Carolyn: My boyfriend loves to sleep with the window open because he likes the cool, fresh air. The problem is I have arthritis, and the cold from leaving the window open causes pain to my joints, sometimes to the point of waking me up in the middle of the night. I have tried bringing this up but the issue is dismissed because he doesn’t think it’s cold, so it’s not cold. My solution is to sleep in another room but this is a problem. HELP!
Sleepless in Seattle
I suspect the farther from him you sleep, the warmer you’ll feel.
The problem is not your arthritis, but instead that your boyfriend is dismissing your experience as invalid because he personally doesn’t share it.
So it’s another day in the life of this column: a problem about “blank” that isn’t about “blank” at all, and an answer that I can’t supply for you, as much as I’d like to. You have to decide for yourself whether his refusal to accommodate your needs is a bad enough commentary on him as a human being for you to break up.
Certainly you can do a little more research before you decide, by saying to him plainly: “You are telling me that your version of cold is the only one that matters, even though my version of cold actually causes me pain. I see a clear problem with this. Do you not see it?”
And certainly it would be ideal if this produced even a nightlight bulb over his head, more than enough to illuminate for most people, “Huh — I’m being a complete ‘detective’ to my sick girlfriend.”
Then you and he could work together to figure out whether a dual-control electric blanket or some other compromise would create sleeping conditions that are hospitable to you both, since even if he understands your situation, he too could find your warm room as unsleepable as you find his cold one.
But if he remains “aha”-moment free, then you need to answer the bigger question before any incremental adjustment will make sense.
Carolyn: Is there any good way to discuss with a teacher that there seems to be an unhealthy or unproductive dynamic with a group of kids — they egg each other on, dare each other to cause trouble — without sounding like you’re trying to excuse a child, or are just blaming someone else? They’re all friends and basically decent kids. Of course each kid is responsible for his own behavior but they’re making it a lot harder for each other.
If you state upfront that you know your kid is responsible for his part, but that you’re also wondering what approaches Teacher is using for the group as a whole, then you won’t set off blamey alarms. It also helps to say you’re asking because you hope to make discipline at home and at school as seamless as possible.
Note that I didn’t advise you to go in there saying, “You need to break up this group”; it’s a matter of respect to assume expertise on the teacher’s part and ask vs. insist.
Not that my cherubs ever cause trouble. I just read all this somewhere.
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