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Carolyn Hax: Daughter draws a line in the sand

Published: Tuesday, May. 20, 2014 - 12:00 am

DEAR CAROLYN: I have a very dear cousin and a very dear daughter … but they do not hit it off. Cousin lives out of state and only visits a couple times a year – usually at one of the holidays.

Daughter refuses to be at family celebrations if Cousin is present. Cousin is unaware of this. Last year I asked Daughter if she minded if Cousin was invited. She said no, and said she would not be in attendance, but that it was OK with her. She would go to her in-laws’.

Now, of course, anticipating coming holidays, she states Cousin is always chosen over her.

I feel held hostage by Daughter. I have suggested she contact Cousin to discuss differences, but she refuses. I have not broached this with Cousin and have no intention of doing so, as this is between them.

Just so you know, both are “prickly” and have been described as “difficult.” I love them both.

– Torn

DEAR TORN: You don’t have a gun to your head, you have a whiner up in your grill. Please don’t behave as if the two are equivalent.

If you don’t want to be a hostage, then you can opt not to act like one; you can decline to be manipulated. Start by explaining to Daughter that you are not choosing anyone over anyone else. The one making choices is Daughter, choosing her grudge over attendance at family events.

I have no illusions that she’ll take this well; expect to end up on the business end of her quills. But caving only proves to her that on you, tantrums work.

DEAR CAROLYN: Two years ago, when my lease had come up, my closest childhood friend, “Abby,” asked if we could live together. It has not gone well (from my perspective), but I’ve kept most of my grievances internal in order to preserve our friendship.

Now, my boyfriend of three years, who is beloved by this friend, has asked me to live with him and I cannot wait. However, his lease is up a couple of months before mine, and Abby is insisting I live out my last months on our lease before moving in to the house “Mark” and I find together.

Paying two rents seems insane. It would make me happier than I’ve ever been just to move in with Mark when we sign our lease, but I may have insensitive love-blinders on.

Am I the crazy one for asking that she accept my offer to find a sublet for the last few months of our lease?

– Sad Samantha

DEAR SAMANTHA: You’re breaking the agreement early, so you pay till the lease ends. Not stay there, just pay.

This is basic fairness and the whole point of a lease. All the friendship stuff clutters up simple facts, and better serves as an argument for paying up.

Email Carolyn at or follow her on Facebook at

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