My close girlfriend, 37, got engaged, but it seems that I'm more excited about it than she is. She's been dating her fiancé for two years and he's a really nice guy who's openly affectionate and loving with her.
But when asked if she's as in love as he is, she hesitates and says things like "we get along great."
I'm beginning to think she's marrying him only because she's eager to settle and start a family. She talks more about that than about their future together. Her biggest compliment about him is that she thinks he'll make a terrific dad.
Should I be challenging her on this to get her to reconsider the wedding, or do I just go along and be maid of honor as she requested of me, without wondering about when the divorce will come?
Don't "challenge" her, but do ask the right questions. You can start chatting in a casual but caring way... and do it fairly soon. Example: "I've noticed that when you're together, you don't talk much to him. Not like you are with me, always telling funny stories of your day, and laughing. Why is that?"
Your goal is to get her thinking through what she's doing and feeling, and coming to a conclusion on her own. So don't push or critique. Ultimately, it's her life, her choice. Your role as a close friend is to be supportive now, and later, too, even if there's a breakup.
My girlfriend's dog is old and frail, but she's clinging to hope he'll survive. I say it's cruel to let him go on like that. What do you think?
The dog's level of pain and tolerance, plus his quality of life, are the main factors to be considered thoughtfully. It's not about the debate or disagreement between her hope and your discomfort.
The dog's regular veterinarian should be consulted about when he/she believes the animal's suffering outweighs all other wishes about the dog's survival.
I'm a male who actually likes my mother-in-law but feels she has too much say in my marriage. This isn't entirely her fault.
Actually, it's my wife who's very influenced by her, partly because she grew up without a father since she was ten, and partly because her mother's a very smart businesswoman who runs a company, makes a ton of decisions daily, and is very used to solving problems quickly.
My wife will turn to her mother for the smallest item, from how to fight phone company charges to what colour to paint our bedroom! It bothers me because I feel it prevents us from becoming a team. Am I sounding foolish and even jealous of their relationship, as my wife sometimes says?
Get your MIL out of your bedroom! If she's such a smart problem-solver, she'll catch on quickly enough when you gently but firmly indicate that you two are the decision-makers in your marriage, and she's a third-party consultant only when asked.
Tell your wife that while you respect her mother's expertise in her own areas, the room where you two share all your intimacy should be a sanctum of your own combined tastes.
Tell her you are NOT jealous of their relationship, rather you're protective of the relationship between you and your life partner, just as you should be. Believe me, her mom will be happiest when she sees that you two are happy.
Many houses on my street are renovating or doing repairs, and parking and the noise level have become major annoyances. I don't want to be a miserable neighbor but there seems to be no consideration for other people's lives. How do I handle this without being Mr. Grumpy?
Check the noise bylaws for your municipality, and limits for the hours of construction in residential neighborhoods. If these laws are being contravened, phone the municipal offices and have them contact the offenders, just saying there've been anonymous neighbors' complaints.
There may also be restrictions for commercial vehicles in your area. Try talking to your nearest neighbors who are bringing in the workers and ask for some cooperation. Bad neighbor relations are often hard to undo, so proceed gently here and offer some compromises, such as acknowledging their need for trucks and you parking further away only during specific hours daily.
Tip of the day:
When someone close could be "settling" in their marriage choice, ask questions that spark their own re-thinking, not yours.