DEAR MARIE: I’m a recently married late 20’s professional woman. Often when I’m out in public, at parties or just hanging out with my extended family, I get asked “when are you going to have a baby?” My husband and I have not decided at this point whether we will or will not have children. I find this a very intrusive question. What is a good way to deal with my discomfort? What do you think about that?
— Just a Young Woman
DEAR JUST A YOUNG WOMAN: This is a question that hits home for me. From one young woman to another, I can relate to this. I get it. It can be frustrating, probing and it can easily put one in an awkward position… But does it have to, though?
You said this makes you feel intruded upon and "uncomfortable." I’m curious to find out what exactly it is you feel triggered by?
For a moment, take a step back and view this from a bigger perspective. What do you see? What are these people actually asking you? Could it be that they are just asking you “What’s next?” or simply projecting their own expectations upon you…
In reality I don’t think this has anything to do with you.
If I were you I would think of an answer to this question, so that you don’t have to feel triggered every time you get asked this. Think of something that feels true to you - but not defensive or apologetic. You have nothing to defend and nothing to apologize for. Make your answer short and sweet… And remember you are always free to divert the conversation.
Whether people can relate to your truth or not, is not yours to worry about.
Enjoy your life as it is right now. Trust that you will know when you know.
DEAR MARIE: I am in my late 50’s, in a long-term relationship. When my partner and I go out to eat with his grown gainfully employed children, we somehow always are expected to pick up the check. Any ideas on how to alter this dynamic? Since they are not my kids, I feel unsure of how to approach this. We live in a metropolitan area and things can get pricey. This is really starting to get on my nerves.
— Underfunded Granny
DEAR UNDERFUNDED GRANNY: First off, it sounds like you and your partner must open up a conversation about this. You might want to approach the conversation with him with curiosity instead of judgment and annoyance. “I’m curious why this happens? And “how do you feel about this..?” This could be an easier and gentler doorway as opposed to ‘throwing a fit’.
I wonder if you have shared finances. If you don’t, the answer could be quite simple; he pays. Although his children are grown, consider that it might be important for him to still ‘play’ that role for them. Get his thoughts on this…
If he agrees that this is also frustrating to him, I would invite you and your partner to have an honest conversation with the children. What if you make an agreement that it will be decided in advance who pays or if the check should be split between all parties? This way you avoid some of the unnecessary concerns and frustrations that you are currently experiencing. With clear communication, everyone will know what to expect; which often leads us to feeling happier, more relaxed and content in any situation.
Good luck, Marie
Marie Mechtaly is a life coach living in Newport. Life Matters runs each month in The Daily News and online at newportri.com. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. To book a private coaching session, visit mariemechtaly.com.