My husband of ten years told me when we met that he had a daughter from a previous relationship.
He’s not had contact with her for 18 years, despite numerous attempts to re-connect. He’s also had no contact with his ex.
We have three young children together who don’t know they have a half-sibling.
Recently, he called his ex and was finally told he could meet with his daughter.
I feel overwhelmed and anxious about what this will bring to our lives.
The daughter’s started to ask for money beyond the usual monthly child support. We’re struggling financially.
He’s been giving her money from a joint savings account which was supposed to be our "emergency fund.”
Our marriage was on the rocks before this, from years of his cheating and alcohol abuse.
I have no interest in meeting his daughter and introducing her to my children.
But I feel like a horrible person since I know I should be supportive of my husband.
I worry how our children will react and having to explain to my very traditional family who this new relative is.
I also have concerns about him meeting with his ex who’s going with her daughter to meet him.
How do I get past this? We've been to counselling numerous times in the past.
At Wit’s End
Get back to your counsellor together, or go to someone new, as you both need to discuss this developing situation.
He and his daughter have a right to a relationship. If it turns out to be ONLY about money, then he’ll be deeply disappointed, and will need your emotional support.
If he can’t afford her requests, he’ll have to tell her so. Don’t harangue him ahead about this.
You’re discomfort about his long-ago ex is wasted worry. However, there’s no reason why, after this initial meeting, she should be involved. He needs to make this clear.
Meet his daughter. Introduce her to your children. You married a man with a child, period.
The rest is past history that was no one else’s business before. Now, at least for awhile, it’s part of your life together.
Though you’re still holding understandable anger from his previous cheating and alcohol abuse, you’ve stayed with him.
Don’t be obstructive to his relationship with his daughter, to punish him for the past.
A return to counselling together is essential.
My supposed best friend of 20 years’ is avoiding me since I’ve been suffering from depression (after a few losses).
She seldom answers my weekly calls, voice, or text messages.
I'm supposed to drop off a box of fresh fruits and vegetables for her, so I called last night to ask what time would be best.
She said she was busy and needed to call me back, but never did.
I can be overly sensitive sometimes, but this rudeness isn’t helping my depression. Whenever I've tried to talk to her about it, she says she's been busy/tired/whatever.
Should I let her know how I'm feeling, or take a break from the friendship? Do I tell her why or just "fade away"?
The friendship’s already fading. Her “busy/tired” response suggests that she’s had her own problems and perhaps you forgot to ask how she’s doing.
After 20 years, it’s also rude to just back away. Tell her you’d like to know if you’ve offended her.
Her answer will make it clear whether this is just a blip in the friendship due to something that can be reconciled, or a parting of the ways.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who has no help or affection from her obese husband (May 21):
Reader – “As a husband also in my early-50s, I find him not trustworthy nor reliable as she stated (no help with dinners, laundry, or the kids).
“This guy is the antithesis of many of us husbands.
“Lonely Marriage” needs to get some backbone and tell him what her issues are. Then she should study his reactions.
“If he admits his lack of support, maybe there’s something they can build on.
“He could have serious image problems from his weight.
“If he reacts negatively and won’t consider therapy, then she should certainly consider a split.”
Ellie – A thoughtful answer. The woman was very conflicted – she’d lost feeling love for him, but worried how she’d afford to live with her kids if they separated.
She definitely needed legal and financial information. But you’re correct that the couple should try counselling, if he’d go.
Tip of the day:
A child from the past is a current reality, not just an intrusion in your life.