Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I saw two families of kids playing on the beach in Mexico with their single parents nearby. I watched in fascination as the two parents drifted together over two weeks, ending up with dinners with all of them together at big tables, laughing and having fun. By the end, the adults were holding hands and clearly romantically involved.
On the way home to Winnipeg, I sat near the woman. I couldn't help asking her how such a wonderful coming-together worked, and she said, "Oh, we tricked the kids. They have no idea we've been a couple for quite a few months now. I thought up this idea, and it seems to have worked." I just wanted to pass this along. I know it was very difficult to get my kids to accept the children of my second husband -- it took years. Why did this beach thing work so much better? -- Puzzled Blender Mom, Winnipeg
Dear Blender: The absence of the two exes made a big difference. There's a lot of residual bitterness after most couples split up and upset parents vent their anger by trying to sabotage any new relationships. They often set their kids up to dislike the new kids, as well. In this situation, the kids started playing with each other, seemingly on their own. Kids playing on a beach are generally quite co-operative, building sand castles together, eating, swimming, etc. It's fun to have other kids to play with other than your own siblings, who can get annoying after a day or two.
They weren't pushed together, but they found each other. Then the parents started to show their friendship, and finally a little romance, with no interference. Each move towards the romance was not reported back to the exes.
It remains to be seen how well this will go when the families are back in their regular situations in Canada, but it was certainly a smart, albeit sneaky, way to introduce kids who may one day become step-siblings.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I just took a good look in the mirror and hated what I saw. I was looking at a big fat foodaholic. I have no relationships other than with food. I lost my husband due to overeating myself into a blimp and lost my friends because I can't do any activities because I am too fat. I can't fit in one plane seat, so I can't travel unless I buy two seats, and I hate myself for that. I have tried every diet there is and only get bigger and bigger. I don't want to have surgery, but maybe that is my only hope left. I weigh 275 pounds now. -- Miserable Fat Blimp, River Heights
Dear Miserable: There are a jumble of emotional reasons behind why you are stuffing yourself. A good place to take those problems is to an Overeaters Anonymous group. For meeting places and times, call 204-334-9008. You might also want to see a psychologist about the reasons that make you want to eat obsessively. Combining private therapy and a self-help group would be a good idea for you to conquer this.
In the meantime, it's important to learn to love yourself. Here's a daily exercise that will help: Look in the mirror and say, "I love you, and we are about to find out what is wrong and fix it." Every time you're doing something well, literally pat yourself on the back, and when you start saying bad things about yourself in your mind, say, "Stop!" out loud. Then replace that thought with a calm scene that makes you happy, like looking out at an ocean. Destructive mental habits can be broken by continually yanking them out.