I’ve been with my boyfriend for eight months. We love each other so much.
But he was recently told that the father he’s known for so long isn’t his real dad.
He’s so mad about it! Now he wants us to break up because of the problems he’s having, and I’m not happy about that.
Of course you’re unhappy about a suggested break-up, but this is a time when you can show your guy how lucky he is to have you on his team.
Be understanding. He’s been shattered by this news, which he likely feels changes everything he thought he knew about himself and his family
Tell him that he’s still the person you know and love.
Point out that whatever good caring and support that the man who raised him brought into your boyfriend’s life, hasn’t changed with the news. Their relationship was real.
What is newly challenging is deciding how he’ll deal with his mother about why she withheld this information, and whether to start a relationship with his biological father.
Say that you get it that he’s experienced a major shock and needs time to think things through.
But he doesn’t have to run away from what’s good in his life.
That’s all you need to say, for now.
It’d be a mistake to make this situation about you and your feelings. Don’t overreact.
My friend’s daughter recently lost her husband in a car crash, leaving her a widow at 18, with a one-year-old baby.
She’s living on welfare, with her father-in-law, who was the driver in the crash. She makes no effort to get her high school diploma or seek work.
She’s occasionally called me to babysit, because she needs "a break." But she really means she wants to party, with alcohol, drugs, and men.
I’ve agreed to babysit when she has medical appointments, but I refuse if it's for partying.
How can we get her to see that she needs to move forward? There’s currently no counselling available in our small town due to waiting lists, and the closest city is over 200km away (she doesn’t drive.)
I know she’s grieving, but it's been ten months and I feel she needs to make some choices about her and her baby's future.
This young woman and her baby need all the support and help they can get.
As a caring friend, and along with her mother and her father-in-law who’s housing her, look into every avenue and opportunity to encourage her progress out of grief.
In your town there may be a teacher, local pastor, a community worker, who can motivate her.
The nearest city that has a hospital with a counselling facility should be contacted for their advice.
There may be online sessions offered, and/or a group meeting she can attend periodically, if transportation’s made available to her.
Also, she may be able to finish her high-school diploma through online courses, when she’s ready to make the effort.
She’s suffered intense trauma. She does need to get out with other young people.
But her choice of “partying” may be the only social outlet she seeks because her world feels so bleak.
That’s why compassion and encouragement are more essential than judgment.
I’m hoping that any readers with suggestions from their own experience or knowledge will write helpful ideas I can publish soon (keeping the limitations of what’s available in a small town).
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose father's death was unacknowledged by most of her husband's family (January 30):
Reader – “This wasn’t only about her father's death, it was just the final straw.
“She wrote: For over 20 years I’ve invited his family for dinner and special occasions. They bring their spouses, adult children, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. to our home, with me giving gifts to their children. . . I’ve never been to some of their homes."
“They’re selfish, uncaring in-laws, who like to freeload but not to host. Not attending a funeral or even sending a card is just their latest sin. How does she deal with them going forward, and what’s her husband's input?”
Ellie – After 20 years, she knows he’ll say nothing, so it’s up to her. She can take a break from hosting, but they’ll not change, just complain. Or she can say how hurt she was and see which ones care.
Tip of the day:
If a partner experiences shocking news, be supportive and don’t overreact, even if he/she needs some time alone.