Posted in the Chicago Forum
Since: Jun 09
#1 Feb 2, 2014
Dear Amy: My family has taken a number of vacations together. These trips typically consist of my parents, me and my husband and my two younger brothers (one of whom is married with two kids).
My husband and I both work full time, after having put ourselves through college and graduate school. One of my brothers graduated college but then developed a substance abuse problem. He's been clean for about three years but is incapable of holding down full-time employment. My parents pay for his apartment and living expenses. In exchange he does odd jobs around some investment properties my parents own.
My other brother enlisted in the Navy and has worked hard. His wife stays at home to take care of their boys.
Due to different life choices and spending habits, my husband and I have far more discretionary income than my brothers. Every time my parents plan a trip, they pay for my brothers' expenses but not ours.
Part of me feels like my parents worked hard for their money, and they should be able to spend it however they please. The other part of me feels like my husband and I are being taken advantage of.
How do I address the unfairness of the situation without making demands or ultimatums? I'm afraid I'll come off as a spoiled brat if I say something like, "We're not coming this time unless you pay for us, too, or stop paying for them." But what are our other options?— Not Fair
Dear Not Fair: Your other option is to say to your parents, "You are so generous; are you saving enough to take care of yourselves? I worry about you." Wanting your parents to kick in for your vacation is one thing. Insisting that they either pay for you or stop paying for your siblings is quite another. Don't go there.
Would you trade places with either of your brothers? Do you envy them, their riches and their easy lives? If not, then congratulate yourselves on earning your own way in life. If you don't like the financial imbalance, then inform your parents of this. But understand that you are not being penalized for being successful; you are being respected.
Dear Amy: After 13 years of marriage, our daughter and son-in-law have decided to get a divorce.
Despite all, we are very proud of them because they are good parents to our two grandchildren. We actively engage our son-in-law and intend to stay a part of his life, even though he has moved out. Being a child of a divorce herself, our daughter understands why this is important.
My husband and I are at a loss about what to do with all the family photos on display in our home. We want our grandchildren to know that we still love their father and he is an important part of their lives. At the same time, we want to respect and support our daughter. Do you have any advice on how to sensitively handle this?— Stepmother in Idaho
Dear Stepmother: You should edit your collection — put wedding photos in an album for the kids to look at — and keep some recent family photos of both parents with their children on display.
You sound very thoughtful and careful. Maybe the only advantage of the experience of divorce is the sincere desire to make it easier on children going through it.
Dear Amy: I could not disagree more with "Wiser," who assures us that no man will propose to a woman he has lived with for four years. This isn't about "cows" or "getting the milk for free"; it's about commitment. I had to beg my live-in girlfriend of 2-1/2 years to marry me. With divorce rates being what they are, I needed to be sure, and once I was I started to press her for her hand. There are a thousand stories like ours out there.— NC Nice Guy
Dear Nc: I read a recent study saying that living together is not a predictor of marriage, one way or the other. But you are right; there are a thousand happy stories like yours, and I have heard several hundred of them. Thank you all.
#2 Feb 2, 2014
1: I agree with Amy. The lw should be more concerned with whether her parents are stretching themselves too much financially. It could be they feel the vacations with all their children are worth it and are relieved that the lw and her husband are able to pay for their own expenses. Would she rather be one of her brothers? I know I'd rather not go on a family vacation than have someone else foot the bill. I might in some situations go if it were important but I wouldn't be comfortable knowing someone else (even a parent) had paid.
2: Sounds like you have a good response to your daughter and s-i-l's divorce. Hopefully they will respond in a similar fashion and remain civil to each other for the children's sake. Follow Amy's advice and then tell your daughter what you've done so she won't be blindsided. My b-i-l destroyed all his wedding photos and photos of his wife when they got divorced. He was going to do the same with the photos his parents had kept of his wedding after they died. I told him to give them to his sons and let them decide. He wouldn't have to look at them again since they were both grown men by that time and living on their own. Future generations might like to have those photos.
3: Interesting. The last I heard on this subject (admittedly some time ago), they said people who lived together before marriage were more likely to be divorced than those who didn't. I took that to mean that those who married first were more likely to have values that said a commitment is a commitment and were more likely to stick with it even during the rough times while those who lived together first did not value marriage/commitment as highly. But I guess any study depends on the group that's chosen for the study and the people doing the study. And of course I could just be totally off my rocker. But it occurs to me that because so many people ARE living together without marriage, it has lost some of its stigma and more people feel less "fear" about doing it themselves.
“reign in blood”
Since: May 09
#3 Feb 2, 2014
1- Wow, jealous much? You're [email protected] people, stop going on vacation with your parents.
2- Display what you want. Your daughter is an adult and can deal.
3- Marriage is on the decline anyway. Living together is socially acceptable now. Having children out of wedlock is socially acceptable too. What's the point in getting married anymore?
#4 Feb 2, 2014
LW1: 1. Life isn't fair. 2. Quit comparing yourself to others. 3. Develop an attitude of gratitude.
LW2: Exactly. Get some recent pictures and archive the old ones. Put the cute-couple pics away when either your daughter or ex-SIL visit.
LW3: People are complex. One minute you think that someone will 'never' do something, and the next minute, he does it. And if I hear the cow/milk analogy one more time, I will vomit.
#5 Feb 2, 2014
LW1: "I'm afraid I'll come off as a spoiled brat"
Geez, I CAN'T IMAGINE WHY <eyeroll>
Since: Jun 09
Saint Petersburg, FL
#6 Feb 3, 2014
This is what I've always heard, too.
#7 Feb 3, 2014
1: I'm not going o fault lw here. She's aware she doesn't want to be bratty. I think watching bros who make bad decisions always getting paid would grate. What are the parents teaching them? It needs to end.
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