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Archive for Wednesday, December 6, 2000

15-year-old daughter asks divorced parents to practice civility

December 6, 2000

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Dear Ann: Mom divorced Dad three years ago. I was 15. They had not gotten along for quite some time, and when they finally split, I was relieved.

A few weeks ago, I was awarded an academic scholarship, and a dinner was held to honor all scholarship recipients. Dad said he would like to come, but he might have to work late and couldn't promise anything. Mom said she wouldn't come if there was any chance that my father might show up. The result was neither one of them came.

All the other scholarship winners had their families present, and I was embarrassed and hurt that nobody was there for me. I hadn't asked them to sit together. It would have been perfectly fine if they sat on opposite ends of the auditorium.

Is there anything I can say to make my parents realize that their behavior is hurtful to me and it would help a lot if they could be civil to each other? New Jersey Daughter

Dear Daughter: How sad that some divorced parents use their children to punish one another. Please clip this column and make two copies. Send one to your father and another to your mother. You don't need to enclose a letter of explanation. Just make sure you put your name and address on the envelope. This will be more effective than anything you might say.

I hope all divorced parents will pay close attention to what you have written. You spoke for a great many children today.

Dear Ann: I liked your sympathetic response to "Need Some Guidance," the Catholic woman whose ex-husband made her promise before a statue of St. Mary that she would never remarry.

I am a Protestant pastor, but I believe that anyone with good theological training would tell the woman that an oath made under pressure is neither valid nor binding. Perhaps she could go back to the statue of St. Mary, explain that the oath was not her idea, and ask to be released from her promise to uphold it. She sounds like a good woman, and I think perhaps God may have arranged something better for her. R.G. in Boston

Dear Boston: And you sound like a good man. Any husband who would insist his wife promise that in the event of his death she would never remarry is selfish and controlling beyond the point of decency. Making it a religious oath is particularly despicable. Thank you for coming to her defense. She needed help, and you provided it.

Dear Ann: I've been married five years and have two beautiful daughters. I love my wife, but I'm not "in love" with her anymore.

This past year, I've grown close to a female co-worker. "Minnie" and I talk about everything and anything. Our relationship is very open, and we have lots of fun together. The problem is I'm starting to have feelings for her, but I don't want to cross that line. Minnie is also married, and she has already told me she cares deeply about me.

I am afraid of what might happen and I'm not sure I am strong enough (or willing) to resist. What should I do? Nameless in the United States

Dear Nameless: Douse that flame before it burns your house down. Workplace flirtations are difficult to extinguish, but you must do it or suffer dire consequences. Pray for strength, and good luck.

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