My partner's daughter is estranged from him and her two brothers. This has been going on for years. Their mother died when she was 10, his second wife (whom he married too soon after meeting due to needing help to raise his kids) didn't handle her well. The boys were 12 and 14, busy with sports, and less affected by their stepmother.
His daughter ran away at 16, returned once, and then disappeared again after a few weeks. I've been living with him for five years, and we love each other very much. The boys are responsible young men, mid- and late-20s, but my partner feels constant guilt and sorrow about his daughter, who's now aged 23.
I feel our own relationship can't be completely happy and fulfilled until he finds peace of mind about her situation. Should I privately hire a detective to search for her (he did this twice years ago and found nothing)? Should I insist he go to therapy about this (he's refused, saying no counselor can erase his guilt)?
Do not do anything on your own without his involvement, as, given the history, he'll undoubtedly feel sidelined and even more powerless than he already feels. This tragedy is between father and daughter, with the brothers involved somewhat too. You can't get in the middle of it, you can only be his partner, understanding and loving.
But the relationship between you two IS your business, and it's important that you find your own ways to have comfort, laughter, and joy together, and especially, peace between you two. Tell him this. Say how much you love him and want his life with you to be the best you both can make it.
Couples' counseling over a process of time will help. Of course, his loss of his daughter will be part of the larger conversation, but so will your own past losses and disappointments.
The focus, however, should be on how you strengthen the emotional bond between you, and keep it your joint priority, outside all your other relationships.
I cheated on my wife of 10 years after she stopped giving me love, support or sex. One affair led to another; I told her about the affairs, and then left her. She wanted to work it out, but I knew she never would forgive me - and neither would I. In my following relationships, I was cheated on by two other girlfriends.
Now I mostly have sex with cheating women, as single women aren't into one-night stands. I think cheating has to do with insecurity; it makes them feel wanted, needed, and sexy. Most cannot help themselves.
One that I know has a great husband, and she says he's a great lover; but she can't refuse a new lover.
Sad to read such a jaded view, especially one being purposefully entrenched by repeated seeking of loveless sex.
You left your wife for something better than you thought you had with her. However, your choices since then of girlfriends and passing sex buddies have only confirmed your pessimism about loyalty and love.
If, as you believe, cheating has to do with insecurity, you're also defining the background reasons for your own infidelity.
That's something you can change in time, by getting honest about your life and self-esteem. By probing with professional help why you choose to exchange self-confidence for negative feelings about women, you might come to believe you can do better than one-night stands with cheaters.
My wife does anything her older brother suggests - even to the point of deciding where we should buy a house based on HIS preference. He's a nice enough guy, but he's very opinionated, a lawyer, and holds very conservative views.
We have a good relationship in many ways, but whenever he and I have differing views - e.g. where to vacation, even what investments to consider - his vote holds sway. She insists it's not that he's in charge but that she listened and agreed with what he said.
Make a pact: Any decision that affects both you and your wife equally, only you two have a vote, and they're of equal weight. It means that when you disagree, there must be compromise, not a tiebreaker from Bossy Brother.
Where you purchase a house is a strong example. BOTH of you must be equally satisfied with the choice.
Tip of the day:
In complex family situations, the couple at the center should strengthen their own ties as primary.