Monday, October 26

Amy Dickinson

ASK AMY: Couple stuck in limbo over decision to have children
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: Couple stuck in limbo over decision to have children

Article content continuedNone of our therapists can even get a straight answer from him, but he mentions the unstable relationship as a factor in his decision-making. He says he will address it fully when the time comes.Honestly, I intended to have children in my early-30s, but now as I approach 30 and enter a rental lease agreement for one year with him, I’m worried.I’m wondering — how long should I wait — or should I start mentally checking out within this next year. Help me, please!Stuck in LimboDear Stuck: Your husband said he was “willing” to marry you because he could imagine you having his children. Quick, call Hollywood! This is a romance for the ages.I’m being snarky here. No marriage is perfect. But my point is that – at the beginning – it should at least feel perfect.Here you...
ASK AMY: Tragic loss brings on a strange family demand
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: Tragic loss brings on a strange family demand

Article content continuedGrieving WidowDear Grieving: I hope you will choose to discuss this with your grief counsellor.I suggest writing down your thoughts. Use loving and unequivocal language: “Frederick loved you so much. We are all grieving. I miss him every day. He and I built our life here, and I have chosen to stay here, in our home. My job and friends are here. I want to continue to live in the home he and I made together. I know this is not what you want to hear. I care very much about you and I will be out to visit as soon as I can, but I won’t be moving in with you.”You should add that you have been seeing a grief counsellor, and that the counselling has helped you. The Compassionate Friends (compassionatefriends.org), or their local hospice centre will have recommendations f...
ASK AMY: October wedding creates a pandemic dilemma
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: October wedding creates a pandemic dilemma

Article content continuedThis happens to me a lot. I plan a get together with a female friend, and they ask, “Is it OK if Ben comes along?” or “Can I bring John?”I am married and never communicated that my husband would be included in the event.I have made movie plans with a female friend who then asked to bring her new boyfriend (whom I had never met) along.The goal of these events is generally for women friends to catch up, see a film, shop, have fun, etc.I like to spend time with my female friends for this purpose — not to have to entertain or listen to a guy, who changes the dynamic and makes me feel like a fifth wheel.So when this happens, what should I say?Fifth Wheelin’Dear Wheelin’: Forgive me if I wax nostalgic, remembering a time when people just casually went to the movies. A...
ASK AMY: Working from home reveals unsavoury habits
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: Working from home reveals unsavoury habits

Dear Amy: Working at home during the pandemic has given me a glimpse into how my wife conducts business.She is often rude to her customers and co-workers, with a particularly annoying habit of loudly talking over them to try and gain the verbal upper hand. She also frequently battles with her boss instead of trying to work to mutually agreeable solutions.I’ve tried to offer suggestions and techniques from my years of corporate experience but am waved off.The company she works for is small, poorly run, and the level of professionalism is generally low, which is why I’m sure she wasn’t fired a long time ago. But who knows what the future holds? We need both of our incomes right now.I’m at a loss about how to handle this when I see and hear these cringe-worthy mistakes.Should I just...
ASK AMY: Aunt wonders if a violent abuser can change
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: Aunt wonders if a violent abuser can change

Dear Amy: Several years ago, my niece’s boyfriend pulled a gun on her and broke her cheekbone. I was horrified. I was even more horrified when my niece decided to have a baby with her abuser.I made it known that I wasn’t going to stick around the hospital room with this man when my niece had the baby. There was no way I could tolerate even seeing his face. My older sister feels the same way.I have now been cut out of my great-niece’s life. My mother is angry at my sister and me for not forgiving my niece’s boyfriend, and for not giving him a second chance because — according to her — “he has changed.”I’d like to know what your opinion is about whether abusers change, and whether I am in the wrong.Worried AuntDear Worried: Some people are capable of great change, but change can on...
ASK AMY: Marrying couple may have to dis-invite guests
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: Marrying couple may have to dis-invite guests

Dear Amy: My fiance and I are getting married this fall. We will NOT be postponing the wedding.Our venue is assuring us that we are on track and that our guest list of 150 will be allowed into the venue by then.It’s getting close to the time when we have to mail invitations, and I’m worried about what to do if the social gathering restrictions tighten again before the wedding.If that happens, how do we possibly dis-invite only some of the guests? Is there any tactful way to do this?Not the Tacky BrideDear Bride: First of all, give me the name of your venue’s manager – this person seems to possess more insight into the movement of this global pandemic than the CDC.My point is – it seems foolhardy to make any specific assumptions about larger gatherings scheduled for this fall. You...
ASK AMY: Stressed wife might need a ’she shed’
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: Stressed wife might need a ’she shed’

