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Ask Ellie: No benefit to hiding partner from adult child

Dear Ellie: My boyfriend and I have been together for 16 months. He recently retired and moved back to his hometown several months ago. His daughter, 32 (his only child), lives with him.
Advice columnist Ellie

Advice columnist EllieDear Ellie: My boyfriend and I have been together for 16 months. He recently retired and moved back to his hometown several months ago. His daughter, 32 (his only child), lives with him.

We’ve decided to continue our long-distance relationship and plan on me moving to his hometown eventually.

He hasn’t told his daughter that we’ll be taking turns travelling back and forth.

I’ve only met her once, and it went better than I thought, but in the past, she’s been very vocal and disrespectful to me.

My boyfriend keeps telling me to be patient, that he’s waiting for the right time to tell her our plans. It’s almost like he treats me as a secret.

She has a boyfriend now and I think she should be happy for her dad as he’s happy for her.

I’ve always had to be put on a so-called “hold” in our relationship. We’re so in love and I don’t understand why he won’t stand up for us.

Am I His Secret?

There’s no benefit to hiding or even downplaying a loving relationship between mature adults, due to an adult child’s non-acceptance.

Eventually, the truth will out. Then the “child” either feels duped and mistrusted, or has too much power over the parent.

It’s hard enough to maintain a long-distance relationship during the pandemic.

There may be travel issues between your two hometowns. Even if they’re in the same province/state, social-distancing issues can arise if all four of you expect to periodically share your boyfriend’s home.

Given these complications, your man needs to step up as your partner.

He needs to bring you out of the shadows, make firm plans with you, then share with his daughter the plans you two have for when the back-and-forth moves begin.

Her concerns should be discussed with you present (and perhaps her boyfriend, too).

Readers’ commentary regarding the difficulties of separated/divorced families, plus dating issues during crises that keeps parents and children apart:

“During my separation period, when my ex-wife had our two boys with her, she used all her powers to try to bring me back, having had second thoughts about wanting a divorce.

“But by then, I was trying to build a new life with another woman. It was so hard on that woman to see me struggle to continue to be a good father … most of which she felt was dragging me back into the ex’s clutches.

“I was so torn, knowing I had to be there for my children AND wanting to create my new life.

“I eventually had 42 years with the love of my life, and with not a minute of regret.

“But I lost her to cancer a few years ago.

“A year ago, I formed an attachment full of promise. I found I could love again — love differently but just as truly!

“A few months ago, she lost her elderly dad and was tied up overseas for months with his legacy.

“We’ve been online since and that’s all we’ve had. Just as she was readying to come home, here came COVID-19 and now she’s stuck there until I don’t know when.

“I want to say to her that having patience is the only possibility, as you advise in your column.

“If my new love does make it home soon, we’ll certainly avail ourselves of “meeting” during her quarantine by taking long walks staying six feet apart while exchanging intimate talks. Meanwhile, there’s always “phone sex.”

Dear Ellie: I’m a single mom with a daughter, 10. We’re isolating in our small apartment and go for a daily walk at a safe distance. But she’s a dog-lover and they instinctively respond to her.

They leap up and all over her, even when on a leash. She loves playing with and petting them.

I worry that the virus could pass from a pet owner who has it, through a sneeze or cough to a dog’s fur or collar.

Am I Over-worrying?

Globally, only two dogs and two cats have tested positive for the virus, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, reported in Time, April 7.

Have your daughter wear a mask and gloves on walks and wash her hands thoroughly after petting any dogs.

For healthy pet owners, their own dogs are so far considered safe.

But nuzzling into someone else’s dog’s fur and touching the collar seem unwise in case someone ill recently sneezed or coughed nearby.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Divorced parents must be honest and open with adult children about a serious love relationship.

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