By Mary Lynn Bruny

As the world and relationships become increasingly complex, more than ever people are turning to advice columns for answers. As a human who has lived with other humans for many decades without any incidents of homicide, I feel I’m uniquely qualified to answer your difficult home-related relationship questions. Thus, here we go:

Dear ML, My partner recently moved in with me and brought an ugly lamp I can’t stand. He loves it and wants it in the living room. What should I do? I don’t want to hurt his feelings. – Suffering in Superior

Dear Suffering, Living together means compromising; and compromise means instead of one person being happy, both people are equally miserable. That being said, a rule I like is that in shared rooms both partners must like all the design choices. Thus in this situation you can veto this monstrosity for use in the living room. Your partner can instead put his lamp in a space where he alone has design control, such as in his office or the trunk of his car. Get use to hurting your partner’s feelings. Most of life’s ills are caused by folks not wanting to hurt other people’s feelings. Just look at your friend Shirley’s God-awful hair. Someone should really say something to that poor woman. Good luck! ML

Dear ML, Our house is horribly dated and in need of repair work, but my wife and I cannot agree on how to remodel it. She is terribly stubborn and refuses to work with an intermediary. It’s been years of this stalemate and meanwhile our house looks worse and worse. We have to do something! Help! – Languishing in Longmont

Dear Languishing, I have seen this situation before and it is does not improve with time. You are at an impasse. I see two options to solve this problem: One, you can find a new home you both like as is and move there. Or, two, you can find a new wife who is not as stubborn. Both these options have their pros and cons, so consider each carefully before making a decision. Remember that people often get more stubborn and crotchety with age. So whereas you might find a new wife who is less set in her ways now, she might eventually progress to being equally as stubborn as your current wife. Perhaps before that occurs, however, you can complete all your needed remodel work. Good luck! ML

Dear ML, My boyfriend and I recently moved into a new place together. His very opinionated mother loves interior design and is always giving us unsolicited advice. My boyfriend will not say anything to her. He doesn’t want to cause any problems or hurt her feelings. What should I do? – Freaking Out in Fort Collins

Dear Freaking Out, How funny! I have a son in Fort Collins who recently moved into a new place with his girlfriend, and I can be a tad opinionated about interior design!
Anyway, of course you should always set and maintain your personal boundaries except when it comes to your boyfriend’s mother. In most cases, she’s probably right and you should simply take her advice. Your boyfriend should not say anything that might hurt her feelings. No doubt one of the biggest joys in her otherwise sad little life is simply helping you two. Be grateful your boyfriend has such a wonderful and caring mother. Good luck! ML

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics. Contact her and/or send your “Dear ML” questions to [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to