Dear Amy: I have known my husband for almost 40 years. We’ve been married for 30 years.I am trying to become healthier in body and mind. I practise yoga, and I am evolving and growing.My husband chooses to do nothing to take care of his body; he eats whatever and whenever he wants, and has always chosen to be sedentary.He just retired due to health issues (and his age). I’ve just retired, also.He doesn’t choose to go places. He doesn’t even get out of the house very often.We live on a large property, and even though he uses a cane, he could still at least go out to his garage or onto our porch, but he chooses not to.I have literally begged him to give me my space, since we both worked throughout all of our marriage — until now.I am now battling depression and anxiety.I took my ma...
ASK AMY: Father-in-law’s rudeness might be medical
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: Father-in-law’s rudeness might be medical

Dear Amy: My wife’s parents have been married for almost 40 years. My father-in-law recently told my wife that he plans to divorce my mother-in-law, and then move away. He has not told his wife yet, but his unhappiness is obvious, due to the rude comments he frequently makes to her.He will openly criticize traits of hers that he doesn’t like, and he does it in a very disrespectful way. My wife and I have been married for five years, but all of the family members I’ve met say my mother-in-law’s personality hasn’t changed over the years, so why this sudden harshness toward her?My father-in-law has started making similar rude comments about our two-year-old daughter, “Clara.” Clara has a big vocabulary and is very strong-willed. She can be demanding and will throw temper tantrums — ...
ASK AMY: Mother needs a border wall
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: Mother needs a border wall

Dear Amy: My 14-year-old daughter, “Carrie,” has been in both inpatient and outpatient care for years for mood disorders, anxiety, depression, and self-harm.She also struggles with a binge-eating disorder and has become quite overweight. She is under the care of a pediatrician, pediatric psychiatrist and therapist. She is getting great care, but treating an eating disorder associated with mental-health issues is extremely challenging.My mother is a major stressor. She takes every opportunity she can to talk to me about my daughter’s weight, how it negatively affects her life, ruins her health, etc. She also constantly asks me what I’m “going to do about it” and when I will “get her into a program.”My mother’s obsession with my daughter’s weight has become so overwhelming that I t...
ASK AMY: Daughter is caught in Dad’s needy net
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: Daughter is caught in Dad’s needy net

Dear Amy: I am a 30-something daughter of divorced parents with two younger siblings. Our parents divorced 25 years ago.Neither of my parents have healthy coping skills, but my father has really gotten extreme with his co-dependencies. He has always needed his children to constantly shower him with love and attention, specifically by spending tons of time at his house, and prioritizing him over other family.Of course he is particularly sensitive to any infringing time spent with my mother, since he was the better parent (mostly true).Holidays have always been a nightmare for me, as I am the one corralling my siblings and accommodating his feelings the best I can.However, now that I have children (and we are in the middle of a pandemic), this baggage is too much for me to bear.He ...
ASK AMY: Pandemic amplifies long-distance loneliness
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: Pandemic amplifies long-distance loneliness

Dear Amy: Not long before the pandemic started, I moved across the country. I’ve tried staying in touch with people where I used to live, and I spent about six months in my new home getting out and about and meeting people.I created a few acquaintances, but that’s it so far.I’ve tried suggesting video or phone chats, but people I know (in both places) aren’t able to/interested in more than texting to keep in touch.The past three months have been isolating, and I have a health condition that puts me at high risk, so I don’t see an end in sight without a vaccine.There’s not really any way to make new friends currently while staying at home, so how do I deal with texting being my only form of contact for the next year or so?IsolatedDear Isolated: I certainly hope it won’t be a year ...
ASK AMY: COVID transforms house guest to housemate
advice, Amy Dickinson, ask amy, Relationships

ASK AMY: COVID transforms house guest to housemate

Dear Amy: Three months ago, my husband and I took in a friend of our daughter’s, who quite suddenly lost her housing and whose college switched to all online classes, due to COVID-19.We have been hosting her without asking for any kind of payment. All we’ve requested is that she cook one night a week. She’s a lovely girl and usually washes the dishes after dinner, but does not do any other housework.When she came to live with us, her parents (who live overseas) called to thank us. They said they would be in touch weekly. Aside from that phone call we have not heard one word from them. We assumed she would be with us until her semester ended.Instead, she is still living with us — and we just learned that she plans to stay another two months, after which she will go to live with he...