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Monday, August 13, 2012 - Page updated at 05:30 a.m.
Carolyn Hax: Now that's an unfriendly Mom
By Carolyn Hax
DEAR CAROLYN: I have been dating a wonderful man for almost seven years. For whatever reason, my mother harbors resentment for my partner and has said she wishes he'd suffer a heart attack and die, among other unfriendly sentiments.
A few months ago, my mother asked me why my partner refused to accept her friend request on Facebook. I deferred and told her she'd have to ask him, but the next time we saw her, she demanded that my partner "friend" her.
Would my partner and I be better served fighting this battle or saving our strength for possibly larger future conflicts (marriage, children, etc.)?
— Where Should We Stand Firm?DEAR STAND: "Mom, when you wish people dead, you can't expect them to friend you on Facebook." The sooner you start telling your mom the truth when she crosses lines, the better your outlook for "(marriage, children, etc.)."
DEAR CAROLYN: My older brother has always been outspoken and interrupts others, and he likes to be the center of attention. In the past, this has gotten me quite angry.
However, I get along well with his wife. At a family event a year ago, she confessed that she knew the first years of marriage could be tough, but she didn't expect them to be that bad.
Recently, I had lunch with her, and she vented that he still ignorantly instructs her on, for example, things she could do while he goes off on a run.
I encouraged her to stand up for herself, but I'm worried he'll lose a wonderful influence on his life. Is there anything I can say to my brother, or am I just sticking my nose where it doesn't belong?
— Nosy Little BrotherDEAR NOSY: You know the answers: No; there's no magic combination of words that will rewrite your brother into someone likable, and yes; you're sticking your nose where it doesn't belong.
You also know you're sweet on his wife, yes?
That in itself is not a problem; it happens, it's natural and she probably is as special as you imply. But it would be a problem — huge — if you succumb to the temptation to put on your Relationship Man cape and get involved in their marriage.
DEAR CAROLYN: A few weeks ago my mom offered to pay for a hotel at Disney next spring so long as we pay for our transportation. But in discussing the trip recently, my mom said she expected us to split the expense of the hotel.
My husband and I are budget-conscious, so now we're probably going to drive 14 hours instead of flying so we can help pay for the hotel room. However, this won't solve the other problem of my mom going back on our original plan without an explanation.
I'd like to ask but don't want to sound ungrateful. I think I should just back out entirely ... but then I'd seem spiteful.
— Meannie MouseDEAR MEANIE: It would be spiteful to back out of the trip with a thinly veiled swipe at your mom. It would not be spiteful to say, "We've added up the costs of travel and hotel, and the only way we can afford Disney is to drive. That sounds dreadful, so we're going to say no. Thanks, anyway."
Even when it's your mom, and even with an aura of baiting, switching and wounded feelings, this is still about your budget and your prerogative.
Should she harrumph, don't be afraid to state that your original "yes" was based on her offer; just be sure also to say that you understand she has budget considerations, too, and that maybe if everyone starts saving now, you can go in 2014.
Find her columns daily at www.seattletimes.com
Copyright 2012 Washington Post Writers Group
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