Speak up about con­cerns

Ottawa Citizen - - YOU - EL­LIE TESHER Read El­lie Mon­day to Satur­day. Email el­lie@thes­tar.ca. Fol­low @el­liead­vice.

Q I’ve been dat­ing a man for 19 months. We’re both di­vorced and have raised teenage daugh­ters. He met my daugh­ters briefly, and my close friend. We talk about the fu­ture to­gether, more trav­el­ling to­gether, etc. Nei­ther of us wants to get re­mar­ried or live to­gether now. I’m con­cerned that he’s not told his younger daugh­ter. He said that when he sep­a­rated from his ex five years ago, his youngest took it hard.

Should I be­lieve he’s con­cerned about his daugh­ter? Or is he hid­ing me and doesn’t con­sider our re­la­tion­ship im­por­tant enough to share with her?

How do I han­dle this?

Am I Be­ing Hid­den?

A You men­tion only his youngest daugh­ter, which sug­gests you’ve met an older one. But you don’t say that.

I sus­pect that, sim­i­larly, you haven’t spo­ken up about your con­cern. You have to say — though not harshly — what his “hid­ing” you means. Ex­plain that, as a mother, you un­der­stand his thought­ful­ness about not want­ing to up­set his daugh­ter.

But since she must know he’s dat­ing some­one (her sib­ling would’ve told her, or even her mother), he’s hand­ing her emo­tional con­trol over his life.

What’s needed for fa­ther and daugh­ter now is coun­selling, to re­as­sure his un­ceas­ing love for her. And that dat­ing some­one doesn’t weaken their bond.

Pro­fes­sion­ally guided coun­selling is cru­cial to bring out the girl’s fears and for him to com­fort her while still be­ing en­ti­tled to his adult choices.

Ex­plain that you think he’s do­ing both his daugh­ter and you a dis­ser­vice by not be­ing open and hon­est.

He may not agree right away, but he’s wrong not to for the girl’s sake.

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