‘The new woman in my life dislikes my adult children’

Noel asks Dr Emmanuella how he can encourage all parties to get along.

‘My new love dislikes my children’

The new woman in Noel’s life is not getting along too well with his children. He asks psychologist Dr Emmanuella Murray for guidance.


Q. Noel
My wife died about six years ago after a short illness. I’ve met a woman and we’ve been seeing each other for six months now. All is going well except that she is very critical of my three adult children. Yes, we go through a few bottles of wine when we get together, and we speak quite plainly, but we keep it nice. The kids and grandkids are a big part of my life and the obvious disapproval is taking its toll on me. Do I give her an ultimatum?

A. I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your wife. You have been so brave putting yourself out there and it’s great you have met someone. Noel, I bet I don’t need to tell you this, but relationships are tricky sometimes. It sounds like you connect well with your partner, but one of your struggles is expressing how you feel. The most important ingredient to a happy and intimate relationship is how we communicate with our partner. Please try not to give her an ultimatum. Nobody likes those, and it can give off a ‘threat vibe’.

I’m curious, Noel, does this woman you’re seeing have children? If she doesn’t, she might have preconceived ideas about how adult children should behave. If she does have children, were they raised very differently? Sometimes people are judgmental because they are justifying the decisions they have made. In other words, perhaps she had a completely different parenting style and so she’s feeling a bit confronted when she sees you with your children. By combining empathy for the woman you’re seeing and explaining how you feel about her criticisms, hopefully this issue will soon be a non-issue.

Dr Emmanuella Murray is a clinical psychologist who has been practising for more than 10 years. She works with children, adolescents, adults and couples, and presents to professionals and community groups. Go to her website for more information.

If you have a question for Dr Emmanuella Murray, please send it to [email protected]



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    19th Dec 2018
    Sounds like a typical woman to me
    It’s all about her
    19th Dec 2018
    And you sound like a 'typical' LNP sexist who has issues with women in general. Not all women are about themselves.
    19th Dec 2018

    19th Dec 2018
    ditch her!
    19th Dec 2018
    Even if she’s good in bed ?

    No you’re right , she’s toxic
    24th Dec 2018
    speaking of toxic...& unhelpful as usual, Loth.

    You smell just like Niewankia (not sure of the spelling, but he used to post women-hating nonsense just like yours, Lothario. Not coincidentally, he disappeared just before Lothario suddenly appeared).
    19th Dec 2018
    Ah, the wicked stepmother syndrome.
    Old Geezer
    19th Dec 2018
    Tell her your children come with you so if she doesn't like then shove off.
    19th Dec 2018
    Perhaps she is reacting to vibes or behaviour from your children. However adult kids are, they often feel that nobody can replace their mother. Have you had a chat with them about how you feel and your needs?

    Do your adult children still live with you? I don't believe that you can get good professional advice unless a good bit more information is sought and given.
    19th Dec 2018
    You need to have an new partner and tell her open that you have brought up the way you and your partner saw fit. As parents we know that our children are not perfect but you love them and will not tolerate criticism Tell her that you love her but you love your family and she needs to take you warts and all, If she does not like this then perhaps yo need to move on, Women are more vocal when they drink wine. When you have the discussion do it without wine
    19th Dec 2018
    Yep. Keep the alcohol out of it. And it goes both ways! The situation can be reversed where the new man isn't so nice to a woman's kids. Don't blame women for everything - there's some a*holes of men out there too!
    19th Dec 2018
    If the adult children have no problem accepting her then tell her she must be pleasant and accepting of them as they are of her. They are your life and if she wants to be included she must be a part of the family too. Ask her not to force you to choose because each is
    precious to you. She must prove this before you move forward with the relationship.
    Karl Marx
    19th Dec 2018
    Your family comes first, only 6 months & she's critical about your family. Time to move on. Maybe stop drinking all that wine & talking when pissed might help or confront her when your both sober. But FAMILY always comes first
    19th Dec 2018
    There is just the possibility that this woman is the only one seeing clearly that these kids are just ratbags!

    They have lost their Mum and perhaps resent this new comer seemingly taking her place. Their Father is now spending more time with her and that must mean less with them. And what about their inheritance? If this relationship continues where do they stand or will the new woman get the lot? What about if she also has children, who gets precedence?

    It is easy to be one sided about this and 'blame' the new woman but there is nowhere near enough information in the original problem for any of us to judge.
    19th Dec 2018
    not enough info to comment - does she have children? what is it about your children does she not like, what are the things she is being critical about? Are your children polite and respectful towards her? etc etc it is possible this is not the lady for you, after all as you said your children and grandchildren are an important part of your life and anyone coming into your life as a partner needs to accept your package.
    19th Dec 2018
    What an extremely insensitive thing to say ... indeed hurtful.

    What does this female expect you to do???

    Run from her as fast as you can. You don't want your children to be alienated in any way. That is a very sad road to plough.

