Devil’s Advocate

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

My boyfriend and I have been together for about a year now and I’ve started to notice some big changes from when we first started dating. He is now constantly criticizing everything I do, say, and wear. And he also makes it blatantly clear when he is looking at other girls. When I confront him about it, he just tells me I’m making a big deal over nothing. I don’t know what else to do.

 

—Baffled girlfriend

 

Dear Baffled,

Your boyfriend is a jerk. Actually, he’s much worse than that, but there are certain words I cannot use in this column.

Although it is easy to reminisce about the good ole’ days of a relationship, you cannot use fond memories as an excuse for your boyfriend’s poor behavior in the present Whether he recognizes what he is doing is wrong or not, he is treating you unfairly and taking you for granted.

Personally, I would just dump him with no further explanation, but I am probably a bit more heartless than you seem to be. If this assumption is correct, try talking to him one last time. Explain how you are feeling and do not let him just brush it aside. If he is willing to work on his behavior, you may want to give him another chance.

However, if he sticks to his rude conduct, cut him loose.

Life is way too short to waste any more time on people like him.

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I have an older brother who my parents treat like a king. Nothing he does or says is ever wrong, while everything I do or say is. Not to say that my brother isn’t a great guy, because he is, but it would nice to be known as something else besides second-best for once. What can I do to make my parents see that I am just as great as my brother?

—Never good enough

 

Dear Never good enough,

I have an older brother myself. I like to refer to him as “the golden child.” He has since moved out of the house, but I joke that my mother rolls out the red carpet when he comes over to visit.

There were definitely times that I felt “second-best” growing up, but as I got older I just realized that I had a different relationship with my mother than my brother did. And that was not a bad thing.

I think there is a tendency when you have siblings to pin-point and examine every time your parents seem to treat one of your brothers or sisters even remotely different than they treat you.

Most times, though, the “favoritism” you are witnessing is really only in your own head.

I am sure that your brother truly is a great guy and that your parents have praised him many times, but I am also sure that if you are even half as great as you say your brother is, your parents have showered buckets of praise on you as well. Sometimes it is just easier to see the bad in situations than the good.

Take some time to really examine your role in the family. If you are still feeling short-changed, however, try to talk it out with your parents.

If there truly is a disparity between the way they are treating your brother and the way they are treating you, I am sure your parents will work to correct it after your bring it to their attention.

On a side note, if your brother moves out of the house before you do, major changes will immediately occur. Suddenly, he is the kid who “abandoned” them and you become the child that they “don’t know what they would do without.” You’ll have the power then my friend. Trust me.