Moving On Without Marriage
Dear Annie: I am 66, and my boyfriend is 71. I have been divorced for 16 years, and he has been a widower for 10 years. Our problem is his children.
With my divorce, I receive spousal support for life as long as I do not marry. I have my own home, and so does my boyfriend. We go back and forth between our houses, but we each pay our own bills. My boyfriend promised his wife before she died that he would pass on the money from the house that they had purchased together. I want to honor and respect that. By not marrying, it allows me to keep my spousal support and give my kids the money I accumulated during my 30-year marriage.
My boyfriend is also able to keep his money from his 30-year marriage to pass down to his children. Due to our not marrying, his children have decided to not allow me to go to their homes. Their dad is always welcome and goes to their home for holidays and birthdays. I am hurt by this. I don't feel respected for trying to respect their mother's wishes to keep our money separate. We love each other and are committed to each other through God. We are just not legally married.
How do I handle the hurt this situation causes me? -- Trying to Do the Right Thing
Dear Trying to do the Right Thing: You really are trying to do the right thing, and it is understandable that you would be hurt by his children's actions. Have you spoken with your boyfriend about why they are shutting you out? Tell him how hurt you are and ask him to speak with his children. Maybe they are still grieving the loss of their mother and it is too painful for them to see their dad with another woman. They are hurting and in turn hurting you. All this needs to be discussed and felt. The first step is to meet his children with kindness and empathy and go slowly. Be patient with them as they heal.
Dear Annie: Our grown daughter has decided to keep us from seeing our grandchildren. She is determined to cut all ties with us. As part of this, she has decided she is not giving my grandmother's silver back, as well as my mother's ring.
I am sick about this situation. As grandparents, we feel totally alienated from our grandchildren. And then to add insult to injury, we believe our daughter stole our property. I never told her it was hers. -- Heartbroken
Dear Heartbroken: Keeping your grandchildren from their grandparents is cruel, unless there is a good reason that she is cutting you off. She is obviously very angry about something. Without knowing the facts, it sounds like, at the very least, you could benefit from family counseling. If your daughter refuses to go, you and your spouse could go to work on repairing your relationship with your daughter.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.