Dear Patricia Marie,

My daughter has recently split from her boyfriend, we were the family he never had and I miss him terribly. For the past five years he has spent Christmas with us, however this year my daughter has invited her new boyfriend who not any of us are keen on and insists I am not to invite her ex. I am so upset as I know he will have nowhere to go, wont receive any presents and feel disowned by us. Plus the new boyfriend has a huge family and isant even keen on coming to ours. I am now beginning to dread christmas. Would very much appreciate your advice.

Patricia Marie says...

Am wondering if you could try to see things from your daughters perspective. For whatever reason, she split from her ex-boyfriend because things didn't work out. Would you rather she be unhappy in a relationship because it suits you for her to be with someone you approve of? Your daughter has to make her own choices, and even if we don't always agree, it is our role as parents to support our childrens decisions rather than risk jeopardising the relationship.

I predict even if you invited her ex, he would decline, as to be in the presence of your home could ignite painful feelings for him, which you may not have considered. You are not responsible for him, and maintaining an attachment could be delaying him from finding his own future happiness. For now, perhaps you could meet up before or after Christmas on neutral territory with a small gift, this way you won't feel your completely disowning him, but gently distancing yourself.

I have a feeling the other family members are mirroring your feelings and believe once you let go of the past, you will embrace the future and look forward to new beginnings. You may allow yourself to get to know your daughters new boyfriend, and whats more, you may even get to like him!

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