After 21 years of marriage, my father left my mother for another women. But after two months he came crawling back and my mother let him.
Since this time they’ve not been happy, I can see it. My mother’s always calling me to talk about the issues, which is great, but I’m not sure what to say. I’ve suggested they go to counselling because she’s still hurt about him cheating and for some reason he’s hurt too.
My father comes and goes as he pleases without letting my mother know. He’s still getting the odd “secret” phone call on his cell phone. So I think he’s still seeing someone on the side.
Both my parents drink, and I’m sure this is a major part of their issues, but how do I help them turn their life around?
- Worried Son
A caring child is a treasure, but you CANNOT be your parents’ therapist or your mother’s listening post. Keep repeating your advice that she and your father take their “issues” to a marriage counsellor… and if he won’t go, your mom should do so, rather than dump her problems on you.
What goes on between a married couple can never be fully understood by their children, who are too emotionally invested in needing them as parents. You can offer one-time information to them about where to attend local Alcoholics’ Anonymous meetings, as an indication that their problem with alcohol abuse is an obvious factor. Then, back off.
When mom calls, change the topic. If dad talks to you, tell him his behaviour is evidence enough that he, too, needs professional help.
I’m jealous of my friend’s girlfriend. He and I are close, but she might be moving here soon, which means things are going to change between him and me.
I used to avoid them so I wouldn’t have to see them together, and now I realize that I must try and purge him from my mind so that my own feelings won’t get in the way of our friendship.
However, no one else ever seems to take my fancy.
- Guiltily Jealous
It’s hard to be friends with someone whom you’re avoiding or purging from mind. It’ll be equally hard for this guy to maintain your friendship if you’re unwelcoming to his girlfriend.
Since you and he weren’t a dating couple before this, it seems you’ve gotten all in a twist about what you suddenly realize you can’t have. That attitude looks childish on you, and is bound to screw up the friendship even if those two don’t work out.
Snap out of it.
My older sister thinks she can “dump” on me whenever something’s wrong in her life.
If her husband or children upset her, or her workday was difficult, she always phones me with some complaint about me.
She’ll issue orders about how I have to change my life, or how I have to do something for our mom because she’s too busy, etc.
I don’t want to cut her out, but how can I handle her critical outbursts?
By the way, she’s 48; I’m 44 and also have children and a job.
- Fed Up
Some consider this kind of sibling venting a “family connection;” but it’s really bullying.
Tell Spewing Sis the old order is gone; you’re not the younger, intimidated, eager-to-please kid she can still push around. When she starts haranguing, tell her you’ve had a tough day, too, and say good-bye.
I dated a guy 12 years ago in a great relationship. But I was insecure, immature and stupid to let him go. We were both in the military, then. I’ve thought about him occasionally, though I’ve been married for seven years and have children.
I recently contacted him via e-mail at his military address. He responded - he married six months ago. Why can’t I get him out of my head?
- Old Stuff
You’re stuck on the “what-if’s,” instead of the what-IS. The daily routines of marriage and kids can seem boring and unromantic compared to sharing the challenges of a military life with a lover.
But that relationship would’ve changed too, had you stayed together, and you can’t know whether for better or worse.
Your reality as a mature, responsible woman can be as exciting and romantic as you make it. Stop daydreaming and bring creativity to the life you’re in now.
Tip of the day:
Children cannot “fix” their parents marriage problems, it’s an impossible burden to try to bear.