Carolyn Hax: Family ‘distressed’ because she’s avoiding her abusive uncle


Dear Caroline: It has recently come to light that my uncle, who has made me uncomfortable for years, inappropriately touched two female members of the family on two separate occasions. I don’t want myself or my young daughters near him. But my aunt (his wife) and her sisters (including my mother) are distraught over the separation from the family and want me to at least continue to have a relationship with my aunt. Am I cruel for not wanting to be around any of them? Any insight would be appreciated.

Sad southern belle: Your uncle’s actions are what “divide the family.” He is not yours.

Her aunt’s decision to support her husband also has consequences. I admit that it can be complicated, very difficult for someone like me to judge without knowing the nuances. However, her decision to blame you for those consequences, while she is off the hook, needs to be rethought a lot.

If other members are as involved as they say in protecting the family’s interests, they will eventually realize that they misidentified the real threat to your overall health.

Or they won’t. So for you, I can only advise you to continue to do what you feel is necessary to honor your integrity and protect your children.

Dear Caroline: I love my boyfriend of two years, he has a great daughter and is a wonderful father to her. He works hard and owns his own business, which is just him. He says that he is happy with his life right now.

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The problem is that I am not happy with OUR life: he has no friends, he never leaves the house unless it is to pick up his daughter from school or walk the dog. We go out with my friends only if I fix it.

He’s not currently bringing anything to our relationship, and I don’t know how to approach this delicately, that if we’re going to continue, he needs to bring more. I’m struggling to connect with someone who doesn’t do anything outside of this little island world.

Struggling: Does he, um, get involved in the relationship?

If that is really “nothing”, then you have left the realm of fixable things.

If you were wrong, if you meant, he does not bring anything. socially, then okay! Please just say that. Even so: “I love you, but you don’t bring anything social to our relationship right now, and being social is important to me.” The plain truth is not just for you. It lets you know your options, while you still have them.

It will be even better if the truth includes your awareness of the mental weight of your other commitments. a single father Y sole proprietor is on site for everything, every day, all the time. It makes sense (to me) that someone in his position who apparently isn’t naturally extroverted either would delegate social things to his partner.

As that partner, you’d have to agree to this, of course, so we’re back to the part where you tell him you don’t want to run everything and you want help.

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But that’s only if you’re okay with having a less-than-extroverted partner in general, because happiness with “this little island world” is at least partly a matter of disposition. So even if you agree to contribute more socially, you could be the same happy little island man, just with “making dinner plans” on your new bi-weekly to-do list.

If that’s good for you, great, but think twice before asking for a change.