Tell Me About It: Introverted fiancee feels trapped by family

Published August 10 2018

Q: My son and his fiancee bought a condo close to us, which then flooded. They moved in with us and repairs have taken longer than anticipated.

His fiancee, "Laura," is an intense introvert. For that reason, I gave up my exercise, TV and craft room for her to have her "alone" time.

The problem? She feels trapped when she must eat at the table with us. He just informed us tonight. I do the dishes and clean the kitchen to release the tension, but itís obvious, she would rather eat in the bedroom or not eat.

I certainly donít want to make Laura feel "trapped." I was even told she hated family get-togethers before they moved in. Maybe I just donít understand it. Please advise.


A: You actually donít need to understand it.

You donít even need to accommodate it, technically, since itís your home.

It would help if you could do both to some degree, of course, but only to demonstrate compassion versus prostrate yourself to the point of resentment.

In this case, just say:

ó Youíre sorry to hear Laura isnít comfortable;

ó Sheís welcome to handle her meals as she wishes, of course;

ó And sheís always welcome at your table.

Itís not personal so donít take it personally; itís not your business so donít make it so.

So, drop it. Drop it all. Your best chance that sheíll be comfortable with you eventually is for you to be at ease with ó and make things easy for ó her.

I hope your more outgoing son (right?) understands fully the life heís committing to ó for Lauraís sake especially ó and is ready to compensate and compromise to get his own social needs met. Your willingness to listen and be flexible, without butting in, could be a gift to them both.