DEAR ABBY: My wife works from home, and we are having a disagreement about the home workspace. She says I interrupt her too much and shouldn’t talk to her so often. While I agree with that, I don’t agree with her roaming around the house with her laptop while she’s in meetings. If I turn on the TV, listen to music or talk on the phone, she gets upset.
I have been digging my heels in saying I’m entitled to enjoy my own home and she should either stay in her home office or go to a coffee shop. To me, what she’s doing is like taking your laptop into the work break room and telling people to be quiet because she’s in a meeting.
I know her job is stressful and she gets anxious, so now I’m torn. Am I unrealistic to expect her not to make our entire house her office? — WALKING ON EGGSHELLS
DEAR WALKING: People create home offices for a reason. It’s a dedicated, organized place to work. Your wife should not be “roaming the house” with her laptop and insisting you maintain complete silence. Ideally, some physical boundaries should be set that equitably divide the house between her “office” and the “rest of the house.”
Another suggestion might be for you to find some activity away from your home a couple of mornings or afternoons a week — a part-time job, a sport or volunteering — while she’s busy in meetings. This might provide you with more social contact. The two of you should have a (calm) discussion and see what works for you.
DEAR ABBY: I got engaged a while back. In the midst of wedding planning, the question of who will walk me down the aisle has come up. My fiance despises my father (he’s witnessed the damage my dad has done to me), but I forgave Dad and feel neutral about his presence. My mom has voiced — begged, actually — that I allow her and Dad to give me away since she didn’t have either parent there for her wedding.
I don’t have an opinion on the subject. My mom for sentimental reasons does. But my future husband can’t bear the sight of my dad. This is causing me so much anxiety, I have thought about calling the whole thing off on more than one occasion.
If I oblige my mom, my fiance will be unhappy (to say the least), and if I oblige my fiance, I’ll break Mom’s heart. I can find no middle ground here and feel as if I lose on both sides. Any advice on how to proceed? — TORN BRIDE-TO-BE
DEAR TORN: This is your and your fiance’s wedding. It should not be influenced by your mother’s history. I do have a suggestion: Rather than make yourself sick with anxiety, walk YOURSELF down the aisle. Many modern brides do it these days. Your mother could give a reading or sit with your father in the front row and cheer you on. Who escorts you down the aisle should not be decided by her.
P.S. Have you thought about how your fiance’s antipathy for your father may affect your marriage? What’s happening now isn’t conducive to a happy marriage. Before you step foot on that trip down the aisle, it needs to be resolved. Family counseling might help the four of you, because once you tie the knot, your fiance will be part of the family.
DEAR ABBY: Should aging parents have to pay their children to take them to appointments or elsewhere? — WONDERING PARENT
DEAR WONDERING PARENT: I’m guessing you and your spouse did plenty of “chauffeuring” before your children had driver’s licenses. The “child” who suggested payment should be ashamed of themselves.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)