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ADVICE; Dear Mairiam.


LETTER OF THE DAY: My man chats up Mum

Dear Miriam,

My mum was pregnant with me when she was 18. I'm 19 now and we look more like sisters than mother and daughter, although I've always thought she's much prettier than me.

She's a beautiful person in every way and Dad's always complaining that other men fancy her when they go out. I never expected my own boyfriend to be one of them.

He's 25 and his girlfriend before me was 15 years older than him, so he has a history of finding mature women attractive. He dated her for about two months and said he ended it because she was too possessive.

We seemed to have a great relationship until he started saying how nice my mum looked, helping her with the washing up, sitting beside her on the sofa, chatting and making her laugh. There have been several times when I've felt really left out.

I keep thinking he likes her much more than he likes me and I'm ashamed to admit I feel insecure and jealous of my own mother. Now I can't look at him in the same way and there's tension between Mum and me. What should I do?


Dear Madeleine, Forget about your boyfriend for a moment and think about your mum. Do you trust her? Have you noticed any real intimacy between them? Do you really think she would commit the cardinal sin of coming between you and your boyfriend? Do you fear she would breach your trust and hurt you? If you think that's possible, no wonder you eye her with suspicion and there's tension between you.

Now for your boyfriend. The idea of dating an older woman excites some younger men. They like mature women who look great and have experience, wisdom and confidence. Are you insecure because you feel you don't match up to this and he's settling for second best with you? His other relationship only lasted a few months so, in the end, it didn't matter if the older woman was a goddess - she wasn't right for him.

Some women can't stand it when their partner notices other good-looking women and stares or speaks to them. Would you rather have a boyfriend who didn't notice anyone else but you? That might be hard to find.

Do you believe he's capable of committing such an act of betrayal? If there is a basic lack of trust between you, you should be worried.

One thing you do know for sure is he doesn't like possessiveness. You could lose him not because he really does fancy your mum but because he feels suffocated in the relationship.

If you can't stand wondering what he really thinks about your mum, ask him. Explain why his interest in her makes you uncomfortable.

Or you can ignore the whole thing and decide you do trust him and you can live happily with a man who isn't going to stop admiring all beautiful women he sees.

Shock from past

Dear Miriam, My mother recently went into a nursing home and I've been sorting out her house ready for sale. When I was going through some of her old papers, I found a document which knocked me for six.

It concerned a child who was put up for adoption before my brother and I were born. I don't know what to think. Do I have a sibling I know nothing about? My mother isn't well mentally and I doubt I'll get any sense out of her but I don't feel I can let this drop. Is it a bad idea to try to find out the truth?

Chris Dear Chris, This may be a piece of the past your mother always wanted to remain secret. Perhaps you could get confirmation, not denials or half-truths, from relatives or friends instead? If you find your sibling, the absence of a shared upbringing doesn't mean a strong bond can't develop but it's important to understand the feeling of being reunited may not be mutual. There may be complete disinterest and hostility.

Lifestyle, education, religion, interests and occupations can be so different that siblings have no common ground. Contact an organisation such as NORCAP on 0186 587 5000 or see for guidance on how to locate lost relatives who have been adopted.

Family secrets

Dear Miriam, My daughter has given birth to a baby boy, my first grandchild. Her boyfriend is Asian and his parents, who live abroad, don't know anything about it. I think they should be told but my daughter says her boyfriend will tell them in his own time and I mustn't interfere. I fear he may never get round to it and my daughter and the baby don't have his total commitment. Help.

Sophie Dear Sophie, It looks likely he's afraid his parents won't approve of his choice of partner. All you can do is encourage him to do it soon for everyone's benefit. If he remains reluctant or his parents kick up a fuss, your daughter could be in for a bumpy ride and she and the baby will need all your love.

Sex life's stalled

Dear Miriam, I've been sex starved for 23 years and keep wondering what it would be like to be free and single. My husband is a good man but deadly dull inside and outside the bedroom. He gets upset and defensive when I try to talk about sex. All I want is some romance and excitement. Now our daughter has grown up, there's little to keep me here and I dream of escaping. Should I? Sheila

Dear Sheila, Will your life really be better if you leave? There's no such thing as a marriage that can't be resuscitated if a couple want it badly enough. If you still have feelings for him, press him to seek couple counselling with you. When both partners work on it, the odds of success rise dramatically.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 3, 2009
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