Stay together for kids

Amy answers questions about divorce, a potentially cheating boyfriend, and dietary restrictions....

Amy answers questions about divorce, a potentially cheating boyfriend, and dietary restrictions. (Fotolia)

Amy Dickinson, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:17 PM ET

DEAR AMY: My 44-year-old daughter, who has been married for nearly 22 years to a wonderful man (my opinion), has just announced that they plan to divorce.

They have two great children: One is starting college this fall, and one will be starting college next fall. My daughter says she is not happy, and this comes as a total shock to my wife and me.

We have been married for 52 years. We have lived through just about every up and down you can imagine. I don't believe anyone can get through life without both good and bad times.

My daughter says she loves her husband but is no longer in love with him. She said he loves her but is no longer in love with her.

They plan on dividing everything equally and say it will be a friendly parting. They plan on living in the house together until it is sold.

When I tried to talk with her about counselling, she said, "No, it won't work." I am at my wits' end. Is this how people today stick through thick and thin, or am I nuts?

Any suggestions? Or do I just sit back and let them ruin an Ozzie and Harriet family. My wife said to leave them alone because it's too late, and that I should get over it. -- Disappointed Dad

DEAR DAD: Interesting that you mention Ozzie and Harriet. This idyllic 1950s and '60s sitcom (and real life) Nelson family turns out not to have been perfect after all. The clan has been marked by dysfunction, addiction, loss and tragedy.

But, yes, to your larger point, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson did stay married.

Surely you know from your own experience that no one really knows what goes on inside a marriage. There might be things that have happened between your daughter and son-in-law that they simply can't recover from.

Or, just as likely, they are bored, feeling selfish and simply don't want to continue being married.

They might be fooling themselves if they think they can have a friendly, "conscious uncoupling" that doesn't affect them or their children negatively. But you are likely wrong when you describe this as "ruining" their family. Their family is not ruined or breaking; it is changing.

You have a right to your opinion. But understand that this private choice is not a reflection on you or your marriage, but on theirs.

DEAR AMY: I've been dating a guy for almost two years now, and he has only called me by my name twice. He usually calls me "Sweetheart."

From day one, this is what he has called me. Is it possible that he's talking to or seeing someone else and doesn't want to confuse our names? -- Nameless

DEAR NAMELESS: In the movies, that's how it's done, especially when he's a lonely musician and she's an occasional "layover" stop on the road.

It is completely possible that your guy is seeing someone else or more than one other person. It is also possible that he simply doesn't like your first name and so chooses something more comfortable for him.

You might want to run a little test the next time you're together. Close your eyes and ask him quickly: "What's my first, middle and last name? What colour are my eyes?"

If he answers: "Your first name is 'Sweet,' your middle name is 'Heart,' your last name is 'Irrelevant,' and your eyes are on the spectrum between brown and blue," then I'd say you have a problem.

DEAR AMY: "Fed Up" was frustrated by her frequent houseguests' special dietary demands. She should tell all houseguests they are on their own for breakfast and lunch, allowing them to go out sightseeing during the day.

She should tell guests where the nearest grocery store is and provide space in the refrigerator to stash their purchases.

Then she should let them know what time dinner is served nightly and tell them there are always two items on the menu: Take It or Leave It. -- Not a Short-Order Cook

DEAR COOK: As chef Emeril Lagasse would say: "Bam!"


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