Abby: Mom marks date of marriage ending in divorce
Dear Abby: My parents were separated for most of my life and divorced 10 years ago. Dad and I don’t talk much, but we do get together for special occasions and visits during vacations. Mom and I speak frequently and see each other as often as possible.
My problem is, when I talk about doing things with Dad, she makes me feel guilty for not inviting her — even when my family is going to stay the night at Dad’s. And every year on the date of their anniversary, Mom never fails to remind me how long they would have been married that year. It’s uncomfortable, and I have told her that, but every year I get the call wondering why I haven’t acknowledged their anniversary.
Am I wrong in thinking it’s strange to wish someone happy anniversary when the couple is not together and hasn’t been for a decade? Am I wrong for not inviting her along for the few visits with my dad? I’m at the point where I avoid talking about him, but I can’t lie when I’m asked directly what our plans are. How can I stop these uncomfortable conversations?
Uncomfortable In The South
Dear Uncomfortable: Please stop letting your mother make you feel guilty. You’ve done nothing wrong. She is acting like she’s still married to your dad and their divorce is a “vacation” he has taken.
If she asks if she can come with you when you visit your dad, an appropriate response would be to suggest she ask HIM that question. And her expecting to be congratulated for the anniversary of a marriage that failed strikes me as bizarre. Because these conversations make you uncomfortable, change the subject or talk with her another time.
Dear Abby: My husband owns a restaurant. It’s a demanding endeavor, and I help him out by running weekly errands, marketing, and occasionally fronting money for larger purchases or unplanned expenses. Generally, I don’t mind. I have years of hospitality experience and some schooling in the field.
For the past few days, I have been fuming because my husband hired a man with whom we have a bad history. He dates my cousin and has been blatantly rude to my family. He has taken advantage of their kindness and turned my cousin into someone she was not before. (She’s doing drugs.)
When I asked my husband if he really thought this was a smart choice, he said, “You don’t own the restaurant. It’s none of your business!” I disagree. Shouldn’t I have a say when I help that place function week after week? Or is he right?
Miffed in Missoula
Dear Miffed: When you asked your husband the question you did, it clearly hit a nerve or he wouldn’t have become defensive. Because you’ve put money into the business to keep it going, you should be able to offer an opinion on how it is run and have it be respected.
Dear Abby: I have a great-paying job telecommuting. I know the idea of sitting around in pajamas all day seems wonderful, but I’m going stir crazy.
I live in a very small town with no fancy co-share offices or trendy coffee shops. There’s one fast-food place that allows 20 minutes of internet use, but that’s about it. How can I stay productive and motivated and not feel so much like a hermit crab? By Friday, I don’t want to be at home anymore.
Going Crazy At Home
Dear Going Crazy: If there is another telecommuter in your town, perhaps you could compare notes with him or her. If your problem is getting an internet connection or finding Wi-Fi, consider using the public library as an additional site from which to work. That way, you wouldn’t be trapped in your home feeling so isolated. If there isn’t one in your community, ask your boss if you can change your schedule occasionally. This might allow you to take breaks and do something like take a powerwalk, which would put you in contact with other human beings.
For most people, work involves more than labor — there is also a social component involved. If that kind of stimulation/interaction is what you’re craving, you may have to change jobs.
Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.