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By Mink Stole | Posted 7/20/2005

I really love my husband, but my in-laws are driving me bananas. We’ve been married for two-and-a-half years, but even before we were engaged his parents have been trying to run our lives. They have an opinion about everything we do, and they’re quite happy to tell us. They’re after us to have kids now while we’re young; they’ve already picked out names. Not only do we not want babies yet, we want to move several states away so I can get a graduate degree. When we told them this, right away they started telling us what a bad idea this is, basically because they just don’t want their son moving away from their influence. They’ve got his brother and sister, his aunts and uncles, and even his cousins on their side, and it seems like every night my husband gets a phone call from some relative trying to talk him out of leaving. I knew they were a close family when I married him, but this is ridiculous. How can we get them to understand we’re not against them, but we need to do what’s best for us?

Not So Dutiful Daughter-In-Law

 

You may never be able to do that, NSDDIL. You could bring in a team of religious leaders, scientists, psychologists, television journalists, or any experts or authorities they might otherwise respect, armed with irrefutable statistics, case studies, reports, anecdotal evidence, and multi-colored pie charts to support your position and it would make no difference—they’re not bad people, and they may not even be stupid people, but they know what they know and they know what they want, and that’s that.

Complaining to your husband about how unfair and manipulative they are isn’t going to help, either. Instead, he may need to be reassured that moving away is not the defiant act of an ungrateful and unloving child; that he can love them just as well (if not better) from a distance than from right under their noses, and that, while the telephone cannot provide them with instant physical access, it is an easy, effective way of staying in touch. As for the parents, you can tell them you’re really sad that your decision is making them so unhappy, but that they’re always welcome to visit and you hope they’ll come often. (You have to say that even if you hate the idea.)

Send them pictures of your new home and call them as often as you can. They may never truly forgive you for moving, but as far as I know, no parent, especially one with such a large family, has ever died because an adult, married child moved to another state.

I’m 13 and I have a friend that I’ve known for four years, and we’re good friends and all, except that I get jealous of her a lot. No matter what she does, even if it’s the first time she’s ever done it, she’s good at it. It’s like she doesn’t even have to study or try hard—she’s just good at everything she does. She gets all A’s in school, which maybe wouldn’t bother me so much, but she’s really pretty, too, so all the boys want to ask her out. I get good grades, but not as good as hers, and I don’t think any of the boys even know I’m alive, except as her friend. Both of us have really strict parents so we can’t date yet, which is the only reason I think she still hangs out with me. She’s never exactly nasty or mean, but she always makes me feel like she’s better than me. She brags about her grades and how she’s going to get into a better college. I liked taking dancing lessons until she decided to take them too and right away was the best one in the class. My mom tells me I should stop worrying about it and caring so much, and that I should stop trying to compete with her, but I can’t help feeling this way.

Always Second Place

 

Being 13’s a bitch, ASP. Life is suddenly full of questions with no easy answers. But here’s something important to know: Happy people do not try to make other people feel bad. She may not even know she’s hurting you, but if she’s doing it on purpose, it’s because, even though she may act all self-confident, there’s something about her own life that makes her unhappy. This doesn’t mean she’s not a pill and a pain to get along with, but it’s more about her than it is about you.

Eventually, if you keep looking, you will find something you like that she can’t butt into, but the thing is, unless a person is an athlete or somehow competing for a living, needing to win all the time is pretty dumb. One day she’s going to meet girls who are prettier, and smarter, and have more boyfriends and more interesting lives than she does, and if she’s been expecting to win first prize every time, she’s going to be in for a really bad shock. You, on the other hand, having learned early that there’s always going to be someone better and someone not as good at everything you do, and that doing your best regardless is always the way to go, stand a much better chance of a happy, well-adjusted, and interesting life.

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Think Mink archives

More from Mink Stole

Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
First of all, homosexuality isn’t like snake handling or Catholicism; it isn’t a cult or a religion you can be recruited for or converted to.

Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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