SOS

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Dear SOS: I have three brothers, all married, and well settled with children. I too am married and have small children. My one brother lives in England and two live here in Surrey.

Upon arriving in Canada, we, me, my older brother and our parents all lived with my oldest brother and his wife who sponsored for us. Three years after arriving here I got married and went to live with my in-laws. Shortly after that my older brother got married. My sister-in-laws couldn’t get along with each other so my brothers decided to live separately.

My parents were who living with the oldest brother started dividing their time between the two houses. My oldest sister-in-law was upset that my mom couldn’t be around all the time at her house because my mom used to do all the cooking, cleaning and looking after their young kids while both of them worked. It was then decided that the parents will live with the oldest brother. Then my other brother had kids and they needed someone to look after the kids and our family had a big issue. My middle sibling and his wife said parents had obligation to help them out too.   Then my parents, mom and dad started dividing their time between the two houses and looking after the kids.

Mom spent most of her time cooking and cleaning and looking after both households. Some time later my older brother sponsored for his in-laws and soon as they arrived my sister-in-law no longer wanted my parents to come there.   That really hurt my parents. Three four years after that, my oldest brother’s kids became teens and in the meantime their grandma came to live with them and same problem happened all over. My sister-in-law didn’t need my parents anymore so she started making them very uncomfortable. I feel so bad for my parents. Today they don’t feel needed or welcomed in either of their sons’ houses. My brother in England is married to a white girl and she doesn’t believe in living with anyone other than her husband and their child.

I wish I could take my parents to my home but I live with my in-laws and there just isn’t any space in the house as my in-laws, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and our kids all live together. I don’t know what to do and I feel so bad for my parents. In India my parents were very well off. They sold their house and property in India and gave the money to all three of their sons so that they could buy their houses here.

My parents get old age pension but one brother takes one person’s pension and the other brother takes the other person’s pension. They feel helpless and I feel helpless. I just don’t know what to do.

Helpless in Surrey

Dear Helpless in Surrey: Your parents story is very sad but it’s very common here in British Columbia. I have heard so many stories like your family’s. Here in Canada the amount of abuse of seniors is increasing but most of the incidents are silently suffered by the seniors, the story rarely gets out.   You need to help your parents, even if you can’t take them to live in your home. You need to help your parents understand that they don’t need to live this kind of life.

First of all tell them not to give their pension to anyone.   That’s for them and their living expenses. If their sons and daughter-in-laws don’t want them in the house then they can either rent one of the son’s basement and move in there and pay them the rent or get a basement suite some where else.

If that doesn’t work then you can get them a basement suite near your home so that they are close by and you can help them with whatever they need. There are solutions, you just need to look for those solutions. In the meantime help your parents to understand how necessary it is that they not take this kind of abuse. Good Luck.

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DEAR SOS: I have been engaged to my fiancé “Nick” for close to two years now.  He is 42 years old and I am twenty-five.  He is divorced and has two children, 5 and 9 years old.  Within the first four months of getting together,  we moved in together in our own apartment. He had told me they had separated because his wife no longer loved him and she wanted to marry someone else.  The whole time we’ve been together, he has been travelling a lot and when he’s in town, he’s also spends time with his family, his parents and his kids.  
Now he’s changed his job and doesn’t travel that much and is in town most of the time.  Since then I have been learning new things about him. While,  he has many of the characteristics that I look for in a man, I am finding he isn’t the man I want to spend my whole life with.   He is a good father and a good son as far as I can tell.  He is a good provider, intelligent, handsome and we have a lot in common. I love his family. But for  few months now, I have been rethinking my decision to marry him. The love connection between us seem to be missing.  He’s very picky and stubborn and likes having things his way.  When he doesn’t get it his way he nags over and over until I give in.
I feel like I can’t be myself around him without him judging me or making facial expressions. I have tried telling him how I feel, but I always end up hurting his feelings or he ends up pointing the finger at me. He’s the best person I have ever met, but I’m not deeply in love with him. He doesn’t bring out the best in me and I don’t know what to do. How should I handle this situation without breaking our engagement?  We are set to marry next year, but I am re-thing the whole idea of marriage.   Confused in Surrey

DEAR Confused in Surrey: You and Nick might be able to communicate more effectively if you had premarital counselling. However, if it doesn’t resolve your issues, do not marry him, regardless of how handsome he is or what a good provider you think he will be.
To have a successful marriage, you will have to be yourself.  You need to be hundred percent sure if he’s the guy for you.  In a relationship one partner should compliment the other partner and bring out the best in each other.  With help, you may be able to save the relationship. But if counselling doesn’t work, do both of you a favor and  do what’s best for both of you and cancel the engagement.  But do try to work on the relationship. If that doesn’t help then it’s better to end the relationship and move on.  Good luck.

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Dear SOS: When we had our first child a year ago we decided, after lots of number-crunching between myself and my husband, that I will stop working and become a stay-at-home mom. The future looked promising. My husband puts in lots of hours at work and he was due for a raise.   That was 18 months ago. Unfortunately, my husband’s hours at work aren’t what we’d expected, nor did he get the raise as we had hoped for.

The problem is that to meet our living expenses we need more income. Our options are that I could go back to work but that means we would have to pay for childcare expenses for our son. After doing that we would be no better off financially than we are. Our other option is for my husband to either get a raise or find another job. Few weeks back, my husband was offered a job paying $6 more an hour – that’s $960 more a month in income coming to us! With the new job only draw back was that he would have to travel more. Taking or not taking the job was my husband’s decision. But I was confident he would make the right decision. But he’s decided not to take the job. When I found out I was very angry with him. I believe he hasn’t taken this offer because he’s loyal to his current employers – they’re like a family to him. I told him that he has to put our family first. We have discussed the situation three times and each time I blow up. I just want him to take the job because it makes sense! Any advice?

Why doesn’t he take a better-paying job?

 

Dear:Why doesn’t he take a better-paying job? A marriage is like a three-legged race. Like a three-legged sporting event, a marriage is a race where the object is to sprint forward while strapped to another person who is impeding your speed, grace, and mobility. In many ways, it’s nice to be strapped to this person, even when he stumbles, and so we have to figure out a way to run the race.

You said that taking this job was his decision to make, and you were “confident he’d make the right one.” This implies that if he made the “wrong” choice – the one you disagreed with – then it wasn’t his decision to make after all. The fact is, you both have a say, but he has more voting power because he’d be the one on the job every day.

You can only tell him, as you put it, what “makes sense” (to you), and what you believe is best for you and your kids. If you push the issue, he may take the job only because it means so much to you, and resent you for it. You’ve discussed this situation few times now. Talk it over again. Perhaps there are other reasons that the job is objectionable to him. If he still doesn’t want this new position, you need to respect his decision. He needs to understand, however, that something must be done to make up for the financial shortfall. Perhaps you or he should look for part-time work. The bottom line is that you must work this out together. It’s the only way to win the race, or at least make it across the finish line.