Don’t miss the next live chat: Dr. Andrea Bonior, a licensed clinical psychologist who has been helping readers with Baggage Check since 2005, now hosts a weekly live chat at washingtonpost.com on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. She’ll discuss her recent columns and answer any questions you may have about relationships, work, family, mental health and more. Join or read Dr. Andrea’s latest live chat here.
Q. My husband and I do a good job splitting household and child-rearing duties — except when planning family trips. Every January, I start thinking about summer vacation and places we can go to build new memories. He does absolutely nothing, taking no initiative offering no opinions and doing no planning. He expects me to just tell him when to take off work. Coordinating trips takes a lot of work that really stresses me out. I would gladly do extra tasks to not take this on alone, but he just says I’m “better at it.” —Involuntary Cruise Director
There’s a task in most households — no matter how happily duties are shared — that neither person jumps at doing. Negotiation to determine “you’re it!” needs to account for the task’s importance, the logistics of splitting it, who wants it done more and who hates it most. So which person is better at it is but one slice of the pie of considerations.
Since you don’t suffer from the burnout of having to delegate other tasks, why not do it here? Split it up into small legwork steps, and give him a checklist with concrete, manageable tasks. No one’s “not good” at getting a hotel quote or clicking “book.” You could also enlist a travel agent (yes, they still exist!) to help with the most headache-inducing stuff.
That lying SOB*! (*shady old boss)
I still talk to former co-workers from my old job. Recently, one of them told me my former boss is spreading nasty lies and rumors about me. I think she is doing this because she is having problems at her current job and wants revenge since I got a job in a field she’s been dying to get into. Maybe jealousy issues? Regardless, I was hurt by the false allegations and was wondering if I should confront her about this or let sleeping dogs lie. —Frustrated Ex-Coworker
We don’t want to shoot the messenger, but we do want to find out if they tried to improve the situation. Did you get a sense of how the lies were being received? Is anyone (your old co-worker included) standing up against them? There’s a big difference between a lone wolf bitterly spouting off to an audience of people who know the stories are nonsense, versus a more calculated, insidious attempt to spread falsehoods that eventually gain credence.
Someone who’s as vengeful/jealous/dysfunctional as your old boss sounds will likely not respond well to a confrontation with you — especially since you’re not there anymore — unless she feels it’s in her best interest to stop. This is where your co-workers come in. Can they at least not create an environment where these lies flourish, or maybe go even further to shut them down? Express your disappointment about her behavior to them, with gratitude for whatever they can do to stem the tide — and keep your ties with them strong.
Send your questions for Baggage Check to Dr. Andrea Bonior at firstname.lastname@example.org. She may answer them in an upcoming column in Express or in a live chat on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. at washingtonpost.com.
Read more Baggage Check: