I’m a man, 56. My wife died of cancer seven years ago. It took me three years to put my grief in a private place.
Six months later I met a woman, now 50, who’s the second great love of my life.
Her ex-husband suddenly left with a woman almost half his age, five years ago. She says that shock felt similar to a death. She’s never seen him since their uncontested divorce. They had no children.
Soon after we met through a mutual friend, we both knew the connection was special. I asked her to move in with me two years ago.
The pandemic and initial lockdown brought us even closer. By the time we could “open up” to having my family (married son, his wife, two grandsons) join us in person, we were a solid couple with some new ways based on her influence:
We’ve become avid bikers, serve up new recipes (her Italian ancestry), and download classic operas while cooking together.
But I have an awkward problem. My son’s wife is a good mom and has a strong say about everything else in their family and business life.
There’ve been negative signals. She disdains the “too many carbs” in pasta-based recipes and will bring her own home-made burgers to dinner at our place.
She’s polite but distant with my partner and has even looked disapprovingly when we’ve hugged in the boys’ presence.
She’d treated my late wife with the proper respect and visible affection for a mother-in-law.
My question: Why doesn’t my daughter-in-law like my girlfriend?
So many emotions vs. so much self-interest.
You and your partner feel great good fortune at falling in love again after your loss and her shock.
Your daughter-in-law sees only her own changed position. She’s no longer the special female holding together her household and interests with those of the family head.
There’s another woman in her way, just by being there.
Address this situation directly. Clarify your partner’s position by stating your bond and future intent.
Also, consider the legal implications of your common-law relationship. Since you only have one son, he and/or his wife, will surely be wondering about those same implications.
Have you considered a new will in light of the new situation?
Transparency matters when uncertainty affects family members. That uncertainty may also bother your partner in light of your daughter-in-law’s coldness.
The second great love of your life deserves a second great effort toward family cohesion and respect for your relationship.
How do I tell a friend that he has horrible bad breath? He’s a nice guy, but once he starts speaking, I can hardly bear to be near him.
I’ve made a couple hints, like, “Hey, excuse my asking but did you have a garlicky lunch?” He’ll say, No, then keep talking, and I’m stuck.
We made friends online through working from home then both got called back to the office a few months later.
Do I just avoid him? Or say that his breath is too unpleasant for me to chat with him?
The most common cause of “halitosis” or bad breath is
poor oral hygiene. Improved dental hygiene and quitting smoking can help change the bad odour, as can changing a diet heavy in garlic and onions.
Be his friend. Suggest a dental appointment to check for causes like tooth decay, or gum disease.
And/or recommend a medical checkup for underlying causes such as mouth/nose/throat conditions, or serious diseases.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding that “Smoking is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome” (November 11):
“My husband smoked since age of 15. As a newspaper sportswriter, he feared that if he broke the rhythm of a cigarette and coffee, he wouldn't be able to write.
“When our first grandchild was born, we were informed that they wouldn't be visiting us, to protect the baby from second-hand smoke.
“That was all I needed to inform my husband there’d be no more smoking in the house. He was banned to a location off the deck and away from the house.
“Winter in Ontario soon cut down on trips outside. I held firm even in storms.
“He soon decided, along with the help of the late Allen Carr's book, to stop. He had smoked from age 15 to 70 - a hard addiction to overcome but he did it and the family was very proud of him.”
Tip of the day:
Committed second-time relationships after a loss or divorce need to be respected by other family members.