Dear Savvy Auntie,

I was married for 15 years (13 years too long) to a man who couldn't have children. I stayed because that was what you were supposed to do, so I lost my years—not very savvy. But I am a Savvy Auntie and a Great Auntie (they call me GrAuntie). My great nephew is 7-years-old and lives in Kentucky. He visits his dad here in California for 5 weeks in the summer. My problem is his father's girlfriend doesn't like me and they make it very difficult to see him. I've always been respectful and supportive of him and his family. I facilitated a visit between grandmother and grandson before he moved. The grandparents are on my side. Any advice?

Disconnected 'GrAuntie'

Dear Disconnected 'GrAuntie',

I love your title! Just as you have a question about your brother’s girlfriend’s title, she might not feel part of the family although she takes care of your nephew when she visits. So…how about helping her establish a nickname that gives her a special status, as you are good at that. Suggestions: Mamie, Mimi, Pallie, Amie or plays on her actual name.

Now comes the hard part: kiss up to her! Gifts, compliments, assistance, respect and compassion are good for starters. Of course, this is not easy when she doesn’t give these things to you. You have a mission…get on her good side so she will support your relationship with your nephew. But having the grandparents on your side means from her standpoint they are not on hers; so, go very lightly on making it a three against one situation.

Best of Luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Published: July 26, 2011

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