LIFE

I Bought A Gift For My New Grandbaby, But Then My Daughter Returned It For Cash

by Rebecca Endicott
Becca is a writer and aspirational dog owner living in NYC.

Now and then, we all run into problems that are just too tricky to solve without help.

Getting another point of view can be a huge help in these moments, and that’s the purpose of my weekly Ask Becca advice column.

Here, no problem is too big or too small to talk out!

Last week, the topics included a 15-year “dry spell,” a best friend’s cancer diagnosis, and an unpleasant future son-in-law.

This week, I received so many important and powerful questions from our readers that I’m bumping it up to four questions.

We’ll be discussing everything from hiding a secret pet adoption habit from your spouse, to worrying that you may need to help raise your grandchildren, plus plenty of topics in between.

Check out the questions and my best advice below, and add your own insights in the comments!

If you have a question or worry of your own, send it my way at AskBecca@LittleThings.com!

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

**These names have been changed to protect privacy.

Teen Romance Blues

Girlfriend is distant
Laura Casely for LittleThings

Dear Becca,

I am a 17-year-old and I have been with my girlfriend for three years, the last two of which we have been sexually active, at least once a week.

However, she has stopped any intimacy for the past three months and gets stressed out whenever I ask about it. She also never gives me any explanation.

My main worry is that she doesn’t find me attractive anymore or even worse, that there is someone else. There is literally no intimacy in the relationship right now and it is simply making things worse; we’re arguing more and it just continues to break us down.

What should I do? Accept that we may never be intimate again? I find this situation so confusing.

Taylor**

Becca's best advice

Dear Taylor,

This may not be what you want to hear, but here’s the simple truth: you’re very young, and your relationship might be reaching its natural conclusion.

It sounds like the two of you were a really good source of stability and love for one another throughout the challenges of growing up, but people change a lot in their teens.

If you’re both around the same age, that means that high school is wrapping up, and this phase of your life is coming to an end. Maybe you’ll even be in totally different places this time next year.

It seems possible to me that she feels that you’re growing apart, and is trying to make the change easier on both of you by ending your sexual relationship first.

Still, that being said, I don’t know either of you, and I can’t read her mind. The only way to know for sure why she’s withdrawing from intimacy is to sit down and have a frank discussion with her.

It sounds like there’s a conversation that you are both avoiding because you know deep down that it might end in pain.

Now might be the time to stop putting it off and have that talk. I promise you, even if it does end in a breakup, this is not your last love story.

Warmth and best wishes,

Becca

So Many Pets, So Little Space

Dad cuddles with bunny
Laura Casely for LittleThings

Hi Becca,

I have no idea if you’ll get this email or will be able to help, but I’m pretty desperate, so here goes…

I love animals, and I’ve been rescuing and fostering them since I was young. Recently, my wife said we can’t take in anymore. (I guess seven dogs, four cats, a chinchilla, and two rabbits are a lot…)

However, last night, I came across a little kitten on the side of the road, and I did something a little bad… I took him home. He’s currently hidden in my shed (with food, blankets, and plenty of safe space to play, don’t worry!!).

My wife has no idea, and if she found out she’d be furious. But I couldn’t just leave him there… He’s so sweet and affectionate, and he seemed so thankful for a warm and loving home…

What should I do? Should I spill the beans and risk a huge fight, or should I just have a secret cat out back…?

Thanks,

J. Dolittle

Becca's best advice

“Should I just have a secret cat out back…?”

Oh dear, Mr. Dolittle, I think you know the answer to this question!

Secrets usually don’t do any favors for a marriage, even a furry and adorable secret like your hidden kitten.

Now, I don’t think you’ve done anything you should feel guilty about — at least not yet! You found a neglected animal out in the open and took him home for the night to keep him safe.

But if you continue keeping your kitten a secret, then you’ll definitely be in the wrong, since you and your wife already have an agreement about adding to the petting zoo.

