Dear Amy: I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary with my girlfriend. I love her, and we get along great. I thought integrating our teenage children would be our biggest challenge. She has introduced me to her entire family (even her ex’s family), but not to any of her friends.
I did meet her best friend, but that was by accident. As far as I can tell, she only vaguely speaks of me to them. When she takes their calls and I’m at her house, I usually leave the room to give her privacy. But sometimes she asks me to be quiet so they don’t know I’m with her.
After about six months together, I told her I feel as if I’m a secret, but she pointed out that I’ve met her family. She says her friends don’t need to know about us. Does it mean something?
Amy says: I think this definitely means something, but I’m not sure what. You don’t mention any explanation your girlfriend might offer, and so let us speculate wildly: She is leading a double life. Or there is something about you that makes her want to keep you a secret.
Actually, I suspect that your girlfriend is hedging the truth about something, and she is keeping your presence vague to protect her cover story. It could be something quite benign. But you will never know because she won’t tell you. And that’s the real problem. If you two are going to continue as a couple and live an integrated life, you will both have to be open and truthful and willing to face the consequences.
Time for lover, not grandkids
Dear Amy: I’m a mother of three children. My mom lives seven minutes away and barely sees my children. What really makes me upset is that she has been having an affair with a married man for the past 10 years and makes time to go on “dates” almost every day.
I can’t take my children to her house or let them stay overnight because my daughter is allergic to her dog and she won’t give the dog away.
I feel my mom is extremely selfish and doesn’t wish to have a relationship with my kids. I never ask her to watch my children, but when my husband and I went on our honeymoon, she volunteered to watch them and then charged me to do so!
Am I the one who’s being selfish, or am I justified in thinking she is?
Amy says: Your mother is selfish, self-centered and self-oriented. Given that, why would you want your children to spend the night at her house? She will not give up her dog, and she won’t even pop by to see the kids on her way to see her lover. Many grandparents are less than ideal; your mom is one of them. Never count on her to fulfill any of the usual grandparent roles, and you’ll be surprised when she occasionally does.
Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.