He left her for a man but won’t support her gay daughter

Dear Annie: My second husband and I were together for 20 years. I’ll call him “Dominic.” We met at a vulnerable time in my life, and he was the kindest man I ever met. Dominic wanted to get married immediately, but I was reluctant, as I’d just gotten out of a marriage with a cheater, liar and abuser.

Dominic begged me. Eventually, I caved. We got married and had a child, my fifth. (I had four from my ex.) Over the years, we had many ups and downs. One day I was getting ready to take a trip and found condoms and lubricant in his duffel bag. When I confronted him about it, he gave me a story. I tried to believe him.

Not long after that, he started buying new clothes and going to the gym. I suspected he had a girlfriend. When I asked what he was up to, he said he couldn’t stand my nagging anymore. He moved out. Several months later, he filed for divorce, and during the process had to disclose financial records. That’s when I found out he didn’t have a girlfriend. He had a boyfriend. I was devastated. When I tried to confront him in arbitration, he wouldn’t admit it. It’s been four years since then, and I still can’t believe it.

I keep thinking back to years back, when we found out our youngest child was gay. I told Dominic that we needed to show her our support, but he refused to even acknowledge the reality. Why would he lie like this? How did I not see it all those years? — Still Don’t Understand

Dear Still: Don’t feel bad for not seeing it. For one, Dominic’s dating men now doesn’t mean that he was never attracted to you. For another, it sounds as though he was doing everything he could to obfuscate his sexuality even from himself. It saddens me that societal pressures can drive a person so deep into denial. I hope that with time, as we become more accepting, stories like yours will become less common. In supporting your daughter, you’re helping to create that brighter future.

Dear Annie: I am a 61-year-old man living with my girlfriend of three years. Let’s call her “Brenda.”

Brenda and I are both empty-nesters. My children and grandchildren all live out of state, unlike Brenda’s two daughters and three grandchildren, who are local.

I love Brenda dearly. My problem is that her children financially exploit her. I won’t go into the details, but her decisions to continually help them have led to foreclosure and personal bankruptcy. She cannot afford to continue to financially enable her children this way. She’s barely able to put any money into her savings account. I’m all for helping, not enabling, those in need.

I’ve attempted to discuss this many times, but Brenda isn’t receptive. I’m aware of the bond a mother shares with her daughters, and I fear my efforts will drive a deeper wedge between us.

I am unsure if we can continue this relationship, as we’d Brenda have a questionable financial future. I suggested couples counseling, to no avail. We’ve been planning to move to a warm state for retirement, and she mentioned moving her family with us, which I don’t want. — Perplexed in the North

Dear Perplexed: It will be impossible to join your two lives together truly and harmoniously until she sets boundaries with her children. I would encourage you to read “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie to glean more insight into the dysfunctional dynamics at work in your girlfriend’s family. Codependence can be contagious, so it’s important to stay vigilant about your boundaries.

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“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 dearannie@creators.com.


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