Miss Manners - Living in Sin

Miss Manners - Living in Sin

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“Don't stop....”

Since: Feb 10

Chicago

#1 May 17, 2010
Miss Manners on living in sin
Live-in girlfriend (gasp!) presents dilemma for disapproving parents
By Judith Martin, United Feature Syndicate

May 15, 2010

Dear Miss Manners: Our 26-year-old son lives out of state in San Francisco, where, unfortunately (from our point of view as traditional parents), he has partially gone native by having what we hope will be his first and last live-in girlfriend.

How can we continue to show him a proper mix of parental affection and disapproval?

We are planning to visit his part of the country soon. He has suggested bringing his live-in along for overnight stays in a resort, though I'm not inclined to socialize with her until she's an honest woman, or our son is on his deathbed.

However, I don't want to push them into each other's arms because I don't think our son is yet mature enough to marry, nor do I think they are all that suited to each other. I think both are losing out by not continuing to court rather than to make a decision that forecloses this possibility. Their affairs are beginning to entangle, e.g., a car they own together.

Gentle Reader: Would you mind sorting out your emotions a bit so Miss Manners can figure out what it is you do want?

You say you want to show affection for your son, but you are able to picture him on his deathbed.

You say you want to snub the, ah, co-owner of his car, but would accept her as a daughter-in-law (presumably what you mean by "an honest woman"), without considering whether, after such treatment, she would be willing to accept you.

Miss Manners cannot reconcile all that with a line of behavior. But if it would be of help, she can advise you about how to keep from alienating this couple — yes, both of them — while not conferring your blessing on their living arrangements.

Invite them to join you at the resort, ordering two rooms for them, preferably at some distance from your own. Treat your son's guest with gallant courtesy, as if this were the traditional type of courtship of which you approve. At any hint of its being otherwise, you should exhibit a bit of embarrassed confusion and change the subject.

Thus, it will seem cruel and crude if they flaunt the situation, rather than respecting, if not acceding to, your standards. At the small price of seeming quaint, you will have registered your point without insulting someone to whom you may find yourself related.

Dear Miss Manners: I insist on having my own dishwashing gloves (separate from my wife's). A few years ago, we were in couples counseling, and at one session both the therapist and my wife said they thought that was weird. Recently, the subject came up with a good friend of mine, and he thought it was weird too.

I have my own personal items such as a toothbrush, comb, razor and nail clippers, and I don't think it's weird to have my own gloves. What do you think?

Gentle Reader: That you should put on your gloves and do the dishes instead of polling people. We are all entitled to our little harmless habits, Miss Manners believes, but we are not entitled to demand approval for them.

“Don't stop....”

Since: Feb 10

Chicago

#2 May 17, 2010
There is so much wrong with this.

"I'm not inclined to socialize with her until she's an honest woman, or our son is on his deathbed."

If your son's girlfriend is not an honest woman, what's that make your son?

Could you possibly be any more ignorant and judgmental? Your son is 26. He's living in San Fran so I assume he's doing o.k. for himself. You're not writing about drug abuse, criminal activity, disrespect or negative behavior toward you, so it appears that your only gripe is that your adult, independent son is not proceeding in his relationship as you would dictate. Get a grip.

How do you "show him a proper mix of parental affection and disapproval?" Get off your high horse. You're not training a dog. You make it sound like you're trying to manage some kind of behavior modification process. Keep it up and you'll lose him.
Angela

Saint Paul, MN

#3 May 17, 2010
I only hope that the dishonest woman finds out that her boyfriend's mom wrote this, so she can run the other direction before permanently joining the family.
Angela

Saint Paul, MN

#4 May 17, 2010
and something tells me that the son made a purposeful choice to move far away from his mother.

Since: Jun 09

Madison, WI

#5 May 17, 2010
Anyone watch the Tudors on Showtime? LW1 seems to be stuck in that period of time.

L2: I think it's weird, but I think your wife should also respect your desires. If she's not wearing your gloves or using your comb, then WTF is the problem. You're a weirdo; get used to it. Feel better now?

My wife thinks posting on Topix is weird, and she can't understand my obsession with fiery, hot, tear and sweat-inducing food. I also find plenty of things she does strange to me. That doesn't stop us from respecting each other's space and individuality.

Wait a second! Are these letters fake? Glen, did you make these up?
Angela

Saint Paul, MN

#6 May 17, 2010
Thoren, imagine her horror if he were gay.

Or, gasp, gets his dishonest woman pregnant and opts to not get married!!!

“Don't stop....”

