Tell Me About It: Keep abusive grandmother on a short leash

Your parental duty to protect trumps any duty to his mom. (iStock)

Question: My husband and I have been together 12 years. His mother is emotionally, mentally and verbally abusive.

We now have a daughter, and I can't take the abuse anymore. I don't want our child growing up near it. My husband agrees but wants his mom to know our girl.

I'd love for that to happen but I fear putting our child in a situation where I have to try to explain why "grandma" was so mean to her. Where do I go from here?

Answer: To a very firm line, and no further: His mother sees her granddaughter only with rock-solid supervision. Any abuse and the visits end. Your parental duty to protect trumps any duty to his mom.

Question: My girlfriend is a health professional who can work extra hours for extra income. Those hours usually are weekends, which cuts into our time together. We have had several discussions about this, and some of the extra work is for her to take care of all expenses as they arise.

She is very independent and I have asked her to lean on me a little to take some pressure off.

How do I address this without just complaining and revisiting a few prior discussions? How much complaining is too much complaining?

Answer: Any complaining that occurs when you know you've made your preference clear, and after you have given the other person a chance to act on that knowledge, is too much complaining.

Upping one or two clear requests to "several discussions" hasn't stopped her from working extra or remaining financially independent. She wants to work weekends. Why? Only she can say, and certainly she owes you transparency - but financial independence is plenty persuasive to me.

Look at what you have. Look at who you are, and who she is, look at what you create in combination. Then decide if that's a life you'll commit to.