I’m very close to my niece, 23. She’s confided to me that she’s found her true love. She doesn’t want me to inform her parents.
They (my sister and brother-in-law) are both very involved with their son, who’s working in the family business, married a woman involved in their local community and has three children under age 12.
My niece described this new man as the exact opposite of her family. She says he has a decent job and income, but he’s not materialistic in nature. He’s easygoing, open-minded, travels whenever possible.
I met him and saw his charm. But I’m worried about my niece, raised with the same values as her brother. She’s currently finishing her business degree.
She loves this man, and he loves her. But I fear their differences will strain and separate them. Should I tell her?
Put away your crystal ball. You can only see the present and the lived past. None of us has a channel revealing the future.
You’re a very caring, close aunt so ask questions, even uncomfortable ones. Do you believe her “love” emotion is based on seeking freedom from her upbringing?
Also ask their plans for being together - e.g., live-in, marriage or continuing apart. Also, whether they’re going to tell her family soon. And if his family’s been informed.
Meanwhile, tell your niece to enjoy her love focus, get to know his closest friends and co-workers, his everyday life patterns. Time will tell where this is going.
My daughter is in her late 20's, with a toddler and struggling in many aspects of her life including her mental health, to the point where I’ve been paying her rent for several months.
I’m still working in my 60s and can't keep doing this, financially and otherwise. It’s causing me enormous stress and affecting my relationships. I’m in therapy largely due to this situation and the stress and anger in me, affecting my life and partner relationship.
I’ve been very clear that the last agreed payment is the last payment, period. But I fear she’ll come calling, days before her rent is due, and try to manipulate me with tears, threats of homelessness and accusations of abandonment.
She’ll also raise the violent mistreatment of her by her sibling when she was young and how it’s "my fault." She’ll again guilt me into paying her thousands of dollars.
How can I stand my ground even if she’s threatened with eviction? Sometimes I can't sleep.
Your daughter’s the mother of a youngster, has mental health issues and can’t afford her rent.
Meanwhile, you’re working in your 60s which aren’t known as seriously declining years, and you don’t mention health issues.
As her only available parent, it’s natural that your daughter would seek your help.
Also, having been previously “violently mistreated” by her own sibling and having her father see her mainly as an encumbrance, this young woman needs a supportive plan that gives her a life beyond dependency.
She needs direction to services for helping single parents who can’t work due to mental health issues. I urge you to go with her to social services in your community, city and province to find resources e.g., child-care help and the possibility of part-time job training.
Also, talk to your bank manager or accountant to work out a reasonable, regular financial plan so that she’s not having to beg.
FEEDBACK Regarding the letter writer’s description of her friend whose conversation is constantly “All About Me” (Jan. 2):
Reader – “No matter the topic of conversation, this friend often responded to news of other people with a statement or two relating to herself. Your response assumed that the friend is self-absorbed.
“It’s true that some people relate to others by contextualizing others’ news with an anecdote about themselves. It is a form of empathy that often occurs with people who are neurodivergent (meaning, they are on the autism spectrum or have ADHD).
“It did not sound like the friend was dominating the conversation. It may be how this friend is trying to relate. I’m not sure that she deserves the letter writer’s viewpoint of being considered selfish and to be removed from a friend group.
“Maybe this person deserves understanding and compassion, or a friend who values their quirks and different ways of communicating.”
Tip of the day:
A close, caring relative can sometimes be the best person to confide in and discuss serious choices, when parents are too busy or distracted.