Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy
I am just wondering how I should handle my visit with our 47-year-old son, who is divorced and living with his 43-year-old, twice-divorced girlfriend. We have grandchildren aged 18-22 who have been raised to not live with a boyfriend/girlfriend before marriage. Our daughter, divorced, who would like to visit her brother and his girlfriend, has also shared that she would not like to sleep overnight at their home, showing that she does not support their lifestyle and prefers being a better example for her children and niece and nephew. We are also feeling the pressure to do likewise.

My son’s son was pressured by his girlfriend to live with her, but he refused because of his religious beliefs. So, therefore, his visit may take the same route as mine. He would be making a statement by visiting and staying in a hotel. Actually, it would be more expensive for us to stay in a hotel during our visit, but we may have to pay the price.

I’m wondering how this will go over with my son and his girlfriend to not have us stay with them. My grandson and granddaughter’s mother would not want her children to stay at her ex’s house under these conditions. My son’s girlfriend’s mother and father, siblings, and other family members and friends find nothing wrong with staying with them at their house. I don’t think they will warm up to our reasons for staying at a hotel, and they may feel slighted.

Please give me some insight into this dilemma. — Religious Mom

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A year ago today was a Wednesday, which had become something of a special day for Drew and me. With both kids finally in school full time (Jackson was in third grade and Joanie had joined him at his school six months earlier as a full-time pre-k student), I had my days free – well, free as in I wasn’t juggling childcare with whatever else I was working on – for the first time in eight years. Drew had begun shifting to self-employment/freelance work a few days a week, and we decided to carve out time on Wednesdays, while the kids were in school, to have some couple time that didn’t involve paying a baby-sitter 20 bucks an hour. And it was great! We had leisurely lunches, trips into Manhattan to walk around Central Park, and one cold January Wednesday we even used a gift certificate I’d given Drew for Christmas to a spa where we relaxed in an outdoor hot tub, drinking champagne, as snow fell.

On Wednesday, March 11 of last year, the vibe was decidedly less leisurely. [continue reading…]

I’ve been with my girlfriend, “Angela,” for 23 months. We see each other three times a week and, like all couples, we have our differences, but I feel we are compatible. I love her, but I’m afraid of commitment and I’m over 45! We’ve met each other’s friends, but – and you will probably find this weird — I still haven’t introduced her to my folks. She’s met my sister and her kids, but I haven’t met her mom and brother. She thinks that’s weird and understandably so. When she asks when this will happen, I just tell her that it will eventually happen.

Angela has picked up on my reluctance to commit. I’m hot and cold, and this has frustrated her. But she’s put up with it, and she’s loving, caring, and devoted. I’m feeling dissatisfied with the relationship and have been for months. A friend suggested I take a break. How do I tell Angela that I’d like to take a break? I don’t want to break up with her; I only want to pause for a month.

By taking a break, perhaps I can get some clarity and perspective. Maybe a break can steer me in the right direction, which hopefully means to continue to be with her. Maybe a break can help me figure out why I’m feeling this way and what I can do to change it. I could also see what it would be like without a partner and a relationship for this period of time. I can find out how much I miss my significant other. The thought of suggesting this to her makes me feel ill. The possibility of breaking up makes me feel nauseous.

Have you had a short break like this, Wendy, and do you have any advice? — Commitment Phobe

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