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Set boundaries for your sister-in-law and son

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/8/2013 (1463 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I just came back from staying with my sister-in-law for a week in another Canadian city. She's never been married, never been in a long-term relationship, has no children, but has the "big career." My husband and I have a little boy who's five, with cognitive delays my sis-in-law is aware of. We thought it would be nice to bring him on his first plane ride to see his auntie. To my horror, she nagged my poor little boy to death like she was playing mother -- my role. Example: "You can't watch TV until you finish what's on your plate." She went as far as to correct the way he was holding his pen while I was sitting right beside him as we were playing a game on paper together. I have a very laid-back style of parenting -- compassionate, understanding and patient. I finally pulled by husband into a room, and said to him loudly, "She's not his mother, and I don't need to be undermined and second-guessed all the time. Fix it!" Even so, she's coming out here soon, and may stay with us. I need help with my "no boundaries" relative. -- Worried Mom, Winnipeg

Dear Worried: She won't take the criticism seriously from you unless you say it to her face. If she stays at your house, wait for the first comment that goes beyond the boundaries and say, "No, you can't do that anymore. It's my role to correct my child, not yours." Then pleasantly but firmly change the subject so there's no more chat on this. She will have heard you say it, loud and clear, and know this boundary is not open for discussion with you.


Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm a little lost in my relationship right now. Recently I attended a wedding where my boyfriend was in the wedding party. This left me at a table with people I don't normally hang out with. I met a guy there who was fun and friendly. We had a good time and ended up becoming friends on Facebook. We had a few messages back and forth -- my intentions were innocent, but his may not have been. My boyfriend read them and messaged this guy that they were inappropriate. This guy apologized and said it wouldn't happen again. I've been told I should stop talking to this person and not associate with him. This hurts me because I believe the trust in our relationship should be strong enough that inappropriate comments should be laughable. Do I end the friendship or bend to what my boyfriend needs? I feel like something bigger is wrong here. Please help! -- A Tad Lost, Winnipeg

Dear Tad: You tip-toed around what the messages actually said in your letter. If this guy was saying you were hot and he'd really like to see you, for instance, try to reverse that in your mind. If a bridesmaid from the wedding was trying to hustle your boyfriend on Facebook afterwards and he kept it quiet until you discovered it, would you be OK with his remaining friends with her? You can't have it both ways. If you want a close, intimate, trusting, monogamous relationship with your sweetheart, you don't do things behind his back that make him feel he can't trust you. Say bye-bye to this guy on Facebook who's interested in you, if that's the case. But are you really sure you want to settle down at this point? Maybe not, and that's OK, but you have to recognize that and tell your boyfriend you need your freedom.

Please send questions or comments c/o or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6

Read more by Miss Lonelyhearts.


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