My husband started a successful business 22 years ago. I joined his staff as a full-time employee 13 years ago. I have an advanced degree in a field that is relevant to the business. The problem: He won’t give me a paycheck! He simply puts random amounts of money into our checking accounts at random times. He says, “You are paid $ x a year.” But I never know if I can afford to buy a new lamp because I don’t see any accounts. He brushes off the subject when I raise it with him. How can I convince my husband that his behavior is paternalistic and demeaning?
Quit! Unless you are starring in a remake of “I Love Lucy,” in which your story arc involves convincing a controlling husband to let you join the paid work force (as poor Lucy did for six seasons), why would you voluntarily work for someone — a loved one, no less — who disrespects your reasonable wishes?
You say you’ve tried to raise the subject with your husband. I hope you did it in a serious way: by sitting down with him to discuss the matter calmly and letting him know that a regular paycheck is important to you and your sense of independence. If you haven’t done this, try. It may lead to a related conversation about household expenses and your cost of living.
This seems important here, in light of your professed inability to “see” your accounts. Take the time to become financially literate; there is no mystery in checking account balances. There are a million things that could make working for a spouse difficult, but compensation should not be one of them.
Why Haven’t You Liked My Post?
I am a 30-year-old living in a big city. A year ago, I decided to delete my social media accounts for my mental well-being. Going in, I knew I’d miss invitations to parties and small social tidbits. But I’m also missing engagement and pregnancy announcements of all but my closest friends (who tell me). Several on social media seem frustrated or hurt that I haven’t seen their posts. When I asked for text notification, one woman told me that no one gets personalized announcements. I want to know about these important life events, but can’t imagine downloading Instagram again. What should I do?
Let’s start by revisiting your decision. Does the prospect of scrolling through an endless cascade of social media posts — many idealized, humble-bragging or attention seeking — by everyone you know, and some you merely follow, seem healthier for you today than it did a year ago? (Thought so.)
When you left social media, you opted for direct communication, which I, personally, prize more highly than likes on Instagram. You may not have realized it at the time, but this also requires more work than being a passive viewer of social feeds. You have to reach out to people. Are you doing that?
If you are, and you’re truly connecting with a handful of friends, does it matter that others are “frustrated or hurt” that you didn’t see their engagement posts? Just congratulate them warmly when they tell you and say you’ve stepped away from social media. But if being up to the minute on sort-of friends is imperative, go back to the apps.
Hot in Here
My wife and I installed a sauna on our property. We would like to invite friends to share the experience with us, but we’re hesitating because we don’t know the etiquette of nudity in saunas. (Also, we’re not sure we’ll be comfortable with the intimacy of sharing such a confined space.) Our friends know about the sauna, and we suspect they’re anticipating invitations. How can we verbalize our concerns?
That’s a lot of ambivalence for one short paragraph, Stuart. But I get it. Your friendly impulse to share is at war with how sharing may feel. The good news: I doubt your friends are thinking about this as much as you are.
If you’re really concerned about the unlikely possibility of seeing your friends in the nude, here’s a sauna protocol: When guests arrive, hand them a towel and say, “You can cover up and sit on this.” Then sweat it out.
If the experience is not emotionally wrenching, invite others. But I wouldn’t worry about seeing pals naked in your sauna, unless you move to Berlin (or some parts of Scandinavia).
Quid Pro Quo?
My girlfriend of one year broke up with me recently. The parting was amicable. For my last birthday (pre-breakup), she was very generous. As her birthday approaches, I’m not sure whether to give her the gift I’d planned on buying. I’m upset about the breakup, but doesn’t she deserve the same generosity she showed me? Help!
I admire your willingness to look past your distress and treat your ex well. But the intervening breakup changes things here. It would be weird to give an ex an expensive gift right after she broke up with you. It would likely create more confusion than gratitude. (“Does he want to get back together?”) Go with a friendly text instead.
For help with your awkward situation, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.