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I am a divorced mother of two teenagers. I’ve been seeing my boyfriend, “Sean”, for almost five years, and when the pandemic started he moved in with us. I’m supposed to share custody of my teenagers with their dad, alternating weeks. However, her work requires travel and the children are with me most of the time, with little or no notice. They also reach an age where they no longer really want to go to their father’s house all the time.
This caused tension with my boyfriend. It feels like we never have “alone time” again. He then refuses me any affection, as if I had done something wrong by having my children. Since he moved in, our sex life has become almost non-existent. He refuses to be intimate when the kids are home, but he hasn’t made the most of the “alone time” we have when the kids aren’t around. He usually goes to bed early, without even a goodnight kiss. Or it will come out on the weekends and not include me.
I’ve been cheated on in the past and my insecurities are starting to show. I don’t know how to talk to him because he gets defensive and brings up any issues I bring up. I don’t feel safe sharing my pain with him, let alone sharing my anger at him for trying to make me feel bad about being a mother. I lose hope and feel myself fading. How can I approach him so that he doesn’t get defensive?
— Fight a losing battle
There are red flags all over your letter. You are going to be an active mother until your children are at least 18 years old. That this man moves into your house and gives you heartburn about your responsibilities is terrible. You declare that your sex life is over and when you bring up other important issues, he turns you on. This does not bode well for a healthy future.
His defensiveness when you try to have an adult discussion with him isn’t your real problem. Getting him out of your home and out of your life before he wastes more of your time is what you should be focusing on.
What is proper etiquette when attending an event and seated at a table with more than six people? I think it’s rude to talk to someone on the other side of the table. Talking to someone next to you is okay. Talking to someone across the table is rude because the other diners have to stop talking to the person sitting next to them and be forced to listen to your conversation. Seeing that happen is getting more and more boring. What do you think?
— Forced to listen
While this rule of etiquette may have held true in Edwardian times, table etiquette is not so rigid today. Although it is of course desirable to converse with the guests seated next to you, unless communicating with someone across the table requires shouting – which would be distracting and disruptive – I do not see nothing rude.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
This article originally appeared in The Providence Journal: Dear Abby: Live-in boyfriend shames woman into being a mother
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