My partner's sister recently separated from her spouse of 12 years who’s been controlling and verbally aggressive. He’s even choked and threatened her (she left with the children after the choking incident).
My partner had previously been his friend but lost contact until recently, and is now seeing him again. I don’t want this man ever come to our house.
I experienced a similar situation several years back and felt betrayed by a few supposed friends who decided that the person who assaulted me still deserved their friendship.
Am I out of line for telling my partner that I feel that he’s doing the same thing to his sister, and disrespecting my feelings about that person?
- No Friendship
There’s no way that “friendship” rules here. No matter how tight these two men once were as buddies, your partner should be shunning anyone who’d abuse his sister. He should also be super-sensitive to your feelings, as a woman who’s been assaulted in the past.
The only valid excuse he could have for seeing this guy would be to get him to seek help for his temper. If so, it’s an effort he could pursue, then back out.
Otherwise, your partner is acting like an insensitive clod, and is risking losing respect and trust from both his sister and you.
My daughter (22) was befriended by a divorced, older man (47) with a teenage son. She was then living at home and going to college; she met this older man at her part-time job.
Recently, she asked me to arrange an appointment for birth control pills, which I did. However, I just can't accept this older man as her partner; I feel he’s taken advantage that she has no life experience.
My husband is friendly whenever they meet; I can barely be civil.
How does a parent support a decision that you know is going to end in tears?
This situation is creating a rift... my husband refuses to talk to me about it, my son doesn't want this older man anywhere near him.
I’m hoping my daughter will meet someone more suitable and this infatuation with this older man will diminish. She’s admitted to feeling uncomfortable with the age difference but feels she’ll get used to it.
- Torn Apart
Back off, Mom; you’re doing everything to make your daughter want to hang in and prove you wrong. By being uncivil to this man, by constantly referring to him as “this older man,” you reinforce her need to show you and him that she’s old enough to make her own decisions, and she’s right about the man she’s chosen.
The fact is that you have created the rift by over-reacting, and your husband is trying to act normally without going overboard. You’ve not described any “wrong” behaviour on the man’s part, other than starting a relationship with a young woman, which isn’t a crime or even that uncommon.
The good news for you is that most young women do not end up staying with their first love, especially when there are major challenges to consider such as his teenage son, his ex-wife, his friends’ reaction to their age gulf, etc.
It’s fine to let her know – once – that you feel she needs more life experience, and relationships with others who are closer to her age and less encumbered. After that, she needs to know you’ll be there for her whatever happens… tears or (and it’s possible) joy.
I'm 24, in graduate school and have loving parents, but no extended family.
I cannot discuss my loneliness as an only child as people assume single children are spoiled.
My mother is often very sick; I cannot imagine a life without her or Dad.
I get depressed when I think about being all alone in this world. I try losing myself in work and community life, but I fear loneliness will take a toll on me.
- Depressed and Lonely
Many single people make “family” of others, by building networks of relationships.
Through your work and community activities, try to seek people who demonstrate similar values, not just common interests. Invite such people into your life by having them home for a meal, sending holiday and birthday cards, and getting together on special occasions.
But while seeking these connections, talk to your doctor or a counsellor about your depression before it deepens.
Tip of the day:
Loved ones deserve greater sensitivity and caring when they’ve been through a trauma.