I want to break up but won­der what comes next

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­vice.com DEAR ELLIE

Q . I think I want to break up with my part­ner of six years, but am un­sure whether it’s the right de­ci­sion. I don’t even know how to break up (I’ve al­ways been the one that gets dumped) with­out hurt­ing his feel­ings.

He might know it’s com­ing, as we haven’t been the same for a while. We just don’t have that same con­nec­tion any­more.

We’ve owned a house to­gether (though it’s in his name) for a year, but we’re not liv­ing in it, as it’s more of a project.

He’s an amaz­ing man and has al­ways treated me well.

He’s also very good look­ing, earns a re­ally good wage, is thought­ful and car­ing, which is why I’m so scared to leave.

What if I never find any­one as amaz­ing again?

Also, the thought of some­one else hav­ing what I could have with him ter­ri­fies me.

I still want to be a part of his life — his fam­ily is like mine too, but I’m wor­ried that ev­ery­one will dis­own me and the break-up will be fi­nal.

My sis­ter and a close friend just think I’m be­ing silly.

Yet I’m just not happy right now, feel­ing sick and wor­ried daily.

A. Sounds like you’re talk­ing your­self into a break-up.

Since your guy is so “amaz­ing,” you’re likely pretty ter­rific your­self; but I don’t hear any con­fi­dence in be­ing able to talk to him about why you feel the con­nec­tion isn’t still there.

Re­la­tion­ships do nor­mally move from pas­sion­ate phases through busy, more in­de­pen­dent pe­ri­ods.

Per­haps your house “project” is a sym­bol of both of you hav­ing be­come more dis­tracted by work, projects, am­bi­tions, etc.

It’s time to dis­cuss this to­gether rather than can­vas your sis­ter and oth­ers — and def­i­nitely not to just run.

Tell him what you feel, with­out blame. Ask what he feels, and lis­ten.

Re­la­tion­ship work isn’t all ro­mance or all dis­sec­tion ei­ther. If the emo­tions are still there, it’s worth giv­ing it another chance and see­ing what each of you can do to feel closer again.

My sis­ter has self­ish sons

Q. My sis­ter and her hus­band (late 60s), are strug­gling with their self­ish adult sons (both 40s).

My sis­ter’s al­ways helped them out fi­nan­cially, with babysit­ting, house­hold chores, etc. My brother-in-law helped them with se­ri­ous ren­o­va­tions.

I’m now con­cerned about their health — he’s had by­pass surg­eries and pro­gres­sive de­men­tia, and she has hy­per­ten­sion.

One son’s an al­co­holic. His wife left him, and they share the chil­dren. She re­cently in­formed the grand­par­ents that their son fell off the wagon and was on a drink­ing binge.

When they fi­nally lo­cated him, they got into an ar­gu­ment and haven’t spo­ken since.

My sis­ter’s us­ing tough love in hopes that he’ll get his life in or­der be­fore some­thing re­ally bad hap­pens.

Also, she told me her teenage grand­son had treated her poorly in pub­lic.

She wanted to dis­cuss this with his fa­ther. When he fi­nally came over, he be­rated her, and said she was stupid.

This isn’t the first huge fam­ily feud. But it’s the first time they’re try­ing to put them­selves first, know­ing their health is vul­ner­a­ble.

My sis­ter’s my best friend. What can I do to help, be­sides lis­ten and em­pathize?

A. Not even a sis­ter/best friend can lessen the dis­ap­point­ment and hurt par­ents feel if their adult chil­dren are self­ish and un­car­ing.

Your lis­ten­ing, em­pathiz­ing and watch­ing their state of health are im­por­tant sup­ports.

Un­less you have strong rea­son to be­lieve that speak­ing to your neph­ews would be help­ful, do not risk stir­ring this mess.

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