The problems between my husband and my mother escalated since the birth of our daughter.
I used to be very close to my family, but now we’re not even on speaking terms. My mother has been very critical of my husband. She blames him for the family rift.
I’ve explained that her negativity is what poisoned our relationship, but she denies doing anything wrong.
My husband doesn’t want to be around her anymore... it’s putting a terrible strain on our marriage, and alienated me from my siblings.
She made me decide between him or her and now the children are suffering the consequences too.
I’ve been trying to hide it from my 5-year-old... but for how much longer can I? I’m ready to quit and move to another city.
- Torn to tears
Leaving town won’t improve your relationship with parents and siblings, since the in-law conflict would still not be addressed.
Your mother’s criticism comes from some base: If she’s critical of ALL “outsiders,” then your relatives should understand this. If she’s only critical of your husband, what allowed her comments and attitude to continue so long?
You, the daughter, need to speak up firmly to her, saying that you love your husband, accept him as he is, and, whatever problems you two may have, you can handle on your own together (this needs to be true, or else she’s reflecting concern for you over your problems, and you haven’t reassured her properly).
Then, tell her you want to have a family relationship and would like to make a fresh start with her. If possible, suggest going together for family counselling, since there are likely old clashes between you two, coming into this present situation.
My boyfriend of over three years is completing his college degree and is now unsure of his priorities; he’s wondering whether he wants to be single and career-oriented. Though he says that he can’t imagine being married or having a family with anyone else, he feels that we need to part ways, so that he can find out what he really wants.
We’ve talked and cried lots about our impending breakup. Yet I believe letting him take whatever time and space he needs to figure this out is the right thing.
We’ve pledged to stay friends.
I’m aware that his soul-searching may involve dating other women. We’ve laid out some ground rules for it, and I’m prepared to deal with it, though not thrilled about it. It leaves me wondering how much influence he should have on any of my decisions about where to live and whether to date.
I worry that if I put my own life on hold while I wait for him then I’m possibly missing out on other opportunities.
A break-up has to work both ways, with both partners risking the loss of the relationship. This can’t happen if he knows you’re sitting and waiting for him, so there should be no double standard: You each have the right to this “time and space” and to pursuing other choices and opportunities… including dating others. Anything else is not only one-sided but is just a case of you indulging him.
This should not be a half-hearted graduation gift to him, with you holding on desperately to emotional ties. He has a right to hold him back.
Go separate ways, and let enough time pass to both discover with conviction what long-term commitments you’re willing to make.
I’m an only child and have lived with my dad since my parents divorced when I was three.
Today, I turned 25 and my father forgot my birthday. He’s called twice and hasn’t said anything though my grandmother said relatives have called to wish me a happy birthday.
He even called back and my grandmother said straight out, “it’s her birthday.” I’m sure he’s busy at work, but is that a fair excuse?
You’ve lived with your dad long enough to know what to expect, and I suspect this was not unusual behaviour for him. Yet there’s comfort in your grandmother’s caring and your relatives’ good wishes.
If your father’s emotional distance is a constant hurt, I recommend you seek individual counselling. A professional therapist will help you separate your own emotional well-being and ability to have warm relationships, from your father’s incapacity to reach out beyond his work.
Tip of the day:
In-law troubles are rarely resolved by running away; recognizing your own part in the conflict starts the process.