I’ve been dating this guy for seven months. We’ve been exclusive for at least five months and I’ve come to love him.
I’m older than him by nine years and much more experienced at dating and relationships. He still lives with his parents.
There are major cultural differences that have made him keep me, and his connection to me, secret from his family and friends.
But we have strong feelings for each other and we spend as much time together as possible.
We discuss the difficulties of our situation but neither of us seems able to let this relationship end.
However, one issue really bothers me. We have a mutually strong sexual attraction but he won’t stop wearing condoms even though we’ve both been tested to have no sexual diseases and I’m on the birth control pill.
This hurts me deeply, as I feel it means he doesn’t really trust me, though he finally acknowledged that he loves me in return.
He knows that he’s the only man I see. There’s no concern that I’ll get pregnant, so what is he protecting, and why?
He doesn’t trust himself.
Despite the issues that divide you, he’s hanging on. Yet he knows that at some point he has to make a tough decision – whether to be open with his family, or give you up.
Somehow, he’s linked the idea of using condoms as a barrier to letting himself go completely with you.
It doesn’t make logical sense, since you’ve both tested clean and use birth control. But there’s emotional thinking here, not logic.
He also knows that you won’t hang in with his keeping you a secret indefinitely. You’re older, more experienced, more independent.
Perhaps he believes you’ll eventually find someone else. And he has to “protect” himself with this thin shield.
More important, you have to recognize that even if he gives up the condom, that doesn’t resolve the bigger divide between you two.
A few years ago, my mother and my husband (of 25 years) got into a verbal altercation. He apologized, she did not accept.
Of course my allegiance is with my own family, which meant it created a distance between my mother and me.
She’s recently said she’d like to be closer but she’s never taken any responsibility for her part.
Also, she’s encouraged camps within my family of origin, to the point where we’re no longer invited to family occasions and she doesn’t protest that we’re left out.
For me, this has been a real deal breaker.
I love her and want the best for her, but don't want to step back into family dynamics that only cause heartache and pain.
How can I navigate through this without being hurtful or unkind?
Two choices – 1) If you feel a pull for more mother-daughter closeness, you can start to slowly bring her into your own family life (so long as your husband agrees) or just see her on your own from time to time.
OR, 2) You can force the issue by insisting that she “earn” greater closeness by telling the rest of her family that she regrets letting this go on, accepts her son-in-law’s apology, and wants your family included in future.
To encourage this, you could go with her to see some of the relatives to whom she needs to speak. And find an occasion to invite some of them over, say for a casual barbeque or even just coffee, to break the ice.
My son, 26, is married with a family. My son, 17, bought Christmas gifts two years ago, billed to him later.
He couldn’t pay. It went to a collection agency last month. He then came to me.
I thought I had enough money in my account but the bank didn’t cover it and called my older son.
His brother begged me not to tell on him so I said it was my purchase. Now the older son’s furious with me.
I don’t know why I protected his brother nor how to mend my relationship with my married son.
Heartbroken and Sick
Protecting a child is a natural impulse for a mother, but you know it’s now crucial that he develop some responsibility.
Tell your older son the truth.
And suggest both of you insist that his brother pays him back by doing some work for him, e.g. babysitting, lawn work, cleaning his car, running errands, etc.
Tip of the day:
Look at the emotions, not the logic, to understand someone’s behaviour in a complex relationship.