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Family First

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 13 November 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

I have been seeing a man I met on the internet for the last six months.

Everything seems fine, except he really resents me wanting to spend any time with my daughters, aged 24 and 26. I made it clear to him from the very start that they were a huge part of my life.

Both of them have left home now and I try to see each of them at least once a week for a day or evening to catch up on what has been happening in their lives and because I do miss them since they moved out. We talk on the phone most days but somehow that is not the same as actually seeing them.

However, my boyfriend gets quite irritated if they ring when I am with him, and always tuts and shakes his head if I say I am going to visit one of them. And he never asks how they are, or suggests we visit together. He has no children of his own. He is now 54 years old and I think he wishes he had his own children, and perhaps resents my close relationship with mine.

What can I do, as I can see this becoming a big stumbling block in our relationship?

Patricia Marie says...

This man knew your children were part of the package at the outset, and can't pretend they don't exist just because he would rather have you to himself. He needs to accept how important they are to you, and not make you feel guilty for wanting to spend time with them, or indeed speaking with them on the telephone. You should never be put in a position where you feel you have to choose between your partner and your children.

Your boyfriend is clearly showing signs of jealousy. The trigger for this may well be that he is resentful as he has no children of his own, or alternatively there may be other factors contributing to his irrational behaviour. I suggest you open up to him about your concerns, as this may prompt him to share his feelings with you. Listen to what he has to say, but make it clear that his attitude towards your daughters is having an adverse effect on you, which if left unresolved could spoil your relationship, and may ultimately destroy it.

Instead of you visiting your daughters alone, invite them over to yours for dinner. Tell your partner it would mean so much to you if he could make an effort with them, even initially just for the one evening. Include him in the hospitality. Perhaps he could organise some games to help make him feel part of the family. You never know, if he allows himself to get to know your girls, he may actually enjoy their company, and even better, begin to bond with them.

I hate Christmas

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 11 December 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,
 
I always hate this time of year – Christmas.  My closest friend died in a car accident on Christmas Day five years ago, and every year I am reminded of her and how much I miss her.  She was such a vibrant, happy person and she used to love Christmas. 

I visit her grave every year, put flowers there, and talk to her, and this year I have explained to my boyfriend of nine months that I don’t ‘do’ Christmas, and why.  He seems a bit irritated by this, but has said he will visit the grave with me.  He wanted me to spend the day with his family and children, but I can’t do that.  I have to honour my friend’s memory.
 
Nobody seems to understand.  How can I make them see that I feel it is wrong for me to celebrate this day?

Patricia Marie says...

This time of year brings much sadness to those remembering their loved ones, and the pain is often heightened when others are wanting to celebrate the festivities.

If you can plan Christmas to include remembering your best friend, the day may not seem quite so daunting. Take some comfort from lighting a candle in memory of her - have a photo nearby and tell others of the special times you shared. They will want to be included in your thoughts, rather than feel isolated.

Sometimes we can feel no one understands because we don't open up - so do talk to your family and friends, they care about you and will be conscious of your loss. I suspect your boyfriend is not so much irritated but frustrated by your refusal to enjoy the nice times that you so deserve.

Be grateful for the time you had with your friend and focus on this rather than there absence in your future. Have you considered that she wouldn't be wanting you to be feeling so miserable, or not making the most of the life she can't have. So with this in mind, perhaps you could you try to compromise and enjoy the loved ones that are here with you today.

If at anytime you do feel tearful, that's fine too. Don't be so hard on yourself, look to the future and believe things will get easier.

Over Christmas time professional help and support is just a phone call away. Cruse is an excellent organisation offering bereavement counselling which I feel you could benefit from: www.cruse.org.uk (0844 477 9400) You may also find the below poem resonates with you.

SHE IS GONE

You can shed tears because she has gone,
Or you can smile because she lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
Or you can be full of the love you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she is gone,
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
Or you could do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

By David Harkins



Have a dilemma? Please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.


In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

My daughter has stolen my home

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 02 October 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

I fear I'm being pushed out of my home by my daughter.  A year ago she came to me in tears, explaining that she could no longer afford her rented flat. She was buying cheap food and doing without heating, so her three year old son was suffering. Could she move in with me until she got back on her feet?

Naturally I sad yes, and moved out of my bedroom into the box room, so they'd have more space. But what she didn't say was that her boyfriend was moving in too. I got the shock of my life when I woke up one morning to find him at my kitchen table.

Now my grandson's toys are all over the place and there are clothes on every radiator. They eat different food, at different times, so I often struggle to make myself something to eat. My daughter dominates the cooker and gets exasperated when I'm in her way.

Recently my grandson was ill with a high temperature and cried for nights on end. My neighbour offered me her spare room, so I could get some sleep, and now I only return to my flat for a bath and fresh clothes. Then I make myself scarce for the rest of the day. The only time I feel welcome is when I'm required for free babysitting.

