While I'm away, readers give the advice.
Unwanted child is denied the joyous love of parents
J: On regretting having a child: The parent who wrote in with these regrets said "the child is in no danger."
Yes, except the danger of living a life with no spontaneous joy, no moments of pure love seen in your mother's eyes for just being you, no warm hugs, no dancing in rain puddles barefoot with Mom and Dad just because, not knowing if they would drive across the country to rescue you if you needed it. Oh my . . . I'm too old to have another one, and it's too soon for grandchildren, but I'd be happy to take theirs.
Betraying the friendship, not necessarily the friend
Wish I had been asked: On dating a friend's ex: Asking your friend how she would feel about it before you date her ex is not only a must, but the answer may surprise you. I certainly wish my close friend had asked me many years ago. I had been in a serious relationship with "Joe," whom I imagined myself marrying one day. Needless to say, I was perplexed when our relationship took a dramatic downturn, and I was brokenhearted when Joe ended the romance.
After a couple of months of beating myself up, and confiding in my close group of friends, I put my emotional life back in order. What continued to perplex me, however, was my friendship with one of my closest friends, "Fran," who seemed to be distancing herself. The reason revealed itself when Fran informed me in a birthday card that she and "Joe" had started dating — and "happy birthday."
While Fran may have thought I would not or could not have handled the situation, she would have been surprised to know the relief I felt when I figured out why our friendship was strained and why my relationship with Joe deteriorated. I said it then, and I still say it now, that apparently she was "the one" and I was not. You cannot control who falls in love with whom.
And while things may have been a bit uncomfortable initially, I would have respected her honesty and accepted the situation. I would have chosen her friendship, plain and simple. Fran has been missed as the rest of our group of friends have celebrated milestones together — getting married, having children, starting new careers. Her betrayal was not in falling in love with my ex, but in sneaking around, hiding truths, and, simply, not trusting in the value of our friendship.
Stepmother is recipient of misplaced hurt
A stepmother and mother: On adjusting to a parent's remarriage: I have tried my hardest to befriend my husband's only child, a daughter (28), only to be met with disdain and hatred. My stepdaughter is angry at her deceased mother (for leaving her) and at her father (for living again), and the new wife is the one who receives this misplaced hurt. I understand this but it does not make it any easier.
I try to steer my husband to offer loving guidance and suggest a good therapist so she can finally grieve. Life is for the living and every day that you pine for the past and people in it, you lose the here and now, and those in it.