Ask Maura: My man’s ex is being vindictive

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill
Former spouses can stir up trouble

Former spouses can stir up trouble

Dear Maura: MY partner’s ex-wife is making life very difficult for us. I’ve been with him for three years and moved in eight months ago. He has two grown-up daughters, both married with one child each and it was such a big deal to get them to visit over the holiday. It’s been like that for a year or so. I sent out an invite and they accepted. Then on the morning they were supposed to come they both texted within a few minutes of each other saying that their child was sick. It’s always that excuse because then we can’t say anything. But there’s a pattern. I lost the rag a while ago and rang his ex, but it got me nowhere. She barely reacted because she’s the one in control. My man is not one for confrontation, so to keep the peace we visited his daughters. They’re dead against me living here. He gets down but won’t talk about anything. I worry that he’ll end our relationship just to have his kids visit without any hassle. Why can’t we just all get on with life? His ex has been with someone for two years now. The daughters are 28 and 31. Why can’t they do what’s right? Their mother seems to be very controlling. Answer: Until your partner talks to his ex and his daughters this stand-off will persist. You mention control in your letter — he needs to take a stand and insist that invitations to your home are honoured. His ex is playing a toxic game. She hasn’t moved on if she’s engaging so negatively in her daughters’ lives. Why shouldn’t they and their children spend time with their dad and grandad? Because she wants to make trouble. There’s more than an element of bullying here too. He just needs to stress that he wants his family to visit and that’s all there is to it.

Manager makes work life very difficult

Dear Maura: I love where I work, but the office manager is a nightmare. She makes everything about her. If any of us comes in with something that happened, she has to top it. It’s always, ‘Girls, leave the big drama to me’ and off she goes. If we have any problem with work, she will always blame us. The owner of the business is a woman in her 60s and she’s not around much. I like what I do, but this woman is making it impossible for all of us to enjoy work. I love the girls so don’t want to move jobs. Is there anything we can do to make our environment better? Answer: I’m guessing this is a small company and there is no HR department. The next best thing is to contact the owner and make her aware of what is going on in the office. Ask to meet and suggest one other person who will be best able to articulate exactly what is going on. Make your points clearly, but avoid focusing on any personal stuff about the office manager. Put the spotlight on the work and the lack of support if there are issues with that. Approach your predicament from that point of view and just keep pushing with this.

Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann Maura O’Neill All pictures are posed by models

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