I’m 46, divorced for the second time. My first marriage at 19 produced our daughter, and a 14-year effort for us to grow up and be responsible.
It wasn’t easy, there were lots of ups and downs, with both sets of in-laws mixing in and making things worse.
We finally split up though we both stayed close to our daughter.
At 35, I was swept off my feet by the man who became my second husband. He was charming, generous, and fun-loving.
It took me several years to realize that his weekly poker game and three-times-a year trips with “the boys” were all part of a gambling addiction.
We lost our house. My parents went into heavy debt to help us, and I worked two jobs.
I left him when I realized that I could manage fine if free of the financial risks he kept taking.
I’ve been single for two years, have a good job, a nice apartment, and my daughter and her fiancé are on solid footing with their relationship.
It’s time for me to start dating and I’m terrified.
Online dating seems so random and dangerous. Current attitudes towards sex that “anything goes” isn’t my style.
How do I handle how different the dating scene is from what I’ve known?
Learn from your own experiences: No rushing, no over-romanticizing.
You’re at risk of both, not just from your past patterns, but also from your current fears of what the “new-dating” can involve.
Remember to be the new-you instead – confident about who you are and what you can and cannot handle.
Start off by socializing more with people you know. Go out with couples, single friends, work pal, etc., to get comfortable in the current social scene.
Let people know you’re ready to date, which will increase your chances of meeting recommended dates personally, not just online.
If you decide to try a dating site, learn from someone experienced in this, how to write your own profile and assess those of others.
Then trust your now-mature, wiser instincts and do NOT feel you have to do anything that’s “not your style.”
I’ve never known my dad, but two years ago my mum found him on a social network site. They chatted and started seeing each other romantically.
I live abroad so met him on my first visit home.
I have a sister from my mum, and brothers and sisters from my dad.
Living away from them, I find it very hard that my sister gets to spends so much time with my dad, and potentially the amount of time she can spend with my other brothers and sisters.
My mum and dad are now getting married so it’ll be even harder now.
These are big changes in your former “family album” – just your mum, a sister, and you.
No wonder it’s hard for you to re-adjust that image, especially when living so far from them.
Attend the wedding as an equal part of your own new, expanded family. Meanwhile, start emailing all and using face-time and Skype to be a presence in your family’s life.
They’re not trying to exclude you; it’s a matter of distance.
Don’t let some natural envy of your sister’s access to these relatives grow large, and affect your actual feelings towards her and the others.
Be happy for your Mum and dad to be re-connecting and spending the rest of their life together.
You’re the daughter they had together.
FEEDBACK Regarding the skilled son who doesn’t want to share his father’s business with his unskilled brother whom he doesn’t respect (Nov. 25):
Reader - “I know from family experience that partnerships are difficult and working together is even more difficult for brothers.
“I’ve observed that one brother usually does twice the work, and the other partner needs/demands twice the income and more time off.
“There are always reasons for this and the brother doing the work usually gives in. He can't take more vacation because the work has to get done and his brother’s incapable of doing it.
“The father should talk to a qualified experienced financial planner. How can he afford to give his business away at this time? He needs money to last through his retirement.
“Perhaps he could have the business appraised, and the son who works in it could buy it from the father over several years.”
Tip of the day:
Don’t let “the dating scene” intimidate you. Be yourself, and maintain your own principles.