Home US DEAR CAROLINE: My sister pretends our parents were happy together and blames me for giving up on my marriage too easily

DEAR CAROLINE: My sister pretends our parents were happy together and blames me for giving up on my marriage too easily

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DEAR CAROLINE: My sister pretends our parents were happy together and blames me for giving up on my marriage too easily

q My parents had a terrible marriage. My mother was critical and controlling, she always complained and she told our father that she was doing things wrong.

She screamed a lot, while he was the voice of reason. Although he was strict when we were children, he has always been very kind and supportive of both my sister and me in our careers, marriages, grandchildren (my children), and my divorce.

Our mother made her disapproval clear when I left my difficult first husband for the lovely man I’m still with. She used to ask me how my dad put up with her, but she could also be fun and entertaining.

He has now had to go to a nursing home, aged 89, while my father, in his 90s, is frail and anxious and needs carers at home. However, what really bothers me is that my sister has started sugarcoating her marriage. I heard her tell caregivers and friends how our parents “fought like a cat and dog but were deeply in love.”

Yo I know Dad feels unnecessarily guilty about our mother being in a home, and this doesn’t help. my sister and I’m not close and when I object she tells me she would.I don’t understand it because I gave up on my marriage too easily. It’s really affecting me.

DEAR CAROLINE My sister pretends our parents were happy together

TO I can understand why it bothers you that your sister wants to rewrite history. Minimize the sadness you feel for your father and your feelings of being unloved and disapproved of by your mother.

I suppose that even though your sister knows that your parents had a poor marriage, she wants to believe otherwise. Maybe (if she attributed better feelings) she doesn’t want to think that your dad was unhappy. However, since her sister seems quite critical, her attitude could be more of a reflection of her own marriage.

Sometimes people who judge others for “giving up too easily” are themselves unhappy in their marriages, but feel they are being stoic by sticking it out. He may downplay difficulties in your parents’ marriage to reassure himself that his own, which may be similar, is normal.

I guess she knows the truth but wants to believe otherwise.

You, on the other hand, have managed to break the pattern. After marrying someone difficult like your mother, you have now found someone more like your kind father. Unfortunately, you can’t control your sister’s narrative and I think you’d only mind arguing about it.

So overall, you may have to accept that it’s what she chooses to feel, but not the truth. However, you can still help your father. It’s very sad that he feels guilty about your mother being in a home, so he keeps reminding her that they made this decision together because her needs had become complex and it was the only option.

Many people suffer from anxiety in older age, so it might be worth visiting your GP to consider medications to help alleviate this.

Should we get married or just stay friends?

q I am 50 years old and I was married to my wife for 21 years before we separated. We have an adult daughter. I didn’t want my marriage It ends, and I don’t understand why. occurred. Now I have a long term friendship with another person. Do you think I should remarry or just stay platonic?

TO I am very sorry that your marriage ended against your wishes. Her brief letter tells me very little, but it might give me a clue as to why she broke down. While you tell me the basic facts about your situation, you don’t reveal anything about how you feel. You don’t say if you loved your wife, what kind of person she was, or if you are still friends.

You also don’t tell me anything about your new relationship (in fact, you call it friendship) or say how you feel about her or if she loves you or wants to get married.

This lack of detail suggests that you are having difficulty talking about your emotions, or possibly even understanding them. Unfortunately, relationships in which feelings are not discussed often fail, and this is perhaps what happened in her marriage.

So, for the sake of this new relationship and your own well-being, it is important that you find a way to understand and talk about what is going on inside of you. You could try Relate (relate.org.uk) for individual counseling to help you do this and decide how you feel about this new relationship.

It will also help you come to terms with the loss of your marriage so you can move forward. Age United Kingdom (ageuk.org.uk) has a helpful section on the financial implications of remarrying.

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 @Question_Caroline_

Caroline reads all your letters but regrets that she cannot answer them all.only.

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