Ask Amy

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 1:30am
Amy Dickinson

DEAR AMY: I'm having an issue with my wife. Our family has taken a Disney World vacation every few years. Last year my wife wanted to go again, but because of the economy I talked her out of the trip. I feared we would need the money for important things. We talked about going this year.

I made a career change two months ago, but it has been hard adjusting to the new career. I changed careers because we both felt the opportunity was important.

About a week ago while driving to work my wife called and asked if I was in a good mood. She then asked if she could take our three kids to Florida without me.

I can't take time off from the new job this year. My wife works full time and said she needs a break. I didn't want to get into an argument, so I said yes, thinking that she wouldn't really go.

She has been planning this with our kids when I'm not around. My oldest doesn't want to go without me, and my wife is mad about it.

When I try talking about how I feel, it becomes a fight. How can I talk to her so she understands how I feel?

— Feeling Blue

DEAR BLUE: Your wife's primary mistake was to cook up this scheme with the kids behind your back. They should not be involved in making a decision that should be made between the two of you.

Your mistake was to agree to something you don't want her to do. All the same, you should talk about a compromise.

Your wife and kids could go for half the time and be at home with you for the rest.

As a full-time working mom, your wife has as much right to take a vacation (if it's affordable) as you do not to take one.

Work this out with her — without involving the kids.


DEAR AMY: My parents were married for 30 years and separated for eight years. They never divorced or legally separated.

Six years ago, my father moved in with another woman. The whole group got along just fine.

My father recently passed away. He left a small life insurance policy to my mother that he established two years ago; this money will be just enough to handle his final costs and allow my mother to by a decent used car, which she needs.

The girlfriend has approached my mother with thousands of dollars of debt that my father and the girlfriend racked up while living together. The debt is in the girlfriend's name.

Apparently, she feels that because my mother is receiving money that my mother should pay for this debt.

My father established this life insurance long after living with the girlfriend and still chose to make my mother the beneficiary.

His actual directive to my mother was to pay his final costs and that the remaining money belonged to her — not the kids or the girlfriend.

I feel for her position, but I don't believe that my mother should feel obligated to pay for debt created with "the other woman."

What obligation does my mother have?

— Daughter With Dilemma

DEAR DAUGHTER:
Your mother is not obligated to pay off your father's girlfriend's debts, but she should help where she can because you can assume he was a party to the debt creation. Find out.

Your father seems to have been deliberate about his choices. You can assume he left this money to your mother knowing that any proceeds would be swallowed up by the debt. As his wife, she should also receive survivor benefits.


DEAR AMY: "Confused Colleague" was a vegetarian stuck going out to a restaurant she didn't like on a business trip. You told her to let the group know that she was a vegetarian.

Amy, in my more than 40 years of being a vegetarian, I've realized that telling folks you're a vegetarian doesn't really work.

I've had folks prepare dinner with everything from "just a little pork" to thinking chicken was vegetarian.

I just tell my friends and colleagues that I am on a "very restricted diet" and that I can't eat a lot of food that others eat.

Because it sounds medical, they usually let it ride.

— Hank in California

DEAR HANK: I can only hope that in your 40 years of being a vegetarian, you've seen some improvement in understanding and acceptance of what is an increasingly common diet.

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Filed under: Lifestyles