DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother just got engaged. I am happy for her, and I like my mom’s fiance. I feel nothing but happiness when it comes to the engagement. Last week, I found out that my mom’s fiance told my siblings about the proposal a couple of weeks ago, before telling me. I wonder why he chose to tell them before me. I always considered us pretty close, but after finding this out, I can’t help but think about the future of our relationship and if he will continue to keep things from me and not my siblings. Is this abnormal? Do you think I should speak up? -- The Last to Know, Portland, Oregon
DEAR THE LAST TO KNOW: What you want to figure out is why your mom’s fiance feels more comfortable or more welcome around your siblings. Do they spend more time with him? What is the connection that they have developed? Or could they just have been around when the two made their commitment?
Rather than holding your mom’s fiance’s feet to the fire, work to get to know him better. If you want to be connected to him in such a way that you would be included whenever important information arises, you have to work to cultivate that relationship. You can also ask him directly what took him so long to share the news with you. Start with congratulations, though, before moving on to your inquiries.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a young straight female who has had bad luck with guys. I am a caring and considerate person who loves deeply. I am the girl who is always thinking of others, doing cute things for people and surprising my best friends with cakes, cookies or presents when they have a bad day or just because. In regard to guys, I try to keep all of that to a minimum at the beginning because I know that kind of behavior could scare them away.
Throughout college, I have been hooking up with guys, trying dating apps and keeping my options open. I have had four or five guys recently who wanted to get more serious than a hookup. We would go on upwards of 15 dates and have the best time together. Then out of nowhere, he would end things with me. Each one gave a fake excuse, like his life was too complicated or work was crazy. I can’t stop thinking that it’s me at this point. Are these just the wrong guys? Will I find someone? I feel like giving up. -- It's Not Them, It's Me, Milwaukee
DEAR IT’S NOT THEM, IT’S ME: It could be that you are doing too much for these men before getting a commitment from anyone. Though you won’t like hearing this, “hooking up,” at least the definition I understand, means you are already giving the man what he wants most. After that, if he gets the goods plus lots of extras over time, he can easily enjoy all of the treats without promising anything in return. When he gets bored with you, even though you are incredibly generous, he moves on. To get a man to stay, you have to cultivate a connection that is based on shared values and goals. Just as you intuitively knew to withhold the flourish of cookies, cakes and presents, you would do well to withhold the most valuable “cookies” until the man has earned the privilege to enjoy them.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)