People often struggle to understand what makes them happy/unhappy and why, themselves, much less being able to articulate it, so that’s hardly surprising. And if by some chance they do manage to pinpoint the issue and articulate it, if the person they’re talking to doesn’t have an analogous experience as a frame of reference, odds are effective communication still won’t happen on the subject. Human beings are a mess, and I’m glad you’re finding some help wading through one of the gloppier parts of the mess.
Well…there’s poking around in the kitchen, and then there’s poking around in the kitchen. I’ll dig through my mil’s cabinets looking for a glass, or hunt down a plate and silverware to get a piece of the cake that’s sitting out on the kitchen counter, sure. But I wouldn’t just randomly go in and start opening cabinets or the fridge to see what there is to snack on, or grab a handful of grapes while I’m in the fridge getting a drink the way I would at my parents’ house. I don’t know why, exactly; it’s not like they’d mind in the least if I did those things. There’s just some vague lizard-brain repulsion to the idea.
It’s like when my mil caught herself something fairly inappropriate pretty loudly when talking to me and my sil in public last weekend. She would have been embarrassed if it had happened with just sil, but she was even more embarrassed that it happened in front of me. Not as embarrassed as she would have been in front of company, but still. On both sides of the fence, it’s like I’m 95% family but still 5% company. And that 5% makes kind of a big difference.
Yeah, different family dynamics take a long time to adjust to on all sides. My family doesn’t have to be doing stuff together all the time, but we do tend to all congregate in the same room and stay there together (often doing our own thing) unless we leave for some specific reason. My in-laws just kind of filter in and out at random and nobody thinks anything of it. There were a lot of “What did I say? Did I forget deodorant or something?” and “Did we say something to offend him?” conversations in the early days. My family still exhausts him horribly though Mom and Dad try not to, and it still weirds me out a little when a kitchen goes from full of people and conversation to empty in the space of 10 minutes because people have just filtered out to watch tv or whatever.