My wife and I have been happily married 40 years. Our adult son is married to an ambitious, smart, very pretty, hard working woman. We have always been close with our son. The woman's family is lovely and welcoming toward us. She is indifferent, except when she is correcting or criticizing my wife. My wife is charming and funny, albeit strong minded, as is the daughter-in-law. I am more politic, but do have opinions. All of us are professionals. I bite my tongue more than I would like to in order not to make conflicts or make my son unhappy. I don't know how we can break through to the daughter-in-law. When we make inquiries about her work, she acts as though it is a state secret. They ask that we consult with them about our visits as they live in another major city. When we visit, we realize that they have work, but we are capable of taking care of ourselves with museums and such. I appreciate that there need to be boundaries, but I am concerned that these are becoming unapproachable borders. Help!
As the post title says, boundaries go both ways. As our children get older and bring new people into the family, we often have to readjust to new personalities and new ways of doing things. It may be that your daughter-in-law is insecure and that manifests itself as criticism, especially toward your wife. Daughter-in-laws often feel that they have a lot to live up to in their mothers-in-law.
That being said, you and your wife need to have boundaries as well and one of those boundaries should involve what kind of language (i.e. criticism) is acceptable in your relationship. If positive productive criticism is part of your lives, so be it. But if that criticism is a one way street, it needs to be addressed.
Given the tension that appears to be present in your relationship with you daughter-in-law, it's not surprising that the boundaries they've set about visiting are starting to feel like razor wire. That being said, asking you to consult them before visiting is a reasonable boundary UNLESS it starts impacting your ability to communicate with your son (though I will add here that marriage changes the dynamics of all family relationships so you may have to decide where you're willing to compromise).
OK, but back to the indifference and criticism. My suggestion is that you talk to your son. You frame your feelings in "when she does XYZ, it makes your mom and I feel XYZ." Stress how important it is to you that the lines of communication remain open. Reinforce the idea that you want them both to be part of your lives, but also that you need to make sure that everyone is being treated respectfully. You may suggest a get-together where you can talk (calmly and maturely) about issues that have arisen on both sides. If everyone can work together, you might be able to uncover the source of your daughter-in-law's behavior and take action on improving your relationship with her.
If either your son or his wife seem resistant to hearing your feelings, there may be a deeper issue. In that case, you might need to seek out a family counselor who can work with you and your wife (and possibly your son and his wife) on resolving those issues. But it sounds like you have a good relationship with your son and I expect he will be willing to work with you if you can lay out some parameters without letting too much anger or frustration seep into the conversation.
I hope this helps. The key here is mutual respect.
I very recently became a Godmother to an amazing baby girl who already has my Husband (her Godfather) wrapped around her little bitty pinky, I'll refer to her as "A" from now on. We are over the moon to have been chosen as A's Godparents, but becoming Godparents has introduced a challenge we never saw coming. My Mother has decided that she wants to not only meet A, whose Parents don't much care for her, she wants A to call her Nana (aka, Grandmother).
Now, there is a precedent in my family of more or less adopting nonrelated Grandchildren under certain circumstances. After my Uncle married my Aunt, her Nieces' circumstances took a dramatic turn for the worse and it looked like my Uncle and Aunt might have had to adopt her. This unfortunate period in her life lasted long enough that my Grandparents sort of adopted her as their Grandchild and she calls them Grandmommy and Granddaddy to this day many years later. However, A's circumstances could not be more opposite. A has wonderful biological Grandparents, her Parents are stable/loving and everything else you could want for her.
As I previously mentioned, A's Parents don't much care for my Mother and have said point blank they don't want my Mother making A call her Nana or any other form of Grandmother. I am 100% onboard with their wishes as is my Husband. The only person not on board, is my Mother.
My Mother and I have a somewhat rocky relationship as it is and when I tried to broach this topic the first time she dissolved into tears, demanded to know why I was denying her a Granddaughter, and said a slew of other things not worth repeating. When it comes right down to it, I will adhere to A's Parents wishes without fail as I feel A is more important in this situation than my Mother's disappointment. What I need advice on is how to approach this with my Mother again to make A's Parents wishes clear, as well as my commitment to honoring them, without the conversation resulting in tears and shouting again.
