My fiancé-to-be and I have been together for just over a year. I've known him for ten years and love him very much.
I have a daughter, four, with behavioural issues and very hyperactive. She’s been like this for two years. I’m seeking help to get her assessed to find out if I can help her and cope.
I want nothing more than to spend my life with my boyfriend but one problem - he can constantly be in my daughter's face trying to discipline her and telling me she needs more discipline.
He loves her, spoils her, and is kind to her, but I find when he’s around I’m uptight and more strict with my daughter because of his "advice" and parenting action.
We don’t live together but plan to buy a house together by early next year.
What can I do to keep my family together and prevent my daughter and boyfriend from hating each other?
Worried Look Ahead
Get a grip on your prime responsibility to your daughter.
Two red flags for a troubled future, otherwise:
#1-You say you want to “find out if (you) can help her and cope.”
Yes, you can help her. But you must focus on her first, weigh the “advice” from the professionals who assess her, and then inform your fiancé of what parenting approach is best for her.
#2 – You say you “want nothing more than” spending your life with him. Yet he makes you uptight with your own child, and he’s overly concerned with disciplining her.
Step back from your romantic dreams and look at reality – you two will be in perpetual conflict over your daughter unless you make her your immediate priority.
This child has had to deal with a new man on the scene, who’s telling her what to do. On top of any other behavioural issues, this has been a contributing factor. She needs time to adjust, and repeated, tangible assurance that she matters most to you.
I'm in University, with a dorm roommate. Initially, we instantly bonded over the same interests and became close.
However, her boyfriend sleeps over in our room four times a week.
Also, they’ve been "getting it on" with me sleeping across the room. I don't know how to tell her that it's seriously bothering me and that her acting different, is putting a wedge between us. I need help to get through these next months!
Speak up. There’s already a wedge in your friendship. So you have little to lose, whereas there’s peace and self-respect to gain by being assertive.
She’s NOT a close friend – she’s shown disloyalty by her rude behaviour when he’s present, and insensitivity by not first discussing this takeover “arrangement” over which you’ve had no say.
Say you’re glad for her to have a boyfriend, but not fine with sharing a room with him, a room you’ve paid for as a double occupancy. And you’re not happy at being present during their intimacy.
Suggest negotiating together for when they can have the room to themselves – e.g. some weekends if you go home, or have sleepovers with another dorm-mate, etc.
She’ll likely resist, and be backed up by her boyfriend. But that doesn’t mean you have to remain as a hostage in their stolen love-nest.
If they persist, look for another roommate in the dorm and/or talk to student services for help finding a room that’s truly half yours. And make other friends, soon.
FEEDBACK Regarding concerns about a widower dad, 85, having a relationship with a part-time caregiver, 48 (Oct. 10):
Reader – “Having co-mediated estate litigations for years, I see familiar warning signs. All too often, elderly people can be identified as marks by unscrupulous caregivers.
“Isolating the father from family is a common first step. Rapidly taking control over all aspects of his life commonly follows. Children often discover too late their loved one's will has been altered, beneficiaries added, and/or deeds transferred to the caregiver or dependents of the caregiver.
“The optics are that this legally blind octogenarian is at risk. Speaking directly to the agency to change caregivers seems the logical first step. Next, have their father assessed for mental competency. Then, ascertain whether he’s made (or is contemplating making) changes to his will or to his choice of trustee. Better to act now than to litigate later.”
Tip of the day:
Someone who treats you shabbily when another person is present is NOT a close friend.