Our daughter, 36, lived with a wonderful man for four years, sharing a loving relationship with his seven-year-old son, of whom he had joint custody.
Her partner died months after a devastating car accident. Our daughter’s exhausted, depressed, and heart-broken.
She has no children of her own.
She wants to maintain a relationship with his little boy. Whenever she asks the mother to see the child, there’s an excuse.
There’s been no communication with his child. Yet her partner’s legal will asked that she be able to maintain the friendship she had with his son.
We know the child’s getting counselling. And that his father's family haven't been permitted to see him.
We all miss and worry about him. He was always in a loving, fun, and safe environment when with his dad and our family.
Is there any chance for our daughter to be in this child's life? Is it harmful for this child to be cut from all ties with his father's previous life?
Concerned in Connecticut
It’s psychologically and emotionally harmful for any child to be suddenly cut off from a relationship with a loving parent, and from the supportive people associated with that parent.
It’s possible that a therapist has told the mother – or she believes on her own – that being re-established as the primary parent in her son’s life will help him through this loss.
But unless she communicates that to your daughter, it’s impossible to know her motivation.
Your daughter could send a note to her, saying that she appreciates that it’s a hard time for the boy and that she knows his mom’s doing her best for him.
She can add that she’d like to hear how he’s doing and wonders if his mom would let him have some time with her, so that he doesn’t think he’s been forgotten, which could add to his feelings of loss.
If that fails, she should get legal advice with regard to his father’s expressed wish in his will that the friendship be maintained.
My brother’s with a woman whom my close family can't stand.
Early on, she constantly phoned me and my mother, complaining that my brother wasn't invested in the relationship.
We finally asked him to tell her not to call us.
She told my sister that he’s a compulsive liar.
At family functions she sits on her phone, or brags how great she is, how much money she makes, etc.
Lately, she’s been leaving these gatherings mid-dinner on some excuse.
She’s been very vocal that my parents should be in a retirement home.
Several months ago, my brother told me she had too many issues and created too much drama.
Their break only lasted a few weeks.
We’re all polite to her for my brother's sake but it's increasingly difficult.
My mother’s constantly telling him what's wrong with this woman.
He’s said he’s terrified of ending up alone.
Should we just sit back and go along as we’ve been doing? I feel I’ll have to avoid her as much as possible.
Dealing with his Bad Choice
There’s no real acceptance of this woman and she knows it.
That’s influencing your brother to hang in, and feel needed as the man in her life, who understands her despite the drama.
Back off and tell your mother to do so, too.
If they stay together, show some real interest in her life and she won’t have to seek attention.
Otherwise, you all risk distancing your brother over time.
My daughter’s wedding’s two years away.
Meanwhile, her chosen maid of honour is getting divorced.
She’s caught up in her friend’s drama.
I’d like this girl to step down to a bridesmaid or just be a guest.
I feel sad and selfish because I know I should be more supportive.
My daughter’s very torn and feels guilty, too.
Their conversations are all about her friend’s circumstances, anger, and bad feelings.
She even asks my daughter to refrain from wedding talk with her!
If she’s asked to step down, there’ll be hard feelings.
Wedding plans two years off don’t exist in a bubble.
A close friend’s hurting. Your daughter can be supportive (and so can you) without negating her own happiness.
She can be sensitive and discuss flower arrangements with you instead of this unhappy woman.
In six months, she’ll still have time to gently ask if her friend is okay with being MOH and its tasks.
Tip of the day:
Staying in a child’s life is a goal worth every effort.