The Old Bag: Advice for the Over-50 Crowd
Gayle Lagman-Creswick | Jul 15, 2013, 6 a.m.
Dear Old Bag: My husband of 50 years and I have been vacationing together for that many years. It has been 50 years of pain. We get along OK at home, but when we get into the car, it is as if all our differences come to light. We cannot agree on when to stop, where to stop, where to stay, what points of interest to see, what to eat, etc. I have put up with it all this time, but I cannot do it anymore. I always gave in to him just to keep peace. This year I gained some confidence and told him we were going to take separate vacations. I want to visit some old friends (which he would not enjoy anyway). He has not spoken to me since (which is not all bad). He wrote me a note and said I should ask The Old Bag what she thought. So here it is.—Signed, Rather Stay Home
Dear Rather: It is kind of scary to think that The Old Bag is now between two arguing married people. I wish he had said, “I will go by what The Old Bag says.” Please don’t hunt me down if you do not like my answer! You and your spouse of 50 years have differences...quite a few of them. I suspect you are OK at home because you each do your own thing. Then you get in a space where you have to come to some agreement and it does not work. A vacation should be a time of fun and relaxation for both of you. If it is not, you should either take separate vacations or plan in great detail every stop you will take together. You should make a list of where you want to go and do and he should make a similar list. If you cannot each compromise, please take separate vacations. Let me know what you decide. Happy travels!—O.B.
Dear Old Bag: My husband is so looking forward to his married daughter and her husband coming for a two-week vacation. This is an annual visit. I really like the couple, but I find myself dreading it every time, because for me it is two weeks of maid service. Neither of them lifts a finger to help or even offers. I need some advice. I asked my husband if he could say something to his daughter, and he said he is afraid of hurting their feelings. When my own children visit, they pitch in and help, even if they are there for a meal. Please advise.—Signed, Maid Service
Dear Maid: I’m guessing from your letter that this is a second marriage and the children coming were from his first marriage. I agree that your husband should speak with his daughter, but I also see why he is reluctant because he is afraid they might not want to come again. I suggest you tell your husband that you are going to speak to his daughter. He may change his mind, but I doubt it. The trouble is that you should have spoken up a long time ago. Now it has become such an issue with you that you may have trouble having a low key talk with her without becoming angry. Without anger, say something like this: “I love it when you come to visit. I would like it very much if you would help me with chores while you are here, like I help you with chores when we visit you.” Believe it or not, there are people who do not want anyone in their kitchen. Maybe she is in need of an invitation. I hope she does not hit you over the head with the frying pan! Good luck.—O.B.
Confidential to People Pleaser: It is OK if everyone does not like you. Do not lose sleep over it. Your friends will not care. The others are not your friends.
If you have a question for The Old Bag, please send it to: Ask the Old Bag c/o Lovin’ Life After 50, 3200 N. Hayden Road, Suite 210, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 or firstname.lastname@example.org.