Dear Amy: My daughter, “Lauren,” is in her early 30s and has had a handful of long-term, serious relationships over the years with young men. These relationships didn’t work out for various reasons
Recently, she met a guy online. She fell for him instantly (and he, for her).
She says she’s never met someone so thoughtful, and that he is unlike anyone she’s ever met before.
He brings her flowers each week, cooks for her, makes lunch for her to take to work (with little notes inside), buys her little gifts, etc.
Jokingly, I said, “He’s so thoughtful and nurturing, he sounds like a woman — just like me!”
After meeting and spending an evening out with them, I can’t help but feel he may not be totally heterosexual.
He seems like a nice enough person, but he exhibits more female or womanly characteristics and mannerisms, acting more like a girlfriend than a boyfriend.
He has recently changed his first name and has also removed all traces of social media online, so there are no pictures or other clues into his past relationships or life before meeting my daughter.
I hate to have her hurt or deceived again, and would never volunteer my suspicions to her unless she asked, but my intuition is rarely wrong.
What do you think? — Trusting my Gut
Dear Trusting: You seem to think that “not totally heterosexual” is a bad thing. Or that thoughtfulness and nurturing are exclusively female traits.
I know many people who would very happily be with someone who wasn’t so locked into a specific sexual or gender identity.
Nor can I imagine why your revelation or insight would necessarily shock your daughter. Surely, she has noticed the same lovely characteristics that you have noticed.
“Lauren’s” current partner might have transitioned across the gender spectrum, to land on a comfortable spot where he is a beautiful combination of female and male traits. If so — unless there is some sort of undue deception or manipulation involved, the sort of thoughtfulness and loving kindness he displays should be celebrated.
I do agree that his lack of an online “footprint” raises a red flag, and Lauren should be aware of this and do her own due diligence regarding him. She should proceed slowly and thoughtfully.
However, she is an adult. She may be much more aware of gender subtleties and complications than you realize. She may be on her own gender journey.
Regardless, this is the very definition of “mind your own business.”
Dear Amy: I recently lost my life partner of 40 years, as well as my last sibling (my beloved sister).
In each instance at the hospitals and mortuaries in different states each were referred to as “the body” or even worse: “the remains.”
Is this coldness something new? Why couldn’t they say the name of the person?
I hope people in these fields will take notice and pass the word. — Still Grieving
Dear Grieving: I am so sorry you have endured these painful losses. My own experience with death is that the experience really heightens awareness and sensitivity to many interactions surrounding loss.
One reason to use this impersonal terminology would be because many people are known by a different name than is on their death certificate. If your life partner was named “James,” but was known to family members by his middle name, “Thomas,” referring to him by the wrong name would be upsetting.
And professionals might not always know the relationship of the person they are addressing to the deceased. For instance, referring to your partner as your “husband” might have been incorrect.
This is from the Health and Human Service’s (HHS.gov) website: “The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the individually identifiable health information about a decedent for 50 years following the date of death of the individual.” This covers identifiable health information; professionals might run with this, through an (over)abundance of caution.
I completely agree with you that referring to a loved-one’s body as “the remains” is cold, hurtful, and upsetting. I’m sorry this happened to you.
Dear Amy: A recent response to “Lea, in Santa Cruz, CA” explored the stigma of adults living with their parents.
The stigma is not so much of living WITH your parents, as much as it is leeching off the parents.
The adult living in the parent’s basement caring only for their own needs is judged completely differently than an adult who is working and paying rent and contributing to the household. — Been There
Dear Been There: Yes, I completely agree.