Don’t count prob­lems; add up your bless­ings

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360BETS -

Dear Carolyn: Seek­ing un­bi­ased opin­ions on a few things.

(1) My hus­band has two adult sons from his first mar­riage. Their mom was an ad­dict and “aban­doned” the fam­ily when the boys were 5 and 18 months. So my hus­band was the pri­mary par­ent.

Come my hus­band’s birth­day, Fa­ther’s Day and Christ­mas, the older son/daugh­ter-in-law do not give my hus­band any­thing, ex­cept a card, if I send them an e-mail re­minder — oth­er­wise they bring noth­ing. The younger son does give gifts to his dad. To me, it’s a slap in the face not to give your fa­ther a to­ken gift. This cou­ple has no prob­lem tak­ing the gen­er­ous gifts from my hus­band. My hus­band says, “It doesn’t bother me, I’m a giver not a taker,” as his de­fault de­fense. My hus­band did con­fide in me once that he is ashamed his boy turned out to be a “taker.” Hubby will not tell him this. He does not want to “es­trange” the son he sees only sev­eral times a year.

(2) My hus­band is ad­dicted to mo­tor­cy­cles. He was when I met him (we’ve been to­gether six years). If he were sin­gle, he’d use all of his five vacation weeks to travel the coun­try on his mo­tor­cy­cle. He and I take about two weeks of “to­gether” va­ca­tions. His other weeks, he rides while I stay home.

He en­cour­ages me to use these weeks to visit friends and fam­ily, but I re­sent be­ing shoved aside for his mo­tor­cy­cle trips.

I used to ride with him some­times, but back and neck prob­lems pre­vent me from con­tin­u­ing. I did not en­joy that mode of travel much any­way.

What do you think?

— Ari­zona

Dear Ari­zona: If I could, I’d sen­tence you to five min­utes a day of writ­ing down your bless­ings, un­til it kills your im­pulse to fuss over what­ever isn’t go­ing ex­actly as you’d like.

Your hus­band’s mo­tor­cy­cle pas­sion? You are try­ing to keep him from en­joy­ing it. Cut it out.

I un­der­stand want­ing to share your va­ca­tions; I do. But you mar­ried some­one who loves rid­ing, loved it be­fore you loved each other. He cut back to make room for you: three weeks bik­ing solo, 49 weeks with you.

Where you see a threat, I see an ally: Bik­ing keeps the guy you love happy. It keeps a part of him alive, too — a big part of the whole per­son you fell for. Em­brace that.

It’s not your place to change him any­way, but you can change the way you re­spond to him.

As for the “un­grate­ful” son? Prod­ding him hasn’t worked. Prod­ding your hus­band to get up­set hasn’t worked. Your pride in his his­tory is sweet, as is your de­sire to win him his due — but it stops be­ing sweet when you stir up some­thing that the prin­ci­pals them­selves have de­cided to leave at rest.

cAroLYN hAX

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