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Readers' thoughts on parenting and ex-spouses

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

On ex-spouses who soar when they leave the marriage:

I felt genuinely sorry for the guy who wrote saying that suddenly, now that she's with Man B, his wife likes cooking and socializing; but it occurred to me that, if we ever split up, my husband would probably be saying the same things about me.

Because if I ever remarry, I will be sure to find:

A man who compliments my cooking instead of acting like he's eating it because he has to;

And who will tell me that I look nice when we're going out;

And who will pay some attention to me once we're out — not sticking exclusively by my side, mind you, but at least not forgetting I'm even there.

My husband has a lot of fine qualities, but that woman's response to "Man B" just struck the most incredible chord with me.

The Shoe from the Other Foot

On parenthood:

What helps me keep parenthood in perspective is the saying: To the world, you may be only one person; to one person, however, you may be the world. With my now 10- and 12-year-olds, for whom the first 8 or 9 years were a mix of hell and heaven, it helps me take a deep breath when I feel like screaming.

K.

On parenthood, continued:

If it is supremely arrogant for a single parent to make a choice to have a child without first asking the "unseen, unknown child," it certainly follows that it is at least as arrogant for two parents to have a child together without first obtaining the child's permission to be created. If everyone were to follow this imperfectly reasoned conclusion, there would be no children. It is a flawed syllogism based on the impossible premise that the unconceived should be given a voice in the debate. Having children is always a selfish act from the children's perspective: They never get asked.

For a prospective parent or parents, there are tons of relevant questions to be contemplated — whether, for example, you are convinced that you have the capacity, love, wit, character, intelligence, patience, resources, resolve, and on and on — necessary to provide that proposed child with an enriching, meaningful foundation for life, but not whether you will be committing a selfish act. You will be. Just try to make it worthwhile for the "victim."

Anon in Maryland

On recovering from a mate's affair:

I would add some advice that is very old: Heal thyself.

When my (ex-)wife began seeing one of her co-workers, I sought to repair and preserve the marriage. I got us into counseling, but she was not interested. I continued, thankfully. What I learned essentially saved my life, and comes down to this: Know what you control. When I realized I had absolutely no control over my ex's past or future actions, and I controlled completely how I would permit her (or anyone else's) actions to affect me, I was released. It took some practice, but it led me to an inner peace and knowledge I could have found no other way. I now view my ex's affair as the most wonderful gift ever bestowed upon me, aside from my children and my present wife.

S.L.

Readers' thoughts on parenting and ex-spouses 12/29/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:51pm]

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