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Brother's New Girlfriend Gets off on the Wrong Foot

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: My recently divorced brother has a new girlfriend. He has been divorced for three months. She has introduced him to all of her friends and family. She was married 20 years and went through a bitter divorce and had several bad dating experiences from dating sites. She seems to be elated to find a nice guy like my brother. She seems to think he's too good to be true and even did a background check on him.

Now, she wants to meet my mom and me. Unfortunately, I am apprehensive and reluctant to meet her. My brother called me while I was driving, so my mom mostly talked to her. I talked for maybe five minutes to her. He told me later that he asked what she thought of us. Her reply was, "Your mom is a hoot, and your sister has a lot of opinions."

I feel a little hurt at this revelation. It seems to suggest that I'm opinionated or that she didn't like my opinions. It didn't sound positive. I asked my mom and brother if I said anything rude. Mom said no. My brother didn't see anything negative about his girlfriend's comment. I inquired again a couple weeks later, and he no longer remembers the incident. I haven't said anything negative about his girlfriend, so I don't understand her remark.

Considering I've talked to her directly once and have never met her, I'm concerned she is possibly judgmental and negative. Should I meet her? If so, would it be disrespectful if I suggest to meet her for only a day? I don't want to spend several days with a rude person biting my tongue, but I don't want to be disrespectful to my brother since we have always been close. -- Slighted Sister

Dear Slighted Sister: It's understandable to feel apprehensive about meeting someone new, especially when their initial comments about you weren't entirely positive. But meeting her could be an opportunity to form your own opinion rather than relying on a brief, possibly offhand comment. It's also important to maintain your close relationship with your brother, and showing willingness to meet his new partner can be a way of supporting him.

Considering your reservations, suggesting a shorter meeting, like a lunch or coffee, is a reasonable approach. It gives you a chance to meet her without the commitment of an extended visit, and it's perfectly respectful.

 

Dear Annie: I have a dilemma. My retired father constantly texts me -- I mean all day long. I have texted him back "Have a good rest of your day," trying to hint to him that I'm done texting him for the day. He doesn't get it. Then I asked him directly to please not text me so often. He said he was sorry and would try to text me less. That lasted a day. He even texted me all day long when I was on vacation! Now I have blocked him, but he doesn't know that. How should I handle this situation? -- Tired of Text Messages

Dear Tired: It sounds like you've tried to set boundaries with your father, but the results haven't lasted. Blocking him without his knowledge can lead to more confusion and hurt feelings down the line, so it's good you're open to reevaluating how to handle this.

Have an in-person conversation with your dad to explain how much you value your relationship with him, but also express your need for space during your busy days or personal time. It's important he understands that your replies might be delayed, not because you don't care but because you have other commitments. I suspect your dad might be feeling lonely and is desperately seeking human connection and company. Help him find ways to engage his time that lessen his focus on texting you and give him more sources of interaction and fulfillment.

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"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 dearannie@creators.com.


 

 

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