Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Parents' breakup comes as a surprise

Q: My dad fell in love with someone else and left my mom, who thought their 30-year marriage was great, as did we. They had lived apart for a few years due to work, and my father said they had grown apart for years and he wasn't in love.

Obviously leaving for another person was wrong, but should he have left my mom when he knew there was no love left? He acknowledges that he should have tried years earlier. And he says he is deeply in love with this woman, although none of us kids want to hear about it.

Anonymous

A: Here's how I suggest looking at this whole situation: There were no good answers.

What everyone wanted, presumably, was for your parents to keep loving each other to the end. That didn't happen, and it's not surprising because — all things being equal — lasting affection is always a combination of effort and luck.

So, maybe they chose wrong upfront, or your dad's effort flagged, or your mom's did, or both, and the few-year absence came into play, and the new woman presented herself . . .

And there you are. Your dad either remains in his marriage with his heart elsewhere; or he remains and makes an effort to love your mom again as he once did (or in some new and improved way); or leaves the marriage.

While it looks as if the two "stay" options are the better ones than leaving, I advise anyone processing news like this to put themselves not in the position of the person who left, but of the person left behind: Would you want a spouse who doesn't love you anymore to return to you solely out of duty? In some circumstances I suppose I might, but in general I think, "Don't do me any favors."

It's normal to have all these questions going through your mind, normal to be angry at your dad, normal not to want to hear of his new love — but for your long-term well-being, do try on the "there were no good answers" idea.

Comments
As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

Can you feel it? The air is gradually thickening with humidity and the layers of clothes are getting thinner. Spring has almost sprung and with it brings a bumper crop of festivals in Florida’s theme parks full of food, wine, concerts and parades. Th...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Plan your weekend Feb. 19-20: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Plan your weekend Feb. 19-20: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Plan your weekend ExtremeMonster Energy Supercross Championship: The action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing returns to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Each track in the 16-city series is different, so competitors will ride between 15 and ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

ANNIHILATIONAuthor Jeff VanderMeer told me at last year’s Times Festival of Reading that Annihilation (R) is going to blow everyone’s mind. The Tallahassee author is biased, of course, having written the novel it’s based on, but there’s some reason t...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Top things to do this weekend: Supercross Championship, Olate Dogs, Gasparilla Distance Classic

Top things to do this weekend: Supercross Championship, Olate Dogs, Gasparilla Distance Classic

BIKE RACE: Monster Energy Supercross ChampionshipThe action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship return to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Motorcyclists will race at more than 60 mph and fly off ju...
Updated: 9 hours ago
This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Willie NelsonI’m sure that when Willie Nelson had to postpone his recent Clearwater concert after a bout with the flu, you, like me, took the news well, spitting through clenched teeth: "OH NO YOU DON’T, 2018. YOU WILL NOT TAKE WIL...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Green Thumb, Flamingo Festival and more spring festivals coming to Tampa Bay

Green Thumb, Flamingo Festival and more spring festivals coming to Tampa Bay

spring eventsFlamingo FestivalHelp celebrate the young flock of flamingos that recently arrived at Sunken Gardens at a colorful festival with live music, kids activities, and beer and wine for sale. Wear pink for $1 off admission. $10, $8 seniors, $4...
Updated: 9 hours ago
5 things to do under $5: The Romantics, Free Hugs Guy, Ybor Fiesta Day

5 things to do under $5: The Romantics, Free Hugs Guy, Ybor Fiesta Day

1 Blast Friday: This block party in downtown Clearwater brings a free show by the Romantics, right, the power pop new wave band that brought us What I Like About You and Talking in Your Sleep. There’s also a family-friendly food and craft vendor fest...
Updated: 9 hours ago
SeaWorld uses food, concerts as bait for Seven Seas Food Festival

SeaWorld uses food, concerts as bait for Seven Seas Food Festival

Seaworld Seven Seas Food Festival at the Orlando park with an expanded menu celebrating two of Florida’s most popular types of food: barbecue and Latin-inspired dishes.DateSWeekends now through April 15.EntertainmentLike its sister park Busch Gardens...
Published: 02/21/18
What to expect at Universal’s Mardi Gras party of parades, food and pop concerts

What to expect at Universal’s Mardi Gras party of parades, food and pop concerts

Universal studios MaThe annual Mardi Gras celebration is up and running at Universal Studios, bringing the Big Easy’s charm and food out every night, and this year it tosses in new floats and music.Six new constellation-themed Mardi Gras floats have ...
Published: 02/21/18
What to expect at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival 2018

What to expect at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival 2018

International Flower and Garden FestivalCelebrating the big 25 this year, the International Flower and Garden Festival is one of Disney World’s longest and oldest celebrations, on par with Epcot’s popular Food and Wine Festival. Lately the two have s...
Published: 02/21/18