My sister and I were always close. We even shared an apartment as young adults, which is rare for a brother and sister.
Unfortunately, she’s married someone who’s completely uninterested in me, my wife and children, and even our parents.
He works in his family’s successful business and travels a lot, leaving my sister frequently alone with their four kids.
She and I now barely speak. When I see her, she looks miserable.
I’m not wishing to break up her family, but feel badly for her.
How do I get through to her so we, at least, can reconnect.
Stay in touch however you can. She needs your support.
Invite her over for a family meal when her husband’s away. Email casually including anecdotes about your day and asking about hers.
But don’t ask about her marriage unless she opens up. She may be too embarrassed… or determined to accept it.
I’m 23 and have no idea what I want for a career.
I’ve taken a career test, asked professionals, and asked people who know me well.
The idea of just picking something that interests me scares me because if it doesn’t work out, then I’m in debt and back to square one.
The longer I take to figure this out, the more worried I get that I’ll end up with no future.
Small town gay
Being uncertain and apprehensive at 23 is very common. It doesn’t foretell huge debt and wasted time.
Your sign-off says that you do know one important part of who you are, and that’s a good indication that you’ll be able to find the future that matches your interests and skills.
Start by seeing a career counsellor, which is different from just taking online tests.
Talking to this person who has wide knowledge of what’s out there, how to prepare for it, and how reachable it is, will open your mind to realistic possibilities.
You’ll also learn that finding an actual “career” takes time, determination, and courage, too.
It may mean taking jobs that just pay the way, while you build more credits or learn more skills through courses that boost your readiness for a particular field.
It’s not unusual to spend several years in your 20’s doing the preparatory research and training, towards the career you’ll be seeking.
FEEDBACK Regarding the dad whose young son was being bullied by an uncle (November 15):
Reader – “As a long-time teacher, I have experience in alerting the authorities, but I doubt police would be prepared to press charges in such a domestic situation.
“I believe they’d be more inclined to say "stop inviting this person to your home."
“As for the Children's Aid (or other child welfare services) since the uncle isn’t a caregiver or coach, etc. I’m not sure they could become involved.
“However, if family gatherings must occur where both child and uncle are present, surely the plan is to watch the child like a hawk.
“If the uncle even makes a move in his direction, the father should be prepared to intervene by removing the child to anther part of the house, or occupying the child's full attention himself.
“I can't picture even this bully moving in if the father is holding the child's hand, etc.
“Yes, I agree with speaking to the mother – she’s obviously been this bully's victim in the past, but she seems traumatized and unable to act.
“It’s up to the dad to protect the child.”
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman who struggled to bake pies and cook Yorkshire pudding for her in-laws’ holiday dinner, while also working and caring for young children:
“When my children were younger and I faced similar expectations, I soon learned to reduce the amount of work needed to help prepare the dinner.
“I offered to bring simple dishes, such as casseroles that I could make ahead and reheat, or salads so that my husband could help wash and chop.
“I also found local gourmet grocery stores and specialty shops where I could buy high quality prepared foods and desserts.
“Sometimes I even transferred the goods into my own serving dishes.
“I never told our relatives that I’d purchased that food but if they’d ever called me out on it, I would’ve answered that I worked full time, looked after my family and house, and that contribution was what I could manage.”
Tip of the day:
Stay supportive of a sister, but don’t criticize her marriage unless she first talks of problems.