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Family First

Posted by 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.

Quarrelling Daughters

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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User is currently offline
on Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

My daughters, aged 24 and 26, are worrying me lately as there is a distance growing between them. They no longer text each other and seem very unconcerned for the other's happiness. The problems started over one daughter's boyfriend, who can be quite unfriendly and opinionated, and who my elder daughter has taken an extreme dislike to. Her sister obviously wants him to be liked by the family and gets hurt when she is told 'I don't care about him!'. Other seemingly small differences of opinion occurred and these became blown up out of all proportion. Things worsened when the older sister moved away, whilst the younger is still at home with me, as I now feel very much in the middle.

They are very different characters, but have always got on, until now. They each talk to me and tell me they think their sister is at fault, but there are two sides to their arguments, and when I try and placate them I am accused of siding with the other. My efforts to calm the situation do not seem to work and each expects the other to change.

How can I make them see that they must sort this out before it gets even worse?

Patricia Marie says..

Unfortunately, not everything is within our control. Having two adult children who have chosen to feud, is undoubtedly worrying for you. However, it is important to separate your wants and needs from theirs. We all have dreams, hopes, and expectations for our children. A mother's wish is for her offspring to get on, and as much as you want to make things right for them, ultimately this is beyond your control. In fact, the more you try to intervene the more your daughters will probably rebel and turn against you.

What you can control however, is the level of distress this situation is causing you. Let them know how upset you are at their behaviour towards each other, and that you do not want to be drawn into their arguments. As adults they need to act responsibly and resolve the situation themselves before it develops into an irreparable state. Instead of acting as a mediator, which is clearly not working, take a step back, and, without your input, they may then realise just how over exaggerated their problems have become.

Often when siblings fall out, it is their immaturity and lack of appreciation for each other that escalates matters. Without taking sides, or being interested in the details of the argument, emphasise to your girls that life is about compromise. We all need to learn to accept each other's differences. Ask them how they feel life would be without their sibling, and in time they may see sense and move forward to a mutual resolution.

Continue to be the warm, caring, mother you clearly are to your daughters. Hopefully they will understand that whilst you may not always agree with them, or like their behaviour, you will always respect and love them unconditionally. I believe this will inspire them to follow your extremely valuable guidance.

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