My son and his fiancé adopted a beautiful dog that shares space on their furniture (the bed too), and has damaged many things in her overzealousness.
My husband and I were clear from the start that though we had had pets for years, we didn’t allow them on our furniture. We like the dog, and LOVE our future daughter-in-law, however, we feel our house rules should be respected. Yet, she allows the dog on everything when visiting us.
When we comment, she defends her position.
We’re starting a bed and breakfast business, which adds concern over damage and allergies.
- Doggie Etiquette
No need to bark at each other; instead, visit your future in-law personally, bring a doggie gift to show your affection, and negotiate a solution that keeps doggie’s tail wagging, but does NOT include canine comfort on your furniture.
Example: Shop together at a pet store for an invitingly soft floor pillow where the dog can hang out when visiting; a pleasant dog-training spray on the pillow and rewarding treats when the dog complies will help establish the locale.
Be firm that this is also a business matter for you.
To back your position as a pooch-lover, stay informed through Cesar Millan, host of
The Dog Whisperer; for information on setting boundaries, see http://www.cesarmillaninc.com/tips/basics_dogsinnature.php.
I’m engaged to the girl of my dreams; her mother is my nightmare.
She’s a successful businesswoman with opinions on everything; my fiancée has trouble disagreeing with her, even on where we should live!
- Can’t Compete
Speak up… tell your fiancée that you must make decisions as a team, or else she’ll still be attached to Mommy Dearest and your relationship will suffer. Share your ideas and research them together.
Creating your own path together - with mutual compromises – is what separates adult relationships from kids playing house.
I’m 32 with a daughter, 11, from a previous relationship.
Three years ago, I married. When my father, who’d separated two years prior, learned that my stepmother (of 25 years) was invited to my wedding, he refused to attend. He only showed up at the last minute.
Soon after, he told me sordid stories of his breakup with my mother, and my stepmother.
He said he understands that I can’t choose between him and my stepmother, but he needs to remove himself from my daughter and me. He’d previously spent every weekend with her. It’s hard for her to understand.
I don’t know what to do - I fear my father’s mentally unbalanced. He holes up playing card games on the computer, where he lives with his sister.
He’s also “removed” himself from my sister and his friends.
Self-imposed isolation often does signal mental health issues. Assure your daughter she’s done nothing wrong to cause his rejection. Explain that when people show signs of depression and anti-social behaviour, the problems are within themselves. But they can get better if they get professional help, and close relatives must try to make that happen.
Get your aunt to urge your Dad to have a routine health check.
Call your father to talk about him and his well being, not about getting back together, and not about your personal sense of loss. If he’ll see a doctor, call ahead to express concern about his social withdrawal and ask for a mental health check, and the possibility of medication and referral to counselling.
If none of this works keep tabs on him the best you can.
When my stepchildren’s mother died suddenly, they were difficult teens that went out of control.
My adult stepson is now in rehab from alcohol and cocaine addictions. My husband wants him to live with us, against his son’s and my wishes.
His daughter has two children, and lives on welfare; we buy everything for them. Her boyfriend has a lengthy criminal record. He’s used his little daughter as a decoy to steal money.
My stepdaughter has pilfered thousands from my husband’s account. I love her children, and they love me.
- Sick of It
Some people wallow in self-destructive behaviour. Focus on the children: Consider seeking custody, since you’re already supporting them financially and emotionally. If that’s not possible, stay close to the youngsters to provide stability and unconditional love.
Set limits on living with, or putting money in the adult children’s hands; your husband is indulging their irresponsibility, not helping them.
Tip of the day:
Even a dog-lover has the right to put personal property out of bounds.