DEAR AMY: What should I do if my significant other isn’t supportive of surgical/cosmetic changes that I want to make to my body? I’ve flat-out asked him how he would feel if I got lip injections (just to test the waters). I want other, more extreme procedures as well. He told me that if I had something like that done, he would leave me. I’ve been in a relationship with him for four years, so it kind of hurts my feelings that he would drop all that just because I wanted to make a change to my body so that I won’t feel as insecure in it. He says it would make him feel that I’m not who he thought I was and that it’s vain to do these things. Do you think his feelings are justified?
Curious about Collagen
DEAR CURIOUS: I’m not sure why you are asking me about your boyfriend’s feelings. He has given you his honest opinion, and he (and I) shouldn’t have to justify his feelings.
The downside of your choice to “test the waters” in this way is that you don’t seem to have prepared yourself for the answer.
It is your body. You shouldn’t feel compelled to discuss your choice with anyone in advance.
I’m not a fan of cosmetic procedures (certainly “extreme” ones), but if someone I loved wanted to do this, and if they could afford it and it didn’t harm their health, I’d tell them to have at it.
I suggest that you do what you want to do. Don’t ask your boyfriend to weigh in beforehand, and don’t ask for his opinion or approval afterward.
DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I (age 50 and 48) are talking about getting married next year. He is a kind, sweet, smart and responsible person, and I’m utterly besotted. The part that has me concerned is that his best friend is his mother. He is very introverted and so he doesn’t have anyone he just “hangs out” with. His whole social life is going to church on Sundays with his parents, singing in the choir, and me. He was previously married, and before his wife passed away, his whole world revolved around her (his wife). This all hit me when he talked about discussing something with his mom that I thought should have been discussed with me first. His mom is a lovely, sensible person, and we get along great. I’ve just never been involved with someone who is so close to his mom. My own mom passed away when I was in my 20s, and my father and I are not close. He has yet to meet my dad, or most of my brothers. I’m not sure how to get my head around the idea that his mother really is his best friend — the person he goes to first for advice and comfort, the way you would your best friend. He holds down a good job, has his own place, never asks for money, etc. But this just seems odd to me. Or am I the odd one? What are your thoughts?
DEAR AMY: You say that in your guy’s previous marriage, his world revolved around his wife. It is vital in functioning marriages for the couple to be at the center of the couple’s world. This means that spouses should share important information with each other before bringing in others — best friends or family.
In terms of the friendship between this mother and son, I think that many people would consider a parent or sibling to be their best friend. (I certainly felt that way about my own mother.) This best friendship should not supersede the relationship between spouses, however.
Understand that at this juncture you hold important information about your guy. He might be able to make adjustments to bring you into his family circle, but his relationship with his parents may become even more important and central to his life as they age and need him more.
This is truly a case of “if you marry him, you will marry his mother.”
DEAR AMY: “Waiting for Sorry” reported her history of mental illness, and her need for her mother to acknowledge it. Thank you for trying to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. The stigma is what keeps many people from acknowledging this reality.
DEAR BIPOLAR: Every time someone talks openly about having a mental illness, it helps to reduce the stigma. We’re getting there.