DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I live together. He is 30 and I am 26. We are raising our 10-month-old son together. I had a falling out several months ago with his parents, and now I am not allowed to go to their house.
My boyfriend wants to bring our baby to their house, but I don’t want him to take the child there because they have banned me.
His mother gets really upset if we don’t spend the entire day with them on a Saturday/Sunday and holidays. Our final blowup happened on a day when we arrived at 3 p.m. and were yelled at for being late. I defended us by explaining we had spent the first part of the day with my family, who live five hours away. She kept making comments about how late we were and my boyfriend decided we should leave. I have been banned from going there again because I “talked back.”
I understand that my boyfriend is torn and wants to see his family, but I don’t think it’s fair that I have to stay behind. Because I can’t go there, our son isn’t going either. His dad asks my boyfriend every week when he is bringing the baby; this puts pressure on me, every weekend and holiday.
I have offered to apologize to them, but he thinks it will fall on deaf ears. He has four brothers and sisters and we have invited them to come to our place so they can see each other, but they won’t come out of loyalty to their mother. Can you help us resolve this situation? -- Torn
DEAR TORN: From your description of this woman, I would think you would be relieved to be banned from her home. However, I understand that there is a principle at stake, and I agree that banning one member of a family unit because of a disagreement is intolerable.
You could attempt to make peace. Contact her to say, “I’m sorry about this rift. Can we work things out?” Your guy will also have to be very firm with his parents and say, “How would you feel if I banned one of you from my home? I am part of my own family now, and if you want to see one member of the family, you will have to be willing to see all of us (at least some of the time).” Until he can do this, you can expect this uneasy imbalance to continue.
DEAR AMY: My sister and I have never been overly close, due to our six-year age difference. Recently she got back together with her old boyfriend, who is friends with my unfaithful ex-boyfriend. Now they are all hanging out in the same group of friends.
I find this very hard to deal with. She doesn’t understand why I disagree with her choice to be friends with my ex. She also thinks she can’t tell her boyfriend who to be friends with. Shouldn’t she tell her boyfriend that she doesn’t want to be around my ex?
I am at the point where my ex is someone I don’t want in my life. I ignore him, and if she wants to be his friend, I’ll ignore her as well. What do you think? -- Sincerely Irked
DEAR IRKED: You cannot control everyone else’s six-degrees-of-separation relationships. By paying attention to who he hangs with, you are letting your ex re-offend you.
You need to realize that everyone is making choices and that these choices are not about you, but about them. You don’t get to tell your sister who to hang out with, and she doesn’t get to tell you what should or shouldn’t bother you. I hope that you will figure out how to ignore the ex without ignoring her.
DEAR AMY: Your answer to “Secret Holder” was off. Nobody should disclose somebody else’s secret unless it is a matter of life or death. -- Secret Keeper
DEAR KEEPER: I agree. I suggested that “Secret Holder” should disclose her own secret and not engage in speculation about the other party’s (alleged) secret.