Following are leftover questions from my online chat, “So You Think You’re Talking,” (Oct. 14):
We’re in a second marriage and we talk about a lot of things we plan and do together, but we never discuss anything serious concerning his adult kids.
They take advantage of him and they’re not very thoughtful of me, but he won’t acknowledge this, so I’m afraid to raise it.
The result is that he’ll suddenly announce that his whole side (ten people including spouses, significant others, and two babies) is coming for dinner in two days.
He can afford to make it easier by suggesting we buy some prepared foods, but the meal is not my issue.
I resent that no one’s asking me, or giving me an option of dates, or even asking if I’m available that day, since I work full-time.
I’m also never told until the last minute when he’s planned a fishing trip with his son, or when he’s invited his married daughter, her husband, and their children, to join us at the cottage.
He’s never said so outright but I think he believes that his adult kids are not my business to discuss.
So far, you’ve accepted that they’re all (including your husband) treating you like a second-class citizen in your home and marriage.
You’ve been handed an arbitrary rule of silence about his children and what he does with them, even when it involves you. That’s unfair, demeaning, and hurtful.
Tell him that even if it’s a second marriage, it’s the primary relationship for you both. And you can’t be sidelined from decisions that affect you.
If he still feels guilt over his past divorce, and is afraid to stand up to his children who take advantage, then he needs to talk to a professional counselor.
If he won’t, you should go, to learn how to assert yourself and decide your own options.
I’m a guy in university with feelings for a girl who’s in my class. We’ve ended up having to do a project together, which made me feel it was my chance to get closer.
We now message each other frequently about ideas for the project but it’s hard to say anything personal that way.
We’ve laughed together over some things and found we have similar reactions to others, so I think there’s a good chance we could really get along well if we started dating.
I don’t want to ask her out on text, but it seems there’s no other way we have contact.
Do NOT ask for a first date by text.
It doesn’t give you a chance to see how she reacts… if she says she’s busy, you may think she’s not interested at all, and it could affect your working together.
But, in person, she may explain why she can’t go.
You have a class together, so try to catch her before or after and ask if there are a few minutes to talk about the project. If not then, ask when.
Meet without calling it a date. The project’s a good excuse to be together, and get a sense of each other beyond the work.
Also, you don’t know if she’s already dating someone. While discussing the project, you can ask casually if she has more free time on the weekend.
She might then provide a clue to her dating status.
Text is great for shorthand communication. But it’s not a great way to start getting to really know someone.
I'm 19, recently emigrated, working full-time. I'm increasingly homesick, causing arguments with my parents.
I was even told to move out by my step-father, and my boyfriend, too.
He talks calmly when I'm upset/angry but he never asks if I'm okay and says it's always my fault.
My mom said she wanted nothing to do with me. I can't afford to go back home.
I feel like nobody even cares if I'm okay.
I Give Up
Re-settling in a new country is difficult for everyone. Your unhappiness is added stress for you and everyone else.
Yet you’re doing so well – already working full-time, with a boyfriend trying to be helpful. You will re-visit your home country again, because you’re resourceful.
Don’t give up. Fights sap energy and goodwill from all.
Some local community agencies and faith centres provide re-settlement counselling. Plus activities like sports, music, etc. Being with welcoming people will lift your spirits.
Tip of the day:
There’s a lot more to “talking” within a relationship, than avoiding difficult issues.