Young and in lust

Joey Garcia

I’m 15 and worried about a friend my age. She thinks she is in love with a boy who is 20. She had unprotected sex with him and now won’t stop talking about sex. I don’t know how to help her or get her to shut up.

Your friend fell madly into infatuation, an emotional experience that seduces people into believing they are in love even though they are not. Infatuation is sustained by intensity and, for most couples, that means sexual activity. With the developments of shared values, affection and caring, infatuation can grow into love. More often though, it degenerates into lust, anxiety and really bad choices, like having unprotected sex or being 15 and dating a 20-year-old. One antidote is to write an anonymous note to your friend’s parents: “It has come to my attention that your daughter is dating an older boy and having sex. I am worried about her choices and hope that you will speak with her soon.” You can mail the letter or give it to a trusted adult who will ensure its delivery without revealing your name. If her parents are emotionally mature, receiving the note will lead to an openhearted conversation with their daughter. And the next time your friend wants to talk to you about sex, try this: “It sounds like he’s using you to get off. How do you feel about that?” Or: “If I was into porn, I’d just subscribe. I’m not. So stop already!” Of course, you can also excuse yourself from the conversation and invest your time in another friend.

I’ve asked my wife repeatedly to place incoming bills in a designated bin on my desk so when I sit down to write checks, everything is in one place. She never does. I have found bills all over the house. When I confront her, she complains that the bill bin has other things stuffed into it, so if I cleaned it out she could put bills in it. There are a few receipts in the bin but plenty of room for bills. We have been up to 20 days late because she doesn’t give the bills to me. I’m stressed and angry. Don’t suggest that she take over doing the bills. I tried that once and she didn’t write a check the entire month. Some insight, please.

Your wife is engaged in classic passive-aggressive behavior: being inefficient on purpose, resisting suggestions and, when caught, complaining and blaming you for her lack of cooperation with an essential household task. She resents responsibility, perhaps even believes that she carries more of the household burden than you do. But rather than initiating a conversation about that, she chooses (consciously or not) against collaborating with you. In this way, she gains the opportunity to see you fail (late bills), and that makes her feel better about herself. Yes, it’s a sickness, one that is fed by unresolved anger, even hostility. The problem is that most people who employ passive-aggressive behavior are also deeply entrenched in denial. If you shared my reflection with your wife, she is unlikely to recognize herself. Instead, she would continue to blame you for packing the bill bin with receipts. An emotionally healthy spouse would simply place the bills in a neat pile on your desk or find another suitable container for the bills, or ask if you mind a mix of bills and receipts. After all, love is kind, right?

Couples who do not see each other as equals tend to use money or sex to exert control in their relationships. If you want to resolve this power struggle, I suggest making an appointment with a talented marriage therapist, like Bill Blazek at (916) 641-7140.

Meditation of the week
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life—think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is the way great spiritual giants are produced,” said Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu religious teacher. What do you focus on?

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