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Ask Amy: Texting tussles arise from interruptions

Dear Amy: When my husband enters the room and I am on my phone texting or emailing, he expects me to stop immediately.

I think this is unreasonable, demanding, and controlling.

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I think he should be willing to wait until I finish the text or email that I had already begun before he walked into the room.

Waiting for me seems polite, and I believe it’s reasonable to be allowed to finish what I already started.

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Or am I being unreasonable?

We are both retired. We are together most of the day — except when we can’t agree on what television show to watch — and then we enjoy our shows separately.

It’s not as though our time together is very limited!

Can you give me your take?

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– Exasperated

Dear Exasperated: You can’t anticipate exactly when your husband will enter the room, in order to leap to attention when he does.

If you are in the middle of sanding the floor, kneading bread dough, or talking to your mother on the phone, the person arriving onto the scene should wait patiently until you have reached a stopping point.

You, in turn, should arrive at that point and acknowledge the other person’s presence.

Your husband may not believe that your choice to finish a thought when you are typing on your phone — is the same as finishing a thought or a conversation when you are speaking on the phone, and yet interrupting a person is just that – an interruption.

The person doing the interrupting should respectfully wait, and the other person should then thank them for their patience.

Because I do most of my work via typing (versus talking), I have reminded members of my household that if I am typing when they enter the room, it would be best if they gave my typing the same consideration they would if I happened to be talking on the phone when they entered.

That having been said – you should also use this habit of his (and yours) to examine just how often you might let whatever is happening on your phone interrupt others. When you are engaged in a conversation with your husband, do you automatically let a text message interrupt you?

Obviously, having a regular “workspace” in your home might help to draw some distinctions between you completing some desired correspondence, and the homelife you two share.

Dear Amy: Please help to settle a debate I am having with my wife.

With the holidays fast approaching and large family meals on the horizon, I say it is “OK” to arrive at these meals with our own containers for leftovers.

I feel it is helpful to the host, who would like to send food home with the guests.

My wife believes it is inconsiderate.

What is your opinion?

– Looking for Leftovers

Dear Looking: Greeting your host with your Gladware out and at the ready is definitely gauche.

Not all hosts want to send leftovers home with their guests.

Some may believe that enjoying a few days of leftovers after hosting a large dinner with many guests is a great benefit of hosting. (It’s hard to imagine voluntarily surrendering the all-important leftover turkey sandwich ingredients.)

However, if you want to keep some containers in your car or your bag, these might come in very handy if the host decides to send leftovers home.

I’m also wondering if a pack of new “takeaway” containers might be a nice gift for the host — along with flowers, wine, or whatever dish you may contribute to the meal

Dear Amy: “Caring Mom” was concerned over the 17-year age difference between her daughter and the man she was currently dating.

The mother described him as kind, intelligent, grounded, and respectful.

This man sounds like my father!

My parents married in 1950 when my mom was 19 and my father, 40. He was German and she was American. He was Jewish and she was Protestant. Dad was exceedingly well-educated and mom had a high school diploma.

But did it matter? Not one iota!

My parents were exceedingly happy for 50 years until my father’s death in the year 2000. I do believe that they were (if possible) more in love after 50 years than on their wedding day.

My two brothers and I grew up in a house filled with affection and a happy, stable marriage.

If they end up being even one-tenth as happy as my parents, they will be a lucky couple, indeed.

– Grateful

Dear Grateful: A wonderful tribute.

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©2021 Amy Dickinson.

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