ASK ANDREA ARCHIVES
Dear Andrea, I'm really scared of losing myself! I'm selling my home and all my possessions to move back east and live with my boy friend. He's really sweet most of the time, but then he'll just explode for no reason! He tells me I'm not sensitive enough to his needs, not in touch with my emotions, and that I need to see a therapist. I try to watch every word I say; I try so hard to make him happy that I feel like I am losing myself in the process. Please tell me how to communicate with him, so I can get my needs met, too, because I'm scared I'll give up everything for him, and then he'll kick me out. Then what will I do?
Dear Losing Myself,
It is clear that there are relationship problems that need to be worked out before you give up your home and all your possessions to move in with him. You are afraid of losing yourself, yet you are planning to give up everything that is yours to move in with him. This will only make the sense of losing yourself stronger. I advise you to put a hold on the plans to move and begin to work out some very clear cut agreements with him. When you feel confident that he will ask for what he wants without yelling or name-calling; when you can ask for what you want and know that he will listen; and when you can move into his home with the agreement that it is now "ours" not "his" -- that is the time to make the move.
Dear Andrea, How do I forge a relationship with my live-in boyfriend's young teenaged son when the son's mother (ex-wife of boyfriend) hates me? The boy's mother is trying to poison the teen against me. The mother and I have no contact.
Out of Ideas
Dear Out of Ideas, You have embarked on one of the most complex and challenging relationships imaginable. . Very important: never say anything critical of the biological mother, no matter how she may talk about you. And don't try to compete with her, no matter what you think of her parenting style. Be patient, cohesion takes time. Find out his interests and become a part of his life based on those interests. Time with Dad: Support one-on-one time between Dad and son. He needs to know he has not lost Dad because you are present. Defer to the bio parent: Let Dad be the disciplinarian Insist on respect: you can't insist he like you, but you can insist on being treated with respect. Limit expectations: You may give a lot of time, energy, and affection to your partner's son that will not be returned immediately. Think of it as a long term investment that can one day yield big dividends.