Tag Archives: awkward

The only thing more fun than fighting with your spouse is watching another couple fight.

What do you do about couples who argue all the time in front of you? My sister-in-law and brother-in-law are the worst. They not only argue, but it often results in them screaming, swearing at each other, etc. It always bothered me, but now with kids, it bothers me even more to have them have to witness it. I could say, “Please don’t in front of the kids…” except they do in front of their own…

Next time they start laying into each other in front of you, curl into the fetal position, start rocking back and forth, and maybe bang your head against the wall a few times. Cover your ears with your hands and start wailing, “I’m sorry Mommy, I’m sorry Daddy. Please don’t get a divorce! It’s all my fault! I’m so bad it’s all my faaauuuuulllllttttttt!”

You’ll look a little unstable, but you’ll only have to do this once.

If that’s a little over dramatic for your taste (pansy), just give them a hairy eyeball, hustle your kids and theirs out of the room, and be all passive-aggressive and say, “It sounds like Dick and Judy need some time to themselves. Let’s go play Mario Kart.” They sound like unstable people, and hopefully they’ll either go to counseling or get a divorce some time soon. At any rate, it’s not your business to help them work it out. What is your business is making sure your nieces and nephews know that they have in their lives a sane, stable adult who knows how to behave in a functional relationship. Yeah, that would be you.

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My two-year-old is engaged to be married, and this bothers my husband.

We have a two-year-old girl. Our good friends have a boy who is a little older than our daughter. They joke around a lot about how the kids going to get married some day, which is cute and I don’t mind. My husband, however, goes nuts when we see them and they say to their son things like, “Look, it’s your girlfriend,” or “They are just the cutest little couple!” I thought he was joking around when he said he wanted to tell them to stop, but after the last time we saw them, he was really pissed off and said if they talk about it again he’s going to say something. I don’t think he should say anything so now I don’t want to hang out with them because I’m afraid he’s going to offend them.

When the kids are 16 and that family comes over for dinner, and the dad gives his son a condom and says, “Go get ‘er, Tiger!,” your husband can speak up.

For now, he should clam it. Your husband knows these people aren’t serious; the kids are two. Clearly they’re not in any kind of relationship, and the other couple is being affectionate, not vulgar. Your husband is reacting to what it makes him think about: he can’t deal with his little girl growing up and having boyfriends. I do believe this is normal, so just talk to him about what’s really bothering him and maybe he’ll relax. If he doesn’t, then maybe talk to your friend, privately and with good humor, and see if she can’t mention to her husband that your husband is freaked out by the coupling of your children. Then a confrontation is avoided, and you can all keep having fun together.

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FOR THE HUNDREDTH TIME: there’s food in your teeth!

I work with a woman who always has stuff in her teeth. She’s not gross or unclean – I’m thinking maybe there’s something about the way her teeth are set up that makes for a particularly welcoming spot for lingering lettuce . At any rate, I interact with this woman regularly and it seems I’m always telling her there’s something in her teeth, to the point where I now feel weird about it. She takes care of the lettuce when I give her the alert, but never seems particularly grateful that I told her. Should I stop pointing it out?

If you interact with her so often that you feel like you’re always telling her she has lettuce in her teeth, you must have somewhat of a cordial relationship with her. Maybe you could say, “I feel like I’m always telling you that there’s stuff in your teeth. Do you want me to stop?” She probably won’t say no, and then it’ll be out in the open. This way, you either have her permission to tell, and then you don’t have to be sheepish about it, and you can shorthand the whole exchange by just pointing to your teeth and making a face.

Either that or say, loudly, like you’re acting in a play, “My life has really changed since I started brushing my teeth after lunch. Now I don’t have lettuce stuck in my teeth all the time!”

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Everybody likes a tattletale.

My cousin (let’s call her Megan) lives one town over from me, and my husband and I spend time with her and her husband regularly. Over the last five years, the men have become really close friends – better friends than Megan and me. We’ve never been particularly close. I love her, but we’re very different people.

