Dear Barb: For the last ten years, I have been involved in a relationship. For the most part, we have been happy. I do not have children, but my partner does. My problem is that he treats me like I am not important to him. His children take precedence over me. I could understand this if his children were young, but they are all adults and have lives of their own. Even though we are practically living together, he has made his children power of attorney upon this death and for medical as well. Also, they are the beneficiary of his life insurance policy. Is this fair? Am I being selfish in thinking that since we share a life, I should have a say in what happens?
Marne – Vancouver Island
Hi Marne. Ten years is a long time to be involved in a relationship that appears to have not progressed much beyond the dating stage. You say are you practically living together, but the fact is that you are not. Both of you must be getting what you need from this relationship with this level of commitment. Therefore, I am not surprised that he has not named you as his beneficiary or given you power of attorney. It is important that you respect his decision. If you were living together and sharing every aspect of your lives and he made those legal arrangements, it would be a different story. I would say let it go and enjoy your time together.
Dear Barb: I have just moved into a condo complex and I’m really enjoying living here. I have always been a person who is reluctant to become too involved with neighbours. However, I now have a neighbour that really seems to want to become friends with me. She seems nice enough, but a little eccentric. I’m not really sure that I want to get too close to this woman. How can I keep my distance without causing problems?
Hi Maggie. Getting along with your neighbours is an important aspect to your overall happiness. Many people have formed some of their best friendships with neighbors. However, the opposite situation is also a possibility and I think this is what you are concerned about. It is possible to be cordial with your neighbours without becoming best friends. Be polite and friendly with neighbours by offering friendly greetings and get to know basic details about each other. If you don’t want to get too close, it may be wise to avoid one-on-one situations, like morning coffee chit chats. If you’re invited to a party or a neighbourhood get together, don’t be reluctant to attend. You don’t want to appear snobbish. If you make this a practice with all your neighbours, I don’t think you will run into any problems.
E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.