Is it possible to be in a relationship with someone who’s not sharing that relationship openly?
I'm in love with him. He allowed me to truly feel comfortable in my sexuality and made me want to better myself.
I've been invited to his family events, engagement and family parties, met all his close friends, always as a “friend.” We've spent weekends together and become best friends.
He’s said how significant I am in his life.
He told me about his childhood abuse. Because of his past, I think I justify his being closed off or not ready for a relationship.
Yet I feel invested into something that’s never going to truly satisfy me. That sucks, because I care about him way too much to let him go.
For now, the relationship is all about him.
You accept his self-protective detachment because of his past abuse. But you’ll only be able to tolerate that for so long.
To embrace a true and equal relationship, he’d need to want it enough to get counselling, and stay with it until he’s capable of taking the same emotional risks as you are.
Tell him you love him but also love yourself, and can’t continue to be sidelined when you’re ready for an open relationship.
He knows where to find you. Walk away.
My younger brother and his wife, both early-40s, have no children.
During the seven years that they dated, my sister-in-law (SIL) and I got along great.
Then my mom died unexpectedly five years ago. While fixing Thanksgiving dinner five months later, I had a moment and went to the bathroom to cry.
She told me to suck it up and that my mom wouldn't want me weeping.
Her mom later passed away to breast cancer. When I offered my condolences, she said she didn't need my pity.
Two months before their wedding, I was informed that she was keeping it small. Besides her niece (and still-new boyfriend) only I and my dad were also invited. My husband and two kids were not.
My brother said that it was her day, hers to plan.
My husband and I had then been married for 15 years. Our sons were then aged 14 and 10. Dad and I attended, but I was hurt.
I’m still the peacekeeper because if my SIL gets hurt feelings, it could end our family get-togethers. I don't want my dad's feelings hurt.
My husband now finds he has to work when the kids and I visit them on weekends (three hours away).
He’ll come for holidays, but she always seems annoyed with something.
I say little, afraid to risk my good relationship with my brother.
However, she’s now constantly annoyed with my boys (they roughhouse, talk more than she thinks they should, they don't pick places to eat that she likes, etc.)
My dad and husband tell me to bite my tongue, but it's draining and exhausting. Is there a way to make it good on both sides?
You’re doing the right thing for your father and brother, plus role-modelling for your children by maintaining peace. They’re whom you care about most.
While it’s an irritating relationship, your sister-in-law is grumpy, not dangerous.
She may have pressures you know nothing about, may even be envious of you.
Lighten the mood whenever possible. Ask her to choose where to eat sometimes, helping the children to adapt to new foods/environments. Restrict rough-housing to your place. Bring along games/cards.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman’s indecision about getting a divorce based on her family’s dislike of her husband (May 17):
Reader – “She should tell her family that they aren't required to like her spouse if they reconcile, but she does expect them to respect her choice.
“Privately, her husband should be reminded that his drinking and outbursts helped create the family's reaction.
“She should say that she’s not insisting that he like her family either, just asking him to respect her enough to be civil for her and their child’s sakes.
“Personally, I, too, had been forced out of relationships because my biological father wasn't in my life growing up, so there was some tension when I got married.
“I told him and the Dad who adopted/raised me, that he had the parental rights, but my biological father could serve as my best man. Both agreed and became friends for the rest of their lives.”
Tip of the day:
A relationship that one partner won’t acknowledge openly, will disappoint and hurt the other.