Dear Amy: My son is in a relationship with a (slightly older) female.
She has three children from two previous relationships.
My son was not ready to settle down with her but then the pregnancy happened. Now they have a child together.
My son moved in with her (of course).
I’ve tried to be friendly toward her, but she is not one to reciprocate in kind.
Her big rule is call first before you come over.
“My house, my rules” is her go-to line.
Her rules seem to be a strain on the relationship with my son and anyone else involved.
This “call first” business is not how I was brought up, so it seems very foreign to me — very standoffish!
Now she tells me that I don’t inquire about my grandson enough, so she will not ask for babysitting help or leave him with me.
My ex evidently is doing all the right things, though, so she makes sure he is tagged in pictures on Facebook, while she unfriended me twice.
Now I can’t see any photos, even if she tags my son in a post.
I think she needs to see a doctor or maybe get medicated.
At this point all I can do is pray that she will change her mind.
– Worried Mom
Dear Mom: First this: If your son isn’t ready to have children and settle down – it’s called birth control. I suggest you teach him about it. “The pregnancy,” which “happened,” is what made him a father.
“Call first before you come over” is not an unreasonable rule – in fact, in my opinion, anyway, just dropping in on a family that has a baby in the household whenever you feel like it is inconsiderate.
So, if her rule makes her seem standoffish, then yours makes you seem intrusive.
Regardless, this “my house, my rules” notion may sound like she is drawing a battle line, but it is a true fact that parents control access to their children. And now because you don’t seem inclined to respect these rules or limits, you are being kept at arms’ length.
Your son is this baby’s father. If he wants you to see the baby, perhaps he can bring the child to your house for a visit.
Frankly, from the tone of your question, it sounds as if you might have met your match with this woman your son has chosen to have a family with.
You obviously need help to cope with your frustration and anger over this. Therapy and/or medication might help you.
Dear Amy: My brother divorced his first wife “Marcia” almost 10 years ago. Since then, he has remarried a wonderful woman that my family adores.
The problem is that my former sister-in-law keeps insisting on showing up for family events, which makes these celebrations extremely awkward.
Even her own children recognize how uncomfortable her presence makes everyone.
I won’t mind being the “bad guy” and telling her that she is not welcome at family events, but I don’t want to cause an ugly scene.
How can I diplomatically (but firmly) tell her to butt out?
I’d appreciate suggestions.
– Family Bad Guy
Dear Guy: Unless your entire family takes a vote and declares you their official representative, you should really only speak for yourself.
And if whoever is hosting these events specifically invites “Marcia,” then understand that you don’t actually speak for everyone.
Stating your own feelings (and not speaking for others) gives you the advantage of clarity and verification, which comes in handy when other family members decide to passively throw you under the bus (i.e. “Marcia — What? Brad said you’re not welcome here? Why, I can’t imagine what he was thinking….!”)
You won’t cause any kind of scene if you ask if you could speak with her privately. Say, “I have wanted to say this for some time, but I was hoping I wouldn’t have to. But I want you to know that your presence at these family events makes me extremely uncomfortable.”
Dear Amy: “Upset” wondered if she had gone too far by terminating her husband’s relationship with his female exercise friend. Easy fix — claim that role yourself! Walking with a partner can have huge health and relationship benefits.
It’s definitely strengthened our marriage (even though we have to wake up at dawn to fit it in!)
– Big Fan from CA
Dear Fan: Absolutely. Now that “Upset” has scared off her husband’s workout buddy, she should put on her own sneakers and get out there.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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