Dear Lisi: My parents divorced a few years ago, and my dad is in a new relationship. With a man. To be honest, I didn’t see it coming. But I’m only 18 and my parents kept their disagreements and fighting very private over the years. My sister and I could feel the tension and cold air between them, but we didn’t really understand what was going on. She’s three years younger than me, so we were both very young when their marriage turned sour.
Since the divorce, I see my dad half the week. My sister and I would spend a few days together with him, a few days together with mom, then a few days each alone with one or the other. They didn’t spend any time together, but were very amicable when it came to anything to do with us.
This summer, both my sister and I were away with relatives on both sides, across the country. I guess it was a chance for my parents to each have their own break. Mom worked, did some landscaping and DIY renos, and went on vacation with her best friend and her sister. I thought Dad was doing much of the same.
Turns out he was in Greece for three weeks with his new boyfriend. My sister and I found out through the boyfriend’s Instagram posts. He’s friends with one of my sister’s friend’s moms.
Now I’ve left for university, so have to deal with this on my own, and my sister is alone with both our parents, trying to figure out how to feel, act, live, be, etc. We need help!
Wow! That’s a lot! For anyone — especially teenagers. Most importantly, you and your sister need to stay close, which it sounds like you are. You both need the comfort and support that you can provide each other. But the fact that you’re away isn’t so bad. It actually gives you both the chance to deal with this as individuals, since, though you’re having the same life experience, you’re not the same. Tween/teen girls and teen boys are different, and different aspects will upset you that won’t upset her, and vice versa.
You’re lucky because at most universities across the continent, there are on-site counsellors, advisers, and other people from whom you should seek guidance. Your sister is going to need help accessing someone like that. I strongly suggest that you speak to your mom and ask her to help your sister, even if she pushes back.
Hopefully, you and your dad can sit down and have a mature conversation about everything. You undoubtedly will have many questions, but you’re old enough to understand that whatever choices your dad is making now doesn’t mean the choices he made prior were disingenuous. From my limited experience, the adults I know who were once in heterosexual relationships, had children, and then later in life became involved in homosexual relationships, don’t regret anything, and would do it all over again. Obviously, that’s a tiny slice of the population, but it bodes well for your situation.
Give your dad the benefit of the doubt, don’t be too hard on him, and don’t judge him. Love him for who he is.
FEEDBACK Regarding the boy caught scratching a neighbour’s car (Aug. 16):
Reader – “Rather than calling the police, I think she should talk to the boy’s parents first. There may be something going on in his home causing him to act out.”
Lisi – I thought about that, but was advised by the police not to do so. Unless she’s friends with the parents, it may come across as nosy and intrusive.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man contemplating divorcing his pot-addicted wife (Aug. 14):
Reader – “She is a career woman who got deflected into motherhood and the housewife role. Can he be the house-husband allowing her to return to the corporate world and bring home the big bucks? That might be the best answer all around.”
Lisi – Though I don’t disagree with what you’ve said, I think there’s more to the story. He’s asking her to get back into the world of employment and she’s choosing to attend yoga and Pilates classes instead. I think she’s gone past the point of being able to go back to her career without some form of intervention and counselling. I think she’s addicted and depressed.
Reader 2 – “His wife may be suffering from postpartum depression, but she is also parenting young children while under the influence. The needs of the children need to come first. Living with someone with an addiction is terrible.”