    If you even seem to be listening to this sort of comment, she will believe she has you under her thumb and will continue criticizing every aspect of your life. Your job, living standards, etc. etc.

    Get rid of her. I agree with those who said she is toxic.
    20th Dec 2018
    Twila - absolutely spot on as usual

    so many idiots in this world but none can see as clearly as you or I
    19th Dec 2018
    Ha ha They are images of the younger woman, even though they have no such intentions. Also compete for affection.
    Crystal Clear
    20th Dec 2018
    He he Seadove spot on re Lotha!

    20th Dec 2018
    Crystal Clear and all the others who support this woman are idiots
    She's been seeing this guy for only 6 months and already she has issues with ALL his kids and has the gall to rubbish them
    Blind Freddy can see she's no good. She's absolutely toxic and he should dump her ASAP
    Crystal Clear
    20th Dec 2018
    Eh? Lather larrio - where did I say I supported 'this' woman. My comment was in relation to someone aptly commenting about you.

    The adult children may possibly be as rude,intolerant, disrespectful and objectionable as you are.

    Heaven forbid if there are several of them all with the same attitude.

    'This' woman hasn't pretended to like his adult children- she has been honest.
    It is now up to him, or any women in a similar situation to him, considering a new partner, to decide what he wants for the future.

    Telling her what she should do, having long conversations (whether inebriated or sober) won't change the fact. She obviously does not like his children for whatever reason. It is highly unlikely her opinion will change. If he is close to his children then my advice would be end the relationship now. Nicely and politely.

    Talk of getting rid of her, dumping her,and other nasty comments are very forceful and unnecessary. She is entitled to the way she thinks - that does not make her somebody who needs to be dealt with violently, immaturely, or in a bullying manner.

    Whoever said there was not enough information is quite correct. His adult children could be really obnoxious. They could resent her. They could be concerned about any family money going to her if they marry.

    He obviously is uncomfortable and uncertain. He needs to go with his own instinct. Asking other people's advice is a pointer that he knows it won't work.

    It is not necessary to be horrible about her, or assume she is nasty or controlling etc. the reality, probably, is she simply does not like them.

    If people listened to what their possible potential partners said, right at the start of a relationship, and perhaps there would be less hassle later on.
    20th Dec 2018
    You’re an idiot
    I rest my case
    20th Dec 2018
    I agree with Lothario. Even from the limited information (with no explanation about what issue she has with the adult children), it is clear she is toxic, controlling and judgemental. Luckily a few bottles of wine open up her real feelings. The clinical psychologist seems to be biased toward the woman, and NOT reading the signs. The faster Noel gets rid of her the better.

    21st Dec 2018
    I disagree with the advice given. First and most important, the alcohol consumption grossly exceeds health recommendations. Such continuous abuse of alcohol will likely require medical advice and referral.

    The woman is exhibiting alcohol dependence too. Where both have such dependence on alcohol it is very likely that one or both already have medical problems and a stormy relationship with arguments and violence is on the cards.

    There is evidence in the woman's incapacity to build a respectful relationship with the children that the woman is exhibiting the mental rigidity and conflict that come from long-term alcohol abuse. A mature woman's incapacity to manage the children with politeness, respect and dignity does not augur well for the future. She has to take responsibility for that.
    Cease the relationship and see a doctor to case manage the alcohol abuse.
    24th Dec 2018
    Who wants a partner who is critical or whingy anyway?
    Definitely more info needed.
    Maybe it's the alcohol talking which is lowering her standards?
    Maybe the kids are demanding & taking their Dad's time for granted?
    She may have been a very good parent & taught her kids to be independent & respectful, so she might be justifiably critical of his kids, especially if they haven't yet learned to have an adult relationship with their Dad.
    It's a tricky situation because of the Mum's death - they may all be still grieving & the kids coming to terms with aspects of their childhood. Emotionally, the kids might be needy of their Dad's care & affection, so are threatened by the new lover.
    No-one's perfect - people have needs & sometimes you can't always get what you want. It's very important for Noel to talk things through without alcohol or anger. It might just need a bit of time for all parties to get their heads around the fact that Mum has died & Dad wants his life back.
    27th Mar 2019
    "Yes, we go through a few bottles of wine when we get together, and we speak quite plainly..." If her disapproval is so wrong he would not have a problem elaborating about this. It's evidently all about what is going on when he and his three adult children go on a drinking binge - and it's got to be her fault right? Wrong! It's not hard to see what's going on here, and if it's some kind of vulgarity as I suspect, then she should go and find a man and a family with more self respect, because she won't find that with these people, and that is not respecting her. It's an incompatibility issue and it can not be resolved.
    25th Jun 2019
    Hey, you two - stay off the grog when discussing these issues - alcohol can loosen tongues and you can say things better left for discussing at another time. If problems continue, and you want to continue with this lady, then a good couples counsellor may be the way to go!

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