Mother goosed About a month ago, my 27-year-old boyfriend found his birth mother. He’s thrilled to get to know her and his long-lost brother, and I’m happy for him, but since they’ve connected, our relationship has suffered. I think his birth mom is trying too hard to make up for lost time — calling daily, wanting to see us every weekend, asking him to take three days off work to do stuff with her. I can’t help resenting that she’s taking him away from me. He understands, and he’s told her he can’t see her every weekend, yet she persists. I’m constantly upset, constantly crying. Please help; I feel like the worst girlfriend in the world.
— Suddenly Second
I noticed a few things you left out of your letter, like how your boyfriend’s birth mother comes over and he puts you and the cat out in the yard to watch through the window as they bond. And then there’s the way he makes you walk five paces behind them and, even worse, how he drives with Mom in the front seat and Long-Lost Bro in the back, and makes you run behind the car wearing a big red “3.” Oh, wait. Perhaps you omitted that stuff because … he isn’t actually doing any of it? Well, maybe it’s time he started. You’re already “constantly crying.” He might as well give you something worth crying about. Perhaps I sound unsympathetic. If so, it’s only because I am. When I think of weep-worthy suffering, I picture starving refugee children whose idea of a Happy Meal is a runover hamburger bun — not a girl whose romantic provider has temporarily failed to deliver the excellent customer service she’s come to expect.
You’ve had your boyfriend minutes cut back for what, a month? Stack that up against a lifetime scanning crowds at stadiums and the mall, and looking expectantly at grocery store cashiers like that storybook baby bird who ran around chirping, “Are you my mother? Are you my mother?” Imagine not knowing your origins: Are you Swedish? Irish? A Doberman-pointer mix? Does bipolarity run in the family — except in those who die before 30 of a rare genetic disease? Are your people ax murderers, royalty, or do they just own a small underprofitable plumbing business in upstate New York? It is unfortunate your boyfriend couldn’t find his birth mother at a time more convenient for you, like never. Since you can’t turn back the clock and rip off the hands, try to accept that adoptee/birth parent reunions don’t run like the railroad: “OK, at 3:10, he’ll ask for answers to ‘What were you doing these past 27 years that you were too busy to be my mother?’ At 4:12, she’ll be done giving her response, ‘I wasn’t exactly on holiday in Tahiti, sipping coladas out of coconuts.’ “ At the moment, the only woman coming between you and him is the one tapping her foot, checking her watch and sobbing as though somebody just yanked her Barbie out of her hands. What you’re doing is giving him a crash course in your idea of love — acting in his best interest, but only when it directly coincides with yours. If you want to show him you care, don’t demand more time, insist on less. Be that girlfriend every guy wants, one who’s secure enough, and loves him enough to say, “Have fun with your mom all week. If you need me, I’ll be wallpapering my bedroom and installing a stripper pole.” Just a guess, but the next time he stays up past his bedtime, it won’t be because he’s listening with rapt attention as Mommy reads Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? Rude to nowhere A woman asked me on a first date, repeatedly insisting it’d be her treat. We had a great time — and then the check arrived. It sat like a time bomb for 45 minutes until I finally asked her to pass it to me, and she said “Well, if you insist.” Amazingly, she’s phoning me to go to dinner again. Of course, I’m “busy,” but I’m left wondering … what went on here? — Mr. Mastercard Maybe she was playing hard-to-want. Maybe she looked in the ladies’ room mirror and decided she was too pretty to pay.
Or maybe she’s just a greedy liar. Thinking it was her treat, you probably ordered light: croutons and maybe a sparkling water. It wasn’t until later you made sense of her double porterhouse, dozen oysters and fine French wine. Suddenly, you stopped picturing her naked and started picturing her leaving you naked after taking everything in the divorce. And that’s all it took to get off cheap. For the price of a single dinner, you found out everything you need to know about her: She’s more than a woman; she’s a collection agency with cleavage. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail