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close to will be torn between love for you
and their children. This is not a negative
description, but a realistic one. With
your eyes wide open, you stand a better
chance of success in your new life. Step
parenting, despite all its challenges, can
be extremely rewarding. Embrace it fully
and put aside your fears. You may have
your own children at a later date, but in
the meantime, your "instant family" can be
very precious if you let it be.
relationship? My guy and I have
had an on-again-off-again relationship for
years. We have two children together.
We've been married and divorced once
and are actually contemplating another
walk down the aisle soon. I love this man
more than anyone I've ever been with.
Right now everything is wonderful bet-
ween us. Still I worry about our old
problems resurfacing. Is being in love and
wanting a relationship to work enough?
A I tell my clients these two criteria
for deciding whether to stay or go.
Simple one: does the bad stuff in the
relationship outweigh the good stuff?
More difficult one: does loving the other
person spell abuse for you?
When there are problems between
two people, the worst thing is to resume
the marriage without resolving the issues
that broke you up. Do you think you have
done that? Are you getting remarried out
of mindless optimism? Love is just the
beginning. It certainly isn't enough by
itself. I think there's far too much
romance in marital choices and not enough
common sense. Yes, I know it's not very
exciting to use your head when deciding
relationship things, but it's better sooner
Now, on the flipside, don't second
guess the future. If you're happy now,
enjoy it; don't look for problems. To sum
up, be cautious, be aware but don't be
Q I have a lot of friends, but they all
seem to be the same type -- high
maintenance! They're always having
emotional dramas and involving me. They
ring me every day and keep me on the
phone for hours recounting every detail
of their days and their various problems. Is
this normal or am I attracting needy people
for a reason? I feel like I'm being selfish, but
I just find it all so draining.
A I think you are attracting needy
friends for a reason and the reason
is that you need to be needed. I'm sure
on the surface you don't feel this way, but
scratch the surface and try to understand
your underlying motivation. Once you
do that, you can make some real choices.
You could also do with some practice
in assertiveness, which involves setting
healthy boundaries with people, including
the ability to say no. If you want to talk on
the phone, that's fine. But when you don't
or if it goes on too long, learn to say no
politely, but firmly. You probably haven't
done this up to now because you're
afraid of losing these particular friends. But
if all they want is to lean on you, you're
better off without them. Rethink your
priorities and start putting yourself first. ●
Charmaine is willing to answer your relationship questions
to appear in NOVA Magazine, both in print and online.
Email her at email@example.com
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