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Dear Mari: Dad is so very negative

DAD is very negative about son’s future prospects.

Dear Marilyn,

I am the youngest of three children. I guess you can say that this is a case of the youngest child living in the shadow of the older siblings.

In my case, my older siblings have been making poor choices with their lives. They had issues with alcohol, gambling, stealing and teen pregnancy. You name it, and they’ve both done it at one point or another.

My father seems to assume that I am going to follow in their footsteps. I can’t figure out why. I set myself apart from them by graduating high school with honors, and being accepted into both Cal State Universities and UC’s.

I can’t afford to go to either of them, so I decided to start college in the fall at a community college. My plan is to transfer to a university in two years.

My father has always been extremely critical of all of his children. This has been the case ever since we were very young. I understand it as to my siblings, but I don’t understand why he is so critical of me.

He has told me that he thinks that I will end up quitting school, just like my siblings did, and that I will amount to nothing.

I have a job, and I am practically living on my own. I pay for all of my own bills, unlike my brother that still depends on our dad, and my sister who is dependent upon her mother in law.

I want my father to be proud of me. I can’t figure out how I can convince him that I will not end up like my siblings.

My question is, Dear Marilyn, what more can I do?

Signed, Yearning For Approval

Dear Yearning For Approval,

Although it is understandable that you want approval from your father, the sad fact is that you may never get it from him. He may not ever choose to give you the approval that you are seeking.

This is not your fault. It is his. He should be encouraging you for all of your many accomplishments. You may never know why he is not doing so. It is possible that his own father was critical of him, and he never learned to be kind to his children.

No matter what the reason, for your own peace of mind, you should stop waiting for his approval. Instead, be proud of yourself. You have done very well for yourself, and I’m sure that you will reach your goal of moving to a University in two years.

 Don’t wait to hear it from your father. Just keep congratulating yourself. You are doing just great.

Dear Marilyn,

I recently got out of a three-year relationship, and it has been six weeks since I’ve seen my ex-boyfriend.

While I was going through the break up, a good guy friend of mine began to comfort me and helped me to pull myself together.

Honestly, I was an emotional wreck, and I was sad and depressed. But, with his help and understanding, I was soon my old self again.

I began to feel attracted to my friend, because of the kindness that he showed to me, while I was going through the whole break-up situation.

Just recently, he told me that he felt a connection between us, and that he would like to date me.

Is it too soon to begin dating, or even thinking about another relationship? I am not sure what to do.

Signed, Unsure

Dear Unsure,

There is no time limit about when should start a new relationship, after ending one. The answer to that question is entirely up to you. Certainly if the two of you want to start dating, than you should go for it.

However, you do want to be careful that you are not going out with him on the “rebound”. In other words, you don’t want to go out just so that you won’t be lonely or sad about the prior breakup.

If you genuinely feel attracted to him, then go out with him and have fun. Just be very aware of your own motivations for doing so, and you will be just fine.

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