Liberation or compromise? Couples therapy can help | New

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Dear Annie: At the start of the pandemic, my son moved in with his longtime girlfriend. Due to the confinement, they have become very dependent on each other. Now she wants to get engaged and get married.

He is Catholic; she is not. He works days; she works at night. He likes to party; she is introverted. He is physically active; she is a homebody. He wants to spend a year traveling and working abroad; she wants to put down roots. He even found jobs for both of them in Europe, but she doesn’t want to move.

Each time the marriage occurs, he comes home for a few days and then returns to her. The engagement fights put my son in therapy. He says he loves her, but if they get engaged he has to give up all his dreams. I’m 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 Heartbroken Mother: 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 figure out which category they fall into.

Dear Annie: After many years, prayers and medical procedures, I am pregnant and, along with my family and friends, am looking forward to a festive baby shower. My question is should I invite a narcissistic sister-in-law, or if it seems appropriate to invite only her daughters, ages 10 and 14.

Over the years, my relationship with my sister-in-law has deteriorated to the point where she refuses to talk to me and we have to have separate family vacations. I would never invite this person to an event, but his daughters and I have a romantic relationship.

From your point of view, is it appropriate to extend the invitation to my nieces only? I would really miss their presence, but I can’t stand the thought of their mother attending on this special day. – Struggling

Dear Struggling: Congratulations on your pregnancy! I can understand that you don’t want to have negative energy around you and your family at your baby shower.

If your nieces were adults living alone, you could absolutely exclude their mother. Unfortunately, they are minors and presumably live in his care. Because of your romantic relationship with your nieces, it would be polite to address all three of you on your invitation. If, as you say, she “refuses to talk to you”, then she will probably be absent anyway. If she does show up, greet her with the same love and kindness you feel for her daughters.

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