Dear Abby: Several months after I had my first daughter from a six-year relationship that ended sadly, I started flirting with a married man. (I realize now that I was still heartbroken and trying desperately to forget my ex.) The flirtation turned into a full-blown affair that resulted in another child. Her father isn’t in the picture because the now-ex-wife (who still lives with him) forbids him from having any contact whatsoever with our daughter.
I admit I have lied by telling my little girl that her daddy is a workaholic, and that’s the reason he doesn’t see her when she asks about him. She is now 4. How or when do I tell her the truth? Would counseling help?
– On the Spot in California
Dear On the Spot: You didn’t mention whether your former lover is contributing financially to the support of his daughter, but if he isn’t, please make sure he does. An attorney can help, and so can the child-support agency in your state.
And, yes, it would also be a good idea to discuss this with a counselor to help you communicate to your daughter, in a way that’s age-appropriate and won’t damage her self-esteem, that Daddy won’t be in the picture. It’s important she knows she can trust her mother to give honest answers when she asks a question, because if she doubts it, that may create problems when she’s older.
This remarriage needs help
Dear Abby: My husband and I were going along in life, doing it our way, until we decided we wanted to return to the church, so we stopped drinking and smoking pot. We hit a rough patch in that journey and divorced, but we didn’t stop going to church. It’s crazy, I know. After we divorced, I knew I messed up, and deep down, I knew I loved him.
So now that we have remarried, it seems as if he’s taking the role of Christian husband back to biblical times. This means he is the head of the house (which I get), but to the point where I am almost like a fixture.
I would say I’m here for my looks, but I’m overweight. I would say it’s for sex, but that’s not happening much. I would say it’s money, but now, after his last raise, he makes more than I do. He even does housework before I come home.
I’m kind of lost and confused. Do I have a purpose here? Or am I only here to help pay the bills?
– Starting to Wonder
Dear Starting to Wonder: Only your husband can answer that question. However, part of a husband’s duties to his wife is to make her feel “honored and cherished,” and if that isn’t happening, your remarriage is in trouble. Marriage counseling (possibly within the church) might help you to reconnect with each other, and I strongly recommend it. Unless you find out why you’re unhappy and fix it, this marriage will not last.