Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Mother Changes Personality in New Marriage

DEAR HARRIETTE: I fear my mother is losing her sense of self in her marriage. She remarried about a year ago, and I am really surprised by how much she has changed. Everything that used to excite her is gone now, replaced with my stepfather’s hobbies. She doesn't do any of her old hobbies, and I want to know what is going on with her.

I don't want to have her think I'm persuading her into divorce, but I want her to retain some individuality in this union. How do I get through to her? -- True to Yourself, Poughkeepsie, New York

DEAR TRUE TO YOURSELF: There should be a huge space between asking your mother about re-engaging old hobbies and walking down the path toward divorce. Since you brought it up, it seems you are the one to have to come to terms with your objectives in speaking to your mother. Be sure that your intentions are clear. If your goal is to check to be sure that your mother is happy, stay in that lane. If you secretly resent your stepfather, tread lightly. This is your mother’s life.

That said, talk to your mother. Ask her how she’s doing. Inquire about one or two of her favorite hobbies and if she continues to pursue them. Learn about her new life with her husband and what she enjoys about it. If you listen carefully, you will get a sense of whether she enjoys being immersed in her husband’s world. If she likes it, great. If she seems to have gone overboard right now, have patience. She may find a middle ground in time.