Cornered by a Manipulator
I'm sorry that you're having to go through this. Agreeing to be godparents to little A is a big responsibility and an honor. Your friends clearly see you and your husband as the kind of people they would want their daughter raised by if anything ever happened to them. Good job and what a joy for you!
Now, regarding your mother. The truth of the matter is that this isn't about her. Or even about you, really. This is about A and A's parents, who are making an important decision about their child's future. It is wonderful that they are thinking hard about who should be responsible for A if they weren't around, and I know that the decision to name godparents also gives you a special relationship with A. That relationship does not extend to your mother. A is not part of your family. You and your husband will have a wonderful, joyful tie to A her whole life, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with your mother, regardless of anything else that may have happened in the past. This situation is unique.
Kudos to you for realizing that you need to abide by A's parents wishes 100%. Now comes the hard part. Setting boundaries with your mother. When your mother breaks down into tears and calls you every name in the book because she doesn't get her way, she is being manipulative and emotionally abusive. That kind of behavior does not make a strong relationship. If you want to be close with your mother, or even maintain the status quo, you'll need to have strong boundaries and stick to them. Tell your mother, KINDLY, that these are A's parents wishes and you will be following those wishes to the letter. Let her know that you love her and you see that she's upset by this news, but that the subject is non-negotiable and you won't be discussing it further. Period.
Sound harsh? I know it does. And I don't mean to sound patronizing when I say this, but you have to treat you mother's behavior like you would a child - be clear and be consistent. You can apply this lesson to any other area of your relationship with your mother because this kind of behavior is inappropriate. Believe me, from one who has had to work hard on boundaries in my life, the exercise may seem hard, but it's totally worth it. Again, I'm not advocating being mean to your mother. But you need to draw a line in the sand about this issue and be willing to stick to it. And if you use this approach with other tough interactions with your mom, she'll start to understand what you are and are not wiling to put up with in your relationship with her.
I hope this helps, and I wish you luck. Please let me know if you need any further advice.
I have been dating a man for over a year now and we are definitely in love! He is such a great and loving guy! He adores my daughter and she loves him as well! But our relationship is currently at a stand still! Here's the thing, we live 1,000 miles apart! We met online but we instantly hit it off! We've only visited each other a total of 6 times but we speak via text phone and FaceTime everyday! We both know that the other is who we want! We also both know that in order for this to work someone has to make the big move! He has asked me to move to where he is because he has received a great career opportunity, but I just can't bring myself to do it while my left ring finger is still bare! I have so much to leave behind, and I'm definitely worried about how my 4 year old would respond to a new environment! He's stated that he would not have me move there if he wasn't planning to marry me! Am I crazy for wanting this man to propose to me first? Should I make the move first then wait for the ring to follow, as he assures it will? I love him and I cannot imagine life without him, but I also can't see myself making that big of a move without at least being engaged! Am I being unreasonable?
I can completely relate to your situation. I went through something very similar last year. Choosing to move away from your support system is always hard and I think we find ourselves looking for a guarantee. But there isn’t one. Whether he puts the ring on your finger now or later, there’s no guarantee that things will work out. And there’s no reason to think that they won’t. Life is about making the best decisions we can with the information we’ve got. If you move, you and your daughter will both go through a period of adjustment and it may not always be easy. Sometimes we take risks and bad things happen. But if you aren’t willing to take any risks, nothing happens.
Here’s what I would suggest. If the financial situation is better where he lives, start planning a move. But make sure that your plans are not contingent on the relationship. As a mother, no matter who is in your life, your focus will always be on taking care of your daughter. There’s no reason this decision has to be any different. Take your time. Research the new town, the schools, the playgrounds. Use Meetup.com or Facebook groups to reach out and start making friends early. Move over but not necessarily in. It’s not unreasonable to move to town but keep your own apartment until you’re sure things are going to work out. Figure out how you’ll stay connected with your support system back home.
This doesn’t have to be scary and you don’t need a ring to make a decision that will be good for you, your daughter and your fellow. Just make this move about YOU and not about the relationship. That way, no matter what happens, you’ll feel secure in the decisions you’ve made.
