Dear Amy: My son has dated the same girl for four years. She is white, while we are black.
I am not prejudiced at all. I have invited her to our home many times. She has come to our house only once.
My house is not dirty or messy. She just never comes to our home — he always goes to her house.
I am single, and raised my son and his brother alone. I don't drink or smoke, and I really don't understand why she doesn't care for me (I don't feel like she does).
My son makes up excuses for why she doesn't come to our home. I've stopped asking, but it really hurts my feelings!
What can I do?
So Sad Mother
So Sad Mother: Your son and his girlfriend might spend more time at her house because they have more privacy, or freedom or unlimited access to the refrigerator — or Netflix. You don’t say whether she lives alone or with her parents, and you don’t mention having met her folks. It is also possible that your son is the one who doesn’t want to spend “couple” time at your house.
For complicated reasons that elude me, in many couples, the woman tends to decide where (and how) the couple spends their time. If your son were more assertive, he would make sure that his girlfriend knew you and felt comfortable in your (and his) home.
I hope you can get to know this woman better without exerting pressure or feeling sensitive about the setting. Can you meet them for a meal outside of both homes?
Dear Amy: My husband's best friend and his wife have permanently settled on a plant-based diet. It has become more than a way of eating for them, but a philosophy that they love to study, promote and (one might say) "preach" about. Their diet has become who they are.
They live in another state. For several years, my husband and I have been guests in their home for a week at a time for sports, sightseeing and relaxing together.
While we are with them, we willingly eat any foods they serve, although when we dine out we sometimes choose non-vegan meals for ourselves.
The past couple of years, the "preaching" has increased to the point where nearly every meal includes conversation about the benefits of plant-based eating, and even while the guys golf or do other activities together, it pops up in conversation.
We have become extremely frustrated. We told them that we are happy they've found a diet that works for them, but we choose to continue our own way of eating and do not wish to keep hearing about it — but they don't stop!
My husband does not want to lose this friendship of many years. We felt we were very direct during our last visit when the "preaching" didn't stop.
Now, my husband is reluctantly considering an ultimatum.
Do you think this friendship has come to an end?
Upset Friends: Let’s review. When you are a guest in someone else’s home for a week’s time, it is fairly logical that you might also have to tolerate some annoyances or excesses.
Yes, diet-preaching sounds both boring and annoying. But what sort of ultimatum would your husband like to deliver? “If you don’t stop going on about your plant-based lifestyle, my wife and I will be forced to stop accepting your hospitality during our vacations?”
You say you have been direct with these friends. I suggest that you research some alternative housing for your next visit, to relieve yourselves of a portion of these plant-loving lectures. You might try to convey: “We realize that this is like a religion to you, and we’re genuinely happy for you, but can we try to adopt a ‘no religion, no politics’ rule during our visits?
And then, yes, if this couple has become so repetitive that you no longer want to spend time with them, then you will naturally back away from the relationship, because your memory-building encounters have dwindled down to one-sided listening sessions.
Dear Amy: "Searching" asked if there is a "normal" grieving period and if his ex-wife should move in with him to provide needed care.
There is no "proper" way to grieve, but when my wife of 40 years died, someone gave me very valuable advice: Make no major decisions for at least one year.
Widower: “Searching” seemed to be hurrying through this process, as I said in my response.