Since: Feb 10

Chicago

#7 May 17, 2010
cycle003 wrote:
Anyone watch the Tudors on Showtime? LW1 seems to be stuck in that period of time.
L2: I think it's weird, but I think your wife should also respect your desires. If she's not wearing your gloves or using your comb, then WTF is the problem. You're a weirdo; get used to it. Feel better now?
My wife thinks posting on Topix is weird, and she can't understand my obsession with fiery, hot, tear and sweat-inducing food. I also find plenty of things she does strange to me. That doesn't stop us from respecting each other's space and individuality.
Wait a second! Are these letters fake? Glen, did you make these up?
Nope, dey's fa real. I am not in fabrication mode today. Garth saw it too, he's my back-up.

Since: Jan 09

Location hidden

#8 May 17, 2010
Did anyone else read
Our 26-year-old son lives out of state in San Francisco, where, unfortunately (from our point of view as traditional parents), he has partially gone native by having what we hope will be his first and last live-in girlfriend.
and immediately think: wait a sec, if a guy moves to San Francisco and "goes native," that usually means he moves in with a BOYFRIEND, not girlfriend?

I just spent some time talking with a friend about a family where all three of the adult "children" are fabulous people, but the mother they come from would make anyone run screaming from the wedding altar so as not to be related to her.

I agree with Angela, that moving cross-country was no accident.

“Don't stop....”

Since: Feb 10

Chicago

#9 May 17, 2010
Angela wrote:
Thoren, imagine her horror if he were gay.
Or, gasp, gets his dishonest woman pregnant and opts to not get married!!!
Or even worse, a strikin'out lookin', bad-carrot cake-makin', cheap swill drinkin' crazy cat lady who's bad in the sack!!
Angela

Saint Paul, MN

#10 May 17, 2010
TamoraRose wrote:
Did anyone else read
<quoted text>
and immediately think: wait a sec, if a guy moves to San Francisco and "goes native," that usually means he moves in with a BOYFRIEND, not girlfriend?
I'm thinkign this letter writer is unaware that homosexuality exists, and that some men who get lonely merely take in a male friend for the company and chore sharing, and talk longingly of the fine women they are missing out on.
poe dunk

AOL

#11 May 17, 2010
in frisco ,.....maybe the 'woman' is really a tranny ,..... 50%- 50% chance out in that neck of the woods ,.... hey 'P's ,...the story is even worse than you think !

“It made sense at the time....”

Since: May 09

United States

#12 May 17, 2010
LW1 - What's the phrase, love the sinner, hate the sin? at the rate you're going, you'll find that he was on his deathbead by reading an obituary. also, they're legal adults, so what they want to do is up to them; let them "entangle their affairs," "continue to court" (and who the hell does that any more?), and live their lives. if you don't want to deal with them, don't visit, just write.

LW2 - BFD, get over it. personally, i don't think sharign gloves is such a big deal (don't even wear any wehn i do the dishes), but you're making a bigger deal out of it than the situation merits. Nail clippers and toothbrushes are one thing to keep a personal set, but i don't see why one would need their own dish gloves... not like there are any biohazard issues.

Since: Jun 09

Madison, WI

#13 May 17, 2010
TamoraRose wrote:
Did anyone else read
<quoted text>
and immediately think: wait a sec, if a guy moves to San Francisco and "goes native," that usually means he moves in with a BOYFRIEND, not girlfriend?
I just spent some time talking with a friend about a family where all three of the adult "children" are fabulous people, but the mother they come from would make anyone run screaming from the wedding altar so as not to be related to her.
I agree with Angela, that moving cross-country was no accident.
Soon as I saw San Francisco, I thought the letter was going to be about him being gay, then when I read "native," all kinds of weird things popped into my head. I imagined this guy with long hair, naked (or practically so), doing rituals. OK, so I'm weird.

I know people like the LW exist, but it's always shocking how right they think they are and how wrong they will act in defense of their righteous position.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#14 May 17, 2010
LW1: Hmmm
So, ol' Judy is suggesting that the LW act in such as way as to make the couple feel uncomfortable if they act as themselves. She is suggesting that the young couple be subtly "shamed" into not "flaunting" their relationship to mom and dad since mom and dad don't approve of their lifestyle and making them feel rude or crude for not acceding to mom and dad's standards.

Isn't this the way homophobe's treat gay relatives? Shame them into the closet so they don't feel comfortable just being who they are...

