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by Abigail Van Buren

New, Simpler Lifestyle Sparks Anger Among Family, Friends

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I decided a couple of years ago that we wanted to live a simpler, slower-paced life. We decided to get rid of our TV, tablets and social media accounts and trade our smartphones in for flip phones, among other changes. Since then we have been focusing more on our marriage and our four kids. We have picked up new hobbies and have been learning better communication skills. The result: We find ourselves happier and less stressed overall.

The problem is we have encountered a lot of hostility from friends and family. We have been told we are crazy, backward, anti-technology, and have even been accused of abusing our kids because they spend most of their time outdoors and don't watch TV.

I really don't understand why people are angry. Maybe they feel we are judging them (we aren't), or maybe they just don't like when others choose a different path. With all the complaints about how millennials (my husband and I) are addicted to screens, I would think they would regard our decision as a positive one.

Even after two years, people are upset about it, and we still get rude, snarky comments. I don't care if they disagree with us, but I do care that they feel entitled to be rude and disrespectful. How do we deal with people's big emotions over such a small matter? -- UNPLUGGED IN OHIO

DEAR UNPLUGGED: Social media can be a blessing, and for many individuals it has become the primary way of maintaining contact with others. Your friends and family may be bothered because they have to make more effort in order to have a relationship with you.

Because you have chosen the direction in which you want to go, your best "defense" would be to keep your sense of humor and ignore the snark whenever possible. I'm pleased that you are happier now, and I have a hunch more families may follow your example in the future.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Marriage & Divorce