Dear Dr. Romance:
I'm not sure if you're willing or able to help, but I've been looking online for a solution to my problem for a while now. As of yet, I've come up empty handed. My situation is that I'm 21 years old and haven't spoken to my maternal grandparents in 5 years. Somehow with all of the means of communication available and even though we live in the same town, we've managed to completely lose touch. Recently I've been thinking about how to initiate conversation again, but I'm not sure how to go about it. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
If you know how to contact them, follow the Nike slogan, and just do it. Read my article "Mirrors and Teachers" for some pointers and perspective about strained relationships. It's time you established a new relationship with them as an adult. You were a teenager before, your parents probably handled the grandparent relationship for good or ill, and hopefully, they'll understand this. Call them up and ask if you can come over and talk to them. If your grandparents are reasonable people, they'll greet you with love and enthusiasm. Bring them a treat (dessert, donuts, ice cream, cake) for all of you to share. If there's some bad history between you, then you should just apologize for your part in it, and don't say anything about what they did wrong. Just apologize and say you want to start over. "Apology and Forgiveness" will help you understand more about it. It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction will help you understand difficult family dynamics. I promise you, it won't be as bad as you think.
For low-cost counseling, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.
Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.