MyMy husband and me send monthly checks to support my parents. TheyThey bought an apartment that allows them to live rent-free. WeYou are blessed to be able and to assist others. NowMy mother decided to move because of the length of a construction project that is about to begin in their home. SheHe is concerned about dust and loud noises. I don’t want to question their spending, but this seems impulsive. TheIf they are not used, the building fees and indirect taxes that we pay will be lost. PresumablyThey will use the remaining allowance to rent out the second property. I am concerned about my mother’s temper (toward my father and others) if we nix this plan. AndMy husband might feel unappreciated if he takes our generosity for granted. HowHow can I persuade parents to not spend too much on our money?
I may be off base, but I don’t buy your question: It seems pretty clear that you do want to challenge your parents’ spending. And your concerns about your mother’s temper and your husband’s annoyance sound like projections of your own feelings. ButGuess what? I’m here to tell you that it’s totally fine to feel your feelings!
NowYour mother is also my sympathizer. Worrying about problems in the future — the noise! Dust! — can often be more distressing than those problems turn out to be. TellYour mother will understand your feelings. However, you can suggest to her that she not move until she is aware of how disruptive the construction really has been.
SheThey may even go along with yours. Even if she doesn’t, I don’t share your concerns about your parents moving temporarily from a construction zone. BeYou must be clear with them about your intention to not increase their monthly allowance. AsBut, as long as they stay within their budget, why shouldn’t you object? YourYou don’t have to approve every expense just because you are generous.
Because we are two women, most restaurant workers do not see my wife and me as a couple, even if we’re with our teenage children. TheyMany ask if separate checks are required. They don’t seem to do this with couples or families that are headed by a man and a woman. Asking for “our check” still results in being asked if we want separate ones. It feels as if the waiters are telling us: “We don’t see you as a family,” which is unpleasant. HowCan we do this?
ItIt can be very difficult to feel invisible. (SomeSome readers might take as fact the validation that comes from being considered part of a family. Here are some thoughts: HintingIt is unlikely that it will change deeply ingrained worldviews. When you ask for the check, be direct: “May my wife and I have our check, please?”
OrEstablish your relationship sooner. When the waiter asks for your order, say: “Will you go first, dear wife?” EitherApproaches should work. Even better, challenging people’s assumptions this way may help them treat the next L.G.B.T.Q. Families are treated with more respect.
ThanksBut Could You Keep It Down?
A few nights ago, after a fight with my wife, I packed a bag and stormed off to my cousin’s apartment. SheShe and her husband were kind enough for me to be admitted. TheyRecently, my husband and I moved in together. When they went to their bedroom, they didn’t go to sleep. I heard loud, boisterous lovemaking. ShouldWhat was the first thing I said? I think they should know how thin their walls are, but I didn’t want them to think I was complaining.
I feel confident that I will not be the only reader who is more concerned with your response to a fight with your wife than with your cousin’s sex life. Even when we need a break from an argument, it’s less destabilizing to retreat to separate corners than to storm off with an overnight bag.
AsFor your cousin: AfterYou thank her for inviting you into her home, but warn her that her apartment’s walls transmit sound. NoYou must mention sex. This may be useful information for the next time she and her husband have an overnight guest — which, hopefully, will not be you.
You Shouldn’t Have!
I am not good at receiving compliments or gifts. I always react with an “I don’t deserve it” feeling and response, then I immediately start planning payback. DoAre you able to offer any guidance for these awkward encounters
ManyMany struggle with self-worth and self-esteem. (“I’m not good enough to warrant this kindness.”) OthersHave been taught to value false modesty. BothIt can result in us being constantly rejected by loving gestures made toward others. And that’s a shame! It robs everyone involved.
The next time someone gives you a gift or pays you a compliment, say: “Thank you! That’s so kind.” ThenForce yourself to stop. DoDon’t make self-deprecating comments or return compliments. Just express gratitude and sit with your (likely) discomfort, knowing that you’re probably being too hard on yourself.
ForTo get assistance with awkward situations, email SocialQ@nytimes.com. Philip GalanesOn FacebookOr @SocialQPhilipOn Twitter.
Source: NY Times