Boyfriend hid­ing news from daugh­ter

The Daily Courier - - LIFE ARTS - ELL IE TESHER

QUES­TION: 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 has 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 that he’s con­cerned about his daugh­ter? Or is he hid­ing me and doesn’t con­sider our re­la­tion­ship im­por­tant enough to share with her?

I’ve also not met any­one from his in­ner cir­cle. His par­ents know that we’ve been dat­ing.

How do I han­dle this?

AN­SWER: 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 sis­ter 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.

How­ever, only wait a lim­ited time for him to get it — that you feel de­meaned by his shield­ing his daugh­ter from your pres­ence in his life.

The same goes for you meet­ing his close friends.

QUES­TION: My best friend, both of us ear­ly20s, lives in a dif­fer­ent city from me. We see each other once a month, text daily, etc.

Lately she’s up­set be­cause her boyfriend al­ways has friends at his house (which he owns).

He lost his mom a year ago so she un­der­stands the close­ness and im­por­tance of his friend­ships.

But it lim­its their time to­gether. And some­times he picks friends over her.

His re­cently ac­quired room­mate started dat­ing our other friend, which means she’s also al­ways there, even if the other friends aren’t.

I lis­ten to her vent, try to give thought­ful ad­vice and un­der­stand­ing. I’ve sug­gested try­ing to plan dates out­side the home, and that they share a “sig­nal” for when they want to be alone.

She never takes my sug­ges­tions, which I ac­cept. But I’m get­ting very tired and an­noyed at hear­ing these same strug­gles.

How do I gently con­vey that the only thing left to this con­ver­sa­tion/sit­u­a­tion is her do­ing some­thing, and that I’m tired of hear­ing the same thing daily.

I don’t want to hurt her.

AN­SWER: You gave good ad­vice, but you were blocked from cre­at­ing change be­cause your friend doesn’t want to help her­self.

She’s in­se­cure in the re­la­tion­ship — no won­der, since there are al­ways friends in the way.

While you’re as­sertive and so­lu­tion-minded, de­spite be­ing still young, she’s afraid to speak up (es­pe­cially since he al­ready some­times chooses his friends first).

You don’t have to be mean, just straight­for­ward.

Tell your friend that it’s up to her. Noth­ing will be dif­fer­ent un­less she makes it so. Then change the sub­ject.

FEED­BACK: Re­gard­ing the woman who wants her boyfriend, an only child, to move from his 80-year-old par­ent’s home:

READER: OMG, she wants to farm out this par­ent (who’s able to cook and clean but her boyfriend doesn’t want to leave alone) to a re­tire­ment home.

Or, for the cou­ple to buy a house and stick his par­ent in the base­ment.

She wants her “own place and in­de­pen­dence.” As you wrote, she should move some­where on her own.

In many cul­tures, adult chil­dren live with par­ents short- or long-term with part­ners, to save money and also be there for ag­ing par­ents.

It’s still a gen­er­ous of­fer to live some­where rent-free, or at be­low mar­ket rent.

This woman won’t be too far be­hind when the par­ent dies and her boyfriend’s in­her­i­tance is be­ing counted.

She should re­mem­ber that our gen­er­a­tion’s chil­dren watch and learn, and will treat us, in our old age, in a sim­i­lar fash­ion. TIP OF THE DAY When a part­ner “hides” your con­tin­u­ing dat­ing re­la­tion­ship, it de­means you.

Email el­lie@thes­tar.ca

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