Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman who says her husband's ex is creating problems (June 5):
Reader – “My new ex and I share our son, age four.
“He was abusive, broke my nose, slapped me, called me names, until recently when he kicked me. My son didn’t witness this abuse. I left before it became worse.
“His visits with my son are sparse and at his convenience. Last time, he missed drop-off time by over 90 minutes.
“Trying not to overreact, I didn't call to check for the first hour (I’d allowed this visit with his mother). When I did call, it went straight to voicemail.
“Mothers like me are usually upset and alarmist because of past history with their ex. I've been called a helicopter mom, crazy and overbearing, for trying to protect my son.
“I don’t trust my ex. He’ll do the opposite of what I say to get a reaction. I believe he might really love his son, but I know he sometimes hates me more. Especially when he can't control me.
“It’s unfair for a new wife to pass judgment on an ex with a child. She’ll usually only know one side of the story. I'd been made to believe that every thought I ever had was wrong and that I was unstable. Only after breaking up and being away from him, have I recognized how far I’d slipped away from trusting myself and falling into the abusive trap.
“It's sad and embarrassing.
“I have restricted visitation so that my mother or his mother is present. He said I should “rethink” that plan before it's "too late.”
“Every woman who’s been seriously harmed by their abusive ex has an element of over-protection for their child.
It's irresponsible for the new wife to dismiss a mother’s worries about their child visiting his father.”
My husband’s brother’s calls interrupt us during dinner or our kids’ bath-time. I’ve said it’s our busiest time but he still interrupts. My husband believes I’m being hostile.
He includes his brother and wife on outings so our sons (both toddlers) can be together.
Our plans are always hijacked. They arrive late, and help themselves to my son’s toys. I feel disrespected but my husband says I’m trying to keep the brothers apart.
Our family plans should be the priority, with boundaries – e.g. don't arrive two hours late, don't interrupt our special-occasion dinners with hour-long calls, etc.
I rarely have quality time with my husband because time after his work is always shared with the in-laws.
Also, his brother’s son is often with my husband’s parents, hogging their attention. So my son can’t enjoy the same relationship.
I'm feeling my husband would rather be married to his brother. With our newborn’s arrival, I’m very stressed.
Am I Unreasonable?
The brother’s insensitive, but encouraged by your husband who’s more insensitive to your stress as a mother of such young children.
However, you won’t get results by turning on his brother or nit picking.
It’s normal that cousins play together with your son’s toys. It’s not unusual that couples differ in attitudes to timing.
Both children can visit grandparents together or apart, if you come with an open attitude. You need time/help from your partner.
Drop blaming his brother. Bathe the kids earlier, leave your husband’s dinner during the call, to warm it himself later.
Once you change the script, which diverts attention from the partnership you need, his brother won’t matter as much.
I can't tell if I'm straight or bi.
I can tell if a dude or a girl is attractive, but it's difficult for me to tell if I'm attracted to him/her. (Does that make sense?)
Until now, I've only had crushes/interest in the opposite sex.
However, recently I've kissed a member of the same sex.
It’s frustrating that I’m in my teens, and still can't figure out my orientation. How can I try to figure it out?
All this does make sense. It’s a natural confusion about sex in general and how it applies to you, personally, that’s common among teenagers.
You don’t have to define your sexual identity or orientation, until you’re ready.
With a little more experience – which happens as you get more confidence being among other people – you’ll feel attractions/interests that are clearer.
Don’t rush it; let your feelings develop. Being comfortable matters more than labelling yourself.
Tip of the day:
Learn to manage the baggage of a divorced spouse who shares child custody with his ex.