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Harriette Cole: I hoped I was wrong about my son’s girlfriend. I wasn’t.

Harriette Cole: I hoped I was wrong about my son’s girlfriend. I wasn’t.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My 20-year-old son lives with me. He has been dating a disrespectful girl for two years now.

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Harriette Cole: I’m fuming over this anonymous note about my teen

In the beginning, I made assumptions about her because most of her social media photos were of her making obscene gestures and such, but I tried to get to know her better in the hope that maybe I was wrong about her. I wasn’t.

She is rude, disrespectful and selfish. She talks to my son like he’s nothing when she’s mad, and I see him spending the majority of his paycheck on her. Just recently she spoke very unkindly to me.

I’ve had a talk with my son about it, but he thinks I’m exaggerating.

What should I do?

— Disrespectful

DEAR DISRESPECTFUL: You may not be able to get through to your son, but you certainly should try.

Sit down with him and ask him what he wants in life. What type of relationship does he want to have long-term? What qualities does he appreciate in a partner? Ask him to take the questions seriously. Then ask him if his girlfriend matches the qualities he values.

Using specific examples if possible, ask him how he feels when his girlfriend belittles him or speaks to him in disparaging tones. Ask him if that’s how he wants to feel.

Assure him that you are not trying to run his life for him, but instead you hope that he will find happiness and partnership. What you have observed over the past two years is anything but that.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just moved into a new apartment complex. While having my gas turned on, we discovered that the water heater wasn’t connected. Of course, this happened right before the weekend, so unless maintenance fixed it while the gas company was there, I was going to have to go several days without hot water.

It was before operating hours, so I went to the complex’s maintenance shop to see if anyone would help. One maintenance worker volunteered and completely saved the day! He gave me his number, and I called him to come to fix my washer the next day.

After that, we began talking on the phone. I learned that he’s a single parent like me, and he recently started his own maintenance contracting business, so he’s also an entrepreneur like me. We have a lot in common.

It’s been a few weeks now, and I’ve invited him on a few outings around town, but he kindly declines each time. He talks to me like he’s interested in me, but he’s not making any moves to date me.

How do I know if this is going anywhere?

— Are You My Man?

DEAR ARE YOU MY MAN? This man sounds interesting, and obviously he likes to talk to you.

There may be rules at his job that prohibit him from dating anyone who lives in the complex where he works. He may not want to mix business with pleasure, or there could be some other reason.

Ask him. Be direct: Tell him you like him and ask him if he likes you. Why not?

You can also ask him if there’s some reason why he won’t go out with you. Be prepared to accept his answer or attempt to get him to discuss it further. You may have a breakthrough with him.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions toaskharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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