We’re married for 12 years, and have a four-year-old son with whom I’m extremely close.
We had ups and downs, but as loving partners we always resolved them together.
However, my mother-in-law doesn’t think I’m good enough for her daughter.
She’s been very intrusive and created issues between me and my wife when she’s around.
She visits from her country and always stays here for a year or more.
My wife assures me that she doesn’t let her mom get in between us, but that’s not so.
Each of the three times she’s visited, my wife asked me for a divorce. When she leaves, my wife wants me back.
I love my wife very much and know she loves me, too.
Now, again, my MIL has been here for over a year and my wife wants a divorce.
My world and my son's world have been torn apart.
Any couple who divorces mostly on the influence of a mother-in-law will have trouble later explaining it to their child.
Tell your wife that she’ll eventually need to tell an adolescent boy who misses his father, that you’re living apart because his grandmother far away ordered the split.
Then ask your wife to go to counselling with you, to discuss the issues that arise whenever her mother visits.
The “problems” may well be more about her mother’s expectations related to another place and time than the feelings you two share here and now.
Be prepared that there may some disagreements between you that you two keep at bay, that her mother deftly exposes.
Be open to making whatever changes that have merit, when looked at with the guidance of a professional.
Marital counselling is NOT an admission of failure.
It’s an opportunity to benefit from an experienced therapist’s understanding of what’s really affecting the marriage besides the interference of one critical parent’s view.
Community and family service agencies and some Y’s may offer counselling geared to income.
I’ve been single for four years and as time goes by, I get more nervous about dating.
I suffered from abuse in my past relationship and somehow that stops me from being intimate.
I can’t let people hold my hand or kiss me.
What are your tips for success at dating?
Fear of Intimacy
There’s more that’s essential after experiencing relationship abuse, than dating “success tips.”
The main need right now is your own self-confidence.
Your anxieties and fears about intimacy are natural after abuse, but until you confront them, they’ll sap your ability to trust anyone you date.
Talking it out with an abuse counsellor helps you accept that the abuse was not your fault, and to believe that you have rights and choices in any future relationship.
You may want to report the abuse, which is also your right, and can restore your sense of power, which was shattered.
Dating comfort starts from within, as in, knowing how to assess early on if a person is kind and sincere, e.g. not rushing you too fast, not flattering you excessively.
You also need help boosting your self-image – i.e. a conviction that what happened to you before won’t happen again because you’ll walk/run from the first hint of it.
Meanwhile, if possible, use your most-trusted friends and close family to help you get comfortable with normal physical closeness like hugs and handholding. If this is difficult, discuss it with the counsellor.
Once you have a renewed sense of your own voice in a relationship, you can start dating again with confidence.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman with an older husband who has a debilitating condition (Sept. 27):
Reader – “Get help and advice for both of you, now.
“Community Care Access Centres (Ellie - or similar local agencies), non-profit societies such as the Alzheimer or Arthritis Society, can help.
“If the condition’s progressive, make plans now. You cannot do this on your own.
“Caregiver burnout is common. Preserving your own health and well being is a priority.
“It can be hard to accept that your spouse isn’t the same person he was before, but getting knowledgeable advice can help you deal with the new reality.”
Ellie – The husband, 78, contracted a deteriorating disease several years ago.
Most diseases have knowledgeable support groups – e.g. about progressive levels of medical treatment that may be sought, and also for sharing how to access visiting homemakers and nursing care for him, plus respite-care breaks for herself.
Tip of the day:
Don’t let in-law interference cause a divorce.