I’m with her on this one; it sounds like there’s really no room left at the inn.

I would just be upfront and tell her that you couldn’t leave him out there in the cold like that, but that you’re going to bring him to your local no-kill shelter first thing! Or ask around in your community to see if anyone would be interested in adopting him.

That way, he’ll get his very own forever family to give him all the love and cuddles he deserves, without causing a rift in your marriage.

Good luck!

Becca

Defensive Daughter

Daughter doesn't want mom's advice for her son
Laura Casely for LittleThings

Dear Becca,

I’m 65 years old and just became a proud grandma for the very first time. I’m so happy to finally have a grandbaby — but I’m struggling because this is my daughter’s first child, and I find myself biting my tongue a lot…

When I try to teach my daughter how to do something — whether it’s changing a diaper, cleaning a bottle, or just folding a blanket — she gets really defensive and snaps at me that she knows what she’s doing.

Also, recently, I gave them a toy that I thought was perfect for my grandson’s age range — but she said he was too young for it, returned it to the store, and used the money for something else. It really hurt my feelings.

I want to be involved in his life, and I want to teach my daughter the lessons I wish someone had taught me, but I don’t want to overstep my boundaries and push my daughter away…

How can I fix this? I just want to be a good grandma and mom.

Sincerely,

Nana M.

Becca's best advice

Dear Nana M.,

First of all, a big congrats to you! There’s nothing more exciting than a new baby!

Of course, there’s also nothing more stressful — especially if you happen to be the first-time parent responsible for taking care of him.

Try to think back to how terrified and nervous you were when you brought your first baby home from the hospital; that’s how your daughter feels right now.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that there’s a lot you could teach your daughter, but I would advise keeping it to yourself unless she asks for your help.

She knows how to change a diaper and clean a bottle — she probably spent the last nine months practicing — and she doesn’t want to feel like you’re judging every little detail of her parenting and finding her wanting.

As for the gift, it sounds to me like maybe there was something else she really could have used instead. Have you seen the price of diapers lately?

It wasn’t the most polite way for her to go about it, but I would hazard a guess that she didn’t return your gift to hurt your feelings.

My counsel here is to just take a step back and let her lead. Make an open-ended offer to help with childcare that she can either take or leave, and if you want to get her a gift, ask her what she needs first. She’ll come to you when she’s ready.

It’s tricky to be so hands off, but just think, if she gets really comfortable with being a mom on her own now, she’ll be 1,000 times more relaxed for grandbaby number two!

Congratulations Grandma!

Becca

Coming Up Short

Boyfriend is concerned about girlfriend's past
Laura Casely for LittleThings

Hi Becca,

My question is, my girlfriend and I have been together only two months.

Her husband died in a car accident a few months back, and when we get intimate, I feel like when she looks at me she only sees him.

Obviously, that’s not really a question I should ask her, and I don’t know what to do. Can you help!?!?

Henry**

Becca's best advice

Dear Henry,

I think I’m going to have to gently disagree with you here: this really is a question you should ask her.

It’s true that she might look at intimate moments with you and see memories of similar moments with her late husband. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want to move forward.

It’s just as likely that she feels guilty about moving on, and is having trouble letting herself get swept away in the joy of a new relationship so soon after her loss.

The only way to know what she’s thinking is to ask her to open up to you. Simply say something like, “Sometimes, when we’re together, I feel like your mind might be on [husband’s name]. Is that something you’d like to talk about with me?”

Then give her plenty of time to decide whether she wants to talk about her late husband, and whether she wants to move on into a relationship with you.

She’ll need lots of space to work through her emotions, and it’s a good time to consider what you want from the relationship too.

If you are only looking for sexual intimacy and aren’t interested in establishing emotional closeness, it might be time to acknowledge that and end things before she decides to open her heart again and let you in.

This is a time to tread carefully and make sure that you both know what you want.

Yours with compassion,

Becca

LittleThings writer Becca
Laura Casely for LittleThings

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