I started dating my husband at 16. We were inseparable.
He lost his fight with cancer last year, at 49. I’m heartbroken.
He had a strained relationship with his mom, who lives near the ocean. She and his sister have a boardwalk memorial with the names of relatives who’ve passed.
She posted pictures of it to social media a year ago. Recently, she took more pictures and mailed them to my daughter and me.
For my adult daughter, seeing her dad's name and death date carved into a piece of wood upset her. I was shaking.
Some people have said that they don't understand why that upset us.
I keep asking my mother-in-law to stop this kind of stuff. I don't know what to say to his family when they don't understand what hurts.
Was it appropriate for her to send those pictures?
Everyone grieves differently. No matter their relationship, she’s still a mother who lost her son.
You’re naturally still grieving too, so it’s not unusual that some things derail you, such as believing that she’s insensitive to what you’re feeling.
Yet the very reason she’s reaching out with her photos may be to indicate wanting to share the feeling of loss (or even make up somehow for the strained relationship).
She should’ve first emailed, asking if you’d like to see the photos.
Nevertheless, she’s not trying to hurt you. Don’t dwell on this.
Along with your daughter, it’s far more healing to focus on good memories and all you gained from life with this man as husband and father, than to hold a grudge.
I’ve been fighting with my boyfriend for months over which of us is more dominating or more submissive.
I want to figure it out for myself.
I’d always believed in equality in relationships - balancing obligations, emotional needs, and time, in a way that's equal and fair to both people.
I still believe that’s best, but I feel every relationship has an edge of one person being more the decision-maker, who "wears the pants."
Yet I never let my boyfriend win arguments, because when he’s dominating, I get defensive and fight back.
But when he’s passive, I get annoyed and fight back. That’s not fair to him either.
So how do I know which role I want and which I want my partner to have? Or, if it’s possible to find that balance?
There’s a reason some phrases become popular adages – they sum a whole lot of philosophical questioning with a clear directive: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
This doesn’t mean your question is “small.” It’s to say that in some instances, either one can be the more decisive, without it meaning that only one “wears the pants.”
Over time, a couple develops balancing modes – she handles the bills better, say, while he’s better at fixing things. In these separate areas, one takes charge, the other backs off.
But you don’t seem to have defined those different areas of knowledge and influence in your own mind. So you’re “sweating” over when he’s decisive and when he’s not.
It may be that this is not really “small stuff” in your mind… rather, that you fear this man isn’t strong enough for you.
It’s still a series of questions only you can answer. Do you want all the control, are you afraid of letting up in some areas, is this about basic insecurity that your being “equal” would mean you sometimes lose instead of win.
I'm seeing my sister’s boyfriend’s son, and no one knows because I'm too embarrassed to say anything.
Should I be embarrassed?
Yes. Something’s off-kilter about this situation, and you worry about what people will think or say.
How can I say that when I don’t know anything more than what you’ve included here?
Because you’ve asked.
There are such relationships that could be perfectly acceptable to all – e.g. If your sister’s boyfriend’s son is relatively close in age to you, or very mature if much younger.
But you have big enough concerns that you’re hiding together, dating without letting anyone know.
Whatever the reasons, this secret demeans you both. If you feel strongly about each other, stop the games and speak up to whomever it matters, about why you both want to be together.
Do this only if you truly believe it, and then you won’t be embarrassed.
Tip of the day:
Grief takes many forms and should not be judged too harshly.