Ask Laskas: Husband Won’t Help Around the House and More Questions Answered

Questions about pets, parents, partners or office politics? E-mail Jeanne Marie Laskas at [email protected] Sending gives us permission to edit

Questions about pets, parents, partners or office politics? E-mail Jeanne Marie Laskas at [email protected] Sending gives us permission to edit and publish.

Help! I’m drowning in work … my husband’s work. He is a software manager, and he’s on his laptop all day at the office and all night at home. It’s to the point where he won’t help around the house. Bills, home repairs, kids’ homework-yours truly is stuck with it all, even though I work part-time too. I have rebelled by letting things slide: some laundry here, some cleaning there. But how far should I go? Please advise.

Dear Worn,
This isn’t about chores, sweetheart. Your husband is missing in action. Do you want a guy who can help around the house, or do you want your husband back? Think about what you’re asking of him. Maybe he needs more too. Sit him down. Tell him you miss him. Bring out a photo of the two of you from your dating years. Remind him why you married him. In other words, invite him back into your life.

This is embarrassing, but my dad is addicted to pornography. When I was a little girl, I found his magazines under the bed. In high school, I caught him on the computer looking at inappropriate pictures. I’m now in college, and his habit has gotten worse. I said something to my mom, but she brushed it off. Should I alert my dad to the fact that we all know he likes porn, or is it none of my business?
–Disgusted Daughter

Dear Disgusted,
This is rough terrain, so I consulted some professionals. All agree: Stay out of your father’s business and focus on yours. No child-even a college-age child-should have to deal with this. Talk to your mother again. Let her know that you’re burdened by knowing way more than you ever wanted to know about your father. Remember, it’s not up to you to confront or “cure” him of an obsession. Your job is to grow into a healthy, productive adult. Don’t let your dad’s secrets get in the way of that. If they do, don’t suffer silently-visit a counselor.

This past Super Bowl was the most exciting game I’d ever witnessed. When Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw an improbable pass that was miraculously snagged, I shouted, “Oh God-he caught it!” Immediately, a guest lashed out at me for taking the Lord’s name in vain. I was humiliated-still am after all these months. But tell me, under the circumstances, was what I did so awful?
–Excitable Boy

Dear Excitable,
My mother still winces if I say God when she believes I should say gosh, and now I find myself cringing when my children do it. Nevertheless, the real violation here is the guest berating you. While it’s fine for a partygoer to quietly inform you that he found something you said offensive, it’s way out-of-bounds for him to take you to task publicly.

I recently had my dog of 14 years put down because of her failing health. Yes, I know all the platitudes: I gave her a great life, her quality of life had declined, blah, blah, blah. And I believe every bit of it. But I’m still devastated. I know it’s time to get over it. The problem is, I just don’t know how.
–Sad and Alone

Dear Sad,
As someone who curled up in a ball for weeks after my cat Bob died, I’m with you, sister. Grief is grief, and it takes its own sweet time. You may be feeling in a rush to “get over it” because of that other familiar cry: “It’s just a pet!” Let go of that one. You miss your dog, a dear friend. So stop belittling your feelings. They’re normal. And you hurt.

I adore my coworker, but she has a really annoying habit: She talks with food in her mouth. Without embarrassing her, how can I get her to chew, swallow, then talk?
–Stop the Smacking

Dear Stop,
Ask your friend if you have any habits that drive her crazy. If she says yes, offer to trade complaints and show her the glory of closed-mouth chewing.

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