When a man doesn’t believe in shovelling snow, cutting grass or doing odd jobs around the house, do you think it’s a huge red flag signaling laziness and lack of character?
In the goodwill spirit of the season, here are more positive possibilities than the ones you’ve raised: 1) You two have not yet confirmed to each other that you’re a couple in every way, and so haven’t yet discussed sharing household responsibilities.
OR, 2) Your way of asking or insisting triggers his way of digging in his heels and refusing; this can be easily resolved by a change of tone and diplomatic timing, e.g. snow piled up obviously needs to be cleared, but, say, waking up a guy with an instant demand is off-putting.
OR, 3) You’re still learning to respect each other’s overall responsibilities plus needs for relaxation; that’s when you should be able to discuss which chores you can each handle, and which ones you can agree to have done by hired help.
Chat about household chores is really about sharing a life … unless they’re a focus for a power struggle.
I recently attended a concert with my long-time boyfriend’s parents and sisters, but without him. His mother isn’t overly friendly towards me; she’ll give me a giant hug when we say “hello” and “goodbye” whenever my boyfriend’s around, but when he’s not, she doesn’t usually extend herself.
His sister and I share the same name, say it’s Sally. I’m taller and heavier but by no means overweight. At the concert, his mother kept referring to me as “big Sally” and his sister as “little Sally.” She’s never before done this, and I was insulted. I didn’t say anything, to avoid a conflict.
Later, I told my boyfriend I was hurt by the name his mother had called me, but he brushed it off, saying she meant nothing by it. Should I raise this issue further?
- Not “Big”
It would be just as easy to accept your boyfriend’s explanation as your own perceived one that she was insulting you. When I was growing up, my next-door neighbour’s daughter, Ellie (younger and adorably petite), and I shared the same “big” and “little” titles, and we enjoyed it.
We still see each other occasionally and laugh about it. But, since it bothers you, just say next time – pleasantly - that you’d prefer a different distinction, such as Tall Sally. And don’t assume added meaning that may not be intended at all.
I’ve returned from a vacation and called my best friend; at first he didn’t answer, then he called me back, said he’d be calling again, but didn’t. Now, his phone is always switched off. I think he forgot me.
I sent him an email, yet no replies. I initially met him online but when I went to my country, I met him in person. My family also met and liked him. Now I’m sad and feel he doesn’t care for me anymore.
Long-distance online friendships are hard to maintain indefinitely - precisely because you can’t always know what’s happening at the other end. He may be involved with work, family or other circumstances that he’s not prepared to talk about. Or he’s concluded that it’s too difficult to rely on only occasional visits.
Send him a Happy New Year’s card, with no complaints about not hearing from him. If there’s only silence in return, accept his decision, and that he’s not able to handle explaining it to you. Move on.
For two years, my mother’s turned to alcohol as her escape from problems. I’m worried about her overall heath (she’s on anti-depressants, has high blood-pressure and high cholesterol). She’s drunk almost nightly and hides her alcohol.
My family’s afraid to raise this with her. I have my own husband, kids, career and it’s draining watching over her. How do I approach her so she doesn’t feel attacked?
Invest a day off work in accompanying her to her doctor for a check-up, having alerted him/her ahead to your concerns. The physician can warn her of the inevitable escalation of her conditions from alcohol.
Meanwhile, find a local Alcoholics’ Anonymous chapter and tell Mom you’ll drive her that day/evening to a meeting and wait for her. She’ll get a powerful message of your love and caring and better appreciate your urging that she get real help for her problems from a therapist.
Tip of the day:
Merry Christmas! Wishing all of you joy, goodwill and peace in your relationships!