relationships My sister's depressed, but she doesn't want my help: Ask Ellie

22:37  06 february  2018
22:37  06 february  2018 Source:   thestar.com

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It can be hard to watch your sister suffer, but it doesn't mean you're the one who can or should change her, Ellie says.© Richard Lautens It can be hard to watch your sister suffer, but it doesn't mean you're the one who can or should change her, Ellie says.

My younger sister has been very depressed about her boyfriend’s poor treatment of her, which ended recently with his leaving her apartment where he’d lived for four years.

She’s 34 and has two kids, 13 and 11, from a previous relationship. Her boyfriend’s 26.

He was a new immigrant here when they met through family. She was immediately taken with him, though he had nothing, and moved him in without rent or food money from him.

But he was ambitious, went to school, got a job and got promoted. She’s got an OK job, but she’s always been needy and too giving in her relationships.

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  My wife and I stopped having sex and I’m frustrated: Ellie I love my wife and always enjoy sex, but it is my biggest problem in our marriage. She’s 65 and I’m 75, working 20 to 35 hours a week. Even when my wife was in her 30s, we had sex once a month. She’s still sexually appealing to me. Later in our life, sex completely disappeared.When I confronted her or talked about it, she said that sex isn’t important to her, but I can find a sex therapist and make all the arrangements and she’ll come along. I’ve consoled myself with porn, which of course isn’t the same. I’m frustrated. I thought it was our problem, not mine.

She’s the dependent type, like our mother who cried for years after our father left. I’m the opposite.

Things deteriorated when her boyfriend bought an expensive car, smart clothes and started staying out late with “friends.” She accused him of being with other women, but he always denied it.

Now he’s gone and she’s devastated, constantly crying and retelling her story.

I want to help her, but she rejects my opinions. I tell her to accept that it’s over, focus on her kids, get out with friends and even find a new job.

I want to get her a therapist for her depression, but she acts as if I’m insulting her when I suggest it.

How can I help her?

Worried Sis

Your advice is good, but she doesn’t want it from you.

She is who she is. Being a sister doesn’t mean you’re the one who can or should change her. What she wants from you is caring support.

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Yes, therapy could help her adjust to this loss, but she has to want it in order to benefit.

However, depression can become chronic and that affects her kids’ environment and her own mental health.

If it persists, suggest she see her doctor (accompany her, if she lets you) so she can manage her daily life at work and with her children. If she won’t accept this from you, try to enlist her closest friend.

I long ago lost touch with one of my oldest guy friends (from elementary school days), but through mutual friends I heard that he fell on hard times.

He split with his wife and his kids were divided — one with him, one with his ex, one with children’s services and another with an aunt.

He’d become a big drinker so I assumed that was the problem. But I heard that he’s also had serious mental health issues, outbursts, etc.

His wife and I never became friends. Their divorce has been ugly and messy, especially for the children.

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  My fiancée doesn't want my daughter at our wedding: Ask Ellie I’m an older man with a grown daughter who was not a very big part of my life (due to her mother’s infidelity and refusal to allow visitation — after multiple court battles and one contempt charge). I’ve met someone and we are planning to get married. But recently my fiancée informed me that she did not want my grown daughter to be at the wedding (nor any of my friends, either). My fiancée has been most insistent that I try to have a relationship with my daughter, but that the relationship would not include her (i.e. the fiancée).

After not hearing from him for years, he’s reached out to me.

I don’t want to be rude or unkind to him, but I don’t want to be involved.

He’s Not My Bro

Everyone makes choices, and yours is to be uninvolved with this long-ago friend.

Yet you’ve written me, so you’re not fully comfortable with your decision. Or, perhaps you’re trying to justify it.

You know yourself best. If you fear that responding to him will take you down a frustrating rabbit hole while trying unsuccessfully to help this guy after years of his troubles, then you’re not the right support person for him anyway.

BUT, if you feel for old times’ sake that you should consider one meeting to listen and show some compassion, then think about it some more . . . until you’re certain that you’ve made the right decision.

Tip of the day

Sibling advice sometimes highlights the differences between one another rather than the connection.

Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. Email [email protected] or visit her website, ellieadvice.com.Follow @ellieadvice.

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