This past election season, he ran for our local city council election and came close to winning. Dear Prudence, My large, extended family—including my 96-year-old grandmother and my ailing parents—is getting together for Thanksgiving at my sister’s house. That was not acceptable to her, because she wanted the family together on this day, and she said that I could come with only my date. "Dear Prudence: Thanksgiving at my family's was a nightmare. It took me a while to get back to dating. When we began planning dinner, I … While most adults don’t thrill at the idea of spending the night in a twin bed, sometimes it happens when one bunks with family, and insisting that your host clear out of her own bedroom for you—even if said host is your adult child—is out of line. The next day, my boyfriend’s sister drove me back to the airport and lectured me, saying I should have asked for shampoo and conditioner from her and not used the fancy ones in the bathroom. The nonsmokers will have to cough their way through the meal. He leaves the lights off at Halloween and shouts at any children who knock on his door. The problem is, I said my grandmother could smoke inside. I understand you want to be with your new guy, but this is a recent romance, and a huge family celebration is not necessarily the best venue for introducing a potential but not-yet-established boyfriend and his family. Emily Yoffe I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I told him my family would not be amused by that at all, and he answered that it was just a joke and we were all “way too uptight.” I’m upset, both by his comment in the hospital and by his attitude toward my feelings about it. But since your grandmother sounds as if she’s still moving under her own power, maybe you could set up the garage as a smoldering anteroom. Do I reach out to this stranger? It’s also to be expected that your mother’s companion would be at your family gatherings. We’d been friends for a few years before we started dating months ago. I Only Get Angry on Rare Occasions, but When I Do, It’s Really Bad. Accept that what seems interesting and a bit removed for you may feel fresh and painful for him, be prepared to listen, and take your time. You have welcomed her companion into the family, so he should be grown-up enough to respect the memory of the man who came first. I try to act as a mentor to the more junior female attorneys when possible, but I am at a loss as to how to deal with one particular issue. Her in-laws are staying over, so my mother and her new boyfriend are staying with me. Am I a bad daughter for wanting to go to my boyfriend's at Christmas?" Last year, he volunteered to give the blessing at Thanksgiving. Ask yourself, too, what your goals are in reaching out to your grandfather in particular. Annie just told me that she would like to be invited to Thanksgiving." Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. "Dear Prudence: Mom always hosts Thanksgiving; this year, I have the job. He’s lodged several complaints about kids coming into his yard without permission and sent notes to everybody warning that he was not prepared to take on any liability for their safety on his property. Resenting that they are now an established couple will add to the strain between you and your mother. But don’t be afraid to name a conspicuous dynamic, and don’t worry that you’re breaking some sort of hosting etiquette by pointing out the obvious and asking for a solution. Help! Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. He’s had particular difficulty with my 7-year-old son, who seems drawn to his home, and he’s gone from complaining to me to saying horrible things to my child. Dear Prudence,Whenever I host large dinner parties, only the women offer to help with dishes. His sister lives in the Deep South, while we live on the coast. He just informed me he plans to wear a T-shirt to Thanksgiving this year with a dead frog nailed to a cross with the words ‘He died for you.’ If he follows through with this childishness it may cause me to leave him.”. In a live chat, Prudie offers advice on the desire for a “quiet” Thanksgiving. Dear Prudence, My father had an affair many years ago, and I found out about it. I think the best way to correct this is to be brisk and upfront: Once the chatter has died down after the dessert course, grab a few plates and say, “Every time I host a dinner party, it’s always women who want to help me clean up afterward. and fluffy towels right by the bath. Are there any men who can help me out?” Hopefully—I’m assuming the guys you socialize with are more passively than actively sexist when it comes to kitchen cleanup—you’ll see a few chastened faces, followed by a hasty offer or two. It also sounds like he’s only lashing out when kids knock on his door or play in his yard, rather than leaving his house and looking for children to push around. I’m hosting a Friendsgiving, and some people will bring their own dishes or booze, so I don’t even know if it’s appropriate to ask for help if they’ve contributed something to dinner. She’ll be online at Washingtonpost.com to chat with readers each Monday at 1 p.m. You don’t have to get into a conversation about sex in order to say no to this request. My mother, younger brother, and I took it hard. She said she has to order them online and it was very rude of me. Here’s a recent Christmas-themed letter from Dear Prudence you might enjoy, with my advice to follow: My husband and I have two grown daughters, “Holly” and “Ivy.” I also have another much older daughter, “Gertrude,” born during my brief first marriage. Prudie counsels a letter writer whose atheist husband coopts Thanksgiving grace to rant about God. You want marriage and children, and you don’t have lots of time to waste, but here you are, snooping in his sock drawer to see if there’s a wedding ring hidden there, and waiting for your boyfriend to decide your fate. