Dear Annie: Unfortunately, after years of declining health, my wife’s father passed away this year. The reason that I’m writing is that, since my father-in-law’s death, my wife wants me to not even bring up my dad, who is still alive. It’s very extreme. She doesn’t even want to see our daughters making arts and crafts to give to my dad.
My father is in a nursing home, and I haven’t seen him in months. I miss him very much. But since my wife’s dad died, I’m more or less not allowed to discuss my dad. She even makes me leave the room if he calls.
Is this normal, healthy behavior, and how should I handle this situation moving forward? Because whatever I say or do is, apparently, insensitive to her feelings. — At a Loss
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Dear At a Loss: Please accept my heartfelt condolences for the loss of your father-in-law.
Grief can make it impossible to think clearly, but that doesn’t make it acceptable to mistreat our partners. Your wife could benefit from seeing a therapist who specializes in grief. I’d also recommend attending therapy together, even if just for one or two sessions. You might also look into grief support groups in your area; if your wife isn’t ready for that yet, you can go on your own.
Keep trying to be as patient as possible, but let her know that you will keep in contact with your father. It’s not just the right thing to do for you and him but also what’s best for your marriage in the long-term. If you miss spending this precious time with your dad now, you might always resent your wife for it.
Dear Annie: Your suggestions for “Striking Out,” who has been going on interviews but having no luck, were great! Can I also suggest any job applicant do the following before the interview:
1. Check your own online identity: Facebook, Twitter, etc. Many still believe there’s truth in “You’re known by the company you keep.” So make sure that your profile blocks the ability of anyone to see who your friends are. (Sometimes our friends may not post the best things.)
2. Research the company: Examine their online personality and history. Who are their target customers? Who are the heads of the organization? See if you can find them on LinkedIn to see how they got to where they are.
3. Ask the person interviewing you: “What things do you wish YOU knew when you started working here that could have helped your success?” — Ramona
Dear Ramona: These are great tips. Glassdoor.com is another useful resource for job hunters. Look not just at a company’s overall rating but the individual reviews themselves: If all the reviews are either one-star or five-star, take a closer look and try to determine whether those five-star reviews are genuine. And go into the interview with your eyes wide open.
Dear Annie: You should always research the company you are interviewing with. Showing respect, interest and curiosity compliments the company for which you are interviewing. If you are interviewing for a company that makes cement, ask them about the process. If they clean windows, ask them what is their biggest job. If they clean linens, inquire about the cleaning machinery. Have follow-ups ready. It shows an appreciation for the core business. — Timothy C.
Dear Timothy: Astute advice: Everyone likes to be asked about themselves (or their work, in this case). I might add that this also applies to first dates!
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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