DEAR ABBY: My aunt is a perfectionist who loves hosting get-togethers at her house once a week. I love being at home on a day off, so I can get chores done around the house and catch up on rest. I feel like I’m suffocating when she insists on including me, because it is time away from my home on a Sunday or a holiday.
When I attend, I feel like I’m really there to do the behind-the-scenes things, like dishes, trash, etc., and I don’t get to relax, visit and enjoy the get-togethers. If I don’t attend or I protest in any way, she gets really upset.
I don’t know how to achieve a win-win for both of us. My aunt has a big heart and loves entertaining people. I’m an introvert, and I’m definitely not an entertainer. Being around people makes me feel overwhelmed, where it revitalizes her. Please help.– UNCOMFORTABLE IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: Explain your feelings to your aunt exactly as you have to me. If she’s as big-hearted as you say, she should understand and let you off the hook without becoming “really upset.” From where I sit, you are being treated less as a guest than as a one-person, free kitchen and cleanup crew. You have the right to spend your holidays and weekends exactly as you wish, just as she does.
DEAR ABBY: I recently confessed my feelings to a married man after a year of liking him. We have known each other for five years. I ignored the signs of his interest in me until this past year. He hasn’t even been married a year yet, but he gives me attention and flirts with me.
After I told him how I felt, he didn’t tell me where he stood with it, didn’t shut me down or tell me he feels the way I do. But he did hug me four days later, something he has never done before. What do I do in a situation like this? I can’t let these feelings go.– LETTING GO IN THE WEST
DEAR LETTING GO: What you do in a situation like this is stop chasing a married man. You knew him for four years before his wedding. During that time he not only never asked you out, he courted and married someone else. For your sake, you had better find a way to let those feelings go or channel them elsewhere, because what you want is not going to happen and will keep you from finding someone who is available.