Carolyn Hax: Dealing with needy houseguests

Carolyn Hax:

January 13, 2014 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: We have had houseguests for a week. It's my husband's friend and his wife. They wanted to visit the major city we live in. I expected our place to be their crash pad, and that we would hang out in limited amounts. But instead they have wanted to hang out almost every evening.

The couple themselves don't get along, and they have started arguing with each other pretty badly. I think the husband has been leaning on us because he really hates spending time alone with his wife, but frankly I don't view that as my problem. My husband is more sympathetic. Is my perspective reasonable or am I being a (w)itch?

HOST

I've found that it's almost impossible for people who are not in this moment with you to judge how nuts you can feel in this moment. Nothing brings out the crazy quite like having someone in your personal space for too long.

Actually, your houseguests could speak to this pretty well themselves, since their own overstaying houseguest is their spouse. Painful.

So, no, I don't fault you for your irritability, though sympathy might help. If you can't summon any for this unhappy couple, then maybe you can for your husband, who just cares about his friend.

Carolyn: My husband and I are expecting our first child, and I'm struggling with the feeling that he is kind of ambivalent about it. He was never really a kid-oriented person, but was open to our trying. Now that it's happening, I can see him trying to pump himself up about the idea, but the ambivalence is still there. Any thought you might have to help me untangle some of my fears would be much appreciated!

ANONYMOUS

This might not untangle your fears so much as kick them down the road: Parents bond with their kids at their own pace. Babies in utero can be too abstract for fathers in particular to feel engaged. Once the child arrives, seek comfort in your husband's caregiving effort even if he's a little slow to be head-over-heels.

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