Dear Amy: My husband and I have spent several of the past few summers visiting (his) longtime family friends at their vacation home. They are always very kind and welcoming.
While I enjoy the wife in this couple, I find the husband to be very off-putting.
In the beginning, I put it down to my own distaste and made the best of the situation. I have spoken to my husband about these feelings and he is empathetic and respectful.
I never communicate with the husband outside of our visits and have pulled back a little from communicating with his wife.
My husband visits them regularly while working in their state.
Recently, the husband asked my husband in casual conversation why I didn’t like him. I think this is a very rude question to ask someone’s partner.
I’m sure my husband said something about it not being true and quickly moved off-topic.
As we are headed out for a visit, I’m nervous that he will ask me the same question.
I cannot tell him that I do not care for him, nor can I pretend that we are best friends. He has never done anything inappropriate – but I simply do not like him. I do not trust him and would never be around him if it weren’t for my husband’s long friendship.
Please help me to stay polite. I tend to show exactly how I’m feeling on my face.
— Not Savvy
Dear Not Savvy: You don’t like this man. Even though you know that you have conveyed your dislike to him, you now blame him for asking your husband why you don’t like him.
Why blame him? It seems to me that this is a natural question to ask a longtime friend. Surely if he had done or said something offensive to you, he might want the opportunity to apologize.
You don’t have to like everyone in the world, and because you can’t seem to pin down the basis of your reaction to this man, you could chalk it up to chemistry.
If you are going to continue to accept the generosity and hospitality offered by this couple, you should also figure out how to sit more comfortably with the dynamic brought up by your reaction to him.
If he asks you directly, you can respond, “I can tell you honestly that you have never done anything to offend me, and I appreciate my husband’s friendship with you. I know it’s awkward, but this really is one of those, ‘It’s not you, it’s ME’ situations.”
Dear Amy: I always thought I was a good dad, but I know I made mistakes.
My ex and I divorced when our girls were aged 7 and 4 (they are now 32 and 29).
We had a good relationship at first, but once they hit their mid-teens, they blamed me for everything from poor grades to failed relationships.
I have always tried to stay connected (phone calls, birthdays, Christmas cards), but it has been seven years since I got a return call or card.
My concern is that now I am writing my will and I am torn between two ideas.
On one hand, I want to just forget the past and leave everything to my girls.
My other thought is that they want nothing to do with me, OK. There are lots of other people who have been good friends and supportive of me who could use a little financial help.
I am thinking of leaving the girls a small 10 percent share each and giving the rest to supporters and charities. What’s appropriate?
— Wondering Dad
Dear Dad: No matter what course you choose, by the time your will is read, it will be too late to revise these relationships. I hope you and your daughters find a way to do so while you’re still here.
I vote for whatever is behind Door Number Two. Leave the bulk of your money to people and organizations you treasure. Acknowledge your daughters, and perhaps leave them with a smaller sum and a statement saying that you sincerely wish you three had found a way to be closer.
Dear Amy: "Don't Ask Me" complained about incessant questions from her husband.
Sounds like she should employ the same tactic used to combat that behavior in toddlers.
When asked a question, you reply with: "What do you think?"
They learn quickly to analyze their thoughts internally rather than seek external answers.
Dear DB: It’s worth a try.
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