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  1. Kids & Family

Tell Me About It: He wonders why live-in girlfriend treats her father coldly<p></p>

Q: My girlfriend and I recently moved in together. There are adjustments, and we're getting to know each other better.

I don't know what to make of her relationship with her dad. He keeps reaching out to her, inviting us to dinner, forgiving her loans, etc.

She stays in sporadic contact but is cold and distant. She is very tight with divorced Mom.

Is this a character flaw that after 10-plus years she still can't forgive him? What if I get on her bad side?

Missouri Guy

A: One of the most important things to know about someone, before you make a home together, is how she handles people who get on her bad side.

Does she turn on people lightly, arbitrarily, or only on matters of substance and only when they present her with no other choice?

Does she stoop to silent treatments, duplicity, gossip, revenge and other emotional war crimes, or is she forthright and civil?

Does she close herself off permanently, or is she open to forgiveness based on the relative severity of the harm done to her and/or on the sincerity of efforts to make amends?

Since you've already commingled your stuff, you'll have to figure this out while pretty well invested. Not ideal, but better now than later, kicking it down the ever-more-committed road.

You're asking a really good question about your girlfriend, her family history and her current emotional makeup. Please pose it to her directly, in a dukes-down, non-accusatory way: "I notice your dad is trying hard, and that you're not buying in. What's the history there?"

If she doesn't think you're close enough to ask that, then, predictably, all I can say is that she moved in prematurely with you.