I Love Her as a Mother -- Not as a Wife
Dear Annie: I have a child with a woman who is 20 years younger than me. Having a child was not planned. I'm grateful for our child, but I'm not in love with her mother. I've tried to explain to her that I love her for the mother she is but that I'm not in love with her.
She found old letters in my closet from an ex that I was in love with over six years ago, and she wonders why I can't love her the way I did my ex. I tried explaining to her that she isn't my ex and what we have is completely different from that relationship.
Shortly after our daughter's birth, things got rough between us, and she took my daughter and everything I'd bought for her. I did not get to see her for two months. Through a lot of court and financial upsets, I finally got to see my daughter. We now live together, just so that I can see my daughter and know that she's taken care of -- but I'm still not in love with her mother, nor do I trust her.
How do you get someone to understand you're not in love with them and it's best to go our separate ways co-parenting our child than to live in a distrustful, jealousy-filled environment? Avoiding each other isn't a healthy environment in which to raise our daughter. -- Loving Father, Concerned for his Daughter's Well-Being
Dear Loving Father: Everyone comes into our life for a reason. Some are meant to stay forever. Some are meant to teach us something. Some are meant to offer companionship or love or guidance.
You share a child with this woman, and that is something very special. But it doesn't mean she is a good match as your life partner and vice versa. If she doesn't understand that message, it's best to speak with a couples therapist or mediator to help you two communicate.
And do let her know that although she is not the love of your life, she has given you something no one else can: your daughter.
Dear Annie: I live in New Mexico and had a longtime friendship with a lady who had tragic things happen in her life. Her oldest son committed suicide at 16. Her husband died at 49. My husband and I really went above and beyond to help her after both of these untimely deaths.
She has a younger married son and a grandson who moved from New Mexico to Austin, Texas, five years ago. This friend and her mother moved a year later, as she particularly wanted to be near her 9-year-old grandson.
I have tried to keep in touch with her, texting mostly, and I send "thinking of you" cards, etc. She only seems to text me after I have texted her first. Lately, she seems to not be attentive at all whereas before, she would try more.
I have a feeling her life is different now in Texas. Maybe she has new friends and is losing touch with her old friends who were there for her when she was in need.
My question is, should I keep trying to stay in touch with her, though sometimes hard from a distance, or let her make more of an effort if she really wants to keep our friendship? I would appreciate any advice on this. -- Marlene
Dear Marlene: You sound like an extraordinary friend and continue to prove that in the way you show up for those who are important to you -- be it years ago, when this woman experienced unimaginable loss and needed support through the grief, or today, in how you keep the door open for communication and friendship despite the physical distance between you two.
Over time, friendships ebb and flow, and it seems right now, this one is ebbing.
Be direct and ask what's going on for your friend in Texas. There may be a handful of reasons why she isn't putting in the same effort you are. It might be that you two have simply outgrown each other. If so, focus on your more fruitful friendships, but keep this door open for a future connection to flow.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.