Dear Rhona: Here's the story. My wife of 14 years recently asked for a divorce. I felt something coming and this was not a surprise. She said that she'd been trying unsuccessfully to change me for the last two years.
We are now living separately in the same house, with our kids, until it sells. She left town with girlfriends for three days, returned and was passed out drunk by the time I got off work. The kids were up.
Next day she left again. The kids were left at her friend's place while she went out, although she lied about it. When I confront her, she says I don't approve of her friends and the truth will just make me angry.
Am I blind or what?
Something Going On
Dear SGO: Your wife is a bit slow. It took her 12 years to figure out that she'd like to change you. That would explain why she can't recall that she has children and forgets to come home.
I feel sorry for your kids. Please put your high beams on them because they need the attention and care right now. You will have to decide, when the household partitions permanently, whether you think your wife is capable of parenting, considering her alcohol intake. Consider an AlAnon meeting. You have custody issues in the future that should be decided by what's best for the children.
In the interim, watch some fun movies, build a snowman and put on a happy face for your kids over the holiday. Forget looking for the truth. Divorce is the sound of tires squealing on the road paved with honesty.
Dear Rhona: I need some advice on my out-of-control 15-year-old daughter. She skips school, shoplifts, lies and steals money from me.
She does drugs and stays out.
She has lived with me except for one year with her father (who is very bitter about our divorce).
Apart from this, she has had a loving, supportive family.
She has an older, well-adjusted brother.
I have a same-sex partner, but she no longer has an issue with that. The kids had counselling over the divorce.
And she is still seeing a counsellor who says she has insight but no lasting changes.
Dear Stuck: All 15-yearolds are a pain. At this age no one takes you seriously when you talk because you are just a kid, and yet you are expected to act like a grown up. This is compounded with being relationship-ready and hormonally driven.
Your same-sex relationship may not be an overt issue, but your daughter is dealing with her own sexuality at this time. No doubt she has uncertainty about connecting.
Divorce hits teens hard; they see adults losing faith at the very moment they themselves are entertaining romantic notions.
And research into the teenage brain points to a lower capacity to read emotions on other people's faces. This can lead to numerous misunderstandings, and dramatically awful choices.
Stealing is often linked to feelings of rejection. Go to therapy with her. Be patient, communicative and set limits - even if they are ignored. You are up at bat and you have to watch the ball.
Dear Rhona: My daughter, 23, recently split with her fiancÃ©. They lived together for the past two years. He is 34 years old, divorced and has three children from two relationships.
My daughter says his last ex needing child support plus the children being in the way as well as their cramped living quarters, caused the split. So she moved her stuff back home.
Now she's driving 40 minutes to spend more time at his place, staying overnight and sometimes taking the kids to school or babysitting. She is back doing the things that were the cause of her coming home.
I feel she is being used. It is not that he is a bad person; he just comes with a lot of baggage.
Should her Dad and I push her about her plans or sit tight?
Concerned Mom and Dad Dear CMD: Other than zip-locking your daughter in a large container, there's not much you can do to keep her from making the long journey into the night.
You can ask questions to make her think about her strategy - is this going to get you where you want to go? - but avoid assessments. Most people turn off the audio when they sense a lecture on the way.
Besides, she is obviously aware of this man's shortcomings and his responsibilities.
There are some folks who would say that the Noah's Ark concept of relationships is overrated, and that there are some alternative living situations that, although they may not be choices on the census form, are certainly valid options for couples. Perhaps the relationship works best when there are two households.
Hope your daughter decides it's not her style to oscillate to see her mate.
Right now she's not ready for a clean slate.
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