DEAR HARRIETTE: My son was accepted at four colleges so far, and he was offered some scholarship money. I am so proud of him, but he isn’t happy. He hasn’t heard from his favorite schools yet; he says he’ll feel like a failure if he doesn’t get into one of them. I have tried to console him. He knows that some of his buddies from school haven’t gotten even one acceptance yet. I want to be able to support him, but I’m not sure what to say. What do you recommend? -- Waiting for College Acceptance
DEAR WAITING FOR COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE: The waiting period can be a nail-biting time. Most students and parents are on edge because the stakes are high. You can acknowledge what your son is feeling and let him know that it is OK to be anxious. Remind him of the timeline for hearing from the schools. Encourage him to be patient. Point out that it is good news that he has options, since some schools have accepted him. Admit that you know how he is hoping for other schools to welcome him. Assure him that it will all be all right in the end, no matter what happens. Whatever you do, do NOT diminish his feelings. They are real, and they are valid.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I like to get a massage on a regular basis. I work out a lot, and massages help to ease the tension in my body. I have a new boyfriend, and he thinks that it is indecent for me to get a massage. The idea that I take off all my clothes in front of another person sets him off -- even if the therapist is a woman. He has never had a massage, so he doesn’t understand the way it works. He thinks it’s sexual, or potentially could be. How can I get him to ease up? He has demanded that I stop getting massages. I told him I’m not going to do that. He is acting like this could be a deal breaker. -- No More Massage
DEAR NO MORE MASSAGE: Invite your boyfriend to go with you to get a massage. Some facilities offer couples massages, where there are two tables in the room, and therapists work on you simultaneously. Even in those settings, the services are therapeutic -- not sexual. This might allay his fears. You can also offer to have a female therapist only.
If he refuses or maintains that you should never get a massage again, you should consider that a red flag. Massage therapy is a legitimate, licensed profession that many people use for health and wellness purposes. You have every right to engage a massage therapist. If your boyfriend wants to prohibit you from doing so, you may want to consider that action a bit too controlling. Do you really want to be in a relationship where your boyfriend can make such demands?
(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.)