There are too many excellent advice columns to keep up with, so we're committed to bringing you links to the best advice column questions and answers every week. Here's a roundup of the most interesting, thought-provoking and surprising questions that our favorite columnists (and subreddits) addressed in recent days.
Do I Have A Right To Be Upset That My Husband Set Up A Taco Bell Booth In His Home Office?
Married for a year. Husband has always had a soft spot for Taco Bell I don't understand. I think it's pretty garbage even for a fast food chain.
Long story short, one day I come home and there's a bunch of 90s Taco Bell memorabilia in the garage. Apparently one of the local restaurants was getting a remodel and I guess he bribed the manager to let him grab a booth and some other things.
Now we have separate bank accounts so he did this all with his own money. He set it up in his office which he didn't think was a big deal because it's "his" space and I hardly go in there. He set it all up and asked me how I felt about it.
I told him my honest feelings. I thought it was ugly and tacky and glorified a less than mediocre fast food chain. Not to mention it goes against the entire motif of the rest of our living spaces. I'm still just absolutely stunned and shocked that anyone, much less my husband, would think it's a good idea to set up a Taco Bell booth IN OUR HOUSE.
Suffice it to say he's upset. I feel like I have a point because it's our house and I live here too, but he claims it's his money and he can do what he wants with it. Am I crazy or do I have a right to be upset at our house turning into a fast-food franchise?
The commenters on the r/relationship_advice subreddit generally agree that the husband should be allowed to decorate his office in a way that makes him happy. "You say that his office goes against the 'motif' of the rest of the house," one of them writes. "Would this motif be something that mainly you selected? W[h]ether it is or it isn't, is it possible that you are being a little too controlling here?" Read the rest of their answers.
Is It Unreasonable To Expect My Brother's Girlfriend To Replace The Cake She Stole From My Birthday Party?
I had a small, socially distant party for my birthday. It was supposed to just be my brother, roommate, boyfriend, and me. But my brother brought his new girlfriend, "Emily," and her small son without asking… We had to keep an eye on the kid so he wouldn't run off the patio. Emily was more interested in our beer than anything else.
My roommate got me an expensive cake. She was handing out slices when Emily pushed her over and tried to take a huge slice for her son. I stopped Emily and told her to take a smaller slice, since the cake was very rich. Then I put the rest of the cake back in the fridge. I told my brother he needed to get a handle on the situation, but he just told me to chill. When they left, only my brother said goodbye to us. Then my boyfriend looked in the fridge and noticed that my cake was gone. I was pissed off and ran after my brother. They were still in the parking lot, trying to buckle up the kid. I went up to Emily and demanded she give me back my cake. First she said she didn't know what I was talking about. Then I saw the cake box on the back seat and told my brother to give it back. Emily swore I had given it to her because "cake is for kids." I called her a liar. My boyfriend and roommate followed me out, and my roommate went around the car and opened the door to grab the cake. Emily tried to stop her. The cake ended up on the ground. The kid started crying, Emily started swearing, and everyone went home mad. Emily claims it was an "accident," but I believe my roommate, and she says Emily knocked it out of her hands. I want nothing to do with Emily ever again, and I am angry at my brother for bringing this witch and trying to defend her. Everyone in our family is appalled by what happened. I told him when Emily apologizes and replaces my cake from the same bakery then I will forgive her. He got angry at me because it was a $50 cake from the city. He told me I was being petty and unreasonable and that it was just cake. I don't care. My birthday was ruined. This was the first time Emily met anyone in our family, and she got drunk and stole from me. This is a red flag if there ever was one. I don't think I am out of line here.
Danny M. Lavery opines that the letter writer should have let the cake go instead of following Emily to her car. "Someone has to deescalate this, so unless you want to spend the next year going back and forth with your brother over whether he owes you another cake, let that person be you," he writes. Read the rest of his answer.
Should I Tell My Daughter's Friend's Parents They're Being Rude By Limiting Who Their Daughter Spends Time With During The Pandemic?
I heard my teenage daughter this evening tell her friend she thinks another friend's parents just do not like her. It broke my heart.
She thinks it is because the parents are very strict. Both parents I believe work at highly stressful federal jobs. They would allow their daughter to hang out with only one other mutual friend, which originally hurt my daughter's feelings. I heard things such as, "The parents are letting only one other friend to go running with her, not me," and she was so sad. Now she feels as if they just do not like her.
During this pandemic emotions are running high. I am particularly fed up with these parents.
