My wife died three years ago. Months later, I accidentally met her estranged sister, “A,” whom I hadn’t seen in years.
Their dispute still isn’t clear to me. A’s been separated for eight years after 40 years of marriage, no children.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with her. I have three adult children and the oldest (son) is still seeing her ex (his godfather).
Hearing this, she cut my son from her life. She also refuses to see my daughter who she says disrespected her. My other son still sees A, got married recently, and invited her for the ceremony.
My oldest son, who has two young children, hasn’t contacted me since, probably upset at A’s presence there.
This stresses me out, and A knows it. She’s suggesting that we stop seeing each other for a while. She’s adamant that relations between her and my son won’t improve if he still sees her ex, who’s been with another woman since their separation.
What Can I Do?
The divide between sisters likely happened because “A” is so stubborn that she’ll easily cut ties with family (and you, too, if you cross her).
Her anger at her ex, who left her for another after 40 years, is fairly understandable.
But her demand that his godson never sees him is unreasonable. And she’s extended her family freeze to your daughter.
There’s now no chance that you and she can have a decent relationship, unless you agree not to see two of your adult kids and your grandchildren.
Stop seeing her, period.
My wife and I have been together for a couple of years, along with my three children. All through our relationship I’ve been in and out of jail and my wife’s sick of it.
I first went to jail as a young teenager. I make stupid mistakes all the time and am trying to change my life. But when I get back to my home town, I always get into trouble.
I’m happy I found my soul mate. My wife’s always on my side and I love her so much. But she said if I come back to jail once more, she’ll leave me.
I don’t want to lose her. She’s been there for me, and then for my children whom I also love. She tells me to do better, but at the same time I’m scared. I want to be a good father and good husband. I want to turn my life around for good.
Need to Change
You can make that change, but you have to do some things differently.
It’s obvious that the same group of people in your hometown keep encouraging you to take the risks and do the things that land you back in jail.
Talk to your wife about a plan to move away from their influence. As a couple, you can get free help from honest organizations that offer re-entry information and support for prisoners.
If you live in Canada, the John Howard Society provides pre-release counselling, housing services, employment/vocational/educational programs and more.
If you live in the U.S., the Lionheart Foundation lists helpful organizations found by clicking on your State. Some of these agencies offer employment services, and training. Others help both you and your family re-settle into a community.
In your case, finding a different community may be one of the most important steps to your staying out of jail.
Start the search for helpful community re-entry.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who’s waiting for his girlfriend to leave her partner (Oct. 27):
Reader – “I’m a man, 81, and a life-long feminist and 50-year partner of a woman who always addressed sexist issues.
“I wonder: if the genders in the question were reversed, would you say the same thing to a woman?
“I expected to read: "She’s a player cheating on her boyfriend and playing you along. She’s getting attention she wants from two men and doesn't have to change her life.
“If she leaves him and lives with you, wouldn't she cheat with him (or someone else)? Run from this woman!"
Ellie – I appreciate your and your wife’s support of women’s issues. I did recommend a “clean break” and noted that she’s a proven cheater.
With both men and women, I acknowledge some hope when the letter-writer still feels there’s mutual love. BUT, if his “girlfriend” delays further, I said he’d move on.
Tip of the day:
When another’s grudges affect your relationship with your own children, choose your kids over unreasonable anger and demands.