You are an ACDL, an adult child of a dog lover. It is disconcerting after one’s parents get a late-in-life dog to hear them natter on about their furry darling’s every yip and poop. I often get letters from people who are enraged that some family member with a new baby plans to appropriate a name they feel should belong only to their child. I admonish them that no one owns a name. However, I’m going to agree that it’s odd and even ridiculous for grandparents to give their new dog the same name as their granddaughter. So now that you’ve had your fill of four-legged Lilly stories, go ahead and tell your mother that you feel having two Lillys in the family is confusing and you’d really appreciate it if she renamed her pooch. Given the mentality of the older dog lover, I predict your mother will say that getting a new name would be too traumatic for her baby, and if you don’t like having two Lillys, you are free to rename your own daughter Millie. At that point just tell yourself that your mother adores her granddaughter Lilly so much that she gave Lilly’s name to the being she loves most in the world.
I live with my boyfriend, who, in many ways, is a wonderful person—hardworking, smart, and funny. We are constantly butting heads over one thing, however. He is an extreme perfectionist. I’m not messy, but compared with him I’m a slob. He travels often for work, and lately I’ve found myself becoming anxious before he returns. He always notices if something has been put back in the wrong place, if I didn't sweep under the couch, or if I bought the wrong brand of detergent. I make checklists the days before he returns, but there are things I miss. He thinks everything should look the same as how he left it. Should I just hire a maid, or is he being unreasonable?
Here’s a way for the place to look untouched when your boyfriend returns. After you see him off, get your suitcase, pack your things, and move out. If you aren’t ready to do that, before he comes home, forget the checklists and just live your life. When he returns, if he rages, threatens, or gives you the silent treatment, accept that his good qualities do not outweigh that he’s a bully who will make your life a misery. Imagine his reaction to the chaos a child might cause. People like him generally don’t get better; their partners just get more panicked. If he wants a perfect life, let him have one without you.
More Dear Prudence Columns
“A View to a Thrill: Neighbor boys peep at my scantily clad daughters. Should I have them cover up?” Posted June 30, 2011.
“Loving Thy Neighbor: I have sex with the couple next door. Should I tell my kids about it?” Posted June 23, 2011.
“Fatherly Advice: Dear Prudence advises a dad whose wife fears he'll abandon the family in favor of his long-lost daughter—and other Father's Day advice seekers.” Posted June 16, 2011.
“Businessman on the Road to Ruin: My wife doesn't know I visit strip bars and porn theaters while away on business. But that's not cheating, right?” Posted June 9, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“All Dogs Go to Heaven: Dear Prudence advises a dying husband on whether to confess his infidelity—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted June 27, 2011.
“Sloppy Stay-at-Home Mom: Prudie advises a man whose wife is great at everything except keeping the house neat—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted June 13, 2011.
“The 40-Year-Old Mean Girl: Prudie advises a former bully whose kids are being mistreated by her victim's children—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted June 6, 2011.
“The Accused: A young neighbor's unfounded claims put my family in danger. Should we allow the girl back into our lives?” Posted June 2, 2011.
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