Annie Lane: Should I move on?
Dear Annie: I have been with my boyfriend for 16 years. Until this year, we were very happy. We shared a home together and talked all the time. We had a healthy sex life. Our relationship was great. But when the pandemic happened, his 22-year-old daughter moved in. Since then, my world was turned upside-down.
She is rude to me and won’t engage in conversation. It’s like she pretends I’m not even there when she walks by. She doesn’t clean up after herself. When I told him I wanted her to show me some respect and speak to me, he told me I needed to show her some respect.
Over the years, my partner has asked me to make some hard choices. At one time, my nephew had to move in with us for a few months. He insisted that my nephew pay rent even though we were living in the house I grew up in at the time. On another occasion, I let go of 30-year friendships because he didn’t like my friends. Lastly, I gave up my home and moved into a house he bought without me seeing it.
He has asked me to make some sacrifices over the years, and I did because I love him. When I asked him to make one, he called me crazy and refused to do it.
I finally moved out. I don’t want to lose the love of my life, but I don’t feel comfortable in that house anymore. He did say he was willing to go to couples therapy, and I have tried to set that up but it has been hard due to the pandemic.
He acts like everything is fine. All I wanted was some respect. And to take back my role in my house. I’m afraid that my relationship is over, and I need to accept that and move on. What do you think?
— Left Behind
Dear Left: While his daughter’s presence may have brought issues to a boil between you and your partner, it sounds as though they’ve been simmering for quite some time. I’m troubled to hear that he made you end 30-year friendships because he didn’t like your friends. That’s not love, and it’s not healthy. In fact, that type of controlling behavior is often part of a pattern of emotional abuse. I encourage you to learn more about the warning signs of abusive behavior by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233) or visiting thehotline.org.
If I’ve misjudged the situation entirely and he’s not abusive, then give couples therapy a try. There’s no need to wait until after the pandemic is over, as there are virtual options available. You can find a database at www.psychologytoday.com/therapists/online-counseling.
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Dear Annie: Thank you for pointing out that talking (listening!) on the phone while driving is dangerous. Even hands-free calls are dangerous. Many studies have demonstrated this, and perhaps you can put up a link for your readers if they want validating evidence.
— Hang It Up
Dear Hang It Up: Although making hands-free phone calls while driving is significantly safer than handheld cellphone use (especially texting), it can still reduce one’s ability to perceive hazards on the road. AAA produced a fascinating video demonstrating the levels of distraction associated with various tasks. You can find it by searching YouTube for “Cognitive Distraction — Full Video.”
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