A Modern Cinderella
Dear Margo: I was raised in a “unique” family. My mother passed away when I was young, and I was raised by my stepfather and his new wife. These “parents” raised me — as in, they allowed me to live with them and provided me with the necessities and emotional support if I pleaded for it. Ours was a large and varied family, and I was lost in the shuffle. Now I’m in my mid 30s and am happily married with a successful career and two kids of my own. My problem is that my parents rarely want anything to do with my family or me. They often do things with my other siblings (their biological children), yet I’m rarely invited. I used to contact them to initiate get-togethers, but it was never reciprocated, so I stopped.
I recognize that they raised me, but I just can’t help feeling hurt and disappointed that they don’t want to spend any time together. Should I continue to make an effort and take whatever little bit of a relationship I can squeeze out of them, or should I give up, focus on my immediate family and accept that I lost any parent I may have had when my biological mother died? — Stepdaughter
Dear Step: This is a sad situation, and the meaning is that not everyone has a big heart. The reality is that you were young when you lost your mother, and she was married to a man who no doubt felt burdened by a youngster he “inherited,” and real emotion never jelled. When he remarried, the woman he chose was a quart low in the compassion department, as well. So that’s the situation.
I would indeed stop the overtures and let your friends be your family. With luck, you might stumble onto an older couple who could fill the position of grandparents for your kids. Therapy might help you integrate the situation and understand that there is nothing wrong with you and what happened was just a bum break. For whatever it’s worth, some biological kids experience this situation — and worse. I wish you well. — Margo, forwardly
No One Need Stay Married Forever
Dear Margo: I am a 24-year-old male who’s been going through a pretty tough time for quite a while. I’m a former serviceman who got married during my military tour. While I was still in, I had to be away for a period of two weeks, unable to leave my command. I was able to call my wife every day when my daily shifts were over, and everything seemed to be OK. However, when I was finally able to return home, the house was cleaned out, except for my uniforms and very few other objects. A letter was on the counter stating she had left for her home state to be with another man. Six months later, I was discharged and returned to my own home state. All of this happened three years ago.
Since then, we have been in limited contact via email, and every time the topic of divorce comes up, she gets dodgy and disappears for weeks if not months. At one point, she sent me a package of divorce papers from the state we were married in, and I filled them out on my end and sent them back to the state’s court system. However, nothing happened with the proceedings. I again filed for divorce through my home state and had her “served.” She blatantly refused to answer them, and the courts will do nothing until she does. What can I do? I need to move on. — Broken Heart in Michigan
Dear Broke: I don’t know how things work in Michigan, but many states now have remedies for spouses who will not respond to divorce papers. Often “abandonment” kicks in after one year apart. I suggest you contact a lawyer for guidance in securing your divorce. — Margo, hopefully
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
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