Don’t count problems; add up your blessings
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?
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.