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男友的包袱Boyfriend's Baggage

(2008-05-13 11:14:07)


分类: 翠茜博士婚姻情感问答(翻译)

Dear Dr. Tracy, 尊敬的翠茜博士

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for a year and a half.


He 26 years old and I am 21. He finished his master degree last year and I am currently finishing my B.A. and we met at our university. We have a very solid relationship and approach the problems that arise between us in what we'd hope would be a healthy fashion, however, my problems with him do not arise from our relationship, but instead, the relationship I have with his familial environment. When I finish school we are planning to get married and pursue our careers together, but have not been formally engaged. We live together and in the same city as his parents.


Here's the twist: When my boyfriend was 17 he had a child with his girlfriend who was only 16 at the time. They were never married, never lived together, and broke up over 5 years ago when their daughter was just a toddler. They have remained in close contact due to their shared parental responsibilities, however when we started dating, his daughter's mother became horribly jealous and manipulative.


Although this was expected and we've tried to maintain our distance from her, his parents continue to visit her (she is now 25) several times a week. I understand that they would like to support her and see their granddaughter more often, but I feel like it is hindering my ability to get to know his family better. (Although I can imagine that it would be difficult to be a single parent and she needs all the support she can get, she still lives with her mother and they have a full-time nanny who cares for her daughter and does all the housework.)


Whenever we spend time with his family, they are either talking about his daughter's mother or she is calling them on the phone asking them for something, whether it be clothing, babysitting or personal support. When I began to date my boyfriend she also did this to him, but it has since stopped after they stopped speaking for three months. The thing that sort of confuses me is that they are always saying that she's lazy, not a good mother, and irresponsible. My boyfriend claims that they spend so much time with her to keep tabs on her parenting, however I see it as letting her take advantage of their kindness.


His parents simply want the best for his daughter, but I feel that his ex-girlfriend's dependency on his family is inappropriate. Because of her jealousy and other diagnosed mental-health problems, his parents are very careful to not mention my presence to her, and expect my boyfriend and I to make sacrifices, but I feel that they are completely oblivious to how I might feel about certain topics or situations. Keep in mind I've never even met his ex-girlfriend although I have a close relationship with his daughter. Although we've offered so that she could know the person who is now spending time with her daughter, she has always refused and said she is not ready.


My boyfriend's parents claim that they support their son's decision not to stay with his daughter's mother, however I feel that it has been really hard "to enter" this familial environment. I often have felt that I won't be "accepted" into their family into I have my own children, however since both my boyfriend and I want to continue to more advanced degrees, I don't see this as a possibility anytime soon. They are aware of our plans for marriage in the future, and support us, however, I feel that their actions are not consistent with their words.


Part of me realizes that a lot of this situation is due to habits that his family has formed over time, which are sometimes hard to break. It's a terribly sensitive situation, and I'm not really sure what I have the right to bring up to them, and what I should keep my mouth shut about. I would like to explain to them how the current environment makes me uncomfortable, but don't want to make it sound like I'm trying to erase his ex-girlfriend's presence in their lives. Obviously, as the mother of his wonderful little daughter she is an important person, but I feel that this "close relationship" is not only inhibiting her ability to move-on from their relationship, but also making it hard for me to find a "fit" in their family. Most importantly, I feel that the status quo as it is now is not acceptable for me in the future. I simply refuse to live my life always centered around my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend.


The truth is that in my relationships my boyfriends' families have always adored me, so it's been difficult to feel like they hardly even notice me, at all.


Thanks for you time, and help, and I wish your husband strength in this time. 谢谢你耐心地听我诉说,也谢谢你的帮助,希望你的丈夫早日康复。


Dear Confused,亲爱的“困惑的人”

Unfortunately, no matter how much your boyfriend's ex bothers you, and no matter how much his parents say she's a bad mother, your situation is probably not going to improve unless you handle it with diplomacy, not hurt feelings.


You're involved in a relationship with a man who comes with a nine-year-old daughter and an ex-girlfriend who has had many years to entangle herself in his family. Compared to the time you and your boyfriend have been together, she has seniority, and she's not going to give it up.


You really can't expect the situation to change a lot, because this child will be in your life for many, many years to come - maybe for the rest of your life. And so will her mother. Your boyfriend will continue to have a relationship with his daughter and so will his parents, and the mother comes with.


If this were just an ex-girlfriend or even an ex-wife, you might be able to cut her out of your life, but in this situation, you have no real way to infiltrate into his family the way she has until you have children of your own, but even then, the ex-girlfriend will still be there.


You certainly have no right to tell his parents not to see the ex-girlfriend or how they should feel about her or deal with her. You talk as if your future marriage to this man is a foregone conclusion, but remember, in his parents' eyes, you're just a current girlfriend and may be gone in a year, while the other woman is the mother of their grandchild.


So what can you do? 因此,你能做什么呢?

You say the current situation is not acceptable for you in the future. Only you can change it and there's only one solution. You'll have to embrace the ex, take her into your life, and try to be friends. Even if you don't want to, it's the only solution. It will make you seem a bigger and more compassionate person. You could even ask his parents for help in befriending her, which will help you avoid looking jealous or negative to them.


Since you're not going to get rid of her, you might as well accept the situation and make the best of it.


You're first in the eyes of your man, and while you should try to make friends with his parents too, you don't have to be first with them. Keep in mind that many women survive with in-laws who are less than crazy about them.


Good luck, 祝你好运

Dr. Tracy


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