I have a serious problem that I don’t know how to handle. I have fallen in love with my 29 year-old orchestra teacher and I’m only turning 13. I have no clue what to do. I know you may say it’s just a crush but i know it’s not. I get butterflies in my stomach just looking at him. I know it’s highly illegal for a minor to date a teacher but I really want to be with him. I know I can’t so right now all I really want is a kiss or hug or something for him to symbolize he cares about me. I love him and I don’t want him to get in trouble for something he didn’t do. Please help me.
I’m not going to tell you this is just a crush. Your feelings are real and I don’t doubt that they’re overwhelming. But, I’m going to be honest with you. As a teacher, he cannot have any kind of inappropriate contact with you, including kissing and hugging. Teachers are held to a professional code of ethics that forbids them from having that kind of contact with their students. It’s intended to keep you (his students) safe from being taken advantage of, but it’s also intended to keep him (and other teachers) safe from making mistakes.
The bottom line: Kissing you, hugging you or having any inappropriate contact with you could not only get him fired and/or arrested, but could make it impossible for him to teach ever again. If you care about your teacher, don’t put him in a position that might ruin his career and his life. It doesn’t have anything to do with his feelings or yours. It’s about following the rules and keeping everybody involved safe.
So I am young and my boyfriend isn't talking to me in school and hasn't been texting me lately. My first thought was that he was mad at me and he said he's not. Then I asked my friend who's in his class who said he hasn’t been talking to anyone today and kind of down. I asked him what's wrong and he said he was up late doing schoolwork and he was tired. I don't think that's the whole problem but he said it is. What should I do?
The best thing you can do is to give him some space but let him know that you care about him and are there for him if he needs to talk. Maybe he’s really just tired. Or maybe he’s got some stressful stuff happening at home. It’s hard to say for sure and if he’s not feeling like talking, you can’t force it out of him.
Now, if you start to worry that he’s depressed and might harm himself, find an adult you trust to talk to right away.
We all have bad days and sometimes our bad days are more like bad weeks or years. Be his friend. Let him know he can come to you if he needs you. Then give him a breather. When he tells you he’s not mad at you, believe him. When he’s ready to talk about how he’s feeling, he will. Or maybe he’ll work through whatever’s bothering him and things will get back to normal. Give him time.
What should you do if you haven't talked to your boyfriend in 2 weeks??? He says he doesn't have a phone and I believe him but I don't think its good for our relationship!?? So please help me. BTW I'm 15!!
After reading your question, I found myself wondering how you met your boyfriend. I would have assumed you’d met him at school given your age, but then I wondered why you haven’t seen him for two weeks. Clearly, I’m missing something. But either way, I think my advice would be pretty much the same so I’m going to press on. It stinks not to be able to talk to your boyfriend everyday or even just more regularly. And yes, it does make a relationship difficult BUT not impossible. I would suggest finding other ways to communicate. Here are some suggestions:
Ok, so one last thought. If your boyfriend disappears for large periods of time, this may not end up being the kind of relationship that’s going to be comfortable for you. And it’s okay to understand that about yourself. You are absolutely entitled to decide what kinds of things you like and are willing to live with in a relationship. You can’t make someone else fit that mold if they don’t (round peg, square hole) but recognizing the things that you need in a relationship will make it more likely that you find someone who meets those needs.
Wishing you good luck.
My girlfriend and I met in November 2013. Around about January 2014 she and her daughter had moved in with my son and I (although, at the time I had my son 33% custody as he spent the remainder living with his mum.) The first 6 months of our relationship went well and we often talked about having a child together. Around August she quit her bar job and started her Masters degree at a University. She had warned me how busy she would be and also that her main two priorities were her school and her daughter of which I accepted. Our relationship suffered a lot and I did feel very neglected but continued to support her through the end of her first semester. I also felt her personality had changed from easy going to non-stop complaining and criticizing me.