Since: Jan 09

Location hidden

#15 May 17, 2010
Angela wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm thinkign this letter writer is unaware that homosexuality exists, and that some men who get lonely merely take in a male friend for the company and chore sharing, and talk longingly of the fine women they are missing out on.
*snort*

Since: Jun 09

Madison, WI

#16 May 17, 2010
Mister Tonka wrote:
LW1: Hmmm
So, ol' Judy is suggesting that the LW act in such as way as to make the couple feel uncomfortable if they act as themselves. She is suggesting that the young couple be subtly "shamed" into not "flaunting" their relationship to mom and dad since mom and dad don't approve of their lifestyle and making them feel rude or crude for not acceding to mom and dad's standards.
Isn't this the way homophobe's treat gay relatives? Shame them into the closet so they don't feel comfortable just being who they are...
That's an interesting take on the advice, and I had not really considered it that way. I took the advice as more of a kill 'em kindness and put up a wall of denial. I think Miss Manners recognizes that this woman will not readily come to accept their co-habitation, so she suggests the woman just pretend it doesn't exist. I don't think that she suggests that the LW actively shame them but to blatantly show that she wants to live the facade. Most socially aware people would clue in on that and act with a little restraint. While I don't think this is the ideal situation, I think it's better than the alternative. I also don't think that the LW can even bring herself that far toward acceptance.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#17 May 17, 2010
cycle003 wrote:
That's an interesting take on the advice, and I had not really considered it that way. I took the advice as more of a kill 'em kindness and put up a wall of denial.
"I'm ignoring the fact that you are living together in sin/gay and hoping it will go away"
cycle003 wrote:
I think Miss Manners recognizes that this woman will not readily come to accept their co-habitation,
Or gayness if he were gay
cycle003 wrote:
so she suggests the woman just pretend it doesn't exist. I don't think that she suggests that the LW actively shame them but to blatantly show that she wants to live the facade.
Yes. The facade. I don't lik that you are co-habitating with that woman/you are gay, so I am going to act like that isn't the case and hopefully, you will pick up on my cues and not act like you are a couple/are gay.
cycle003 wrote:
Most socially aware people would clue in on that and act with a little restraint.
Yes. Most gay men would act less gay around the disapproving people and try to talk about chicks.(That's called being in the closet)
cycle003 wrote:
While I don't think this is the ideal situation, I think it's better than the alternative. I also don't think that the LW can even bring herself that far toward acceptance.
And that's the problem in this scenario AND the gay scenario. Her son should not have to hide who he is and who he's dating to placate mom. Sorry. Mom needs to learn to deal with people on their terms as much as she would like for them to live on hers.

Since: Jun 09

Madison, WI

#18 May 17, 2010
I get what you're saying, Tonka, but I don't think it's so atrocious as you are describing. Sure, the mom should get over it and learn to accept the situation as it really is, whether it's living without marriage or a gay kid. However, what I think is being suggested by Miss Manners is more of a compromise. Instead of discriminating against the gf (or gay lover), she's encouraging this woman to just try to get along and put her discomfort aside. I see it as more of a way of easing into the situation. I'd expect that this LW's son (or a gay person) had rather their mother pretend nothings going on (even though everyone knows it is) and be nice and accepting of the significant other than to refuse to speak to him/her and be rude.

In other words, Miss Manners is suggesting that the LW act cordially but also suggests that she doesn't have to talk about the subject. Is it insulting to their relationship? Sure, but it's less insulting than refusing to socialize with his significant other, which is what the LW says she plans to do.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#19 May 17, 2010
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>
"I'm ignoring the fact that you are living together in sin/gay and hoping it will go away"
<quoted text> Or gayness if he were gay
<quoted text> Yes. The facade. I don't lik that you are co-habitating with that woman/you are gay, so I am going to act like that isn't the case and hopefully, you will pick up on my cues and not act like you are a couple/are gay.
<quoted text> Yes. Most gay men would act less gay around the disapproving people and try to talk about chicks.(That's called being in the closet)
<quoted text> And that's the problem in this scenario AND the gay scenario. Her son should not have to hide who he is and who he's dating to placate mom. Sorry. Mom needs to learn to deal with people on their terms as much as she would like for them to live on hers.
He is not hiding who he is dating or who he is nor is he being asked to do so. His mother is being asked to pretend he isn't living with gf because Mom disapproves. By the same token son and gf are being asked not to rub Mom's nose in something she disapproves of.

If I were a black hating birther, and my daughter brought home someone like Eric Holder, the equivalent would be my keeping my mouth shut about my opinions while they were present.. If, for a short period of time you pretend a situation does not exist, you are not necessarily a hypocrite, you may just be... dare I say it?...polite.
Angela

Saint Paul, MN

#20 May 17, 2010
The woman isn't doing herself any favors if she is hoping to be a doting grandmother. Alienate their DIL, and good luck having access to grandkids.

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