I’d propose any day now to my girlfriend of one year, but her sister’s making it difficult.
We’re in our early-40s, in love, and should be able to make this decision to marry. But her family (especially her sister) doesn’t like me.
My girlfriend was fine on her own after her divorce ten years ago. During that time, her older sister had two very difficult relationships. Both men cheated on her.
Her sister’s trust issues with men have become a roadblock for us.
She’s frequently trying to influence my girlfriend against me, through her relationship horror stories and begging her to stop seeing me.
She’s refused to even meet me. Also, she’s convinced her parents that I’m not to be trusted.
My girlfriend’s been very close to this sister, so she keeps pacifying me about not meeting her family, with the promise that things will change.
I’m upset that she lacks the confidence in us to just say that her future is her own to choose.
What can I do/say to win over the family, or get my girlfriend to just elope with me?
A Good Man
Tell her you love her, you want to marry her, but she’s allowing her sister to disrespect and badmouth you, which you can no longer accept.
Ask her to set a date with you within a short time… not to marry, but to tell her sister and her family why she loves and respects you, and that you’ll be getting married and want them to be happy for you both.
If she can’t meet that request in the near future, suggest that she get counselling to understand why her sister holds such influence over her.
If she won’t go, the relationship’s being sabotaged beyond repair.
I met my ex-husband when I was in university. We were wildly in love and married right after I graduated. He got a job, which meant our moving to another country.
We easily made friends because my ex was very social.
I got pregnant - a joy for me, but I was unhappy about his constantly “working late” which included drinks afterward.
We both adored our first son, but when I got pregnant again, he stayed out longer.
After our daughter’s birth, I found evidence that he was seeing someone else. When confronted, he left me… with a baby and a toddler.
Now, years later, happily married to a man who’s been great with my kids, my son wants to live with my ex.
They had a sporadic phone connection over the years and occasional weeklong visits.
My son’s 20 and doing well in university so “living with my Dad,” he explains, would only mean at holiday times and in summer when he’d work in his father’s business.
Does this mean that I deprived him of his father because I didn’t insist on regular visits when my ex didn’t seek them?
Has there been a terrible gap in my son’s life, even though he’s had a loving, involved stepfather since he was age eight?
Your son’s an adult wanting to know more about his father. That’s neither unusual nor a commentary on your mothering.
Your ex chose not to have frequent visits. He knew where his son was.
Unless you badmouthed his father and acted hurt and miserable about their visits together, you’re not to blame for his father’s past absence.
You’ve met your son’s needs over the years. This is what he needs now. Be supportive.
FEEDBACK Regarding the current topic of “Devastated Grandparents” (September 21):
Reader – “Our son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren ages five and four, live an hour’s drive away.
“She’s the “gatekeeper,” alienating us by claiming that we’ve caused “negativity.” We can’t understand this as she won’t communicate with us, and told our son that we’re not to come to their house.
“We have no communication with her or the children, and very limited contact with our son.
“We had a very happy home life with him, our only child.
“We’re now late-70s, have met with a psychologist, a social worker, a retired minister, an active minister, family lawyer, and friends.
“I belong to Alienated Grandparents Anonymous. However, we’ve tried approaching tactfully/subtly, and the situation hasn’t changed in five years. We’re running out of time.”
Ellie – Readers: this topic needs more input from the children’s parent-generation involved.
Tip of the day:
When others’ opinions control a couple’s plans, there’s a relationship crisis.