Dear Amy: I get along with a male co-worker fairly well, and we go out to lunch at least twice a week.
I have never thought anything of it past a mutual work relationship. He’s 12 years older than I am. I am married, and he has been with his significant other for almost nine years.
There is a fast-food spot we go to often that we both love. The girls who work there know us and are quite friendly.
The other day I went there by myself and one of the girls asked where my “boyfriend” was.
I made it clear to her that he is just a co-worker, and she told me that he refers to me as his “girlfriend.” She said that since he always pays, she figured he was my boyfriend.
He expenses all of our meals; our company allows anyone who is salaried to expense one meal a day under $15, so he’s technically NOT paying for me!
How can I confront him about this without causing any trouble in the office? — Upset
Dear Upset: You should consider laughing about this. This option does not seem to have occurred to you.
Your colleague is not technically paying for your lunch (the company is), but how is the server supposed to know this? And is it possible that your colleague referred to you as his “girlfriend” because you are a woman, and also a friend?
You know the nature of your work-friendship better than I do, but many people have close office friendships that become “spouse-like.” That’s where the term, “work-wife” (or husband) comes from.
The best way for you to deal with this is to frame this issue as a question, versus a confrontation.
Say, “Dude, the server said you referred to me as your girlfriend! My husband would be pretty surprised by that. You were just joking, right?”
Dear Amy: My wife and I have been married for 15 years. We have three children, aged 12, 8, and 2.
Recently my wife has been seriously talking about us leaving our home in Texas and moving to Florida.
She says she wants to “have an adventure” and to “make our family closer.”
We have lived in Texas all our lives.
We live 10 minutes away from my parents, and we know it will be hard to move their grandkids away, completely changing that dynamic of family and community.
I love my wife and I love the “idea” of moving.
I have a good job but it’s not the best in the world. The only true negative that we can see besides moving away from our family is that we will be alone: No more date nights, no more baby-sitting. No more family dinners.
The biggest pro to me is “happy wife, happy life.”
Is it selfish of us to move and pull our kids away from their schools and their grandparents? Will time heal the loss of family for our kids? — Just a Guy
Dear Guy: Although I can understand the occasional impulse to shake things up and escape from the loving clutches of jobs, family and friends, the way you present this idea, it seems quite unformed and like the impulse of a restless parent who wants to make some big life changes.
Children do usually eventually adjust to new surroundings (especially younger kids), but they don’t do so unless their parents are stable and happy. Do not downplay the extreme sacrifice you would be asking your children to make so that you and your wife can change your surroundings. Your 12-year-old would feel the greatest impact. Yes, I would say that so far, this choice seems selfish on your parts.
The most logical way to go about this would be for your family to scout out jobs, schools, and communities before you make any sudden moves. You might be able to do a “home swap” during a school break, to feel things out.
Dear Amy: Thank you for encouraging “Wondering” to contact his high school crush after their recent reunion. I’m happy to say that I reconnected with a crush at our reunion, and if he hadn’t been brave enough to follow up, we wouldn’t be enjoying a happy late-life marriage today! — Crushed
Dear Crushed: Judging by the contents of my mailbag, high school reunions are the source of many (and occasionally challenging) connections and reconnections.
I’m happy your reconnection is a happy one.