Ask Amy: Pregnancy upends fragile home life

October 3, 2012

DEAR AMY: I am 35 and have an 18-year-old daughter. She will graduate from high school in May. Her father lives with us. He is disabled and is in a wheelchair. Her father and I have not had a “real” male-female relationship in years.

He believed we were together until earlier this year when I told him I wanted to move on. He is not happy about it and has talked about moving into a group home. During all of that drama, I started seeing someone I dated in high school.

My daughter and her father know about this man, and he is very upset. He says I should have waited until he moved out. I don’t know if he will ever move out. I care for him very much and never wanted him to live in a group home.

The other man and I fell in love, and I just found out that I am pregnant. I do want another baby; it’s just not the ideal situation, and I do not want my daughter’s father to feel he is forced to move out. I don’t know what to do or how to tell people. Do you have any advice for me about my moral dilemma? -- Probably Pregnant

DEAR PROBABLY: In a moral dilemma, you are trying to decide between two equally difficult options. In your situation, you have already made the choices that a dilemma would force you to ponder in advance of acting.

Because you have forced your daughter’s father (you don’t mention being married) into a sort of “open” domestic partnership, you may all decide that it would be best for him to stay in the home. This is one option. Otherwise you could help him explore other housing options. He might do well with a roommate or family member in a nearby apartment.

The best way to disclose this news is to do it one person at a time, over the course of one or two days. Start with your current partner, then your daughter’s father. After giving him time to digest this news, you should talk to your daughter. Your 18-year-old could present you with the biggest emotional challenge in the short term. Prepare for this.

DEAR AMY: I am a 14-year-old girl in my freshman year of high school. My bedtime is 9 p.m., and my sister’s bedtime is 8 p.m. I’m usually in bed on time (give or take a few minutes). My sister (9 years old) has pushed her bedtime back so far that it is the same as mine!

She never gets in trouble, but if I am five minutes late, I get my privileges taken away. My parents’ excuse is that they are trying to be sensitive and more lenient with her because they can tell when she has had a bad day. They never seem to notice when I have a bad day. I have been trying to understand their point of view, but don’t you think they are being wrong and unfair? -- Upset Sister

DEAR UPSET: Yes, your parents are being wrong and unfair. Welcome to the world.

Your 9-year-old sister is at a tough and demanding age, and it sounds to me as if your folks are giving in to her rather than dealing with her and facing the consequences.

Instead of asking them to change the way they parent her, you should appeal to them to adjust the way they parent you. I hereby grant you another 15 minutes of awake time, as long as you are in bed and reading.

Think they’ll go for it?

DEAR AMY: “Heartbroken” wrote about a “groomzilla” who had planned an elaborate destination wedding in Europe that many guests could not afford or were not able to attend.

The same thing happened in our family, and we were also heartbroken. We decided to host a big party stateside after the wedding to include guests who couldn’t make it, and I’m so glad we did. -- Parents of the Bride

DEAR PARENTS: I love your generous solution. Thank you.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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