While I'm away, readers give the advice:
On falling for a friend: it can really, really hurt
The friend who had fallen in love with her "buddy" reminded me of my grammar school graduation.
As I walked out to the bus stop to go home, one of my female classmates came busting out of the door I had just left, gave me a roundhouse punch to the gut and yelled, "You never knew I loved you, you son of a b----," then ran back in the building bawling. She was right — she had never given any indication she even liked me, that I noticed.
I recommend this kind of direct approach. The punch is okay but maybe hold the tears.
On what to do with photos of a former relationship
I am a 38-year-old married mother of three — but, more important, I was a 4-year-old girl when my dad moved out. I have very few pictures of myself as a child, and only one of my mother and father together. My grandfather found it and gave it to me a few years ago. It is now framed and hangs in my home, so my children can see it.
It is extremely special to me; it shows a mom, a dad and a little girl sitting happily on a lawn. That's my family, my real family, before the divorce.
I am sure there were other photos, but they were all lost or destroyed, possibly to protect my stepparents' feelings. I hope those who are dating or marrying people with children from a previous relationship can "be the grownup" and at least put the photos in a safe place to give the kids. They need to ask themselves how they would feel if someone came into their family and threw away all the photos of their mom and dad together.
The Voice of Millions of Children of Divorce
On relics, continued, and a really understanding husband
I have been happily married for 13 years. Almost 20 years ago, when I was in my late teens, I met a man who completely swept me off my feet, in what was then the Soviet Union. We corresponded daily for years . . . me in the States, and he stuck in the USSR. After several years, we lost correspondence after a violent uprising in the Soviet Union in the early '90s. I have no idea what ever happened to him.
I carried around his letters for years. One day after several years of marriage I stupidly decided that my husband might not like the content of the letters if he ever found them. I threw them away.
Later I proudly told my husband what I had done, and he told me that I threw away a significant piece of history. History of my first love, a piece of history of the USSR, and something remarkable that I could have hung on to. I never imagined this: that my husband was so secure in our marriage that torrid love letters would never faze him.
My advice to others is, don't throw it away . . . the letters, the pictures. Put them away, don't show them off, but have them to yourself should you ever want to revisit the past.