Dear Readers – Over the years, my column inbox of relationship questions began to show a pattern of certain themes at seasonal times.
Dating desires and concerns increase in the fall, issues with in-laws and other relatives arise pre-Christmas, relationship disappointments, breakups and loneliness are sadly persistent through winter.
Summer appears to offer a focus on siblings, and here are two examples:
I love my sister and feel badly for her that she’s going through a difficult divorce. But, after a week with her at our parents’ cottage, I’m worried about her being in constant (fake) cheerleader mode.
Everything’s “amazing” or “fantastic,” including whatever her one child, a boy aged seven, does or says.
She’s in a state of constant activity, and has her son programmed throughout the summer days.
Not once during that week, did we just relax on the dock, or have a chat about what’s going on in her life regarding the divorce proceedings, her plans, etc.
I’m worried that she’ll just crash when the reality of moving hits her and my nephew.
What should I do to get through to her?
She’s In Denial
Understand her. Yes, she’s avoiding some of the reality of her situation, but she’s obviously trying to stay upbeat and shield her son from missing his father.
Is she wise to be handling her situation this way? Maybe not.
Or, hopefully, she’s had enough information from her lawyer to know what’s going to happen, and is relieved to be away and distracted while the legal process goes on.
You can be more helpful by enjoying any sister-time together rather than critiquing it.
Now, as school starts for her son and she must deal with her regular responsibilities, simply suggest that, if the divorce drags on, she might benefit from counselling for herself and/or trying legally-supervised divorce mediation.
My sister and her husband moved back here a couple of years ago. When we visited her, she dredged up resentments about what she thought was my neglect of my mother and my failure to accommodate her during her visits.
Actually, I took a lot of care of my mother.
My sister's husband just died. My wife and I attended the celebration of his life.
Though it was an uncomfortable situation, I later called my sister to ask how she was doing. Our chat, as usual, was all about her.
Then she said how mad she was at me, and I ended the call.
She’s been harbouring her anger for a long time, and I can't see how to get past this. I realize that this is her problem.
However, I wonder if there’s any chance of reconciling. My family has no use for her, so I’m not sure this will ever work. Your thoughts?
Do what feels right for you, and if it eases the relationship, your family may also soften their view.
Don’t rush any sense of reconciliation, just keep in touch now that she’s on her own, even visit casually with no purpose other than to see that she’s okay.
If she voices her anger at old “slights” again, try to just get past it with a change of topic.
Of course, if she insults you, be direct, e.g. “I was hoping we could get past this and have a relationship. If you ever want that, get back to me.”
Some people harbour their sense of injustices done to them by family. It’s possible that her loss will open her mind…or not.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man, 30, who won’t do anything about his premature ejaculation (PE), and won’t discuss it with his partner, thereby turning her off (August 13):
Reader – “Where cannabis is legal, and since they’re both adults, I suggest that he gives it a try, if he's willing.
“Not only will it peak his pleasure, but will more than likely delay his climax and all it takes is a micro-dose and three puffs on a vapourizer.
“I’ve been micro-dosing for a long time to deal with pain, anxiety and sleep issues and that was a surprising but welcome side effect.
“Even though I didn't suffer from premature ejaculation before, I’m a generous lover who prefers that my partner reaches climax before me, so it helped me to delay my own climax and achieve that more consistently.”
Ellie – Where cannabis is legal, a person using it for a specific health-related goal should discuss its use with his/her doctor.
Tip of the day:
Despite cracks in sibling relationships, try to reach out when a sibling’s suffering.