Tuesday, October 13, 2015

#TBT: "Ask Ruby" Advice Column

For #ThrowbackTuesday, here's a blast from the past: an "Ask Ruby" column from 2008.  Is this still good advice? 

Hello Neighborhood Readers:  To tell you the truth this month’s question was a real thought-provoker.  See what you think!

Q:  My husband and I each have 2 kids from our first marriages. We all get along great (the kids too) when we are all together. The problem is his ex-wife.

She has a habit of inviting herself along on outings or to dinner when she is dropping their kids off to our house. She's subtle about it-- asking where we are going and then saying how she's always wanted to go there or do that, so you look rude if you don't ask her to come along. We always end up paying for her-- she never has any cash-- and to top it off she complains about everything.

Ruby, I want to have a good relationship with her for the kids' sake, but I don't always feel like having her join us.  Can you give me some good things to say that aren't mean but will let her know she's not invited?

A: I have thought about this quite a bit and first off let me say good for you and your husband for your success at blending your families.  Getting along great isn’t always easy I’m sure.  But that doesn’t mean you are married to his ex-wife.

It is ok not include her.  It is not rude to exclude someone who is basically inviting themselves in the first place! It would be their rudeness that you are trying to overcome. That is not your job.  Simply ignore her comments and more forward with your plans.

If she asks where you are going you can tell her and then stop. No invitation attached.  If she says she hasn’t been there before you can acknowledge her statement with a polite "neither have we" or "we have a few times its great", etc.  You can say whatever you want as it applies to the situation but without the part where you try to save her from feeling whatever it is you think she might feel.

YOU are choosing to have her join you when you ask her to come.  So stop it!   Will it be hard to shut up when you want to over-explain? Yes it will, but this is just a moment in time. Better a few uncomfortable minutes than several hours of tension and anxiety because you are doing something you don’t want to do... and by the way, don’t have to do either.

Good Luck and thanks for asking!

Ruby is a lifelong Californian who is happily retired. She has lived in the Clairemont/Bay Park area since the '70's. and loves to spend time with her 2 year old best friend.

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