My sister, however, has been Megan’s confidante since they were small, and she’s always reported Megan’s drama back to me. I keep my mouth shut about it, but last week when my sister was over for dinner she mentioned that Megan’s has been having an email flirtation with a man she works with, and was planning a hotel tryst with him. None of my business, right?

Except my husband was there during that conversation, and now he’s all fired up and angry at Megan and wanting to tell his friend (her husband) that something’s going on. I told him to stay out of it but now he’s mad at me, hates Megan, and says he won’t spend time with her ever.  My sister and husband are also angry with each other, and my sister will absolutely flip out if we say anything to Megan or her husband. And while Megan is being dishonest and terrible to her lovely husband, she’s family and I need to support her. What do I do?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! My head hurts.

There’s a lot of information here, and what it boils down to is this: Megan is trouble. She’s a sneaky little liar. She should have known better than to tell your sister, and your sister should have known better than to tell you and your husband…and blah blah blah.

I’d like to make a general statement, then, about telling. I always tell my kids not to tattle, because tattling is annoying. For grownups, though, I think tattling is totally fine. If I ever knew anything about a friend’s husband, I would find a way to tell the friend. I don’t think your husband has to be involved on a personal level; any way of spilling the beans will do. Skywriting, candygram, anonymous email, whatever. I would want someone to tell me, and I wouldn’t want someone I love to suffer the humiliation of being the last person to know.

Since nothing has actually happened yet,  in this case instead of telling his friend, your husband should call Megan himself. He should say, “I know what you’re planning on doing, and I can’t in good conscience keep it from my friend. Please talk to [husband’s name] about the problems in your marriage. Since you haven’t done anything yet, maybe this can be an opportunity to save yourself from being a LYING CHEATING SLUTBAG.” (Maybe leave out those last few words, but you get the picture.)

As far as your sister is concerned, she’ll get over it. Maybe this will prompt her to tell Megan not to keep her infidelities to herself, and your sister will learn what happens when a girl doesn’t keep a secret.

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I think my boyfriend secretly wants to make out with my mom.

I think my boyfriend is flirting with my mom and it’s freaking me out. Sometimes they even email each other, and it makes me jealous. He’s naturally flirty, though, and my mom loves attention, so maybe I’m just reading into it. On the other hand, it’s not like we’re kids. My boyfriend and I are in our 30s and my mom is on the young side. They should both know better. Should I say something?

Let’s start with your boyfriend, since he’s easier to deal with. (I’m going to assume that you’re not normally the jealous type who flips out and wants to tear a girl’s hair out for accidentally looking at your boyfriend.)

Something he’s doing is skeeving you out, and he should stop. So it’s perfectly reasonable to say, “It makes me uncomfortable when you tell my mom her ass looks good in those pants.” Or, “I don’t like it when you lick your ice cream cone that way and then wiggle your eyebrows at my mother.” Or whatever specific thing he’s doing that suggests he’s flirting.

If he’s nice and understanding about it, and reassures you that he’s only saying those things and emailing her because he loves YOU and just wants to get on her good side for YOUR sake, then great. If he flips out and accuses you of being ridiculous or paranoid or controlling or jealous, you might want to think for a second about this: he’s a douche bag, he doesn’t care about your feelings, he’s being wildly inappropriate, and you should break up with him.

As far as your mom is concerned, you can’t really get rid of her. So do one of the following: 1.) Be passive-aggressive and make a joke about it, then glare at her and hope she gets the point and knocks it off. 2.) Don’t say anything, swallow your anger and resentment, and eventually when your head explodes and you have to go into therapy, talk about it there. 3.) Be firm but gentle. Tell her you don’t like it when she makes kitty claws and meows at him, or asks him if he’ll rub suntan lotion on her back and says, “I wish my boobs were on my back.” And whatever her response to you is, just be pleasant and ignore any insistence that it’s all in your head.


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