My sister’s suddenly run off with a younger man who lived in another city, leaving her husband and two children.
I’m shocked and embarrassed by her behaviour.
Fifteen years ago she defied our parents by eloping at age 20.
But married life brought her everything she ever wanted – a big house, luxury car, designer clothes, and travel.
Her husband built his own business into a huge success.
Now, she’s living with this guy who’s taken an ordinary job to live here with her, in an apartment where her children don’t even want to visit.
How could she do this to him, the children, and all our family?
I feel like cutting her off. Am I wrong to be so angry?
Hurt and Horrified
It’s hard to separate your reaction from how you, personally, feel affected. But her choice of partner and lifestyle isn’t about you.
For whatever reasons (and you may never know them), she wasn’t happy with what she had before.
Maybe she married too young, or rushed into it just to prove she could.
Or maybe her husband, while building a successful business, didn’t spend the time with her she needed to feel needed.
Neither you nor I can guess accurately, unless she opens up to you.
But she won’t do that, not unless you show interest in what she’s feeling.
You don’t have to approve of what she’s done. But cutting her off would create a divide that could also include her children.
They surely need your support through this.
Staying neutral, as a close relative, may make it easier for them and their mother to stay connected.
Readers’ Commentary - “There are two positive experiences in my family, with online dating.
“My sister met her husband online ten years ago, after having dated online for two years.
“They’ve now been happily married for eight years.
“She used to travel a lot for business, so trying to meet someone and establish a relationship was difficult.
“She turned to Internet dating and went on many “first dates only” with guys solely looking for sex, or where the two just didn't "click" in person.
“But she didn't give up. She finally met the man of her dreams. And one of the ushers at their wedding also met his wife online!
“The second success is mine. I divorced my husband after being with him for almost 23 years.
“I gave online dating a try, met a lot of guys but unfortunately, most of them tended to be 10-plus years or so younger than me or 10-plus years older, so we were at different places in life.
“Still, I had fun meeting various guys. It helped me figure out exactly what I was looking for in a man and what I want.
“I, too, met a lot of guys who were clearly only looking for sex, so I wrote them off as I was looking for a long-term relationship.
“After 13 months of going on dates, I met someone who shared my values and was a gentleman (you wouldn't believe the amount of guys who will exhibit themselves during a first date!)
“We’ve now been together for a year and a half, and are getting married early in 2017.
“So, to anyone out there wondering if you can meet "The One" online, my answer is a resounding yes!
“You might kiss a few frogs along the way, and develop exit strategies when a date isn't going well, but don't give up!”
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose live-in boyfriend’s not contributing financially (May 26):
Reader – “Yes, you’re “damning” yourself by not speaking up. Finances are not a “shallow reason” to avoid the conversation.
“What you really want to know is whether you’re being taken advantage of, since you’re seeing red flags that indicate that his motives for being in this relationship benefit him more than you.
“Supporting a partner’s goals is fine, but that doesn’t necessarily mean supporting him financially, nor taking on the role of caretaker.
“He’s not a child, you’re not his parent. Speak up. Your fear of feeling loneliness” is irrelevant because you’re already feeling lonely in the relationship.
“At 37, if he continues his education goals, there’ll be more and more mounting debt.
“Whatever you do, never co-sign for any type of consolidating loan for him.
“Since his past is plagued with not repaying his debts, it’s a sure sign of the future.”
Tip of the day:
When someone risks all to change his/her life, the reasons are complex and personal.