I own a stunning flat in an affluent city location and all my daughter's old friends live nearby. My grandson attends a good local nursery and his mum is very settled. There's never any mention of them moving out. I'm made to feel that I'm in the way. What should I do?

Patricia Marie says...

By moving out of your home into your neighbour's house, you have allowed your daughter to have the run of your home, which has now become a habit.  Your daughter may consider herself at home in your property, but she needs to have it pointed out to her that this arrangement is not forever. Of course you care about her and her son, and want to keep them warm and safe, but your home is not the solution.

At the moment you are not being shown any respect - not for your space, your routines or your comfort. I urge you to stand up for yourself before this unsatisfactory situation has an adverse effect on your health and well-being.

I feel you have been avoiding the inevitable, but the time has come - you need to confront your daughter, and remember that this is between you and her, so do not allow her boyfriend to interfere, or let the two of them gang up on you.

Make it clear how upset and displaced you feel. Yes, you did offer your daughter a stopgap home but there was no mention of her boyfriend being included or this being a long-term solution.

What are their plans? What is their time frame for moving on? If there is no plan, one needs to be devised.
 
Has your daughter looked for an alternative place to live or contacted the local housing department? What is her new boyfriend doing about finding a new home?

In the meantime, a proper list of rules and boundaries needs to be drawn up regarding access to the kitchen, cleaning the flat and tidying up. She has to stop thinking about the flat as hers and make way for your needs too. It's possible that she may call you unrealistic and uncaring, so do make it clear that whilst your not throwing her out on the street today, things need to move forward and get sorted very soon, for all your sakes.


Have a dilemma? Please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.


In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

I am beginning to dread Christmas

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Monday, 09 December 2013
Dear Patricia Marie,

My daughter has recently split from her boyfriend, we were the family he never had and I miss him terribly. For the past five years he has spent Christmas with us, however this year my daughter has invited her new boyfriend who not any of us are keen on and insists I am not to invite her ex. I am so upset as I know he will have nowhere to go, wont receive any presents and feel disowned by us. Plus the new boyfriend has a huge family and isant even keen on coming to ours. I am now beginning to dread christmas. Would very much appreciate your advice.


Patricia Marie says...

Am wondering if you could try to see things from your daughters perspective. For whatever reason, she split from her ex-boyfriend because things didn't work out. Would you rather she be unhappy in a relationship because it suits you for her to be with someone you approve of? Your daughter has to make her own choices, and even if we don't always agree, it is our role as parents to support our childrens decisions rather than risk jeopardising the relationship.

I predict even if you invited her ex, he would decline, as to be in the presence of your home could ignite painful feelings for him, which you may not have considered. You are not responsible for him, and maintaining an attachment could be delaying him from finding his own future happiness. For now, perhaps you could meet up before or after Christmas on neutral territory with a small gift, this way you won't feel your completely disowning him, but gently distancing yourself.

I have a feeling the other family members are mirroring your feelings and believe once you let go of the past, you will embrace the future and look forward to new beginnings. You may allow yourself to get to know your daughters new boyfriend, and whats more, you may even get to like him!


Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.



In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

I think my boyfriend is having an affair

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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User is currently offline
on Friday, 08 November 2013
Hello Patricia Marie,

I was thrilled to see The Lady now has an Agony Aunt, and wondered whether you would be able to help me...

My boyfriend of 3 years seems very different lately and I feel he may be having an affair. I absolutely adore him and don't know how I would cope if I found this to be true.

He frequently comes home late and is unavailable on his phone. He is far more appearance conscious lately, buying himself new clothes and wearing aftershave.

Also our sex life has dwindled so that I feel I am pushing him to make love to me and he keeps saying he is too tired. What should I do?

Patricia Marie says...

From the contents of your letter, I take it you haven't approached your boyfriend with regards to your suspicions or challenged the change in his behaviour. If this is the case, he may be under the impression you are accepting of this and have no idea of your concerns.

Have you avoided confronting him, because you may not want to hear what he has to say? Or is it that if he confesses to you there is someone else, the situation then becomes real?

Until you talk to him about how your feeling, be honest and open up to him, you won't be able to move forward with this.

Listen to what he has to say, it may be that he is not being disloyal at all.

You seem to have drifted apart, taken each other for granted, which is typical of many relationships when there is no communication. When this happens, couples don't recognise each other anymore.

You say you adore him, so whatever the outcome, wherever it has gone wrong, if you both feel this relationship is worth saving, you can start to work together towards a more positive future.

If you feel you may need some professional help, ask him to go with you to Relate (relate.org.uk) for few sessions with a counsellor, am sure this would prove helpful.

Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.


In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows
Telephone number: 020 7467 8389


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