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Ask Amy: She told her father she felt I was ‘replacing’ her mother


Dear Amy, I’ve never seen a question like this in any advice column before.

I am a widow and have been dating a widower for about six years.

We have a very happy relationship. We have helped each other tremendously over the years to recover from our losses.

The theme is my boyfriend’s daughter, “Marcia”. She is a 34 year old nurse (I am also a nurse) and she has had a hard time coping after the loss of her mother seven years ago.

I think grief counseling would help her a lot, but I’m not sure she’s ever gone.

She will not accept our relationship. I am invisible to her. She refuses to believe that her father can find happiness with anyone other than her mother, and she has told others as much.

She told her father that she felt that I was “replacing” her mother.

I wonder if seeing her father happy is a problem for her. (My kids love it and are so glad to see me happy again.)

He has a very immature demeanor and has gotten pretty much everything he wanted since he was very young.

My boyfriend said it probably won’t change. He acknowledges that he is a very self-centered person.

It has become very awkward to be around her at family events.

I have refused to go anywhere where we are both present for a long period of time.

She recently got married and I thought she would grow up, but she hasn’t.

I have tried to improve the relationship, without success.

How do I deal with this constant elephant in the room?

– Stuck

Dear Stuck, Actually, this problem of a couple’s child not accepting a new partner is at least as old as “The Parent Trap.” It appears frequently in this space.

“Marcia’s” father helped create this problem, and now he doesn’t seem to be doing anything to promote a healthier relationship between two women who are important to him.

The answer here is twofold: your boyfriend needs to stop letting his daughter control his life and you need to stop letting her control you.

Marcia is taking up too much space in their relationship. she’s an adult. I understand that you want to keep your distance, but maybe you should try the opposite.

You should be the elephant in his room: friendly, polite, but generally unconcerned about his behavior.

Dear Amy, My husband of 34 years has been cheating on me for years.

When I confronted him last year and told him I knew everything, he said he didn’t remember doing it. That’s a weird way to answer the trick question.

My problem is that even after all the things he has put me through (giving him money, refusing to be intimate with me, etc.) I still love him.

Why do I love him? I have no idea.

I definitely want a divorce, but I still worry about him.

After confronting him last year, I have been losing hair and have lost 12 pounds from stress.

I cry myself to sleep almost every night. I don’t know why I can’t be strong enough to let it go.

I have talked to people about this, including my pastor.

I need your advice on how I can let it go.

– Hurt

Dear Injured: For most people, letting go is a process that can only be done in stages.

For you, letting go would begin with accepting the reality of your situation (you already have). Next, you need to accept the fact that your situation probably won’t change.

You need to physically separate (at least temporarily) to get away from constant triggers and clear your mind.

You should see a lawyer, even if you are not yet emotionally ready for a divorce.

You should focus on your mental and physical health. Your body’s reaction to this stress is evidence that it is hurting you.

Letting go is an act of bravery. It is not necessary that you stop loving the person who has hurt you, but it is necessary that you learn to love and value yourself.

Dear Amy, Like “Stop Chasing My Dreams,” I also had nagging dreams about a failed relationship a long time ago.

The dreams only stopped once I met the other party and remembered what a jerk he was.

Clearly, I had been holding on to a fantasy. I guess my subconscious was looking for answers. I’m glad I finally received them.

– Finally free

Dear Free, The objects of our fantasies often don’t hold up well to daylight.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @asking either Facebook.)

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