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Annie’s Mailbox: He’s punishing you by proxy

Mon., Sept. 24, 2012, midnight

Dear Annie: I have been with my boyfriend, “Tom,” for more than a year. We love each other very much.

However, early in our relationship, I was coming out of a rough breakup with my ex. I made a huge mistake thinking I could keep the ex as a friend. We met for dinner and ended up kissing. I confessed to Tom, who briefly broke things off. He eventually took me back, and I haven’t spoken to my ex since.

The problem is, Tom’s sister and mother have not been so forgiving. His sister ignores or insults me when I come to their house. Tom’s mother does the same, although only when his sister is around. At first I accepted it because I deserved it. But it’s been nearly a year, and things have only gotten worse. I have apologized repeatedly, to no avail. Tom’s best friend recently moved in with him, and now the guy’s girlfriend is at Tom’s house a lot. We used to be on good terms, but they have poisoned her against me.

Tom doesn’t want to be involved and gets defensive when I tell him how disrespectful his sister is toward me. He says she’s just socially inept, which could be true, but still. I don’t know how much longer I can take such treatment, and frankly, I’m not sure I deserve it. – Enough Is Enough

Dear Enough: Your problem isn’t Tom’s family. It’s Tom. If he had truly forgiven you and was committed to your relationship, he would not permit his family to treat you so poorly. He is still punishing you – by proxy. His unwillingness to “be involved” means your relationship is not going to improve anytime soon. Tom may not be capable of genuine forgiveness, and it’s better to know it sooner than later.

Dear Readers: Today is Family Day (casafamilyday.org). Studies show that children who eat dinner with their parents have a reduced risk of substance abuse. Please try to make meals a family event.



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