My husband and I, both 70, were married two years ago after living together for 20 years. When we shared our plans with his grown children, then 25 and 28, they were angry. His son demanded to see my husband’s will, which my husband showed him. In it, he leaves his entire estate to me, just as I leave mine to him. His son had hoped to inherit my husband’s New York loft and pay me an allowance. Eventually, the loft will go to his two children, and our upstate property will go to them and my daughter. Still, his children accused him angrily of not putting family first. It has now been two years since they spoke to their father. In their last conversation, my husband said he loved them and was always there to talk. Should he reach out to them, or is the onus on them to apologize? Also, should we tell them we’ve decided to sell the loft?
You probably don’t need me to tell you that your husband’s children behaved atrociously — both by counting their father’s money as if it were their own and by disrespecting your relationship of two decades. I am not shocked by this story, though. Inheritance often brings out the very worst in people.
Now, I don’t say this to excuse his children, but I also remember being in my mid-20s: It can be dispiriting to be a young adult without many financial prospects and with everything costing a fortune. So, I empathize (a little) with their grasping at a loft they had long expected to inherit. I am also surprised that your husband has let two years lapse without reaching out to his kids. They are still his children — bad behavior and all.
If I were your husband and wanted to reconcile, I would call them to re-establish contact. Be the adult! They may be embarrassed by their bad behavior or may have dug into their greed — or somewhere in between. If the calls go reasonably well, he can invite them to dinner and start rebuilding his relationships with them. Pro tip: Leave out the loft for now. It’s been the source of enough drama already.
Too Cozy for Comfort
My boyfriend and I are going on vacation with his parents and brother. His parents are paying for the trip. They sent a link to the vacation house, and we see that we will be sharing a bedroom with my boyfriend’s brother that has two queen beds. As a 27-year-old woman, I find this prospect uncomfortable. At the same time, I don’t want to complain about a free vacation. Thoughts?
No offense, but your question makes me wonder if your boyfriend’s parents invited you on this vacation or if you and your boyfriend simply decided it would be fun if you went. Because I agree: The sleeping arrangements seem odd.
On the bright side, his parents did you a favor by sending a link to the house in advance. Find out if there’s a (pullout) sofa to sleep on. Or buy an inflatable mattress. You are all adults, and his parents are generously picking up the tab. If you can’t make the vacation house work for you, stay home.
Looking for Strings on a Stranger’s Gift
I have an online friend whom I have never met in real life. We play Words With Friends and chat online about movies and books. I have never divulged my age, address or relationship status to him. Recently, he gave me two tickets to a concert by an artist I mentioned liking. He didn’t invite himself as my companion. Still, I told him I was uncomfortable accepting his gift, and I questioned his motives. He assured me that he was acting only out of friendship and that I had no obligation to accept the tickets. Are people really this nice to strangers, or I should I trust my gut that this feels way off?
Yes and yes. People are generous to strangers all the time. In fact, the tremendously low stakes of interactions like yours make it even easier to be nice. What could you possibly fight about in a friendship based on online word games?
I also think you should trust your gut. You are entitled to set boundaries, and if accepting this gift makes you feel uncomfortable or indebted — which I also get — refuse it. No matter what you decide, though, acknowledge your friend’s thoughtfulness without casting aspersions on his motives.
Sure, He’s Cute. But Is He to Dye For?
I am trying out dating apps for the first time. A majority of men on the apps in my area have full, generous beards. But I don’t enjoy kissing men with facial hair. When, in a budding relationship, may I ask a man to shave?
I would not ask a man to shave off his beard until you would be comfortable with him asking you to dye your hair a different color or to get a Brazilian wax. It’s not wise to start relationships with people whose appearance you intend to change from the outset. If you can’t wait to express your preference until a relationship is solid, focus your attention on the smaller pool of clean-shaven men instead.
For help with your awkward situation, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.