Dear Maura: My family can’t stand my fella

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from  Maura O’Neill

Getting family back on side can be tricky

Dear Maura: I was in a relationship with a guy for about six months. I broke up with him because he wasn’t giving me what I wanted in a relationship. He just wasn’t on the same page, or maybe my expectations were unrealistic. To be honest I’m not sure. A year later, we’ve reconnected. I really want to give it one more go so I have no regrets. The problem is my family can’t stand him. At the time of the break-up I said way too much about my ex and they’ve never forgotten that. They are very protective of me so you can understand my predicament about telling them I’m seeing him again. I know they’ll be angry, and this makes me so stressed. Instead of enjoying being back with my boyfriend I’m constantly thinking ‘if my family knew, how would they react’. I’m still determined to stay with him because there’s unfinished business. Maybe this time we’ll communicate better and make the relationship work. Unfortunately, I can’t fully focus on that, as I’m worrying all the time about my family’s reaction when they find out. Answer: Their opinion of your boyfriend is based on what you said in anger when you broke up with him. Feelings are high at times like this and we exaggerate to match those heated emotions. You’ll have to talk to them. You deserve to fully focus on the relationship now you’ve made the decision. Most importantly, you’ve moved on so something vital has changed for you. Give yourself time to reconnect and sense fully you’re right to give the relationship a second chance. You’ll know the time is right to talk to your family when you’re confident the relationship is important for you. Mistakes were made, but time has allowed you to move on. Ask for their support and trust.

Is it too late for therapy about mam?

Dear Maura: I thought I grieved for my mother when she died five years ago. But these past weeks I feel I haven’t. A friend was talking about my relationship with mam, and I understood for the first time that I stayed home for her. I didn’t move on with my life. I’m 46 and finally met someone who’s made me think about the years I could have been with him instead of at home minding mam, who was perfectly healthy until her heart attack. My friend said she never cut the umbilical cord. That’s what got me most, because it’s true. Is it too late to get counselling about her passing? There’s stuff I never even considered before, but I need to move on fully. AIt’s never too late to talk to someone. Clearly the chat with your friend brought feelings to the surface you’d buried for a long time. I think it’s wonderful you’re now open to discussing the complex relationship you had with your mam. You’ll be able to explore the sense of duty you had towards her and how it affected you. Working through these feelings will help you understand that while there was definitely love, there was also an unhealthy dependency.

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

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