Ask Amy: Holiday visit leads to weighty conflict
Dear Amy: Every year I spend the holidays at my sister’s house.
The past couple of years have been a little crazy for us. Our mother passed away in the early stages of the pandemic.
Then I was furloughed from my job, and my boyfriend decided I was no fun and broke up with me, so over the past few years I slowly (like many of us) put on a few pounds.
(I have recently found a new job that I like.)
My sister always comments on my weight. Always.
I had barely arrived at her house before she was telling me that I needed to lose weight, or I would die. This went on the whole time I was there. She mentioned she had also written an email to my ex about my weight. She added that our daughters were in danger, since they had also put on weight.
It blew my mind that she had the nerve to do that. I confirmed this with my ex once I returned home. He said that when he didn’t respond to her email, she sent another, demanding a response from him.
I was floored, it was inexcusable. I am not sure I can ever forgive her for this.
She is not without flaws herself and has her own family to care about. At one point we had talked about me moving close to her in the next few years since I am alone, but this last episode makes me question this and wonder if I should just cut my ties with her.
Family is family, but I feel she has overstepped big time.
What do you think I should do?
— Weighty Issue
Dear Weighty: Your sister doesn’t hesitate to “weigh in” (excuse the pun) on your situation in a very frank way, and so I suggest that it’s time for you to respond in a way that conveys your deep concern over her behavior — as well as the consequences that will result if she refuses to alter her behavior.
You should send her an email. Thank her for hosting you over the holidays. Tell her, “Unfortunately, your ongoing obsession with my weight makes it impossible for me to relate to you in the way I would like. You have totally crossed the line. From now on, this topic is off the table.”
She may respond defensively — or double down by stating that she is just worried about you. You will then have to decide how to move forward: whether you believe your sister is capable of restraint, or whether it is healthier for you to keep your distance.
Dear Amy: I’m torn on how to approach the topic of my husband’s poor health with him. He has gained significant weight, is developing medical issues, and is constantly unhappy with his appearance.
He attributes being unable to exercise to back pain, which is very overwhelming for him.
I do my best to ease what pain I can with massage, but he needs to see a physical therapist as well as a primary care doctor to even begin to undo the damage that his unhealthy habits have caused.
It’s so hard to get him to see a doctor, or even make an appointment, and his issues require a lot from me to help him manage them.
How can I convince him that now is the time to make an appointment, even if he doesn’t feel like it?
— Worried Wife
Dear Worried: You should do your best to talk frankly with your husband about his health. He is obviously in pain, and you could start there: “I’m worried about your back pain.”
Some people have a genuine aversion to seeing doctors and dentists. Ask him, “Would you like me to make an appointment for you? I could take you, wait for you, and we can go out together afterward and discuss it.”
Don’t focus on his weight gain or his unhealthy habits. Start with where he is, and offer help and support in getting answers.
Dear Amy: “Tempting Trainer” is a physical trainer who described how he is having sexual relationships with clients.
I was surprised you never mentioned that this is a violation of his Personal Trainer professional Code of Conduct. He could lose his certification or be sued for sexual misconduct on the job.
Dear Concerned: Thank you for this information. At this point, being sued might be the least of this trainer’s problems. According to him, he has fathered three children with these women.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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