November 25, 2013 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: Others’ predictions irk divorced dad

Kathy Mitchell
 

Dear Annie: My wife and I have been separated for four years. We have joint custody of our beautiful 8-year-old daughter. “Lizzie” spends half the week with me and the other half with her mother. It works out well, and Lizzie fully understands that she now has to live in two separate, loving homes.

Here’s the problem: When going to gatherings and parties, my mother’s friends and other family members feel the need to say, “It’s so nice that you guys share her right now, because when she gets older, you know she’s going to want to live with her mom full time.” Or, “What are you going to do when she’s a teenager and only wants to stay with her mom?” They then begin to tell me stories about their divorced son or a friend’s son to whom this has happened.

My daughter means the world to me. Just because things didn’t work out between her mother and me doesn’t mean I won’t be able to provide as loving a home as her mother. How do I politely tell these people that I don’t care for their comments? Or do I just bite my lip and stay silent? – Doing My Best in California

Dear California: You sigh audibly and say with a tired smile, “Yes, I’ve heard that. Thank you.” And then walk away. These people mean well, but they have no way of predicting what your situation will be five years from now. Here’s ours: Lizzie will cherish both of her parents because they cherish her enough to be respectful of each other and keep both of her homes stable and loving. Whatever she chooses to do as a teenager will likely be temporary.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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