Ottawa Citizen

Grieving girlfriend causing pain

- ELLIE TESHER Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. @ellieadvic­e

QMy girlfriend of four years is a widow with two small children. I’m a divorced dad of three. I’ve treated her kids like my own. I rub her back and legs nightly. I’ve showed her love and affection. Yet I’ve never heard an “I love you” or any endearment.

She says it’s hard for her because she’s a widow. She’s never posted about me on social media, yet writes eloquent posts about her late husband.

I try to be supportive of this. I helped her go on a “dream trip” and helped her through a major panic attack before we left.

After, she wrote a beautiful post about her late husband, while I was regulated to “someone who told me I could do it.”

When I said it bothered me, she said I was being unsupporti­ve. I don’t think it’s wrong to want to hear words of love or be acknowledg­ed for what I do.

I’m ready to walk away but I want to make sure I’m making the right decision.


AYou’re not getting what you want and need from a partner.

But the issues here — her sense of loss, the children involved — call for a deep conversati­on.

Tell her your feelings, not what you “do” for her. Ask her to say honestly what she feels for you.

If she can’t, or won’t, tell her you can’t accept that little support. Even if she had grief counsellin­g at the time, suggest her talking to a therapist anew.

Grief has many elements, including guilt (which isn’t always rational), that are carried emotionall­y.

Tell her that you’ll stand by her through therapy … but need some hope for love.

If it’s not forthcomin­g, and she won’t get counsellin­g, you’ll be more certain about leaving.

Reader’s commentary about rude teenagers:

I have a 13-year-old daughter and also helped raise my stepkids. I’ve given many rides to their friends. How I personally handle the situation when children don’t chat, say hello or thank you, is by always talking to them. I say, “Hi, how are you?” If they don’t answer, I ask them to respond telling them that it’s about good manners. If they forget their thank yous and pleases, I remind them. They always comply and in time they come out of their shells.

I ask them about general things, as well as about school or their family, to get them to open up. They always do. They’re kids and need to be taught. I don’t mind teaching them if the opportunit­y arises.

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