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Ask Amy: Different politics make estranged bedfellows

Amy Dickinson

DEAR AMY: I have a confession to make. I do not vote the way my wife tells me to vote. In fact, most often, I cancel out her vote. If she knew this, she would be very angry because she thinks I agree with her political opinions.

Also, I always listen to her talks and hit "Like" on her Facebook posts. The truth is, I like her and want her to think I support her, but I do not like her increasingly radical ideology related to liberal politics.

I consider myself a moderate traditionalist. Others may consider me old-fashioned or conservative.

I would like to tell her this but do not want to start a fight. Besides, I think she would feel betrayed if she discovered my secret.

Should I risk the truth so that we can have an honest relationship in which she understands that I don't share her politics? — Conflicted in the Heartland

DEAR CONFLICTED: Hitting "Like" on Facebook does not necessarily convey that you actually "like" something. This "thumbs up" sign indicates mainly that you have seen the post or photo. On Facebook, "sharing" a post is a true endorsement. That having been said, if you don't want to say something positive about one of your wife's FB posts, then don't.

Your vote is your own. You are not keeping a secret when you don't disclose your vote — you are merely demonstrating citizenship in its pure form.

Actively pretending (or implying) that you agree with your wife about her changing politics to avoid an argument exposes a fault line in your relationship. I suggest you be brave enough to leap across it. You say that raising these issues will "start a fight." You won't be starting a fight if you state your own truth. ("Your views seem to be changing, and we are further apart politically than we used to be.")

If your wife insists that you must always agree with her politics and vote alongside her to be in a peaceful relationship, then you have a real problem.

DEAR AMY: My 30-year-old daughter has left her husband and 4-year-old child to live the single life. She is attending college but hasn't finished after six years because she has dropped or failed classes and has to repeat them. She continues to manipulate her gullible grandfather into paying for her school and car and giving her cash.

She is now also getting state assistance with housing, food stamps and day care, as well as child support. She lies about virtually everything.

I recently learned that she came into our house without permission while we were away and took money. I'm at my wits' end with all the lies and deceit.

I'm at the point that I don't even want to speak to her, but I don't want to jeopardize my relationship with my granddaughter. I don't know what to do now. — Furious

DEAR FURIOUS: First you need to change the locks on your house. Then you need to change the way you relate to your daughter.

If you fear that behaving ethically will jeopardize your relationship with your young granddaughter, then your daughter has already successfully manipulated you (why doesn't the child live with her father?).

You should detach completely from your daughter's problems. If she asks you a question, you must always answer honestly. But for now, confine your communication to matters only having to do with the grandchild. Your daughter will not cut you off from this child because she likely needs you.

The next time you want to be lied to, ask your daughter a question. Until then, detach. Show interest in your grandchild, and do your best to influence her — and let the rest go.

DEAR AMY: Recently "Old-Fashioned" posed a guy-minded hypothetical: If you went to Vegas with your sister's fiance and he slept with "strange women," would you tell her?

I'd say: If you're comfortable with your sister getting married to someone who will break her heart, then by all means, keep that nasty little secret. And may I please have your wife's phone number? — Disgusted

DEAR DISGUSTED: I had a similar reaction.

(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamytribune.com. You can also follow her on Twitter askingamy or "like" her on Facebook. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.) 

 


By Amy Dickinson
Tribune Media Services