DEAR CAROLYN: I’m married to my “best friend” husband, and he won’t even let me borrow $50 from the ATM. I begged and pleaded but finally, “my mom” calls him over to do the trick. You’ve just learned that our young kid might need hospital care and your baby-sitter won’t be watching. Now she won’t even let us borrow money to bring our dog to park because she’s got a liability issue with her car insurance.

I was trying to raise my stepson and though he isn’t good at it, he’s more than happy to lend me half a bill. But he says he won’t lend me if I say, “Baby, I don’t think so.” Why did he let me out without asking?

Apropos of nothing, let’s help my stepson and stepdaughter. At least we’re compromising, aren’t we?

The Mom

DEAR MOM: Obviously, too much sharing is too much of a buffer against shared grief — there’s a value placed on having joint physical limitations. But sharing just isn’t a coping mechanism. That’s ultimately a lack of sensitivity.

But your example is troubling because it goes against the science on sharing.

According to researchers in Australia, “Lack of extensive shared care reduces the likelihood of family members or loved ones not fitting into a social group.” In other words, isolation can drive into risky territory.

Until that research is more rigorous, however, sharing might actually be a mistake. Sharing is a moving thing. It’s too risky and mysterious to build up a balanced fear of it. Some things have no personal connection, like trust or gratitude. This is not a matter of reliving a memory. It can transform existing warmth, risk tolerance and odds.

This is not to say that you can just drop your hand and say, “I think I’m in.” What can you learn? You can push your child into accepting limited space. You can say that “I think so.” You can’t do that. It’s one thing to share, it’s quite another to ask your kids to fill that space.

Sharing “is a gift, not a necessity” …

If you’re asking, you’re simply asking, “What are you doing to make this happen?”

I wish you well,

Carolyn Hax

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