My sister has been dating a man for two years who's eight years older (51), and thrice-divorced. She's divorced, with two teenagers at home.
She knows he does drugs; she goes to see him and leaves her daughter (who has a brain condition and is prone to seizures) alone or with family.
Sometimes she doesn't come home at night then my niece won't go to school.
When we go out together, he leaves her horrible phone messages, calling her a whore.
She's upset that none of her three sisters nor Mom cares for him or want him around us as we dislike how he treats her.
I discovered she now has a sexually transmitted disease and continues to see him.
She says we interfere in her life too much, but she's always involving our family. She lies to us or shoves her daughter on us.
She's said if she breaks up with him we win.
She's asked for help in a way, saying, "What's wrong with me, why do I see him when I don't owe him anything?"
How can we deal with this?
- Disturbed Sister
Something has caused this sister to be the rebellious one; she flaunts her reckless behaviour to prove that none of you approve of her. She needs a different kind of support than telling her you don't like her choice.
Continue to help with your niece (and nephew) who're caught up in this mess.
But pick up on her questioning, "what's wrong with me?" Tell her, "nothing is wrong other than you don't value yourself enough, or you'd never accept his treatment of you."
Suggest she go for personal counselling: Help her find a therapist and accompany her there a few times for moral support.
Your family's concern needs to become pro-actively helpful, rather than mostly critical.
As a gay man, age 43 and an only child, I've finally become comfortable with not looking for Mr. Right.
I had many boyfriends growing up and usually found reasons to end the relationships.
I met a guy who moved in rather quickly; after six months I asked him to leave. We've remained good platonic friends.
So, should one embrace being single (it works for me much better than being attached) or "fix" through therapy what could be possible reasons for not being able to maintain a long term relationship?
I was never abused as a child, I just had an emotionally-absent father - typical for that period.
I'm never lonely or depressed. But I'm taken aback and confused by some peoples' inability to comprehend or understand that a single person can lead a fulfilled and happy life.
Go with what works for you.
You're experienced and self-aware enough to assess your own emotional well-being. If this lifestyle feels like the right "fit," and if you're not isolating yourself and still enjoying social contacts as well as your own company, then enjoy the life you create for yourself.
However, you should also know that different phases of our lives bring different needs, and what works for one period may not satisfy in another.
It's wise to build - and work at - some supportive and caring relationships, such as that with your ex-boyfriend, to carry you through times when you need them.
The fact that you've written me about this reveals that you're still questioning your choice, so my advice is to stay open and flexible to the idea of possible relationships in the future.
My boyfriend of six years (on and off) is very talkative and hogs conversations with me, and with friends and family.
We're both 35.
He brags about his job promotions, work ambitions, his parent's divorce, his expensive cars and real estate, etc.
He loves to laugh loudly, make mean jokes, and blurts things out without thinking.
When it's my turn to say something, he bursts out with "S.!" or "what?" or talks faster and louder over my voice. Or he walks away as if he's not interested. He's a terrible listener, too.
What should I do?
You've been blocking out his rudeness, disrespect and mean spirit for too long.
Ask yourself what's keeping a woman of 35 hanging on, especially to someone who stifles her voice and opinions?
If it's the "expensive cars, and real estate," consider the cost to your self-esteem.
Walk away… he'll likely just keep talking.
Tip of the day:
Family support needs to be positive and encouraging, not critical.