My husband and I have very different tastes in television programs. I like romance and drama. He watches shows about UFOs. It makes my skin crawl when he turns on shows about extraterrestrials and then lectures me about his beliefs — backed up by these programs — that aliens are living among us. I don’t believe it, but I also know that I can’t do anything about it, even if it is true.
How can I get him to watch some of my shows? I am tired of being forced to endure the shows he likes. It makes me really angry, and that’s no good for our relationship.
— No More Aliens
Dear No More Aliens: Schedule together time and alone time. Let your husband know that you realize that you don’t share the same interests in TV programming. Rather than feeling that you are being held hostage watching and responding to something that irritates you, recommend that each of you enjoy alone time when you want to watch your separate TV shows. When you come together, consider turning off the TV and talking to each other or engaging in other activities that do not have the television as a distraction.
As far as watching something together, figure out what you both like and agree to watch that during those together moments.
Dear Harriette: I just graduated from college this year, and I got a credit card for the first time. I was told that I have to build up credit in order to be able to buy property or even get an apartment. I can’t get a lease for my own place without proof that I have good credit. Nobody ever told me that before.
I don’t want to ask anybody for help. Plus, my parents really can’t afford it. They did tell me I can live with them until I get it together. I feel like a failure. I did very well in school, have almost no college debt and recently got a job, but it’s still not enough. What should I do?
— No Credit
Dear No Credit: It is true that you generally need to have established credit in order to be able to do many things, including renting or buying an apartment — unless you can pay cash upfront for an extended period of time.
Take your parents up on their offer for you to live with them while you build your credit. Be disciplined about using your new credit card. You must use it, though. Each month, make some charges on your card, preferably using less than 30% of the total amount of credit. Always pay your bill on time. You can pay the total balance in full each month, either on time or early, or you can pay a portion of the bill on time. Either way will help build good credit. If you pay it off in full each month, your credit score will rise higher and you will not incur interest charges.
Sign up for a credit monitoring app, like Credit Karma, so that you can immediately access your credit score. A year’s worth of good credit plus some dollars in the bank should make you ready to get your own place.