Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tough situation for two families

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Lately I've been having dreams of my husband's first daughter from a previous relationship. She will be 10 soon. My husband and I have two younger kids, and have always told them they have an older sister from someone daddy loved before, but it didn't work out and their sister lives with her mom. My husband and I got back together when his daughter was just born. A few months after I got pregnant, and we got married. The other woman tried her hardest to break us apart but failed and moved to another province with my husband's daughter and her other son from another relationship. Our marriage is now strong and we're very stable. The last time my husband saw his daughter was when she was four and they came back to Winnipeg for Christmas. After that there was no contact or forwarding address. Last year I found out they live in Winnipeg again. I told my husband, but he showed no interest. Then this past Christmas I bought clothes for his daughter and said it's his choice if he wants to see her. I was able to get an address where they might be living. After deliberating, he said if she really wanted to know him, she would and to leave it alone. I recently found her teenage brother on Facebook. I'm tempted to leave him a message asking him to tell his sister to call my husband -- her father -- so maybe they can reunite. In the end, I guess I don't want to be the one who's hated because her father chose to be with me instead of them. -- Stepmother

Dear Stepmother: You think the young girl is longing for her father, but this may not be the situation. The 10-year-old daughter may be curious about her dad, or she may have been told bad things about him by her mom and not want to see him at all. Whatever you do, don't contact this teenage brother on Facebook. This is certainly not his problem or his role to play. So who should be involved? The primary people involved are the bio-mom, the daughter and your husband. Your guy can't stand to get involved again -- maybe because of the troublesome ex and the trouble it will mean for your marriage -- or maybe because he couldn't bear to have the daughter re-introduced and pulled away again. It would be helpful to hear from readers on this tricky problem, especially those who have had experiences with re-connecting in similar situations.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I had a relationship for 14 months and I started liking this other guy at the 13-month point. I told my boyfriend about it. I was honest about it, and he stayed with me. I broke up with him about a month later because I realized he was too depressing for me because he tried committing suicide; he was also controlling and manipulative. He still holds a grudge towards me for hurting him. He thinks I'm a liar and that I cheated. I know I didn't. I feel bad and I'm sorry for hurting him and I just feel crappy about myself now. How do you think I could forgive myself for what I did and not have to feel so horrible about it anymore? -- Messed Up, Winnipeg

Dear Messed Up: You made the decisions that you needed to make and now you must move forward one week at a time. When two people break up, they both feel badly for a while. If they are not meant to be together, those hurt feelings are NOT a reason to get back together. You can hasten the process of getting past the guilt and bad feelings by seeing a counsellor. There's nothing like getting help from a person who has seen the same type of problem many times before.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2011 D3

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