DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for eight years. We have no children of our own, but he has an 18-year-old daughter from a previous relationship who has been coming over every other weekend and holidays since she was 10. Even though she lives with her mother, she has a dedicated room that's packed to the gills with her clothes, games, toys, etc.
I would like to repurpose her room now that she is off to college. My husband says no. We don't have a guest bedroom, so I feel strongly that it makes no sense to keep her room intact when we could use the extra space. I have made many sacrifices as a stepmother over the years, and feel I deserve to finally stretch out a bit and enjoy the extra space. By the way, all the furniture in her room happens to be mine, and her room used to be my guest room before we got married.
My friends agree with me, but my husband says he needs "time to adjust." I'm really upset and would like an objective opinion. Am I being unreasonable or asking too much too soon? -- FRUSTRATED IN FLORIDA
DEAR FRUSTRATED: If you want peace and tranquility under your roof, my advice is to slow down and don't jump the gun. Your husband appears to be suffering from a form of empty nest anxiety right now. Let this play out for another year or two, so he can see how little his daughter will be using that room. It would also be better for her not to feel that the minute she left town you dismantled "her" room. If you'll be patient, and trust me on this, you'll look like a saint. If you don't, you may come across as heavy-handed and be labeled a wicked stepmother.Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Family & Parenting
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are friendly with our neighbors. We're all smokers, but they don't smoke inside and we do.
It seems like they have decided that coming to our house every day to hang out is acceptable, which normally wouldn't be a problem. But they come in, sit on our couch and don't say a word to us. Their eyes are glued to their tablets or cellphones instead. They respond to our attempts at conversation with grunts, never looking up from their entertainment. They'll stay for an hour or so, then leave.
I have the feeling they're using our house as a "smoking room" so they won't have to stand in the cold or be away from their entertainment. My husband is going to say something soon because he's not happy and our "hints" haven't been acknowledged. Is this as rude as I think it is? -- PUFFING MAD IN MAINE
DEAR PUFFING MAD: Yes, it is. Although you and your neighbors are all smokers, it appears you have little else in common. You say your husband is going to say something "soon." I recommend he speak up the next time these people show up and "suggest" that they leave their electronic devices at home. What boors!Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics
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