Q. I’ve been with my boyfriend for five years. We have a handsome 6-year-old boy. A year after I had my son, my boyfriend was diagnosed with kidney failure. At first, he was doing well, but then he had a rough patch and lost hope. During that time, we split up briefly. He seemed to get back on track, but now, two years later, we are in the same boat. He is not motivated. He is trying, but I don’t think his heart is fully in it.
I’m in my mid-20s, and I want more kids. I know he is unable to have them. There is no passion between us, but I try to be understanding. I’ve told him, but all he says is “OK.” I want those feelings back, and I don’t know what to do to get there. I feel trapped. What do you do when the person you love is slowly giving up? Do you stay or do you go? – Lost and Confused
A. We understand your frustration, but your boyfriend has health issues that impact his energy levels and ability to show passion. We also believe there is underlying depression, and this is undoubtedly interfering with his willingness to work on his physical problems. Please contact the National Kidney Foundation (kidney.org) for information and suggestions, and also tell your boyfriend to ask his doctor for a referral to a therapist. Tell him to do it for his son’s sake.
Q. I need your advice. A friend was invited to a Labor Day cookout, and she asked me to come along. She insisted I would be welcome, but I declined because I wasn’t so sure.
Do you feel the host or hostess should invite guests directly, or can one assume that a friend knows you will be welcome? – No Crasher
A. The hosts should invite guests directly. Too many people assume they can drag along friends when the hosts are not expecting them and may not be able to accommodate the extra people. You are considerate to realize that your friend’s invitation may not be appropriate. Nonetheless, sometimes hosts allow their guests to bring friends, and this could have been the case. The way to handle it is for your friend to phone the hosts and ask.
Dear Annie: This is about “Worried Grandma,” who suspected child abuse. As a retired elementary-school counselor, I worked with many children who had to visit a noncustodial parent. Many times, these people did not know how to love or parent the child, but wanted to “own” the child anyway. They claimed the child when it was convenient for them. Your suggestion of supervised visitation and parenting classes was right on target.
In Virginia, schoolteachers and counselors are mandated abuse/neglect reporters. I learned to document in writing any report given to me by a child, family member or neighbor. Then I called Child Protective Services.
Your readers should know that unrealistic expectations (a small child using a lawn mower) and isolation (not eating at the table with the family) could be emotional abuse to a 5-year-old. These incidences are hard to prove, but they should be investigated. Sometimes what you observe is just the tip of the iceberg.
People should also know that failure to treat a sick child can be medical neglect. Over a three-month period, I repeatedly phoned the mother of a child with a bad cough. He was never taken to the doctor despite promises to do so, and I reported that. Later, the mother was arrested for making methamphetamine in the home.
There may or may not be abuse in this case, but people should report any suspected abuse to the National Child Abuse Hotline (childhelp.org) at 1-800-4-A-CHILD. That will guarantee an investigation. – Worried Counselor
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