DEAR NATALIE: My mother-in-law is constantly opening and reading our mail. She lives very close by and watches our daughter often for us while we are working. I think she feels a little too comfortable about things and is very nosy. This is ridiculous and I told her I was not happy about it. She got upset because she thinks since she is looking at her son’s mail, she has the right to do so. She told me that I “should stay out of it.” She actually said that to me. Who’s right on this topic? —YOU’VE GOT MAIL
DEAR YOU’VE GOT MAIL: Talk about an overbearing mother-in-law! Opening your mail and then turning around and saying that you are the one who needs to mind your own business is delusional to say the least. I would not engage with her about this and instead go straight to your husband. She’s right, he is her son. He needs to deal with this. There is absolutely no reason for her to be going through your personal belongings. What else is she rummaging through when you aren’t around? He needs to tell her that it is unacceptable to go through your mail. If she can’t honor that very simple request, then maybe she shouldn’t be in your home as often. Maybe you should have your mother-in-law watch your daughter at her house until she can respect your space. It is not a lot to ask. She needs boundaries and your husband should to be the one to set them. In the meantime, hide your mail when you know she’s coming over. Put it in your bedroom or your home office and keep the door closed. I know that is absurd, but until she learns basic manners, what other choice do you have?
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DEAR NATALIE: My girlfriend is fed up with living in the United States. COVID-19 really sent her over the edge and she has decided she wants to move back to her home in the Caribbean. She and I have been together for a long time and while I love going to the islands, I’m not sure I could live there full-time. Every time we discuss this, she gets really upset with me when I mention how hard of a transition that would be for me. She said she’s moving — with or without me. I don’t know what I should do. I can’t imagine being without her but it feels really drastic. Any thoughts? —MOVING DRAMA
DEAR MOVING DRAMA: These concerns are completely valid. Moving is a big decision and moving out of the country is an even bigger one! You won’t have your support system close by, so you need to feel secure in your relationship. If you have any hesitations, think this through. Quitting your job and upending your whole life for love may sound like a rom-com on Hallmark, but in reality, is it the healthiest thing to do? She has put herself first in this and doesn’t seem to care whether you come with her. I find that telling that she is willing to move no matter the cost. Is that the type of relationship you want to have? Where she calls all the shots and you either go along or get left in the dust? Relationships aren’t always fifty-fifty, but if one partner isn’t being considered in the big decisions, that is a giant red flag. Whatever you decide, make sure that you are factoring yourself into it. This isn’t just about her dreams. Yours matter, too.