Annie’s Mailbox for Feb. 15, 2011: Debating whether to intervene
February 15, 2011
Dear Annie: My 19-year-old daughter, “Nadia,” dated a sweet guy for three years. They broke up when he moved to Hawaii to “see the world.” For three years, he dated no one else and expected Nadia to do the same. However, after 18 months of separation, she decided to enjoy her life.
A year ago, they rekindled their relationship over the phone and decided to get married. When “Mr. Hawaii” found out she had dated someone else in his absence, he abruptly called it off, once again breaking her heart. He then asked her to wait for him to get his head together. Apparently, he was questioning whether he might be gay. This time, she said no. With our encouragement, she concentrated on herself and her education.
Eight months ago, Nadia met an absolutely wonderful, stable guy, and they are slowly building a future together. The problem is, Mr. Hawaii has been in touch, asking if she would reconsider their relationship. She told him he would always have a place in her heart, but that’s it. Within days of their last conversation, we were shocked to find out that he had already married a girl from Switzerland 12 days after meeting her.
We are sure this poor girl has no clue her new husband was still fanning the flames with Nadia, let alone his sexuality issues. And apparently, his family doesn’t know he’s married. Do we have an obligation to tell his family and his new wife, or is this a keep-it-zipped situation? We don’t want to hurt anyone.
— Treading Water in the Pacific
Dear Treading: You don’t know the circumstances of this marriage or even if it’s true. It is not your place to inform his parents or wife. We know you want to do the right thing and prevent a catastrophe, but frankly, it will be hurtful no matter what you say, and it won’t change a thing. Mr. Hawaii needs to handle this on his own.
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Dear Annie: My wife passed away three weeks ago. We were married for more than 40 years. Is there any set rule about how long I should wait to get in the dating scene again?
— Arizona Widower
Dear Arizona: There is no set rule. Widows and widowers can begin dating whenever they are ready. Keep in mind, however, that friends and relatives often expect the newly widowed to wait at least six months before dating, so you may get some flak from them if you start sooner. But it is entirely your choice.
Dear Annie: I would like to address the letter from “Deleted in Ohio,” whose sister cut off contact once again, and whose husband’s nephew stopped seeing the family. She didn’t know why.
In my case, I realized I was the one who was always initiating contact with my siblings. As a test, I stopped getting in touch. Guess what? I still hear nothing from my brother, had one phone call from my middle sister and have had no calls at all from my youngest sister.
It doesn’t feel good to know I was right. It made me realize I was forcing myself on them in a way they apparently didn’t want, and they didn’t know how to tell me. Now, if they want contact, all they have to do is phone, e-mail, mail or text. I will always be there, just as I always have been.
— Deleted Many Years Ago, Just Didn’t Want To See It
Dear Deleted: In most families, one sibling, usually a sister, takes on the role of facilitator. She’s the one who hosts family gatherings, keeps the other siblings informed and makes sure the family stays close. We doubt your siblings felt you forced yourself on them. You might reconnect with your middle sister. Explain the problem and see what she says. You have nothing to lose.