Make us your home page

Don't compete with brother's fiancee for mother's approval

Let brother's fiancee compete with self for mother's approval

Q: My parents and I aren't exactly close. My mom and I have developed a comfortable relationship of bemused friendship since we're such very different people. She wanted a '50s housewife for a daughter, one who'd live down the road and go shopping and need her in the delivery room.

I'm . . . not that daughter. I like who I am, and I'm not that. So why does it bother me so very much that my brother's new fiancee is all those things and enjoys calling herself my mom's "replacement daughter"?


A: Because the fiancee thinks this is a competition, and is using her domestic nature (or calculated appearance thereof) as proof that she's winning?

And even though you know it's only a competition if you choose to compete, your uneasy peace with your mom leaves you vulnerable to feeling like you've lost emotionally, even when you know intellectually it's NOT a COMPETITION?

It's a theory.

You can't be "replaced." So, regardless of the underlying politics, the best course is to focus on your relationship with your mom. And don't give your SIL-to-be anything to go on: "Yep, ha ha, you're the replacement daughter, okay, now run off and make cookies!" Smile!

Woman shouldn't split hairs over aversion to shaving legs

Q: After a three-year man-battical, I'm now seeing a pretty amazing guy. But foolishly, I established a nearly impossible standard of beauty for myself — from shaving my legs (which I never did before, but he comes from a culture with a lot of hair-free women), to wearing makeup, which I normally never wear because (1) I believe it is just for special occasions, and (2) I don't need it to look my best.

At what point can I start to let myself go? The grooming regimen is killing me.


A: If you don't need makeup to look your best, then start by looking your best without it. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.

As for the fuzz, I have to admit, you've left me adviceless. "He comes from a culture with a lot of hair-free women" I think is my main problem, because I've got this image of armies of women without eyebrows.

Still, your decision to gussy up when you don't really mean it does verge on false advertising.

So how about this. Approach shaving the way you would for a man who didn't share your laissez-fur concept of beauty. Would you tell him, "This is who I am, love it or leave it"? If yes, then stop all shaving and primping.

Or would it be "Sure, I'll shave, since it's a small thing to do for someone I really like, even if it means shaving for the next 50 years"? In that case, keep shaving.

As long as you assume a regimen that you'd be willing to keep up indefinitely — even if it's more than you'd want, in a perfect world — that will at least keep the deception from going any further. From there, you can take your time getting to know him better, and seeing whether he's as comfortable in your perfect world as you are.

Don't compete with brother's fiancee for mother's approval 07/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours