Carolyn Hax is away. The following first appeared on Oct. 5, 2003.
Dear Carolyn: I am wary of dating guys whose parents are divorced. My parents and most of my friends’ parents are happily married. I think people whose parents are divorced may have a different sense of marriage — i.e., that it doesn’t have to be for a lifetime. I think it does. I basically have no idea how to deal with someone whose parents are divorced because it’s foreign to me. So, how do I?
Dear D.C.: As with any unknown animal, you approach slowly, with your eyes cast down in a nonthreatening way. Offer a biscuit if you have one.
That’s what my dog thinks, anyway. She filled in for me while I was off retching.
You deal with people whose parents are divorced by treating them as you would any other human being (or should, if you didn’t nod off in decency class): by getting to know them and their values before you judge them as wanting. The strongest marriages are rooted in grace, compassion and openminded acceptance. And, no matter who your parents are, you’ve got a long way to go.
Dear Carolyn: I’ve been dating a girl I’ve completely fallen for for almost six months now. About six weeks ago she told me she wasn’t sure if this was right and needed to take some time to think, which I respect. I’ve asked her if she’s dating someone else, wants to break up or take a break, and these have all been no’s. She says she’s lucky to have me and that I treat her like gold and that I am too important to not be in her life. Yet we haven’t seen each other in weeks, and she won’t tell me what is going on. This is killing me. How much longer do I wait?
Confused in the Suburbs
Dear Confused: Depends on what your definition of “wait” is.
If you’re wondering whether it’s time to girl-shop again, then keep waiting. You still have strong feelings for this one.
But if you’ve got other moves on hold — like breathing, shaving, leaving the house — then your wait needs to be over.
And if what you’re waiting for is certainty, then get in line (hint: the line never moves, and it’s always raining). Or just read the tea leaves she left you; her explanation was all about how great you are and not at all about how much she likes/loves/wants/craves/misses you.
Painful, clearly, I know. Compared with what you’ve been living the past six weeks, though, I hope your telling yourself it’s a breakup will come with a gust of relief.
In fact, given that she chose to exclude you completely from her thought process (not entirely fair, since your life was also affected), and that she left things open-ended (unfair bordering on cruel), your only sane choice is to stop waiting and declare it over.
For what little it’s worth: It’s not you, it’s her, I swear, I mean it this time, and that alone means there’s nothing you can do about it but shuffle on with your life.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.