I admit I am starting to feel resentful. Their entitled attitude worries me.
We love gift-giving but this is starting to feel more like fulfilling a demand than giving a gift from the heart.
We provide trips, gifts and money generously throughout the year.
I have suggested we let the kids know we will be buying more modest gifts for Christmas. My husband is afraid to rock the boat since his adult kids are accustomed to receiving expensive Christmas gifts from us.
Is there a way we can reset expectations and boundaries, without looking like the Grinch?
Mrs. Claus: As long as he is afraid of his children, your husband can’t change the equation during the holiday season.
You should encourage him to start to see himself as worthy of adult attention and respect. He seems to feel that he must literally purchase love from his children — and, guess what? He could be wrong! But he will never know the core value of his relationship with his kids until he is brave enough to have these relationships in a more organic way.
If his kids don’t “believe” in Christmas, then don’t do Christmas.
If he is determined to give gifts — this year, he should recognize each of his kids in a new way: by contacting them to say that he has made a donation in their honor to a worthwhile charity.
His kids are not a worthwhile charity, but there are plenty out there, and (unlike his children) these organizations would be grateful for his support. He should steel himself for some blowback from this approach. Change is hard.
Dear Amy: I broke up with my ex two months ago. We used to fight a lot and he used to make a lot of excuses to avoid me. We live far away from each other.
During our time together, he communicated with a lot of random girls. I often felt unhappy and cheated.
I called and confronted him, and he said that because we fight a lot, he got bored with me. I was so angry that I ended the call and did not contact him after that at all.
Today, I contacted him via text, asking for his help on a work project.
He replied "Sure." I didn't reply immediately. And in 15 minutes he pinged me asking what help I needed.
I responded after 40 minutes and told him certain topics I needed tips on. He sent me long messages, detailed with suggestions and tips. I thanked him and said goodbye. But then he asked me "Life's good?" and "Everything's fine?"
I responded, "Yes, and you?" He replied back "Good."
After that I ended the conversation.
I do not understand his reaction to me. I don't know what is going on! How should I behave next?
I miss him and love him dearly. I can't tell if he is into me and deserves a second chance. What do you think?
Wondering: It’s time to graduate from middle school. It’s time to take yourself more seriously, and to value yourself so much that a guy politely asking how you are isn’t an invitation back into a relationship that wasn’t good for you in the first place. “Life’s good?” is just something people say. It’s a polite placeholder.
It sounds as if this man wasn’t a good boyfriend for you, but he might have the makings of being an almost-decent friend. He’s a guy you can ping for work questions, and who will try to be helpful.
Someone who is truly into you will offer you a better quality of attention. I hope you feel you deserve it.
Dear Amy: Thank you for your calm and compassionate response to "Worried," the aunt (or uncle) who wondered how to spend time with their teenage nephew, who was in legal trouble for drug possession.
Oh, I was that kid. I'm no longer that kid. But I'm so grateful for family members who hung in there with me.
Changed: Many of us were either that kid, or had that kid in our family. Patience is called for.