DEAR NATALIE: I work for a large corporation. My supervisor recently reached out to congratulate me, stating they were nominating me for a prestigious intracompany award. Then they proceeded to tell me that they were sending the nomination form over for me to complete, alongside an essay that they hoped I could draft over the next couple of weeks. I was immediately taken aback, feeling that the impact of the nomination — and appreciation it implied — was cheapened by my supervisor’s request. Despite worrying that doing so might reflect poorly on my work ethic or collegiality, I was disconcerted enough to arrange for a private call with them to express my concerns. I inquired if we could collaborate on writing the nomination together. Their response was somewhat cool, telling me that “everyone writes their own nominations.” In speaking with friends and family, there were a mixture of reactions, with some agreeing that self-nomination is common corporate culture, while others shared in my frustration. I truly would be honored to receive this award, though I am absolutely loath to nominate myself. Suck it up and appreciate the sentiment? Stick to my principles? —TORN
DEAR TORN: Congratulations on your nomination! I am sorry that you feel as though the excitement was dampened because they requested that you write your own letter. While I would feel the same frustration as you, I would also look at it from the perspective that this person nominated you out of everyone. They clearly see something special, and whether they write the letter themselves or not, remember that. Now, having said that, it can be incredibly awkward to write your own letter. Some people are not good at “humble bragging” about their accomplishments, but I would take this as a challenge to reflect, acknowledge and take pride in the great things that you have done. It may feel awkward, but see if your friends and family that you love and trust can read it over to provide feedback. If this award helps solidify you in the community as a leader, if it helps you on your career path, or if it is just an excuse to pause and take note of the incredible milestones that you have achieved over the years, soak it in. More likely than not, whoever nominated you will read over your draft and add their own touches before sending it off to be reviewed. Take this opportunity and enjoy the moment. Cheers to you!
DEAR NATALIE: I’ve been having an affair for many years with a man I love very much. We have both been trapped in unhappy marriages for a long time, but we both had our reasons for staying. Well, recently, my husband died after a long battle with cancer and I thought it might change the dynamic between me and my “friend.” I thought maybe this would be the time where he would leave his wife and we would finally be together. Well, I brought it up to him the other night at dinner and he told me that he “wants to marry me, but feels as though he can’t leave her.” She’s older than him and not in good health. He has financially taken care of her for a long time and she will most likely have to be in an assisted living facility soon. If he were to divorce her, I don’t think she could afford to move to a space that would provide adequate care. While I was disappointed, I understood. But I feel as though we are never going to get our time together. My best friend thinks I should give him an ultimatum, but I don’t know what to do. I am torn and resigned to this way of being. What do you think? —A LONG TIME AFFAIR
DEAR A LONG TIME AFFAIR: It sounds as though you have been dancing this dance together for many years and are at a point in your lives where any time together is better than no time with one another. If you are comfortable with having a “part time lover” so to speak, then why change things at this point? Maybe you could use a little more “me” time since your husband has died to figure out what you want and who you are outside of these relationships with the men that have occupied so much space in your life. I would take this time as an invitation for self discovery and see how you feel six months from now. Regardless of the type of relationship you had with your husband, give yourself room to grieve this chapter of your life. Ultimatums never really work out the way you think they will, so I would be mindful about what you would say and if you really want to go down that road. If he is the love of your life, then embrace where you are together and enjoy the time that you have. If you can live without him unless it’s on your terms, then let him know. But either way, take time to reflect before making any decisions at all.
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