Griev­ing sis­ter an­gered

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Send ques­tions to Amy Dickinson by email to askamy@tri­bune.com.

Dear Amy: My sis­ter passed away last year af­ter a long bat­tle with can­cer.

My young daugh­ters were close to her. Her hus­band said he would re­main close to the fam­ily.

This year my daugh­ter made her first com­mu­nion, and her un­cle said he would come but at the last minute said he had a work con­flict. I un­der­stood.

This week­end I saw his name on Face­book so I clicked on his page and saw that he had gone on va­ca­tion with some woman the same week of my daugh­ter’s com­mu­nion.

I also found out that this woman is be­ing in­tro­duced to his fam­ily. I am not an­gry that he is dat­ing (even though it’s only been a year), but I’m dis­ap­pointed that I had to find out through Face­book and that he blew off my kids for a vir­tual stranger.

I am sad­dened and an­gry that it has only been a year and he is al­ready in­tro­duc­ing women to his fam­ily and tak­ing them to fam­ily gath­er­ings. I feel like he is re­plac­ing my sis­ter (with whom he spent al­most 30 years) and that my chil­dren have now lost their un­cle.

My fam­ily and I still grieve over our loss — and he has moved on al­ready! Am I be­ing self­ish? Should I tell him I know, or just let it go?

I am so hurt I don’t even want to speak to him. He is sup­posed to come for a visit next month, and I am wor­ried he will bring this woman.

Griev­ing Sis­ter

Dear Griev­ing: Your re­ac­tion to this chang­ing re­la­tion­ship is un­der­stand­able.

But your brother-in-law’s ac­tions are also un­der­stand­able — and be­cause you two haven’t dis­cussed your mu­tual loss, you aren’t able to be fully mag­nan­i­mous to­ward him. But grief is like that — no two peo­ple cope in the same way. Yes, he should do a bet­ter job main­tain­ing his con­nec­tion to your chil­dren, but he might find it ex­tremely painful to be with your fam­ily or is self-con­scious about his choices.

There is no right way to nav­i­gate this ex­treme chal­lenge, and so the only an­swer is for you to be gen­tle to­ward your­self and de­lib­er­ately gen­tle to­ward him. His up­com­ing visit to you rep­re­sents an op­por­tu­nity for all of you to con­nect in a new way. If he asks if he can bring a guest, you should an­swer hon­estly that it is too soon for you.

Dear Amy: I have been dat­ing some­one for a few months now. We have one ma­jor stick­ing point. He keeps in touch with ev­ery fe­male he has ever had any kind of sex­ual con­tact with; and there are close to 20. Mostly he is con­nected through so­cial media. I don’t do this with exes.

How can you have a present and a fu­ture when you are con­stantly look­ing in the rearview mir­ror? He claims it’s no big deal. It re­ally both­ers me. What do you think?

So­cial Media Drama

Dear Drama: If your guy is se­ri­ously and ex­clu­sively com­mit­ted to a fu­ture with you, then he will nat­u­rally want to ad­just his be­hav­ior some­what to make sure you are more com­fort­able. He won’t do this.

I agree that many peo­ple would find this fre­quent (if glanc­ing) con­tact threat­en­ing, but he was this way when you met him and his trans­parency about and jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of his be­hav­ior means that you will ei­ther have to ac­cept it, per­suade him to change or be­come one of his many “exes.”

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