Friday, August 17, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Aunt seeks way to help troubled niece

Aunt seeks way to help troubled niece

Q: My accomplished adult niece, 43, has been having an affair with a married man for several years. He is an abusive alcoholic, according to my nephew. Since their mom, my sister, died, I have tried to be as supportive as possible to both of them. The affair is not a secret; she has brought him to family events and supposedly his wife knows.

Iíve only told her I loved her enormously and wanted her to be cherished and to come first in her partnerís life. I would like to say more but I do not want to cause a rift. Her father is older, preoccupied and not judgmental. Several of her girlfriends have broken off with her.

This issue came to a head when her brother did not want to invite her lover to his wedding because he had been offensive. My niece said he had stopped drinking and asked that he be included, so the couple relented. He was a no-show with no explanation. My nephew asked me not to include his sister in a follow-up family gathering I was hosting so she would not bring him; I drastically reduced the numbers to make it just the brideís parents, but it was awkward to exclude my niece.

Is there anything I can do?

What Would My Sister Do?

A: To know what your sister would do is impossible, so you can only do what you think is best. Give yourself that permission.

Your nieceís poor judgment is costing her dearly without your having to attach a single consequence of your own. She has been friend-dumped, family-estranged, publicly humiliated, strung along.

So hereís your choice: peer intervention, or punt?

I recommend the peer intervention recommended to me most by survivors of abusive relationships: Tell your niece simply that you love her and that, when sheís ready, she can call you and youíll be there. Day or night.

It conveys two essential things: Yes, this is an emergency, and yes, youíre safe with me.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Mom waffles on adding to the family

Q: My husband and I have a 5-year-old girl, and are not planning more children ó primarily because we are easily stressed, donít do well when sleep-deprived, and arenít really baby/toddler people. Our daughter was not an easy baby.Yet, I always feel ...
Published: 08/15/18

Tell Me About It: Compromise and submission: a fine line

Q: As a woman (of any age) in this postmodern, "woke" era: How does one distinguish the fine line between "compromising with" versus "submitting to" a man within a relationship?M.A: Compromise is when both people give a little to their mutual benefit...
Published: 08/14/18

Tell Me About It: Instead of monster or martyr, try ĎMomí

Q: My sister-in-law, "Mary," has always been a mess. She has two kids with two different men who never see them, donít pay child support, and she doesnít work. Mary and her children lived with my mother-in-law, "Kate," until Kate moved into a 55-plus...
Published: 08/12/18

Tell Me About It: Introverted fiancee feels trapped by family

Q: My son and his fiancee bought a condo close to us, which then flooded. They moved in with us and repairs have taken longer than anticipated.His fiancee, "Laura," is an intense introvert. For that reason, I gave up my exercise, TV and craft room fo...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: Check in constantly with depressed friend

Q: I have this friend who lives close but I havenít seen in months. No one in our group of friends has seen her recently. Every time we make plans, she cancels, saying she is too sad or has been crying all day.Iím really worried. She moved here more ...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: An occasional push helps to stay on track

Q: What responsibility does a wife have to push her husband to be a decent friend? For years, my husband was close with a few guys from grad school. As they got married and started families, the frequency of their get-togethers died down and the frie...
Published: 08/07/18

Tell Me About It: Grandma finds no one wants her heirlooms

Q: My mother-in-law has spent much of her life accumulating collectibles, heirlooms and furniture with the rationale that she will give them to her children and grandchildren someday. Her four grandchildren are still in high school. Sheís decided tha...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: Couple ponders rolling the dice on a baby

Q: I mostly want to have a baby; my fiance mostly does not. Iím in my late 30s and have school-age kids; he doesnít have and never planned to have kids. Deciding to have or not to have a baby seems like too enormous a decision for mere mortals. Itís ...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: Boyfriend takes affection to the next level

Q: My boyfriend is responsible, thoughtful, and very very affectionate ó which is great for the first four hours of hand-holding, but which makes me want to shove him away and shout, "Just leave me alone!" by hour six. Before this, I thought I was a ...
Updated one month ago

Tell Me About It: Boyfriend wonít stand up to cruel brother

Q: I just spent the weekend in the company of my boyfriendís brother, who mimicked/mocked me, belittled almost all my actions, and made fun of my chronic health condition. My boyfriend says this is just "íGeorgeísí sense of humor," and that I should ...
Updated one month ago