While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On people who comment constantly on your weight: My mother and brother do this obsessively, and I tried everything, over many years, to place appropriate boundaries. Smiles, brush-offs, polite requests - nothing worked. They knew about my decades of weight struggles, but never stopped going on about it. They also added comments about my father and grandmother, who were both heavy.
Assertiveness is the skill of using adult, confident, polite, logical, and clear communication. I finally said, "I am tired of your apparent assumption that you have the right to comment on my weight, or to grill me on what I eat, how much I exercise, or anything else related to the topic. You cross a line into my space in doing do, and I want this to end. I cannot change your behavior, but if this happens again, I will leave immediately."
Some people need boundaries. Sometimes you have to give them some.
On jockeying for wedding dates, venues, baby names: I'm a single woman, 44, and am horrified by bridezillas and their equivalent mommy monsters. Being fortunate enough to find a partner and sharing the joy of children should be appreciated on their own terms, not done to win a perceived competition with friends or family members. In a world where many women just hope to stay safe and have children survive infancy, I'd like to think American women could celebrate their friends' special life events with pure joy and selflessness.
Decades ago, when travel wasn't what it is now, my boyfriend from Oregon proposed to me, an East Coast girl, at the same time his younger brother proposed to his California girl. Because of various career-related circumstances, they planned a large wedding for about a month before we planned to marry, which meant not even his family would be able to attend ours. My very wise husband-to-be took an incredibly kind and long-range view. We talked about the kind of people we wanted to be and what we wanted our marriage to stand for - generosity toward others, support for their happiness, not just ours. We went ahead with a small wedding and never looked back. My husband is gone now, but we had a very happy marriage and nothing but the best relationships between his family and mine.
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