We were long-time friends, then he confessed he was falling for me. We've been dating for over a year.
It's been really good, but there are issues.
He’s keen to marry and integrate me into his family life. I really like him, but can't get comfortable with these ideas.
Neither of us has stable employment, we both have debt, and I'm unsure if I even want a long-term relationship.
The subject of commitment gets frequently raised, and it's straining our relationship.
It's fair for him to want some verbal commitment. I just have a deep emotional aversion to that, and am wondering what that means.
Yet we’re very comfortable with, and supportive of, each other.
Am I giving up on something worthwhile because of fear? Or should we agree that we want different things and go our separate ways?
Yes, you have “fear” of this relationship, but you haven’t defined what or why.
Parents’ divorced? Your own previous experiences? You need to recognize the source of your fears, so you can talk them out with him, or with a professional.
You “like” him, but your concern about mutual debt, and disinterest in marrying are blocking your even mentioning love.
Confront your feelings or lack of them. He deserves more than your giving in to just be “comfortable.”
For the last four years I’ve been struggling to raise two very difficult boys.
Their father and I are separated and the boys live in both our homes, together with our spouses.
My eldest has caused me grief with his ongoing use of pot.
My husband (his step-father) and I have spoken to him about this repeatedly for years, but he ignores our wishes and brings it into our home.
It’s caused great stress in my relationship with my husband who’s infuriated with my son's blatant disrespect.
He’s begged me to hand out harsh consequences, but I mostly lecture.
Recently, my husband smelled pot and tried to mask the odour with spray. My son became angered and left.
He said he wouldn’t return to live with me as long as I’m with my “rude” husband whom he can’t tolerate.
I’ve said he’s welcome to return, but only if he’s willing to obey the no-drug-use rule.
He refuses, but expects that I’ll continue to let him drive my vehicle and assist in paying his insurance and schooling, which I did while he was under my roof.
I think it only re-enforces his bad behaviour.
Am I right to withdraw these privileges?
The pot is the trigger, but the target’s the relationship of son vs. step-dad.
Get out of the middle and be clear: You love them both, but you and your husband are permanent in the home, and a grown son has to accept house rules to live there.
He’s obviously got a pot habit he somehow can afford, and will continue to smoke outside the home, no matter your position on it.
Wherever he lives, you and your ex should contribute, if you can, to his education. That’s his ticket to real independence and hopefully, maturity.
But the comforts of your home and car are unavailable in light of his disrespect.
Ask your ex (his father) to help his son understand that this is NOT a tug of war for whom you love better. He needs to hear that he has a special part of your heart.
But you have a right to decide what’s acceptable in your home.
FEEDBACK Regarding family members who write that they’ve cut off contact with a close relative:
Reader – “It sounds harsh to threaten to stop contact with someone, but there are times when you have to do just that.
“I had to stop contact with my mother's last surviving sibling, her brother.
“I was one of the few relatives who talked to him on a regular basis. Yet he was nasty to me on two different occasions when I spoke to him.
“I didn't answer the phone when he called afterwards, except for his last two calls. I hung up when I heard his voice. He hasn't called me since.”
Ellie – Yes, it sounds harsh and the threat alone should not be made lightly.
However, if someone’s repeatedly nasty, hurtful, and/or demeaning without cause, and there’s no hope for change, then self-protection becomes paramount.
Being “family” is no excuse for abuse.
Tip of the day:
If unknown fear holds you back from a commitment, probe further, and speak up.