Dear Annie: My husband and I have been happily married for 10 years.
Two years ago, we both lost our jobs, so we moved in with his parents. The problem is, my in-laws are so used to getting their way that they become angry when they don’t.
Friends and family members usually give in to avoid a fight. My husband and I, on the other hand, stand our ground.
Last week, we went to dinner at a new restaurant. When the hostess seated us, my father-in-law became upset and quite loud when he did not get a seat with his back against the wall. He demanded that I switch seats with him. When I refused, he yelled and cussed at me. He is like this every time we go out, regardless of the circumstances. He finds fault with everything.
I understand my in-laws are up in age, but I think they go overboard. My husband and I found employment six months ago and are now looking to find our own space.
My in-laws get upset every time we look at a house without taking them along. They say they want to be the first ones to see the place. I bought a new car last month, and they were angry because my parents saw the car before they did.
They said it meant I was ungrateful that they allow us to live with them.
They have been like this since I have known them. All of this nonsense gets on my husband’s nerves. Mine, too.
How can we get his parents to understand that they will not always get their way? — Desperately Needing Our Own Space
Dear Desperate: They already know that. They simply don’t like it. You might be able to change them with a great deal of patience and behaviour modification.
Otherwise, learn how to deal with them in the way that annoys you least. Switching seats with Dad at a restaurant would have been gracious of you and not a big deal. But there is no reason your in-laws have to be the first to see all potential purchases. Take them when you feel like it, and if they yell, so be it.
Dear Annie: My husband and I recently attended my niece’s evening wedding. We are not well, and I told my sister that I didn’t know how long we could stay. When she told me the wedding cake would be cut at 11:30 p.m., I asked her to bring a slice home for me.
We tried to stick around and managed to sit through the dinner and two dessert courses. When the wedding cake finally came, I discreetly wrapped mine and put it in my bag.
My other sister who was sitting next to me went berserk, ranting for several minutes, calling me a stupid, rude, ill-mannered senior citizen. I was mortified and took the cake out of my bag and left it on my plate.
Did I breach an untouchable rule of etiquette by wanting to take my piece of wedding cake home? — Bruised in New York
Dear Bruised: No. In fact, many caterers provide little boxes for precisely that purpose. Your sister was the one who was rude and ill-mannered. Shame on her.