Ask Gabby Gayle: Listening to the other side isn’t a bad thing

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By Gayle Lagman-Creswick

Dear Gabby Gayle: We have a rift in our family brought on by politics of all things. It seems the younger kids in our family support one political side and the older ones (the moms, dads, grandparents) feel another way. At family gatherings the young people tease us and say we are old and set in our ways. My wife says, “Maybe they are right, and we should hear what they have to say, instead of shutting them up.” I say we should stand firm in our beliefs or they will think we are weak or willy-nilly. What does Gabby say?

Signed, BN

Dear BN: My personal belief is that nothing is ever lost in listening to another’s point of view. Listening does not mean you have to change. It says you are willing to learn why the other person thinks the way they do.

That has been sorely lacking in this country. I have Black grandchildren and they have opened my eyes by listening to their feelings, experiences and misfortunes. I would never have known this had I not listened. I learned that I did have hidden prejudice that I did not recognize. Once I realized it, I could change. You have the opportunity to learn from the younger set and they have the opportunity to learn from you. Listen up!

Signed, GG

Dear Gabby Gayle: I am in a relationship with a man who is pretty set in his ways. He likes routine. He is very organized. He likes to eat at the same time every day. He says he always sleeps on the left side of the bed. (I do, too). We have never slept together but we talk about it. We have been dating a year but cooled it a little with the pandemic. I am pretty much an opposite of him and yet we really click. I am disorganized sometimes. I like to change things so I don’t get stuck in a routine, which I find boring. Am I treading on dangerous waters or would we complement each other?

Signed, GG

Dear GG: I tend to subscribe to the theory that opposites attract, but they do not always make for good long-term relationships. It seems to me when people are in love and it is early in the relationship, the attraction can make them overcome a lot of faults. Then, down the road they get aggravated at you when dinner is late or you left the toothpaste cover off. The little things become big things and you find yourself saying, “What am I doing here?” Of course, if you are both generous of nature, each of you could change enough to meet in the middle. I doubt it, but I have seen it happen. Good luck!

Signed, GG

Dear Gabby Gayle: I am 58 years old. My husband and I agreed that I could quit my job so I could go back to college and realize my dream of becoming a lawyer. He is a professional and I worked to put him through college and get started in business. Now that I am in school, it seems he doesn’t like the idea so much. He often makes remarks like, “Well, why can’t you get the laundry done and put away, you are not working anymore.” I guess he doesn’t understand that carrying a full-time load of classes and studying is more than equal to my old job. He won’t help me, saying he is tired after his long day at work. Sometimes he says, “Well, it was your idea to go back to school.” I find myself building up resentment toward him. Any advice?

Signed, Ticked Off

Dear Ticked: It doesn’t sound as if you two are communicating too well! I suggest you engage in conversation when neither of you are “ticked off,” and get your feelings on the table. Having been in your situation at one time in my life, I suggest you get a cleaning person to help with household chores. If you have adult kids, enlist their help in helping with meals. This will help both of you not to feel overloaded and neglected. Talk to each other.

Good luck, GG