Tuesday, December 21, 2010


In the past, I have dealt with saying things that should have stayed in the thought bubble. I'm still working on it and I find myself wanting to hold an intervention for a woman who is an acquaintance. That's right, not even close enough to call her a friend, but an acquaintance who I think is making a grave mistake. Maybe I have a little vested interest because her daughter is Tucker's on-again, off-again girl friend (currently on), and her son has been a friend of Spencer's since 8th grade, although they have found separate interests and don't hang together that much. He is in theater though, so Grace hangs with him sometimes.
This acquaintance has four kids -- the two who are friends with mine, an older son who is married, and a 9-year-old son. We got to know her and her husband a few years ago. Earl rode the bus with her when she started back to work. She told him as her marital woes increased. She and her husband separated then divorced about a year and half ago.
Last year, she had a boyfriend who accompanied her to the choir concerts and musical performances and soccer games. She seemed happy. The father also remains involved with the kids, attending events and serving on boards. They always call here to see if a parent is home before they drop off their daughter to hang out with Tucker. See, normal, responsible parents.
Now, the mother is engaged to a different man who she started dating three months ago. They plan to marry in July and she will move to a Columbus suburb about 20 minutes away from here. Her kids will live with their father so they can continue to go to school here.
"We just won't be hanging out here as much," the 14-year-old daughter explained yesterday as I drove her and Tucker to the library to get some movies.
"What about Titus?" I asked, assuming the 9-year-old would go to live with his mother.
"No, he's going to stay with Dad too."
I was astounded.
First, I know I'm prejudiced because I see how life with a stepfather has turned out for the children of my best friend in Michigan. It stinks. They can't enjoy being at home; they walk on eggshells constantly; they're miserable with him.
So even before I knew she would be moving away, I thought it was a bad idea.
Tucker confides that the daughter does not want her mom to marry the guy. Grace says the son is not fond of the boyfriend either. Grace has met the boyfriend and says he gives off a creepy vibe.
This woman is a good mother and she is giving up her children for a man she has known three months.
I also feel that because my mother made the choice to sacrifice for us, I owe it to speak out for other kids in similar situations. My parents were divorced from the time I was 3 until I was 10. Then they remarried each other and are together today. My mom had a string of boyfriends. A lot of them were fun, but the best one was Johnny who owned horses. What would be better than a stepdad with horses?
Each time mom dated these guys until they asked her to marry them. Then she would break up with them. As an adult, I asked her why she never married any of the guys.
"I knew they could never love you kids the way Dad and I do," she told me.
That's the bar that she set. I don't know if I think every mother should make that sacrifice, but so often, the stepdad thing goes bad. I can't think of a single situation that I know of where the family is happy together when a stepdad moves in.
I want to say to this acquaintance, if he's the guy then get married a year from July. If he's a nice guy, he will be nice in a year. I don't really have the right to intervene.
I asked my best friend to wait before she remarried, but her new man wanted a baby and she was 40 so she didn't feel like she could wait. Now, on many days, she wishes she had waited to see if he showed his true colors before they married.
So, do I have this woman over for a glass of wine and beg her to reconsider, or do I stay quiet?


Lucia said...

can't help you there, maybe just hope he shows his true colors sooner then later.

Sheila said...

wow that's a tough one, why in the world would she even consider marrying a man after 3 months? That's crazy, there has to be more to it. And why would he expect her to move to his home and give up so much. And why would she even consider it. That's really mind boggling. Is she just tired from carrying so much responsibility on her own that she's willing to make the sacrifices? Well on one hand it doesn't seem like you probably have much to lose from telling her everything you just wrote. You're probably not going to have a relationship with her after she gets married and moves, so you might as well go out with a bang. good luck making the right decision.

Just Me said...

Really like Sheila's response on all notes.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sheila, that is a really tough situation. There isn't a whole lot you can do about it except for maybe talk to her, invite her for coffee and state your concerns and such and hope that she will take them into consideration. I think that its slightly going overboard to marry someone after only knowing them for 3 months. That isn't enough time to get to know the real person and know if they are someone that you plan on spending the rest of your life with and a man that will be a good father to her kids. If she is willing to give up her kids for a school year for this man she should definitely make sure that it is worth it.
So, I think it would be a smart decision to maybe talk about it with her, that could be exactly what she needs a wise someone to talk to and help her make the right choice!


Linda said...

I'm sure you are right to want to speak to her but I bet it won't do any good. Anytime I have tried to help someone with good intentions, they get mad at me. I keep my mouth shut now. I only speak up if they ask me my opinion. I guess you could tell her what her children are worried about but, as I said, I don't think it will carry any weight with her.

Paulita said...

Thanks for all the good advice. I feel sure if I were making a similar mistake, you guys would jump right in and tell me to straighten up.
I contacted a mutual friend and she is working on a plan to get this woman to take some time before making big changes. Hope it works.

Stephanie said...

Yeow. That's a rough one. I suspect that she won't take it well if you speak to her, and might get defensive. I also suspect that she is being influenced by lust and/or need, so trying to get her to see things objectively might not work very well.

The wuss in me is thinking you should just discreetly give her a link to your blog so that she can just read what you wrote. Kudos to you for wanting to intervene, and as Sheila said, you probably have nothing to lose by speaking with her.

Anonymous said...

Speaking from the perspective of a single mom, I think if you feel strongly enough you should have subtle "I'm not interfering, I'm just concerned" conversation with her. She may not be thinking really rationally right now but, I'm willing to bet she has some reservation... Particularly, since her children don't like him. The fact that she's only known him for a few months and she's willing to alter her children's lives sends several red flags.


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