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Ask Ellie: Consider one-sided connection a lesson

I’m mid-50s, he’s 15 years older; both divorced with older teenagers at home.

Dear Ellie: I “met” someone online. We texted for six months before meeting, though only 30 minutes’ drive apart. I’m mid-50s, he’s 15 years older; both divorced with older teenagers at home.

We’ve only spoken on the phone twice, and he refused FaceTime. It seemed appropriate to avoid meeting during a pandemic but he was evasive even after receiving two Covid vaccines. I’m a full-time healthcare worker so got my doses early.

I suggested we meet outdoors, but he refused. When we finally met, he said he was afraid that after we met, I wouldn’t like him and the texting would stop.

I didn’t recognize this red flag that he was selfish. But I’d set up such high expectations that I wanted it to work. He’s retired; my job’s very demanding. We both have our own houses.

In the three months that we actually dated in person, he was reluctant to drive to my house since “gas is so expensive.”’ I drove to him. He’d only visit if I cooked. He never helped or cleaned up.

He bought himself expensive items but bills for any dinners out had to be split.

I dumped him within three months. I’d been delusional in believing he was the one just from texting. Revengeful, he refused to return my personal things.

I should’ve trusted my inner voice, but the pandemic prolonged the inevitable and set up false expectations.

Ignored Red Flags

You’re a woman doing important work during the many difficulties caused by a pandemic. But your hopes exceeded your common sense. Forgive yourself. Then give your inner voice a re-boot.

Blaming false hopes doesn’t move you forward. Recognize that you imagined a remake of this man. But he was a lost cause regarding a future together - he is selfish and cheap.

Consider this one-sided connection a life lesson. You still have every possibility of finding a meaningful relationship. Only make sure you talk to your inner voice about who you are, and your emotional needs.

Dear Ellie: My father’s an alcoholic, controlling, manipulative, always angry. It began before my parents separated 24 years ago. Being around him feels emotionally draining and toxic.

I’m the eldest child. The oldest boy is narcissistic, a bully. He tries to manipulate my father into selling his property, by believing that he must find another place to live. My father handles this stress by drinking.

My sister’s asked us all to address my father’s “issues” but the two boys just joke about it. Every man in my family is emotionally immature. My father must seek help for alcoholism, but he won’t.

It’s frustrating trying to deal with such a dysfunctional family. My husband and I haven’t been to a family dinner for years because we want to remove ourselves from the conflicts.

How do I address these issues and still maintain my sanity? Or should I even bother?

Stressed By Dysfunctional Family

Bother… it’s important for your own sake as well as for the others, especially your father and sister, even if dysfunctions like bullying don’t change.

Attend an Al-Anon group meeting for people with alcoholic loved ones. Many people say these meetings changed their sense of helplessness/responsibility regarding the drinker, to an understanding of how to handle their own response. An online search will provide other support groups.

Your sister wants what you do. Be supportive. A lawyer’s letter regarding your brother’s pressure on your father, might end it. Without that stress, your father might seek help.

Reader’s Commentary Regarding a Roommate’s friend who makes racist remarks (January 31):

“Here’s what my adult daughter and I do when someone does/says something rude or racist: We simply call them out.

My favorite is, “that was an incredibly rude thing to say.”

“My daughter has straight-up told people, “That’s a racist thing to say.”

“Her mom’s partner made some racist comments in front of her daughter and she said, “Hey racist Grampa, my daughter doesn’t need to hear that.” She isn’t vile or yelling when she does that, just matter of fact.

“Sometimes people get mad. Sometimes they apologize. But you can bet they’ll think twice about using that behaviour again.

“People like the roommate’s friend will behave badly if they think they can get away with it. I find people who act that way have very low self-esteem and that’s their way of making themselves feel superior.”

Ellie’s Tip of the Day

Consider online dating contact as an opportunity, not a done deal. Use your sense of self-worth to proceed slowly with eyes/ears wide open.

Send relationship questions to [email protected].

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