DEAR JOHN: My brother ruins all of my relationships. We are both in our 20s, and he is five years older. He thinks I make the wrong choices in the guys I date. I think that it's none of his business. What do you think?
— Big Brother Blues in Decatur, Ill.
DEAR BLUES: I think you're right. Only you can learn from your mistakes — and you can't do this if you're never allowed to make any.
He should have some faith in the common ground that you share. If he can't, then that's his problem, not yours. Thank him for being concerned, and then ask him to step aside. You're a big girl now.
DEAR JOHN: My fiance and I have lived together for three years. We have a solid relationship, and we intend to get married next year. One issue we cannot resolve, however, is how he should deal with an ex-girlfriend who keeps trying to re-enter his life. She writes him sexually suggestive letters! He thinks the best method of dealing with the situation is to ignore the mail. I feel he should write her that he is in a committed relationship.
— She-Devil Woes, in Edmond
DEAR DEVIL WOES: You're concerned about one of two things: Either you're worried that she won't get the message, or you're afraid that he truly doesn't want to give her the message in the first place.
As to the first concern, you should trust him to handle it in the way that works best for him. After all, he knows her better than you do.
But I believe the second concern is your real issue. If that's correct, you have to be honest with him about your doubts. Tell him that you love him, and that you need reassurance that he also loves you. Ask him to let you know if he has doubts about you as a couple, or if he is interested in anyone else. I think he'll reassure you that you're the only woman in his life. If so, trust him to handle the situation in a way that works for him.
John Gray is the author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” Send email to www.marsvenus.com. All questions are kept anonymous, and will be paraphrased.