Q: want my boyfriend to lose some weight. I’m awful, right? Let me explain. When we met a year ago, he was about 180 pounds with a little extra to love around the waist. Now he weighs “about 210,” he says, and barely ever exercises. I don’t care about anyone having the perfect body, but I’m worried because it seems like he’s depressed and unmotivated to make healthy changes to his diet. I don’t want him to think I’m being a jerk. Is there any nice way to let him know I’m worried about his weight? Joseph G. in Sacramento, CA
A: know what it’s like to be told to lose weight. And I’ve actually lost the weight enough times to know it never really happens until the person becomes ready to do it on his own. Any amount of pushing will be met with resentment and increased resistance. I’m glad you’re concerned for his overall well-being, because the apathy and depression is the deeper issue here. Sucking down Double Stuff Oreos and canned frosting is just a symptom. I know because I’ve done it (and recommend Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Cherry—just sayin’). Let him know you’ve noticed he seems depressed. Ask him what’s going on with him and how you can support him. Don’t bring up the weight thing or you’ll lose the opportunity to get to the core issue(s). It may take a while, but be loving (not nagging) and patient (not pushy).
GOING TO THE DOGS Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for three years, and things are going pretty well. We moved in together a year ago, and he recently brought up that he wants to get a dog. I’m not anti-animal, but that’s a responsibility I’m not sure I’m ready to take on. I’ve told him my reservations: It’ll limit our availability to travel and we’ll have to be home more. But he insists it won’t change our lives much. I’m just not sure I want to give up my freedom to this extent. Am I overreacting? Nicholas R. in San Diego, CA
A: You don’t mention whether either of you has had any experience with dogs, so I have to assume you don’t. It’s one thing to fall in love with the idea of a faithful companion as seen on TV, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing to live with walking him at 6 a.m. every morning and as soon as you get home in the evening, dog hair on your clothes and furniture, the smell (or the bathing), the need for attention and all that goes with the reality of being responsible for a living creature that deserves people ready to deliver that kind of love and care. I have no way of knowing whether you should get a dog or not. So do this: Get a friend to loan you their dog for a week. Both of you will learn—very quickly—the daily demands and rewards of having a real live dog. You guys will know in just a few days if a dog is the right pet for you. Or if you should get a cat instead. Or fish. Or maybe a nice cactus.
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COLOR MY WORLD Q: How do we decide on paint colors for the walls of our new home? We want to compromise, but if we do, neither one of us gets what we want and we have to settle on a color neither of us loves. I came up with the idea that he gets the living room and I get to do the bedroom or vice versa. Then we can each decorate a room as we see fit. He thinks he may “hate” the room I design, so he wants input. But if we combine our visions, I think the rooms will just look like a mishmash mess. How should we settle this? Steven B. via instinctmagazine.com
A: Settling for colors you both hate isn’t compromising, it’s being defeatist. Don’t be so ready to throw in the cum towel. Keep going through those colors until you find some you can both, if not love, at least live with happily. Besides, it’s only paint—hello? You can always repaint if necessary. Unless your home is going to serve as a place for meeting or entertaining clients, concern yourself less about it looking like an HGTV project and more about making it a shared space where the choices are made with an eye to what makes you feel good when you walk in the door after a hard day. And to hell with what anyone else thinks, too. If some queen comes over, makes a face and asks, “Exactly what do you call this style?” Simply smile and say, “We call our style ‘love,’ bitch. Ya got a problem with that?”
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