How can I assure her family?

Bert has just started a new relationship, but is facing opposition from the woman’s family.

How can I assure her family?

Relationship expert Jo Lamble has some advice for Bert, who has just started a new relationship, but is facing opposition from the woman’s family.  

Q. Bert
I have just started a relationship with a woman named Betty whom I met through a friend. I have been divorced for quite some time, but she has only lost her husband in the last two years. Her family is very close and they disapprove of our relationship and it makes things awkward. I think she now feels uncomfortable about our relationship, but I don’t want to lose her. How can I make her children see we make each other happy?

A. It’s quite common for families to be over-protective after the death of a parent. They are no doubt still grieving and don’t want their mum to suffer any more pain. Your job is not to convince her children of anything. The idea is to let Betty know that you can see that her family loves her and you understand how much they mean to her. Tell her that you would never make her choose between you and her loved ones. Reassure her that you will give her plenty of time and space, but that you really care about her and don’t want to lose the relationship. If she feels validated and reassured, she should be able to keep seeing you without the pressure of having to commit to you or make a difficult decision.


Jo Lamble –


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    8th Sep 2015
    As a psychologist I would suggest that the family are fearful - it is an inexplicable fear - not nearly as simple as 'they want to protect her'. Issues of inheritance, issues of loyalty to the previous partner, apprehension about mental images of their mother in bed with another man - and it is different for mothers in this positions than for men in the same position - all of these and more. But the core emotions are all clustered around doubt and fear.
    The best way to deal with doubt and fear - just NAME it.
    Ask for a family meeting and explain your heart to the them. ALL OF THEM. It is that simple. But don't skirt around their fears. Ask them to name their fears and you name them too. Be resolute for your new partner's sake and your own happiness. Silence just confirms fears in the minds of the apprehensive.
    When fear hears it's name it evaporates.
    8th Sep 2015
    Excellent reply, Scrivener. Most of us know of others who are or were in this situation, and it is the issue of inheritance which worries them. And it is a valid concern. Apart from that, I really don't see why any adult, man or woman, of sound mind should feel the need to explain ANY decision they choose to make. Don't alienate the family, but tell them to mind their own business (in the nicest possible way of course).
    9th Sep 2015
    Bert,,I'm sure your intentions are honourable. It's not as if you have proposed to her.
    I think the family should have the opportunity to meet you at some stage, but in the
    meantime take the good lady out and have fun. If things start to get serious then you
    can sit down and talk things through.Good luck to both of you. I would love to go out for Dinner or a Show with someone my age and talk about all the things we got up to when we were young.I can sit in a room with young people and not have a clue about things that interest them, they don't seem to have interests and can't seem to get their faces away from the mobile phones.

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