Dear Harlan,

My boyfriend’s mother despises me. She thinks I’m not the right one for her son and she doesn’t want anything to do with me. Even when I have to see her, she won’t talk to me. What do I do? He’s a great guy, but his mom’s opinion hurts me. He said he loves me, and he’s torn between how his mom feels about me and how he feels about me. We don’t know how to handle this.

Mother Doesn’t Know

Dear Mother Doesn’t Know,

Avoid that mom. Make him choose between you and Mom, and everyone loses. The best way to show this boyfriend that you’re the best woman is to give his mom permission to not like you. When she says or does terrible things, don’t yell or snap back. You avoid her and find out if you did something to upset her if she can’t be avoided. Even if she’s horribly insulting and awful, don’t get into it with her. The moment you snap back, raise your voice or try to prove her wrong is the moment you will be wrong. Steer clear and be the bigger woman. Don’t give his mom a good or bad reason to dislike you. Stay out of the line of fire and there will be only one angry woman in his life – and that’s his mom. Then your boyfriend can see the real problem — his mom.

Dear Harlan,

I have always known what I wanted to do and I am passionate about where I am going in life. My boyfriend isn’t passionate about what he has chosen and isn’t very motivated. My question is how do you get over being different in something that is and always will be important to me. I love him to death, but I want him to go far and not settle.

Motivated

Dear Motivated,

People don’t catch passion like a cold. It’s in them. It’s a fire. If this guy isn’t passionate about anything, don’t plan on flipping a passion switch. And really, it’s not fair of you to expect him to be something he’s not. It’s not different than him wishing you didn’t have as much passion. You might be with the wrong guy. Some people are happy doing different things. If you love this guy to death, you’re going to have to give him permission to lack the passion, motivation and drive that you possess. That’s not him.

Dear Harlan,

My relationship with my girlfriend is wonderful. Her roommate, on the other hand, is a complete jerk and trash talks her and harasses her about her style. She also complains about petty stuff, like something causing an odor in their room. My girlfriend has problems sticking up for herself. How can I help?

Roommate Problem

Dear Roommate Problem,

Maybe her roommate is jealous that your girlfriend has such bad style, a bad odor and such a good boyfriend. As for sticking up for herself, that’s your girlfriend’s job. If she complains about her roomie, support and encourage her to say what she feels, but let her do the talking. She needs to fight her own battles. It can take getting walked on to learn how to stand up for herself.

Harlan is author of “Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober)” (St. Martin’s Press). Write Harlan at [email protected] or visit online: www.helpmeharlan.com.

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