She doesn’t need to diet
Q: My problem is that my girlfriend went on a diet about a month ago and has already lost a lot of weight. I know everyone is thinking, so what’s the problem? Well, the problem is that she is not doing it in a healthy way, and on top of that, she really doesn’t need to lose any weight. She was not skinny, but she wasn’t overweight either. To me she seemed just right, and my friends agree with me. She didn’t talk to me about losing weight before she decided to do this. She just stopped eating most meals and started exercising like crazy. It’s like she is possessed or something. It is all she wants to do.
When I asked her what she was up to, she said she was trying to get in shape. I tried to talk to her about what she’s doing, and how she’s nuts to be eating and exercising so much, but all she says is that it is none of my business. She doesn’t understand why I am not supporting her in getting healthy. I don’t know what to do. I certainly want to support her in something she thinks she needs, but I don’t want to support her in something that is hurtful to her. What should I do?
What To Do?
A: Has she said what made her decide to start this new eating and exercise routine? If she will talk about it, I would certainly try to get to the bottom of what is going on with her. If you do it in an inquiring and caring way, not critical, she may be more responsive to you. (In your e-mail, I hear your criticalness, but I also hear your concern). I would ask her to go to a doctor with you to discuss her weight-loss tactics and exercise routine, and let the doctor tell her that it is not a healthy way to lose weight. The doctor could give her more realistic ways and healty ways to lose weight, if needed, and let her know if she doesn’t need to lose weight. Do you know if your girlfriend has ever dealt with anorexia or bulimia? That would be a concern of mine.
Concerned about the kids
Q: My brother “Tom” and his partner “Jimmy” have two darling little girls. They are 2 and 3 years old. They are my brother’s biological children. Tom and his wife split up two years ago and he has custody of the children. About a year ago, Tom and Jimmy had a commitment ceremony, and at that time Jimmy moved in with him and the kids. My brother works full time and Jimmy stays home with the kids. My problem is that I think Jimmy is mean to the kids when John is away at work. I don’t know for sure, but a couple of times when I dropped by the kids were really screaming, and when I came into the house, they came running to me sobbing. Jimmy said they were just having a bad time. I don’t want to cause trouble, but I would like to install a video camera in their house and see what is really going on. I love these two little girls, and I want to make sure they are well taken care of. Do you think I should sneak around and hide a camera or just ignore the whole thing and hope it goes away?
A: I’m not for either. Having raised kids of my own, I know that children have bad days. It would not be an unusual behavior for little ones having a bad day to see someone whom they know and love and happens to shows up at their door as their savior. However, I don’t want to suggest that you ignore red flags, either. I would suggest that you show up more often and at different times during the day. If you come always at the same time, you may be hitting their fussy time. Coming more often, you will also get a better idea of Jimmy’s parenting. Little ones, especially at their ages, are a handful and will test anyone’s patience. If nothing else, Jimmy could use some help, or even a break. If after that, you still worry about how Jimmy is dealing with the children, then tell your brother. But don’t jump into something like that without having checked it out further, as I suggested. It wouldn’t be fair to Jimmy, otherwise. And if you feel you need to step in, make sure it is in a way of wanting to help Jimmy and the situation, not trying to “make trouble” in the relationship – or with a former wife, which is how it could be seen if you don’t tread carefully.