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Home DOG EVENTSDog Grooming I won’t go to our family’s Christmas if my brother brings in his awful “rescue” dog.

I won’t go to our family’s Christmas if my brother brings in his awful “rescue” dog.

by Bella Woof

Dear Prudence is Slate’s advice column. Submit your question here. (It’s anonymous!)

Dear Prudence,

I have an annual holiday dilemma involving my brother’s dog. My brother and sister-in-law adopted a rescue dog with a history of abuse. I’m impressed that they were willing to take on the dog, but she has a history of trauma and can be unpredictable. My brother often takes his dog to his parents’ house on holidays. Dogs do not always respond well to new people or environments and may sometimes act aggressively. She bit me a few years ago. And yesterday at Thanksgiving, that dog bit my 9 year old niece twice. She was distraught. We usually keep the dog in one of the guest rooms while people are gone, but since we have kids, it will inevitably be let out at some point. I have a youngest who is 18 months old and is becoming increasingly uncomfortable having her around her dog. Should I tell her brother (and her parents) that I won’t be coming to the holiday celebration if I have a dog? I can’t ride with him because he is aggressive towards other dogs, so I think there will be some drama. But I’m not going to risk my daughter’s safety.

—Mom of a scared toddler

Dear Fear,

Taking in an abused shelter dog is a wonderful act of kindness. It’s also good for your brother and sister-in-law. Think of it this way. You owe your child at least as much loving care as you give your pet. Of course, you should tell them not to come if there is an animal there that has a history of biting children. of course. Yes, it will create some drama, but it’s not as much drama as calling animal control to report your fur baby while rushing your child to the hospital on Christmas.

Do you have questions about kids, parenting, or family life? Submit it to Care and Feeding.

Dear Prudence,

My husband and I are both in our early 30s and want to buy a home and start a family in the next few years, but we’re having a hard time figuring out how to incorporate my brother into our plans. My brother has mental health issues, primarily anxiety. His mother, who has similar concerns, didn’t want to force him to do anything that would make him anxious. Unfortunately, some of them have never requested to see a therapist, so he is largely undiagnosed and untreated. Although he is now 30 years old, he never graduated from high school and has never had a job. He still lives with my mother, but our relationship is disturbingly codependent. She cleans up after him and usually does his bidding. That has always been their driving force.

My problem now is that she expects me to take over after she dies. I always knew that his care would ultimately be my responsibility, and her husband and I discussed it thoroughly. Our position is that we will make sure he has a place to live, but if he lives with us, he is willing to move wherever we live, and if we have children, we will coexist. and maintain a reasonable level of cleanliness. (Ideally, we’d like him to get therapy and be registered as disabled.) If he doesn’t want that, we’ll be happy to help him find another place. . My mother thinks this is selfish of us. She doesn’t want him to be uprooted after her own death, so she thinks she should move into her house to be with him. She also thinks he should have a say in whether we have children or not. To us, those feel like silly questions, but her position is that he is family and as his sister, she should prioritize him over our careers and future hypothetical children. That’s it.

I tried to talk to him directly but he refused to discuss it and physically walked away from conversations he didn’t want to have. Our mother is now in her 70s, making the need for planning even more urgent. I’m worried that her unwillingness to set any expectations on him will make her life with him miserable. I also worry that her opinions (which she shares with him loudly and often) will influence him and that we will end up living with someone who: He hates us. Am I being selfish here? Is there any hope for making our future living conditions less chaotic?

–Selfish sister

Dear selfish sister,

Your mother loves her son very much. Also, she does some ridiculous things. Your willingness to let your sibling who suffers from anxiety (anxiety is treatable and not incapacitating to take care of himself) to live with you if certain conditions are met is very strong. generous to And…probably not wise. Simply put, he seems intent on making you unhappy. Think about how he walks away from conversations he doesn’t want to be involved in? If you ask him to help you with the dishes once a week, you know he means it, right?

You accept the idea that responsibility for your brother automatically passes from your mother to you. If you don’t question this, you’re just as codependent as she is. And you end up letting two people who don’t respect your decisions shape your family’s future. What if, instead, your mom’s eventual death was the moment your brother took responsibility for himself? If you jump in and accommodate him and take on the role of his mother, which you think was holding him back so much, he’ll never have a reason to do what you want. .

Tell him (in writing if he refuses to talk) that you have thought about it and that you are not comfortable living with him because he is not receiving treatment or filing for disability. please. Everything he might need on his way to independence, from sliding scale counselors to job training programs, support groups, and local nonprofits that might help him find affordable housing. can contain information about resources. And then stop. Do not push it. Please don’t ask for updates. Don’t go back and forth with your mom. Your mantra is, “They’re both adults. They’re making their choices, and I’m making mine.”

I’m not pushing tough love as the perfect solution to your brother’s problems, I’m not naive and I know it’s really hard to survive in this country, and if he But if you don’t you probably won’t be able to live with yourself without a roof over your head. But rather than being handed over like a small child in a custody exchange, he should make an effort and move from adult to adult to find out what his life with you would be like if living with you didn’t work out. You should come up with a proposal.

The role of your mother’s caregiver clearly does not appeal to you. Therefore, taking it on should be your absolute last resort.

Dear Prudence,

My boyfriend and I broke up after 5 years. Because he doesn’t want to get married and have children. I just received an invitation to his wedding…a woman he has known for six months. She wants to contact him and ask him to explain to her why she won’t marry me, but she will marry almost a stranger. Not only did he waste 5 years of my life, but he is insensitive to send an invitation. My friends say I should let it go, but I need a resolution.

—Needs closure

Dear in need of closure,

This hurts. We know it is. And I also agree that given the circumstances of your breakup, it was really unkind of him to send you a wedding invitation. Look, I don’t know what’s going on with this guy. Maybe he met his soulmate and his feelings about marriage changed. Perhaps the guest list on his side looked a little sparse, so he had to dig deep into his contacts and invite his ex-lover to fill it out. Maybe he’s trying to fake the whole wedding by creating a feeling of panic in you that makes you run back to him and offer to accept whatever it takes to stay together. I don’t know. It can be anything. But I’m sure there’s nothing he says that will really put an end to you.

The things that are most likely to end your relationship are 1) time and 2) changing the way you think about the end of the relationship. “I broke up with a man because he didn’t want to get married or have kids, and he made the stupid, unfair, unjust, and inexplicable decision to marry someone else.” What if I replaced it with “I made a wise choice”? Those who didn’t want what I wanted, or at least didn’t want it with me, freed themselves up to meet a better match. It would be great to date someone with the same mindset! ” Go to the friend who has been encouraging you to let it go and ask him to help you let it go by taking your phone and deleting or blocking his phone number and social media accounts.And obviously, RSVP “no.”

Check out this week’s Prudie.

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