Her in-laws won't shut the bathroom door - Newsday

Her in-laws won't shut the bathroom door

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: My visits with my Swiss in-laws have included the increasing incidence of their using the toilet with an open bathroom door. Though they try to diminish it, this is a huge issue for me. My husband thinks they just feel really close to me. If this is true, how do I keep them from feeling that close? They've repeatedly mocked my American modesty in the past: I never used the outdoor shower at their lake house because it was completely exposed. My father-in-law sweetly enclosed it in an attempt to lure me from the enclosed indoor shower (this didn't work), referring to it using a derogatory word for Americans. The family's nude sunbathing doesn't bother me (I can manage to escape), but while visiting their home, their open-door policy is harder to avoid. The tipping point came just last night. I had my mother-in-law, "Marianne," over for dinner, and she left my bathroom door open while using it. Amy, please help! How do I get my in-laws to close the bathroom door while they see to their private business?

advertisement | advertise on newsday

--An American in Switzerland

DEAR AMERICAN: While there isn't much you can do to change your in-laws' habits in their own home, you can certainly ask them to close the door while in your home.

I assume you and your husband close the bathroom door when you have guests over. If his parents raised him to be an open-door kind of guy, he seems to have adjusted to your American sensibilities.

It's no fun to be mocked for who you are. And frankly, it is rude of them to denigrate your comfort and culture.

But all you can do is say, "I know you don't like this about me, but I really do feel uncomfortable when you leave the bathroom door open." In your own home, if an in-law is headed in that direction, you can say, "Marianne, do me a favor and shut the door, please."

You also may be interested in: