By Jody Valley
Laws of love
Q: I am writing you in hopes that you can help me with the dilemma I have with my ex in-laws. “Valerie” (my ex girlfriend) and I were together for five years. After being together for two years we decided to have a family. We picked a donor and ended up having twins, a boy and a girl. They are now five years old. Valerie couldn’t have children so I am the biological mom to both the children. Valerie was a very involved mom, and both sides of the family were involved with the kids. I won’t go into what happened other than Valerie fell in love with a man and left the kids and me. Of course, we were all devastated, but little by little we have gotten our lives back together. Valerie has chosen not see the kids since we separated. She recently got married and said she wants to leave this life behind, as it was all a mistake.
Two weeks ago her parents contacted me and said they want to start seeing the children again. They too have had no contact up until now. I can’t tell you how much pain and anguish it caused the kids to lose not only one of their mothers but one set of grandparents as well. At first they all regressed and were not only having trouble at school, but also at home. I took them to a therapist for a period of time and now they have been doing pretty well.
I told them that they could not they see the children as I no longer view them as the grandparents since they chose to abandoned the children when they needed them most. I want them all of them out of our lives, forever. They said they would take it to court or do what ever they need to do in order to get to see the kids.
My problem is that I have no money to fight this in court. I just want them to leave us alone. How do I convince them see that they have no right to the children and the children they would be better off without them?
– Abandoned Family
A: Legally, I don’t believe the grandparents have any right to be a part of your children’s lives, but you should consult a lawyer about this. I understand how painful this is for you and my guess is that it would be agonizing to open up this relationship again. But, our concern here should be about the emotional health of the children, not so much the legal status of the grandparents. I would also be concerned about opening up a relationship with the grandparents who have been absent for so long. Would they pull out again, especially since their daughter doesn’t want to be involved with the kids?
If I were you, I’d return to the therapist who worked with your children and talk with him/her about this issue, focusing on the best thing for the kids. Later, it would be good to have the grandparents involved with the therapist as well, so they understand why it would not be a good thing for the children if they were back involved, or what a responsibility it would be if they did come back into the children’s lives, if that were the decision.
Not always funny
Q. I am a student a MSU and have recently come out to some of my friends. Most of them have been very supportive about it, but I have one friend who just keeps making disparaging remarks like she is joking, but really she isn’t. When I confronted her, she says I am being too sensitive and it’s just a joke. I don’t know what to do about this as it really makes me angry, and I am just getting so I don’t want to be around her. I can’t just stop seeing her because she is in the group that I run around with. How do I convince her to stop the comments that she may think are jokes, but are hurting my feelings?
– Being Abused
A. It sound like you already talked to her about not making these comments and it didn’t do any good. You could share this information with other friends in the group–those you trust would understand–and ask them if they would be willing to talk with her or call her on her behavior when she is making these comments.
Have a problem? Send your letters to: “Dear Jody,” C/O Between The Lines, 20793 Farmington Road, Suite 25, Farmington, MI 48336. Or, e-mail: DearJodyValley@hotmail.com
(Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The “Dear Jody” column appears weekly.)