Dear Readers - Sometimes a reader’s response reflects more personal attitude, than the original letter-writer’s story.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man keeping plans with his partner secret from his adult daughter (May 5):
Reader – “The guy is using her till someone else comes along. He’ll string her along saying whatever she needs to hear to keep her engaged.
“If she has any respect for herself she’d walk away now as you can't make someone respect you. I would’ve walked away already.
“If he truly loved her he’d move heaven and earth for her. He’s putting his daughter first because his daughter is a keeper.
“The woman is just there passing the time, needy, feeling that bad attention is better than no attention, that saying “my boyfriend” is better than saying I’m single.
“I recently heard a woman who feels inadequate and says “My husband” because somehow (with that), she feels superior, not alone.
“If you’re comfortable in your own skin without a Boyfriend/Husband, they make you complete.
“Why encourage this behaviour, which is stuck in the dark ages, that a woman isn't a person without a man? He’s using her for sex, that’s all. They’re co-dependent.”
The letter-writer has been in her relationship for 16 months, the couple both express love, and have plans for a future together.
But you’re certain that he’s just using her.
He IS avoiding telling his adult daughter about plans for his long-distance partner to eventually move in with them, each travelling to the other and staying a while.
His sensitivity (or fear) of her reaction isn’t unusual among some divorced parents, especially when she’s his only child.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend is hurt.
But you see it differently: To you, she’s needy, has no self-respect, feels incomplete without a man.
You’re quick to judge. And that IS from the Dark Ages - people who believe their opinions apply to all of a certain category: women, the poor, the “other” nationality, religion, etc.
This woman is increasingly aware that the man she loves is delaying their plan to eventually live together.
She’ll reach her own conclusions in time. She doesn’t need finger-wagging, labels and disrespect from a total stranger.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding children being “sent away” and its differing effects:
“As a sickly child, I was whisked away almost annually, to spend one-to-two weeks in a children’s hospital four hours away from my family.
“This was 70 years ago, pre-TV, no hospital-run children’s programs, no visitors including family, and I was too young to read.
“I shared a ward with 11 other children all confined to our beds by staff. No exercise.
“I feel that it contributed to my shortcomings:
1) I’m in constant need of approval... even now at 76. I was told that if I’m a “good girl,” I’ll be allowed to go home sooner. It turned me into a people pleaser.
2) Relating to friends/spouse/children in a meaningful way has been a lifelong problem having been forced to live in my own head for weeks when young.
“I took good care of my children but probably couldn’t love them the way I should’ve. I was afraid to hope too much, suffering what would now amount to child abuse in the way we were treated.
“I think about how those abrupt separations shaped me but they also damaged me.”
Ellie - You’ve shone a light on how even necessary childhood separation requires thoughtful handling and frequent assurances of family love.
FEEDBACK Regarding the wife concerned about her husband’s depression and his desire to play basketball with friends during the pandemic (May 6):
Reader – “I’m concerned that there wasn’t enough weight given to his mental health and too much on the risk of touching a ball.
“Risk would require someone sneezing/coughing on the ball. People ‘s common sense can determine when contact would be too risky. Another determinant is the infection rate in their area.
“I wonder if the wife has excessive anxiety. The hands-on exercise will be more effective than online and can be better than meds.
“The more exercise he gets, the greater his coping and recovery will be.”
Good points to consider. Meanwhile, that column was written three weeks ago and the stay-home rules may’ve opened up considerably, hopefully benefitting that man’s mental health.
Otherwise, countless people including me have been exercising online to keep energized and feeling positive about getting through COVID-19.
Tip of the day:
Following your own principles should be satisfying enough without judging others.