Dear Dr. Wallace:
My mother and father have been divorced for seven months. They divorced because they were always yelling at each other and both admitted that they don’t like each other anymore. I know my father doesn’t like my mother, and my mother truly dislikes my father. She keeps telling me her life is much more pleasant now that that “beast” is out of her life.
I admit that it is much quieter at home, but I also miss seeing my father. My mother has custody of me, but my father has visiting rights. My father said he would see me only if I wanted to see him. My mother doesn’t want me to see my father because she thinks that he will turn me against her. That will never happen. I love them both very much. It’s just that they don’t now love each other.
My father said all I would have to do is call him on a Saturday morning, and he would pick me up and return me after dinner. I have his telephone number and I want to see him, but I don’t want my mother to be angry with me. I am 13 years old and haven’t seen my father since the divorce. My three choices are to call my father and talk with him but not see him; call my father and tell him that I want to spend more time with him; or forget contacting him and wait until I’m older to make a decision. What should I do? — Anonymous, via email
Dear Anonymous: You should call your father and resume communication with him. It’s important that you spend some time with your father, and this could be arranged once you are in communication with him. Call him regularly even if it’s just to say hello. Do not venture into any discussions of the problems between your parents. Stick to topics about your life and how you are doing. Being out of contact with your father is unwise. I’m positive that he would love hearing from you. Call him soon.
Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m 20 and dating a super nice guy. I work for an attorney, and the guy I am seeing is an attorney from another firm. The only major flaw this guy has is his frequent use of quite vulgar language. I have never been around someone who has such a foul mouth. It’s strange because he is kind and caring to me and to others I have seen him come into contact with. Frankly, I’m baffled.
I told him many times that I don’t appreciate his “salty” language. He agrees that he should seek to stop using terrible language, yet he continues swearing up a storm of off-color words. Sometimes when I’m with him, he “cuts loose” so other people can hear him, and this causes me much embarrassment when it happens in public.
Some of my close friends don’t like to be around him, and my parents loathe him. What should I do? He can of course speak properly because I’ve heard him defend a client in court, and even the judges like and respect him. What the heck is up with my guy? — Anonymous, Bronx, New York
Dear Anonymous: There are two main reasons people use profane language. First, they are uneducated and do not have a good vocabulary; therefore, they substitute unacceptable or salty adjectives to relay their message.
Next, the user of profane language has the ability to speak the “Queen’s English,” but uses profanity as a shock method to drive home a point. Your beau falls into this second category.
You have repeatedly mentioned that you do not appreciate his blue language, and he has ignored your request. Tell this guy that his language problem has become your problem and you no longer care to see him.
Dropping him now will spare you much future embarrassment. If he asks you why, speak to him in his “professional” language. Simply tell him that you have repeatedly “objected,” and he has persisted speaking in the same manner over your repeated objections. So, your ruling is to sustain your final objection and move on to the next case.