Dear Carolyn: My spouse and I have a long list of TV shows scattered through our streaming queues, but there are some I really want to watch, which she says she wants to watch with me, but she never actually wants to watch when I suggest them. We’re talking stuff that’s been on the DVR for three years in some cases.
I have tried to explain how frustrating this is, and it never seems to land.
Is there a point at which I get to just watch some of these shows while she’s out? Is TV-cheating OK? I know this is a small thing, but it is driving me nuts. – Nuts
I’m sure it is but, I have to say, I love this small thing.
I feel like we kind of need your problem right now. “TV-cheating.” I am a laugh-cry emoji.
Not to make too much of it or anything.
Anyway. Yes, TV cheating is OK, because there’s a way to do it out in the open that cushions hard feelings: Start the show, tell your spouse you started the show, and say if she wants to watch it with you then you’ll gladly re-watch the episode(s) with her till she catches up. It’s an au courant bit of bluff-calling.
Not to mention, a low-stakes one, even within the already barely stakeworthy realm of TV-banking etiquette: Either the show’s good enough to withstand a second viewing, or it’s not and you’d be better off dropping it in favor of another one from the backlog. There’s just too much TV for wasted TV.
Let us know if you come across anything great. I’m at least three years behind.
Dear Carolyn: My daughter is about to marry a lovely woman whom we already adore. I’m lucky to have such a problem, but I’m concerned about differing family philosophies about holidays and gifts.
We always have a Christmas blowout with piles of presents and overflowing stockings. We love it – the atmosphere of festive excess as well as the gifts. The family of our daughter’s fiancee is more frugal and less festive. I know our extravagance at the holidays will make our daughter’s fiancee uncomfortable.
I see two imperfect solutions to our first joint Christmas: We dial back the presents, disappointing me, my husband, and my daughter – who’s far from greedy but loves the spirit of the day – or we shower the new wife with gifts that make her feel awkward. Do you have any better suggestions? – Festive
Welcome to Lucky-to-Have-Such-Problems Day.
Warm, conscientious people trying to get the details right so others feel loved and respected. I’m just going to sit with this for a bit.
I think it would be a thoughtful gesture to say to your by-then daughter-in-law: “At Christmas, we lose our minds a little. A lot. I want to make you feel welcome and not scare you off. Would you prefer the full treatment, or would that just feel like pressure? This is about your feeling welcome, so it really is safe for you to say what you want versus what you think I want to hear.” Running this by your daughter first will not only serve as a judicious look before leaping, but also show your daughter you’re invested in getting this right. Yay, Mom.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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