Bringing Together a Blended Family
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to "Survivor of Domestic Violence," who is not sure how much to reveal about her prior relationship on dates. I'm 63 and was in an abusive marriage for 28 years. I finally had the courage to leave and break this cycle. My mother and I were both beaten by my father. I didn't understand what respect was. My father pushed my mother down when she was pregnant for not walking upstairs fast enough. That was my first encounter with domestic violence. I was 5 years old. I was upset with her for not "minding" what Dad said.
I've been divorced for seven years. I first worked on myself and making sure my adult kids were on the right path. My daughter and I became domestic violence advocates, and I volunteer at the domestic violence charity where I live. My son is getting his master's in neuropsychology.
I have just started dating also, and I agree that sharing this is very important, but personal information should be shared when you are ready. Sometimes, people can use your vulnerabilities against you. I've learned to listen to my gut; if it doesn't feel right, it's probably a correct feeling. Move on. -- Learned My Lesson
Dear Learned My Lesson: Congratulations on getting out of a bad situation and building a healthy life for you and your kids. It shows strength and resilience, and it is no doubt an inspiring example for your children and for countless readers.
Dear Annie: When I married my husband, it was me and my 17-year-old daughter. My husband had two grown daughters, a 36- and a 38-year-old who lived with their mother. Now, after seven years of marriage, one daughter is asking if she could live with us if she got into a bind. It's totally awkward because I don't really know her that well and she really didn't have a relationship with him until a year ago. She's been living on her own for a year, and her relationship with her mother is strained. My issue is with him comparing our children's situation. He questions why his daughter shouldn't be able to come stay with us if she got into a bind because my daughter lives with us. I told him my daughter has always lived with us from the beginning, and now it's a problem. I don't know what to do. -- Family Drama
Dear Family Drama: When you and your husband got married, you became one blended family and committed to accepting both of your children into your beautiful new life. Open your heart to your husband's daughter; there is no need to be the wicked stepmother.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- 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.