I loved her and wanted us to stay together but I could feel the relationship starting to fall apart so a few weeks before Christmas I decided to buy an expensive engagement ring and I proposed hoping it would keep us together. She accepted and things went well between us for about a week then the arguments started up again. She threw the ring at me several times and after the 3rd time I kept it but later gave it back as we found out that she is pregnant. Throughout our relationship I had learned rather quickly that my girlfriend and her daughter seemed very much attached to one another, very often when we would argue she often slept with her daughter and even when we didn't argue she would encourage her daughter to sleep in the same bed as us which I found very annoying. After several months of arguing about this situation I gave in to her daughter sleeping with us. Our sex lives were going down hill pretty fast by the time December came around. Another thing that hurt my feelings was my girlfriend would often want to have a one on one time with her daughter instead of the four of us. As I mentioned earlier I only had my son part of the time and I work 12 hour shifts night and days where neither my son or I was at home. So I did feel that her actions divided us up of what I thought was family. Furthermore, I realized she treated her daughter much nicer than my son and was a lot harsher toward him. This happened on a daily basis. This was getting out of hand that even my girlfriends daughter was recognizing she could bully or torment my son knowing her mum would side with her. My son would cry over the littlest things.
Suddenly, in December my son's mum was taken to hospital and for the next 6 weeks I had full-time custody of my son. This is when I noticed how much my girlfriend disliked my son. She was constantly mad at him and also me finding faults with both of us. When he was sick and I was at work she called me to say that she was put out and had enough she eventually moved out as she couldn't or rather wouldn't mind my son whilst I went to work even though I was paying for all the rent, utilities, the majority of the groceries and spending money on meals out and clothes for her child as well as mine. When she moved out I have to pay for a child minder now as she let me know that she wasn't a nanny. She has moved back home to her parents and says she will move back in if I get a bigger and better place for us to live as a family. We have found out that she is 12 weeks pregnant. She says she still wants us to be together but we only see each other maybe once or twice a week. We do not have any real romance/intimacy between us although I wish we did. I do find her to be very selfish, uninterested or liking me much let alone loving me...I don't know what to make of it all. She now wants me to join a budget website to see what my income is so she can see what I can afford for a nicer place for our family she says...until now we aren't even friends on Facebook as she still has me blocked from 6 weeks ago. She does not work as yet but mentions she would contribute from her child support or her school allowance.
I would let her go if I knew she wasn't pregnant but she is so I want us to work. If we do try to move in again I fear she will continue to resent my son (even though she denies this...but admits she can never love him like her own which I understand this. I just don't like her ignoring him or treating him unkind or indifferent) She also says she doesn't want to live back home but I feel she doesn't want to be with me or left with my son whilst I am at work...she recommended that I continue to pay for a child minder. I'm thinking she will probably move out in the New Year when she has her own income but I'm not certain...I just don't feel any love from her. Shall I continue with this dysfunctional relationship or surrender to child support payments...Your advice is greatly appreciated.
Blending families is a difficult process and it sounds like there have been a lot of complicating stressors in your relationship. You moved in together very quickly and you each had children of your own. Integrating two families like that is always a challenge and having your son only part of the time created an imbalance. It’s understandable that she wants to focus on her daughter, but being part of a blended family requires a lot of work on making everyone feel welcome and included. It sounds like that’s been a problem.
I could comment on a lot of the specifics of your question individually but I think it all comes down to the same thing. If you guys are going to be a family and live together, you’re going to need to get some help. And I would suggest getting the help before you move back in together. It’s hard bringing two families together and its okay to throw up your hands and say “what we’re doing isn’t working” and seek help in finding a healthier way to live. You now have a vested interest in making this relationship work, even if you don’t end up together because you’ll be sharing a child. And that’s not just about child support. That child will need you in his or her life just as much as your son does.
But here’s the bottom line, your first priority right now is to provide a stable and healthy home for your son. None of this is his fault, and he shouldn’t have to live in a home where he feels he is less important. If you get back together with your girlfriend, she HAS to understand that, for his sake. It’s one thing to have different feelings for your biological child vs. your step child. It’s another thing entirely to act on those feelings. As the adults in the situation, you both have a responsibility to provide safety and security to all your children and protect their emotional well-being as best you can.
I empathize with your girlfriend in that being a mom and a student at the same time can be maddening, and being pregnant on top of that has got to be hard. BUT, those were choices that she (and you) made and you need to figure out how to deal with those choices without being mean or disrespectful to one another or to the children you care for. I also understand where you’re coming from. You’ve got a new child on the way and you love your girlfriend so you want to make it work. But that’s just it…it has to work. And the way things are going, its not working. Find a family counselor who can help you deal with all the complexities of this relationship (and there are many) and maybe you’ll find that being a family is possible without all the dysfunction.
