Dear Annie: I hope you can settle a conflict I have with my boyfriend of almost nine years. One of his adult children has a wife and two children. He wants them to go on vacations with us.
The problem is that they are extremely messy. My boyfriend agrees they are extremely messy but will not talk with them about it, and I cannot deal with their mess — which always goes from one end of the unit to the other, both inside and outside.
When they use something, they just leave it wherever, including dirty dishes with food still on them. They are perfectly capable. It stresses me out, but I stay strong and refuse to be their maid.
I have given my boyfriend a condition: He needs to talk with them about keeping our common areas picked up, or I will not be joining them. What should I do? Please help soon, as summer is approaching. — No Mess, Please
Dear No Mess: This situation is stickier than a dirty spoon. This is your vacation, and you shouldn’t be acting as the take-along housekeeper. Yet as Grandpa’s girlfriend, it’s awkward for you to set down rules for his family.
This really is your boyfriend’s mess to clean up. He should absolutely talk to his son and grandchildren about tidying up. Stay strong.
If he refuses to talk to them, treat yourself to a peaceful vacation on your own.
Dear Annie: My daughter “Luann” has a master’s degree in business. Yet she will not use it. Instead, she has a low-paying job as a cashier in a dollar store. She is obese — weighing 240 pounds at 5 feet 1 inch tall. She is very obstinate; you cannot tell her anything.
Apparently, instant gratification, French fries and Diet Coke are more important than a healthy body and attractive appearance. What can I do for her situation? Would hypnosis help her to change her attitude? —Heartbroken Mother
Dear Heartbroken: Never mind her attitude; let’s focus on yours. I know that as a mother, you’re coming from a place of love. You think your criticism will help. But your letter sounds judgmental, and if you’re approaching your daughter with the same tone, it’s no wonder she’s not listening.
Luann is an adult now, a well-educated one at that, and she will make her own decisions. All you can do is be a friend — and friends don’t shame friends. Build Luann up. The better her self-esteem is the more empowered she’ll feel to change her life — if that’s what she wants.
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