Every month our sexperts take questions from our readers. Read on for this month's dilemma
My S/O and I are from different backgrounds. We are getting married soon and they have been hinting heavily that they want their parents to move in. I can't think of anything worse but don't know how to say no without offending everyone. What should I do?
The Male View
I'd love to hear your thoughts on stain removal, because anyone trampled over as often as you must be an expert in washing out shoeprints. You sound like someone who spends the majority of their day whimpering, and the remainder of their time excusing themself. Still, despite your innate cowardice, you are right to fear having your in-laws move in. The reason you can’t imagine anything worse is because few things are. The only abuses more horrific are full-body chemical burns, being eaten alive by subway rats, and attending a nü-metal concert. The point is you need to avoid this new living arrangement like Kid Rock avoids musical talent.
One option is to immediately pack up and move to a smaller apartment. In the big city, it’s not hard to find a dwelling that provides the bare minimum space for habitation (I’m currently typing this on my “office chair”, which is just the toilet with the seat down). When the in-laws see your lack of guest room, they should get the hint that guests aren’t invited. If they are pushy, however, this plan could backfire and end up with you sharing a twin-sized mattress with two elderly intruders snoring with more vocal dissonance than a Korn single.
Instead, go out and immediately practice using the word “no”. It may be scary at first, but I promise you will experience a drastic reduction in the amount of suffering in your life, not to mention credit card subscriptions and awkward lunch meetings. Over time, you will begin to feel a new, invigorating bounce in your step. This special energy of empowerment is referred to by the enlightened as “not giving a sweet fuck if you offend people”. Your SO, their parents, and Kid Rock will all appreciate the moxie.
The Female View
As a woman much wiser than myself once said, fuck politeness. You only get this one life, so you need to speak up for yourself. If you don’t want pizza for dinner, say so. If you want a raise at work, ask for one. If you definitely don’t want to live with your in-laws, make that loud and clear to your SO. Don’t pretend to be laid-back, go with the flow no matter how terrible it sounds, and then make yourself and everyone around you miserable because you didn’t speak up when you had the chance.
But let me also suggest another route for your consideration: why not give it a try?
I think we in the West are automatically programmed to think of living with your in-laws as a fate worse than death. But how do you know it would really be that bad? Have you ever lived with your SO’s parents before? Until you’ve actually given something a try, you can’t be sure that you don’t like it.
For example, when my Chinese professor coerced me aboard a 747 bound for Beijing a fateful ten years ago, I was terrified at the idea of leaving New York, let alone the US. And look at me now: I can barely stand to go back.
It may seem terrible or even crazy, but living with your SO’s parents may change your life in unexpected and positive ways. Let’s list just a few potential benefits:
- At least one of your in-laws probably makes a mean hongshao rou.
- Someone will be home when your toilet breaks and nobody has any idea when the shifu might show up to fix it.
- Hanging out with old people is fun. They tell good stories (slowly) and they can teach you how to kickass at mahjong.
Here’s the thing: If it really is an unbearable situation, you can still speak up. Like I said, you only get this one life and whenever you’re unhappy, it’s important to speak up. But unless there’s some glaring reason you absolutely should not, then at least be open to giving a new experience a try.
You've reached the limit of allowed deals. For more information
You've reached the limit of allowed housing listing. For more information