I hope you can give me some perspective on a very complex problem I'm facing. I was recently reunited with the only person I actually fell in love with about 20 years ago. At the time he was not ready for a committed relationship. It broke my heart. I went through a hard time trying to get over him.
Now 20 years later we found each other and it feels like we were never apart. The problem is he is now married and now that I'm a Christian it’s a violation to my faith to entertain the thought of a relationship with him. But I find myself not able to get him out of my mind and he has indicated his desire to see me and not just as friends. Upon meeting him it was instant chemistry between us and I find myself struggling with my faith and the desire to give into my feelings. Clearly I never quite got over him. He's older and much more stabilized. But unfortunately is not free. I know the logical think to do is to back off.
I myself was married and my husband a disabled vet passed away a few years ago. I single handedly raised our child who is about to go off to college. I am working in a hectic environment and have not been in a relationship for a very long time. It is no surprise to me that I came alive upon meeting up with him. It was like sunshine finally piercing the darkness of loneliness and hard work. I just can't seem to get him out of my mind.
My natural self wants to be with him as I sense he wants to be with me. We don't live in the same state but he's indicated wanting to have a relationship with me. I am very tempted. But struggle with my faith and intruding in a marriage, which according to him he's only in because of his 2 sons. Apparently he is not happy with his wife - but most men say that anyways.
My inner struggle is my faith and violating my relationship with God. But my desire to be with him seems to be stronger (which makes me feel badly). I have no one to talk this through with and hope you can help me sort this out.
Love can be overwhelming sometimes. Your feelings from 20 years ago have been revived but the situation today is much different. Twenty years ago, he wasn’t the right person because he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship. Now he’s not the right person because he’s tied to someone else. Of course, your brain can tell you all that and it might not make the slightest difference to your feelings, right?
Putting your faith aside, let’s talk about your emotional well-being. Regardless of your beliefs, the reality of this situation is that you are going to be hurt. You’ll feel conflicted and angry with yourself for going against your belief system. You’ll feel guilty and maybe ashamed because you’ll be interfering in his marriage. You may feel suspicious, jealous, abandoned and depressed. The chances that this will take a toll on your self-esteem are pretty high.
I am a romantic and I love the idea that after 20 years, you’ve reconnected with your true love. And if I let myself, I can imagine a happy ending…one where he and his wife have an amicable divorce, allowing you two to be together but also giving him a chance to be a father to his children. But human relationships are complicated and don’t fall neatly into Hollywood-style romance scripts. As much as it might hurt, resisting the desire to be with him until he is free to be with you is going to cause the least amount of pain in the long run.
I wish I had a more fairytale solution for you, but you deserve happiness, stability and love from a person who can show up for you and be 100% present in your relationship.
I met this woman back in the mid 90's, I was teaching country dance classes. I had two different dance classes in two different places and she would come to both. We started talking after class a few times and then started going back to my place. After a few times of coming to my home, we started having sex. At the time she was married and we were caught by her husband. He had her followed.
A few days after we were caught she called and said she wanted to work things out with her husband. Don't know how long time went on but I ended up meeting someone else and started dating this person. A few months in this relationship the married one showed up at my house saying she getting a divorce and she wanted to start back where we left off. I told her that I was dating someone else. About six months after that I was seeing her on the side for about a year. Broke up with the girlfriend not cause of her but other reason. For about 2 or three years we kept hooking up every once in a while. I did care for this her though the whole time. She ended up sleeping with one of my friends and it became an issue to me.
In 98 I met someone else. We fell in love with each other or so I thought, but she was only using me for about 2 years. She ended up cheating on me. It did something to me from 2002 to 2009 I didn't date or have anything to do with women. I just wanted to be alone so I couldn't get hurt anymore. After 2009 I dated a couple of women but nothing serous.
A year ago I saw the person that was in my dancing class. I knew right there and then I still had very strong feelings for her. She was always on my mind. So one night I was out to a bar and she was there. We started talking, a few weeks later we started dating. So we’ve been seeing each other for about 2 1/2 months. I told her a month ago that I was in love with her and she said she was in love with me too. We’ve only spent a few nights apart since then.
