I divorced 12 years ago. Previously, my ex-wife, our children, and I spent two weeks every summer in the cottage I’d inherited.
My married daughter, now 31, lives elsewhere but spends two weeks there each summer.
I visit her there for seven to ten days, then let her family have time by themselves.
I'm sure she invites her mother to visit for several days when I leave.
I said nothing, so they can have time together.
My partner of 11 years now insists that I prohibit her mother’s visit for those few days, saying it makes it difficult for her to be friends with neighbours who see both women there.
She threatens that otherwise she won’t join me at the cottage anymore (she typically spends three to four days when my daughter’s there).
But if I do this, my daughter could decide to never go there again.
Her view: It’s only a few days so why should I be “so mean” to my ex-wife.
A Tough Call
I’m with your daughter, but you have to live with your partner.
The issue isn’t “the cottage” – it’s her feelings, which she’s hiding behind a flimsy excuse.
She fears she’ll always be “second string” as your partner. And that you allow it.
Reassure her about her place in your life. Make those days a time when you two can do something special together.
And let a mother and daughter have these few days of enjoyment.
I'm 22, estranged from my father, my parents are divorced. I live with my mom in her apartment when I'm not at school.
I'm a medical student, my sister's in college, my brother’s in middle school. During school breaks, there’s constant fighting, verbal, and physical.
At Christmas, my mom got so sick of it, she called the police and had me leave the house. (I left in peace).
I spent Christmas at my university apartment until my uncle convinced my mom to let me come back.
During a recent weekend there, we fought again, so I just left. I’m a good student, have a clean record, have never been kicked out of the house before. So I was still angry.
She contacted me to see if I was safe during a major blizzard, but I sent her massive angry texts about how I'll never forgive her. I even cursed at her for the first time, and said to stop calling and texting me.
She stopped responding. I feel badly about what I said, but I want to stay away from my family for a couple of months. However, my mom's and my brother's birthdays are next week.
Send birthday cards to both. But first, apologize to your mom by phone. Draw on the responsible, mature side of your personality to clear the air from this emotional divide.
Your family situation is as hard on her as on you. She’s on her own with your brother who undoubtedly misses having his father.
When you and your sister come home, that’s a lot of disparate people coming into that apartment with stresses from school, work, the divorce, and personal feelings.
Christmas was obviously especially hard on all of you. This isn’t uncommon when there’s been breakups and tensions.
Your mom clearly couldn’t handle it. Neither could you, since your sustained anger is also pretty extreme.
Protect your own well-being by asking everyone in the family to understand that you need to stay away awhile and focus on schoolwork, as medical school is very demanding.
FEEDBACK Regarding the boyfriend looking at other women (January 22):
Reader – “You can notice someone attractive without letting on what you’re thinking.
“I’m very confident but would find it distasteful if my boyfriend checked out other women when we're together.
“Can’t he contain himself at least when they’re out?
“His behaviour is what’s making her feel inadequate. Real men and gentlemen wouldn't do this to the person they love.”
Reader #2 – “As a man, I find it difficult not to look at women and as I get older, 62, it becomes harder not to.
“My wife says it’s senility. She ignores my behaviour because, as she tells me, she knows that she owns me and my leash is limited.
“I think that some women like to have power over their man but often don’t know how, or overreact.”
Ellie – Note: The woman states they have a happy, loving relationship yet she remains insecure, though he did not make comments.
Tip of the day:
Don’t hide behind excuses when it’s emotions that need to be aired.