DEAR CAROLYN: My son and his fiancee bought a condo close to us, which then flooded. They moved in with us and repairs have taken longer than anticipated.
His fiancee, “Laura,” is an intense introvert. For that reason, I gave up my exercise, TV and craft room for her to have her “alone” time.
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The problem? She feels trapped when she must eat at the table with us. He just informed us tonight. I do the dishes and clean the kitchen to release the tension, but it’s obvious, she would rather eat in the bedroom or not eat. My son is fine with eating with us.
I really don’t want anyone eating in other rooms due to roaches, ants, mice, rats, etc. And I certainly don’t want to make Laura feel “trapped.” I was even told she hated family get-togethers before they moved in. It seems this is an extreme introversion, or maybe I just don’t understand it. Please advise.
DEAR ANONYMOUS: You actually don’t need to understand it.
You don’t even need to accommodate it, technically, since it’s your home.
It would help if you could do both to some degree, of course, but only to demonstrate compassion versus prostrate yourself to the point of resentment.
In this case, just say:
You’re sorry to hear Laura isn’t comfortable;
She’s welcome to handle her meals as she wishes, of course;
And she’s always welcome at your table.
That’s it. Donesies.
It’s not personal so don’t take it personally; it’s not your business so don’t make it so.
The vermin thing would make it your business because it’s your home, sure, but that concern is also a red herring unless Laura is a messy eater and/or leaves crusty dishes around.
So, drop it. Drop it all. Your best chance that she’ll be comfortable with you eventually is for you to be at ease with — and make things easy for — her.
I hope your more outgoing son (right?) understands fully the life he’s committing to — for Laura’s sake especially — and is ready to compensate and compromise to get his own social needs met. Your willingness to listen and be flexible, without butting in, could be a gift to them both.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle