Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ask Kelli: Obsessing About Office Mate; Repeating 2nd Grade, Charging Dog Walker for Vet Bill

by Kelli Miller

Hi Kelli,

I recently found out that this wonderful man that I work with and have known for almost two years is in love with me. No worries -- we sit on different floors. I feel like an idiot for not acknowledging this for so long. He is like an answer to my prayers. But I am a hopeless romantic and I fall in love too easily, and get obsessed with a person once I am in love. How can I help myself to control my obsessive thoughts, behavior and desires for this man? I want: to call him every day, or see him every day, talk to him every day! I want to be able to focus on my work while I am in the office, and not daydream about him all day long. Also, he is still seeing someone casually. I get the fact he is a single man, and getting to know me does not mean he will have to stop seeing other people right away; it is a process ... but it really bothers me. Also, keep in mind that I have been celibate for over eight years. I am forty, and I know that my age is adding to my impatience and my anxiousness. Please HELP!!

Always grateful for your column!

Obsessed With Man

Dear Obsessed With Man,

I believe it's pretty normal to have “obsessive” thoughts when you fall in love. Here's what you need to worry about: Are the thoughts making your life unmanageable? In other words, are you able to work without constantly being interrupted by thoughts about this guy? If the answer is no, then you may benefit from talking to a therapist about how to control these thoughts. If you think it's something you can manage on your own, here are a few good tips I hope will help:

1) Allow yourself ten minutes a day just to think about this guy. Obsess to your heart's desire. Then you’re done for the day. When you find your thoughts drifting back to him after your ten minutes are up, remind yourself you’ve had your fill.

2) Distract yourself. Take a walk. Knit. Listen to music.

3) Call a friend to vent.

4) Keep your thoughts in a journal.  

5) Try to be in the moment. It’s easy to get caught up in the “I wonder if he’ll call, if he likes me” mood.  Just stay with what is happening now. Take ten deep breaths to bring your mind back to the present.

All the best,


Dear Kelli,

My son is very bright. At least I think so. His elementary school principal had a talk with me the other day and told me that he believes my son should repeat second grade. I believe he’s very smart and this is not necessary. I don’t want to come off as the parent in denial but I really don’t think that’s the right move for him. How should I respond?

Not Holding Him Back


Dear Not Holding Him Back,

I’d first ask plenty of questions of the principal. For example, “What are your primary concerns that lead you to think he isn't ready for third grade? and “Where do you feel my son needs extra support?” It sounds as if you're not sure why the principal is making this recommendation. Keep in mind that it may not be about his intelligence but another factor, such as emotional maturity or social development behind this recommendation. You need to know exactly why he is making this call.

However your follow-up conversation goes, I would also advise you to get a second opinion. Perhaps you could go to a developmental pediatrician or have a child psychologist observe him in school. It will be helpful to have the advice of an expert when it comes time to make a decision about his education next year.

I believe once you have more information you can make a more informed decision

All the best,


Dear Kelli,

I adore my dog walker. She’s been with us for over seven years. The other day, however, she was playing catch with my dog (I wasn’t home) and she said he cut his foot on a twig when he was running. She took him to the vet who stapled the cut and gave him antibiotics. She didn’t offer to pay. Do I take it out of her salary?

Walking a Fine Line

Dear Walking a Fine Line,

No, I don’t believe you should take it out of her salary. Your dog had an accident, and unless you think she wasn't telling the truth about how it happened, it was not her fault. It could have happened to anyone. If she’s a loyal worker and has treated your family well, I wouldn’t question her judgment. It sounds to me as if she did the prudent thing and took him to the vet.

All the best,


Who belongs in the dog house: your spouse or your dog? Either way check this out... (adv)


Kelli Miller, MSW is a therapist, author, and radio personality. Miller was a featured expert for SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 198, the co-host for the TV show Love and Money: The Advice Show, and the advice columnist for Playboy U, and the author of Professor Kelli’s Guide to Finding a Husband. Ask Kelli is published on All Life is Local and the Cleveland Park Listserv on Wednesdays.    


  1. A quick thought for Not Holding Him Back.

    There are other reasons you might consider holding your son back that have nothing to do with intelligence or the ability to do the work.

    I was held back in first grade. It was not because I wasn't good at the course work - in fact, over the course of the next 12 years, I was in all the advanced placement and gifted students programs. I graduated as the salutatorian in my high school.

    For me, the issue was emotional maturity - I was a late bloomer. Being held back was actually a tremendous blessing because I got to grow up socially with people I was more in tune with.

    One more thing to consider though... and this actually contradicts my first point.

    During my first year in first grade, my teacher was very rigid, and I acted up a lot. She didn't want us skipping ahead in the course work, and, to be honest, I was bored out of my mind. It caused me to act up, which, I think, contributed to the idea that was immature.

    The second year was much different - the teacher let us go at our own rates. I quickly finished the coursework (to be fair, it was the second time through) and moved into more creative advanced work. Suddenly, I wasn't a discipline problem any more.

    Good luck. And remember, being a little older than your classmates can be a great advantage.

  2. "I recently found out that this wonderful man that I work with and have known for almost two years is in love with me. ...

    ....Also, he is still seeing someone casually....."

    awooga! awooga! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

    People in love do not casually see other people unless by "love" you mean wants to get into your pants. or unless by "see" you mean something other than dating.