I’m a close friend with a couple who live together.
They’re both always smiling and laughing, and are now talking about getting engaged.
But I see serious red flags.
He’s patronizing, condescending, and belittling to her.
Example: On returning from a trip to Mexico, she said they had a wonderful time. He then said, “So why did you complain about everything?”
Then he laughed like it was a joke.
When they told me they were going to get engaged soon, he said, “Yeah, but soon is going to be a long time off, if she thinks that means we’re having kids.”
She laughs off his comments but they’re disturbing to hear.
It’s obvious that he controls anything they should be deciding together.
As a friend of both, what do I say or do?
She has strong reasons to re-consider whether he’s the right man for her to marry!
But that statement can’t come from you.
It’s easy for her to convince herself that you’re overreacting, not seeing his good points, or not giving her credit for being able to change him, etc.
The better approach is to just raise some thoughts.
Example: “I hadn’t realized he was so against having children.” (She may dismiss your comment but it’ll stay with her to ponder.)
If she opens up a little, suggest that she talk to a professional about how to engage him in an equal discussion on issues… or have counselling together before they make wedding plans.
I’ve recently married a man with an 11-year-old daughter whose mother has resisted her spending time with us as a couple.
The girl and her father adore each other, and the divorce agreement now states clearly that she spends every other weekend with us.
However, when she gets here, she seems to think she has exclusive time with her dad, and either talks to him while ignoring me, or stays in her room until there’s an outing planned.
She’ll walk ahead with him, grab his arm, and dominate any conversation.
I understand this change in her life isn’t easy for her, but I’m determined to make it work.
How can I be a good stepmother to a girl who hates me?
Look at the big picture and don’t overreact to her behaviour.
She’s the beloved child of the man you love. She deserves your best efforts to make this work.
Also, she has natural loyalty to her mother, has been indoctrinated to dislike you, and wrongly thinks she’s in competition with you for her father’s attention.
Your role is to guide her (along with her father) towards a healthy adjustment.
He must gently set some behaviour boundaries, and also explain that you’re not trying to replace her mother. Rather, you’re another loving adult in her life.
She cannot be rude or nasty to you, or anyone else.
If she walks ahead with him, he can step back and say it’s not right to leave you behind.
When she talks incessantly, he can say that you all have opinions and ask for yours.
For your part, don’t rush the relationship, nor try to impress her with gifts.
Be a good listener. Encourage her to talk about her interests, her friends, school, etc.
She’s the one whose world has been turned upside down. And it’ll take time for her to not be influenced and torn by her mother’s negative attitude.
Stay compassionate and patient.
My business partner and I work in two different States. Our company operates online and each of us has our own area of expertise and responsibility.
But lately, my partner’s been acting suspicious about everything I do.
He’s been checking phone records, bank records, and calling me out on any small item that isn’t 100% obvious.
I’m fed up with having my integrity questioned, especially since everything is above board and legitimate.
Something’s bothering him, and, you need to insist on knowing what this is about.
His reasons may be personal and have nothing to do with you, e.g. if his marriage or another relationship is troubled, it may be raising his anxiety level.
Still, you must demand an explanation immediately… though you can be prepared to show some understanding, so long as he stops hounding you.
Tell him that no business can thrive on distrust. You both stand to lose equally if he persists.
Tip of the day:
Help your close friend see red flags in her relationship by raising questions she has to ask herself.