Los Angeles Times
Let in-law in on feelings
Dear Amy: This little thing has nagged me for many years. My son has had two marriages; both of his wives have never felt comfortable calling me “Dad” or by my first name. Instead, they have called me “Grampa” in text messages, and even when we’re together.
My son has been married to his current wife for 10 years now. What happened today was the last straw: In a group text message with my wife and me, our two kids and their spouses, the daughter-in-law wrote: “Thanks Grampa and Gramma for babysitting for us!” I just wanted to fire back “You’re welcome, Mother of the Grandkids!”
I have mentioned it offhandedly to my son but that has made no difference.
Otherwise, I have a great relationship with her. Would it be OK for me to say to her, “When the kids are not around, can you please call me by my first name, or ‘Dad?’ ”
I really do not want this to go on another 10 years!
Say My Name
Dear Say My Name: I know of younger-generation in-laws who never address their elder parents-in-law by any specific name because they’ve never had any direction from the elder and are too timid to ask.
Many people don’t feel comfortable calling their inlaws “Mom” and “Dad” because they already have parents they address this way.
When the grandchildren come along, the elder finally has a real designation: “Grandpa.”
You don’t mention how your son addresses his parents-in-law (if he has them). This might provide some insight. My point is that your daughter-in-law won’t know that this bothers you if you aren’t brave enough to gently tell her.
So, you say, “This might sound like a minor thing, but would you mind calling me by my first name? I am cool being ‘Grandpa’ when we’re with the kids or referring to the kids, but otherwise I’d love it if you would just call me ‘Dave.’ Are you OK with that?”
She might be relieved to know your preference.
Dear Amy: I’ve recently become good friends with a woman and have begun to develop romantic feelings for her. On more than one occasion, we have shared moments that have led me to believe that the feeling might be mutual.
There’s just one catch: She is in a long-distance relationship with another man.
I respect her right to date who she wants and don’t want to make things weird by pushing the issue, but whenever we’re together, I feel a pull of attraction that is getting hard to ignore.
I’m afraid if this continues, one of us may cross an ethical line. I’d be happy to make a move if she broke up with her boyfriend, but that isn’t my call to make.
Is she waiting for me to say something? Or just using me as a distraction because she’s lonely? Maybe I’m just reading too much into it? What’s the right move here?
Dear Smitten: The right move is to talk! “Are you waiting for me to say something?” “Am I reading too much into this attraction?”
If your conversation progresses and she expresses interest in you, I hope you will make sure she knows that you are not willing to date her while she is involved with someone else. I suspect she will find this ethical stand refreshing.