months), but I need to find a way to correct, get over, or accept the disorganization, in order to increase my quality of life and sanity on the job.
Annoyed by Chaos
DEAR ANNOYED: Unless you were hired expressly for the purpose of organizing your boss's life and business, then you will have to tolerate the current challenges you've been handed. In short, do your job to the best of your ability. Achieve the goal for which you were contracted. No, you don't need to correct your boss's disorganization. Your job does not exist to serve you, in order to "increase the quality of your life." Your stress and annoyance are of lesser consequence in this context. In order for you to feel better about this situation, you will have to remind yourself, each day, that you are not there to fix the world. You are there to do a specific job. It might help for you to approach this challenge as if it has landed in your life to teach you something. What can you learn from this? One thing is that you cannot always control your surroundings — or the way other people move through the world. Another lesson is that you might have to specifically choose assignments and workplaces where your organizational skills will be a valued asset, in order to decrease your own stress, and also to serve the organization. Work through your two months, do a top-quality job, achieve the goals for which you were contracted, and move on to the next gig.
DEAR AMY: Your philosophy (expressed to "Hair today, gone tomorrow") that female athletes should only be required to engage in the same personal hygiene as the male athletes — is grossly flawed. Under your theory, male athletes would be required to wear sports bras and tampons/napkins and female athletes would have to wear athletic supporters and cups. THAT would be "equality," right?
DEAR BILL: No, that would be idiocy.