Daugh­ter best left alone un­bur­dened by past hurts

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - el­liead­vice.com

Q. Should my adult child know the truth about her step­fa­ther? I’m her fa­ther, di­vorced seven years ago, af­ter 10 years of mar­riage and two kids.

I had my kids 50 per cent of the time, both have turned into fan­tas­tic peo­ple, and I’m happy too.

Dur­ing the last two years of our mar­riage, my wife had a mid-life cri­sis and a weak men­tal state. I tried to sup­port her through it. She had an affair with a mar­ried fa­ther of three chil­dren.

Af­ter our split, she re­mained with him and he be­came my kids’ step­fa­ther.

The kids were heart­bro­ken for years af­ter. They blamed their mother and me equally, but I never said a bad word about their mother. I’d seen emails be­tween them from three months be­fore the split. She’d wanted to end the affair and fo­cus on the mar­riage and fam­ily.

But he was all about break­ing the fam­i­lies up, so they could be to­gether. He used gen­tle per­sua­sion and ro­man­ti­cized it like Romeo and Juliet.

He also ben­e­fited from a huge up­grade in life­style if she chose him, which was a big part of his at­trac­tion to her.

He got what he wanted, but at a heavy price to every­one else.

Now that my daugh­ter’s 18 and leav­ing the nest, I’m won­der­ing if I should tell her the truth about how he came to be in their life. I’m not try­ing to be vin­dic­tive. But I feel the kids have a right to know the truth con­sid­er­ing the ef­fect it had on them, so they can make their own judg­ment call.

A. It’s the source that’s wrong — you — not the tim­ing.

Truth of­ten man­ages to emerge, es­pe­cially when older chil­dren see things with clearer vi­sion, and un­der­stand things that eluded them be­fore.

But it could be a huge mis­take for you to re­veal it.

At 18, her whole life is open­ing up — higher ed­u­ca­tion, dat­ing, and more in­de­pen­dence.

She wants to em­brace her present and look ahead, not dwell on the past.

If sud­denly, one of her main sup­port­ers raises dis­turb­ing new thoughts and images, she’s forced to go over old hurts.

Trust me, time will open her eyes and mind. She doesn’t have to be told her step­dad pushed for the fam­ily breakup.

If he’s been a de­cent step­fa­ther, it no longer mat­ters to her life how he got there, even if it still mat­ters to yours.

And if his char­ac­ter has se­ri­ous flaws, she’ll be­come aware of them on her own.

Q. I’ve been friends with this girl for seven years since high school. We dated for a short time. But I ended that be­cause it didn’t work. Af­ter, we’d hang out and com­mu­ni­cate on­line.

But for two years she’s been dis­tant and doesn’t re­turn on­line or text mes­sages (though “read”). Re­cently, she un­friended me from Face­book and blocked me on In­sta­gram. I’m an­gry and hurt. I want to ask mu­tual friends about what’s go­ing on, but don’t want to in­trude. I want to stay friends.

A. There’s no longer a friend­ship there worth try­ing to save.

Un­less you’re aware of hav­ing se­ri­ously of­fended her (if so, apol­o­gize) she may have taken to so­cial me­dia house clean­ing … i.e. par­ing down vast lists of so-called “friends” to only those with an on­go­ing, mu­tu­ally car­ing, con­nec­tion.

Boost your other friend­ships, make new ones, and ac­cept that this one’s over.

FEED­BACK: Re­gard­ing the hus­band who’s “hang­ing in” a year af­ter his wife said she’s done and wants to be on her own … but she’s still there (May 27).

Reader: “You didn’t men­tion the power play the wife put in place.

“Her bluff needs to be called. The power dif­fer­en­tial that she’s created is entirely too com­fort­able for her, and a recipe for mis­er­able stag­na­tion.

“I strongly sus­pect the wife has no re­spect for a ‘mil­que­toast’ hus­band and may be long­ing for him to show some strength and set some bound­aries. Oth­er­wise, she dreams of some­body else.”

DEAR EL­LIE

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