Fam­ily should ap­pre­ci­ate help

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PAUSE & PLAY - El­lie Tesher Email el­lie@thes­tar.ca. Fol­low @el­liead­vice.

Q-I’ve lived with my com­mon-law part­ner for seven-plus years. Dur­ing this time, his son mar­ried and had two lovely daugh­ters, now ages two and four.

My part­ner and I have done reg­u­lar weekly babysit­ting, helped the cou­ple move twice, had them over for fam­ily din­ners, and count­less other acts of parental sup­port.

It’s a small thing, but my birth­day was for­got­ten. An apol­ogy was ex­tended over a week later.

My part­ner’s birth­day is 10 days later.

It was ac­knowl­edged with a gift, a cake, and a hand­made card from the grand­chil­dren thank­ing him for all the “ad­ven­tures” he takes them on and all the won­der­ful things he does for them.

It’s not the fact that his son and wife for­got; it is what this over­sight sig­ni­fies.

The “real” grand­par­ents are im­por­tant. Al­though I’m just as ac­tive in the lit­tle girls’ lives, the time and thought­ful­ness I’ve ex­tended to them isn’t val­ued.

The grand­chil­dren are young but now should be the time to teach them to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion and grat­i­tude to all those who care for them.

My part­ner doesn’t un­der­stand how up­set and hurt I am by this. In fact, he didn’t even no­tice that they’d for­got­ten my birth­day.

How do I pro­ceed with both my part­ner’s lack of un­der­stand­ing and his chil­dren’s lack of ap­pre­ci­a­tion?

Still Hurt

A-Your part­ner is as much at fault here as his son and wife.

They at least apol­o­gized, and also have the ex­cuse of being in the busiest time of their lives with small chil­dren, jobs, and ex­tended fam­ily.

Even if your part­ner was ef­fu­sive about your birth­day, he should’ve no­ticed the ab­sence of cards, calls, gift, etc. from his adult son - es­pe­cially in light of your in­volve­ment with the grand­kids,

But “not notic­ing” and dis­tanc­ing from your hurt may be his go-to po­si­tion to avoid con­flict and blame.

Tell him it doesn’t work here.

He needs to ex­plain to his son how wrong it is to not ac­knowl­edge the car­ing and participation you bring to his chil­dren.

Your gen­er­ous giv­ing of time and en­ergy makes his mar­ried/ fam­ily life eas­ier, and adds to the chil­dren’s sense of being loved and se­cure.

You’re not an add-on to his grand­fa­ther role. You de­serve equal ap­pre­ci­a­tion to him.

Since the cou­ple apol­o­gized, move forward.

Hope­fully, so will your part­ner, by mak­ing sure this never hap­pens again.

FEED­BACK Re­gard­ing the young man whose fe­male cousin be­came flir­ta­tious then re­peat­edly groped him (July 6):

Reader – “You sug­gest that if she goes after him again, he should call the po­lice.

“I be­lieve that, be­cause he’s a male, the po­lice would tell him to deal with it and walk away. But at worst, it could blow up in his face.

“If the fe­male got up­set about his call­ing the po­lice, I be­lieve she’d scream “sex­ual as­sault,” he’d be charged, and his life ru­ined. She’d get all the sym­pa­thy.

“Her be­hav­iour that night may’ve been zany or youth-hor­mone driven, but it could also be in­dica­tive of a men­tal problem and, if so, she could do any­thing.

“I sug­gest he doc­u­ment the event and any fu­ture events, tell some­one who can back him up if needed, and avoid her stay­ing over again. Or avoid her al­to­gether.”

El­lie – Un­less men who are sex­u­ally as­saulted call po­lice, the dif­fer­ent ju­di­cial at­ti­tudes to­wards male and fe­male “vic­tims” will pre­vail.

In this case, she’s a close cousin; he wanted only to stop her (and ap­par­ently did). If there’s a sec­ond at­tempt, he must call po­lice.

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