Grieving sister angered
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.
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.”