Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Man should confront parents who treat wife like unwelcome intruder

It's best to face issue head-on between parents and wife

Q: My parents tend to treat my wife as an unwelcome intruder in the family. My dad usually just ignores my wife, and my mom is critical/passive-aggressive with her. We all moved closer to one another recently, and I hoped the closeness would breed better relationships, but, alas.

After growing up in a house where problems are best left ignored until they blow over, I generally try to confront them head-on. But I know my parents will deny that anything is the matter. And it's hard to tell my wife she just has to be calloused to get over my parents' barbs.

Dealing With My Mom

A: Well, then, I guess you can't do anything!

You do realize you've directly talked yourself out of two possible ways to approach this, and hinted your way out of a third? That's nowhere near as bad as ignoring/denying problems, but it'll nudge you back on that path.

So let's rule back in the things you ruled out:

(1) Confront your parents head-on. "Confront" might not be the right idea, but talking to them is. I don't doubt they'll deny everything, but changing their behavior is only part of what you're trying to accomplish. Another part is doing right by your wife, and another is making them aware of your feelings. That way, any action you take won't come out of the blue.

(2) Tell your wife to get over it. "Get over it," no, but you can assure her that it's not personal and it's not her fault, that your parents often cross lines, and that you'll back her when they do.

(3) Accepting that proximity won't make you close. This is the one you hinted around, but I'll just say it: If you talk to your parents and stand up for your wife and still your parents mistreat her, then you need to release your wife from your kumbaya expectations. Tell her that, while you hope she'll come occasionally, she's welcome to opt out of visits and other exercises in banging her head against the wall that is your family.

Should it come to that, your having had that initial talk with your parents will come in handy. You'll be able to say, "Mom, Dad, after the way you treated Wife last time, I encouraged her to stay home." Connecting actions to consequences is rarely a bad place to start.

Divorcee wary of 40-something men who've never married

Q: I'm a divorced, 33-year-old woman hoping to find someone to spend my life with and ideally have children (the same things I hoped for in my first marriage, which didn't work out due to infidelity). I primarily date men in their 30s and 40s, but I'm wary of men over 40 who have never been married. I tend to think that anyone for whom wife and kids were a priority would have sought those things before middle age. A friend thinks this is a stupid, arbitrary attitude. Do you agree with her, or do you think I'm onto something?

Arbitrary?

A: I'll go with stupid and arbitrary, while defending your right to be stupid and arbitrary. You did say "wary of," not "intolerant of" — and if you meant the latter, then it's a favor to these men that you're choosing to stay away.

Comments
Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

HIS KIND OF NIGHT: Luke BryanItís been three long years since Tampa has seen the well-groomed hide of Luke Bryan, the Hollywoodiest hunk in Nashville. But heís about to make up for lost time. On Saturday heíll headline his biggest-ever show here, a b...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Tyler Henry: Hollywood MediumTyler Henry, the so-called Hollywood Medium who stars in an eponymous E! hit show, is coming to town with a live show called "Life Lessons I Have Learned From the Departed." The soft-spoken 22-year-old has done readings f...
Updated: 2 hours ago
5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

1 Summer Plant Festival: If you think you canít get anything to thrive in Floridaís brutal summers, check out the vendors with fruit trees and advice on how to grow them, along with hundreds of blooming butterfly plants, herbs and tropical and exotic...
Published: 06/20/18
Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Pride weekend kicks off in St. Petersburg Friday with a free concert hosted by a RuPaul’s Drag Race star, a parade along the downtown waterfront on Saturday and an expanded expo of vendors and art on Sunday in the Grand Central District that ga...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Mom/daughter dynamic feels controlling

Q: I am afraid I may be a controlling mom of my young adult daughter, but we have a dynamic in which she seeks me out often, solicits my advice, and makes me too important in her life. I admit to offering that advice because it is hard for me to draw...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Regretting staying too long in bad romance

Q: I recently broke up with someone after two years. Even though there were things that bothered me while we were together, I would convince myself I was overreacting, he didnít really mean it, etc.Now that itís over, I feel like a fool for not havin...
Published: 06/18/18

Tell Me About It: After years of depression, a diagnosis

Q: Iím 33 and have dealt with depression on and off since my adolescence. I grew up in a household with every kind of abuse you can think of, but I didnít start seeking help until my early 20s via talk therapy, and cut ties entirely with my abusers. ...
Published: 06/17/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 18-24

St. Pete Pride: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coco Montrese of RuPaul’s Drag Race...
Published: 06/15/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy news confirms estrangement

Q: I just found out my son and his wife are going to be parents. Iím very excited and somewhat confused and a little hurt: Sheís seven months along. I donít know why the long wait to tell me. They live in another state, and I havenít seen them in abo...
Published: 06/15/18

Tell Me About It: Sister must face her poor choices in men

Q: Last night, I received my umpteenth call from my sobbing, devastated sister (mid-20s) over yet another semi-hookup-flirty-thing guy that didnít work out. He is moving away and she found out via an announcement at work, not from him.This is a years...
Updated one month ago