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Losing sleep over bed arrangements

October 10, 2011

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Q. My husband, our daughter, and I made plans to visit my mother-in-law. Other family members will be in town, including our older daughter (age 25) and her boyfriend. They live together.

My mother-in-law informed me that my daughter and her boyfriend would be sharing a bedroom. I e-mailed my mother-in-law, explaining that neither my husband nor I is comfortable with them sharing a room.

I was shocked when my 80-year-old mother-in-law wrote back saying this was her home and she could do whatever she wanted. We’ve had issues in the past, and it is my belief that she is trying to infuriate me while also appearing “cool and hip’’ to my daughter. My husband and I are hurt that she cares nothing about our feelings.

What’s worse is that in order to give my daughter and her boyfriend a bedroom, our younger daughter has been relegated to another relative’s house. It would be so much easier if the two sisters shared the bedroom and the boyfriend slept on the sofa.

We already bought the expensive plane tickets. Otherwise, we would cancel the trip. We considered staying in a motel, but the purpose of the visit is to see the whole family. Staying with our younger daughter is not possible. My husband and I are angry and don’t know what to do. - COOL GRANDMA

A. Your mother-in-law can do as she pleases in her own home. She also doesn’t care about her son’s feelings on the subject, not to mention yours. Stop trying to pressure her to see it your way. She has made her decision and prefers your daughter’s boyfriend’s company to yours. So be it. Your choice is to attend or not, and to stay there or not.

Since you are already going, we recommend you find other accommodations. You should not be forced to endure a situation you find uncomfortable.

Q. My mother-in-law passed away last week. My husband of three years notified my family members by e-mail, and we received thoughtful condolences from my siblings, but not one from my nieces and nephews.

I am hurt and upset that we received nothing from these young adults. An e-mail response would have been fine, but they couldn’t be bothered to take 10 seconds to press “reply’’ and say “sorry for your loss.’’

I am worried that I will spend the rest of my life bitter over this disappointment. - CANADA

A. It is not uncommon for young adults to be unaware of the need to respond to such an e-mail. To them, it is a notification, and replying is awkward. Send another e-mail to those nieces and nephews. Say you hope the original e-mail reached them, because you were disappointed and hurt that none of them expressed condolences.

Q. As a husband, I wouldn’t dream of emulating the behavior exhibited by the spouse of “Unhappily Married to an Ogler,’’ nor would my wife of 25 years put up with it for two seconds.

The next time this Grade-A jerk does this, she should immediately approach the object of his ogling and say in a loud voice: “My 50-year-old husband just commented on your large breasts and tattoos. Would you ever consider sleeping with him?’’ I guarantee he will never do it again. And if he does, she should pack her bags. - SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER

Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.