Sylvia Says: Relationship Q & A

Relationship Q & A

Dear Sylvia: My parents-in-law recently helped me and my husband purchase a new home. At the time, they told us the money was a gift. Since we’ve moved they act as if they partly own our home because they helped financially. They question our decorating decisions, get upset if we don’t inform them of any improvement project, and feel that they can barge into our house without any notice. I’d rather still be living in our tiny apartment than deal with my meddlesome in-laws. My husband doesn’t know what to say because he feels indebted to them. How do we get our unwelcomed “houseguests” to pack their bags?

Had-It Homeowner

Dear Had It: First, congratulations on your new home! However, I’m sorry about your parents-in-law’s behavior. As you noted, they gave you a gift. Therefore, they should not be throwing their financial help in your face or expect to be involved in your homeowner decisions. When you give someone a scarf do you expect to have control over when and how she’ll wear it, N.O.

I can understand your husband feeling a bit timid to speak to his parents, but he must. You all can sit down for the discussion, but he needs to do the talking. He needs to tell his parents that you are both very grateful for the assistance, but, as they said, it was a gift and a gift means no strings attached. He needs to let them know that you two are not going to run every decision by them and you both would appreciate them keeping their opinions to themselves and calling before they visit.

If that doesn’t work, then I suggest that you and your husband develop a plan to pay back your in-laws. It may take some time and may be a financial burden you weren’t anticipating, but if it’s the only way to get back your sanity and independence, it’s worth it. Oh, and don’t forget to change your locks!

Dear Sylvia: Some situations have occurred between me and my boyfriend that have led to him getting in trouble with law. I understand and acknowledge my mistakes, but he is blaming me for everything and not taking any responsibility for his actions. I’m wondering if it’s even worth trying to make this relationship work if he’s just going to pin it all on me.

Drained Girlfriend

Dear Drained: Any relationship trouble that ends with police involvement is never good news. In addition to the trouble with the law, you mention that your boyfriend pins all the blame on you; but as you aptly note, it takes two to tango.

I applaud you for acknowledging your role in this drama. Now I encourage you to take that knowledge and use it to move forward in a new, positive direction. It’s time to end the relationship with your boyfriend and begin a relationship with yourself. Take some time to address any issues you may be dealing with, find out what you like/want out of a relationship, and become confident in your self-worth that you don’t need to waste your time in a relationship that involves the law.

Dear Sylvia: I have a young co-worker (23 years-old) who is constantly bragging out the restaurants she eats at, the designer bags and clothes she wears, and all the people she dates. I’m not envious because I have and do nice things too, I just don’t broadcast it. Other co-workers are getting annoyed by her behavior too. Should I say something to her so she doesn’t continue putting her designer clad foot in her mouth?

Over-It Coworker

Dear Over It: Your dilemma reminds me of that Real Housewives of Beverly Hills “character” who constantly talked about how much all of her expensive stuff cost. $25,000 sunglasses?! Come on! Your co-worker, like that RHOBV cast member, seems to be a bit immature. But, think back to when you were in your early twenties; you probably did and said some regrettable things, too.

Also, this may be your co-workers first “real” job and the first time she’s been able to afford these types of luxuries. She may be so excited she can’t keep her mouth shut, or this may be her way of telling herself and others, “I’ve made it.” Although it’s annoying to hear her constant, superficial updates, chalk it up to her being a young baller and cut her some slack. She’ll outgrow this stage, eventually. If not, then layer on your designer dudes and show her how it’s done!

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