My live-in girlfriend of four years is 24, and I’m 34. I’ve only ever met one of her friends.
She stays over at various friends’ houses at least one night a week, but always has an excuse as to why I can't meet them.
A year ago, I discovered that she was cheating on me with another guy. She’d left her Facebook chat open.
Since then, we’ve been to counselling and I’ve forgiven her (I think). Sometimes I wonder if she’s really at one of her girlfriend’s houses or if she's being unfaithful again.
Monday is the only week-time evening that we spend together as I’m busy with my daughter (from a previous relationship) most weeknights.
My girlfriend usually stays at a friend’s house Friday or Saturday night, leaving only one weekend day for being together.
How do I get her to include me in her social circles?
Your socializing’s being blocked by big red flags.
Since your daughter needs time with you and you’ve chosen weeknights, why would your live-in girlfriend regularly sleep out on a weekend night?
Even if your daughter’s around, can’t your girlfriend take part in your life as a parent? Or, is she uninterested, or are you excluding her?
There’s a glaring emptiness in this relationship.
Whether your girlfriend’s cheating again or just distant is uncertain.
Counselling hasn’t resolved your doubts about her. It’s time to ask her the direct question: Is she in or out?
If either of you is unsure, take a break to re-think the whole arrangement.
I’d thought my angry 19-year-old son would outgrow his “hatred" for me.
But recently I learned from a professional that he’s likely the victim of Parental Alienation syndrome.
This is a warning to other families, plus advice-seeking for those who’ve endured this.
Since his father and I divorced, my son turned from a loving, happy, self-assured boy, into a sullen, dark young man who grew to detest most everything I said or did.
After visits with his dad, he was sometimes violent… hitting me and telling me "secrets" his father shared with him about why he left.
These included accusing me of spending child support money on myself. The "secrets" were all untrue stories.
My son once said, "My dad wants me to hate you, and it's working." He started dressing like his father and talking like him.
A counsellor advised not to defend myself, that my son would eventually realize that I’m a good loving mother.
Eight years later, he’s moved away, suffers from anxiety, and bouts of depression.
He rarely phones and doesn't return calls or texts. He’s now shutting off my side of the family, claiming frivolous reasons.
He even refuses to see his grandmother.
He has low self-esteem.
My research online has identified this as a common outcome for children who are turned against a "targeted" parent.
What can I do to repair what’s been lost?
Any “repair” has to be done by him, should he ever choose to pursue it.
Your own information, if shared during this negative period, would only be rejected and resented.
Instead, let him know that despite what he feels, your love for him is still available if he ever wants it.
The advice not to be defensive and argue against his father’s version, still applies.
But it’ll help you to seek counselling again to heal your own hurt and also learn if there are new approaches being considered in such very sad cases.
FEEDBACK Regarding a mother of teenage twins - one with mental health issues (May 6):
Reader – “It’s very important for her to care for and support her child during a very difficult time.
“But she’ll be better able to do so if she seeks support for herself - for her own recent bereavement and the emotional difficulty she’s having with her daughter.
“Bereaved Families (Ellie: branches across Canada, similar groups in the US) would be a start.”
Reader #2 – “I’ve been a twin for 56 years.
“I agree with getting help re: the one girl’s cutting herself and possible depression. I’m guessing that the angry twin is the second-born and there are other issues.
“Comparison of twins by others is bad enough, comparison between them is crippling. My twin has a better job, financial independence in retirement, and no kids.
“I have three adult children and grandchildren. And so it continues. Twins are a difficult relationship.”
Tip of the day:
When a partner chooses absence and “friends” over being with you, re-think the relationship.