How much is too much to share about past?

Dear Annie: I am in my 40s and recently single again after 15 years of marriage. I ended my marriage due to domestic violence.

How much of my situation should I share with potential dates? I don’t want to share too much too soon, but I am unsure if this is information I should share. The question of why my marriage ended will inevitably be asked. I am not sure how much and when to share that. — Survivor of Domestic Violence

Dear Survivor: Take your time with how much you want to divulge on the first date. But eventually, if you would like to enter into a relationship, the person should love and accept all of you — even things that happened to you in the past that you have survived. If anything, it shows an incredible amount of courage to leave a marriage in which you were abused, and it shows resilience to get out into the dating world again. Best of luck!

Dear Annie: I am a new mother, and I am just starting to work again after nine weeks of maternity leave. My mom has constantly been talking about being able to be a grandma to my baby, since my older brother has somewhat distanced himself and his son from her. She had planned for months to help me this month, but out of nowhere she decided to take in three kids as a foster parent.

While I was happy for her, it was disheartening to have to find someone at the last minute to watch my newborn since we just recently moved here. I have a co-worker who quit her job when I was on maternity leave who is helping me this week, and I have asked her to help out again in a couple of weeks.

My mom then texted to ask if I needed help that week because she decided to give up the foster kids and now is available. I told her that I texted my babysitter to see if she was planning on watching my baby that week so I don’t put her out should she need the money. I told my mom she was welcome to still come, but if my babysitter needs the money, she would still be here.

I also told her she could call and we could talk. She’s only communicating through text and has been sending toxic messages to me about how she has given me everything and that she’s fostering to earn money to be able to come watch my baby, which does not check out, obviously.

It was her choice to take in these kids rather than to be a grandma like she was always claiming she would be. What should I do next? I want to keep the relationship for the sake of my daughter, but my mom is constantly a toxic character. — New Momma Drama

Dear New Momma Drama: You have an amazing perspective, considering how wacky your mom sounds. She is clearly a conflicted person. On the one hand, she seems to have a lot of love to give and “mothering” to do, but she doesn’t seem to have the best timing. Taking in foster children for money is by no means a noble endeavor. If you want her in your life, it’s got to be on your terms. She can’t guilt you into feeling bad or thinking that you somehow did something wrong. You were just protecting yourself and your child.

Keep your mom in your life, but lower your expectations as to how much of a good and helpful grandmother she will be.

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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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