December 2, 2023

I’m as confused as a goat on AstroTurf, and I hope you’ll be able to assist me: My spouse and I are retired. We acquired married a yr in the past. About two years earlier than that, once we began to get severe about one another, I invited her to maneuver into my house. (I personal it, and there’s no mortgage on it.) For the reason that day she moved in, she has paid half the utilities and grocery payments. However she refuses to pay any of the house upkeep prices, property taxes or insurance coverage premiums as a result of she will not be on the deed. Within the occasion of my loss of life, half my property, together with the home, will go to her, and the opposite half to my grownup son. I consider she ought to pay a portion of the insurance coverage and property taxes. Am I being unreasonable?


There are as some ways to allocate prices in a relationship as there are {couples}; there isn’t any proper manner. However right here’s my take in your state of affairs: Your spouse doesn’t sound like a cheapskate. She has paid for meals and utilities since she moved in. However your property plan successfully robs her of housing safety, which can make a retiree reluctant to pony up extra money. Below your will, it seems that your son — together with his half-interest in the home — may pressure a sale quickly after your loss of life. The place would your spouse go then?

I’d tackle this difficulty head-on: Supply to amend your will to supply that your spouse could keep in the home throughout her lifetime (or for a couple of years, not less than) when you die earlier than her. By giving her a measure of safety, it’s possible you’ll discover her extra receptive to taking up further prices for taxes and insurance coverage.

Now, two questions for you: Does your spouse have the sources to make the funds you need? (It will be imprudent for her to spend extra on housing than she will be able to afford.) And in your calculation of family bills, are you crediting unpaid prices — corresponding to cooking and cleansing — that usually fall silently to ladies? (These are actual bills, too!) If I have been you, I’d begin a mild dialog about your funds and safety as a pair. Chances are you’ll be stunned what you be taught.

My husband and I are white. I purchased our daughter a number of dolls of various races with pores and skin colours that replicate the range of our group. Her absolute favourite is a Black child doll. She carries him in all places. My accomplice feels uncomfortable with this once we are in public, although. He worries that her doll looks like appropriation or advantage signaling. Your ideas?


Enjoying with dolls permits younger kids to apply exhibiting empathy and loving care to others. I feel it’s fantastic to provide your daughter an opportunity to specific these tender emotions throughout race traces. She isn’t taking — or appropriating — something from Black tradition by caring for a Black doll. And respectfully, in case your accomplice finds this troubling, maybe he ought to examine his personal emotions about race — not take a doll from a baby.

My sister is an unbiased girl. She began courting a man, however has stored it secret from my mother and father to keep away from intrusive questions and undue strain. She requested me to fulfill him to verify him out, and I did. (He’s a pleasant man.) My mom suspected one thing was up, however I evaded her questions and stored my sister’s secret. Now, my sister needs my kids to fulfill this man in secret, too. I stated no, and she or he is harm. To me, this appears like asking my kids to plot behind grandma’s again. Am I being unfair?


Under no circumstances! Your sister is free (and should have good cause) to maintain her new relationship out of your mother and father, however that’s no excuse for asking your kids to maintain secrets and techniques from them. I sympathize together with your sister; some mother and father go into excessive gear when their grownup kids begin new relationships. However secrets and techniques and lies are burdens. And right here, they might harm your youngsters’ relationship with their grandparents. There’s nothing inconsistent about defending your kids and supporting your sister concurrently.

My husband and I are usually not wine drinkers, however we obtain a number of bottles a yr, normally as vacation items from his co-workers. I really feel bizarre bringing one to a cocktail party: I don’t know if the wine is any good, and I’m uncomfortable with regifting. So, the bottles pile up till we throw them out. Is there a well mannered option to nudge folks away from sure classes of items?


You appear fairly dedicated to speaking your self out of any resolution right here aside from asking for a unique reward. (I can’t convey the wine to a celebration — it might be rotgut! Regifting is unsuitable!) However these bottles of wine are merely token items. Why not convey three to a cocktail party and say you haven’t any thought in the event that they’re any good? Or give all of them to a good friend who loves wine. Certainly that’s higher than throwing them away. Until we’re speaking about shut buddies, the one well mannered response to a token reward is: Thanks!

For assist together with your awkward state of affairs, ship a query to, Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on the platform X.

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