I'm 37, my boyfriend’s 47. We're in love, together for a year, and want to live together.
I rent a small city-based apartment. He owns a suburban house. He’s generous, supportive, financially secure (and doesn't mind that he earns three times my salary).
He was in a ten-year common-law relationship before me. When he ended it, he gave her, among other things, half the value of the house and she moved out.
I don’t want to live there. I don't drive. The commute would be a nightmare.
Also, I don't want to live in the home he shared with his ex.
I'd like him to sell and we live together somewhere else. What do I do?
House with History
So long as you’re respectful of his feelings about the house, too, starting fresh together elsewhere shouldn’t be an impossible discussion.
Remember that he’s limited to moving to somewhere where he can afford to pay the major share.
That may affect his feelings about location… generally, the suburbs are cheaper than the city.
So say what matters most: You want your own place together reflecting your new love, and your joined lifestyle.
Then state practical considerations – e.g. a long commute would affect your time together. Also, between the two of you, renting a larger city apartment is affordable, or maybe he can buy one and your contribution helps toward the mortgage.
One of my daughter’s closest friends (age ten) lives close by. They play together after school and on weekends, often.
I prefer that they play at our house so I can keep an eye on them.
This friend is sweet, friendly, thoughtful and has insight.
My daughter wants to spend time at the other house but I’m hesitant.
Both families have small townhouses but theirs now has two large dogs. They had only one dog last year but, at the girl’s birthday party there, he got out of his crate and bit another friend’s hand. He had to be put down.
The girls came to our house to finish the party.
The parents never called about the dog bite nor thanked me.
I told my daughter that she couldn’t go to their house anymore if they get new dogs, explaining that large dogs aren't meant to be in crates and sometimes don't do well in small houses.
She’s sad about this.
Am I wrong to want to protect her?
Also, the house smells of smoke. I'm told that the grandmother smokes inside.
I don't agree with their home situation but don't feel I have a right to say anything.
If I do, what if the girls can't be friends anymore?
You (and your daughter’s father) are her protectors.
You like the other girl, but safety issues come first.
The other family has a right to their dogs unless there are more incidents. There’s nothing you can say besides that you won’t let your daughter be at risk.
The smoke issue is also a personal choice for them and for you.
Second-hand tobacco smoke, especially in small surroundings, has been found to be particularly dangerous to infants and children.
It’s your choice to reduce that risk as well.
These won’t be the only areas in which you, as parents, have to take a stand with your daughter over matters you find unhealthy, dangerous, problematic, or inappropriate.
She needs clear explanations that don’t demean her friend or that family.
Stay warm and welcoming to the girl to encourage their friendship.
FEEDBACK Regarding the writer who resented tipping expectations for some beauty salon treatments which don’t take very long (Jan 20):
Reader – “Your response is spot on. (Ellie – I pointed out that she’s dismissed the fact that the laser treatments mentioned required skill and training, and sometimes even buying their own equipment).
“I’d also like to add two comments:
“The automated payment machines that I’ve seen, have a choice for either tipping an amount or percentage.
“Since I never know how the percentage value is calculated (whether before or after taxes), I always do my own calculations and tip an amount.
“Also, I think my mother has the best philosophy for tipping, as it’s not known to whom or how exactly the automated tips are distributed.
“She never leaves an automated tip and always tips the individuals serving her personally, in cash.”
Ellie – A thoughtful way that tips truly show appreciation.
Tip of the day:
Moving in together may warrant a new setting, but needs a practical approach besides a fresh start.