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. Dear Prudence, I work at an elementary school with a very needy population. Have another conversation with your mother in which you explain that you’re thrilled she’s found someone wonderful, but if something reminds you of your father, you want to be able to mention it without self-consciousness. Kevin Kuenkler. If you are hosting a holiday meal, you have every right to cheerfully conscript your friends and guests into whatever tasks need doing in order for them to get their free meal. I actually don’t understand why, after two years together, you would agree to an open-ended cohabitation. Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members. But I imagine you don’t relish the thought of doing so if it would cause him grief, and I can also imagine your getting in touch with these people may potentially upend their whole world if they don’t already know that your biological grandfather abandoned another family wholesale in the 1950s. Anyone dating a widow or widower, especially one with children, should expect, and want, the departed loved one to always be remembered. We have been invited to his cousin’s house for Thanksgiving. (Questions may be edited.). Holly and … I’m Too Hot for My Age: Prudie counsels a woman whose youthful looks bring her nothing but problems—and other advice seekers.” Posted Feb. 8, 2010.”The Pervy Principal: Prudie counsels a school worker whose boss trolls Internet porn on the job—and other advice seekers.” Posted Feb. 1, 2010.”Sticky Fingers Can’t Stop Stealing: Prudie counsels a good Samaritan gone bad—and other advice seekers.” Posted Jan. 25, 2010. Dear Prudence, My girlfriend is the chef and owner of a local restaurant that’s recently become extremely popular. When it seemed we no longer spoke about Dad at all due to this gentleman, I talked to my mom about it. Lindy West. If your mother has made talk of your father verboten because of her friend, then you need to explain to her that while you’re not going to dwell on your father’s death in their company, neither are you going to wipe him from your memory. She is 91 years old, and I would never ask her to stand outside in the cold. Tell her that your guest bedroom only has twin beds, and if that doesn’t meet her standards, she should find a nearby hotel. Every year, millions of people across the nation take to the roads, rails and skies to make it home in time for this special day. Family dynamics and political opinions can be hard to navigate during Thanksgiving. However, there is the kind of remembrance that is normal and natural: “Remember how Dad always claimed the turkey legs for himself?” And then there is turning family gatherings into a permanent memorial service. It wasn’t the biggest deal in the world, but you don’t have to agree with me in order to acknowledge that it’s reasonable for me to have disliked it.” It may also help if you can drop the request for him to apologize to your family, since it doesn’t sound like anyone else has expressed a desire for an apology. You can manage your newsletter subscriptions at any time. Get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week; click here to sign up. You’ve run out of free articles. ... Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends. Should I rescind the invitation to his family and have the two of us attend my family’s dinner, even though he doesn’t want to leave his daughter alone? He may have any one of a number of possible responses; be patient with him and give him time to process this new information. Slate Plus members get extra questions, Prudie Uncensored with Nicole Cliffe, and full-length podcast episodes every week. She got extremely defensive. I asked my boyfriend whether, if we were married, my parents would have been invited, and he said yes, which made me wish I hadn’t asked. Why is my guest room not acceptable? The thought of my mother having sex with her boyfriend in my bed makes me want to vomit. I started screaming at the top of my lungs, slamming doors--basically throwing a tantrum like a child. Yes, it was a lot of work, but I like to cook. Thanks for signing up! Just wanted to say thank you for playing The Damned “Shadow of Love”. My sister is focused on her family, while my mother has been constantly traveling with her new boyfriend. Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. He says that he still does, but after a year of living together, we are not married and there is no engagement ring in sight. This led me to an interest in Pilgrim and Puritan history, and a few stories I like to recount on Thanksgiving. Cooking stressed her. This man sounds dreadful to be around. I was glad to see her happy and began to worry less about her. He abandoned my grandmother with two children in England in the 1950s, went AWOL from the Air Force, and was never heard from again. “Abuser Seeks a Way Out: I’m an emotional bully to all my girlfriends. Mary later married John Winslow, Edward’s brother, so there is a tie to the Winslow family. Or do I leave it well enough alone and say it was never meant to be?—Family Ties. Her 17-year-old granddaughter, who lives on the other side of the country, is a vegan. Dear Prudence,I recently did some research on an ancestry website about my recently deceased grandmother’s family. Dear Smoked,Smoked turkey is a delicious dish. All contents © 2020 The Slate Group LLC. Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Slate’s Dear Prudence, is co-founder of the Toast and the author of Texts From Jane Eyre and The Merry Spinster. By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. This would be the first time most of my family will meet him. Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Slate’s Dear Prudence, is co-founder of the Toast and the author of Texts From Jane Eyre and The Merry Spinster. • Join the live chat every Monday at noon. I appreciate this, but when I take them up on their offer, there’s a gender imbalance in the kitchen I’m uncomfortable with. Our relationship is now very strained. Do you want to try to facilitate a reunion? It will help clarify what the next right move is, to have more specific aims than “satisfy my curiosity.” If you’re willing to run the various risks, then it would be kind to tell your father before contacting any of these potential new family members. 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