She goes to her house when she gets off work every day. She will text and say she’s home and she be here in a few, sometimes her few is three and four hours. She shows up at my house sometimes a little buzzed and sometimes she is drunk. She’s always wanting to bring up the past that she loved me and that I chased other women when I could have had her. She will even bring her bottle with her and a few drinks here also. I’ve been noticing something isn't right on some things. Like she will go to the bathroom several time before we go to bed and she in there for along time.
I know she is going through some hard times her daughter had her kids taken away from her last month, so she doesn’t get to see her grandkids. But this is what been going on here lately. Her ex will text her and she wont answer him until she goes home the next day. I understand that they need to talk about the grandkids and their daughter. But she is keeping it from me when he texts and I caught her lying about it.
On Valentine's Day I planned a very special evening and she knew it. She worked that day so I told her when she got off work to come here. She texted me and said she’d be here in a few. That was at 3:30, and at seven she showed up drunk. I was upset and after we ate and I gave her Valentine's gift to her we kinda got in an argument about her being drunk. She said she wasn't drinking she was just tired, so the next day I let her know that I knew she was drunk.
I am trying to hit on everything so maybe you can help me understand. So last night was the end of the straw, she text me after work and said she’d be here in a few. Three hours later she shows up. She said she had a load of clothes to do and laid down and fell asleep. But brought them here to put in my dryer. We had dinner and she said she was gong to go to church with her daughter. She had on a sweater and blue jeans, I ask her was she going to church like that she said yes. So at 6:30 she leaves and didn't come back until 10. She was acting funny. She didn't text or call and when she got here didn't even say what she was doing. I didn't ask cause I didn't want start an argument or let her know it bother me. I have talked before all this has been going on that I wont put up with cheating or lying, I told her it’s time for me to settle down and be happy. Am I making a bigger deal over this then I should?
In reading your question, there were a lot of red flags for me. Has your girlfriend had problems with alcohol in the past? Her secretive behavior and showing up visibly drunk but denying it makes me worry about her well-being. She may not be aware that she has a problem, but from what you’ve said, I suspect she does.
You have a long history with your girlfriend and you love her, so its not surprising that you’re feeling conflicted. I don’t think you’re making a bigger deal over this than you should. You should be able to rely on your girlfriend to keep her word and to tell you the truth. My concern is that her problems are more complicated than we know and I really think she’s going to need more help than you can give her.
Have you talked to her about the possibility of counseling? If not, I would suggest thinking about family counseling. Bringing someone into the equation who can stay impartial and can help identify problems may be a good idea at this point. It’ll help you understand how you can both work to make the relationship better and a counselor would be able to make specific recommendations about other local resources, as needed.
Wishing you luck and happiness.
I’ve been with my girlfriend for about 3 and a half years now. For about a year now, we’ll only have sex maybe once a month. What am I doing wrong? Do I need to spice things up somehow? Is she not attracted to me anymore? Does she still even love me? How can I tell and how can I bring passion back into our relationship?
The fizzle of your sex life could be related to any number of factors. It doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong and it doesn’t mean she’s not attracted to you anymore. But what it does mean is that you guys should talk about it. If you’re wanting more sex, talk to her. Ask her how’s she’s feeling about your sex life. Be honest. Tell her you’re worried about it and that you want to find ways to be more intimate. This is about the two of you together, so let her know how you’re feeling and ask her for her help in sorting it out.
And here’s a tip. Sometimes reigniting the passion in your life might have to do with the least likely things so be open to what she has to say. Sometimes we get into ruts. We feel unappreciated in our relationships or in our homes. Sometimes just offering to cook dinner or do the dishes is an awfully romantic gesture. This is why talking is so important. Don’t just talk about sex, talk about life. Find out how she’s feeling about home life and work. Find out what stresses her out, what she’s worried about. And tell her about you too. Reconnecting outside the bedroom is sometimes very helpful is sparking things up under the covers.
Instead of worrying that she might not love you, take this opportunity to reach out to her. In long-term relationships, passion often comes and goes in waves, partly because we get comfortable and settle into a routine. When we start losing intimacy, sometimes we get really focused on sex. But I would encourage you to focus on intimacy, even when it doesn’t involve sex.
Don't be shy! Say what's on your mind and get a good dose of perspective in return.