My girlfriend of five years and I live separately. Recently, my brother had an extramarital affair. I'm not very close to him and mostly learned tidbits about it from our mother.
Since I first shared the story with my girlfriend, she’s been asking for more details on our every date.
She then expressed what side I should take, whom I should support, and what I should do.
I said I was uncomfortable with her advice and that there were limits to how much outside intervention I could tolerate for my family affairs, since we’re not married yet.
She threw a fit, saying she only wanted to help and accused me of giving her an "unqualified status."
Is she intruding too much into my family affairs?
Yes and No. I’m not waffling on this, but you’re also right and wrong in your attitude towards her.
A five-year relationship isn’t casual, at least not to her. It’s normal to discuss each other’s family stresses – to a degree – and make comments.
Also, she’s naturally curious about what caused your brother to cheat, how that relates to you, and your attitude on cheating.
However, that doesn’t give her dominance over what you think, or whom you support.
Once you’ve had a discussion about it, she needs to back off…. NOT because you’re not married yet, but because you’re free to think as you choose.
You two may not agree, but that doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. But treating her as a total outsider, may become a deal-breaker.
My boyfriend of three years and I are about to move in together. He’s 35, I'm 28.
It’s the first time co-habiting for both, and the next step before potentially getting engaged.
However, my family - devout Catholic South Asian - isn't that supportive.
They don't think it looks good if we move together before marriage. My parents say they'll hide it by saying I still live at home.
However, I'm nervous as I have two relatives coming from India soon who’ll be staying either at my parents' or my uncle's home.
They wouldn't be happy if they discovered we were living together.
My mom says it’ll look better if we’re engaged before moving in.
We’re not ready to get engaged just yet.
Yet I also want to do what feels right for me now, and I've been straight up with my parents about this.
Any tips to help this go smoothly without my relationship being potentially ruined?
This is an issue for many young South Asians that grow up here and often have trouble balancing living in a liberal western society while trying to comply with families from a conservative upbringing.
It’s a dilemma for people from many backgrounds, who want to honour family and cultural values while also wanting to live the independent lifestyle of their peers.
There’s no easy answer to achieve both goals at the same time, but there are temporary solutions.
If you can stall the move till after the relatives arrive, you’d be pleasing your parents plus saving face for them.
You two should later receive no further complaints when you do move in together, even if you’re still not engaged.
However, if your relatives plan to stay for many months, it may feel too long a delay.
Talk this over, making sure it’s a decision you both can accept, for the sake of future family harmony.
Otherwise, you’re adults, do as you feel is best for your future.
I’m 40, mother of four, whose second child was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.
Her symptoms - strange fears, obsessing on specific subjects, emotional detachment – seemed a lot like me.
I called my mother. She said I was diagnosed at age eight but she didn’t tell me.
I struggled for years not knowing, seeking treatment.
One special teacher unlocked my brain with a technique called “brain gym” which remaps the brain.
She taught me to help myself learn to read and write.
I got my high school diploma at 32, with no congratulations from my family.
I feel very little respect from them, yet they wanted me to visit them, which we’d been avoiding.
We went, everyone was much more welcoming.
My mom won’t change so I let it all go, and hugged her a lot, staying far away from any discussion of mental health.
Ellie – Congratulations on your hard-won successes!
Tip of the day:
It’s natural for a dating partner to question some family matters, but not to intervene without being asked.