Every week, Danny and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: the dog-loving mother and the allergic fiancée.
Nicole: Yeah, tough luck for your mom. She needs to pony up for a dog sitter and come to you, OR she can be satisfied with you staying in a hotel and meeting her at a restaurant. Don’t get sucked into a “pets are not family” argument, because if her pets are her family that’s fine, if one of you was super allergic to a human relative she liked to hang out with you’d still have to find a work-around for it.
Danny: RIGHT you have enough of a foundation with the “these allergies are too severe for OTC meds” without getting into a “people’s needs outweigh animals’ needs (or your desires to be constantly with your animals)”
Nicole: People sometimes think “allergy shots” are a quick fix but they are NOT just for a weekend, you take them constantly all the time to build up a level of protection.
Danny: yeah allergy shots/meds/etc are great, but they’re not just like, absolutely bulletproof cure-alls
Nicole: “My fiancée and her daughter can’t safely visit a house where dogs live. We would love to see you at our home, minus dogs, any time.”
Personally, I would offer to help pay for the dog sitter.
Danny: because I can pretty much guarantee that if you say “pets aren’t people” to your mother, that’s going to be the only thing she ever wants to talk about with you
it will only allow her to further misdirect the conversation
Nicole: Right. It’s wild! Remember the guy whose mom LITERALLY poisoned his wife? And he didn’t believe her, and it kept happening? So she switched plates with him and he got sick? And he was furious with HER?
Danny: oh my gosh, I DO remember that one, it feels etched onto my own DNA
But what’s terrible is I can’t remember if that was while I was Dear Prudence, or before my time
It’s all just a haze of in-laws who hate people with allergies
Nicole: no, it was before
Danny: the good news is that he’s not letting his fiancee down, he’s been holding firm and handling his mother directly
which, MANY points to you, letter-writing dude, because that often doesn’t happen!
Nicole: OK, so. You’re doing great! You’re being a good partner. Offer to split dog sitting or whatever, if you can and want. Don’t go to her house.
Danny: yeah and in future when she says something snippy
just calmly repeat “We’ve talked about this, and you know it’s a medical issue the girls can’t change. I’m not going to argue about this with you.”
Man, what IS it with parents-in-law and allergies? Like, I never get letters from someone whose AUNT is a real jerk about it
Nicole: It’s the truth!
Danny: offering to split the cost would be kind but I feel like maybe the LW should wait to make that offer until his mother has consistently been able to knock off the little digs
Nicole: I strongly doubt such a time will come but hope is indeed the thing with feathers.
Danny: how dare you quote Emily Dickinson to me at a time like this
Nicole: WATCH ME