Dear Amy: I’m almost 50. I’ve been with my husband for 20 years.
We are stable and very much in love. We have chosen to be polyamorous for the past five years.
We didn’t tell my parents (and definitely not the in-laws!), but one Thanksgiving just before the pandemic I was going to have my partner of one year with me (“Steve”), and so I told my parents.
Mom hasn’t taken it well. Steve and I have been together for three years now. He feels as permanent to me as my husband does. (By the way, Steve has no family himself to visit on the holidays.)
The pandemic solved the “holiday dilemma” for a couple of years, but that won’t fly this year.
Mom refuses to accept Steve.
I refuse to leave him alone on a major holiday.
I’ve invited them to our home for Thanksgiving this year (where I get to decide who sits at the table), but what about Christmas? That’s Mom’s favorite holiday and she loves to decorate and host. I don’t really do any of that.
How do I handle this? We’re not making out in front of her (we don’t even hold hands or flirt). We’re just existing, but she refuses to have him in her home.
I’ve thought about staying at Mom’s while my husband and partner get a hotel room nearby. Hubs doesn’t like staying at my parents and would jump at the chance, but Mom’s feelings would be hurt and at the end of the day Steve would still be alone while we’re at my mom’s.
I want to spend the holidays with my mom. She may not have many of them left, but I don’t want to leave someone I love alone on the holiday.
I’ve tried to talk to her about it, but she shuts down.
I don’t know what to do. Can you offer any guidance?
— Two Directions
Dear Two Directions: The good thing about Christmas is that it really envelops a season, with at least two good opportunities to gather: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Many families split things down the middle during the holidays, and so if you want to be with your mom for Christmas dinner, then go there and enjoy yourself. “Steve” can either hang with your husband during the event, and — my preference — go to the movies.
If your husband chooses to hang behind with Steve and your mother doesn’t like it, that is a consequence of all of the choices all of you are making: Your choice to bring a partner into your marriage, your mother’s choice to reject him, and your husband’s choice to skip your mother’s dinner because he is aligning with Steve.
You can tell her, “My husband would have come, but we didn’t want to leave Steve alone on Christmas.”
Dear Amy: The pandemic interrupted and changed lots of businesses, especially restaurants.
Now that things seem to be returning to normal (more or less), I’m wondering how to respond when I’m at a restaurant and the service is slow, the food is cold, and the reason (excuse) is “staff shortages.”
Given these circumstances, am I still expected to tip?
— Wondering Diner
Dear Wondering: Yes, you are still expected to tip your server.
Your server doesn’t run the restaurant, cook the food or hire the staff.
And after all, please keep in mind that your server is someone who showed up to work. This person should not be penalized.
Dear Amy: I receive many phone calls from people claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House telling me that I have won millions of dollars.
I hang up, but then the other day I received a letter telling me I had won $250 million!
Many instructions and phone numbers were included.
I wondered where I could verify this without calling any of the phone numbers.
Then I read your column, where there was a letter from a man wondering whether he was involved in a scam. You advised him that he was and gave him ways to check.
I called AARP’s Fraud hotline (877) 908-3360 (also AARP.org).
They were wonderful! A real person answered. I explained my concern and she transferred me to the proper department where I spoke to another real person.
She explained that PCH NEVER calls or writes before appearing at a person’s door to announce the win.
Thank you for publishing this information!
— Relieved in Hagerstown, MD
Dear Relieved: Thank you to the AARP, for providing this invaluable service.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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