Facing violence and guilt in relationships
I’m very concerned about my granddaughter, who is considering marrying her boyfriend. She is confiding in me and asked me, “Can someone love you and still hit you at the same time?”
She says she knows her boyfriend loves her and wants to marry her, but when he gets very angry he lashes out at her physically. They’re making wedding plans, but she says that last week he punched her in the face, and she still has the bruise.
He says he loves her and promised that it won’t happen again. She asked me if she should believe him. Please help me answer her.
Tell her to look in the mirror and believe her face! Tell her that violence is not about love. It’s about control. He wants her to do what he wants her to do no matter what, and he doesn’t know how to handle anger.
He needs to get a lot of professional help before she can even consider marrying him. Tell her to remember this: The first time you get hit, you’re a victim. The next time, you’re a volunteer.
I’ve been seeing a man, and although I like him, I don’t feel as connected to him as he seems to be to me.
One of his children and one of mine live in California, and I haven’t seen my son for many months.
Now my boyfriend has offered to take me to California for a birthday celebration at his daughter’s house and wants to come with me to visit my son and his family. I will spend time at his daughter’s house, but I want time alone with my son, who’s going through a divorce, and with my little granddaughter.
My friend always wants to spend as much time as possible with me, so I don’t know what to say to him about not coming with me to visit my son. I feel guilty doing this because he’s paying for the whole trip.
How do I tell him, and what do I do with the guilt?
Put the guilt in an envelope and give it to a friend to hold for you until you get back from the trip. Your boyfriend is doing this for both of you. He wants you to share the birthday with him at his daughter’s house, so it’s his choice to pay for the trip.
Be clear before you go. Accept this gift graciously, but tell him that you hope he’ll understand your need for time alone with your son since you haven’t seen him in a long time. This will also give him time alone with his daughter, which she probably wants.
So there’s something in it for both of you. And if you miss the guilt, you can pick it up from your friend on the way back from the airport. Enjoy!
© Helen Oxenberg, 2018. Questions to be considered for this column may be sent to: The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915. You may also email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. To inquire about reprint rights, call (609) 655-3684.