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Ask Ellie: ‘Friends-with-benefits’ relationship won’t work if you want more

Ask Ellie: ‘Friends-with-benefits’ relationship won’t work if you want more

Dear Ellie: I’m a 52-year-old single mom who met a man online. We talked for several months, met twice. On the third date we had sex.

I thought things were progressing. But whenever I asked for a visit or invited him to my place, he declined.

You’re asking for “more” of what so far is a friendship that allows for occasional sex when he’s comfortable with the time and place. It’s not quite control, though close, but more about his not being ready for more. He’s not widening your contact together.

Some people – men and women alike – can handle an FWB relationship because 1) it’s all they want; or 2) it avoids deep intimacy which they don’t want and 3) it avoids any public show of being a “couple.”

Instead, he messaged that he didn’t think a relationship would happen, but we could stay friends

This time, if you use a dating app or some other online way of meeting, show confidence in yourself. If you know after a short conversation that someone’s not very interesting, just find a reason to end the conversation. Don’t hang on.

This is my TЕЎekki naiset avioliittoon first friends-with-benefits (FWB) relationship

Dear Ellie: With our kids home all day during school closures, our teenagers are struggling most with having lost independence.

We have a say in whether they can go out and where, and what they can do – which mostly only allows for walking outside masked and distanced, or sitting apart outside till they’re too cold. Sometimes there are big arguments and tensions.

Recently, I reached into my daughter’s backpack to get a book she borrowed and found a pack of cigarettes and an e-cigarette.

When confronted, she said it was her friend’s cigarettes, not hers. How do I know if she’s telling me the truth, or lying?

She was cornered, either protecting her friend or herself. Even if you’d discovered that she lied, first get her on board with life’s realities.

Smoking is a serious health risk. Teenagers don’t believe it will affect them so they don’t care. It makes them feel cool. Parents have knowledge and responsibilities their children don’t have.

Explain your different roles: Yours is to nurture her, protect her from harm, educate her on health and social dangers, the risks of recklessness, cheating and dishonesty.

Her role is to learn from all the good, caring, positive people and benefits in her life. And understand that the extra resources you provide – e.g., personal phone and devices – all rely on honesty between her and her parents.

Then tell her that if she has anything to discuss further about the cigarettes in her backpack, to come to you privately, very soon.

Dear Ellie: My older son had mental health issues for 10 years before committing suicide almost two years ago. I asked my siblings and their children (who I’d helped enormously) to reach out to him. They didn’t and didn’t want to hear too much about it. They didn’t ask how he died until eight months later. One sibling wrote, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

We were once all very close, but seven years ago my niece accused me of having too much to drink at a family function. I’d had three small glasses of wine over six hours. I was totally stressed because of my son, but they didn’t acknowledge or try to assist.

I cannot speak to them anymore. Am I being too dismissive? Should I make a bigger effort to get along?

Such a tragic loss. Respond to the sibling who wrote you. Acknowledge the others when you can handle it. An online grief counsellor can help.

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