Polly Peepers / guest columnist
Hoping For The Best
I love your column and share it monthly with my girlfriends. We love that you’re not afraid to speak your mind, and that your advice is always so sensible, even if sometimes it’s outside the box. Well, Polly, I am beginning to feel boxed … and it’s something I can’t share with the girls.
Oftentimes, the girls and I talk about what is a successful relationship? Each of us understands that we have it better than most, yet there is, I must admit, somewhat of an undercurrent of competition as to which marriage is successful and which marriage is not. My minister tells me this is normal, and not to pay attention.
Here’s my problem – I guess I just feel like a liar.
My husband and I argue way more than I let on. And every time the girls talk about successful relationships, I find myself not willing to share what really goes on between the two of us. He’s a good man, he treats me well, but we’re really so different, in the Mars and Venus kind of way. My minister tells me, “… at least he lets you argue with him.” I don’t know, is that really a privilege? I’m beginning to think my minister is a chauvinist, which is why I’m coming to you.
What is the secret? How do my husband and I deal with all of the arguments? How can I contribute to making this a successful relationship? It’s really important to me. What is the secret? How do my husband and I deal with all of the arguments? How can I contribute to making this a successful relationship? It’s really important.
– Hoping for the Best, Peachwood, Kansas
Dear Hoping for the Best, The best way I can answer your question is to send along a rarely seen video from friends of mine. He is a Greek Orthodox priest, and she forgives him. Polly
Family Advice Video >> go to Videos / Miscellaneous
Look, I’m a guy, and I don’t normally do this kind of thing, like write and ask for advice. I admit it’s easier than doing it in person, but still, I’m just not that way. Unfortunately, as it turns out, I’m desperate, and the cashier at the University who really understands me has suggested I write to you.
I am divorced and a co-parent of two girls with my first wife. I married again and my second wife who also had a child from a previous marriage, wanted a thousand more children, and unfortunately, I didn’t ask her about that particular subject before we got married. We parted ways when she decided she didn’t appreciate my full-body condom, and she went off and signed up at a sperm bank to have someone else’s kid. I took that as a sign that this relationship wasn’t as long term as I’d hoped.
Anyway, I’ve got these two girls from my first marriage, and their mother has decided to leave town. Not really move out of the county, mind you, but sort of far enough away not to be involved. Her lawyer claims she did her part, giving birth, and that she has HypoDistancia, a disease that apparently allows you to let everyone else take care of your bills.
Polly – I hate writing this stuff about myself. But tell me, I have these girls who need a functional mother. I mean pretty soon they’re going to have you know, that time of the month. And I don’t have siblings to fill in, or the money to hire a Mrs. Doubtfire. I just want to be a good dad. We only have one bathroom.
In Deep Sh*t, Anacortes, Washington
Dear In Deep Sh*t,
There is no existential shovel large enough to make this easy. Let’s begin with what not to do. I wouldn’t advise the desperate path of beating the bushes for a new relationship just to have a role model for your girls. It’s a temptation, I know, but don’t panic. First lick your wounds from your most recent marriage, and then figure out what you’ve learned from the experience. Like proposing to someone you think you know, but not really. I think there’s room for growth there.
You underestimate yourself. Most men do when it comes to nurturing. In fact, I would venture to say you have far more going for you than you might imagine. Young girls want to please the opposite sex considerably more than they want to please the same sex. They are not in competition with you as much as they might be with a mother-figure. In fact, I would suggest to keep your ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ single father card in your back pocket. It’s your ace.
Ask your girls to help you raise them. Ask for their advice. Be honest with them as to your fears and vulnerability. It works well in dating, and equally well in parenting. And rather than seeking out advice from female friends as to what to do, seek out advice from single fathers, share their successes and their mistakes. I guarantee you this – by being honest with yourself and with your girls, they will grow up to love you for the effort you’ve put in, and if necessary, forgive you for the mistakes you have made.
Believing in yourself as a parent is believing in them as your children, and no parent can do more