My husband gets very upset when our 4-year-old sons don't share his enthusiasm over something that excites him. He wants them (and me) to jump up and down or cheer when he's excited about something. The problem is, he tends to share his news when we're getting ready for bed or just plain tired. I feel guilty for not acquiescing, but at the same time, I don't want to fake it. Any suggestions for a compromise, please?
— At a Loss in Texas
Explain to your husband that you are "sorry" he's upset at the lack of enthusiasm he's receiving when he's excited about something, but his TIMING is off. If he expects you and the children to be his cheering section, it would be helpful if he timed his announcements so they don't conflict with bedtime, when everyone's energy level is low.
My former husband and I have been divorced for more than two years. We had our wedding reception in a club with live music, and we would go there every Saturday night to listen to the music. We were divorced shortly after our marriage because he had frequent violent outbursts. After our divorce, he called and asked if we could have a date night. When I went out with him, it was great. We listened to the musicians, and no one knew we were divorced.
My ex had serious surgery, which I helped him through, but because of a subsequent violent episode from him, I have now severed all ties with him. I'd like to go back and listen to the musicians, but I don't know what to say when they ask me where he is. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
— Uncertain Music Lover
When you are asked, all you need to say is, "'John' and I are no longer a couple, so you won't be seeing him with me anymore. I may have split with my husband, but I haven't fallen out of love with your music." It isn't necessary to share any details beyond that.
My grandparents have been very generous. They provided for me in ways my parents could not when I was a child. They allowed me to take music lessons and vacations, let me travel with them and paid for my higher education. They also started an investment fund for me that has grown nicely.
Now I'm married (I'm 37; my husband is 42), we are financially stable and obtaining financial counseling, and we have decided to place those funds in a different form of investment. The rub is that Grandma objects to any changes to these gifts and puts pressure on us. How do I thank her for her generosity and let her know we are handling our finances now?
— Cutting the Apron Strings
Start by telling your grandmother again how grateful you are for everything she has provided these many years. Explain to her what your investment plans are for the money that has accumulated, and your reasons for wanting to change. If she has concerns, hear them out and suggest she discuss them with the financial adviser you plan to employ, which might put her worries to rest.
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.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Dear Abby: Dad's bursts of enthusiasm collide with boys' bedtime