Q: My ex-husband and I have been divorced for several years. For the most part, it was amicable and we have remained civil for the sake of our kids. Our daughter, who is in her 20s, suffered a traumatic crisis a few years back, and to this day, her father hasn't been there for her emotionally. I've tried talking to him, our daughter has tried talking to him, but he's unresponsive and dismissive; he doesn't understand just how traumatic this crisis was for her.
I know this isn't a dating question, but our daughter is visibly distraught over it and I need advice quickly.
-- D.S., Tonawanda
A: Sometimes men don't realize that in order for their daughters to grow up to be healthy adults, there needs to be a healthy relationship between them. Girls need their dads just as much as boys do, if not more so. I'm sorry he has been emotionally absent from her life during this crucial time, and it's hard to say exactly what to do in this situation. His lack of emotional support is definitely not helping her to heal and move on from this event, whatever it was.
For now, keep telling her that it is not her fault that her dad is acting this way, and that he likely just does not get it. He may have deep-seated issues that he needs to address before he can be supportive for his children. As her mother (I'm assuming you were the custodial parent after the divorce), you have dealt with this right along with her and it's not fair to have to bear the weight of this on your own.
The bottom line is he needs to step up -- or stay away -- because she needs to put her own well-being first.
Silence is golden
Q: I have very deep feelings for a friend of mine. I've known him for years and we have many mutual friends, so we see one another quite often. The problem is that he has a serious girlfriend that he has been with for about two years now. He has no idea how I feel about him, and I really can't stand keeping this to myself any longer. He seems very happy in his relationship, and, honestly, his girlfriend is great and we all get along very well.
I get jealous, but I never let it show. Still, it's eating away at me. Should I tell him how I feel about him, even if it means being rejected and ruining a friendship?
-- P.L., Kenmore
A: No, you should not tell him how you feel. I would normally say go for it, but he's in a serious, committed relationship that he is happy in. Unrequited love is not fun, but unfortunately it's your issue to deal with, not his.
The best thing I can suggest is that you stop spending so much time around him. Interacting with him and his girlfriend is not helping your situation at all; however, don't be dramatic about it. Subtly lengthen the distance between the two of you and if he starts to notice, just let him know you're dealing with some personal things.
If it's impossible to avoid him due to your mutual friends, spend time with other friends. Reach out to people you may have not spoken to in a while, or even make some new friends. If you need to talk to someone about how you're feeling, choose wisely among your friends. The bottom line is that he's unavailable. You can either choose to wait around for him, possibly forever, or you can be proactive about your life, move on, and meet someone new.
Patti Novak owns Buffalo Niagara Introductions (www.buffaloniagaraintro.com). E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your initials and hometown.