Alice in Alone-Land
Life just plain sucks sometimes, AIAL; it can be cruel and arbitrary and way too often horrible things happen to really wonderful people while wonderful things happen to awful people. And if someone, somewhere, ever invented a magic formula to make everything fair, chances are someone else, like maybe the good folks who brought us Enron and WorldCom, or perhaps our current administration, would find it and destroy it. In the name of freedom and moral values, of course.
Time is the only thing that truly cures heartache, and eventually you will feel better, but if you want to hurry it along, try giving in to your sadness for a while instead of trying to fight it. For the next few days, indulge yourself. Eat nothing but carbs, keep the curtains closed, and stay in bed watching every Douglas Sirk movie you can find, especially Imitation of Life, and any other movie that has ever made you cry. Let the hair on your legs grow and donít shampoo. Donít answer the phone. Sleep a lot. Feel no guilt; youíve been dealt a nasty blow and you have the right to crawl into a corner and lick your wounds until youíre ready to face the world again. I canít guarantee you that this will ultimately help you find a new man, but I can tell you that, after days of nothing but weeping into your mashed potatoes, youíll be ready and eager to get up, get clean, and get outside for some sun, a salad, and a good laugh with friends.
Iím 37 years old, divorced with no kids, and Iíve been in a monogamous relationship with a terrific guy, Adam, for nearly two years. Heís a couple of years older, divorced, and has full custody of twin 16-year-old daughters. I love him a lot, and when itís just the two of us we get along great, but I have problems with his girls. I think heís too lenient with them; he buys them anything they want, including cars for their 16th birthday, and although I try to keep my mouth shut about it, sometimes I canít. Adamís totally devoted to his daughters and has made it clear from the get-go that their needs take precedence over his own or mine. There have been several occasions when he has canceled dates with me because they said they needed him. Sometimes Iím sure they make him change his plans on purpose just to prove to me that Iím less important. I donít think itís all that necessary for me to get along with the girls because my relationship is with their father and theyíll be going off to college and starting their own lives soon. I know Adam would really like it if I got along better with his daughters, but it bothers me that he lets them come between us.
Not the Mama
Whoa, back up there, NTM. Before you get all worked up about how a pair of sadistic, spoiled brats are trying to wreck your relationship, you need to remember that Adamís daughters are not adults yet; theyíre teenagers who still need and deserve a lot of their dadís time and attention. They probably resent the hell out of you for trying to come between him and them, and it is perfectly natural for them to do whatever they can to thwart you. Youíve not even bothered to hide the fact that you donít approve of them or care whether they like you. This is not the best way to capture and keep a good fatherís heart.
If you canít make the effort to try to get to know the girls and learn to like them, maybe Adam isnít the best guy for you. Men (and women) with kids are a package deal, and so itís not your right to try to separate them. Stop fighting the inevitable. It may be several years before these girls are fully independent, if ever, and if youíre really that uncomfortable with the way Adam treats them, youíre going to have a tough time keeping your resentment under control. If you continually push him to choose between you and his daughters, you will lose.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201