Question: I’m engaged to the love of my life. During our three years together, we’ve gone through a lot — we started off dating long distance and have both made many sacrifices to make our relationship worth. We’re now living together and will marry next year.
When we met, he had a girlfriend. Their relationship ended soon after. But I still feel guilt and overwhelming curiosity about her: What she’s like, what she looks like, etc. I worry she might hate us, or me.
I really want to just let it go; I know in my head it’s silly to think about it so long after, yet I still am.
Answer: It’s not the ex-girlfriend, it’s your guy who’s on your mind: What did he see in her? Does he think I’m prettier. Does he really love me?
They’re called self-doubts. And they’re fairly natural. Now that the drama of his choosing you, dating long-distance, making sacrifices, etc. is over, you’re down to everyday living together. It gives you time to think about how he dumped her and to have anxieties about the looming future.
You can only let it go if you believe he’s as committed as you are to being together — and he likely is, since he’s planning to marry you. So don’t create new drama. Accept what’s good between you, shake off your fears and forget his ex. He did.
Question: My boyfriend of three years has his own place; I still live with my parents while I’m finishing school.
Until recently, I got along very well with his family. But they believe he spends too much time with my family. That’s true, but it’s because he gets lectured and told what to do whenever he visits his parents. He’s 29.
He got proactive and told them that he doesn’t appreciate the lectures, and that they need to work on their relationship with him. This has started World War Three.
His family expressed the opinion that I control him, and that he isn’t allowed to do anything without asking me first. They think we spend too much time together, act “weird,” and that we’re attached at the hip.
We both don’t know where to go from here. I want to have a great relationship with his mother, and I want my boyfriend to want to spend more time with his family. We especially want to figure this out because we hope to marry and start a family in the near future.
I don’t want to be another couple with in-law troubles. I actually want a relationship with them.
Answer: They’re worried about losing him, so put them at ease. An honest non-blaming approach from both of you is better than a son saying his parents are doing things all wrong.
He should tell them that he loves them and always will, that they may not always agree with everything he does, but their values and teachings as he was growing up haven’t been wasted. The unspoken point here is that he has no need for lectures.
Then, both of you visit and state that, as a couple, you want a great family relationship with them, especially as you hope to have children and will always want them to be part of your lives.
Afterward, do make a point of visiting with them sometimes instead of staying at your place, and of including them casual dinners or bringing takeout to their place.
TIP OF THE DAY
Be sure of what’s shadowing you instead of just ignoring it.