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May 16, 2011 -
A "house" guest and a hotel are two different things

My brother and his wife (both 30) are dreadful hosts.  We have many common interests, they're nice people, so I enjoy their company. However, being their house guest means using a dirty bathroom and kitchen, hunting for clean linens, and doing their days-old dishes to cook one's own breakfast while they sleep in. 

    They make no preparations to have guests. My wife refuses to stay with them any more, which I understand, but it limits the time I can spend with them during holidays.

    Their behaviour seems incredibly immature and un-mindful of others. Specific problems I've mentioned in the past have been remedied, but everything else remains dreadful. Other family members agree with me. How can I convey my frustration to them without being insulting or risking alienating them?



Lead by example, and you'll also get yourself fed. Arrive at their home after shopping for some basics and prepared deli foods that are easy to get yourself when they're asleep or spaced out on entertaining.

    Also, scope out the nearest breakfast diner, eat there, and come back around their wake-up time with fresh coffee and warm buns. Then suggest you all clean up the kitchen now that they're awake... no criticism, just being helpful.

   If they are just "immature" and not natural slobs, your behaviour can be an influence. (But for now, bring your own sheets, and say you wanted to save them the laundry.)


I met a girl in college, and we became close friends. I thought she was single and she said she likes me, so we started spending more time together.

   Then, I found out she's in a same-sex relationship. I felt used, frustrated, and said bad things about her. Even though she and her partner later broke up (the other girl was cheating) she was still upset with me for saying those things.

   I want to reconcile. She says she likes me but is too hurt from her ex. She says she didn't tell me because she didn't trust my reaction on same-sex relationships (I'm fine with it).

Any Chance?


You're both too vulnerable to try having a relationship now. She needs to get over being hurt and rejected by her ex. You need to find other ways to react to disappointment, rather than lashing out.

   Be sure you truly are "fine" with her past, before you actively try to date her. It's important that you're not just saying anything you can to win her back... any repressed negativity will re-emerge to bite you both.


My husband of nine years and I have three boys and moved from our hometown, to a town five and a half hours away. We've encouraged our parents to visit, and head back home four to five times a year. My in-laws visit their daughter and her family, three hours away, eight to ten times a year.

   My MIL says it's easier to travel there, because it's "so much closer." When our families are together, my husband feels left out. They don't ask about his job, his life, etc. I know this bothers him, but he feels that if he says something, his parents will only visit out of guilt. They're late-50's, mom's retired, and dad retires soon.



They're clearly closer emotionally to their daughter, and this is unlikely a new thing. If your husband wants more involvement, he must say he wants their visits, and also talk about his life. Staying quiet only reinforces the lack of communication.



FEEDBACK Regarding the husband on online chat rooms all night, flirting with other women, and the wife feels it's the same as cheating (April 18):

     Reader - "He IS cheating emotionally and ignoring her sexually all night.

   "He'll soon be taking the next step of dating these girls. He's obviously bored and looking for adventure. He's also addicted to online romance.

  "The wife should discuss frankly with him how all this is affecting her, especially his laughing at her among friends, and how she'd like to save the marriage. Second, to regain their romance, they should go out for dinner, walks, and movies, take a trip where there's no Internet, and start activities together like ballroom dancing etc.

   "She needs to bring him back into his real-life marriage. But, if he falls deeper into his addiction, she can consider marriage counseling where he can be helped to realize his addiction and its effects. Or, separate."



Tip of the Day:

Instead of criticizing, show the  "slobs" you care about the cleaner way.


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