I'm a man, mid-40s, dating a woman 10 years younger, for six months; when we met as friends, she was in a close relationship. We had intense, daily email communication. When she and her boyfriend split, I chased her, but she stayed single for seven months.
My problem: She keeps in touch with guys that she's dated or befriended, especially with a new older colleague who's married. We're talking about getting married, but I'm having a serious issue with her contact with this co-worker and other men. She either responds that she'll end it, or it's not serious.
Recently, she said I'm driving her away with distrust. But I can't marry her or live with her while she carries on with these others. My trust issues are due to my ex-wife's affair during our marriage. PS. We both have children from previous marriages, who get along well.
- Troubled in Paradise
You two need a reality check: You knew she had close male friendships while involved romantically with another, because you were one of her "intense" contacts. She undoubtedly knows how sensitive you are about potential infidelity. Yet, neither of you are softening your old ways enough to talk out a compromise. Example: you should be brought into her friendship with her new pal; she should be at least lessening the
contact with him.
You're not ready to live together, especially not with children involved. You need time for each of you to consider the other's feelings and respond appropriately. If you can't manage that on your own, get to couples' counselling before attempting the one-big-happy-family merger.
Dear Readers: I often get questions about a partner's insistence on maintaining ties with opposite-sex friends. Write me some of your thoughts and experiences on this topic, and I'll publish a selection of them.
When I was growing up my Mom was awesome and supported me in everything I did. However, she's never been taken good care of herself and recently has gone down-hill: More overweight (obese), walking with a cane (bad hip), losing her teeth, and possibly skin cancer. She refuses to see a doctor and seems to have no interest in improving her condition.
I've explained the potential for health problems, and how hurtful it is for me to watch her decline. I've bought her workout clothes, offered to take her to the doctor and to help her clean her house. She resists all. I know she'll not be willing to see a therapist. Is there some way to guide her to resources that can help her?
- Worried Daughter
Lucky Mom to have you watching over her, and caring so much! Your description could fit a woman who's depressed, possibly with menopause as a factor; but unless Mom has a medical checkup, you cannot know.
I recommend you NOT pressure her on what she needs to do. Instead, establish a regular routine of visits where you walk together, get out for coffee, see a movie etc. Hopefully her spirits will lift enough that you can urge her to see a doctor, using the excuse of relieving your anxieties, about her.
Alert the doctor ahead to your concerns, take Mom there, wait for her and monitor her follow-up on any recommendations for treatment or referral. Tell her you need her to do this, as her avoidance of responsibility for herself is causing you much stress.
My estranged husband and I stayed married for eight years, largely because he controlled things. I finally told him that I'll pay for the divorce, he only has to sign the papers. He insists that I get counselling to determine if this is what I really want. I refused, saying I'm going ahead with my decision.
Now he's threatening to move to another State, and never come back to see the children any more, if I proceed. I'm not going to let him control me. How can I make him realize that the kids will suffer if he disappears?
Some control freaks care more about exerting power than whomever it hurts.
Get legal advice for a settlement regarding finances and custody/access that is truly in the best interest of the children. Counselling is foolish to avoid just to spite him.
There are tough times ahead dealing with his threats, and you need all the help you can get negotiating through it, without lowering yourself to his level of using the kids in a tug-of-war.
Tip of the day:
Mutual sensitivity is a must in any relationship.