When my father passed away, my mother was devastated. When his death notice appeared in their European newspaper, her first beau of 55 years ago, a recent widower, sent condolences.
She eventually went to Europe, where they re-connected and have been inseparable since. He’s 85; she’s 80.
They live three months there, three months here, going back and fourth.
She pays for him and his business class airfare ($5,000) plus much more.
They both have health issues. She’s become his primary caregiver, cooking and waiting on him.
He gifted his children with their inheritance in advance, while she foots the bills and travel costs.
I’m happy they have each other. He has admirable qualities, but his family’s known for being the richest and cheapest family in their village.
He never offers to pay and she doesn't want to upset him. His children bought houses with their inheritance and live comfortably.
They don't help with any costs.
It hurts to see her have such little self-worth that she feels obligated to pay for everything lest he get offended.
She's spending the money my father and she worked so hard for on her boyfriend, and my siblings and I won’t have the benefit his children did.
She says she doesn't see it that way, she's just happy to be with him.
My siblings and I take good care of them, overseeing medical appointments and helping with their daily living as family should, but the inequity ticks me off.
Upset at Unfairness
You can’t change his family’s basic nature. They know a good deal when they see one.
And your mother’s given you her answer – she’s not willing to risk the happiness she has with him, even if she has to pay for it.
You could talk to her about her will – and what it might provide for her children and grandchildren – but that’s her choice to make, not yours.
Since she can afford to support this lifestyle, she likely will leave some money to divide.
It’s likely not as much as his children got, but then, she’s not as cheap or mean as his family, so you’ve already benefited from her as your Mom.
So long as your mother is of sound mind and free will, the best you can do is be loving and supportive to her about a relationship that she cares deeply about.
My husband's brother makes derogatory remarks about other ethnicities, makes socially inappropriate comments, and does unkind things to people (without cruel intent).
It’s caused tension between my husband and me, so I’ve seen him as little as possible and sit distant from him at family gatherings.
Recently, he told my husband that he doesn't think that I like him.
I suggested that he refer his brother to me to discuss our relationship.
What can I say instead of listing all the reasons that I don't want to be with him? My sole motivation is to make matters better for my husband.
Awkward In-law Situation
Ask your brother-in-law if he’d like to feel more liked and appreciated.
This can be the start of a gentle probing of whether he makes provocative comments to be noticed.
Explain that many people, yourself included, consider negative generalizations as bigotry, and that they contribute to hostilities between people, even to criminal actions.
Say that if he wants you – and others – to be more sociable with him, there are positive ways to converse together, and you’d be happy to do so.
Then give him one more chance.
My best friend’s moving away. When school starts, I won't have anyone to talk to because most of the kids irritate me.
So I can't make new friends.
Also, it’ll be hard for us to keep in touch because she barely answers my calls.
My parents won't let me move to another school.
What Should I Do?
You sound afraid, and that’s the real problem.
This girl isn’t a great “best friend” because she avoids your calls a lot. You can be a better friend than that.
You say that the other kids irritate you but I’m hearing your worry that they don’t want to be friends.
Insecurity is fairly common in people your age, but being a good friend yourself can get you past it.
Try this – say hi to new people, don’t badmouth others, and be helpful when someone needs it.
You’ll be amazed at how much easier it’ll get to make new friends.
Tip of the day:
Support an elderly parent’s happy relationship.