Annie: Son stuck with incompatible girlfriend
Dear Annie: At the beginning of the pandemic, my son moved in with his longtime girlfriend. Due to confinement, they became very dependent on each other. Now she wants to get engaged and married.
He is Catholic; she is not. He works days; she works nights. He likes to party; she is an introvert. He is physically active; she is a homebody. He wants to spend a year traveling and working abroad; she wants to put roots down. He even found jobs for both of them in Europe, but she is not willing to budge.
Every time marriage comes up, he comes home for a few days and then goes back to her. The fights about engagement put my son into therapy. He says he loves her, but if they get engaged, he has to give up all his dreams. I am afraid he’ll give in and wake up one day married with kids, with regrets and hating his life. — Mother Whose Heart Is Breaking
Dear Mother Whose Heart Is Breaking: Sometimes, relationships require compromise. Other times, people need to break free from their partners in order to grow. A couples therapist can help your son and his girlfriend discover which category they fall into.
Dear Annie: After many years, prayers and medical interventions, I am pregnant and, along with my family and friends, looking forward to a celebratory baby shower. My issue is whether I must invite a narcissistic sister-in-law, or if it seems appropriate to only invite her daughters, ages 10 and 14.
Over the years, my relationship with my sister-in-law has deteriorated to the point that she refuses to speak to me and we have to have separate family holidays. I would never invite this person to any event, but her daughters and I maintain a loving relationship.
From your perspective, is it appropriate to address the invitation to my nieces only? I would really miss their presence but cannot stand the thought of their mother attending this special day. — Struggling
Dear Struggling: Congratulations on your pregnancy! I can understand not wanting to have any negative energy around you and your family at your baby shower.
If your nieces were adults living on their own, you could absolutely exclude their mother. Unfortunately, they are minors and, presumably, living under her care. Because of your loving relationship with your nieces, the polite thing would be to address all three of them on your invitation. If, as you say, she “refuses to speak to you,” then she’ll probably be a no-show regardless. If she does show up, welcome her with the same love and kindness you feel for her daughters.