Adapted from a recent online discussion.
She wasn't close to the deceased and wants to skip the funeral
Phoenix: My mom's husband just died. They got married a year ago and live 2,000 miles away; I met him twice. This is an extremely big week at work for me, and flying out to the funeral for this man I barely knew would make things very difficult. In your opinion, am I obligated to go the funeral?
Carolyn: At a funeral, the body doesn't need you there, the survivor does.
Shoe storage issue should kick off a mature discussion
Baltimore: I share an apartment with my boyfriend. The other day, we got into a shouting match over my shoe collection (no, seriously). My shoes take up roughly half of the coat closet.
I think this is reasonable — sure, it's a lot of shoes, but I am female and I work in a business-casual environment. I need lots of shoes. Of course, I paid for them myself, and of course, I contribute equally in paying for the apartment and maintaining it.
He is angry because my shoes are taking up, in his opinion, valuable storage space. He says that I only have two feet, so I don't need three dozen pairs of shoes.
FWIW, he has his own office in our two-bedroom apartment, and while I decorated the place, I don't have a room to myself. I don't think half a closet for shoes is unreasonable.
What's your take?
Carolyn: Half a closet? Rookie.
I think that if you're arguing need, you're going to lose; that if he's arguing fairness, he's going to lose; and that if you're shouting about this, the shoes are just a proxy for a maturity problem.
He, apparently, is trying to assert his will in who you are, which is immature — and instead of reminding him that his will doesn't have any say in who you are (except to love it or leave it), you're instead trying to justify yourself to him. That's immature on your part.
You can't make him grow up, but you can do your part by letting him know you're not interested in justifying what you do with your own money. Instead, you'd be happy to discuss this strictly in terms of shared space.
Can he make an argument that you're taking up more than your fair share in the apartment? If he wants closet space, then surely he'd be willing to cede you some of his office space to store your things.
And if he can't argue that you're taking up more than your share — in other words, if he realizes your extra half-closet of space has nothing on his extra room of space — then perhaps he can then agree there's nothing to argue about here.
Either way, you'll be happy to look into a shelving system that minimizes footwear sprawl, right? Because getting on someone's nerves isn't always a matter of fairness per square foot (get it? foot?). Sometimes, it's about saying "Yes, living with me does mean living with my shoe excesses, so I'll do my best to keep them out of your face."