How should I approach this? It does seem like parents are overly cautious and immature. Just rude. My husband says ignore, you are only hearing this from the side of a 15-year-old. I, on the other hand, would like to send a note to the parents explaining how hurtful they are. I have never been one to keep my feelings inside. What do you think?
Carolyn Hax urges the letter writer to offer the daughter sympathy and not to take the friend's parents' choices personally. "Her friend's parents are probably like the rest of us, trying their best under extremely difficult conditions — trying to give their daughter some social relief when they've been told even this one accommodation isn't safe," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.
How Can I Get My Older Male Coworker To Stop Commenting On My Weight Gain And Asking If I'm Pregnant?
I am a 30something newlywed woman and have been at my current job for just over a year and a half. Prior to accepting my job, my health took a devastating blow and I learned that I had a very rare genetic disorder and had two baseball size tumors in my digestive tract. I underwent two massive surgeries to remove those tumors (both having pre-cancerous cells present) and ended up losing a foot of my colon and my entire stomach. As a result of the gastrectomy, I lost a significant amount of weight over the course of my first few months at the new job.
Despite my being very transparent and open about my genetic disorder and chronic illnesses and their effects on my body, one of my much older male coworkers, "Gary," began to obsess over my weight loss in terms of my upcoming wedding and encouraged me to try harder to lose even more weight…
My wedding day came and went, and upon my return from my honeymoon, Gary immediately began demanding to know when my husband and I would start trying for a family since I'm "older and don't have time to waste." Thinking I could cut off this behavior, I was very transparent that we were unsure if having a biological child is an option for us and that I would appreciate it if he did not inquire about that after the conversation.
Fast forward to the holidays and now quarantine, and I've slowly been able to gain a bit of weight and get back into a zone that my doctors are pleased with. Gary has been coming in a few days here and there to help with some special one-off projects. When he bumps into me (at least twice a month), he repeatedly comments on my weight gain and asks if I'm sure I'm not pregnant... He said he was only asking because he was "certain" that my husband and I "had a quarantine whoopsie." I said I did not feel comfortable continuing the conversation.
He has also recently commented on my lunches more than one time saying that my portion sizes are slipping and that I should "watch it."
I am planning to talk to my manager about the situation, especially as my husband and I have elected for me to have a hysterectomy to help alleviate other chronic symptoms I've been having…
I am frankly concerned that my manager will write off my complaint (as he has with previous feedback from my peers about this employee) and chalk it up to a "cultural difference" because he's so many times my senior and he simply doesn't know what's appropriate for the modern workplace. Additionally, my manager has countered previous complaints against my coworker with the fact he's is a good Christian Southern man, and that's where he's coming from and we should be more forgiving/lenient.
Alison Green advises the letter writer to stop giving Gary any information about her health or fertility and to tell him point blank to stop asking questions about them. If he persists, Green suggests saying, "It's really weird that you keep talking about my body after I've told you to stop. If this happens again, I won't have any choice but to make a complaint with HR. I hope you won't make that necessary." Read the rest of her answer.
How Can I Get My Friends To Stop Judging Me For Dating A Married Man?
I've been seeing a married man lately, and I can just tell from the looks on my friends' faces that they don't approve. The way I see it, his marital problems have nothing to do with me. His and I have a relationship that is totally separate from that, in many ways. How can I get my friends to stop judging me?
Annie Lane posits that the judgment is actually coming from within. "You must be harboring at least a little guilt over this affair, or you wouldn't be seeing judgment on friends' faces," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.
How In The World Did I Get So Lucky As To Have Four Children Who Text Me Every Day And Thank Me For Giving Birth To Them?
I have read so many letters in your column about families who have all sorts of problems with their children, husband or wife, in-laws, parents and other family members. They make me wonder how in the world I got so lucky.
My husband and I raised four children — two girls, two boys — and they could not be more of a blessing. We text each other every morning, and I text a daughter in Hawaii at night to let her know I'm OK. They call, they send cards, they send flowers. One son sent them to me for several years on his birthday, with a card saying, "Thank you for having me."
My heart aches for parents who don't have what I have. I can only hope they will find some peace later. And to my four children: Thank you for the happiness you have brought me over the years.
Abigail Van Buren congratulates the letter writer on her parenting successes. "However, there is an element of luck in parenting, and I have heard from parents who devoted themselves to giving all they could to their children, and their children did not turn out to be as loving, generous and appreciative as yours," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.