Home Australia DEAR CAROLINE: A horrible argument has torn my family apart. How can I heal this gap?

DEAR CAROLINE: A horrible argument has torn my family apart. How can I heal this gap?

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 DEAR CAROLINE: A horrible argument has torn my family apart. How can I heal this gap?

q Six years ago, while celebrating Easter at my brother and his wife’s house, a terrible fight broke out between him and my husband. The result was that my husband left the next morning while I stayed behind to sort things out.

tThe two men have not seen each other since and over the years I have strived to build bridges, especially to for the sake of my mother (the breakup causes her great sadness) and my stepfather, both elderly. I saw my brother and his wife at a funeral last year and they were nice to me, which I took as a good sign.

My husband and I are celebrating a big birthday in August with a party and we have invited them both. I would love for them to be there but, although they haven’t said no, I doubt they will come. My mom has talked to them and they refuse to leave the line. My brother even told him that he doesn’t miss me. I’m heartbroken.

my daughter says I can’t make them think differently. I’ve always felt like I’m seen as insignificant and a waste of space because I haven’t gone to university. They both have successful careers. I can’t let him go because they are my family and I would do anything to fix it.

TO I’m so sorry, family breakups are very painful. It seems, however, that her anger is directed more at her husband. Putting aside differences for the sake of someone you care about is an act of love. So, would he be willing to help heal the rift for you, just as you are for your mother’s?

You may never warm to your brother or his wife, but could you extend an olive branch, like an email suggesting that bygones are bygones? He doesn’t need to apologize; he could simply say how much he would like them to come to the party. As for your brother, I suggest that his values ​​are wrong. Your worth has nothing to do with colleges or careers; I believe that only kindness distinguishes a person from others.

Your daughter is right: You can’t change how you feel, but maybe you can find a way to feel differently.

For some people, their families are the ones they love the most, but there is no obligation to do so unconditionally: that love must still be earned. So ask yourself if, because your brother acts this way, he is worthy of the love you so want to give him.

What also worries me is that you seem to accept their opinion of you as inferior, when in reality you are a kinder and better person; After all, you are the one who is trying to ease the gap. So consider building your self-esteem, perhaps through counseling or an app like Happier or ThinkUp.

In the meantime, be friendly, tell your brother and his wife that you would love to see them at the party, but try not to make it so important to you.

Is it worth continuing with this new relationship?

q I was married for 30 years until my husband He died five years ago. I just went 20 at first and he was my first relationship. I miss him, but this is partly out of habit because, to be honest, it wasn’t like that a happy marriage.

I have had very little confidence to start dating again. After meeting some mediocre men, I finally dated one who seems charming, but I don’t know where I am with him. I’ve only seen him a handful of times (coffee, drinks, walks) but They get along very well and he tells me how much he enjoys my company.

However, a couple of times he has been quite grumpy and uncommunicative. Then he texted me to apologize and said he wants to keep seeing me, but He has some issues he’s dealing with. Is it worth continuing with this relationship?

TO I’m usually against men who are hot and cold. If a man wants to be with you, then he should be happy being with you. However, a man in his 50s and 60s is bound to have baggage, and since you were quick to apologize for his mood, it shows that these issues are about him and not you. (Is he also a widower? He may be struggling with guilt over seeing someone new.)

The only way to know if it’s worth trying is to take it easy. Don’t rush into a sexual relationship because it could muddy the waters.

Instead, take your time and ask him if he is able to talk about these topics. If you can be open and willing to receive advice, if necessary, then this bodes well. Generally, relationships that start as friendships and develop slowly have a better longevity rate than whirlwind romances.

If you have any problems, please write to Caroline West-Meads at YOU, 9 Derry Street, London W8 5HY, or email c.west-meads@mailonsunday.co.uk. You can follow Caroline on X/Twitter. @Ask_Caroline_

Caroline reads all your letters but regrets that she cannot respond to them personally.

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