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A Mother's Love

Emily Flake

By Mink Stole | Posted 7/23/2003

I'm 34 years old, have a 13-year- old daughter, and have been divorced for two years. When I decided a few months ago to start dating again, a friend introduced me to Tom, who treats me better than anyone ever has in my life. When his wife died three years ago, he became the full-time parent of his two adorable little girls, now 6 and 7.

For some reason, my daughter, Sandy, is really unpleasant around Tom and his kids. She pouts and sulks whenever we try to make plans, then is surly and rude to him and ignores his kids when we're together. Tom and I have made an effort to do things that all the kids would enjoy, but Sandy seems bound and determined to spoil every outing. We've taken them to the movies, on hikes, and out for meals, but Sandy refuses to appreciate anything we do. We don't want to leave the kids with baby sitters just so we can go out, but if Sandy can't learn to behave, we may have to start leaving her behind. Do you have any suggestions?

Frazzled Mom

Dear FM:

Give the poor kid a break. You may be falling in love, but she's miserable. She's 13, and her body is going through its inevitable early-adolescent insanity. She's probably just coming to terms with your divorce, and now you're replacing her dad with some new guy who has kids you seem to like more than her. In your own words you describe them as "adorable," while, instead of expressing any empathy for your own daughter's confusion and insecurity, you label her "unpleasant" and "surly and rude." Believe me, she knows that you compare, and it doesn't make her like them any more. Kids typically resent anyone new in their parents' lives, and often feel like the only control they have is either to drive the intruders away or ignore them.

Instead of treating Sandy like she's a boil on your butt interfering with your new happiness, tell her how much you love her. While you shouldn't give Tom up just to make her happy, you could stop forcing her to go on these futile and frustrating group outings and spend some time alone with her. You're shoving this new family down her throat. Instead of blaming her for wanting to puke them back up again, give her time to adjust. There's no easy, magic way to make families blend happily overnight. It takes time, love, patience, and tact. Tom and his kids may or may not ever become part of your family, but Sandy is your daughter forever and she needs to know that counts for something.

I have become a scandalous womanizer. I say I'm looking for Miss Right, but in the course of looking I encounter way too many Miss Right Nows. I will be 59 tomorrow and wonder if I'm destined to keep having meaningless sex. And it's not just the sex--I'm a sensuous, tactile man who craves contact and intimacy. The computer is an extraordinary vehicle for meeting women and pursuing sexual rendezvous. The vast majority of these women are overweight and not very attractive, but I pour my heart and soul into each and every one as if it will be the last time I have sex.

I take Viagra, so the sex usually lasts into the wee hours. I'm aware that this impedes any meaningful search for the one right woman, yet I seem powerless to stop. It could be I'm trying to validate my desirability and feed my ego, but do I have to be with morbidly obese women to do that? At times, I wonder if I want to stop. When someone's emotions get trifled with I feel a bit guilty about it, but, while this is not intended as a boast, it is pretty heady stuff to have so many women at my beck and call--undesirable or not. Do you have any suggestions, observations?

Horny Hal

Dear HH:
I have a few observations: 1) You're so insecure that the only women you'll risk pursuing are those you consider undesirable. 2) You're too selfish to care who gets hurt as long as you get laid. 3) You're as insincere in deploring your Viagra-enhanced activities as those dreadful women who go about bemoaning their "tragic" inability to gain weight. "Woe is me, I can't stop having sex." 4) "Powerless to stop" is a convenient excuse for continuing to act like a pig.

OK, maybe you are a true sexual compulsive. If so, I apologize for being so snotty, but you do sound much more like an aging asshole braggart who's using drugs and the Internet to prey upon lonely women by whom you don't feel threatened and to whom you feel so superior that you can discard them after use. In either case I suggest you seek treatment through private therapy or a group like Sex Addicts Anonymous. And, if you are serious about finding Miss Right, here's one more suggestion: Stop taking those little blue pills long enough to put your penis in perspective, and let your heart and brain do some of the research for a change.

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