DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend of six years and I broke up about a year ago. He said he needed to find himself and grow up. He never stopped texting me, though. A couple of months ago, he asked if we could get back together and try again. I love him, so I agreed to try. We spent time together over the holidays, and it was really nice. But then Valentine’s Day came and went. He didn’t even call. The next day, he called to ask my advice on an outfit he was going to wear to go out with friends -- without me.
Am I missing something here? If he’s trying to be in my good graces, don’t you think a simple call on Valentine’s Day would have been in order? I don’t know what he’s thinking about, but it doesn’t seem to be me. I’m not asking for much, and I don’t even mean to get caught up in a holiday like that, but I just feel like his absence is indicative of him not taking me seriously. Should I say anything? I’m tired of hoping for more and not getting it. -- Not My Valentine
DEAR NOT MY VALENTINE: You dated this man for a long time. You know him, and he knows you. After a breakup, if he is not stepping up his game and working hard to win you back, he doesn’t deserve to have you. One of the easiest things to do is to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day. Right or wrong, our culture screams it leading up to the day. That he missed it says he doesn’t have you top of mind -- especially if that is something you celebrated in the past. Though you say you love him, what you need to do is assess if he loves you the way you want to be loved. If not, it is time for you to walk away.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I just got a call from a family member who says she wants to visit me with about 10 other relatives this summer. Nice idea, I guess. Terrible timing, though. She wants to come at a time when my family and I are usually traveling. She didn’t ask, by the way. She informed me that they were coming and then listed the things they want to do while they are here. One good thing is that they don’t expect to stay with me. I have a small apartment and couldn’t possibly house all those people. But they do expect me to host them. I don’t want to do this. How can I squash it without dashing her dreams? -- Poorly Timed Trip
DEAR POORLY TIMED TRIP: Be honest with your relative. Tell her that you don’t plan to be in the city at the time that she and the others want to come. Offer to recommend things that they might do if they come anyway, but be clear that you will not be there.
If she really wants to organize the trip at a time when you will be available, have that conversation. Discuss her ideas and expectations. You will need to be direct and honest about what you can do to support this trip. Hosting a group of 10 or more people is a big job. Be crystal clear about what you are willing and able to do and what they would need to do on their own. Be mindful of cost and upfront about what you can afford. Having frank conversations on the front end will help mitigate concerns on the back end.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)