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Myth And Reality

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Author: Wayne and Tamara

Direct Answers - Column for the week of February 2, 2004

I am at a complete loss about what to do with my mother-in-law to be. In a nutshell, she's verbally abusive. She treats my fiance like a child, and yet he is 30. She calls me stupid. He has put up with this behavior all his life and won't stand up to her. I love my fiance, but if this is how it's going to be the rest of our lives, I'm having second thoughts.

She's an unreasonable person who throws a fit whenever people don't do things her way. I've done my best to keep peace with her. I treat her kindly and do my utmost to be respectful and listen to her.

I know I need to be more assertive and set some boundaries, in a kind manner of course. I believe in treating others with respect no matter the difficulty of the situation. Sadly, she could care less about others' feelings. My fiance's a wonderful guy, but how do I deal with his mom? When we announce our engagement, she's going to go ballistic.

Danielle

Danielle, in mythology Venus was Psyche's mother-in-law. Venus decreed she would not accept Psyche as a daughter-in-law unless she performed several preposterous tasks.

Great quantities of wheat, lentils, peas, poppy seeds, barley, and millet were mixed together, and Psyche had to sort them by nightfall. Aided by an army of ants, Psyche did it. Another task required Psyche to fetch water from a mountain spring guarded by dragons. Again Psyche succeeded, this time helped by an eagle.

You are writing to us as if we command magical power. We don't. You want to treat this woman as you have been, yet you want her to change. The first time "stupid" came out of her mouth the issue should have been addressed. Ground rules need to be set from the start.

Pretend you are her. Why should she change? You treat her with respect . She is doing a better job of teaching you than you are of teaching her. Turning the other cheek is not appropriate because it will not stop or correct her behavior. When the food is unpalatable, you send it back to the chef.

Have your boyfriend agree to stay on the sidelines, then confront his mother each time she crosses the line of acceptable behavior. If this problem isn't solved before you marry, heed your second thoughts.

Tamara


Sight Unseen

I can't believe I'm writing for advice, but I think the time has come. I have been intimately involved with my lover for two years. She has been in a relationship with another woman for eight years.

Needless to say, I am the other woman in her life. I am at the point where I want to end our relationship. My problem is I don't know how. We started out as friends and have had so many fun times together I'm scared of losing that. I don't want to hurt her, but I am mature and wise enough to know the entire situation seems to be a lost cause.

My lover tells me I am trying to put a time limit on when we will be together, but after two years I feel I have the right to know what the future holds for me but there are no answers.

Susannah

Susannah, Tamara often says, "What most letters boil down to is the letter writer is unwilling to do the hard thing." There's no point in giving you an answer because you already know the answer. But the right answer is the hard thing.

When a relationship is going nowhere, you need to end it. Continuing takes away the opportunity of finding the right person. In addition, ending a wrong relationship gives you the courage to end wrong relationships in the future. It is hard to choose uncertainty, but that is where potential happiness lies.

Wayne

About the author

Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.

Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.


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