DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m often in groups where the subject of stimulus checks comes up. People will interject that they have, or have not, received what they’d expected.
Due to my high income, I’m not eligible to receive anything. Since I really don’t want to admit how much money I make, I try to just remain silent. However, when asked directly, I lie and say I’ve received mine. Do you see a problem with my lies?
GENTLE READER: As no one should be talking about money in polite society anyway, Miss Manners will permit you to escape. If you define the phrase “I’ve received my due” as having already earned it within a higher income bracket, then the truth is merely being subjected to semantics.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband of three years has a few habits that annoy and frustrate me. I have been trying for weeks during the quarantine to discuss them, but every time I have tried to bring up the topics, his response is immediately defensive.
A few days ago, my demeanor changed because I have been ignoring these habits of his so long now. They are so annoying and I am so frustrated. He knows something is bothering me, causing tears to trickle out and leading me to talk less, be less playful and keep my distance. He even apologized, though he doesn’t know what for.
It is also difficult for me to start the conversation because I know I must have some habits that annoy him, too, but he always answers “no” when I ask. And my housekeeping is far below par, but I get no criticism from him on that, either.
How can I criticize him when he sees no wrong in me? Should I just continue to cry, mostly in secret, eat in another room to avoid his table manners, and talk to him less since I feel less close because of the other annoyances?
GENTLE READER: Surely, your husband would prefer that you communicate with him, rather than ignore him and cry in the closet. No doubt, he has noticed that you are pulling away. And the fact that he appears to be more easygoing, blinded by love and seeing no wrong in you, does not mean that you must silently endure what are presumably correctable habits of his.
It is a difficult thing to teach someone that there is a difference between intention and action, and that undesirable behavior does not have to be a character flaw -- if that person is willing to adjust.
Miss Manners suggests that you sit him down and explain that you love him, but that living together means making adjustments in order not to annoy each other continually. And the quarantine, has, as you said, exacerbated that.
Start small and focus on what can be reasonably changed. She further recommends that you cease forcing him to come up with annoying habits of yours. Nothing good can come from that.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)