Three years later, he still hasn’t introduced her
Dear Annie: I’ve been seeing this man since we met in 2017. He hasn’t introduced me to any family members or friends. When I ask him why, he always says there’s never a chance to. I’m thinking to myself that there have been plenty of chances, but he just doesn’t take them. This is especially true during the holidays, when he goes to see them.
I’ve asked him if he’s ashamed to be seen with me, and he says no. I have asked him why he won’t commit to me, and he says that would be a major commitment. I’ve already told him that if he wants to date other women, then he should leave me be. — Broken Heart
Dear Broken Heart: The only way to put your heart back together is to get as far away from this man as possible. Three years is a long time for someone not to introduce you to his friends or family. I smell a rat. Maybe he has a wife or serious girlfriend. You deserve much better than this man. Like ripping off a Band-Aid, it will sting when you first leave him. However, in the long run, you will be much better off with a connected and compassionate partner who wants you to be a part of his whole life.
Dear Annie: I am sibling No. 3 out of four. I am estranged from Nos. 2 and 4. This was my choice, and a wise decision. They are manipulative bullies, and after years of trying to have a relationship with them, I finally gave up. My younger sibling tried to manipulate me with a fake suicide threat because I would not give in to her demands. My older brother is an emotionally unavailable bully who has taken advantage of my father by using his credit cards and then not paying him back. I have tried to address these issues, but they always turn the table and tell me that I am the problem.
Dad turns 90 next summer, and my oldest sibling wants us to fly home (COVID-19 permitting) to have a dinner celebration at a restaurant. Annie, I don’t want to go. I cannot bring myself to sit across the table from these two. I refuse to fake it or pretend that everything is fine.
If I do this, I will be resentful toward myself. I am not willing, not even for Dad. I am planning to fly later in the month to take Dad and my stepmother out to dinner. We get along really well. They are aware of the estrangement and have remained neutral, which is good. Do you have any other suggestions? — Sibling 3 Has Left the Building
Dear Sibling 3: It sounds like there’s a great deal of hurt, anger and miscommunication here. A suicide threat is never something to dismiss as just being manipulative. It is often a cry for help (which I’m hoping she received from a professional). As far as your older brother being emotionally unavailable and taking advantage of your father, he can’t be a very happy person.
But on your point that every conversation ends with the tables being turned on you, this might be an indication of things you have to work on as well. Relationships are two-way streets, and rarely is one person completely at fault. Be introspective and see if you can find forgiveness in your heart for them, at least so you can go to your dad’s 90th birthday.
You don’t have to sit at their table, and remember, it’s not a birthday about you; it’s for your father, and my guess is that nothing would make him happier than having all of his children in attendance.
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“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — 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.