ADVICE; Dear Miriam.
A PROBLEM SHARED: Family freezes her out
Dear Miriam, My girlfriend of four years has just ended our relationship because of my adult children - and I'm devastated.
When my wife died seven years ago I went to pieces and never thought I'd meet anyone else, but I did and she turned my life around. She's loving, kind and I want her back.
My children have never wanted anything to do with her. I don't know why.
They'd invite me to their parties and days out but never invited my girlfriend. I know she was upset and I knew it was wrong but I could not bring myself to say anything as I didn't want to upset them.
What really hurt her was when I said I'd be spending Christmas with my son and his family in Spain. He's been out there for a year and has been pushing me to visit.
I feel so guilty going alone but I don't know what the answer is. I do want to see my family but I'd do anything to get her back. Must I choose between my girlfriend or my children? Please help.
YOUR VERDICT: Time to stand by your new love
It is not about choosing between your girlfriend and your children, it's about you not letting them treat your girlfriend like dirt.
Your children need to know that you are together now. Tell your son you will not be visiting without your girlfriend. Stop putting your children's needs before your partner's.
If she isn't part of your family, you should not be with her. No one deserves to play second fiddle to your family.
Shannon, by email
My husband was like you. He wouldn't deal with his children about the way they acted towards me in case they fell out with him.
Stand up for your girlfriend and tell your children straight that she is staying and that's the end of it, and they should show you both some respect. Your girlfriend will always be there for you. In time, your children will be too busy with their own lives and you will be on your own, a lonely man with regrets, if you don't act now.
Let's face it, you don't love your girlfriend, do you? You've made no attempt to try to resolve this situation for four years.
You went to parties and days out and planned a holiday in Spain without her. I'm surprised she stayed with you this long. I can't imagine why your first wife put up with your thoughtlessness.
Perhaps your ex-girlfriend can find someone who will really care for her.
John, Swadlincote, Derbys
You poor man, stuck between a rock and a hard place. I'm afraid your children have been using emotional blackmail and you have let them.
I feel very sorry for your girlfriend too. Every time you accepted their invitations, which didn't include her, she felt betrayed.
She must have loved you to have put up with their rudeness for four years. Sadly, you might well end up alone because of your children.
Perhaps it's time to tell them their mother can never be replaced but you need love and companionship.
J Barker, Maidstone, Kent
MIRIAM'S VERDICT: Your children are being cruel
Your problem is not that you're going to have to choose, it's that you will have to be more grown up than you think you're capable of being and make an effort to resolve this unpleasant situation.
I understand your divided loyalties but, to an outsider like me, there is no way to describe your children other than nasty, spiteful and cruel.
How much can they love you if they're prepared to put you through all this heartache?
It's your role to point out that their behaviour is unacceptable. You can't let your children ride roughshod over your feelings or those of your partner. Frankly, any woman would leave you in this situation.
Why should she stay when your love is so empty of concern for her?
You've not been strong enough to take a stand and support her and I honestly think you should be ashamed of yourself. To her you must seem a mouse, not a man.
You not only need to get your priorities straight, you must decide where your future lies. It certainly doesn't lie with your children.
I think there are two steps you have to take if you want your partner back: Step 1: Tell your children that you're not going to Spain without her and say that you're done with their spitefulness.
You're going to have to live with their reaction to this news but I strongly believe we shouldn't allow our lives to be ruled by our children.
Step 2: Tell your partner you aren't going away for Christmas on your own and you love her so much you want to spend it with her, whatever the consequences.
YOU CAN HELP: Wedding rows
Dear Miriam, I'm getting married shortly and it's supposed to be the happiest day of my life. Now I don't know if I should go through with it but it's getting too close to cancel.
Everyone's so happy for us and mum and dad are over the moon and I don't want to disappoint them.
I've been with my fiance for a year and I thought we were soulmates. Now I'm sitting in my bedroom with a black eye, bruised and aching. I'm shaking like a leaf emailing this letter to you as I don't know what to do.
Last night we both went to a bar and a man touched my bum when I went to the toilets. When we got home, my fiance went berserk. He was drunk and seemed like a madman. I've never been so scared and have never seen that side of him.
This morning it's as if nothing happened. He's his usual self. I will shatter everyone's dreams if I cancel. I don't know what to do? I feel so panicky. Please help me.
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