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“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Sep 11, 2013
DEAR AMY: I am (now) a single dad of three teens, ages 13, 14 and 16. Their mom died suddenly last winter.

On the surface the kids seem to be handling it. They tell me they are all right, but I feel they are trying to protect me, because whenever I try to talk to them about their mother, I break down crying.

Should I continue to press the issue or leave it alone for now? Am I doing them harm by showing my emotions?-- Shattered Dad

DEAR SHATTERED: Even though it can be shocking for a child to see a parent break down, what you are actually demonstrating is that it is OK to cry, certainly when you have something very real and potent to cry about. However, it's also important for your kids to see you start to heal.

Each member of your family will express this loss differently. One child might shut down, while another would get anxious, angry, or simply want to flee. Deal with your children individually to gain insight about how each is doing -- through everyday activities -- not always prompting them to discuss this heavy and painful topic.

You need to be gentle with yourself and your loved ones, to get help when you need it, and to have compassionate and caring people in your corner. If possible, attend a grief support group with your kids (your local hospital or hospice center can connect you with local resources). If you can't persuade your children to participate, attend these sessions (or private sessions with a therapist) on your own. You will also be demonstrating to your children the utility of seeking outside help when they need it.

The best part about displaying your authentic feelings in front of your children is that through time they will see you start to recover. They will be part of this process and if you huddle and muddle through this more or less together, your family relationship could strengthen in positive ways.

A book you should have at your house is, "The Grieving Teen: A Guide for Teenagers and Their Friends," by Helen Fitzgerald (2000, Touchstone).

DEAR AMY: I have a good friend who has recently divorced after a drawn-out ordeal.

She spent the past nine months getting back into the dating scene -- or trying to. She is on several dating websites and has had friends set her up with people, and has had some OK experiences. The problem is she is 49 and wants to date 40-year-olds.

Any guy in the 50 to 60 age group she dismisses as being "too old." She is very nice and fairly attractive but not a 10. She keeps saying "something is wrong with me" because she cannot attract the younger men she finds attractive.

All of her friends have nicely tried to tell her she needs to broaden her age range for acceptable guys. It seems that most guys that are divorced or single are looking for women younger than them. We are all sick of the woe-is-me attitude that she brings, and I am about to give up on trying to help her. What do you think?-- Kathy

DEAR KATHY: Your friend is applying the same superficial standards to other people that she doesn't want applied to herself. She will continue to flounder until she approaches this process with an open mind and heart. Her desperation and negativity are not attractive.

I think you should definitely stop trying to help her to date men. What you should offer instead is female friendship and an attitude adjustment.

DEAR AMY: Like "Had Enough's" daughter I invited my mother to my fourth wedding. My mother did not attend, assuming it would not survive (just as the others hadn't).

In a few days my husband and I will celebrate 25 happy years of marriage. No one knows which marriage will stick. It's best not to set up hostility at the start of what could be her daughter's "good one." -- Happily Married at Last

DEAR AT LAST: For you, the fourth time is the charm. Congratulations!

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#2 Sep 11, 2013
L1: It sounds almost as if you're trying to force conversations. Are these discussions about their mom happening organically? Tears of course are very natural and expected when discussing your spouse having died, but consider asking your kids if they'd like to talk with you about anything regarding her, or whether they'd rather talk to someone else (aunt, family friend, counselor). Kids are resilient. They can mourne, grieve, and miss their mom, and not necessarily need "help."

I think you need counseling if you're breaking down in tears EVERY time you talk about their mom. They need to see dad in control of his emotions a bit more.

I would only recommend one thing: Talk about the FUN memories involving their mom. Sure, it's okay to say things like "I miss your mom" or "Are you sad because X reminded you of what your mom used to say?" But remember to throw in the good memories: "Your mom LOVED watching you kids open presents on Christmas morning." Or "Your mom would be so proud of you, just like I am right now."

L2: STOP HELPING HER. Stop setting her up. Let her do this on her own. And only minimal kvetching allowed.

L3: Maybe your mom just got tired of the marriage merry-go-round you had going.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#3 Sep 11, 2013
LW1: I think crying is okay, but as Amy said, itís also important to heal.

LW2: You gave your advice Ö she didnít take it Ö drop it and if she brings it up again, tell her, you already explained what the problem is, and fail to see the point in discussing it further.

LW3: Itís not so much about being hostile as it is being a pain in the a$s to have to go to four weddings for one person, IMO. By wedding number 4, sorry, your wedding day is not all about you anymore.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#4 Sep 11, 2013
I think by the time you're on #4, just go to the JOP or a quick minister if that's your thing, and do it. I don't think I'd need friends and family by my side at #4, especially if it's HIS Xth time at the altar as well.
Cass

Claremont, CA

#5 Sep 11, 2013
LW3 - "No one knows which marriage will stick." Hahahahahhahahahahahah. So, keep trying until you get it right? How about putting a kibosh on actually getting married and throwing a wedding every single time and work on figuring out WHY your relationships keep failing?

Since: Dec 07

DuPage County

#6 Sep 11, 2013
1. No one will be harmed by seeing a genuine display of grief.

2. She has bigger issues than this one is my guess.

3. 4th marriage.... Can you really blame someone from opting out of attending a 4th marriage ceremony?

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#7 Sep 11, 2013
L1: Crying is fine. The LW's not doing anything wrong but the kids need to know it's okay to laugh now and again, too. I say grief counselling which will help a bundle of things. Teenage years aren't easy on the teenagers nor the parent.

