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PARENTS CLASH WITH PARTNER; DEAR COLEEN; Britain's most straight-talking problem page.

Byline: Coleen Nolan

Dear Coleen

My partner is 20 years older than me and not that much younger than my parents. He has grown-up kids while I have twins who are aged six.

Since he moved in about six months ago, things haven't gone smoothly. I can see he doesn't have much patience with my kids, although he does try, and I suspect he thinks he may have bitten off more than he can chew.

To add to this, my parents who live nearby aren't that keen on him and he's not overly impressed with them either. My mum and dad worry he's moved in too soon and will find it hard to cope with the children. My partner struggles with the fact my parents are a similar age to him and quite opinionated with very different views. Any advice?

Coleen says

It's really tough when you bring a new partner into your family - it's hard for the kids and for your boyfriend too, and you need to give it time for everyone to find their feet. Six months isn't really that long a time.

You say you "suspect" your partner feels he's taken on more than he bargained for, but have you actually asked him? Communication is so important, so deal with how you feel head on instead of ignoring it and hoping these issues will just go away. Also, focus on your relationship and try to zone out what your parents are thinking and feeling.

You love this man and you've committed to him, so perhaps you need to ask your parents nicely to back off a bit and give the pair of you some space to get used to being together under one roof.

Your parents and your partner sound like they're more rattled by the difference in your ages than you are. And perhaps your partner just needs a bit of reassurance from you that the age gap isn't an issue and that he'll need time to adjust to being a stepfather to young twins.

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 23, 2018
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