Dear Ellie: My boyfriend’s involved in a nasty divorce. His ex-wife is after everything he owns.
I have no trouble being “the other woman” because he hasn’t been happy with her for years. They have two daughters and a son. He tries to stay close to them but the youngest daughter is rejecting him.
She’s 13 and refuses to join the others on any visits to our place or even to go to something she’d normally love, like a musical. He’s very hurt and angry at her mother for not helping. What can I do?
Do nothing. This isn’t your battle.
The girl may come to accept the situation in time, seeing her siblings’ example that their dad still loves his kids, and you’re not a monster.
Or, she won’t accept the breakup and your presence until she’s ready. Loyalty to the mother is natural, especially when there’s “the other woman” to blame, for a while.
Dear Ellie: I’m close to hating a man. Please help me. He’s retired! Now my mom wants her, me and the guy to live with each other. She wants to see me happy, secure and financially fixed since he’s NOW retired.
He’s decent but NOT my kind. I’m totally in love with another! I’m at my wits’ end. I need advice now! He doesn’t want to live with his mom and step-dad.
I don’t want him living with us. Actually, my mother doesn’t like him. She’s looking out for my future security as she’s an old lady with bad health. But I love ANOTHER man!
If at all possible, start right now to deal from your strengths, not your panic. You’re likely an adult (more on that later), and your mother is fearing for her own future, seeking what will help her financially, and secure care in her own home.
But, if you’re an adult, you have free will and must use it. (For readers, if under-aged for marriage, it would be an illegal forced marriage. Since 2015, Canada’s federal law has set the absolute minimum marriageable age at 16. Provinces and territories may set a higher minimum age.)
If under-aged, get help immediately. Tell a guidance counsellor or teacher at school, or a trusted adult relative (not your mother), or a faith leader (if connected to a religious centre).
However, what’s actually happening is a standoff between you and your mother, which can be resolved. Refuse to marry the man. Period.
The man’s financial security means he doesn’t have to live with his own mom and his stepdad. He can move on his own. Period. Also, a man who’s retired now is possibly too old for you, especially if you don’t even like him.
If you love another man, be sure you’re not just trying to avoid your mother’s choice. You will not be forced to marry anyone. So, take time to be certain about your feelings for anyone whom you’d marry and live with long-term.
Above all, try to respond calmly to your mother, no matter if she persists in her opinion. Respect for her health problems is important. Be honest with her — she doesn’t even like the man she’s counting on to support her future and supposedly your future too. But that man may be financially wily himself and know how to keep his money to himself.
Secure yourself. If you’re not working, get the education you need to find a job. Love yourself first as an independent woman. Then you’ll know far better who you eventually want to be your life partner.
FEEDBACK Regarding the couple who have a “Broken Connection” with their former closest friends. They ignored the grandmother’s compromised health factor, and refused to get vaccinated in order to still visit each other (March 2):
Reader: “One thing that COVID has taught me is who my “true” friends are. I have an elderly mother and an immune-compromised brother. I have always been at the front of the line for COVID vaccinations. So, have all of my true friends.
“For my now ‘ex’ friends I say, look at the numbers. Latest numbers (as of the reader’s date of writing) show that approximately 85% of all Canadians have been fully vaccinated. What is the probability/likelihood that a majority of these have been “taken in” by medical hype”?
“They’re free to ‘choose’ to not get vaccinated. I ‘choose’ to not associate with such people.”
Ellie’s tip of the day
When family conflict creates chaos, stop yelling/panicking and go calm/rational. Choose the response/choice that moves you forward.
Send relationship questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.