Dear Amy: My 26-year-old son has been dating a girl for more than two years.
We all get along really well.
My husband and I recently moved two hours away and have stayed at their apartment approximately five times over the past eight months.
We only stay one night and usually take them out to dinner or have other fun activities with them while visiting.
One time, we were there to see other friends, but staying with them was still handy because they keep an eye on our dogs.
My son doesn’t mind at all, as he has told us.
I recently found out his girlfriend does mind, and has told him that we abuse their hospitality and that she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own home when we’re there (although she has no problem accepting free meals/drinks from us).
My son recently tried to break up with her (before this situation arose), but she talked him out of it.
I’m so distraught and hurt. I no longer feel comfortable staying there. Nor do I feel comfortable having her stay at our home or even being around her.
Our son told her he is not happy about this, but is generally avoiding confrontation.
She doesn’t know that he told me how she feels.
Dear Upset: I take it that you are arranging these visits with your son, and he is conveying the information to his girlfriend after he has agreed to your plan.
It might help if you viewed this from her point of view.
After all, this is her home, too.
I am making an assumption that you have been staying with them mainly due to the convenience of their home being located in your previous hometown, and although these visits haven’t been numerous, or of lengthy duration, you are not responding to invitations from them but are asking to stay there from time to time (in part because it’s “handy”).
You should have included your son’s girlfriend on any requests to stay, versus only going through your son. That way she would have a say on whether she wanted to share her home on that date.
And — it must be said that bringing dogs to someone else’s home overnight is a high impact thing to do, even if your dogs are well behaved.
Your son and his girlfriend don’t seem to have handled this in a way that you like, but your choice to run her down in response to her stating her honest feelings is unfair.
She is trying to establish a boundary, and rather than continue to pull away, you should approach this awkward situation in a direct and respectful way, with the goal being to work this out, versus choosing to avoid her for the rest of your lives.
Dear Amy: I’m a single 53-year-old woman (formerly a nurse) and I’ve been struggling with multiple sclerosis for 20 years now.
I walk with a cane and wear leg braces to aid in ambulation.
I have been invited to a close friend’s wedding for her daughter. The reception is outside and in the heat of late August.
Heat exacerbates my MS symptoms, and I would struggle and will most likely sit at a table by myself while everyone is dancing and socializing.
I’m happy to attend the nuptials and give a nice gift, but I don’t think it’s in my best interest to attend the reception.
I fear my friend and her daughter may be offended.
How do you suggest I handle this?
— Concerned Guest
Dear Concerned Guest: Your friends will not be offended that you can’t stay for the wedding reception — but they will be honored and happy that you will attend the most important part of this celebration, which is the ceremony itself.
Contact them as soon as possible. Say, “I’m honored to be included, but because of my health concerns I won’t be able to make it to the reception. I would like to attend the ceremony, however. If that presents any difficulties for you, I hope you’ll let me know.”
Dear Amy: “The Older Brother” wrote to you about his concerns about his brother-in-law, who had left the U.S., rather than be drafted into the Vietnam War. Your response noted that people who did this did so as a matter of conscience, but then you referred to the man as a “draft dodger.”
This is pejorative. “Draft resister” is the better term.
— Been There, and Back
Dear Been There: I agree. Thank you for the correction.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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