DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I am a woman who spends the summers with the kids at the lake and my husband comes on the weekends. Last year, I had a love affair with another woman at the lake who does the same thing. We agreed it'd be over when the leaves started to fall, which was her idea.
I kept my end of the agreement and we did not communicate all fall, winter and this spring. Strangely, I didn't miss her as much as I thought I would, until last weekend! There she was looking oh so beautiful at the lake with her family opening up their cottage, and all my tingly feelings came back in a rush. Now I am sick to my stomach thinking about this summer. I want it all back -- the whole love affair -- but she was very cool. Now what? -- Sparks Flying Again
Dear Sparks: Now? Nothing! The first relationship -- the marriage with her husband and her responsibilities to her children -- may be patched up and stronger. Don't mess with that. If those children can have an intact family to grow up with, let this attraction go.
This is not a case of love for either one of you. You feel lust, which goes away in the seasons you don't see each other. "Out of sight, out of mind" does not constitute real love, and this woman clearly feels less than you do. Remember, it was her idea to break it off completely at the end of the summer. So, match her coolness with your own, and expand your time for other friends. Invite more people and their kids down during the weekdays and the weekends will take care of themselves with your husband's arrival. If this woman remains cool, you will start to get over the intensity of your renewed sexual interest fairly soon.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I am a frustrated ex-wife who has tried unsuccessfully to speak to my ex about his girlfriend of 10 months taking our 11-year-old daughter shopping to buy her things. I asked to meet this woman in the beginning, but was threatened with being told that if I ever speak to her, the police would be called and any text messages sent regarding the child would bring on a restraining order. The back story is I left him because of alcoholism and verbal, mental and physical abuse. I try my best to be kind to him, but this is the same pattern as usual: he is emotionally unavailable.
As a mother, it's hard to hear the heartache when my daughter feels blown off by her dad and replaced by this woman at visitation time. Our daughter loves her dad and really wants one-on-one time and is starting to resent this woman. She feels really uncomfortable when the new girlfriend asks about me and our life with her sister at our home. -- Buying My Daughter
Dear Buying: It is inappropriate for an ex-wife to ask to see an ex's new girlfriend or to send text messages to her. While you may feel bad for your daughter and her unresponsive dad, you have to back off from the girlfriend. Be glad this woman cares enough about your daughter to want to take her out and spend time and money on her. If dad wanted the time to see his daughter, he would take it. He just doesn't.
This situation now requires that you be both dad and mom to your daughter when she is with you. Stretch yourself to do things a dad would most often do, like sports, camping and road trips. Don't waste your time worrying about this other woman buying your daughter's favour. Step up activities at home and help fill in the gaps in her upbringing left by her unavailable dad, and you will be very popular, indeed.