I also like Red's comment about mentioning how their mother loved certain things and bring her up in a good light.

L2: First of all, I wouldn't help her but that's me. Choosing who to have a relationship with is too personal to get it right for someone else. That said, I say she needs to go even younger. You would NOT believe how many twenty-something year olds are looking for 49 and older. Seriously.

L3: By the fourth wedding I can see getting burned out on your weddings; however, who doesn't like a party? At the fourth wedding, I'd be looking at it more like a party I was attending and I'd go.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#8 Sep 11, 2013
LW1: What Amy in her very long-winded and boring way said.

LW2: Ugh.

LW3: Whatever.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

#9 Sep 11, 2013
1 If your breaking down everytime you talk about mom, it's no wonder your kids want to avoid the subject. Get yourself some grief counseling and learn how to talk about her without going to pieces. Your kids are playing the parent. Sorry but you need to learn how to deal.

2 What amy said, and she did not even bash the Men.

3 It was not your marriage she did not want to attend, it was your over the top self indulgent show you called a wedding. I am sure she is happy for you.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#10 Sep 11, 2013
1- Sounds like you need grief counseling more so than the kids.

2- Don't be so judgmental, nothing wrong with trading in for a newer model. But forty year olds aren't interested in dating 49 year olds, they're interested in dating twenty year olds. Tell her to aim younger.

Now I've got that K.T. Oslin song in my head.
Kuuipo

Monterey, CA

#11 Sep 11, 2013
LW1: Here's someone with a real problem for a change. Team Red.

LW2: Dating sucks at any age. She needs to find something that she loves to do and make friends with single men and women. When she is in a positive and content state of mind, she will naturally attract potential partners.

LW3: I'm sorry your mother was so unsupportive and delighted that you got in right the 4th time!

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#12 Sep 11, 2013
Toj wrote:
L2: First of all, I wouldn't help her but that's me. Choosing who to have a relationship with is too personal to get it right for someone else. That said, I say she needs to go even younger. You would NOT believe how many twenty-something year olds are looking for 49 and older. Seriously.
.
Consider this math: 25 year old marries 50 year old. in 30 years, he is 80 and needs more and more physical help, so she becomes a caregiver when she is 55. He dies at 85. She is a 60 year old widow who is now back in the market wondering why teh 40 year old guys aren't interested.

No future planning in there at all. Unless of course, the wife figures to become the subject of Ltr 3.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#13 Sep 11, 2013
My mom nursed my dad for a year until he died of cancer. Then she got a boyfriend and we were happy that she was happy and not alone (she liked the guy, didn't "settle," and did tell me she had been tired of being alone--it wasn't the type of early retirement she'd planned on).

Then he got cancer. WE're amazed he's still alive. She thought he'd be dead by last Christmas. He's hanging in there.

But she swears she is DONE with dating. I think she would *date* but I don't think she'll commit to living with another man again. She's had enough.
Kuuipo

Monterey, CA

#14 Sep 11, 2013
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
Consider this math: 25 year old marries 50 year old. in 30 years, he is 80 and needs more and more physical help, so she becomes a caregiver when she is 55. He dies at 85. She is a 60 year old widow who is now back in the market wondering why teh 40 year old guys aren't interested.
No future planning in there at all. Unless of course, the wife figures to become the subject of Ltr 3.
A good friend of mine married a man 17 years older than her. She married quite young. He is a computer geek and does not exercise or take care of himself physically. He has become lethargic and overweight and is already having health problems. She will probably be a young widow and she knows it. But they love each other and had a great run. Nobody gets forever.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#15 Sep 11, 2013
1: Advice was sound. Grieve but don't get stuck.
My SIL refused to cry in front of my niece and I told her she needed to so niece knew it was okay to.

2: So quit it.

3: At #4 if you can't have a sense of humor about it, you are a moron.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#16 Sep 11, 2013
cheluzal wrote:
3: At #4 if you can't have a sense of humor about it, you are a moron.
Yeah, how can you NOT have a sense of humor at that point? I mean, how seriuosly can you take marriage when you're on #4?
Julie

Chicago, IL

#17 Sep 12, 2013
LW2: re your 49-yr-old friend who only wants to date 40 yr olds.
I don't think that's an unreasonable age difference. Would any of us condemn a 49-yr-old man who wants to date 40-yr-old (as opposed to 22-yr-old) women? I don't think so.

I know a 50-yr-old (never married) woman who has been DESPERATE to find a mate for 25 years. She is quite attractive, altho she refuses to believe it and constantly puts down her looks. She turns down *every possibility* for a date (usually without even ONE conversation) because the man in question is "not good looking." This means he is either:
--too old/too young
--too short/too tall
--too fat/too thin
--doesn't have enough hair
--doesn't earn enough money to completely support her
--has financially dependent children who might take money/time away from her.

Now, obviously, this woman is batsh*t nuts and no man with a brain would want to get within 100 ft of her cray-cray. She has driven away almost every one of her friends for 25 years because of her constant (daily) whining about not being able to find the perfect man. In fact, at this point no one who knows her would even dream of trying to fix her up with a man they remotely liked.

So, LW, in comparison to this, your friend doesn't sound unreasonable at all.
:-)

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#19 Sep 12, 2013

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#20 Sep 12, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
Weird.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#21 Sep 13, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
I bet if you did the same thing with men, they'd all make themselves out to be male super models, lmao!

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